Tag Archives: environment

Why this dedicated wildlife defender is eager to get back to work after nearly dying

“Every life is sacred, but Pete has dedicated his life fighting for those who  can’t fight for themselves.”  Earthrace Conservation 


On December 26th while scouting for wildlife traffickers in the Costa Rican jungle, Earthrace conservationist Pete Bethume was bitten by one of the deadliest snakes in Central America, the fer-de-lance viper. More than two weeks later, Pete is still in recovery. The outstanding care that he received in the hospital saved his life, and continues now as outpatient medical treatment.
Fer-de-lance fangs deliver a toxin that races through bodily tissues and attacks blood vessels, capillaries, and muscle cells, killing tissues and quickly incapacitating both prey and potential predators. The powerful strike is lightning quick.
Bethume barely made it to the hospital in time.
Once Pete was struck, he and his companions had only a four-hour window to bushwhack through the thick jungle two miles to the Coast Guard boat that waited to take him to a hospital. Any longer than that and his chances to survive would have become minimal, and amputation almost certain.
“It took us three and a half hours, and by the end I could barely keep my eyes open,” said Pete from his hospital bed shortly after the incident.

Costa Rican Coast Guard assisting Bethune. (Photo from Bethune’s Facebook page).

His large, soft, brown eyes narrowed as he spoke of the challenges and the fear that faced the group as they slid down creeks and navigated small waterfalls in the dense jungle. The pain had been excruciating as the venom traveled from his calf up to his groin, and towards the end he could barely stay awake.
“I thought this Kiwi was a goner,” he said with a smile as he talked about how his crew of ex-navy men attempted to suck the poison out of his leg, how the terrain made carrying him next to impossible, and how they kept him going.
“Josh, Jack and Alvaro did an amazing job getting us out before dark,” the New Zealander continued. “Towards the end all I wanted to do was sleep. And Jack was like “Come on, ya lazy bastard. Move that skinny ass.”
“The reality is that our campaigns take us to difficult places and sees us taking on criminal gangs that are morally bankrupt and with deep pockets. And I’m not complaining about them. I’m rather highlighting the fact that this is the cause that my team and I choose to fight for, and we know the risks.”
During the entire ordeal, Bethune’s seemingly innate positivity and humor seldom left, and he gave daily updates which were posted on Facebook. Now released from the hospital he continues to post the updates from a ship that serves as headquarters for the work he and the crew are commissioned to do by the Costa Rican government.
Healing from the snake bite has been slow, and expenses continue to mount.

Please consider making a donation no matter how small; whether for the valuable work done by Earthrace Conservation, or simply in honor of the dreamers everywhere who, like Bethune, work tirelessly to make the world a better place, who go where we can’t, who partner with local authorities to protect what little is left of fragile ecosystems.

Screenshot (mirrored photo) from a video posted on 15 January 2021. This video and other updates can be found on Bethune’s Facebook page.

You can support this wounded wildlife warrior by donating to the GoFundMe page: 

Operation Fer-de-lance for Pete Bethune and Earthrace

“During the Covid pandemic, all non-profits are struggling as you can imagine. To offset the huge medical cost of this tragedy, we at Earthrace Conservation are requesting donations.  If there are any excess funds they will be used to fund protecting Costa Rica’s wildlife.

We are trying to be as conservative and sensible with this medical bill estimate… but right now we have no full idea of the final costs.

Every life is sacred but Pete has dedicated his life fighting for those who  can’t fight for themselves. It’s  without doubt that he deserves the best care possible and for us to fight this alongside him!”

Pete argues that we can all lead extraordinary and meaningful lives, but the key is to find and stand for a cause you truly believe in. From serving months in a maximum-security prison for fighting Japanese whalers to saving endangered red monkeys from poachers in the Amazon, Pete Bethune’s story will thrill, move, and inspire you.
Pete Bethune takes conservation to the extreme. As the founder of Earthrace Conservation, Pete is a world record holder, circling the globe four times on his powerboat, Earthrace.
His missions have seen him shot at, run over by a Japanese security vessel, incarcerated in Libya and Japan, and held under armed guard in a Guatemalan Military camp. As the producer of his show ‘The Operatives’, Pete runs a team of former special forces operatives to combat wildlife poaching, smuggling and illegal fishing in Africa, Asia, and Central America.
He also works closely with government enforcement units, training them in coastal surveillance and hostile vessel takedown. At the heart of it all, Pete is a ship captain with an environmental edge.” From Find a cause worth dying for, TedX Aukland.

