Madagascar land grab we’re not hearing much about in the news

Korea’s “Daewoo Logistics” is attempting to lease HALF the agricultural land in Madagascar for 99 years for the industrial farming of palm oil and maize (corn), some 1.3 million acres according to an article on Care2.com. Of all the stupid things a country could do at this time of environmental uncertainty is kill off habitat for some of the most diverse creatures on the planet. Madagascar is a treasure chest for scientists and holds a key to biological changes occurring as the planet’s climate changes.

But the biggest travesty is that the people on this island off the SE coast of Africa are already suffering a severe food crisis. Naturally they are protesting because they may soon be losing THEIR land. This in turn is causing a governmental crisis. The world needs to let the people of Madagascar and those CEO’s of Daewoo know we are watching and will not in any way stand around and let this happen. We know about the wonderful biodiversity there and the plight of the people. What business does Korea have intruding on an island off of Africa anyway? We’re worried about N. Korea, and S. Korea proposes to do this? This is just not getting enough media attention considering the biodiversity issue at stake. Some of the world’s most rare creatures are found in Madagascar ONLY.

Anyone with children has seen the animated features “Madagascar and Madagascar II.” Like “Charlotte’s Web” these animated animal icons in Madagascar films are far removed from the horror the creatures they imitate suffer in real life. Little pigs like the one in “Charlotte’s Web” more than not will be found rotating in their whole bodily form on some rotisserie barbeque somewhere this summer. And the animals in “Madagascar” are no different. The lemur is already endangered. We’ve watched the Discovery, Science, Nat Geo, and Sundance Channels, Jeff Irwin and Jack Hanna enough to catch presentations about Madagascar and hopefully comprehend that Madagascar is a biological wonder http://www.wildmadagascar.org/overview/FAQs/.
That notwithstanding, the hostile takeover of any people’s agricultural property by another country, especially a people already suffering a food crisis, should be a call for intervention by the U.N. if their own country doesn’t soon support them.

We’re hardly hearing about this advance on Madagascar in the news. Please sign petitions to let both Korea and Madagascar know the world is watching and protesting. The people of Madagascar have managed to keep the biodiversity of their island country in tact forever. Just last year they agreed to “sell more than nine million tons of carbon offsets to fund rainforest conservation in a newly established protected area. Conservationists say the deal protects endangered wildlife, promotes sustainable development to improve the economic well-being of people living in and around the park area, and helps fight global warming” according to the website “wildmadagascar.org.” And this is how they are repaid by the world community? Much of that biodiversity could be lost with one bad decision, the decision to look the other way instead of protesting along with the people of that country. The U.S. should have much to say to S. Korea about this proposed plan.

To sign petitions: http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/1172161.

http://www.regenwald.org/international/englisch/.

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Can Mega Wind Farms Inhibit a Tornado or Defer Its Path?

I was watching ABC news about the 900 mile swath of 21 tornadoes that were active from western Michigan to Missouri last night and remembered watching a special on TV about one of climatologist’s biggest fears, tornadoes that unite to become multi-vortex mega storms. Is this what we’re beginning to experience? The NOAA website reports: “There is a statistical trend (as documented by NSSL’s Harold Brooks) toward wide tornadoes having higher damage ratings. This could be related to greater tornado strength, more opportunity for targets to damage, or some blend of both. However, the size or shape of any particular tornado does not say anything conclusive about its strength.” So there is a trend but it appears to be downplayed, while tornadoes are becoming rampant across the heartland of our country, destroying more and more properties every year, and occurring out of season.

Residents in the Missouri area said they witnessed 4 distinct heads of the multi vortex tornado that covered a 5-mile swath of land. This tornado was also described by the newscaster as a bouncer, touching down, going up, and then touching down again. The same NOAA website states that tornadoes don’t literally skip. It says: “By definition [] a tornado must be in contact with the ground. There is disagreement in meteorology over whether or not multiple touchdowns of the same vortex or funnel cloud mean different tornadoes (a strict interpretation). In either event, stories of skipping tornadoes usually mean

1. There was continuous contact between vortex and ground in the path, but it was too weak to do damage;
2. Multiple tornadoes happened; but there was no survey done to precisely separate their paths (very common before the 1970s); or
3. There were multiple tornadoes with only short separation, but the survey erroneously classified them as one tornado.

