I drive past the Meadowlands every day now for the past 2 years on the NJ Turnpike. I kept seeing construction equipment and this area of dead dumping land slowly transform into one with actual streams like out of some plan. Turns out, there was. [more inside]
In 1975, with $3,000 in savings Roxanne Quimby and her boyfriend moved to Maine. They bought a tract of land on which they built a cabin and an outhouse. Near her Guilford homestead, Quimby later met beekeeper Burt Shavitz and used his beeswax to create candles (making $20,000 in her first year selling at local crafts fairs) -- and later their (yes, the two cofounded a company together) best selling product Burt's Bees Lip Balm (it's Burt's image that still graces many of the company's products). With the phenomenal success that followed, she sold 80 percent of her shares in the company to New York investors in 2003 (eventually the company was sold to Clorox) to help fund significant land purchases. For years Maine sportsmen have been outraged with Quimby for forbidding hunters, loggers, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on the 120,000 acres of woodlands she now owns. Quimby has recently offered a compromise. She wants to donate 70,000 acres to help create a new national park (Maine Woods National Park) while "setting aside another 30,000 acres of woodlands ... to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed." [more inside]
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
You didn't much like Raptorize and were hoping for something about real raptors (not F-22 fighters), therefore I am pleased to give you the goods on Birds of Prey. Raptors are birds that hunt (or scavenge) for meat, not plant life, and share several physical traits (although they can vary in size from miniature (pygmy) owls to Andean condors). Eagles and hawks (accipitridae), among the largest birds of prey in the United States), falcons (falconidae), condors, harriers, kites, ospreys (pandionidae), owls (tytonidae and strigidae), secretary birds (sagittariidae) and vultures (cathartidae) are all raptors; all have hooked beaks, fantastic visual acuity and sharp talons. The word raptor comes from the Latin rapere (to seize), apt description of their hunting style. Raptor breeders abound, as do raptor associations (quite a list at the Global Raptor Information Network). Rescue and rehabilitation organizations nurse injured raptors back to health; you can Adopt-a-Bird, and even donate regularly to help the birds via your very own Raptor Center Credit Card. Failing that, you can always help others learn more about conservation of these magnificent and beautiful creatures. And if you are super keen, you can attend the Winter Raptor Fest 2011. [more inside]
The Great Unwashed: "Some people have all but abandoned the idea of soap, shampoo or deodorant and yet still have friends, relationships and jobs." Slate disagrees that this is even a trend, but The Village Voice notes it has been covered elsewhere, including The New York Observer and Hairpin. In response, The Week asks, "Can you succeed without showering?"
Every day, our world gets a little bit smaller and a lot more complex. So much so that even minor decisions can have major consequences. Not just for trees or frogs or polar bears, but for human lives, and livelihoods. At its core, sustainability is about people. The Living Principles for Design aim to guide purposeful action. It is a place to co-create, share and showcase best practices, tools, stories and ideas for enabling sustainable action across all design disciplines. [more inside]
The American Great Plains rival the Serengeti, according to National Geographic, but unlike in apparently more progressive Africa, the USA never protected the plains on a large scale. Now private interests under the The American Prairie Foundation are buying up land in Montana hoping to create a multi-million acre preserve that would be the largest privately funded conservation land venture on the planet, bigger than Yellowstone National Park, that one day may see the return of great migrating herds of bison, pronghorn antelope, deer and elk. Not all Montana ranchers are happy with the new Serengeti neighbor.
Tasmanian Devils rebranded after Warner Bros cartoon 'ruins reputation'. The Tasmanian Devil is being rebranded in an attempt to restores it reputation, which conservationists say has been damaged by the Warner Brothers cartoon. They believe the animal has been depicted as ferocious, aggressive and bloodthirsty and are now trying to give the devils an image overhaul and portray them as shy and retiring in an attempt to convince the Australian public that they are worth saving. Wild populations of Tasmanian devils are under grave threat from Devil Facial Tumour Disease Previously Discussed Here, a type of contagious cancer that has decimated their numbers by 60 per cent in 10 years.
Today Minnesota finalizes a $44 million deal to conserve approximately 188,000 acres of forest, wetlands, and shoreline through what is known as a conservation easement. In addition to private funds from entities such as the Blandin Foundation, the easement is being paid for through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to Minneosta's state constitution, which just over a year ago created permanent funding for natural resource, arts, and cultural projects through a 0.375% state sales tax. UPM-Blandin Paper Co., will continue to own the land and be allowed to harvest wood, but the land cannot be developed or subdivided and the public must have access to the land. [more inside]
The International Conservation Photography Awards is the creation of Seattle, Washington-based photographer Art Wolfe: "We wanted to provide a platform from which photographers both amateur and professional alike could showcase their work in a very prestigious way. We love the idea of championing the cause of preservation and nature through the medium of photography." Winning imagery from the 2010 awards can be viewed in person at the Burke Museum in Seattle, or online here, which includes excellent slideshows of wildlife, underwater life and distinguished photographs (requires Flash support).