“Let us not take this planet for granted” – Academy Award winner Leo DiCaprio, the environment, and you

 

“Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” DiCaprio said . “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
 

Photo source
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.                                                                             Photo Source

 
In Washington State, four legislators who consistently voted to dismantle legislation protecting the environment, wildlife, and use of public lands hope that they will get re-elected.  It is up to you whether or not they are allowed to block efforts to halt climate change for another term.
Washington Conservation Voters
“Despite the strong environmental ethos in much of the Washington delegation, overall 2015 will go down as the most anti-environmental Congress in our history.”
…“Once again, too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters. “Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Congressional leaders put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Washingtonians, environmental protections and climate action. This is particularly disappointing from members of the Washington delegation, where we have long had a bipartisan tradition of environmental protection.”
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)

Washington State Delegation Scores On Environmental Issues:
Senate:
Cantwell 96
Murray 96
House:
1 DelBene, 94
2 Larsen, R., 94
3 Herrera Beutler, 6
4 Newhouse, 3
5 McMorris Rodgers, 0
6 Kilmer, 94
7 McDermott, 100
8 Reichert, 6
9 Smith, Adam, 89
10 Heck, D., 97
Newhouse, McMorris, and Reichert all voted to support H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), while Herrera refrained from voting on this measure.
From Born Free: One of the most devastating provisions contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act. In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades. For example, the bill would including trapping under the definition of hunting, conflating two entirely different activities and thereby opening hundreds of millions of public lands to cruel trapping. In addition, the bill would force land managers to prioritize hunting and trapping above other outdoor activities, effectively excluding a large proportion of the American public from enjoying national spaces that belong to all of us. This and other changes in H.R. 2406 are in direct conflict with the stated purpose of the Wilderness Act, which is to establish areas “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park
Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes. The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders. The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.
These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well.
Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest.”
 

Climate impacts in the Northwest – Trump wants the EPA to remove all climate data from the website (copied here)

“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” one official told Reuters soon after the order to shut down the website was sent.” The Independent.
Nothing may come of Trump’s demand that the EPA remove all references to climate change, but this information may become harder to find. The information on the main EPA climate page is extensive and worth checking out. Only the information about the Northwest is copied here.

Climate Impacts in the Northwest


Overview

The Northwest is best known for its vast Pacific coastline and rainy weather. The region is home to the Cascade Mountain Range that runs north-south through Washington and Oregon, resulting in large climatic differences on the western and eastern sides of the range. West of the mountains, year-round temperatures are mild, winters are wet, and summers are dry. East of the mountains, it is typically sunnier and drier throughout the year, winters are colder, and summers can be significantly hotter.[1]
Over the last century, the average annual temperature in the Northwest has risen by about 1.3°F.[2] Temperatures are projected to increase by approximately 3°F to 10°F by the end of the century, with the largest increases expected in the summer.[2] Precipitation in the region has seen a decline in both the amount of total snowfall and the proportion of precipitation falling as snow. Declines in snowpack and streamflows have been observed in the Cascades in recent decades. In Washington state, record low snowpack values were measured in April 2015 and in seventy-four percent of long-term monitoring stations.[3] Changes in average annual precipitation in the Northwest are likely to vary over the century. Summer precipitation is projected to decline by as much as 30%, with less frequent but heavier downpours.[2]

