How to be a responsible steward of Democracy, Human Rights Capitalism and Planet Earth.



How to be a responsible steward of Planet Earth.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How2Recycle Label





How2Recycle Label Completes Successful Soft Launch and Welcomes The Kellogg Company

Kellogg’s Joins Leading Brands in Implementing the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Recycling Label as Project Enters New Phase

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, March 20, 2013 – The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a project of sustainability nonprofit GreenBlue, today announced the successful completion of the soft launch phase of its How2Recycle recycling labeling system. In addition, major brand name Kellogg’s will be joining the 11 other leading companies already taking advantage of the How2Recycle Label, including Ampac, Best Buy, Clorox, Costco Wholesale, Esteé Lauder Companies Aveda Brand, General Mills, Microsoft, Minute Maid, Sealed Air, Seventh Generation, and REI. A photo gallery of the packages currently carrying the label is available here.

The How2Recycle Label is the only labeling system for packaging that communicates recyclability across all material types and gives explicit directions to consumers to influence their recycling behavior, and specifies when a package component is not recyclable. Research completed prior to and during the soft launch phase of the project has confirmed that the Label is understood by consumers, leads consumers to action, elicits positive impressions of products and companies, and meets Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements. In addition, the Label has proven to be a valuable tool for companies wishing to understand the specific recyclability of their packaging. In short, the Label is fulfilling the project’s goal of improving both the quality and quantity of package recycling. The complete Soft Launch Report is available for download free of charge.

In addition, GreenBlue is delighted to welcome The Kellogg Company to the How2Recycle Label program, and the public can expect to see the Label on a variety of familiar Kellogg’s and Kashi brand products this upcoming April.


“At Kellogg, we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and the How2Recycle Label on our products honors that legacy,” said Melissa Craig of The Kellogg Company. “We continually look for ways to educate consumers on the recyclability of our packaging materials. Consumers need clear, concise communication when it comes to recycling, so materials that can be reclaimed don’t accidentally end up in landfills. This label helps ensure all packaging components are recycled, as intended, to further reduce the environmental impact of our products and promote conservation.”

Of note is Kellogg’s use of the How2Recycle “Store Drop-off” version of the Label for certain plastic bags, wraps, and other films acceptable at many retail locations for recycling with plastic carry-out bags. The familiar cereal “bag in box” format will carry this label as it applies to the inside bag liner. The SPC has partnered with the Flexible Film Recycling Group of the American Chemistry Council to increase use of this label and awareness regarding film plastic recycling. The paperboard box remains recyclable to the majority of the public either at curbside or municipal drop-off locations.

Kellogg’s paperboard formats also carry the Recycled Paperboard Alliance’s (RPA) “100% recycled paperboard” symbol, making the important connection between the act of recycling and the critically important issue of buying products made from recycled materials. Paul Schutes, Executive Director of the RPA, commented, “The How2Recycle Label will lead to greater consumer understanding about the recyclability of fiber based packaging, leading to more fiber being collected, which is important to the 100% recycled paperboard industry.”

Full implementation of the label is now underway, and companies interested in participating are encouraged to contact GreenBlue soon, as it often takes considerable lead-time to integrate the Label into a company’s packaging process. The SPC’s goal is for the Label to appear on the majority of consumer product packaging by 2016.

“This long-term project of the SPC is poised to make a significant impact,” says GreenBlue Senior Manager Anne Bedarf, who with GreenBlue Project Associate Danielle Peacock has led the development of the How2Recycle Label. “With the revision of the FTC’s Green Guides, attention again has turned to accurate and transparent recyclability messaging, and the SPC’s How2Recycle Label is quickly becoming the industry standard. We designed the business model with a tiered structure to encourage participation by businesses of all sizes, and we look forward to working with a diverse group of forward-thinking companies and stakeholders as we enter the next phase.”

Companies interested in using the Label on their products can go to http://www.how2recycle.info/how2join/ and contact Ms. Bedarf at 434.817.1424 ext. 314 or anne.bedarf@greenblue.org.

About GreenBlue and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition
GreenBlue® is a nonprofit that equips business with the science and resources to make products more sustainable. GreenBlue currently works in three program areas: chemicals, packaging, and forest products, as well as working one-on-one with companies through GreenBlue Advisory Services. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition®, a project of GreenBlue, is an industry working group of approximately 200 companies and other organizations from across the packaging supply chain. Through strong member support, a science-based approach, and supply chain collaborations, the SPC endeavors to build packaging systems that encourage economic prosperity and a sustainable flow of materials.

Contact
Ruthann Carr
Communications and Events Coordinator

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strategic Planning Made Simple


Strategic planning doesn't have to be hard. Here's how.





In the workplace, the words "strategic plan" tend to either energize people or drain them, depending on their past experience with the discipline.
As an organizational development consultant, I often speak with workplace leaders about the value of having a simple strategic plan that aligns people and processes to achieve shared goals.
Sounds like common sense, right? Doesn't every organization have one? No, and it got me thinking about why some companies and nonprofits do not have one.
I think misperceptions about what is involved in creating a practical and effective strategic plan can create false barriers to undertaking the process. Some of those misperceptions may be rooted in business practices that were popular many years ago. In the 70's and 80's, during the peak of the TQM (total quality management) movement, people would spend hours upon hours developing lengthy, detailed 5+ year strategic plans that often ended up in someone's files, never to be seen again. Strategic planning was not sexy, and more likely viewed as a dull, laborious task that quickly became outdated. Once the "Strategic Planning Box" was officially checked, people continued to work in silos, focus on their area of responsibility, and individual to-do list.

