Water and Plastics:

I want to talk about plastic pollution. Though all plastic food containers are an issue, let’s have a look at  single use plastic bottles.  It is estimated that annually 80 billion water bottles are used in the United States alone.  Roughly 80% of these water bottles end up as litter.  Furthermore only PET bottles can be recycled, and the rest are discarded into land fills for found littering our planet.  PET bottles make up 25% of plastic bottles used in the U.S.  Landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. idswater.org

According to The Water Project,  it takes 3 liters of water to create 1 liter of bottled water.  When one thinks that people are dying of thirst, how can one be O.K. with the waste of water used to make water convenient for those that have clean water available to them when all they need to do is install a water filter and buy a reusable bottle..  

With increasing populations and global warming, the problem of available clean water will be more tenuous.  Increasing rights over water will will not only increase the cost of water, but violent altercations are likely to increase.  So, wasting water is not O.K.

The problems with bottled water do not end here.  Valuable resources are wasted in the processing and transportation of bottled water.  Transporting water is adding to global warming.

Plastics also have an extremely negative impact on the plants, wildlife and even the human population. The water we drink, the air we breath and the ground we walk on are all contaminated with plastic by-products.  The damages caused by these contaminants are irreversible.  Though a useful product, plastic bottles are made from toxic compounds known to cause illness.  And these products take thousands of years to biodegrade.  As a result landfills never stop releasing the toxins into the air from all the plastic products we throw away.  In landfills, plastic interacts with water and forms hazardous chemicals. For more information, go to Conserve Energy Future.  

Burning isn’t a solution, for this releases poisons gases into the atmosphere and may have some deadly consequences. Both humans and other animals may suffer respiratory problems as a result.

In general, according to Conserve Energy Future , recycling plastic adds to many of the problems as doing so adds to pollution problems of plastic too.

So, what do we do.  First reduce buying disposables and replace these with environmentally friendly products whenever possible.  Use your voice to let companies know that despite your loving their product, you are no longer willing to use their product or eat their food unless their containers are environmentally friendly.   Choose wisely.  

Stop using plastic water bottles right now.  Buy a reusable bottle and filter your own water.  You will save lots of money doing this (a maximum  $0.10 per glass of water vs $1.00+ for bottled water).  It took time to train myself not to leave it behind, but it is doable.

Be aware that many coffee shops used disposable cups often composed with plastic as an insulator.  Many shops will fill your container. 

Do things like turn off the water while brushing your teeth, save a flush, shorten your showers or fill the tub half full.  A little here and a little there adds up.  And pass the word as difficult as this may be.  Be brave, be willing to be a little unpopular by letting people know how important it is to preserve this precious resource.  We’re doing this for ourselves and for everyone, including all the generations that follow us.

Lastly, since many people around the world have difficulty finding clean water, The Water Project is working with local partners in these water scarce areas to bring clean, sustainable water supplies to within 1/2 mile of villages in need.  Please help them.  For more information, go to The Water Project.

Three Little Frogies All in a Row

Three Little Frogies All in a Row

These guys are about as cute as they come.  Left to right from your perspective is Herman, Irving and Gertrude.  They are named after the three baby birds my best friend and I raised when we were about eleven.  Gertrude is a Chachi Tree Frog.  This guy come from Choco Rainforest, a threatened habitat in Ecuador.

In the center, Irving,  lives primarily in humid lowland forests and can be found Nicaragua, Honduras, Coast Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.  He’s called the Splendid Leaf Frog, and I cannot agree more.  They are nocturnal and arboreal. The only time they come down from the trees is when they breed in tiny fishless pools or tree holes that have collected water.  

In 2003  an on-site (in situ) conservation project was designed for the Splendid Leaf From in the Guayacan Rainforest Reserve.  Since these frogs breed in water-filled cavities in standing or fallen trees, an attempt to simulate breeding sites using plastic tubs were implemented.  The intention of this project was to create artificial reproductive habitats as in their breeding sites in the wild had become very limited.  The researchers were hoping to increase the size and vigor of the existing population.  They  placed tadpoles in these pools, and the project proved to be very successful.  In 2007, the researchers increased the sizes of these artificial pools allowing for many more frog to in habit the reserve.  This is one example of what conservationists have done to help these small often overlooked group of animals, animals that are as important as every species on the planet.  

Herman is a Troschel’s Tree Frog also found throughout South America.  They too live in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and rivers.  Their habitat is also threatened.

If you find yourself out and about in areas where frogs live, be careful.  Unless you know your frogs, do not touch. Some of them secret lethal substances as a protection against predation.  It works.  Your beautiful eyes, may have Xs in them.