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Impacts on Water Resources

A reliable supply of water is crucial for energy production, agriculture, and ecosystems. Much of the Northwest’s water is stored naturally in winter snowpack in the mountains. The snowpack melts and replenishes streams and rivers in the late spring and summer, when there is very little rainfall. Climate change threatens this natural storage by changing the timing of snowmelt and the amount of water available in streams and rivers (streamflow) throughout the year.[2] Warmer springs contribute to earlier melting of the snowpack, higher streamflows in late winter and early spring, and lower flows in summer. Spring snowmelt is projected to occur three to four weeks earlier by mid-century and summer streamflows are likely to decline.[2] In the Cascade Mountains, measurements of snowpack taken on April 1 (when snowpack is usually at its peak) have decreased by about 20% since the 1950s.[2]
Climate change can also lead to changes in the type of precipitation. Warmer winters cause more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow, particularly at lower elevations. This reduces soil moisture, snow accumulation, and the amount of water available from snowmelt.[2][4] Further, increased flood risks around rivers that receive waters from both winter rains and peak runoff in late spring are expected.[2]
Changing streamflows are likely to strain water management and worsen existing competition for water. Competing demands for water currently include hydropower, agricultural irrigation, municipal and industrial uses, and protection of ecosystems and threatened or endangered species. Increasing temperatures and populations could deepen demand and further stress urban water supplies that are already at risk of diminishing because of climate change.[2]
Forty percent of the nation’s hydropower is generated in the Northwest.[2] Lower streamflows will likely reduce hydroelectric supply and could lead to large economic losses in the region. Reduced streamflows combined with rising temperatures and a growing population are raising concerns about the ability to meet increased air conditioning and other electricity demands.[2]
For more information on climate change impacts, please visit the Water Resources Impacts or the Energy Impacts pages.
Projected changes to runoff and summer streamflows in the Northwest by the 2040s. Runoff is expected to decrease by 40 - 50 % in mountainous areas and 5 - 30 % in most other areas. Streamflows are also negatively impacted in roughly the same areas.Natural surface water availability during late summer is projected to decline across most of the Northwest. This map shows expected changes in local runoff (shading) and streamflow (colored circles) for the 2040s (compared to the period 1915 to 2006), assuming that heat-trapping greenhouse gases will be reduced in the future. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Click the image to view a larger version.

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Impacts on Coastal Resources

Climate change is damaging the Northwest coastline. Projections indicate an increase of 1 to 4 feet of global sea level rise by the end of the century, which may have implications for the 140,000 acres of the region that lie within 3.3 feet of high tide.[2] Sea level rise and storm surge pose a risk to people, infrastructure, and ecosystems, especially in low lying areas, which include Puget Sound. Warming waters and ocean acidification threaten economically important marine species and coastal ecosystems.[2]Map of Seattle showing areas projected to fall below sea level during high tide by end of the century. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within current projections. The highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge.Many areas of Seattle are projected to fall below sea level during high tide by the end of the century. Shaded blue areas depict three levels of sea level rise, assuming no adaptation. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within the range of current projections, while the highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Flooding, seawater inundation, and erosion are expected to threaten coastal infrastructure, including properties, highways, railways, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater outfalls, and ferry terminals. Coastal wetlands, tidal flats, and beaches are likely to erode or be lost as a result of seawater inundation, which heightens the vulnerability of coastal infrastructure to coastal storms.
Some coastal habitats may disappear if organisms are unable to migrate inland because of topography or human infrastructure. This is expected to affect shorebirds and small forage fish, among other species. Warmer waters in regional estuaries, including Puget Sound, may contribute to an increase in harmful algal blooms, which could result in beach closures and declines in recreational shellfish harvests. Ocean acidification is also expected to negatively impact important economic species, including oysters and Pacific salmon.
For more information on climate change impacts on coastal resources, please visit the Coastal Resources page.

