“If you love animals/forests speak up”


The Senate now has received from the House of Representatives (I use the term ‘representatives” loosely) one of the most anti-environmental, anti-wildlife bills in the history of the nation.

If passed as written, the environmental safeguards and wildlife protections that have prevented wolves, polar bears and Pacific salmon from fading away will be a thing of the past.

Please make an emergency 100% secure online contribution to ESC today to help us fight for wildlife on Capitol Hill and engage our activists around the nation.

This bill is not about balancing the budget–it’s political payback to Big Oil and other corporate polluters at the expense of our nation’s wildlife.

Your emergency support is crucial. Together, we will save polar bears, gray wolves and other endangered and threatened species.

This bill seeks to invalidate multiple, long-standing conservation agreements in California that have allowed water users and endangered fish to coexist, prevent urgently needed implementation of limits on planet-cooking carbon pollution and permanently remove critical Endangered Species Act protections from recently-recovered Northern Rockies gray wolves.

Further, this bill would legitimize future efforts to remove protections for species that powerful political interests find inconvenient. The Endangered Species Act cannot work if politicians–instead of wildlife experts–opt to decide which species are protected.

We need to stop this disastrous bill and future attacks on imperiled wildlife but we need your help.

We’re fighting to protect our nation’s most threatened species in the most hostile political climate in decades–we need you by our side.

The scorched-earth language of this bill would reverse decades of progress in protecting our nation’s natural treasures. It would legislate the continuation of inaction on climate change and it would make it nearly impossible for concerned citizens to hold the government accountable in enforcing existing law.

Can you support our work with an emergency species-saving contribution today?

Thank you for everything you do to protect wildlife and wild places.

Leda Huta, Executive Director
Endangered Species Coalition

Excerpts and logo courtesy of  http://bit.ly/fWFId3

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“Baby bears asks -will you be my mama?”


How do you want to see your baby bear…

in  paw soup or to sell them into shackles for life as dancing bears ?

Poaching of baby bears

Poachers usually kill the female bears in the forest then take her bear cubs, who are then sold to illegal wildlife traders, in South East Asia sometimes using routes via Nepal.
The paws of the baby bears are cut off and used in bear paw soup delicacies, while other parts are used for Chinese traditional medicine, including aphrodisiacs.
In January  five male bear cubs between 3 – 5 weeks old were taken from their mothers  in the wild. The mother bears usually are killed by poachers to remove the cubs.

The state veterinary doctor of Banka who carried out a medical examination of these rescued animals were traumatized and dehydrated. He  wanted the bears be moved immediately to the bear rehabilitation center in Agra for necessary immediate veterinary care.

The Adult Bears were being used as dancing bears in Nepal and were just smuggled back into India through Bihar. Both Bears have a thick rope pierced through their muzzle and move or “dance” when these ropes are pulled in response to the pain. 

According to Muriel Arnal, President – One Voice Association France

Poaching of cubs continues.”Please help these groups take care of me” -Baby Bear

One Voice is working with Wildlife SOS for almost a decade and we have gradually seen the bear cub poaching reduce year by year. The Indian Government’s support in fighting wildlife crime continues to be very important. You support is critical.  Will you become my sponsor mom or dad?

Resources

Excerpts and Image http://bit.ly/egsa4X

 

“EU gets gold star, bearded ladies for US”


Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently said that in a worst case scenario BPA exposure may give women “little beards.”

The European Union recently announced that it will ban six toxic substances under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, reports Chemical & Engineering News. These The phase out affects three plastic softening chemicals: bis (2-ethylexyl) phthalate; benzyl butyl phthalate; and dibutyl phthalate.

The regulation also bans the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane because the compound is persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Another affected substance is 5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinito-m-xylene, also known as musk xylene, which the EU characterizes as very persistent and very bioaccumulative.

The sixth chemical banned is 4,4′-diaminodiphenylmethane, used in some epoxy resins and adhesives and as an intermediate in the manufacture of other substances. The EU classifies this compound as a substance which should be regarded as carcinogenic to humans.