In the 90's, the speed of organizational change revved up to a pace that dictated strategic plans be shorter and relevant for just 6-12 months. Later, during the dot-com era, strategic planning became almost non-existent or perhaps too "old-school" to be perceived as adding any value to an organization. Some of the brilliant high tech start-ups might have ended up very differently if they had developed a strategic plan to bring their concepts to reality in the marketplace.

Fast forward to 2010. The economic downturn has provided time for leaders to reflect, recalibrate, and strategize for the future. What made organizations successful in the past may not be what will keep them successful in the future. Today, more organizations appear to be taking time to develop simple strategic plans as an inclusive process, and one that may combine the best of all lessons learned from the past.
I've worked with organizations that have benefited greatly from even a plan with just six core elements defined:
  1. Vision 
  2. Mission
  3. Core Values
  4. Strategic Areas of Focus 
  5. Strategic Goals
  6. Action Plans
Simple strategic plans can be created collaboratively, updated frequently, and most importantly, implemented to ensure a R.O.I. In future blogs, I will expand on the core components of the simple strategic plan concept and share some real life examples of vision statements, core values, and more.



 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smartwork/201001/strategic-planning-made-simple

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Anxiety and The 'Busy' Trap

The ‘Busy’ Trap



Anxiety: We worry. A gallery of contributors count the ways.
If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”
It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this; it’s something we collectively force one another to do.
Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s  make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; this was the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.

 

Brecht Vandenbroucke
Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Not long ago I  Skyped with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of France. She described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. She says it feels like college — she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. She has a boyfriend again. (She once ruefully summarized dating in New York: “Everyone’s too busy and everyone thinks they can do better.”) What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school — it’s something we collectively force one another to do.

Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.
I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?
But just in the last few months, I’ve insidiously started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. For the first time I was able to tell people, with a straight face, that I was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon. Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve. It got more and more intolerable until finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this.
Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.
Related
More From Anxiety
Read previous contributions to this series.
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.
“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays. The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.
Perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as I do. But I would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. My role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.
(Anxiety welcomes submissions at anxiety@nytimes.com.)


Tim Kreider is the author of “We Learn Nothing,” a collection of essays and cartoons. His cartoon, “The Pain — When Will It End?” has been collected in three books by Fantagraphics. 


 Link:
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?src=recg 




Invasive snapping turtles are worrying local wildlife officials

Invasive snapping turtles are worrying local wildlife officials

 

Darrell Bellaart, The Star

Published: Friday, July 13, 2012


The appearance of two snapping turtles on Vancouver Island is a worrisome trend for wildlife officials concerned about keeping introduced species out of the environment.


A turtle weighing approximately three kilograms was recently captured in Port Alberni, then early this week a nine-kilogram female was found in Metchosin.

The turtles are more aggressive and have a more angular appearance than box turtles, their distant Vancouver Island relatives.


B.C. wildlife officers say they're not suitable pets so they will be kept at the North Island Wildlife Recovery centre until a permanent home can be found for them.

He compared them to bullfrogs, which were introduced to the Island by humans but are now replacing native species like red-legged tree frogs.


"The strange thing, when you're dealing with intrusive species, it's always people bringing them here on purpose.

"It's like (Scotch) broom, grey squirrels or the eastern cottontail rabbits. They had no rabbits on this Island up until a few years ago. And the grey squirrel, somebody thought it would be so cute to look at but they're meateaters so a lot of our young songbirds' eggs and their babies, they're constantly raiding their nests."


Sean Pendergast, a wildlife biologist with B.C. Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said on average, one or two snappers appear somewhere in B.C.

"This is pretty unique, to see two in a week," Pendergast said.

"And there's a lot of these introduced, non-native species that cause problems for wildlife."

Although snappers can endure substantially cold winters in eastern Canada, Pendergast said they wouldn't likely survive long on the West Coast.

"The climate is just not quite right," he said.

"Although they can survive here for quite a while, my understanding is they are not able to have young."

dbellaart@nanaimodailynews.com




Source:
Invasive snapping turtles are worrying local wildlife officials

http://www2.canada.com/harbourcitystar/news/story.html?id=4a629a1f-5027-47e7-83cc-010146da371f



Tipping Point



A group of scientists from around the world who are part of The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB) is warning that an ever-growing population and widespread destruction of natural ecosystems may be driving Earth toward a planet-wide tipping point, an irreversible change in the biosphere with unpredictable consequences. Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, is the lead author of a review paper about this issue in the journal Nature.
 

Earth faces impending tipping point


A group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

“It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” warns Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of a review paper appearing in the June 7 issue of the journal Nature. “The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.”

The Nature paper, in which the scientists compare the biological impact of past incidences of global change with processes under way today and assess evidence for what the future holds, appears in an issue devoted to the environment in advance of the June 20-22 United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The result of such a major shift in the biosphere would be mixed, Barnosky noted, with some plant and animal species disappearing, new mixes of remaining species, and major disruptions in terms of which agricultural crops can grow where.


Image courtesy of Cheng (Lily) Li.