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Impacts on Ecosystems and Agriculture

Higher temperatures, changing streamflows, and increases in pests and disease threaten forests, agriculture, and fish populations in the Northwest.[2]
Forests make up nearly half of the Northwest landscape. These areas provide important habitat for fish and wildlife and support local economies, recreation, and traditional tribal activities.[2] Forests have become warmer and drier due to rising temperatures, changes in precipitation, and reduced soil moisture. These stresses make trees more susceptible to insect outbreaks and disease and make forests highly flammable. An increase in the number and size of wildfires has been observed in the region in recent decades.[2] These impacts are expected to worsen in the future, resulting in larger areas burned each year and expanded spread of pests, including the mountain pine beetle. Some types of forests and other ecosystems at high elevations are also expected to disappear from the region by the end of the century from inability to survive changing climatic conditions.[2] These changes are likely to have significant effects on local timber revenues and bioenergy markets.
Areas burned from 1984-2008 or affected by insects or disease from 1997-2008. Expected increase in area burned resulting from 2.2°F average temperature increase ranges from 100-200% up to a 500-600% increase through eastern OR, middle of ID and western MTUnder hotter, drier conditions, insects and fire can have large cumulative impacts on forests. This is expected to be the dominant driver of forest change in the near future. The top map shows areas burned between 1984 and 2008 or affected by insects or disease between 1997 and 2008. The bottom map indicates the expected increase in area burned resulting from a 2.2°F warming in average temperature. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Click the image to view a larger version.Commercial fish and shellfish harvested in the Northwest were valued at $480 million in 2011.[2] Warming waters have already contributed to earlier migration of sockeye salmon in some streams and earlier growth of algal blooms in some lakes. Warmer waters are likely to increase spring and summer disease and mortality in Chinook and sockeye salmon in some river basins. Species that spend all or part of their lives in rivers, including salmon, steelhead, and trout, will suffer from decreased summer flows and increased flooding and winter flows. Projections suggest that suitable habitat for the four trout species in the region will decline by an average of 47% near the end of this century, compared to past decades.[2]
Ocean acidification is also expected to negatively impact shellfish, including oysters, and others species, including Pacific salmon, resulting in economic and cultural implications. Warmer coastal waters may alter migratory patterns and areas of suitable habitat for marine species, resulting in changes in abundances.
Agriculture is an important economic and cultural component in rural areas of the Northwest. In the short-term, a longer growing season and higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be beneficial to crops.[2] In the longer-term, reduced water availability for irrigation, higher temperatures, and changes in pests, diseases, and weeds may harm crop yields.

Threatened Salmon Populations

Photograph of salmon jumping and swimming upstream.Salmon swimming upstream. Credit: US Fish and Wildlife ServiceHuman activities already threaten Northwest salmon populations. These activities include dam building, logging, pollution, and overfishing. Climate change impacts further stress these salmon populations. Salmon are particularly sensitive due to their seasonally timed migration upstream to breed. Higher winter streamflows and earlier peak steamflows due to climate change will damage spawning nests, wash away incubating eggs, and force young salmon from rivers prematurely. Lower summer streamflows and warmer stream and ocean temperatures are less favorable for salmon and other cold-water fish species. These climate change impacts facilitate the spread of salmon diseases and parasites. Many salmon species are already considered threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Studies show that by 2100, one third of current habitat for Northwest salmon and other coldwater fish will be too warm for these species to tolerate.[5]

For more information on climate change impacts on forests, please visit the Forests Impacts page.
For more information on climate change impacts on agriculture and food supply, please visit the Agriculture and Food Supply Impacts page.

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References

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2011). Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest .

[2] USGCRP (2014) Mote, P., A. K. Snover, S. Capalbo, S. D. Eigenbrode, P. Glick, J. Littell, R. Raymondi, and S. Reeder, 2014: Ch. 21: Northwest. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 487-513.

[3] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington. Accessed June 1, 2015.

[4] US EPA (2016). Climate Change Indicators in the United States: Trends in April Snowpack in the Western United States, 1955-2016.

[5] USGCRP (2009). Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Karl, T.R., J. M. Melillo, and T. C. Peterson (eds.). United States Global Change Research Program. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA.

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“Let us not take this planet for granted”;  Leonardo DiCaprio, the environment, and you

 

Academy Award Leonardo DiCaprio wants each of us to wake up and face the challenges of climate change while there is still time.
“Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” DiCaprio said. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
Washington State is symptomatic of what can go very wrong even in a state that treasures the natural environment when obstructionist legislators are granted access to our country’s highest lawmaking body – and we are just one state of fifty…a fraction of governments worldwide.