 

EPA: Thin Blue Line or Thin Black Line

In an attempt to understand and report on how Trump and Pruitt’s proposal regarding defunding the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will affect our lives is enormously complex. I thought, I’ll just try and simplify this for us by making a list of many of the changes that may occur.  It’s important to note that at this time these are only proposals.  Congress will be writing the actual appropriations bills that will fund the bill, and if it passes the house and the Senate, the president must agree with the bill for it to become a Law. If the President vetos the bill, two-thirds of the Representatives and Senate must vote to  override the veto, and the bill becomes a Law.  

With regard to the Defunding EPA bill, there are many in the house and Senate that will be likely to have issues with several of these EPA cuts, and so we needn’t get all in a tither about this passing.  However, the President is pushing hard to get this passed.  We do need to stay informed, donate, sign petitions, go to town hall meetings, and march to let the government know that Defunding the EPA is a bad idea.  

Eliminating more than 50 EPA programs will result in 3200 people becoming members of the unemployed. What happened to creating jobs, I wonder.  I would also argue that we need to make our 21st century the Ecological Century focusing on changing to a green economy.  All of this money saved, some $347 million, will of course be allocated to building our military, moving ever closer to war, and The Wall which terrorists can take pictures of as they fly over it.  Note: we’re talking about $347 million a year.  Yikes!  Yes, I am cynical, because, if we don’t have our Federal Government actively involved, even dedicated, to protecting our rare tiny blue dot, there isn’t going to be a plan (planet) B, and delaying efforts to stop global warming from reaching a critical state needs to begin now. 

For those whom may not know, Scott Pruitt is the U.S. EPA administrator and does not consider CO2 to be the cause of global warming.  Since increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are the direct cause of humans using fossil fuel supplied energy and carbon leaching of the soil, Pruitt is basically saying that humans have little to do with climate change–this despite the unquestionable scientific proof that comes from worldwide collections of data compiled for decades that show quite the opposite.  As most know, 95% of the scientists all over the globe say that the climate change we are experiencing right now is the direct result of COemissions.  This is a people caused problem.

Sadly, because many scientists have either falsified data or created poor tests, thus claiming results that ultimately cannot stand the test of time, ‘Science’  is now viewed with suspicion.  An example of deliberately flawed findings that continue to cause serious problems is the false claim that vaccines cause autism.  Science, as with anything else is a work in progress, and fortunately it is a self examining discipline.  There are good tests, and tests that are questionable, but, bottomline, science has made our lives better and far more interesting than we could imagine.  We are, nevertheless, beginning to pay the price for many of our scientific achievements and technological advances.  Not our fault.  How could we predicted this future when the industrial revolution was in its infancy.

For me, the biggest scientific mistakes we have made were due to the idea that we could control nature.  We are discovering that this is impossible, and guess what, nature is rebelling.  The abused will at some point always act out.  And boy our tiny little planet is acting out.   The error behind this idea of control is equal t0 the idea of Manifest Destiny.  Just say’n.

Before everyone starts blaming . . . , realize that life is nothing more than an experiment, and often we don’t know the effects until way down the road.  Our responsibility is ultimately to make things right, once we recognize the detrimental effects of our decisions and actions.  This is one of the problems with defunding the EPA which will be discussed shortly.

It is also important to know that Science holds the solution to the enormous problems we face as a result of human created global warming.   We now are beginning to understand how nature actually works, and we are learning how to use nature to rectify or solve many of the problems we have created.  We are learning how to mimic nature so that nature itself is stimulated to work according to natural law once again.  Read the article in this blog, “Cow Save the Planet”, to get an idea of what I’m talking about.  Another example is related to the study of fractals – check it out – just google it.  If aggressive climate change research and development is not undertaken from this point on, we are doomed.

So what are the projected plans for defunding the EPA.

  1. Undoing environmental regulations that help to keep us and the environment as safe as possible is one such plan as the new administration wants to trim initiatives to protect air and water quality.  As with all things, revisiting many of the regulations already implemented is not a bad idea.  Some regulations may be obsolete, may need updating, or proven to be unnecessary expenditures.  The EPA is human created and so not perfect. Sometimes the EPA messes up, but this isn’t a reason to cut back on funding.  The dangers of turning back the clock to 1977 by defunding the EPA may include smoggy skies and polluted rivers..

Those who remember the bleak times when day ratings on how healthy it was to go outside kept increasing year after year in Los Angeles, New York and other urban environments were grateful when the EPA was created and blue skies returned.  There were days when we were told that it was best to stay in doors.  Fortunately we didn’t have “The Killer Fog That Blanketed London” for 5 days and killed 4,000 Londoners.

Hop a plane and visit Beijing if you’d like to experience this.  China is now beginning to create it’s own EPA and implement regulations. How would you like to go to this wedding?

You may now risk your lives and kiss the bride.

Green peace has an excellent article about why China has this problem and what they are now doing about it.If you’d like to read this article , go to their Blogpost: Greenpeace East Asia

 

Extreme Pollution in China. Photo from Blog: Greenpeace East Asia.  A Before Picture would be nice.

