“Help Texas get more rain to save rice crop”


Recent rains have put a dent in the Texas drought, a day of reckoning looms for the state’s long-grain rice growers, who pump millions into the

Need rain

economy in Southeast Texas each year and account for about 5 percent of America’s rice production. Come March 1, if there is less than 850,000 acre-feet of water in reservoirs along the Lower Colorado River, water managers will be forced to take the unprecedented step of withholding water from agricultural users, which will mean severe cuts to Texas rice production this year.

Now it is your turn to help.

We need to help rain come to lower Texas. Visualize steady rains that will raise the water table. Coming at intervals so the ground can absorb it.

Excerpts courtesy of  Andrew Freedman and climatecentral.org

Image courtesy of 3.bp.blogspot.com

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“Happy 4th 4 polar bears”


U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan (Bless you!) has officially rejected Alaska’s arguments

and given the polar bears continued protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This ruling is a huge win for our long-running work to protect these mighty Arctic bears who are struggling to survive while facing rapidly melting sea ice

We win a big one!

and oil companies that want to drill in the heart of their habitat.

The Center for Biological Diversity and others, including Nature’s Crusaders members worked  together tirelessly over the years achieved this critical victory.  Without the tens of thousands of actions you’ve taken and the support you’ve given us over the years to keep fighting in court for the majestic white bear — We and Mother Nature thank you.

In 2005, the Center for Biological Diversity filed the federal petition to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, we’ve led the fight to keep the bears from extinction.

In 2008 the first victory for the bear was won when it was officially listed as a  “threatened” species.

Then the State of Alaska, big-game hunters and others went to court this year to try to strip Endangered Species Act protections from polar bears. Center for Biological Diversity spearheaded the legal battle to defend the polar bears right to full protection under the Endangered Species Act in court, outlining the urgent protections needed to save them from the terrible effects of global warming.

This Thursday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected Alaska’s arguments and said the decision to protect bears because of melting Arctic sea ice was well supported. He also noted the plight of the polar bear was “troubling.”

Even as we take a moment with you to celebrate the court decision, we know our work is far from over. Scientists tell us that, left unchecked, warming could melt so much sea ice that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears, including all those in Alaska, will probably be gone in 40 years.
Thank you again for the part you played in helping secure this win for polar bears. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Center for Biological Diversity and Nature’s Crusaders   working for Mother Nature

Image  Nature’s Crusaders Library

“Greed may doom Arctic fish populations”


Until recently, conservation of Arctic animal populations have been focused on the saving marine mammals – whales,  seals and polar bears, but without fish the ecosystem will fail.  Prof. Daniel Pauly, head researcher at the Sea Around Us Project at University of British Columbia has compiled the first comprehensive report on fishery catches and the huge numbers of fish they have taken and what they want to take in the future. The vast tonnage seems unsustainable. Both the increase in fish moving north due to global warming of the seas and the receding of snow and ice make it easier to take 100s of tons more than ever before.

Growing migrating fish populations -a double edged sword
Fish are moving towards polar regions due to the effects of climate change.and increased accessibility of the Arctic areas from melting sea ice, will place immense pressure on the region for future large-scale fisheries.

University of British Columbia researchers estimate that fisheries catches in the Arctic totaled 950,000 tons from 1950 to 2006, almost 75 times the amount reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during this period.