UC Berkeley begins work predicting looming global impacts

The paper by 22 internationally known scientists describes an urgent need for better predictive models that are based on a detailed understanding of how the biosphere reacted in the distant past to rapidly changing conditions, including climate and human population growth. In a related development, groundbreaking research to develop the reliable, detailed biological forecasts the paper is calling for is now underway at UC Berkeley. The endeavor, The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology, or BiGCB, is a massive undertaking involving more than 100 UC Berkeley scientists from an extraordinary range of disciplines that already has received funding: a $2.5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and a $1.5 million grant from the Keck Foundation. The paper by Barnosky and others emerged from the first conference convened under the BiGCB’s auspices.

“One key goal of the BiGCB is to understand how plants and animals responded to major shifts in the atmosphere, oceans, and climate in the past, so that scientists can improve their forecasts and policy makers can take the steps necessary to either mitigate or adapt to changes that may be inevitable,” Barnosky said. “Better predictive models will lead to better decisions in terms of protecting the natural resources future generations will rely on for quality of life and prosperity.” Climate change could also lead to global political instability, according to a U.S. Department of Defense study referred to in the Nature paper.

“UC Berkeley is uniquely positioned to conduct this sort of complex, multi-disciplinary research,” said Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for research. “Our world-class museums hold a treasure trove of biological specimens dating back many millennia that tell the story of how our planet has reacted to climate change in the past. That, combined with new technologies and data mining methods used by our distinguished faculty in a broad array of disciplines, will help us decipher the clues to the puzzle of how the biosphere will change as the result of the continued expansion of human activity on our planet.”

One BiGCB project launched last month, with UC Berkeley scientists drilling into Northern California’s Clear Lake, one of the oldest lakes in the world with sediments dating back more than 120,000 years, to determine how past changes in California’s climate impacted local plant and animal populations.

City of Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, chair of the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee, said the BiGCB “is providing the type of research that policy makers urgently need as we work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare the Bay region to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. To take meaningful actions to protect our region, we first need to understand the serious global and local changes that threaten our natural resources and biodiversity.”

“The Bay Area’s natural systems, which we often take for granted, are absolutely critical to the health and well-being of our people, our economy and the Bay Area’s quality of life,” added Bates.

How close is a global tipping point?


The authors of the Nature review—biologists, ecologists, complex-systems theoreticians, geologists and paleontologists from the United States, Canada, South America and Europe—argue that, although many warning signs are emerging, no one knows how close Earth is to a global tipping point, or if it is inevitable. The scientists urge focused research to identify early warning signs of a global transition and an acceleration of efforts to address the root causes.

“We really do have to be thinking about these global scale tipping points, because even the parts of Earth we are not messing with directly could be prone to some very major changes,” Barnosky said. “And the root cause, ultimately, is human population growth and how many resources each one of us uses.”

Co-author Elizabeth Hadly from Stanford University said “we may already be past these tipping points in particular regions of the world. I just returned from a trip to the high Himalayas in Nepal, where I witnessed families fighting each other with machetes for wood—wood that they would burn to cook their food in one evening. In places where governments are lacking basic infrastructure, people fend for themselves, and biodiversity suffers. We desperately need global leadership for planet Earth.”

The authors note that studies of small-scale ecosystems show that once 50-90 percent of an area has been altered, the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. This situation typically is accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity.

Currently, to support a population of 7 billion people, about 43% of Earth’s land surface has been converted to agricultural or urban use, with roads cutting through much of the remainder. The population is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2045; at that rate, current trends suggest that half Earth’s land surface will be disturbed by 2025. To Barnosky, this is disturbingly close to a global tipping point.

“Can it really happen? Looking into the past tells us unequivocally that, yes, it can really happen. It has happened. The last glacial/interglacial transition 11,700 years ago was an example of that,” he said, noting that animal diversity still has not recovered from extinctions during that time. “I think that if we want to avoid the most unpleasant surprises, we want to stay away from that 50 percent mark.”

Global change biology

The paper emerged from a conference held at UC Berkeley in 2010 to discuss the idea of a global tipping point, and how to recognize and avoid it.

Following that meeting, 22 of the attendees summarized available evidence of past global state-shifts, the current state of threats to the global environment, and what happened after past tipping points.

They concluded that there is an urgent need for global cooperation to reduce world population growth and per-capita resource use, replace fossil fuels with sustainable sources, develop more efficient food production and distribution without taking over more land, and better manage the land and ocean areas not already dominated by humans as reservoirs of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

“Ideally, we want to be able to predict what could be detrimental biological change in time to steer the boat to where we don’t get to those points,” Barnosky said. “My underlying philosophy is that we want to keep Earth, our life support system, at least as healthy as it is today, in terms of supporting humanity, and forecast when we are going in directions that would reduce our quality of life so that we can avoid that.”

“My view is that humanity is at a crossroads now, where we have to make an active choice,” Barnosky said. “One choice is to acknowledge these issues and potential consequences and try to guide the future (in a way we want to). The other choice is just to throw up our hands and say, ‘Let’s just go on as usual and see what happens.’ My guess is, if we take that latter choice, yes, humanity is going to survive, but we are going to see some effects that will seriously degrade the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.”

The work was supported by UC Berkeley’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.


Published on Jun 5, 2012
 
The Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology (BiGCB) is a group of approximately 70 scientists who are working to improve models that predict how plants and animals will respond to climate change and habitat destruction. Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley discusses the goal of the BiGCB.

