“340+ dead sea turtles washed up in Gulf 2011″


Turtles and the people of the Gulf of Mexico deserve a healthy environment to grow up in and raise their families in.

Tell Congress we demand the funding of research and the total financial support and co operational of the oil companies that caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster for as many decades as it takes to return the human and natural health to proper balance

The turtles and the people deserve it.

Gulf of Mexico may look “pristine” again after the disaster in 2010, but the sea life continue to die at record rates. We must stand

Kemps-Ridley sea turtle hatchlings

tall and strong and fund research to clean up our messes and insist that Congress take a proactive roll in energy conservation and making the oil companies fully responsible for the restoration of the Gulf’s marine and human life and livelihoods.

 Last year’s devastating Deepwater Horizon disaster was a serious blow for sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. But the catastrophe for the sea turtles hasn’t ended yet.

Already this year, more than 340 dead sea turtles have washed ashore on the Gulf Coast — more than three times the annual average — and the death toll is likely to be much higher. Signs point to shrimp fishing as a likely cause for the spike in deaths — perhaps combined with the lingering effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Yet the government has not taken action to save these animals struggling to survive. Defenders and our conservation partners have launched a lifesaving lawsuit to protect sea turtles, but federal officials need to hear from you.

Yet the government has not taken action to save these animals struggling to survive. Defenders and our conservation partners have launched a lifesaving lawsuit to protect sea turtles, but federal officials need to hear from you. Take action now: Urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to enforce lifesaving protections for threatened and endangered sea turtles in the Gulf.

Take action now: Urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to enforce lifesaving protections for threatened and endangered sea turtles in the Gulf.

https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2183&autologin=true&JServSessionIdr004=twjkw1joq7.app226a

“Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.”


Putting the Common Housefly onto the dinner plate

Bring housefly food to store near you.

Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.

Growing and harvesting house fly larvae for human nutrition is a ways off, but Musca domestica the common house fly will be grown and made into human food for the long flights to Mars. Until then, this insect larvae hold real promise in taking the pressure off of the traditional animal based nutrient resources and wild populations on Earth. The firm’s insectary grow beds commonly yield seventy pounds of clean larvae per square foot per year. A variety of organic materials and agriculture wastes can be used as grow medium.

Applications for insect food tech could include:

cleaning for poultry barns. fecal wastes of the insects themselves have application as fertilizer. food products for avian and aquatic use in private and public animal collections. nerve and optical studies, water absorption in farmed fish pollination. fine oils and cosmetics. wildlife rehabilitation for insect based diets or supplements, cage bird propagation, wild bird food and, most recently, all natural (not organic) poultry boosters, mimicking free range diet, to enhance egg production and quality.

Products have been made from live, dehydrated and frozen larvae and pupae either whole, ground, pelleted or liquefied.

How tasty are these fly based foods? Early research suggests that human will eat it and it is palatable. Only used in novelty foods today, tomorrow house fly larvae may come in many forms to stores near you. Research began in Oregon in 1975 to farming of Musca domestica, the common housefly.

Fly Farm Systems has a patent pending on the techniques and apparatus of its proprietary insect husbandry system.

The firm is seeking to license partners for application world wide.

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/m4pb7Q

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

“When the snows melt”



File image courtesy AFP.

Winter is passing and there are signs that spring is coming to the northern hemisphere. But for University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) environmental chemist Torsten Meyer, springtime has a two peaked dark side.

There are two peak con­t­a­m­i­nant releases from the melt­ing snow pack: “one at the begin­ning of the melt period involv­ing water sol­u­ble chem­i­cals, and one at the end involv­ing par­ti­cle asso­ci­ated chemicals.”is the dark murky side of springtime snow melt pollution.

“During the winter months, contaminants accumulate in the snow and …when the snow melts, these chemicals are released into the environment at high concentrations.”

In a specially designed, temperature-controlled laboratory at UTSC-which includes a homemade snow-gun and a chemical pump-Meyer creates large baths of fresh snow already tainted with organic contaminants.

This one-of-a-kind set-up enables the researcher to slowly melt his “dirty” snow, collect the melt-water and track which chemicals emerge from the snow pack and when.