2. Who will come to our aid in times of an environmental crisis?  President Trump believes that each state must take charge of  environmental issues and regulations for their state.  Unfortunately, the environment doesn’t have borders, and one can only imagine the political posturing that might occur as a result of an environmental disaster–disputes over what needs to be done, how to do what is needed, and who will pay for clean up.  Need I say more.  This is a Federal Government’s job.

An aside:  Weather is global.  Dust storms in the Sahara are why we have rain forests in South Africa.  Because of climate change and deforestation, scientists are discovering a change in the pattern of dust storms which will have an effect on the rain forests.  It is also projected that the rain forests will be gone my mid-century, which will result in the release of far more carbon into the atmosphere than we burning fossil fuels.  Furthermore, the water cycle, rain, absorption, evaporation will also change dramatically.  This will have local and global effects. So, EPA’s need to spring into action everywhere.  Rather than funding wars, you can imagine what I’d like to see done.

Another thought.  Imagine a governor wanting to create an alternative energy economy in an Fossil Fuel dependent State?  Though states do need to be involved, Environmental Protection, grants, research and development need Federal participation.

3.  Climate change programs will be eliminated, such as Obama’s, Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.

4.  Regulations said to hobble U.S. Oil drillers, fracking operations, coal minors, and farmers will be dismantled.  Many may ask, why farms.  Farms are not simply pastoral vistas waiting to be painted.  Back in the 1960s bird populations were dropping because of the use of DDT.  Today, worldwide bee populations are disappearing, blamed on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.  Friends of the Earth have stopped many large retailers from selling products containing neonicotinoids.   If you’d like to check out the EPA general scope of regulations for farmers, click here.

5.  Here’s a biggy.  Trump plans on trimming the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  This will end missions that observe the Earth’s oceans and carbon dioxide levels.  Really? With CO2 levels on the rise and ice caps melting which means islands disappearing, Florida underwater etc..  In my opinion, this cut is so transparent.  Pruitt doesn’t want anything that would prove he’s wrong about Co2 levels and global warming.

NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Earth science budget is on the cutting board–a mere $102 million gone.  

FYI:  Pruitt wants Congress to determine if CO2 is a pollutant needing regulation. Huh!  Actually we already know that it is.  What a waste of money,  and guess who are the participants? Answer: republicans  and lawmakers from oil-producing states. 

6.  The Hill reports that slashes in funding for industrial waste cleanup through the Superfund program is on the table.  This means that if we to have an environmental catastrophe that requires clean up, e.g. coal waste slurry in rivers, the Feds won’t be coming to help.  And, since near everybody is downstream, who is responsible to clean it up as it travels across borders?  

It is far more important to have preventive measures in place as cleanup is far more expensive and may take decades to repair the damage done than the cost of implementing safeguards.

Also, region-specific environmental programs such as those monitoring pollutants, or determining the mass die off of fish in the Great Lakes for example are to be eliminated. Consider this.  The Great Lakes hold 20% of the fresh water in the world.  It is vastly important that The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT be in charge of helping to maintain the health of these lakes.  

Case in point. The Buffalo River, connected to Lake Erie by the Erie Canal, became an industrial dumping ground.  Pollutants from Lake Erie added to the problem.  In 1968 the River burst into flames as a result of its chemical makeup. Obviously the river was lifeless.  After decades and millions of dollars spent, including help from the Federal Government beginning during the Johnson administration, the Buffalo River is almost fully restored. More on this here.

7. 31% of the EPA’s Enforcement division budget will be cut.  This division is responsible for fining companies for polluting.

8.  The Energy Star appliance efficiency program which aims at reducing U.S. energy consumption is just one of dozens of programs being illuminated or targeted for funding cuts.

Considering that Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney considers green regulations to be a “waste of money” and Trump’s belief that little harm to air and water quality will result from these budget cuts, it’s no wonder that most of the people in the United States are concerned. So I say go out and march.  

My favorite line from all of this is, ‘Make America Gag Again’.  Thanks Conrad Schneider, the advocacy director at Clean Air Task Force.

Make our voices heard.  Environmental marches in Washington DC and around the country will be taking place.  My contribution is my labor, that is, I’m trying to make a difference by helping people to understand a variety of issues important to all of us.  I fund this, sort of, by designing t-s, signs and a bunch of other stuff to help get the word out there. If you’d like to check out what environmental paraphernalia is available from Earth and World Peace, click the link.  Check out other designers too.  My motto is get loud and march in peace.  

On this blog is Carl Sagan Essay, “Pale Blue Dot”  (very slightly edited) If you haven’t read it, do.  It is beautiful.  

We the people get to choose our fate. Stop EPA Funding.
        We the people get to choose our fate. Stop EPA Defunding.