Full story: NewsCenter.berkeley.edu
Video by Roxanne Makasdjian, UC Berkeley Media Relations

rdmag

Source:
http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/06/06/scientists-uncover-evidence-of-impending-tipping-point-for-earth/




Conceptual Skyscraper


vikas pawar, eco skyscraper, green design, eco design, sustainable design, green skyscraper, green tower, green architecture, sustainable architecture, water purifying skyscraper


Pawar’s Eco Skyscraper is a self-sufficient vertical city composed of two twisting towers linked by soaring sky bridges. The project’s mixed-use high-density program offers space for commercial areas, offices, and residences, while the tower’s rotating axis provides each unit with a rooftop terrace where food can be grown. The skyscraper harvests humidity to provide for its needs, and it would recycle waste water with a living machine system that includes live plants, trees, grasses and algae, fish, and other living creatures.

The walkways spanning the upper levels are studded with a massive set of wind turbines – not unlike the turbines spanning the Bahrain World Trade Center. The skyscraper supplements this wind energy with power produced from solar arrays, while passive design strategies reduce the building’s overall environmental footprint.

The building is designed to be constructed from modular units, which can be cheaply and efficiently constructed and then quickly assembled together on-site. According to pawar, “Eco Skyscraper is about rethinking the future: it is a profound challenge of survival, at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials to rethink and re-design how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work, or even to imagine the jobs that will be needed for transition”





Read more
: Spiraling Self-Sufficient Eco Skyscraper Provides Water, Food, and Energy for Noida, India | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building




 

No Space to Grow

Photo: Step up. Go beyond the odd flower pot in your backyard. 

(Source: www.verticalveg.org.uk/)

Monsanto at Work?

VEGGIE LIBEL LAW

A well-managed farm has nothing to hide

States across the country are now proposing legislation to make the taking of pictures or video of farms or food production facilities illegal. Robby Kenner, director of the documentary film, “Food Inc.”, feels that consumers have a right to know how their food is produced.
Veggie Libel Law

Anywhere, USA
3 February 2011
VEGGIE LIBEL LAW (AKA “Food Disparagement Law”)
13 states⁺ have passed laws to criminalize any behavior which may endanger the profits of a food company (this includes defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures).  ⁺(Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.  12 of these states’ statutes are civil; it is criminal in Colorado.)

ROBBY KENNER (MAKER OF THE FILM “FOOD, INC.”) SAYS THE FOOD INDUSTRY HAS LITTLE INTEREST IN LETTING US KNOW WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM AND WHAT’S IN IT.

His biggest shock came during a Congressional hearing on whether cloned meat should be labeled.  When the industry rep said “I don’t think it is in the interest of the consumers to be given this kind of information…it would just be too confusing,” it became all too clear the extent to which information about what we eat is off limits. (Was this why Robby make “Food, Inc.”?) Robby was curious to know where our food comes from and how we can feed the world in a more sustainable way.

OTHER RELATED TERMS

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Means any group of corn syrups that have undergone enzymatic processing in order to convert a portion of its glucose into fructose and produce a desired sweetness.Irradiation
Is the exposure of materials to radiation. Food irradiation is the exposing of food to ionizing radiation in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that may be present in the food. Other applications include delay of ripening, sprout inhibition, increase of juice yield and re-hydration improvement.
 
Genetically Engineered Food/Frankenfood
Foods that are derived from genetically modified organisms. Organisms that have been genetically modified have had specific changed introduced into their DNA through genetic engineering techniques.
 
Processed Food
Any food other than a raw agricultural commodity including any raw agricultural commodity that has been either canned, cooked, frozen, dehydrated, or milled. As an extension, processed food is also used to infer convenience food, which is commercially prepared food designed for ease of consumption. Such foods have been criticized for being full of saturated fats, sodium, and sugar and for providing little to no nutritional value. (In addition their artificial additives can produce food allergies, weight gain, and cause cancer.)
 
Dirty Dozen
Pesticide residue from conventionally grown produce does not entirely wash off under the tap at home. The Dirty Dozen is a list of the 12 most contaminated foods that should be avoided by buying organic. Doing so will substantially lower your pesticide intake. They are: Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines (imported), Grapes (imported), Sweet bell peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries (domestic), Lettuce, and Kale/collard greens. This list is compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) whose mission is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.
 
Food Democracy
Emphasizes social justice within the food system and is based upon the doctrine that citizens have the power to determine food policies locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Food Democracy upholds the idea that it is a right and responsibility of citizens everywhere to participate in decisions concerning their food system. In challenging the corporate food structure the goal is to ensure that all citizens have access to healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate foods.

ADDITIONAL TEXT TAKEN FROM THE PHOTOGRAPH

“Eating food that is produced in an industrial manner just doesn’t taste as good as it used to.” – Robby Kenner.

About Robby Kenner

In his critically acclaimed, Oscar nominated 2009 documentary, Food, Inc., Kenner explored our nation’s food industry and exposed how our food supply is manufactured and controlled by just a few companies, with often disastrous results.  The film features interviews with Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Stonyfield Farms’ Gary Hirshberg, and reveals shocking truths about where our food comes from as well as observations about who we have become as a nation.  Kenner has appeared on such shows as Nightline and  The Daily Show.  His previous film, Two Days in October, a PBS American Experience special, received the 2006 Peabody and the Emmy for exceptional merit in Non-Fiction Filmmakng.