Meyer’s research reveal:

The spring peak contaminant flush at the very beginning of the melt,…that comes with a deluge of pollution.

When the snow turns black with muck and grime, many harmful chemicals – including those from pesticides, car exhaust, telecommunications wiring insulation, water repellent clothing, paints or coatings – may have already seeped out of the snow and into the surrounding ground water or surface water.

Challenges:

How can municipalities choose their snow dump sites to avoid the rush of pollutants?

How can aquatic organisms and amphibians, fish and invertebrates be protected are at a vulnerable stage of their life cycles during the spring snow melt flush?

Suggestions anyone?

Excerpts and Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/f3O3x9

“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

 

“GMOing the world -rice next to be altered”


German chemical giants Bayer, BASF team up on GM rice (which is genetically poor to begin with) are teaming up to produce genetically modified (GMO) rice seeds, technology than can boost yields (not quality).

GMO rice to you

The aim is to develop and sell hybrid rice seeds with traits enabling yield advances of 10 percent or more over conventional hybrid seeds. The first products are expected to be launched by 2020.
Rice is the world’s largest food crop, with half of the world’s 6.8-billion population consuming at least one meal of it every day.
According the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), an additional 8-10 million tons of rice needs to be produced each year to feed people and keep prices for the cereal at an affordable level, BASF and Bayer said.
Today, global rice production is about 685 million tons.
For many, GMO crops, by which scientists create new strains of plants that do not occur naturally by manipulating genes, are the answer to feeding the world’s rapidly growing population.
But opponents say that these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can spread and interbreed with other plants, altering Mother Nature.

It is known that these plants are avoided by wildlife which

should tell you what you should do with GMO plants as well.

They also say that their use will increase the control of private companies over agriculture, with 10 corporations already controlling nearly 70 percent of the world seed market, according to pressure group Greenpeace.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  html  http://bit.ly/h0RROb

Image courtesy of   htm  http://bit.ly/h8yjDX

“Edwards-Trinity Aquifer System at risk from radioactive waste dump”


What are we thinking!
The Edwards-Trinity Aquifer System is in carbonate and clastic rocks of Cretaceous age in a 77,000-square-mile area that extends from southeastern Oklahoma to western Texas (fig. 78). The aquifer system consists of three complexly interrelated aquifers-the Edwards-Trinity, the Edwards, and the Trinity aquifers.  The Edwards-Trinity and the Trinity aquifers are stratigraphically equivalent in part and are hydraulically connected in some places. The Edwards aquifer overlies the Trinity aquifer  and the two aquifers are hydraulically connected where no confining unit separates them. The ground-water flow systems and permeability of the three aquifers are sufficiently different, however, to allow them to be separately mapped and described.