Kordofan Giraffe’s really need our help.

 Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

    Kordofan Giraffes Extremely Endangered

A terribly sad story has surfaced regarding the Kordofan Giraffes, a severely endangered species that is found in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The following information comes from both The Huffington Post and The National Geographic Society.  The National Geographic video shot by David Hamlin telling the following story can be accessed here.  I suggest that you read this tiny summary of the story before watching so as to prepare yourself for an extremely gruesome tale, narrated by Hamlin.  

The story begins innocently.  The video introduces you to three of the 40 Kordofan Giraffes in existence.  Twelve hours after this video was shot, David Hamlin was told, a a ranger patrol heard ten shots.   Too late to investigate, they returned the next day to find these rare and beautiful animals dead, splayed, bellies sliced open, and tips of their tails gone. 

The poachers slice open their prey’s bellies to attract vultures in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the crime.  These poachers were not interested in the meat.  All they were after were the tips of their tails. 

What poachers kill for.
What poachers kill for.

The tails are used by Congoles men “as a dowry to the bride’s father if they want to ask for the hand of a bride” according to director for African Parks, Leon Lamprecht and National Geographic’s David Hamlin.  In the same article, it is noted that the American Wildlife Foundation reports that these long black hairs are also used in good luck bracelets, often sold by the blackmarket to tourists,  made into fly whisks and thread. (Chris D’Angelo: Huffington Post. 01/2017)

Giraffe Hair Bracelet
     Giraffe Hair Bracelet
     Giraffe Hair Bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

Hamlin’s anger and frustration with the investigation, lead him to make it his job to  “combat wildlife crime using his cameras.  Thank you Mr. Hamlin.  

The world population of giraffes is in decline, and all giraffes are endangered by poacher collecting tails.  The poaching of giraffes for meat and their coats has been on the increase.

Oddly, in their attempts to chase down a meal, spotted hyenas often bite off the giraffe’s tail, thus saving their lives from being massacred by poachers.  East African officials say that this phenomena is due the absence of lions, resulting in few to none carcasses for the hyenas to eat.  Giraffe’s have increasingly become a target for the hyenas, and often all they catch is the tail.   

Poaching policies have helped, but much more needs to be done: immediate help for Kodofan Giraffe. Many organizations are involved in saving all species of giraffes to save giraffes from extinction.   As one reads the various stories/reports on this blog, one may discover a pattern here.  The decreasing populations of large predators such as lions has a major effect on the ecosystems. Here, no carcasses for the hyenas.  In Allen Savory’s findings, large predators keep herds of grazers moving resulting in biodiversity and carbon rich soil.  Though some of nature’s genetic experiments fail, every ecosystem on this planet has evolved to ultimately flourish.  Humankind is increasingly destroying all of these ecosystems.  We must help stop the pending tragedies that face us.  Please help.  As there are many organization helping Giraffes, check out Google Save Giraffes or Save Kordofan Giraffes.

So that I and my blog don’t go extinct, consider buying my designs and make your voices heard visually.  Visit www.cafepress.com/earthandworldpeace

Gentle Giants

With much respect and love.

Save Our Home: Sharks

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

In order to express the beauty and importance of the shark to it’s various ecosystems, Benjamin Von Wong created an extraordinary photograph entitled Shark Shepherd

He says, “Sharks are the shepherds of the sea, essentially to make sure everything flourishes.  The more the sharks in an area, the more the fish population, and these all work together in beautiful harmony to insure a healthy diverse  sea life and ultimately help to maintain the balance of the underwater ecosystem. The photos … are to help “transform the way we see sharks and prove that something beautiful is worth protecting.  Just like sharks are the shepherds of the sea, we are the shepherds of our generation, and  we can make a difference and have our voices heard (National Geographic).”

All of us are familiar with the Great White Shark, made infamous by the movie Jaws.  Did you know that there are roughly 440 shark species know at this time, and that they live in every ocean/sea on the planet.

According to Michael Graham Richard whom is involved in Science and Ocean Conservation, “it is estimated that up to 100 million sharks are killed by people every year” as a result of commercial and recreational fishing.  As a result, many sharks species are endangered, and little regard is given to the protecting most of them.  Why?  Because of people’s fear of shark attacks.  “The average number of human fatalities worldwide per year between 2001 and 2006 from unprovoked shark attacks was 4.3.”

I argue, that this number may increase as seal populations disappear: once again due to human beings.  The most dangerous animal on the planet.  So what do we do.  There is much evidence that sharks were swimming in the oceans during the dinosaurs.  As noted above, they are invaluable participants in maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems, and so it is time to protect them.  I am deeply grateful to Benjamin Von Wong, Michael Graham Richard, Wikipedia (an extensive list of threatened sharks) and others for bringing this to my attention.