UBC does its homework

UBC’s Fisheries Centre and Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences reconstructed fisheries catch data from the limited governmental reports and anthropological records of indigenous population activities – for FAO’s Fisheries Statistical Area 18, which covers arctic coastal areas in northern Siberia (Russia), Arctic Alaska (the U.S.) and the Canadian Arctic.
“Ineffective reporting, due to governance issues and a lack of credible data on small-scale fisheries, has given us a false sense of comfort that the Arctic is still a pristine frontier when it comes to fisheries,” says lead author Dirk Zeller, a senior research fellow at UBC’s Fisheries Centre.
“We now offer a more accurate baseline against which we can monitor changes in fish catches and to inform policy and conservation efforts.” (Thank you-Mother Nature)
Official FAO data on fish catches in Area 18 from 1950 to 2006 were based solely on statistics supplied by Russia and amounted to 12,700 tons. The UBC team performed a detailed analysis and found that it’s only the tip of iceberg.
The team shows that while the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service’s Alaska branch currently reports zero catches to FAO for the Arctic area, the state agency, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has collected commercial data and undertaken studies on 15 coastal communities in the Alaskan Arctic that rely on fisheries for subsistence. The estimated fish catch during this period in Alaska alone totaled 89,000 tons.
While no catches were reported to FAO by Canada, the research team shows commercial and small-scale fisheries actually amounted to 94,000 tons in catches in the same time span.
Meanwhile, Russia’s total catch was actually a staggering 770,000 tons from 1950 to 2006, or nearly 12,000 tons per year. “Our work shows a lack of care by the Canadian, U.S. and Russian governments in trying to understand the food needs and fish catches of northern communities,” says Pauly, who leads the Sea Around Us Project at UBC.
“This research confirms that there is already fishing pressure in this region,” says Pauly. “The question now is whether we should allow the further expansion of fisheries into the Arctic.”
Resources
Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/gRXix4

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/fBq0Ft

“Endangered turtle populations dropping”


Around the world in the Year of the Turtle, turtle populations are declining due to  climate changes, habitat loss and over-exploitation.


Historically, the common snapping turtle is widespread in the Eastern and Central United States, but not much is known about their current distribution. They are a target species for the USA Turtle Mapping Project currently being organized by Dede Olson of the US Forest Service. Credit: Mark Feldman

Sex affected nest temperature
The sex of some species of turtles is determined by the temperature of the nest: warm nests produce females, cooler nests, males. And although turtles have been on the planet for about 220 million years, scientists now report that almost half of the turtle species is threatened.

Turtle scientists are working to understand how global warming may affect turtle reproduction.

Why should we be concerned about the loss of turtles?

“Turtles are centrally nested in the food web and are symbols of our natural heritage. They hold a significant role in many cultures. For example, in many southeast Asian cultures turtles are used for food, pets, and medicine,” explains Deanna Olson, a research ecologist and co-chair of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation steering committee spearheading the Year of the Turtle campaign.

Turtles (which include tortoises) are central to the food web. Sea turtles graze on the sea grass found on the ocean floor, helping to keep it short and healthy. Healthy sea grass in turn is an important breeding ground for many species of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.

The same processes hold for freshwater and land turtles. For example, turtles contribute to the health of marshes and wetlands, being important prey for a suite of predators. The Year of the Turtle activities, include a monthly newsletter showcasing research and conservation efforts, education and citizen science projects, turtle-themed art, literature, and cultural perspectives, says Olson, a scientist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Turtles facts:

+ 50 percent of freshwater turtle species are threatened worldwide, more than any other animal group.

+ 20 percent of all turtle species worldwide are found in North America.

+ Habitat loss and exploitation are the biggest threat to turtles.

+ Climate change patterns, altered temperatures, affected wetlands and stream flow  are key factors that affect turtle habitats.

+ Urban and suburban development causes turtles to be victims to fast-moving cars, farm machinery; turtles can also be unintentionally caught in fishing nets.

Help conserve turtle populations?

+ Protect rare turtle and tortoise species and their habitats.

+ Manage common turtle species and their habitats so they may remain common.

+ Manage crisis situations such as acute hazards (i.e., oil spills) and rare species in peril.

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

“The blast that destroyed the world”


Researchers Find Smoking Gun Of World’s Biggest Extinction


Researchers walk through sediments deposited shortly after the worst extinction event in earth history, on the shores of Buchanan Lake, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut. Credit: Credit: Steve Grasby, University of Calgary/NRCan

About 250 million years about 95 per cent of life was wiped out in the sea and 70 per cent on land. Researchers at the University of Calgary believe they have discovered evidence to support massive volcanic eruptions burnt significant volumes of coal, producing ash clouds that had broad impact on global oceans.

“This could literally be the smoking gun that explains the latest Permian extinction,” says Dr. Steve Grasby, adjunct professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience and research scientist at Natural Resources Canada.

Grasby and colleagues discovered layers of coal ash in rocks from the extinction boundary in Canada’s High Arctic that give the first direct proof to support this and have published their findings in Nature Geoscience.

Unlike end of dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, where there is widespread belief that the impact of a meteorite was at least the partial cause, it is unclear what caused the late Permian extinction.