Attenborough's Pitcher, an "Udderly Weird Yam," a two-inch phallic mushroom already immortalized on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, and the "Bombardier Worm" ("Chaff worm" would seem a more accurate name) are just four of the newly described species making the International Institute for Species Exploration's totally arbitrary Top 10 New Species list. [more inside]
When Gladys and Harold Degree pulled the siding off their Colchester, VT home, they made a surprising discovery--five large, full-color posters from an 1883 visit by the Forepaugh Circus. Conservators at the Northeast Document Conservation Center made another surprising discovery underneath--posters for Forepaugh's rivals, the John B. Doris Circus. The newly conserved posters are on display at the Shelburne Museum through October 24th. (via)
April 27th is World Tapir Day! Take a few minutes to celebrate our prehensile-schnozzed fellow mammals by learning some facts, viewing some cuteness, or supporting the cause.
Opened yesterday, the Philadelphia Zoo's Lego-made exhibit, called ''Creatures of Habitat: A Gazillion-Piece Animal Adventure," features the work of world-renowned Lego artist Sean Kenney. According to Kenney, the 34 animals he created for the zoo took him over one year to complete--the largest project he's undertaken. Included in the exhibit are sculptures of endangered birds, frogs, tamarins, and a polar bear made with 95,000 Lego pieces.
A 1999 Texas electricity deregulation statute included, almost as an afterthought, a requirement that the state develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2009. This past February, wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Texas population centers -- 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid. Could their model transform the nation's utility sector?, Or will it be derailed by special interests and politics? [more inside]
Rising up from deep within the aquifer, cool clear water flows from hundreds of springs that dot the Florida landscape. Florida springs are natural wonders that are threatened constantly. [more inside]
Green tells the story of one orangutan captured and brought to a rehabilitation facility after her home is logged and converted to a palm oil plantation. This award winning documentary is a powerful indictment of the palm oil and logging industries in South Asia. It is also another voice in the crowd drawing attention to the potential ecological consequences of growing dependence on biofuels. [more inside]
Getting something permanently inked upon your body is not to be taken lightly, especially if it is a rare type of fungus. [more inside]
Biohistorical research • Wax engraving • The Thinker after the bomb • Alfred Stieglitz's palladium photographs • Tibetan bronzes with interior contents • The examination and treatment of a pair of boots from the Aleutian Islands — A small sample of the articles available from the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC).
Most people have heard about how rising CO2 levels are resulting in a changing global climate. Fewer have heard about the other consequence of rising CO2 levels- when the CO2 is absorbed into the oceans, it disassociates into carbonic acid. This alters the pH of our world's oceans, and it's called "Ocean Acidification". This changing ocean chemistry has many important and devastating consequences. [more inside]
Out of the Shadows: The elusive Central Asian snow leopard steps into a risk-filled future. [more inside]
Brazil's new water conservation campaign: Xixi no Banho! (slyt)
UC Scientists Determine That Ancient Maya Practiced Forest Conservation — 3,000 Years Ago. "As published in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, paleoethnobotanist David Lentz of the University of Cincinnati has concluded that not only did the Maya people practice forest management, but when they abandoned their forest conservation practices it was to the detriment of the entire Maya culture." [Via] [more inside]
1/3 of open ocean shark species faces extinction, according to the IUCN. A recent report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Shark Specialist group shows that nearly 1/3 of open ocean shark species face extinction. These sharks are essential to keeping ocean ecosystems in balance, and we've already seen some of the devastating effects of catastrophically decreased shark populations. Shark advocate Wolfgang Leander offers his thoughts on this crisis, and also provides the full text of an article about this IUCN report.
The Global Oneness Project is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. They travel the globe gathering stories from creative and courageous people who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other and our shared world. [more inside]
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. The featured pages are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
OdyseeTV explores the pressures faced by wildlife and habitat. Featuring video content like the Plight of the Snow Leopard, or a feature about manatees, Can Gentle Survive?, by conservation organizations worldwide. Limited at present to about 30 programs, but growing as more groups come on board.
The US Senate Sunday in an unusual session passed 66-12 the largest land protection bill in 25 years. It is an "omnibus" containing hundreds of bills that have been in the works for years. For a list of all the projects and new lands protected.. [more inside]
There used to be this problem you see, until one of our own kindly settled it. His services are desperately needed once again.
Can social networking be used to effect positive social change? Ushahidi (meaning "testimony" in Swahili) is one such project that harnesses mobile technology to empower local citizens to report on crucial and crisis situations in their area. [more inside]
Silence Like Scouring Sand. "One of America's quietest places, and the valiant effort to keep it that way." (Previously.)