J54 and mother, J 28. Photo by Dave Ellifrit.
Endangered orcas. J54 and mother, J 28. Photo by Dave Ellifrit, the Center for Whale Research.

Washington Conservation Voters reports:

“Despite the strong environmental ethos in much of the Washington delegation, overall 2015 will go down as the most anti-environmental Congress in our history.”
…“Once again, too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters.
“Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Congressional leaders put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Washingtonians, environmental protections and climate action. This is particularly disappointing from members of the Washington delegation, where we have long had a bipartisan tradition of environmental protection.”
Washington State Delegation Scores On Environmental Issues:
Senate:
Cantwell 96
Murray 96
House:
1 DelBene, 94
2 Larsen, R., 94
3 *Herrer-Beutler, 6
4 *Newhouse, 3
5 *McMorris-Rodgers, 0
6 Kilmer, 94
7 McDermott, 100
8 *Reichert, 6
9 Smith, Adam, 89
10 Heck, D., 97
*Up for re-election in 2016

 
Washington State representatives Newhouse, McMorris, and Reichert all voted to support the odious Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (H.R. 2406). Herrera cast no vote. All four are up for re-election.
grace_and_leo dicaprio for pi articleLeonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.                                                                 Photo Source
Washington Conservation Voters continues:

One of the most devastating provisions [of the ‘Sportsman heritage’ resolution] contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act.
In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades.

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes.

 
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The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders.

Donald Trump Jr. sawed off the tail of an elephant he killed for a trophy.
Donald Trump Jr. sawed off the tail of an elephant he killed for a trophy. (Source)

The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.

These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
These baby elephants are orphans because of ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well.
Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest.” Washington Conservation Voters

 

Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations?                                                   (Photo source)

It is up to you whether or not efforts to halt climate change in the next legislative term will be blocked and existing environmental protection will be undone.
You can volunteer, vote, make contributions, raise money, educate – what ever you do, you will make a difference. The choice is yours.
From ReadingRainbow.com
From ReadingRainbow.com

 

What Leonardo DiCaprio, President Obama, and Secretary of State Kerry Want You to Know

Leonardo DiCaprio has just cast both his fame and a small fortune  into solving ocean conservation problems and is counting on all of us to help.  On the political front, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry continue to put the ocean health high on their agendas, and there is a sense of urgency underlying their stance.

In some ways, it is the wild west out on the oceans, where greed exceeds rationality, but we may be on our way to doing something about it. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that President Obama plans to expand the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument, a grouping of seven islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean. Secretary of State John F. Kerry is making ocean health a priority:

An online course called “Ocean Solutions”, taught by Professor Duarte at the University of Western Australia, is also sounding the alarm that we are nightmarish-ly close to destroying the wold’s remaining ocean fish populations. We are running out of time (but as promised by the class title, solutions are offered, some of which are fairly draconian but all of which have to happen now. I highly recommend the class if it is still open).
And after several visits in the pre-dawn hours to the Honolulu Fish Auction (where the fleet of long-liners sell their catch) I have learned that while the U.S. fisherman are highly regulated, others are not once they are outside of our territorial waters, causing economic hardship to local fishermen that eventually cascade into problems for whales and dolphins that are seen as competitors for the dwindling fish stocks of the more nearshore, smaller fish species.
Our taste for top ocean predators not only drives up the price, but as I have learned, has no equivalent among land animals in terms of the food chain – tuna and bill fish are at the same trophic level as a mythological land animal would be that ate another mythological animal that ate wolves! We have no idea at this point how these top fish predators control the marine environment, and as they become scarcer we look for smaller and smaller species – yet we really have no idea what that is doing to the ocean food web either. From Fisherman’s Voice, Honolulu:

Tuna being off-loaded.
Tuna being off-loaded.