Previous researchers have suggested massive volcanic eruptions through coal beds in Siberia would generate significant greenhouse gases causing run away global warming.

“Our research is the first to show direct evidence that massive volcanic eruptions – the largest the world has ever witnessed -caused massive coal combustion thus supporting models for significant generation of greenhouse gases at this time,” says Grasby.

At the time of the extinction, the Earth contained one big land mass, a supercontinent known as Pangaea. The environment ranged from desert to lush forest. Four-limbed vertebrates were becoming more diverse and among them were primitive amphibians, early reptiles and synapsids: the group that would, one day, include mammals.

The location of volcanoes, known as the Siberian Traps, are now found in northern Russia, centred around the Siberian city Tura and also encompass Yakutsk, Noril’sk and Irkutsk. They cover an area just under two-million-square kilometers, a size greater than that of Europe. The ash plumes from the volcanoes traveled to regions now in Canada’s arctic where coal-ash layers where found.

Grasby studied the formations with Dr. Benoit Beauchamp, a professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. They called upon Dr. Hamed Sanei adjunct professor at the University of Calgary and a researcher at NRCan to look at some of peculiar organic layers they had discovered.

“We saw layers with abundant organic matter and Hamed immediately determined that they were layers of coal-ash, exactly like that produced by modern coal burning power plants,” says Beauchamp.

Sanei adds: “Our discovery provides the first direct confirmation for coal ash during this extinction as it may not have been recognized before.”

The ash, the authors suggest, may have caused even more trouble for a planet that was already heating up with its oceans starting to suffocate because of decreasing oxygen levels.

“It was a really bad time on Earth. In addition to these volcanoes causing fires through coal, the ash it spewed was highly toxic and was released in the land and water, potentially contributing to the worst extinction event in earth history,” says Grasby.

Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/gTzXmp

Image 2. courtesy of  http://bit.ly/eNA13G

“OMG- 2 kids saving the world”


Mother Nature gives the 2 Thumbs UP Award  to  Carter and Olivia
Here is a story about two amazing kids who are making a difference.

The nonprofit One More Generation (OMG) is :

helping clean up our environment,
save endangered species
helping kids “Give Back”.
Their mission statement says it all “We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and our environment.  Our goal is to ensure all endangered species survive at least One More Generation… and beyond.”
What these guys are accomplishing is an inspiration to youth and families around the world.

Carter  is 91/2 years old  and his sister Olivia is 8. This dynamic duo are so passionate about wanting to make a difference that they started their own organization called One More Generation (OMG)

The two students have been adopting Cheetah’s in South Africa (from the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Center) for years and as they started asking why some animals needed adopting, we told them that unless someone stepped in and helped, there might not be any Cheetah’s left in the wild by the time they had their own kids. Well that was all we had to say and these two sprang into action.

OMG’s, Carter and Olivia have been involved in numerous initiatives both locally and globally to include:

They just recently returned from making a trip to the Gulf where they delivered badly needed Animal Rescue Supplies to the folks at the Marine Mammal & Sea Turtle Rescue Center in New Orleans. You can check out what they did in the Gulf to help save Sea Turtles and watch their video about the trip as well.

They are helping Sharks and Whales too .

They have been in communications with Pete Bethune (Ady Gil Captain from Sea Shepard) who suggested we attend one of their Nov World-Wide Anti Whaling demonstration in Atlanta.Here are pictures from the whaling protest. It was Carter and Olivia’s first demonstration and they absolutely loved it.

Carter and Olivia recently won the Grand Prize in a Nestles Heroes Contest. The prize is essentially an ice cream party for them and up to 50 of their friends. They both decided to share the prize with their classmates at their school since the entire school has been so helpful with our organization from the start. The ice-cream party was last Friday and was held at the Fayette Montessori School in Fayetteville GA. All the kids had a blast. Here is a link to the story

Working with our State Legislatures on proposing Legislative Language changes to the current laws written by the GA DNR (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) in an effort to help stop the Rattlesnake Roundups in our state. They have partnered with the folks from the Center of Biological Diversity out of AZ and their legal team has helped them write the language changes we want to introduce in Spring. So far these two enterprising young students have collected over 1,100 signatures on a petition asking for change to the Roundups. Last week they met with the head of the GA DNR to discuss changes for the future of these events.