ADDITIONAL WEBSITES OF INTEREST
Food, Inc. [official movie website]
Food Speak: Food-Disparagement Laws: State Civil & Criminal Statutes
Robert Kenner Films
Michael Pollan talks about the threat of food crisis
Food, Inc. Producer Robert Kenner on Industrialization of our food supply [video]


Rats on Gwaii Haanas National Park

Parks Canada eyes eradication in war on rats


Victory Gardens in Unused Urban Lands





Victory Garden founders (left to right) Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips specialize in transforming marginalized urban spaces into land for food production.
Photograph by: Jennilee Marigomen , submitted photo


Traveling through Vancouver's back alleys and narrow nooks, Lisa Giroday sees land that's ripe for food production in places that most people would easily dismiss.

As the urban agriculture movement continues to take hold, Giroday wants to challenge the limits of where people think food can be grown.

Got a patch of grass in front of your townhouse? A strip of greenery straddling the sidewalk and road? An apartment building with a perimeter of hedges? All those "marginalized" spaces where people might think to do no more than plant a bush or some flowers can be used for edible gardening, she says.


Giroday launched Victory Gardens in March along with friends Sam Philips, a master gardener, and Sandra Lopuch, an industrial designer. Their primary goal is to find innovative ways to incorporate local food production into urban environments.

In the past five months, they've helped clients install raised beds in overlooked spaces such as street boulevards, as well as holding edible gardening workshops to encourage more people to grow their own food.

Creativity is a big part of the Victory Gardens ethos. One of the first projects they took on was carving out edible gardening space for a town-house complex in Strathcona. The five owners each had a small "front yard," a plot about six by 12 feet, and they wanted a garden that looked great, but also produced food.

Victory Gardens helped them incorporate all sorts of salad greens into the existing ornamental gardens - lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale and chard - as well as root vegetables such as carrots and beets. And on the chain link fence that separated the townhouse complex from a neighbouring building, Victory Gardens spotted wasted space that could be transformed into a green wall of peas and beans.

"It looks amazing, it fully covers the chain link fence. So it offers that really nice esthetic appeal but it also reimagines where we can put food. A chain-link fence is really a built-in trellis, it's the perfect function!" says Giroday.

In another project, Victory Gardens installed a raised bed on the south side of a low-rise apartment building in Vancouver. Where once there was an overgrown patch, essentially a small plot between a pathway and the building, there's now a bounty of squash, corn, beets and tomatoes shared by tenants.

Giroday says any space can be used to grow food - from balconies, patios to rooftops - and is excited to see the movement take hold in different ways. A new condo building on Main Street has 12 community garden plots on its roof for residents and Victory Gardens recently consulted with another condo developer about incorporating community plots in a new apartment building.

The way Giroday sees it, the more food we can grow, the less dependent we become on imports and fossil fuels and the more sustainable we become as a society.

"The act of growing food has a pretty powerful way of changing people's perspective on how they consume. It's all round this pretty good thing," says Giroday.



Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Life/2312467/story.html#ixzz21nGPyo4P


Saving Valentina the Humpback Whale




  uploaded on Jun 13, 2011
Michael Fishbach narrates his encounter with a humpback whale entangled in a fishing net.  Gershon Cohen and he have founded The Great Whale Conservancy to protect whales. http://www.greatwhaleconservancy.org, is their website, or go to gwc's facebook page, and join them in helping to save these magnificent beings.

Source:
Saving Valentina.6.8.11.h264.mov - YouTube

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBYPlcSD490&feature=player_embedded#!






Saving Valentina.6.8.11.h264.mov - YouTube

Delicious Watermelon


8 Ways to Eat Watermelon


timsackton/CC BY 2.0
Watermelon, it's not just for picnics anymore. The big watery lugs are showing up everywhere in a variety of surprising guises, from sweet delicate soups to assertive sorbets. And not that we needed more reasons to love them, but the recent news that watermelon contains higher levels of the important antioxidant, lycopene, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, certainly hasn't hurt. They are also notably abundant in potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. And delicious.
Since there's no better time to indulge in their versatile loveliness than the dog days of summer, here are some new ways to put your watermelon to good use.

1. Agua Fresca

Aside from simply slurping up a slice of the fruit, this is one of the easiest ways to enjoy watermelon, the Mexican preparation of agua fresca, which is basically watermelonade.
  • 6 to 8 pounds watermelon, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • Lime and mint for garnish (if you like)
Blend half the watermelon pieces with 1 cup of water in a blender until smooth. Strain into a pitcher. Repeat with the rest of the melon and water. Mix in lime juice and agave. Pour over ice and garnish with lime and mint.

2. Watermelon and Cilantro Sorbet


© Jaymi HeimbuchJerry's recipe for Watermelon and Cilantro Sorbet is remarkably simple, doesn't require any special ice-cream making equipment, and makes just-right ending for a summer dinner.

3. Smoothies

There are as many ways to make a watermelon smoothie as there are Eskimo words for snow. (Although I understand that is a linguistic misconception, it's so poetic that I'm going to stick with it.) Here is the very most basic recipe, but to this you can add just about anything sweet and fruity. Try bananas, yogurt, peaches, strawberries, mango, you get the picture. A particularly good mix is half watermelon, half cantaloupe, vanilla yogurt and a bunch of lime juice.
  • 4 cups seeded cold watermelon
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • a small handful of ice cubes
Mix in a blender and serve.