A health diverse ocean ecosystems is dependent on sharks.
   A health diverse ocean ecosystems is dependent on sharks.

On Michael Graham Richards site, treehugger.com, he discusses 10 endangered shark species, many of which are unknown to us: some very odd indeed.  To see photos of these amazing creatures and to learn a little bit more about them go to his site, otherwise, do visit Wikipedia.  

In brief he includes the critically endangered Angel Shark that looks like a disc with a tail. He notes that “during the comprehensive Mediterranean International Trawl Survey program from 1995 to 1999, only two angel sharks were captured from 9,905 trawls.”

The Daggernose Shark is also critically endangered.  In one decade, a decline of 90% was recorded off the coast of Brazil.  They expect similar declines elsewhere.  Fishing pressures in the regions they live in “continues to grow more intense.

Another critically endangered species include the Dumb Gulper Shark, which lives off the coast of Australia.

The Zebra Shark, Great White, Shortfin Mako Shark, Basking Shark, Whale Shark, Dusky Shark are vulnerable, and lastly, the Speartooth Shark is endangered.

The World Conservation Union and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are active in recommending the implementation of conservation schemes and the expansion of fishery monitoring of various species.  Nevertheless, there is great opposition from many countries to curb their fishing practices or the brutal and unnecessary killing of “man-eaters.”  As said earlier, the rarity of attacks on humans is not a reason to indiscriminately slaughter these very important animals.

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

Pollinators: Butterflies

Butterflies.  Is there anyone that doesn’t like butterflies?  

 We sure to plant Native Milkweed

Children have always marveled at the flutter byes that visited their yards, gardens and vacant lots. It was in school that I discovered that these seemingly fragile insects were the result of a magical process called metamorphosis. In grammar school, many of us got to watch this happen.  We fed leaves to caterpillars in terrariums, and, in a short while. these caterpillars began to weave thin silk-like threads over their entire bodies ultimately disappearing for a number of days–finally emerging as beautiful butterflies.  Just before being ‘reborn’, the chrysalis became fairly transparent as the butterfly formed.  I was transfixed.  

           Plant Native Milkweed

Most people in North America can identify the Monarch Butterfly as millions of them visit every single state of the contiguous United States (the ‘lower 48’) during their yearly migration from their winter quarters in Mexico to as far north as the southern Canada–a one way journey measuring over 2000 miles one way. Four generations make this happen meaning that the great grandchildren of those that began this northern migration complete the round trip.  This is the reason that despite many butterflies being endangered, I am focusing on this particular species as it is one of the only insects that migrate like birds, traveling thousands of miles pollinating a variety of vibrantly colorful flowers along the way, maintaining biodiversity and thereby contributing to the health of the earth. The flowers that Monarchs favor are colorful, grow in clusters, are open during the day, and have flat landing pad surfaces.

Environmental Action recently reported that, according to scientists, “monarch butterflies may vanish from the American West within the next 20 years.  If you would like to help visit their website — Environmental Action. Sign the petition and consider becoming active.  This organization has a wonderful packet of information that can be taken to your local garden outlets.  If you decide to plant Milkweed, make sure that it is Native to the area.  In the east, many wonderful people wanting to save the Monarch planted Tropical Milkweed. This has hastened extinction for two reasons.  Tropical Milkweed is a Perennial, whereas Native Milkweed is an annual.  As a result, the Monarchs don’t migrate.  Even worse, Tropical Milkweed carries a protozoan parasite that is pass on to the Monarch Butterfly.  Those infected  are debilitated decreasing the population.  The fix, naturally, is to replace the Tropical with the Native Milkweed.  Ask your nursery which Milkweed is Native to your area.

Habitat loss, particularly associated with the destruction of Milkweed by the use of Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), known as the ‘butterfly killer’ is the primary reason why the Monarch Butterfly population is in major decline.  Both Environmental Action and Friends of the Earth have called for immediate action to help save this amazing insect. It appears that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) may cave to Monsanto’s pressures especially now since the Trump administration and Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, is determined to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Environmental Action recently reported that, according to scientists, “monarch butterflies may vanish from the American West within the next 20 years, recently lowered from 35 years.  This organization has a wonderful packet of information that can be taken to your local garden outlets.  Being actively involved is critical.  Just click on the link above.

Native Milkweed is the only food that Monarch Caterpillars eat.  As mentioned earlier, it takes four generations to make the round trip.  If there is no more milkweed, their are no new generations. As said, people are determined to save them, so I feel positive that we can.  Imagine the effect that this will have on all of us too as they are major pollinators.  This is serious.

                    Monarch Butterfly Migration Routes

The following focuses on the Monarch migration east of the Rocky Mountains.  Having wintered in Mexico, the wintering Monarchs (calling them the parent generation) begin their journey in March flying north stop in Texas and other southern states to feed and breed.  The offspring, or first generation, begin their journey north in April and May, summering in the Northern States and Southern Canada.  The second and third generations are born during the summer months.  Around mid-August, the last generation (3rd or 4th) heads south to their wintering grounds in Mexico.  The last generation that completes this roundtrip are the generation that begins the migration North the following year.  