They are targeted because of reproductive toxicity. The EU already prohibits use of these three phthalates in children’s toys.

The landmark move, which includes phasing out three plastic softening chemicals and a flame retardant, stands in stark contrast to the U.S.’s chemical romance, particularly with the controversial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive that messes with people’s hormones and is found in levels twice as high in Americans than in Canadians. But not to worry, says Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage. The worst that could happen is that BPA exposure might cause women to start growing “little beards.”

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The European Union will phase out the use of three phthalates, a flame retardant, a synthetic musk, and a compound used in epoxy resins and adhesives. The move, announced Feb. 17 by the European Commission, marks the first time the EU has banned substances under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program.

Sale or use of the six chemicals will cease in three to five years unless a company obtains authorization from the commission.

To use or sell any of these substances, a business would have to demonstrate that safety measures are in place to control risks adequately or that the benefits to the economy and society outweigh the risks of using the compound.

The phase out affects three plastic softening chemicals: bis (2-ethylexyl) phthalate; benzyl butyl phthalate; and dibutyl phthalate. They are targeted because of reproductive toxicity. The EU already prohibits use of these three phthalates in children’s toys.

The regulation also bans the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane because the compound is persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Another affected substance is 5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinito-m-xylene, also known as musk xylene, which the EU characterizes as very persistent and very bioaccumulative.

The sixth chemical banned is 4,4′-diaminodiphenylmethane, used in some epoxy resins and adhesives and as an intermediate in the manufacture of other substances. The EU classifies this compound as a substance which should be regarded as carcinogenic to humans.

The landmark move, which includes phasing out three plastic softening chemicals and a flame retardant, stands in stark contrast to the U.S.’s chemical romance, particularly with the controversial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive that messes with people’s hormones and is found in levels twice as high in Americans than in Canadians. But not to worry, says Maine’s Gov. Paul LePage. The worst that could happen is that BPA exposure might cause women to start growing “little beards.”

“Today’s decision is an example of the successful implementation of REACH and of how sustainability can be combined with competitiveness,” says Antonio Tajani, European Commission vice president for industry and entrepreneurship. “It will encourage industry to develop alternatives and foster innovation.”

“The substances included in the list, which have been on the table for many years, reflects ongoing discussions by regulatory authorities and industry,” the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) says. “CEFIC provides advice to industry to help understand the science-based process, which we monitor, should they decide to go forward to seek authorization for listed substances,”

Resources
Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/ew4PeA
Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/halUM9
Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/ew4PeA

“Saving the endangered desert tortoises from a solar zap”


In Arizona, Sonoran desert tortoises builds their burrows deep in the earth to protect them from the extremes of the desert climate. They have few predators, but a new project in the desert may destroy them.

Mojave Desert Tortoise Tortoises also tend to stray away from intensive human disturbances to the land. . The tortoise is able to live where ground temperatures may exceed 140 degrees F, because of its ability to dig underground burrows to escape the heat.

The landmark Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan’s Conservation Land System, adopted by Pima County, identifies extensive tortoise habitat on BLM lands. Critical habitat the tortoises need to survive.

A new energy development could destroy the homes these ancient reptiles have lived on and need to survive.

Help protect tortoise homes. RSVP to speak out Wednesday in Tucson.

Renewable energy resources can be the greenest, most sustainable sources of energy. However, these projects need to be designed to be eco friendly or wildlife and our endangered species could be in serious trouble.

Help Arizona today avoid this environmental crisis with good eco- planning.  New proposals for solar energy development could have tragic impacts for desert tortoises, bighorn sheep and other imperiled species.

Please attend the hearing and make sure that a wildlife-sound renewable energy plan is adopted?

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Department of Energy (DOE) have released a initial draft of the Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for six western states, including Arizona. The PEIS will determine how and where solar projects will be developed on federal land for the next 20 years.