The Dartmouth College Library hosts a Simple Book Repair Manual, which teaches you how to repair common problems such as torn pages and wet books. For more complicated procedures, the Alaska State Library put together a training manual, with illustrations of repair procedures. (Full PDF here.) There is also a book conservation dictionary hosted by the Stanford conservation department, which explains many of the terms used.
Saving the Regal Fritillary The Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) is one of the largest and most spectacular butterflies found in North America....About ten years ago, the Regal Fritillary could only be found in a single nature preserve in Indiana. This year, the Fort Indiantown Gap Training Center won the [Environmental A]ward for its efforts in preserving the Regal Fritillary Butterfly and its habitat, building nesting boxes and tracking migratory patterns of 12 bird species, restoring five acres of wetlands, and conducting prescribed burns to manage fuel loads and forests. [more inside]
The ocean gives us life. It gives us oxygen, the rain, food, excitement, wonder, and mystery. The ocean buffers the weather and helps regulate global temperature. It manages vast amounts of our pollutants, contains all kinds of amazing creatures, and supports all life on our planet. But, the ocean is just now beginning to be understood and with that understanding comes the increasing realization that the ocean is in trouble. Marine conservation efforts are outnumbered by the problems. MarineBio is here to call attention to those issues and to provide information to inspire the actions necessary to address them.
One World Journeys produces exciting and educational photo-documentary expeditions that connect online viewers to unique wilderness areas around the world. Travel to the remote mountain forests of the former Soviet Georgia, track jaguars in Mexico, dive on pristine coral reefs, swim with wild salmon and wildlife of British Columbia and step into the heat of the Sonoran Desert.
A positive energy building is one that produces more power than it consumes (yes they have been around for a while). The Masdar Headquarters in Abu Dhabi – due for completion in 2010 claims that it will be the first to do this on a substantial scale (mainly thanks to use of solar energy). David Fisher's spectacular “Dynamic Architecture” building in Dubai will aim to achieve the same goal using wind. Scaling up on the ambition stakes France has pledged all of its new housing will fit into this category by 2020.
Eviction Slip :"In the spring of 2003 about 8,000 tribal people and low-caste farmers living in the Kuno area of Madhya Pradesh, India, were summarily uprooted from the rich farmlands they had cultivated for generations and moved to 24 villages on scrub land outside the borders of a sanctuary created for a pride of six imported Asiatic lions."[via]
“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 8 pm in each time zone cities around the world will go dark: Sydney will follow Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra; In the Philippines, in Manila the lights will go out; Bangkok in Thailand; Tel Aviv in Israel; Suva in Fiji; Copenhagen in Denmark; In North America, Atlanta followed by Chicago, Toronto, Phoenix and San Francisco will be black. It’s Earth Hour. [more inside]
This guy saved all his trash for an entire year. It amounted to 96 cubic feet. Perhaps not surprisingly, his message is conservation.
Catalog Choice: one-stop shop for opting out of catalogs you don't want to receive.
...you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely. The story of stuff.
The Solar Decathlon is a just-completed competition in which 20 teams of college and university students competed to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. View a photo gallery or take video tours of the homes. Inhabitat has been blogging the event - here's their view of Germany's winning entry. [more inside]
Vigilante conservationists or racist thugs? Some residents of northern Ontario towns claim Torontonians without fishing licenses are poaching in public waters. Their solution? Sneak up behind the anglers and throw them (and their gear) in the lake. After a 13-year old and a 72-year old were both dunked, the most recent incident ended in a car chase that put a 23-year old in a coma. The catch? All the victims are Asian. The locals call it nipper-tipping.
Joan Root, who spent most of her life in Kenya, was a noted naturalist and filmmaker (along with her (former) husband. She was murdered by gunmen at point-blank range in January, 2006 in her home on Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha is the only fresh water source in the Great Rift Valley, and has become increasingly endangered by pollution and overuse for irrigation, and Root spent considerable time fighting to protect it. Today, a Kenyan magistrate acquitted the four suspects in her murder, calling the testimony of 13 witnesses "defective".
Rethink. The. Shark. [YouTube] The Save Our Seas Foundation [small Flash], a Swiss-based non-profit, joins the growing ranks of a world-wide movement to undo the damage caused by popular reports and gross misrepresentation by Hollywood of sharks as human-savoring sea monsters/killing machines. The fact of the matter is that the opposite is true: Current estimates give between 65 million to 165 million sharks being killed worldwide annually via unregulated catch - including 38 million to 70 million [PDF] for their fin alone, with untold numbers of butchered and bleeding-to-death sharks being cast back into the oceans to die slow and gruesome deaths. [more inside]