They are working to try and raise $50,000.00 for a Cheetah Rescue program in South Africa. The Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Center runs the program and they are doing a tremendous job. The process is slow and funds are extremely hard to come-by but they just held a silent auction a couple of weeks ago where they auctioned off painting kids in the community did of their favorite endangered species.

They are working with various organizations in our immediate area on raising awareness to the plight of the many endangered species across the globe. We have an educational program that we present to the visitors of the Atlanta Zoo, The Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, The Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Cochran Mill Nature Center.

They are in talks with the folks from The Art Miles Mural Project, which is an international organization that raises awareness to various initiatives globally through art. We recently proposed to them that we collaborate on such a project about endangered species. We are very excited about the prospect of organizing such an event.
Carter and Olivia were just invited to be a guest speaker at the Caring for Creation 2011 Conference at Lake Junaluska, NC in March/April of 2011. They are preparing their presentation for their largest presentation to-date.

Thanks to a meeting these two kids had with our State Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a further meeting was just held with Deputy District Director Andy Bush were Carter and Olivia discussed the needed support for HR14 which covers Ocean Acidification. Carter and Olivia will be reporting on the results soon. Here is our link to the issue.

They just hosted a “Water Event” at the Fernbank Museum where they discussed the importance of water on all living things and also partnered with an organization called Ryan’s Well which helps build water wells to poor villages around the world to ensure everyone has access to clean drinking water. Also on that same day, they participated in a celebration at our Sate Capital by being part of “Uniting Voices”: An Interfaith Worship Service Calling for Climate Justice, which is an event that hopes to raise awareness to the problems with our climate do to pollution etc.

Both events were videoed for inclusion in the “One Day On Earth” organization that is hoping to document historical events from this special day and preserve them for future generations.

We are also now working on a joint project with the folks at Healthy Vending and the folks at TerraCycle in an effort to create a program designed to reduce the amount of plastic in our environment and we are working on a program with several local churches to help create a Ban on Single Use Plastic bags in our community since plastic is now the number one pollutant item in our oceans.

Finally, they are attempting to work on a joint project with Jungle Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo and or Jeff Corwin to help raise awareness of the issues regarding endangered species to kids nationwide. (This is one of the projects, which they really want to move forward with. Although we do not yet have confirmed date for meeting with either, we are still trying.

Everyone Can Make A Difference. Getting kids involved at an early age is our only hope to help change the global situation
around and what these two have accomplished is impressive.

Mother Nature gives you, Carter and Olivia her official  “2 Thumbs Up Award” and her eternal gratitude.


They are grateful for all donations.

Article submitted by Jim Ries. Thank you Jim.
Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/ghiDfl
Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/hSgGKD

“Future agriculture-small woman farmer key”


The status of world agriculture

  • employs more than one billion people
  • the biggest consumer of ever scarcer water
  • huge producer of greenhouse gas emissions

Needed
Investment in water saving technology for food production and fresh water conservation to reverse a 70 percent of water withdrawals and 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, much of that from developing countries.

The agricultural business accounts for one trillion dollars of the global economy.

Small farmers who dominate the industry would be the key

to maintaining food supplies for the world’s estimated one billion hungry people.

Recent studies have shown that increasing food production of barley, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum and wheat increased by nearly 55 percent are not reducing hunger in the world.

“From 1980 to 2009, developing countries need investment to make them less dependent on food imports and international markets. They should put more emphasis on small scale and less intensive farming, the report said.

Finally governments are reinvesting in agriculture and giving priority to small-scale producers.

“They are recognizing the important role of women, infrastructure, safety nets, and local markets,” it added. “All this holds great potential for eradicating hunger.”

Worldwatch Institute, the author of this report, warned that with nearly seven billion people now in the world, and an increase of up to 40 percent expected by 2050, governments still need to take urgent action.

Our current agricultural practices exacerbated by increasing population, and further economic growth, will add up to sharply higher global demand for food, feed, and fiber and to higher meat consumption,” said the report.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/gZLFRK

Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/eLxtNl

Image 2. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/fnaZdc

 

“North Atlantic currents +man = global warming”


Using the natural growth rings seen in corals, scientists have found  huge weather-related Atlantic changes


Scientists have pointed to a disruption or shifts in the oscillation as an explanation for moist or harsh winters in Europe, or severe summer droughts such as in Russia, in recent years.

