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]
Four endangered gorillas were found shot dead in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a conservation group announced today. For all the evil bastards that do this, there are many, many more good people fighting the good fight to help keep gorillas healthy. One, even has a blog.
Australia is home to the biggest worm in the world, the Giant Gippsland Earthworm - Megascolides australis. The next biggest is the Giant Palouse Earthworm - Driloleirus americanus from Oregon. Both [Gippsland, Palouse] are only classed as vulnerable in the threatened category of the IUCN Red List, simply because they are hard to count. This is despite the extreme measures taken to save some and to try and just find a live specimen of others.
A band of Congolese rebels is threatening to kill all of the Virunga mountain gorillas. Two-hundred Mai-Mai fighters attacked conservation posts in the violence-prone Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in response to government efforts to protect Virunga National Park from settling and poaching. Virunga is home to roughly half the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas (and was the workplace of Diane Fossey). Last year, Mai-Mai fighters killed nearly half of the park's hippos, eating the meat and selling the teeth as ivory, and in January they killed and ate two silverbacks. The increased violence is part of a trend that has accompanied attempts to integrate the area's independent militias- mostly remnants of groups that fought in the Congo civil war, then refused to disband- into the national army, and some observers believe that the war, which already killed 4 million, may reignite.
Robert Krulwich tells the tale of Dr. Alan Rabinowitz and his friend... "Dawi told Alan the terrible secret that explained why there were so few Taron (left in the world). And then Alan told Dawi a secret of his own..." (includes audio link)
As two more villages are relocated to create reserves for Project Tiger in India, each family will be offered two hectares of land, a house and 100,000 rupees or approximately $2200. But is this a sustainable solution for anti poaching measures? At Ranthambhore tiger reserve in the backward district of Sawai Madhopur, poaching has been controlled but pressure on the park remains as long as the seven relocated villages are unable to find alternate sources of long term income and other resources. When seeking food and shelter, saving the tiger is the last thing on their minds. Witness the slaughtering of the rare gorilla in Congo for food recently until the rebels were convinced to stop. Local needs versus long term ecological preservation will continue to be issues unless alternate viable solutions can be found.
Saving the world’s weirdest creatures. The EDGE of Existence programme, a project of the Zoological Society of London, aims to conserve the world's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species by implementing the research and conservation actions needed to secure their future. [Via MoFi.]
Passivhaus/Passive house design that saves mucho energy, does not require air conditioning, does not require heating even when outdoors it's 10 below! Since, for example, more than 30% of energy consumed in the UK is for homes and 82 per cent of that is space and water heating, [Monbiot, "Heat,"chapter 5, "Our Leaky Homes,"] changing our standards of home design is important. Diagram shows that basic solar design concepts are well understood and technically easy to implement in new construction. [If only my house could be turned 45 degrees!] Possibly through ignorance, and partly through the desire to cut corners instead of doing things right, we do not make these wise concepts a priority. There are lots of cool alternative building techniques, many of which are traditional and being revived. This leading design standard saves 90% of energy used in the home. Here in Canada it's called the net zero energy home.
During the 19th century, thousands of men took to the seas to hunt for whales. The indigenous peoples of the Arctic practiced whaling for several millennia before that. Technological change and changes in mores have reduced the whaling industry to a heavily regulated shadow of what it used to be. But it hasn’t disappeared altogether. Even now, at the dawn of the 21st century, ships prowl the seas in search of a spout or a gigantic fin. A few months ago, Outside magazine published an account of a whale hunt aboard the Norwegian ship Sofie.
The Long Term Ecological Research Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. Check out their photo gallery. [more inside]
Now you too can feed your pet endangered meats! Meat from whales caught under Japan's "research" programme is so abundant that it is being sold as pet food. </one link newsFilter>
One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.
Beefalo is a feritle hybrid of cattle and buffalo (bison bison). It's story cannot be told without mentioning the irascible "Buffalo" Jones, the man who helped save the American buffalo and tried to cross-breed cattle and buffalo. He called it cattalo. Later successful hybridizations gave way to the beefalo. Some cite the near-extinction and later ultimate repopulation of the buffalo to free-market forces such as the private herds kept by Buffalo Jones for creating sustainable cattalo .
The Solar Decathlon 2005 winners announced. The Solar Decathlon brings together 18 teams of college and university students from around the globe to participate in an unparalleled solar competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.