The draft plan outlines two possible alternatives, the Solar Energy Development Program Alternative and the Energy Zone Program Alternative. The Solar Energy Development Program — the alternative favored by the agencies involved– fails to consider implications to wildlife and other natural resources properly.

Please attend an important hearing on these plans and provide a voice for wildlife:

What: Solar Energy Development PEIS Hearing
When: Wednesday, March 2nd 7:00 p.m.
Where: Tucson Marriott University Park
880 East Second Street
Tucson, Arizona 85719

If the federal government moves forward with their favored plan, 22 million acres of federal land –larger than the entire state of South Carolina –  could be developed, including important wildlife habitats.

Of the two alternatives, the Solar Energy Zone alternative is the best bet for wildlife. While not perfect, new solar development would be directed to specifically identified areas instead of indiscriminately opening huge tracts of land.

Further, the government’s preferred plan would conflict drastically with the Sonoran Desert Consevation Plan that has been designed to protect the rich diversity of wildlife and cultural resources in the region. The existing plan has received a lot of attention for what it has been able to accomplish, but if the government preferred plan moves forward progress could be haulted.

Tell the BLM that it needs to direct development away from ecologically sensitive places, like the San Pedro River National Conservation Area. The San Pedro is the region’s last free-flowing river – it is already water-stressed – yet BLM has identified lands next to the river for water-intensive solar development.

Intelligent siting of solar power plants is key in this arid region if we are to safeguard key habitats like the San Pedro River, which are home to a host of imperiled plants and animals. The future of endangered species such as the southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, spikedace and Huachuca water umbel depend on us making solar energy development smart from the start.

Speak out for wildlife and tell BLM to choose the Solar Energy Zone program option but drop the four wildlife-crucial regions.

The Solar Energy Zone Program Alternative, with improvements, is the best option for protecting Arizona wildlife, such as threatened desert tortoises, because it targets specific areas that will likely have fewer environmental impacts and conflicts. If the Development Plan Alternative is passed, areas vital to imperiled animals could be scraped bare and developed.

RSVP now to attend this hearing in Tucson with other Defenders supporters in your area and ensure all Arizona wildlife is protected.

With your help, we can make sure the federal government chooses the Solar Energy Zone Program Alternative and then strengthens it.

Matt Clark
Southwest Representative
Defenders of Wildlife

Image courtesy of    http://bit.ly/hAMZOj

“Most ancient water and fracture system critters on earth”


The deep saline ground waters in South Africa’s Witwatersrand Basin seem to be the result of isolation and extensive chemical interaction between water and rock over incredibly long geological time scales.may have remained isolated for many thousands, perhaps even millions, of years.

Found in the water is the noble gas neon dissolved in water in three-kilometre deep crevices.

This is unique specific neon isotope signature, along with the high salinities and some other unique chemical signatures. This is very different from anything seen in molten fluid and gases rising from beneath the Earth’s crust, according to University of Toronto professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, who is the Canadian member of the international team that produced the results.

“The chemical signatures also don’t match those of ocean water or waters higher up in the Witwatersrand Basin, where as in most regions of the crust ground waters show evidence of mixing with surface waters and are extensively colonized by microorganisms,” she said.

“We concluded that the deeper waters were the product of isolation and extensive chemical interaction between water and rock over incredibly long geological time scales.”

The smoking gun was the ancient basement rock.

“We know that this specific neon isotope signature was produced and trapped within the rock at least two billion years ago. We can still find it there today,” Dr. Sherwood Lollar said.

“The study shows some of the neon found its way outside of the rock minerals, gradually dissolving into, and accumulating in, fluids in crevices. This could only happen in waters that have indeed been cut off from the surface for extremely long time periods.”

One of these fracture systems contains the deepest known microbial ecosystems on Earth. These are organisms that eke out an existence independent from sunlight on chemical energy that originates from rock.

“These deep microbial communities radically expand our concept of the habitability of the Earth’s subsurface and, indeed, our biosphere,” said Dr. Sherwood Lollar.