There is a very good article describing the planting and care of Narrowleaf Milkweed that is native to California, Nevada Oregon and Washington online at Butterfly Encounters. Check it out if you live West of the Rockies.

One might wonder how is this roundtrip migration possible since adult butterflies only live 2 to 6, some say 8 weeks.  The wintering generation are unique in that they go through a cycle of suspended development known as diapause (a hibernation period). Their life span can be greater than seven months. These insects are so interesting, read on.

Butterflies do not actually sleep.  Rather, they rest or become quiescent (dormant), at night or during the day when it is cloudy or cool.  Their eyes are open, hanging upside down from twigs or leaves.  Though most butterflies are hidden from sight, the thousands of monarch butterflies at rest often turn the trees that they’re suspended from bright orange — certainly not hidden.  Thousands of people travel to Monterrey, California to see this wonder.

How is it that Monarch Butterflies make the same journey year after year especially when their trip requires many generations to complete?  How this travel plan is passed on is coded in the Monarch genetic makeup.  The navigational tool kit is one of those wonderful miracles of nature and the evolutionary process.

Monarch butterflies have a sophisticated system, named a time-adjusted sun compass by the scientists that study them.  A time-adjusted sun compass tells us that Monarchs use the sun to navigate. Since the sun/earth is always moving, the compass adjusts in accordance to the position of the sun to maintain the direction of their migration.  Knowing what time it is is essential, and a part of Monarch’s antennae contains a circadian clock (a 24-hour internal clock).  Depending upon the time of day, the butterflies can then tell approximately where the sun should be taking into account the changing tilt of the earth to the sun.  Special photoreceptors inside their eyes follow the angle of the sun. I wonder what this alogorithm looks like.

Again, if interested in helping to save the Monarch Butterfly and for more information, contact Environmental Action,  Friends of the Earth (petition) and/or  Save the Monarch Butterfly.  The later includes ’10 Neat Things about Monarch Butterflies’ and a wonderful video entitled ‘The Beauty of Pollination.’  Thank you.

P.S. I am not affiliated with any of the organizations, people, or reading materials and videos that I recommend or offer links to  (exceptions are the videos I make and take credit for).  My intention is to inform and to get people to make it known how important it is to get involved in helping to fix our planet.  It is possible.  One overlooked yet very important way to help heal our planet  is discussed in an article entitled Alan Savory and Schwartz’s Cows Save the Planet.  Go to Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and scroll down.  Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions Also highly recommend reading, Cows Save The Planet, Judith Schwartz.

Lastly, to support this blog and to get people to make loud statements about what they care about, many of the designs in this blog are available on wearing apparel, mugs, hats etc.  This is my job, and I do need to support for what I do.  I would be very grateful.  Even so, my main concern, especially now that we have climate change deniers in charge of the EPA and other departments in Washington, is to get loud about our concerns.  Visually state these whether you wear my designs or others.  It is vastly important that we act.  With all my love and respect for you, all sentient beings, and the beautiful home we call earth. NMRK

Save Our Home: Butterfly 3Save Our Home: Butterfly 2

It is my intention to get people active, to march, to wear t-shirts pointing to the things we need to do to Save Our Home and many of the endangered species threatened right now, such as the Monarch Butterfly.  Go to Cafe Press Earth and World Peace if interested.  

Donations to environmental groups will be made from these sales.  Join the Movement to Save Our Home.

Save Our Home: Butterfly 1

Save the EPA
                 Save the EPA

Sign the Petition to save the EPA    NRDC (Natural Defense Council)

Jane’s Ladder

Jane's Ladder
                                                      Jane’s Ladder

 

This is one of my favorite and most meaningful paintings: 2012. I was heartbroken at the time, and working on climbing out of despair, reaching for the stars. One of those happy accidents happened when I pulled off the tape, keeping the black areas black appeared and spoke volumes to me: a happy cartoonish three legged dog. Ordinarily, artists want to get rid of such objects, however, in this case, it was perfect, it made me smile. The other name given to this painting is Dog Star Constellation. The Dog Star is the North Star: the primary navigational star for sailors at one time. It said to me that I was on a  path towards better times. Another happy accident, also the result of pulling tape off, was what I saw as a crow falling from the sky. Many artist in the past, considered crows to represent death, and for me, this was emblematic of the death of a relationship. As with all tough times, great lessons come, and sometimes some very meaningful paintings. This is one. Much is also found in the details: a signature of my work.  To view this, more of my work, and details of my work, click here

Other Important Pollinators: Bats, Bumble Bees and Giraffes

Bats, Bumble Bees, and Giraffes are also important Pollinators.  Discussion coming.