So was this multi-vortex, bouncing tornado possibly a new phenomena? Is there anything that can be done to limit the increasing velocity and strength of tornadoes? Well, “Daniel Barrie and Daniel Kirk-Davidoff of the University of Maryland concocted an experiment. They took the pattern of expanding turbine fields to an extreme, and used a computer model to calculate what might happen if all the land from Texas to central Canada, and from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains were covered in one massive wind farm,” according to an article on Discovery Channel website. It said, “[They] acknowledged the hypothetical wind farm was far larger than anything humans are likely to build. But meeting the Department of Energy’s goal of wind power generation by 2030 would require that scores of huge wind farms be built throughout the Midwestern United States. The total disturbance caused by turbines could be enough to steer storms.”
Interesting!

Although the NOAA website states that it is unlikely we could ever come up with anything that could stop a tornado that wouldn’t be worse than the tornado itself, it does talk about dissipating one, which means to slow down or cause it to break up. The website’s FAQ’s page said that tornadoes do need a source of instability and a “larger-scale property of rotation (vorticity) to keep going.” It went on to say that a lot of processes surrounding a storm could rob the area around a tornado of either instability or vorticity. Cold outflow is one. This is the flow of wind out of the precipitation area of a shower or thunderstorm. It’s been observed that cold outflow causes a tornado to go away. It also says: “For decades, storm observers have documented the death of numerous tornadoes when their parent circulations (mesocyclones) weaken after they become wrapped in outflow air — either from the same thunderstorm or a different one.”

Could that different outflow of air possibly be produced by large wind farms in the near future? Could they produce enough wind to replicate the outflow air of a thunderstorm? If so, it’s incentive enough to develop wind power. There are far too many homes and properties destroyed every year from increasingly bad weather. If we thought the stock market dive was bad, imagine insurance companies going bust?

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=7582543

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/11/25/wind-farms-weather.html

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado

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Watch Planet Green

Watch Planet Green on the Discovery Home Channel. There are a lot of myth busters on the show. You know myths that solar power is not a viable source of energy  in cloudy areas. Wellllll, in cloudy, rainy Seattle a couple just built a home using solar collector tubes to heat their water. It’s so simple an idea you wanna smack yourself in the forehead like a V8 commercial.

The tubes are made of glass that contain parallel rows of smaller glass tubes along which are metal fins. There is no air inside so that the fins do not corrode easily and the tubes last a long time. The fins heat up and in this case in Seattle on a rainy/cloudy day of less than 60 degrees, the heat inside the tube almost doubles to 113 degrees in minutes. The water flowing through these pipes is indeed hot!

The other night there was featured a 7,000 sq. ft. home in a colder state like S. Dakota, Montana, etc. The homeowner used solar panels that cost him $34,000, but provided 90% of the energy to his home even in the winter. The trick is to incline the panels enough so that the snow slides off, the same principle as a roof. In this case a foot of snow slid off the panels in short time after the sun came up.  

The price  of solar panels is not all that staggering, and what a return on investment, as well as a tax write-off. I rounded the $34,000 up to $35,000 and divided by the 7,000 sq. ft. equals $5.00 per sq. ft.

That’s pretty good if a person has a large, large gas/electric bill every month. I do not. So the $7500 investment won’t pay for itself as far as utility savings for me for a long time, but as a resale feature, and with the tax write-off, I might be able to recoup all of that investment at once. There are a lot of different angles to look at. Of course the conservation and environmental issues are always important. To be free of the grid is a very good thing.

This is a very cool channel to watch where we can actually see the opposite of what we thought was the truth. There are all sorts of solutions out there that aren’t that expensive like soft beautiful carpeting made of recycled plastic bottles, that does not stain, and is cheaper. Once you’re done with it, it gets recycled again. I wonder if it would deter fleas too?

Soon to come on this channel, Leonardo DiCaprio will host a series, which will detail the making of a model green community called “Greensburg” I believe. There are, however, community models for solar power somewhere near Southern California that are not only off the grid, but generate excess solar power.