Although the prime species at the auction is bigeye tuna, a lot of other fish come in. After the bigeye is sold, they move to skipjack tuna, albacore tuna and yellowfin tuna. Then the billfish: broadbill swordfish, shortbill spearfish and striped marlin; and the other open ocean fish like dolphinfish, wahoo, moonfish and bigscale pomfret. Some bottom fishermen, too, sell grouper, red snapper, crimson snapper, russet jobfish, yellowbar jobfish, yellowstriped snapper and lavender jobfish at the auction.
Outside, while the auction is going on, the captain of one boat watches as his 10 tons of bigeye tuna are offloaded–and sold nearly as fast they can reach the floor. The 100-foot vessel usually makes three-week voyages, going from 400 to 800 miles offshore. This trip, however, was cut short and his catch wasn’t what it could have been. But he says even his best catches are nothing next to the Japanese and European longliners, who have superior technology. “We’re just fishermen,” he says. “And right now this is one of our last open fisheries since Alaska went to ITQs. That doesn’t even seem legal,” he adds. With the cost of fuel and bait (he paid 22 dollars a case for frozen sardines), he says they’re not making much money, but the catch has been constant, so far.

Benefactors like DiCapro and our politicians need your support to overcome partisan and international conflicts, and helping the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is a good place to start.

Navy to Hold Public Meetings On Their Impact on Ocean Life, Starting February 26th, 2014

When giant squid were found dead off Spain about a decade ago, scientists suspected that powerful sound pulses from ships had harmed the animals. Now the evidence may be in. A new study says low-frequency sounds from human activities can affect squid and other cephalopods, not just whales and other marine mammals, which have long been thought to be vulnerable to such pulses.
When giant squid were found dead off Spain about a decade ago, scientists suspected that powerful sound pulses from ships had harmed the animals. Now the evidence may be in. A new study says low-frequency sounds from human activities can affect squid and other cephalopods, not just whales and other marine mammals, which have long been thought to be vulnerable to such pulses.