SOHBats
                                                                                  Bats
Bumble Bees
                                  Bumble Bees
These Gentle Giants need our help.
                                  These Gentle Giants need our help.

Sea Turtles

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

One of the oldest living creatures on earth, Sea Turtles are believed to have begun populating the seas 65 million years ago, around the time when dinosaurs disappeared.  Though they developed in the oceans, it is believed that they did a stint out of the water only to return.

     Endangered due to over fishing, pollution, warming seas.

All six species of sea turtles are on the endangered species list.  Over fishing is one of the culprits.   Human population growth, and hence coastal development along with sea levels rising, are destroying their nesting habitats.  Pollutants and oil spills are also to blame for diminishing population of these important and beautiful animals.  Go to National Wildlife Federation to learn more about sea turtles and for donation information.  Restoring their habitats also means restoring environmental niches.  Everything on this planet is important.

All illustrations on this blog are available at Cafe Press.  Make your voices heard by wearing Save Our Home products. Create a movement in your community.  As the EPA and other environmental agencies are now on the endangered list, it is really important to spread the word and mention the organizations that are working toward helping animals and our planet.  Get loud.  March.  Also, I don’t want to go extinct, I’d like to keep working for the animals, and the environment. 

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

Allan Savory and Schwartz’s Cows Save the Planet

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species

Back in the 1950s, Allan Savory made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. As a young biologist assigned to set aside vast areas of lands for future National Parks in Africa, he was involved in moving indigenous people off their land.  Shortly thereafter the land began to deteriorate.  After studying the situation, Allan Savory determined that large herds of elephants were over grazing the land and something needed to be done.  As a result, 40,000 elephants were killed.  The land continued to deteriorate at an increasing rate.  Mr. Savory, to this day regrets this decision.  In his own word, he expresses his love for elephants and says that he will take this to his grave.  He tells this story in the video linked below.  

Restoration of Carbon starved soil will restore desertified lands and remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Watch video Allan Savory
Restoration of Carbon starved soil will restore desertified lands and remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.  Watch video:  Allan Savory.  Go to Holistic Management: The Savory Institute for more information, and do donate it you can.

Since then, Allan Savory has dedicated his life to finding the solution to the increasing desertification of grasslands.  For me, his discovery of why the earth’s lands are turning into deserts, and how nature can heal itself with our help is one of the most hopeful remedies to stop  global warming where it stands now.  If we begin to implement his ideas now on a grand scale, it is possible to reduce the carbon dioxide levels to preindustrial times, and this cure can happen quickly, 10-20 years.  It is also vastly important that we take action quickly because  increasing desertification is causing, starvation, poverty, disease, and warfare particularly in Africa, right now.  This will become a worldwide condition if we don’t heal the earth, in this case, literally the ground we walk on.

Some of the greatest solutions to our problems are often so very simple, and this is one of those eloquent solutions.  Allan Savory discovered that what was needed to restore the grasslands were large herds of animal moving along the grassland, never staying in one place too long. They moved because they were not interested in eating their own fertilizing deposits, and they were also not interested in getting eaten, so they bunched together for protection, moving across the savannas, and running from one place to another when threatened, leaving the land able to restore itself.  They didn’t eat too much, they fertilized it, some pooped seeds, and they churned and dug holes in the earth allowing water to be captured.

A healthy grassland results in carbon rich soil.  Other than the obvious benefits noted above, it is the carbon rich soils that disappear when lands are overgrazed, when agricultural practices leave the soil bare, when droughts occur, and with deforestation.  Where does the carbon go?  Into our atmosphere where it binds with oxygen (CO2).  

Life exists because of carbon: carbon starved earth is dead, and, therefore, nothing grows.  If lands are left bare, carbon leaches out of the soil and adds to the CO2 levels in our atmosphere.  Without plants the CO2 level rises because the Carbon Cycle is broken.  

Most of us have heard that the rainforests are the lungs of the earth.  Indeed.  One can add to this by saying all plants are the lungs of the earth.  Breaking the carbon cycle destroys the recycling of both carbon and oxygen.  

Everyone whom took science classes in high school, learned about the carbon cycle, though ones memory like mine may be rusty.  The simplified version, which we all learned was that plants breath in carbon dioxide.  With the help of the sun, energy is transferred to the plant.  Chlorophyll (why plants are green), is where photosynthesis takes place, resulting in separating the Carbon and Oxygen molecules.  The Oxygen is returned to the atmosphere, and the carbon is stored in the plant and in the soil where it stays inert. The same thing happens in the ocean, however phytoplankton takes the place of the plant.  Phytoplankton respiration releases the oxygen back to the air, and their decomposition, returns the carbon to the ocean.  