What I can’t figure out is if there are communities baked by the sun that can generate a massive amount of excess power, why can’t we just realign our power source centers in these areas to supply enough power everywhere? Because it seems that of the homes and/or communities I read about as solar powered experiments there is always have an excess of power.  Islands habitats share both an abundance of sun and wind. Islands should be looking to immediately get off the grid via solar and wind power. I know Hawaii has passed legislation requiring all new homes have solar powered water heating systems, and they’ve had wind fields for quite a long time.

Check out the Discovery Home/Plant Green Channel. If you don’t get that subscription channel then goto: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/.

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The Chicken Little Crowd is Getting Bigger and With More Clout

I read Mitch Albom’s column in the Free Press this past Sunday, and although I agree with him, I think it was well, um, a little bit dated. His perception that environmentalists are a league of people still derided as Chicken Littles is a little off. As long as I’ve been writing this blog, I think maybe I’ve been called a Chicken Little twice. I had one opponent that appeared to be a drinker going off into raves eventually calling me a cur so as to not get axed from the website for calling me something worse. But that was long ago. Another opponent eventually came to terms with the fact that on a lot of levels we are simpatico. We agreed that we do indeed create trash and should be cleaning up after ourselves, whether or not it does or does not contribute to global warming. Isn’t this moment of agreement in the environmental argument all that’s needed? Because cleaning up after ourselves is the first step to realizing just how much garbage we actually create, which should logically lead to more conservation efforts regardless of global warming.

In this light, how the pro-environmental argument is presented seems to make a heck of a lot of difference. Finding common ground brings people to agreement faster, and that’s what seems to be happening. Unlike Albom, I’m seeing a huge surge of environmentalism on TV and the Internet lately. My 85-year old mother pointed it out to me about 2 weeks ago. I paid closer attention after that and she’s right. There are all types of commercials on TV that are telling people to buy in bulk, don’t shampoo their hair every day, you know insidious mantra that eventually gets an entire population moving toward conservation without knowing it. Admit it. We’re herded more times than not and industry with the help of the media is like the rancher.

I blogged about industry moving the green market quite a while back. Industry’s push to go “green” is getting increasingly stronger because they can’t afford high energy costs either. GE can hardly keep up with the demand for its industrial wind turbines. Green rooftops are appearing on city buildings everywhere thanks to newly formed environmental organizations like Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. And just look up companies growing in leaps and bounds like Sun Edison, who provides an affordable way for industry to benefit from rooftop solar panels, that is, if they aren’t already planted green. Retail giant Wal-Mart starting moving to go green, and now companies like SC Johnson are looking to supply those big stores with their “totally” green .products. Even Conoco Philips (Big Oil) threw in the towel, and joined Tyson Chicken to create biofuel from chicken fat at no real profit, just because it’s the right thing to do for the environment. And when moguls like Ted Turner make statements that it’s absolute suicide to continue to pollute and consume the way we do, well, try calling terrible Ted a “CL.”

I’ve lost count of all the home improvement shows that tout “green,” as well as, media outlets like PBS, Discovery, Science, and National Geographic channels that consistently show the latest findings and discoveries regarding the environment and man. I’ve even watched Canadian TV like “The Outsider,” or “The Fifth Estate” air documentaries about U.S. government cover ups of scientific reports relative to global warming. I’m seeing more and more green shows coming out of Canada now. And I can’t say enough for organizations listed as links on my blog like EarthJustice, The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Union of Concerned Scientists, and many others that don’t think twice to take on the U.S. Government or anyone else over the environment and wildlife. While we sleep, or go about our usual day, these guys are out on cold oceans, at the edge of public forests, in congress, and everywhere they need to be to stop bad things from happening to our world and everything in it.

But best of all when I see Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich in a commercial urging citizens to contact congress to push ahead to embrace environmentalism, it’s a clear indication that forces are looking to gather against the old energy lobbyists and the spin machine. This was topped off last week when Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Committee for Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Johnson, that he need be prepared to testify regarding the recently released Union of Concerned Scientists Report documenting extensive and widespread political interference with the work of scientists at EPA. Yes!!!

Add to that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the EPA should be regulating CO2 emissions from autos as part of the Clean Air Act, and the U.S. Court of Appeals vacating the EPA’s “Clean Air Mercury Rule,” literally throwing out the EPA’s cap and trade system for mercury, and demanding the EPA set new standards for the coal burning industry within two years. Concurrently, it also vacated the EPA’s “Incinerator Rule.” This bodes exceptionally well for the Chicken Little movement.