4. Grilled Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Grilled watermelon, what?! It's true. Just like other non-conventional grilling fruits take so beautifully to the barbecue (avocados! strawberries!), so does watermelon -- as you will see if you make Kelly's Grilled Watermelon and Tomato Salad.

5. Sangria

This is like putting agua fresca in a sassy print dress for a summer cocktail party. You can play around with the ingredients and add any other fruit you may have lazing in the fridge.
  • 2 pounds watermelon, cubed
  • 750 ml bottle of white wine
  • 6 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces Cointreau
  • 4 ounces mixed lemon and lime juice
  • Honey or agave to sweeten to taste
  • Extra fruit for soaking, like strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe, raspberries, etc. Basil and mint are a nice garnish too.
Mix together and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour to let flavors meld. Serve over ice garnished with fruit.

6. Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho


© Jaymi HeimbuchThis recipe for Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho combines the sweetness of watermelon with tomato, cucumber, serrano chili to great effect. Bright and refreshing and kind of perfect.

7. Watermelon Gimlets

Watermelon and booze are a match made in cocktail heaven. Watermelon is heavenly sweet without being cloying and plays well with all types: Vodka, rum, tequila, and cachaca, to name a few. Here's how to make a very basic sweet and tangy vodka gimlet, but it's hard to go wrong with other concoctions. Add mint, use chili-infused alcohol, splash some orange juice in there, let your inner mixologist run wild.
  • 4 ounces watermelon juice (pureed and strained)
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • splash of Cointreau (or more if you prefer sweeter)
Add ingredients to ice in a shaker, shake until very cold, strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with

8. Pickled Rinds

It doesn't get more southern granny than this, and that's a grand thing. Any recipe that uses kitchen bits that otherwise end up in the trash gets my whole-hearted endorsement. The Bitten Word played around with pickling recipes and came up with an adaptation for Pickled Watermelon Rinds that, although time-intensive, is easy to follow and avoids some of the obscure canning vocabulary that has novice canners running for the hills. And best of all, pickled rinds will extend your watermelon eating into the cooler months, making the wait until next watermelon season a little more bearable.

Beat the Heat


Beat the Heat: Guys, You Can Use a Parasol & Still Be Manly


Garry Knight/CC BY-SA 2.0


I don't know how we've missed this beat the heat solution in our recent coverage, but somehow we did. But Japanese men, apparently, increasingly haven't.
Reuters reports that Japanese men have embraced the parasol to efforts to stay cool, collected, and not sweaty—the result of power conservation efforts post-Fukushima, hotter-than-usual summers, and sheer practicality.


Mayumi Mio of the Takashimaya department store chain:
There's been a spike in demand for men's sun umbrellas of about about three times since last summer. Most of them buy it for business when they have to step outside of the office to go to a meeting. They feel that it's rude to show up to work or a meeting all sweaty and worn out from the heat.
And, Kazuhiro Miyatake, a fourth-generation umbrella store owner, from Osaka:
I believe if there was a sun umbrella god, I'm positive it wouldn't discriminate between men and women. If men want to use sun umbrellas, they should be able to without shame.
Or, less subtly, men, let's suck it up and consider sun umbrellas. We're overlooking a great way of keeping the sun off our heads—and one that doesn't just keep our sweaty heads hidden from view like wearing a hat, but rather helps prevent sweat head by creating portable shade.
Unfortunately, as I know from experience trying to help a friend find a parasol that is suitable man-ish on a number of occasions but as of yet no joy, the manly sun umbrella is as rare as hens' teeth in the US. But there's no reason that has to be. And solid rain umbrellas work just as well for the time being.
If we're all perfectly willing to sit under the shade of an umbrella at the beach, why is carrying around one with us to block the sun any different?

U-ichiro Murakami/CC BY-SA 2.0




Mining in Mongolia


Wealth Rises in Mongolia, as Does Worry
By Dan Levin, NY Times, July 15, 2012

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia—Three kinds of foreigners, they say, prowl the world’s energy frontiers: missionaries, misfits and mercenaries.

Howard Hodgson, a weather-beaten Australian drilling executive with the mouth of a sailor, is proud to say he is in it for the money.

When he landed here more than a decade ago, Mr. Hodgson found an economic wasteland still reeling from the fall of Mongolia’s Communist overlords in 1990. The few other expatriates on the scene were mostly busy proselytizing, and there was little to do during the brutal winters but develop a taste for fermented mare’s milk.

Yet to Mr. Hodgson, a veteran of the wilds of Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and Pakistan, the young democracy was a welcome change of scenery. “I’d had enough running around in the jungle,” he said recently.

What made him stay, he said, aside from a nascent mining sector, was an advantage particularly irresistible to a man who had spent a career dodging cannibals, rebels and terrorists: “Here you won’t get shot.”

These days, the perks are far plusher. Mongolia, it turns out, sits atop a treasure trove of copper, coal and gold that is changing the fate—and the face—of this mostly empty country, thanks to China’s insatiable demand for natural resources. The surging mining trade has made Mongolia the world’s fastest-growing economy, transforming Ulan Bator into a city where Soviet bust meets Chinese boom.

And now the mercenaries in finance, attracted by a frenzy of deal-making, have joined in, too. “It’s a bit of a gold rush,” Mr. Hodgson said as he worked a booth at a coal industry conference packed with tailored suits and foreign accents.