This drastic change began in the 1970s in north Atlantic Ocean currents that usually influence weather in the northern hemisphere, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.

The team of biochemists and oceanographers from Switzerland, Canada and the United States detected changes in deep sea Atlantic corals that indicated the declining influence of the cold northern Labrador Current.

It is  the most dramatic change uncharacteristic for this area and raised the possibility of a direct link with global warming.

The Labrador Current interacts with the warmer Gulfstream from the south.

They in turn have a complex interaction with a climate pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has a dominant impact on weather in Europe and North America.

Scientists have pointed to a disruption or shifts in the oscillation as an explanation for moist or harsh winters in Europe, or severe summer droughts such as in Russia, in recent years.

For nearly 2,000 years the sub polar Labrador current off northern Canada and Newfoundland was the dominant force, but that pattern appeared to have only been repeated occasionally in recent decades.

“Now the southern current has taken over, it’s really a drastic change,” Schubert told AFP, pointing to the evidence of the shift towards warmer water in the northwest Atlantic.

The research was based on nitrogen isotope signatures in 700 year old coral reefs on the ocean floor, which feed on sinking organic particles.

While water pushed by the Gulfstream is salty and rich in nutrients, the colder Arctic waters carried by the Labrador current contain fewer nutrients.

Changes could be dated because of the natural growth rings seen in corals.

“The researchers suspect there is a direct connection between the changes in oceanic currents in the North Atlantic and global warming caused by human activities,” said EAWAG in a statement.

Excerpts and Image courtesy of  http://www.terradaily.com

“Counting precious rainforest reptiles and amphibians by night”


The Field Museum team is taking inventory of a vast roadless area in Peru’s northern Amazon to explore conservation opportunities with local communities. Here is an excerpt written by Nigel Pitman of their important adventure into the Amazonian rainforest

“Up in the canopy the leaves and branches are black against a night sky that is almost blue. In the upper strata of the forest legions of stridulating insects are making a scritch-scritching chorus; to the right a far-off frog croaks once and falls silent; from the left comes an anxious-sounding hooting; a bat flutters past almost noiselessly, raising a tiny breeze; and ahead on the trail comes the rustling sound of the herpetologists searching through dry leaf litter…

When you see their yellow and the white light intersect and pause, they have found something maybe another amphibian or critter… Tonight the herpetologists end up recording 13 amphibians, three by song alone, as well as three reptiles: two geckos and a harmless, wiry little snake that for reasons of its own is dressed in the tan and brown patterns of a pit viper. The most entertaining moment of the night is when Jonh reaches into a small bromeliad on a fallen tree and plucks out three blue and yellow poison dart frogs, one after another, like clowns from a car.

Jonh Mueses-Cisneros and Rudolf von May herpetologists search during a nighttime survey along the Rio Cotuhe.

About every 10 minutes tonight they find some creature to log.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/a-hundred-ways-to-be-a-frog

Image courtesy of http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/a-hundred-ways-to-be-a-frog

“Recycling CO2 into Liquid Light”


The amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere is a growing environmental pollution problem. It is causing global climate change, but until recently none could figure out how to safely take care of this pollutant. 10 years ago many thought the excess should be captured and stored sequestered under the ocean.

Why not efficiently recycle it?

Graduate student Emily Barton has discovered a way to convert CO2 into fuel. Using an electrochemical cell that employs a semiconducting material used in photovoltaic solar cells for one of its electrodes, she has succeeded in tapping sunlight to transform CO2 into a basic fuel.
“We take CO2, water, sunlight and an appropriate catalyst and generate an alcoholic fuel and Liquid Light was born.

Plants turn CO2 into fuels during photosynthesis. Plant fuels create food and energy and give off oxygen and CO2 depending on whether it is day or night.
If energy from sunlight can be stored and converted into a liquid fuel from CO2 and hydrogen, would make recycling CO2 emissions very profitable and and decrease the rapid buildup of it in the atmosphere. There would be the potential for more US jobs as these new energy technologies as this recycled CO2 get commercialized.

Resources


Excerpts
courtesy of   http://bit.ly/czkLKj

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/91J3Kl

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