“Given that they have a genetic similarity to organisms found at hydrothermal vents, we assume this is not a separate origin of life, but instead these organisms arrived from elsewhere to colonize these rocks in ancient times,” she said.

Excerpts and Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/gYPirJ

“Mrs. David slayed Cheveron the Goliath”


Maria Aguinda anindigenous Ecuadoran has no legal training, and doesn’t speak the Spanish that dominates government in Quito,  but indigenous villager she was the key that  opened  a landmark judgment against US oil giant Chevron for polluting the rain forest surrounding her home.

The tiny grandmother whose modest home sits near marshes clogged for decades in sticky oil has been at the heart of the David-and-Goliath case, and spoke out after Chevron was slapped last week with a $9.5-billion fine, among the heaviest ever handed down for environmental damage.

“Before I die they have to pay me for the dead animals, and for what they did to the river, and the water and the earth,” the 61-year-old Aguinda told AFP at her home in Rumipamba, a town in remote Orellana province where pollution caused by 30 years of oil drilling and petroleum accidents had become a sad fact of life.

Texaco operated in the area between 1964 and 1990, and was bought in 2001 by Chevron, which inherited Texaco’s legal nightmare.

“The demand (for compensation) is going on track,” said the ethnic Quechua woman, pointing to a nearby spot marked by spillage from an oil well run by Texaco in the 1970s.

“Mary Aguinda et al” are the opening words of the suit launched in 1993 on behalf of 30,000 residents of Orellana and Sucumbios provinces, in which they charge Texaco dumped billions of gallons of toxic crude during its operations, fouling rivers, lakes and soil and causing cancer deaths in indigenous communities.

Aguinda said she believes her husband and two of his 10 children died from effects of the pollution, which rights group Amazon Watch says has affected an area the size of the US state of Rhode Island.

Several of her family members “have skin problems, like fungus,” Aguinda said as she lifted her granddaughter’s foot off the dirt floor to show an outbreak on her leg.

Chevron blames state-run Petroecuador, with which Texaco formed a consortium from 1972 until the US firm departed in 1992, of not doing its part in the clean-up agreed with the state.

“When Texaco came we never thought they would leave behind such damage, never. Then it began to drill a well and set up burn pits,” she said, helped in translation by her son William Grefa.

“It changed our life: hunting, fishing, and other food, it’s all finished.”

She skeptically eyes the ongoing cleanup of a marsh just meters from her house, where workers dressed in oil-stained yellow overalls dredge thick black ooze into suction pipes.

Aguinda said the spill is leftover from a Texaco storage pool which overflowed into the marshes during 1987-1990 operations of the Auca South 1 well about 200 meters (656 feet) from Rumipamba.

Texaco performed operational repairs in the area in the 1990s, and oil extraction continues in the region, according to Grefa.

Six months ago, a dozen workers from Petroecuador, which has managed the concession since 1990, began cleaning up the marshes, reviving bitter memories within the community of the slow-motion disaster.

The company “made arrangements, but they covered everything with sticks and earth and nothing more,” said Grefa, a member of the Assembly of People Affected by Texaco, which represents the 30,000 indigenous people in the suit.

The operation has done little to improve conditions, Aguinda said.

“With the cleanup that Texaco left, the air is just unbearable. I can’t live above the oil,” groaned Aguinda, who grew visibly irritated talking about the disaster.

“If someone comes here from Texaco” he’ll get “pepper in his eyes,” she winced.

A strong petroleum smell permeates Rumipamba, home to nine families, some of whom complain of headaches. Several areas of Sucumbios are also contaminated, according to the plaintiffs, who argue that merely sinking a shovel into the ground yields a thick layer of crude.

Chevron, which has called the judgment “illegitimate and unenforceable,” has asked a judge in Ecuador for clarification of the ruling as it seeks to appeal.

The court last week announced a penalty against Chevron of $8.6 billion with an additional 10 percent for environment management costs.

The plaintiffs, too, plan to appeal, saying the ruling fails to adequately compensate for certain damages and illness. They were seeking more than $27 billion in their suit.