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 18, 2014
NAVY TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS FOR THE NORTHWEST TRAINING AND TESTING DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ OVERSEAS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
SILVERDALE, Wash. – The U.S. Navy invites the public to attend public meetings for the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS). The Navy has prepared the Draft EIS/OEIS to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of military readiness training and testing activities conducted primarily within existing range complexes, operating areas and testing ranges in the NWTT Study Area. The Navy invites you to comment on the NWTT Draft EIS/OEIS.
Public Meetings
Eight public meetings will be held to inform the public about the Navy’s Proposed Action and findings in the Draft EIS/OEIS, and solicit public comments on the environmental analysis. The public meetings will include an open house information session starting at 5 p.m. During this time, Navy representatives will provide information and answer questions about the Proposed Action and Draft EIS/OEIS. A short presentation by the Navy will begin at 6:30 p.m. Comments will be accepted throughout the public meeting. The public meetings will be held at the following locations and times:
Open House Information Sessions: 5-8 p.m.
Navy Presentation: 6:30 p.m.
Washington:     Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Oak Harbor High School
Student Union Building
1 Wildcat Way
Oak Harbor, WA
Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014
Cascade High School Student Commons
801 E. Casino Road
Everett, WA
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
North Kitsap High School Commons
1780 NE Hostmark St.
Poulsbo, WA
Oregon: Monday, March 3, 2014
Astoria High School Student Commons
1001 W. Marine Drive
Astoria, OR
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Isaac Newton Magnet School Gym
825 NE 7th St.
Newport, OR
California:     Thursday, March 6, 2014
Red Lion Hotel Redwood Ballroom
1929 4th St.
Eureka, CA
Friday, March 7, 2014
Redwood Coast Senior Center West Room
490 N. Harold St.
Fort Bragg, CA
Alaska:         Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Southeast Alaska Discovery Center Lobby
50 Main St.
Ketchikan, AK
Individuals requiring reasonable accommodations, please contact Liane Nakahara, Navy Region Northwest Public Affairs Specialist, at 360-396-1630 or liane.nakahara [at] navy.mil.
Availability of Draft EIS/OEIS and Public Comment Period:
The Navy is seeking public input on the Proposed Action and alternatives, and the accuracy and adequacy of the Draft EIS/OEIS. The Draft EIS/OEIS is available for public review online at www.NWTTEIS.com and at the following locations:
Washington:
. Everett Main Library
. Gig Harbor Library
. Jefferson County Library – Port Hadlock
. Kitsap Regional Library – Poulsbo
. Kitsap Regional Library – Sylvan Way (Bremerton)
. Oak Harbor Public Library
. Port Angeles Main Library
. Port Townsend Public Library
. Timberland Regional Library  – Aberdeen
.Timberland Regional Library – Hoquiam
Oregon:
. Astoria Public Library
. Driftwood Public Library
. Newport Public Library
. Tillamook Main Library
Northern California:
. Fort Bragg Branch Library
. Humboldt County Public Library,
Arcata Main Library
. Humboldt County Public Library,
Eureka Main Library
Southeastern Alaska:
. Juneau Public Library,
Downtown Branch
. Ketchikan Public Library
The Navy is accepting comments throughout the 60-day public comment period, from Jan. 24, 2014, to March 25, 2014. All comments must be postmarked or received online by March 25, 2014, for consideration in the Final EIS/OEIS. Written comments may be submitted via the project website at www.NWTTEIS.com, in person at the public meetings or by mail to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: Ms. Kimberly Kler – NWTT EIS/OEIS Project Manager
1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 203
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101
Proposed Action
The Navy proposes to conduct training and testing activities, to include the use of active sonar and explosives, within the NWTT Study Area. The Proposed Action also includes pierside sonar maintenance and testing within the NWTT Study Area.
The purpose of the Proposed Action is to ensure that the Navy accomplishes its mission to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is achieved in part by training and testing within the NWTT Study Area. The NWTT EIS/OEIS also supports the renewal of federal regulatory permits and authorizations for current training and testing activities and future activities requiring environmental analysis.
The NWTT Study Area is composed of Navy training and testing range complexes, operating areas, testing facilities, and select Navy pierside locations in the Pacific Northwest.  Aircraft training and testing activities that take place on or within established Navy airfields at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. or Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman, Ore. are not included in this NWTT EIS/OEIS.
Visit the project website at www.NWTTEIS.com to download the Draft EIS/OEIS, view a map of the NWTT Study Area, learn more about the project and submit comments online.
-USN-

Thousands of Whales and Dolphins at Risk: Actor Ted Danson Petitions Government to Halt Deadly Seismic Testing in the Gulf

An easy thing to do for Earth Day 2013 – please sign Ted’s petition, and take a few minutes to see how this actor is using his resources to make a difference. Because this petition is directly to the White House, if enough signatures are collected in a 30 day period the government will have to give full consideration to the issues, and will have weigh whether or not industry should be allowed to deafen and destroy ocean life in its quest for oil.

Ted Danson
Ted Danson, actor

ted-danson
…and environmentalist.

“To most, Ted Danson is known for TV and movie acting roles, but for those in the conservation movement, he is much more famous for his work as a passionate ocean advocate and Oceana spokesman.”
The Petition:  “We petition the obama administration to:
Stop seismic airgun testing for oil and gas off the U.S. East Coast.
According to your Department of the Interior, seismic airgun testing for oil and gas in the Atlantic will injure or kill 138,500 dolphins and whales, including endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Seismic airguns and offshore drilling threaten commercial and recreational fisheries as well as ocean-based tourism and coastal recreation from Delaware to Florida. 730,000 jobs in this region depend on a healthy ocean. Seismic airgun testing is the first step toward expanding deepwater drilling, the same practice that caused the well-known Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.
Offshore drilling is dirty and dangerous, and seismic airguns are an insult to ocean economies and ecosystems. With respect, we call on your administration to reject seismic airgun testing in the Atlantic.”  PLEASE SIGN.

Oceana, founded in 2001, is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Our offices in North America, South America and Europe work together on a limited number of strategic, directed campaigns to achieve measurable outcomes that will help return our oceans to former levels of abundance. We believe in the importance of science in identifying problems and solutions. Our scientists work closely with our teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to achieve tangible results for the oceans.”