A Texas commission that has no staff or bylaws are attempting to make very substantial changes and rules that would allow low level radioactive waste from the entire country,to be dumped into a the landfill close to a major aquifer that provides water to one-quarter of the country’s irrigated land as well as drinking water to thousands of people. approved rules on Tuesday that pave the way for 36 states to export low-level radioactive waste to a remote landfill along the Texas-New Mexico border.
The 5-2 vote by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Commission came after last-minute legal maneuvering on Monday failed to delay the meeting, environmentalists warned the dump would pollute groundwater and more than 5,000 people commented on the plan.
So much for safe disposal of our nuclear trash.
The site’s owner, Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists, convinced the commission the West Texas landfill was a “secure solution” to permanently dump radioactive waste. Until now, the site has only accepted waste from Texas, Vermont and the federal government.
“We are certainly very pleased and happy,” CEO Bill Lindquist told The Associated Press after the vote in Andrews, Texas.
The rush vote came two days before Vermont’s incoming governor, Peter Shumlin, takes office. The Democrat has openly criticized the plan and had said he would replace the state’s two commissioners with members more in line with his views.
The first phase of construction should be completed by November. In early 2012, the federal dumping section will also be finished, he said.
While the facility will now be able to accept waste from 36 states. Vermont paid $25 million to guarantee 20 percent capacity in the finished dump. Vermont now has only one nuclear facility, but will phase it out in the next 30 to 40 years.
Vermont’s concerns about where to get rid of its waste are shared by other states. In 2008, South Carolina severely curtailed who could send waste to its low-level nuclear dump, shutting down the last major facility that had been accepting the waste. And a battle over burying high-level nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, a years-long, multimillion dollar project that has suffered a series of setbacks, has created fierce opposition to building additional nuclear facilities.
Opponents argue that until there are viable solutions for dealing with the dangerous radioactive waste, no new plants should be built and the U.S. should instead focus on expanding solar and wind energy. Others, including Obama, believe nuclear energy is a clean, viable alternative to oil.
“You do sense the panic in the marketplace that there’s no place for this stuff to go,” Lindquist said.
Texas Commissioner Bob Wilson has opposed the expansion plans and the rules for some time. He voted against the rules on Tuesday, but largely because he fears the commission is unprepared to deal with the enormity of the task once the 1,340-acre site begins accepting waste from other states. The commission, he said, is largely unfunded, getting $25,000 a year from Vermont and money from Texas only to cover meeting and travel costs. In addition, he fears expanding the importation of waste will interfere with the site’s capacity. He also questions whether it will be as profitable as is being predicted.
“I thought it was premature,” Wilson said.
Trevor Lovell, a spokesman for Public Citizen, one of the most outspoken opponents of the plan, said his group will meet Wednesday to decide the next step, but he said a lawsuit was possible.
“The commission that is moving forward on this has no staff, has no bylaws, and yet they are attempting to make very substantial changes and rules that would allow in radioactive waste from the entire country,” Lovell said. He noted that the landfill is close to a major aquifer that provides water to one-quarter of the country’s irrigated land as well as drinking water to thousands of people.
“We don’t feel that it’s been demonstrated that the landfill is safe,” Lovell said.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://yhoo.it/igaT64
Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/eXqz66
Map courtesy of            http://bit.ly/fi4sX1

“Cheetah work wins Lowell Thomas Award”


CCF FOUNDER LAURIE MARKER RECEIVES THE EXPLORERS CLUB’S

LOWELL THOMAS AWARD

Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), received the Lowell Thomas Award at the Explorers Club annual awards dinner, held in New York City, USA on 23 October.  The award honors outstanding achievements in the field of exploration and this year centered on the theme “Exploring Extinction. Is It Forever?” Marker was recognised for her work of over three decades to stabilize cheetah numbers in the wild through research, education and building partnerships.

Wildlife expert Jim Fowler nominated Marker for the award based on her efforts to unite a nation, a continent, and the world in the effort to save the cheetah.  “As past chair of the Conservancy Association of Namibia for six years, Laurie used education and collaboration with local farmers and landowners to form conservancies to provide thousands of contiguous acres of land where cheetahs can roam more safely,” said Fowler.  “She learned that with improved livestock and wildlife management techniques, cheetah, people and livestock can peacefully co-exist. “

Wildlife expert Jim Fowler nominated Marker for the award based on her efforts to unite a nation, a continent, and the world in the effort to save the cheetah.  “As past chair of the Conservancy Association of Namibia for six years, Laurie used education and collaboration with local farmers and landowners to form conservancies to provide thousands of contiguous acres of land where cheetahs can roam more safely,” said Fowler.  “She learned that with improved livestock and wildlife management techniques, cheetah, people and livestock can peacefully co-exist. “

The Explorers Club’s award is named in honour of Lowell Thomas, whose ambition was “to know more about this globe than anyone else ever has”, travelled to remote sites around the world in the early 1900s and led the way for modern explorers and scientists.

Marker founded the non-profit Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in 1990 and based its international centre in Namibia, the country with the largest remaining wild cheetah population.  The world population of wild cheetahs is approximately 10,000 individuals and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. For more information on CCF, visit www.cheetah.org.

This year’s other Lowell Thomas Award winners are: Peter C. Keller; Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher; Curt and Micheline-Nicole Jenner; John Hare; Linda Elkins-Tanton; Ian Mackenzie and Nancy Sullivan.

Congratulation Dr. Laurie and everyone at CCF.

“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

“When will we stop companies from stock piling toxic sludge?”