The timing is uncanny, but unlike Mr. Albom’s perception of environmental efforts, this past Sunday, for the first time in a very long time, I was optimistic about environmentalism, my faith in America restored. After researching the onslaught against our parks, our air, our water, animals, and their habitat for so long by the Bush/Cheney administration, I finally sensed a real, hardy shove back by the other powers that be, which is American industry and ingenuity. They don’t seem to suffer low self-esteem as a “Chicken Little” crowd at all. Had Mitch written about the “CL” complex a year ago I might have wholeheartedly agreed. But now, all I see is the “greening” of America, like it or not. As for “Chicken Little” calling, sticks and stones…

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Wolf Hunt Frenzy is Out of Control

Dead Wolves

 (The photos are from Defenders of Wildlife, defenders.org.)

Todays Detroit Free Press had a huge article about global warming wreaking havoc on thousands of animals. It said 3000 flying foxes dropped dead falling out of trees in Australia, butterflies that lived in high altitudes of our continent have vanished, and many more species will disappear in our lifetimes due to global warming. Knowing I’m part of the human population that has created this makes me ashamed. Yet we have state’s governors working themselves into a frenzy to obliterate every last wolf if they have their way.

There has been a campaign for quite some time to stop the aerial killing of wolves. It started and continues in Alaska. Many Alaskans want it stopped, and people all over the country have petitioned Alaska to stop it. Alaska has a new governor and it’s become even worse for wolves there. The issue has finally made it to Alaska’s ballot to stop aerial hunting once and for all.

Defenders of Wildlife disclosed that Alaskan officials earmarked $400,000 in public, or taxpayers dollars, to launch a campaign of lies trying to defend its aerial hunting policy. It’s the wilderness for God’s sake. Where are these animals supposed to live? They serve a purpose, a very important purpose.

The Discovery Channel aired a special from Yellowstone Park. A ranger took the TV cameras to watch wolves. The park is thriving due to their return. The ranger showed rows of different types of brush and trees that were being eaten down by animals the wolves feed on. He pointed out how the wolves helped balance the park in many ways. They are a good thing and welcome there.

As far as livestock, there was a special on the National Geographic channel not long ago that chronicled researcher, Shaun Ellis, who has literally given his life to the study of wolves. He has proven that wolves are family oriented, stick together, and have their own territory. Wolves that might attack rancher’s cattle were deterred by simply broadcasting the howl of another family of wolves. The new invading wolves stayed away for good not wanting to disrupt the territory claimed by the other wolves. I think human beings could benefit greatly from studying wolves. They “RESPECT” one another, yet we shoot them from planes and helicopters.

There is another serious viewpoint to the politics of these wolf hunts. This inhumane hunting practice undermines the efforts of others. Our own Senator Carl Levin created a bill to stop the clubbing of baby seals in Arctic Canada. Why would Canada listen to us about seals when like barbarians, we hunt wolves this way? It isn’t about the hunters or hunting. It’s about the politics of being a horrible example to the rest of the world, and where our credibility takes another bite. America does this all the time. We point out wrongdoing elsewhere and have garbage in our own back yard to clean up, including wars, and threats of wars.  Who will listen to a people who allow these things to happen? All we’ve done to exact change in this country in the past 7 years is to vote. When we do see demonstrations against politicians anymore, we are looking at other countries, not America.

This wolf witch hunt hit me and hopefully many others at a time when I am just fed up with killing. I’m already disheartened that so many animals we grew up with, that have been around for our lifetimes may just disappear. As humans we have done enough damage to the earth and everything in it. Yet we pursue more killing and once again it’s coming again from our leadership.  It’s a leadership that is so out of touch with citizens that it pays no attention to petitions and outcries from the public. Isn’t this thirst for blood getting a little stale? In retrospect, the wolf commercials from the last election certainly depicted the wrong villains.

And there are worse than Sarah Palin, Gov. of Alaska, Idaho’s Gov. Butch Otter has worked his gun toting constituency into a frenzy against wolves. That state launched a ballot initiative to remove ALL wolves. What type of intelligence is this? And it comes from a governor of a state? It’s a lynch mob who uses technology to try to wipe out an entire species of animal. They obviously haven’t bothered to learn about or care enough to explore all venues for control, if control is even needed. It looks like sport hunting to me. Wyoming wants to follow this mob. The Bush/Cheney administration is pushing to hunt them in our, “OUR” national parks too.