For locals, their gentrifying capital, home to half of Mongolia’s 2.7 million people, has become a petri dish for their hopes and fears. Amid the crumbling Stalinist apartment blocks and rising skyscrapers, a debate is raging over mining’s impact, pitting those who praise the industry for sweeping away decades of decay against others who see materialism and corruption polluting Mongolia’s traditional way of life.

Like it or not, mining is changing Ulan Bator. Until a few years ago, the skyline was dominated by a pair of cooling towers. These days, the city’s tallest building is a gleaming 25-story hotel with $300-a-night rooms and unreliable heating.

Its glass sheath overlooks Mongolia’s economic and political nucleus, Sukhbaatar Square, which is surrounded by a telling collection of buildings: the Mongolian Parliament, the stock exchange, the headquarters of the Mongolian Mining Corporation and a billboard for the country’s first British private school, which is to open in September. Across the street, a new mall beckons the nouveau riche with name-brand stores like Burberry and Emporio Armani.

First-world profits are colliding with third-world problems. A series of flock-devastating winters and the lure of mining riches have attracted thousands of herders from the grasslands. They live on the city’s outskirts in crowded yurt slums some locals refer to as Mongolia’s favelas. Unemployment is rampant there; electricity and drinkable water are not. The less fortunate take shelter in the sewers, where they huddle beside hot-water pipes when the temperature plunges to 40 below.

“At the moment people are waiting for the mining wealth to somehow spill over to them,” said Sumati Luvsandendev, director of the Sant Maral Foundation, a nonprofit organization. According to the foundation’s recent polls, 96 percent of Mongolians think corruption is widespread and 80 percent say they believe their country’s oligarchs have too much power.

Discontent over corruption and the government concessions to foreign mining firms were the major campaign issues in last month’s parliamentary elections. Those now in power face high expectations to spend the mining windfall on health care, infrastructure and economic development.

Still, some wonder whether Mongolia can avoid the familiar demons of political instability, corruption and widening poverty that plague other mineral-rich developing nations. Government officials say they are working hard to avoid the “resource curse” that bloats the bank accounts of a corrupt elite at the expense of the wider public. They say they are also mindful of the potential for the so-called Dutch disease, the strengthening of a nation’s currency that often accompanies a surge in natural resource exports, making its other industries less competitive.

“Mongolia is at a crossroad,” said Saurabh Sinha, an economist with the United Nations Development Program in Ulan Bator. “Will the government use the mining wealth sustainably and equitably for improving the lives of all its people? Or will it become a Nigeria?”



Dogon People of Mali



Thousands of fishermen empty lake in minutes - Human Planet: Deserts, preview - BBC One



On one day of the year the Dogon people of Mali can fish in the sacred water of Lake Antogo. It's every fisherman for himself as the lake is emptied in minutes.

License: Standard YouTube License

Is man on course to cause the sixth extinction? | Environment | The Observer






Forthcoming book examines the role of humans in the eradication of species, and its findings are not likely to be pleasant





Robin McKie
The Observer, Sunday 8 November 2009


 

Is man on course to cause the sixth extinction?




At first sight it seems an unlikely topic for a landmark publishing deal: a fee of about half a million dollars for a book about dead animals – or, to be more precise, extinct animals.

Nevertheless the subject of eradicated species has become publishing hot property after a bidding battle in the US saw Henry Holt, a publisher, beat its rivals to buy The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert last week. According to the New York Times, a "mid-six-figure advance" has now been agreed between writer and publisher.

"The idea of mass extinctions as the next step after talking about the perils of global warming is the most crucial subject," said Gillian Blake of Holt, after completing the deal with Kolbert, a writer for the New Yorker on environmental issues. Her last book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, outlined evidence collated from sites across the planet showing how global warming is changing the world. The book was well reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic, with the Observer praising it as "a superbly crafted, diligently compressed vision of a world spiralling towards destruction".

Now, Kolbert is to focus on humanity's impact on the animal world, and in particular will look at the species that are today being rendered extinct by men and women. Scientists say the number of species being lost is approaching levels reached during five pivotal extinction events that have swept the planet over the past 600 million years. Among these catastrophes was the event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Kolbert's task will to be show whether or not humanity – with its spiralling population, widespread habitat destruction, over-fishing and global warming – is rivalling these.

The theme is intriguing but not new. Nor is the title. In 1996 the distinguished palaeontologist Richard Leakey, with journalist Roger Lewin, produced his version of The Sixth Extinction, in which he argued that the five previous mass extinction events were now being matched by a sixth. "Homo sapiens is poised to become the greatest catastrophic agent since a giant asteroid collided with the Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out half the world's species in a geological instant," he says.

Other distinguished scientists, including EO Wilson and Norman Myers, have also produced works on this theme. None received advances like the one agreed between Holt and Kolbert, however. So what has changed? Why have extinctions become the subject of such attention and finance?

Answers have much to do with timing. Over the past decade, there has been a revolution in concerns about the environment – on both sides of the Atlantic. A succession of reports from United Nations wildlife experts and climate scientists have shown that our planet is in peril and that thousands of species are now hovering on the brink of extinction. For a decade, the public has been deluged with stories about the vulnerability of the tiger, coral reefs, amphibians and a host of other creatures. Hence the interest in Kolbert's new book.