A dam burst sending a tidal wave of toxic sludge that spread across an area of 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles) in what officials say is Hungary’s worst-ever chemical accident.
It has killed four people and left scores needing treatment for chemical burns and other injuries could take up to a year to clean up, officials said Wednesday.

The red sludge that killed all life in Hungary’s Marcal river has now reached the blue Danube and the other tributary river  the Torma. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe. The disaster began at a waste reservoir in western Hungary where 33 million cubic feet of toxic material began its long spill, flooding more than 6.5 feet high in places.

The tidal wave of sludge overturned cars, swept away possessions and raised fears that pollution. The sludge  contains residues from aluminium production which is highly corrosive including toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and chromium. The pollution has destroyed all vegetation other than trees and seeped into hundreds of houses in villages and contaminated waterways in Hungry. Leeching fcould bring it through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine before flowing into the Black Sea.
The drinking water system had not been affected, but “as a precautionary measure, people are not allowed to use the water wells”.
Residents were also banned from eating any home-grown produce or from hunting or fishing in the region, she said.
The overall costs of the clean-up and reconstruction “could reach tens of millions of euros (dollars).”

chemicals in aluminum sludge

If the Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company (MAL) is unable to drum up the funds, “the sum will be borne by the Hungarian government and possible the European Union.

The company which owned the reservoir,  MAL has suspended all operations at the plant amid suggestions that the spill was caused by too much sludge in the tanks.
Company chief Zoltan Bakonyi warned that if production were not resumed soon, MAL could go bankrupt.
The company is the sole large employer in the impoverished region and has a workforce of 1,100.

When will we insist that companies find a process to eliminate toxic waste build up safely? Disasters like this are avoidable.
Resources
Excerpts and Image 1. courtesy of   http://bit.ly/dd0k0O
Excerpts and Image 2. courtesy of  http://bbc.in/d1z5C9

“GMO bacon, chops and even pig poo”


The Enviropig is the trademark for a genetically modified line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability to digest plant phosphorus more efficiently than ordinary unmodified pigs that was developed at the University of Guelph. Enviropigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with feed in the pig’s mouth, and once swallowed the phytase is active in the acidic environment of the stomach degrading indigestible phytic acid with the release of phosphate that is readily digested by the pig.
Cereal grains including corn, soybean and barley contain 50 to 75% of their phosphorus in the form of phytic acid. Since the Enviropigs can now digest phytic acid, there is no need to include either a mineral phosphate supplement or commercially produced phytase to balance the diet. Because no phosphorus is added to the diet and there is digestion of the phytic acid, the manure is substantially reduced in phosphorus content, ranging from a 20 to 60% decrease depending upon the stage of growth and the diet consumed.
Let’s face it commercialized herds or even wild herds of animals stick.

Why?

Their feces and gas evacuation reeks. Now science is trying to come to the rescue of the amounts of phosphorus emissions released by one animal the pig. Modifying the genes of one of Mother Nature’s pig takes time. Scientists began working on creating an enviropig in 1999, if commercialized the benefits would include reduced feed cost and reduced phosphorus pollution as compared to the raising of ordinary pigs.
What does “genetically modified” really mean?
Enviropigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with feed in the pig’s mouth, and once swallowed the phytase is active in the acidic environment of the stomach degrading indigestible phytic acid with the release of phosphate that is readily digested by the pig.
Cereal grains including corn, soybean and barley contain 50 to 75% of their phosphorus in the form of phytic acid. Since the Enviropigs can now digest phytic acid, there is no need to include either a mineral phosphate supplement or commercially produced phytase to balance the diet. Because no phosphorus is added to the diet and there is digestion of the phytic acid, the manure is substantially reduced in phosphorus content, ranging from a 20 to 60% decrease depending upon the stage of growth and the diet consumed.

But no one has ever eaten an Enviropig, said Moccia. It’s not permitted yet. Though scientists first produced the pig in 1999, the University of Guelph conducted extensive testing before applying for approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2007 and Canadian food and health regulators the following year. The University expects the FDA will be first to act and believe the agency is about half-way through its analysis, though the FDA won’t say.

Check out the video.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/dABsB2

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/93aLuf

Video courtesy of YouTube.com

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