It’s easy to see our states are no longer united. When federal legislation that was put in place by us and preceding presidents for protection of these animals is repealed by this determined, uncaring machine of a government, then the states will each have their way. This is just an example of how divided our states are already and will become even more so in the future if we keep dismantling the federal government like extreme right wing ideologists would like and have pretty much done.

I don’t like the face of this so-called moral, but militant, hostile America. I like the old vision of open plains, majestic mountains, clean water and air, animals in their natural habitat and citizens that actually act like moral beings. The message that we, “will know them by their deeds” has been neglected for far too long. The proposed deeds of this handful of governors without conscience and the Bush administration says much about their inability to have empathy, or concern for living in harmony with nature, a basic sin for this country from the beginning.

Representative George Miller of California has introduced the PROTECT AMERICA’S WILDLIFE bill, (PAW) Act HR 3663. Write, e-mail, or call your reps and tell them you want this bill supported. It will ban the use of airplanes and helicopters to kill wolves nationwide.

http://www.rallycongress.com/letter2congress/698/?gclid=CNmHspeIlJACFQdfgQodXEeO5w.

http://www.yellowstone-natl-park.com/wolf.htm

www.defenders.org/

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/?p=52

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It’s Blog Action Day; Thanks to Environmentalists Everywhere

Today is blog action day. And I don’t want to talk about the environment per say, post the latest news, or try to convince anyone man’s part in global warming is real. Today I would simply like to thank the thousands of volunteers of many, many organizations that give their time, energy, and passion to helping the environment and every creature in it, including humans that won’t get off the couch to save their own lives. To these volunteers and spokespeople we owe you our lives, many of us  just don’t realize it yet.

Volunteers for the environment are tireless in their efforts. I’ve been to meetings where the person holding that meeting drove an hour at night, leaving family at home, to offer a presentation of information about what is happening and what can be done, only to have 8 people show up.  They have to pack it all up and drive an hour to go home to a household already asleep. Yet they are never daunted in their determination to inform possibly one new person. That’s dedication, discipline, and selflessness.

While we sit in our comfortable living rooms there are countless organizations of people like Greenpeace on board ships in the freezing cold to stop whale hunts, or fisherman using nets that trap dolphins, others like Earthjustice, Environmental Defense, and NRDC holding oil drills at bay in some pristine part of our country, or The Sierra Club lobbying in state’s senates against industry pollution, or Waterkeeper Alliance that has joined Sierra Club’s fight against CAFO’s. Their volunteers took 3000 plus photos of CAFO’s and produced DVD’s to expose that industry’s pollution.  There are the many, many meteorologists that have ventured to the N. Pole, Greenland, and Iceland in small boats to get photographs and gain first hand knowledge of crashing ice falls from glaciers not 50 ft. in front of them in order to inform the masses about what they’ve seen, and the brave and undeterred efforts of the scientists who testified before congress that they are fed up with being censored by the Bush administration relative to reports of global warming. They’re brave, bold, and forthright while much of the population flounders in a sea of apathy.

Take for instance what is called “junk mail.” It’s tossed without a thought. But in those envelopes are the voices of those that I’ve just described that are trying to get the truth out, trying to stop the insanity of pollution, trying to stop further fossil fuel endeavors, or simply trying to save the lives of animals that have no one to speak for them. It’s valuable information that took research, time, effort and skill to produce with the hope one more person will open and read the contents in lieu of being tossed without conscience or concern. Ditto for the many TV networks like The Discovery Channel, Science Channel, and Sundance that dedicate themselves to saving the environment by showcasing the marvelous inventors, scientists, and engineers from around the globe that have solutions for our ailing earth already.

To all the wonderful, passionate, faithful people that see the Almighty in their surroundings and fight to save and nurture what we were given as a blessing, I want to say thank you heart and soul. The road you travel is new and like any other time in history, your fellow humans are not quick to follow a new revolution. Go with peace and passion in every step because most assuredly you have one Traveler that will remain by your side always. Nature is Earth’s Metaphor for God and you “get it.” Bless you. Keep the faith, keep up the fight.  
 

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