Carbon Cycle

Soil Respiration Chart

Caron Cycle
                                                                                   Caron Cycle

Both Adam Savory and Judith D. Schwartz (Cows Save The Earth) discuss how we can return carbon to the soil without the naturally occurring large herds and their predators.  Enter cows and sheep.  This practice has been tested many times and it works.  Ms Schwartz, explains the process the following way.  Cows are the hole diggers and fertilizers: they are the catalyst that begin the processes needed to heal the soil.  A “microscopic choreography comes into play.  Worms, insects and microorganisms like fungi and bacteria aerate the ground, decompose waste, exchange nourishment (mycorrhizal fungi take glucose from plants and in return help plants assimilate nutrients), and break down rocks into mineral like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc that are essential to our health. (Cows Save The Planet, 2013, p 3).”  Termites play the same role as earthworms in marginal or arid lands.  If you have read Yacouba Sawadogo story on this blog, The Man Who Stopped the Desert, you will recall that Yacouba knew that if he dug holes and place dung in them, termites would find there way to these holes and begin to dig tunnels which capture water during the rainy season. The water was retained by surrounding these area with berms.  In each of these holes, trees were planted.  The end result was that he stopped the Sahara Desert from taking over his town.  This is now practiced in many such areas.

Initially, Allan Savory didn’t like domesticated cattle, however, they are proving to be an invaluable resource to restoring the grasslands.  The Massai are a nomadic people living in Southern Kenya and Tanzania.  They herd their cows in bunches continually moving them.  This mimics nature in that the Massai take the place of the predators  The Massai protect their cattle from predators by housing them overnight in pens.  As a result of this practice, the land stays healthy.

There are many testimonials given by people using this and similar methods: both environmental and economical benefits are evident.  One rancher noted how his land, The Two Dot Lane and Livestock Company in Harlowton Wyoming, now contained hundreds of new plant species along with a diverse and abundant wildlife population.  During the 2011 flood in Harlowton, his parcel was the only one that didn’t suffer from flooding and erosion as the land was able to absorb the water.  The soil is now carbon rich.

Soil restoration can and needs to be done everywhere — watersheds, in one’s community, in an abandoned field.   These could be community projects.

There are many more stories of this kind.  Do support this endeavor, I believe this can help to save our planet.  Check it out for yourself.  The Savory Institute and Holistic Planned Grazing.  Know that by my talking about this method as a solution to global warming, I am not suggesting that we ignore the problems of using fossil fuels.  We need to continue inventing, creating, and implementing clean energy technology.  All efforts to clean up our earth are important, including picking up our litter.

“Upon this handful of soil our survival depends.  Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel and our shelter and surround us with beauty.  Abuse it and soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it (Vedic Scriptures, around 1500 BC).”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.”

Some statistics and other problems related to a carbon dead soil.  Unless noted, the following comes from Cows Save The Planet (CSTP).

  1. According to Savory, two thirds of the world’s grassland have disappeared “causing traditional grazing societies to descend into chaos.”
  2. The depletion rate of topsoil is ten times in the U.S. and forty times in China faster than it is generated, some 83 billion tons a year.
  3. Carbon dead soil affects the minerals necessary for health.  For example, since the 1960s, calicium in apples has decreased by 50%:  phosphorus, iron, and magnesium more than an 80% reduction.  What once was “An apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” now requires four or five apples a day.
  4. “Every 1% increase in soil carbon holds an additional 60,000 gallons of water per acre.”  Limits damage from erosion and supports microbial life (CSTP, p 6).
  5. Messing up the carbon cycle messes up the water cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy cycle.
  6. Carbon dioxide level in 2016 was 400 parts per million (first time in recorded history)- above 350 ppm the climate becomes destabilized.
  7. Between 1989 and 2008 soil respiration increased by about 0.1% per year Bond-Lamberty, B. & Thomson, A. Nature 464, 579-582 (2010) In 2008, the global total of CO2 released from the soil reached roughly 98 billion tonnes, about 10 times more carbon than humans are now putting into the atmosphere each year by burning fossil fuel.
  8. “In the past 150 years between 50 and 80 percent of organic carbon in the topsoil has gone airborne(CSTP. p 12).”
  9. Savory and others believe that if we restore 1/2 of the world’s grassland, the CO2 levels would be lowered to pre-industrial concentrations.
  10. Last, it does need to be said that the methane issue associated with cows burbs and farts are not a problem.  Though methane is a green house gas, it breakdowns very quickly in the atmosphere.  Furthermore, large concentration of methane measured at feedlots are due to how cow manure is collected and stored

Holistic Planned Grazing is a one very big solution toward turning off increasing Global Warming.  Please do visit the above links and help. With great respect to all, let’s do what we can to heal our planet.

Table of Contents: Environmental Concerns and Solutions

Table of Contents: Save Our Home Endangered Species