Article and Image courtesy of Yahoo News

“Clean air, endangered species bye bye”


Our new Congress needs a check up from the neck up. Please help.

In an unprecedented back-door move to gut our nation’s cornerstone air, water and wildlife protections, last week House Republicans passed spending legislation that would, among many other things:

– Strip the Clean Air Act of its ability to reduce dangerous carbon dioxide pollution;
– Grant Shell and other polluters a free pass to drill in the Arctic; and
– Remove Endangered Species Act protection for the iconic gray wolf.

If the new Congress get its’ way, big polluters will continue to spew unlimited amounts of carbon dioxide into our air, permanently altering our climate.

The EPA’s efforts to curb carbon pollution from power plants, oil refineries and other large sources — just now getting underway — will grind to a halt.

Politicians, not scientists, will remove the majestic gray wolf’s

Endangered Species Act protections, even though the species remains in less than five percent of its historic habitat and its recovery is far from complete.

That’s not all this bill would do. Congress is setting up a showdown, and we have just a few short weeks to convince the Senate to save the Clean Air Act and protect the wolf.

Please take action today.

protect theri right to play and live free

For more information click here


Letter subject: Oppose House Continuing Resolution

Sample letter:

Dear Senator,

I strongly urge you to oppose the House’s continuing resolution (HR 1).

HR 1 is a back-door move to gut our nation’s cornerstone environmental protections through a stop-gap funding measure to keep the government functioning. I am particularly concerned about the following pieces of HR 1:

Last year was the hottest year on record, following the warmest decade on record. But the facts and the impacts of global warming on our health and our environment don’t seem to matter to House members more concerned with polluter profits than Americans’ health and safety.

I oppose HR 1 because it guts the Clean Air Act’s ability to curb dangerous carbon pollution. Updated

Wolf pups could be target in May '09

Clean Air Act safeguards will finally stop big polluters from continuing to dump unlimited amounts of the greenhouse gas pollution that is perilously warming our planet.

A recent nationwide survey by the American Lung Association found overwhelming support among the public for the EPA’s actions under the Clean Air Act and overwhelming opposition to congressional moves to block them.

I oppose HR 1 because it would facilitate Shell drilling in the Arctic without following normal air permitting procedures. HR 1 is nothing but a gift to big polluters.

I oppose HR 1 because it would remove the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protection. This would be the first time that politicians, not scientists, have been permitted to make such a decision.  Removing protections for wolves would occur even though they remain in less than five percent of their historic habitat and their recovery is far from complete.

I oppose HR 1 because it would undo progress made to curb destructive mountaintop-removal mining. It would stop the EPA from developing standards that list toxic coal ash as hazardous waste; reviewing water pollution issues; completing rules to protect streams from coal waste, and enforcing the Clean Water Act that governs dredge and fill permits required for mountaintop-removal mining.

It would scrap plans for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a “climate service” and zero out U.S. funding for the Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). And the EPA would not be allowed to even collect data on sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants.

Substantive policy decisions should not be attached to funding legislation, and these are frightening policy decisions for the future of our planet. I urge you and the Senate to scrap HR 1 in its entirety and to make sure that any new spending legislation safeguards our cornerstone environmental and public health protections.



Donate now to support our work.

Smokestacks photo courtesy NASA.


Center for Biological Diversity

Undo progress made to curb destructive mountaintop-removal mining by stopping the EPA from developing standards that list toxic coal ash as hazardous waste, reviewing water pollution issues, completing rules to protect streams from coal waste, and enforcing the Clean Water Act that governs required dredge and fill permits.

– Scrap plans for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a “climate service.”

– Zero out U.S. funding for the Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

– Stop the EPA from even collecting data on sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants.

If you only make one call to your senator this year, this is the call you should make. Please call your senator today and tell them to scrap the House’s abhorrent continuing resolution. Let them know you oppose any and all cutbacks or delay of Clean Air Act safeguards to curb greenhouse gas pollution, removing Endangered Species Act protection for the wolf, and all other rollbacks of our cornerstone environmental protections.