In publishing terms, the move is also a significant one because it represents a shift from big-money outlays on works of fiction which have dominated the market in recent years. Huge sums, for example, have been paid to novelists such as Audrey Niffenegger for works – such as her latest, Her Fearful Symmetry – that have had disappointing sales. A dose of eco-horror might prove rewarding, it is thought.

Certainly, extinctions make a riveting and disconcerting subject. As Professor Norman MacLeod, keeper of palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in London, told the Observer: "We now know that 99.9% of all lifeforms that have ever existed on Earth have gone extinct. That means, to a first order approximation, that all life is extinct."

Obviously this latter, rather disturbing, scenario has not quite arrived. Nevertheless it does indicate that the constant eradication of lifeforms has been the norm throughout the history of life on Earth. It is the fate of all species to become extinct, a notion that should concentrate the minds of Kolbert's readers. The question is: what forces are responsible for the loss of vast numbers of species in such a short period?

Answers depend on individual cases, it transpires. For example, a huge asteroid crashing on Earth 65 million years ago is generally thought to have done for the dinosaurs. The vast plume thrown up by the impact coated the planet in dust and triggered a devastating climate change. As a result, 47% of marine genera (groups of related species) and 18% of land vertebrate families, including the dinosaurs, were wiped out.

And as evidence geologists point to the Chicxulub crater near the Yucatán peninsula, beneath the Gulf of Mexico, as the impact point of the asteroid.

Similarly the Triassic extinction, which occurred between 199 million and 214 million years ago, was most likely caused by massive floods of lava erupting from the Atlantic Ocean. These created a wave of global warming. In this case, around 22% of marine families and 52% of marine genera were eradicated.

Then there was the Permian-Triassic extinction, about 250 million years ago, which has been linked to both asteroid impacts and volcanism. This was Earth's worst mass extinction, killing 95% of all species, including an estimated 70% of land species such as plants, insects and vertebrate animals. Before that, the Late Devonian extinction, about 360 million years ago, killed 57% of marine genera. Its cause remains unknown. And finally, there was the Ordovician-Silurian extinction, about 440 million years ago, which has been linked with changes in sea levels and which led to the eradication of 60% of marine genera.

Life on Earth has, on some occasions, become remarkably unpleasant in a short space of time, to say the least – though this has not always been the prevailing view among scientists. In fact, Darwin thought extinction was a slow, painful business. "The complete extinction of the species of a group is generally a slower process than their production," he once remarked, a view that held sway for more than a century. Indeed it was only in the latter half of the 20th century that scientists uncovered evidence – the Chicxulub crater – that an asteroid crash must have been involved in the demise of dinosaurs. Extinctions could be sudden, they realised.

However, MacLeod urged caution in interpreting such discoveries. "Most palaeontologists dislike the idea that any single cause was responsible for one of the main extinctions," he said.

"Life is very robust and it takes a sequence of events to produce large-scale extinctions."

Thus the dinosaurs were wiped out at a time of considerable volcanic activity on Earth. Plumes of material were already sweeping the planet, plunging it into a period of global cooling. The crashing asteroid then administered a planetary coup de grace.

On top of volcanoes and errant astronomical objects, other factors involved in these mass extinctions include extreme ice ages which coated the planet in ice from pole to equator, and eruptions of deep-sea methane deposits that set off massive global warming. The resulting death toll is measured in millions of species.

What remains unclear is the degree to which humans are now repeating this bloodletting, to the extent that we are about to set off a sixth extinction wave. If so, we will be the first single, biological cause of this kind of catastrophe. "If you add up the numbers of species that have been wiped out over the past few hundred years, then you find the figures fall well short of a mass extinction," said MacLeod. "It is only when you look at the numbers of creatures that are poised at the brink of eradication does the picture become alarming."

Tigers, coral reefs and all the marine life they support, amphibians such as the golden frog of Panama, orang-utans, sharks, mountain gorillas, the marine iguanas of the Galápagos, albatrosses, chimpanzees and thousands of other creatures now face obliteration: hunted, rendered homeless, and poisoned by humans.

More to the point, this predation has been going on, not for hundreds of years, but for tens of thousands of years.

Whenever Homo sapiens has moved into new territory, this has been followed quickly by the disappearance of most large land mammals, palaeontologists have found. For example, the Clovis people, ancient hunters armed with fearsome stone-tipped spears, arrived in North America 12,000 years ago.

A total of 75 species, including woolly mammoths, mastodons, four-horned antelopes and lumbering sloths the size of giraffes were killed off almost immediately. A thousand years later, the slaughter continued in South America when humans arrived there.

The glyptodon (a giant armadillo-like animal), several species of rodent and various llama-like animals were wiped out. And a similar bloodbath occurred in Australia with the arrival of the first members of Homo sapiens.

In short, humanity has a great deal of blood on its hands, spears and guns. Whether we maintain this kind of eradication of our fellow Earthlings remains to be seen. Most experts predict grim times, an outcome that will provide Kolbert with the core of her ambitious look at the fate of our planet – and at the fate of the animals who are trying, unsuccessfully, to share it with human beings.











Is man on course to cause the sixth extinction? | Environment | The Observer




LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/08/humans-sixth-extinction

Threatened Tribal Peoples

The world’s threatened tribal peoples

150 million tribal people live in more than 60 countries across the world Although their land ownership rights are recognized in international law, they are not properly respected anywhere

The Americas

Africa

Asia & Australasia