Changing Presidents in a Crisis is Like Changing Horses Midstream, and We Will All Get Wet if We Make That Mistake (Video)

Crossing a stream on horseback is not always easy, and to transfer oneself from one horse to another during the process is inviting a ducking, if nothing worse. In the same way, if we think it necessary to make changes, we must choose the right moment to make them.
In 1864, at the height of the American Civil War, there were demands for a change in the presidency. The then president, Abraham Lincoln, replied to his critics:
‘I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded in this connection of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that it was not best to swap horses when crossing a stream’.(Proverb Hunter)


The Washington Post:

Obama has been aggressive about bolstering the federal government’s capability to respond to disasters, while his Republican challenger believes that states should be the primary responders in such situations and has suggested that disaster response could be privatized.

Sometimes *stuff* happens:

Other times we make really, really bad choices, causing pain to others and to ourselves:

Global warming is real, and we are running out of time to do anything about it. PLEASE MAKE THE SMART CHOICE.

Vote for the Environment,Your Future Depends Upon It – A Lesson From Hurricane Sandy

Please take a few minutes to view these videos, they will help clarify the importance of factoring in environmental issues in this election. A list of recommended candidates is below.


Candidates willing to face climate reality (League of Conservation Voters (LCV)):

Presidential Endorsement

Action Fund Senate Endorsements

Action Fund House Endorsements

Action Fund Gubernatorial Endorsements

Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, www.lcvactionfund.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Climate Change Denier Senator James Inhofe Receives Rubber Dodo Award

(Center for Biological Diversity)

“I am truly honored that yet another radical environmental group has given me an award for my efforts to put a stop to President Obama’s far-left global warming agenda,” Senator Inhofe said.  “The Center for Biological Diversity should be pleased to know that my award will have a prominent place in my office, along with all the others I have been proud to receive over the years.  As the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, I have worked every day to expose the radical left’s extremist agenda aimed at ending American production of oil, gas, and coal because of the devastating consequences it will have on the American people.”
From the Center for Biological Diversity:

TUCSON, Ariz.— Senator James Inhofe, one of Congress’ staunchest deniers of climate change and stalwart human obstacle to federal action on this unprecedented global crisis, is the lucky recipient of the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2012 Rubber Dodo Award, which is given annually to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.
Rubber dodo

Previous winners include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011), former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007).
When it comes to denying the climate crisis — the single-greatest threat now facing life on Earth — James Inhofe has few peers. The Oklahoma Republican is the ringleader of anti-science climate-deniers in Congress and a driving force behind the tragic lack of U.S. action to tackle this complex problem. 2012 saw the publication, to resoundingly little critical acclaim, of Sen. Inhofe’s book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, by WND Press, an entity also known for its “birther” campaign against President Barack Obama.
“As climate change ravages the world, Senator Inhofe insists that we deny the reality unfolding in front of us and choose instead to blunder headlong into chaos,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “Senator Inhofe gets the 2012 Rubber Dodo Award for being at the vanguard of the retrograde climate-denier movement.”
This year is on track to become the warmest on record; some 40,000 temperature records have been broken in the United States in 2012 alone, while Arctic sea ice has melted to a record low. The year has also seen record droughts, crop failures, massive wildfires, floods and other unmistakable signals that manmade global warming is tightening its grip, threatening people and wildlife around the globe.
“Senator Inhofe’s pet theory that climate change is an elaborate hoax would be hilarious, if only he weren’t an elected representative of the American people,” Suckling said. “If he were, say, a performance artist, it’d be really funny. But sadly he has the power to affect U.S. climate policy. The United States has a chance — and a duty — to take significant steps to slow the climate crisis, and a brief window of time before it’s too late for us to do so. Deniers like Inhofe, in positions of leadership, are dooming future generations of people to a far more difficult world.

Background on the Dodo
In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it’s the dodo — the most famous extinct species on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.

Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681 the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover while pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.
The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse” (that nation’s name for the little grebe).
The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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