Call or write your U.S. senator today. Calling is best, but if you can’t call, use the form below to send a letter.

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Smokestacks photo courtesy NASA.


“Victory Arctic refuge + polar bear safe for the moment”


Dear Nature’s Crusaders

Great news: Royal Dutch Shell has announced it is postponing its plan to drill off the coast of the

We win a big one!

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer (2011).

This is a huge victory for Alaska’s embattled polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that are vulnerable to devastating losses if a blowout were to occur in the frigid Beaufort Sea.

It is a victory that you made possible through your donations, your online activism and your absolute commitment to stopping Shell in its tracks.

As you know, NRDC has waged a long, hard-fought legal battle to slow or stop Shell’s race to drill — especially in the wake of last summer’s oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

On one legal front, we joined with Earthjustice in challenging clean air permits that the Obama Administration issued to Shell last year. Those permits would have allowed Shell’s fleet of ships to emit tons of pollutants into the Arctic environment, harming both Native communities and wildlife.

Last month, a federal appeals board ordered the Administration to withdraw the clean air permits and start the process all over again.

Now, just weeks later, Shell has thrown in the towel on drilling this summer!

You and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the oil giant will not be launching its drill ship and icebreakers come June … that there will be no oil spill in the sensitive, wildlife-filled waters of the Beaufort … and that mother polar bears will come ashore in the Arctic Refuge this fall to give birth just as they’ve done for thousands of years — undisturbed by drilling rigs, toxic pollution and a flood of deadly oil.

We would hope that the Obama Administration will take this opportunity to rethink its rush to allow drilling in fragile Arctic environments.

But if it does not, you can be sure that Shell will be back next year, leveraging its vast resources in yet another attempt to drill off the coast of the Arctic Refuge.

And NRDC will be ready. Unlike Shell, we can’t afford to lose even once. That’s what makes your long-term support so absolutely critical — and so decisive.

Thanks to your support, we have helped derail Shell’s plans three different times since 2008. I expect no less next year.

On behalf of everyone here at NRDC and Mother Nature, I want to thank you again for helping to make this great victory possible.

Sincerely,

Peter Lehner, Executive Director NRDC
Mary Wolken and Rahm Rodriguez Directors Nature’s Crusaders
P.S. Even as we celebrate this wonderful win, we are still taking the fight to Big Oil. NRDC is waging a long-term legal battle to stop Shell and other oil giants from drilling elsewhere in the Polar Bear Seas.

You can help us prevail by making a special, tax-deductible donation right now to NRDC.

Image courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders library

“Chromium 6 in city water health risk”


Dear Nature’s Crusaders Readers,

Take action today!

In December, Environmental Working Group (EWG) published the first national investigation of the suspected carcinogen chromium-6 — also known as hexavalent chromium — in drinking water in 35 cities around the country. Recently, Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced Senate Bill 79, the Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalent Chromium Act of 2011.

The Boxer/Feinstein bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to act within a year to set a safe limit for chromium-6 in drinking water. Your senators need to hear from you today that clean, safe drinking water is crucial.

Click here TODAY to tell your senators to co-sponsor the Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalent Chromium Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

EWG supporters like you submitted tap water samples from their communities. This groundbreaking, people-powered report detected chromium-6 in 31 of the 35 city water supplies tested. Even though this report stirred controversy, our findings were confirmed by a number of water utilities’ own testing. Within hours of its release, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a new plan to help local utilities assess chromium-6 in drinking water nationwide. That’s a good first step. But EPA must go further.

Last week, I testified on our chromium-6 report before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Boxer. And I am going to tell you what I told them: we were heartened by and support EPA’s announcement following the release of our report and by its decision to regulate perchlorate, but it is not enough. The Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalent Chromium Act of 2011 will make sure there is a safe legal limit on chromium-6 in drinking water.

I have had the opportunity to testify in front of Congress many times, but this was the most gratifying. I was able to stand with the EPA and others concerned with ensuring that all Americans have access to safe, clean drinking water. This hearing — and this bill — are a direct result of EWG’s research. “Keep on doing what you’re doing,” Senator Boxer said to me in her concluding comments at the hearing.

We need to keep the momentum going. I’m counting on you to help us — and everyone else who drinks water.

Click here TODAY to tell your senators to co-sponsor the Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalent Chromium Act of 2011.

Safe, clean drinking water is vital to EWG supporters like you. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Take action today.

Sincerely,

Ken Cook
President, EWG Action Fund

“Rx for Restoring a wildflower meadow”


Breeding skylarks have already returned to the 24-acre grassland and it is hoped that more animals will join them soon.

In the UK, Skylark numbers have declined over the last 30 years, as determined by the Common Bird Census started in the early 1960s by The British Trust for Ornithology. There are now only 10% of the numbers that were present 30 years ago. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have shown that this massive decline is mainly due to changes in farming practices and only partly due to pesticides.

In the past cereals were planted in the spring, grown through the summer and harvested in the early autumn. Cereals are now planted in the autumn, grown through the winter and are harvested in the early summer. The winter grown fields are much too dense in summer for the Skylark to be able to walk and run between the wheat stems to find its food.

English farmers are now encouraged and paid to maintain and create biodiversity for improving the habitat for Skylarks. Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme offers 5 and 10 year grants for various beneficial options.

For example there is an option where the farmer can opt to grow a spring cereal instead of a winter one, and leave the stubble untreated with pesticide over the winter. The British Trust for Ornithology likens the stubbles to ‘giant bird tables’ – providing spilt grain and weed seed to foraging birds.

The RSPB’s research, over a six year period, of winter-planted wheat fields has shown that suitable nesting areas for Skylarks can be made by turning the seeding machine off (or lifting the drill) for a 5 to 10 meters stretch as the tractor goes over the ground to briefly stop the seeds being sown. This is repeated in several areas within the same field to make about two skylark plots per hectare. Subsequent spraying and fertilizing can be continuous over the entire field.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggests that Skylark plots should not be nearer than 24 m to the perimeter of the field, should not be near to telegraph poles, and should not be enclosed by trees.

When the crop grows, the Skylark plots (areas without crop seeds) become areas of low vegetation where Skylarks can easily hunt insects, and can build their well camouflaged ground nests. These areas of low vegetation are just right for Skylarks, but the wheat in the rest of the field becomes too closely packed and too tall for the bird to seek food. At the RSPB’s research farm in Cambridgeshire Skylark numbers have increased threefold (from 10 pairs to 30 pairs) over six years. Fields where Skylarks were seen the year before (or near by) would be obvious good sites for Skylark plots. Farmers have reported that skylark plots are easy to make and the RSPB hope that this simple effective technique can be copied nationwide.

Wild flower meadows across the country are being lost due to development, intensive agriculture and forestry.

Bill Quay Community Farm to the rescue

Hebridean sheep and Longhorn cattle from Bill Quay Community Farm have been used to help bring back life to the meadow at Wardley, Gateshead.
Livestock grazing allows wild flowers to prosper benefitting insects and other animals.
It’s not just the animals that are helped by the improvements though.
There are new footpaths and hedgerows in the meadow and hundreds of yards of old derelict post and wire fencing have been removed.
The improvements to the Wardley meadow by the restoration of flower rich grasslands play a part in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan which exists to help threatened species and habitats.
Gateshead Council cabinet member for the environment, councillor Martin Gannon said: “It is always sad to see natural habitats destroyed and it is estimated that a staggering 95% of this country’s flower-rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s.
It is brilliant news that skylarks and animals can once again be seen and heard  over  and on the meadow at Wardley.

It is hoped the plans will ease the pressure on threatened species.

“big smile and thanks” – Mother Nature
Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. http://bit.ly/eBwBrk

Excerpts and Image 2. http://bbc.in/hneHGT

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