Tag Archives: travel

Keystone XL’s Beetlemania

8 Aug

by Sarah Laskow / The American Prospect

The carcass of a passenger pigeon weighed in at exactly the size they preferred. Dead prairie chickens did, too. They aren’t so picky about the carcasses they bury: mammals will do as well as birds, but the bigger the carcass—which allows them to produce and feed more offspring—the better for our friend the American burying beetle.

The males find the carcasses and send out hormonal signals to attract potential mates. Coupled up, the largest beetles tend to win rights to a particular carcass, which they roll up, bury underground, and coat with preservative chemicals. When the couple’s eggs hatch in an underground chamber they’ve dug adjacent to their carcass, the larvae have a sumptuous feast ready for them.

Once, these orange-marked beetles—the largest of the carrion beetles found on this continent—spread up and down America’s east coast and through the Midwest. But now, no one knows quite why there are so few. Humans may be at fault, edging in on habitats and wiping out species like the passenger pigeon, leaving fewer carcasses to be found and more competition among scavengers. Listed as an endangered species since 1989, American burying beetles survive now only in a few states, including Rhode Island, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska—in the Sandhills, right where TransCanada planned to route the tar-sands-oil–bearing Keystone XL pipeline.

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Shell Game in the Arctic

2 Aug

How to Bring the Major Oil Companies Ashore and Halt the Destruction of Our Oceans 

the Chukchi Sea

by Subhankar Banerjee

When you go to the mountains, you go to the mountains. When it’s the desert, it’s the desert. When it’s the ocean, though, we generally say that we’re going “to the beach.” Land is our element, not the waters of our world, and that is an unmistakable advantage for any oil company that wants to drill in pristine waters.

Take Shell Oil. Recently, the company’s drill ship, the fabulously named Noble Discoverer, went adrift and almost grounded in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. That should be considered an omen for a distinctly star-crossed venture to come. Unfortunately, few of us are paying the slightest attention.

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Angry Environmental Protesters Occupy Govt Office, Smash Computers in China

29 Jul

By John Ruwitch

QIDONG, China, July 28 (Reuters) – Angry demonstrators occupied a government office in eastern China on Saturday, destroying computers and overturning cars in a violent protest against an industrial waste pipeline they said would poison their coastal waters.

The demonstration was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation and highlights the social tensions the government in Beijing faces as it approaches a leadership transition this year.

About 1,000 protesters marched through the coastal city of Qidong, about one hour north of Shanghai by car, shouting slogans against the plan pipeline that would empty waste from a paper factory in a nearby town into the sea.

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Wolf Looking for Love Finds None in California

29 Jul

By Jeff Barnard / The Associated Press

A wandering Oregon wolf that has been out looking for love has gotten the cold shoulder from people in one Northern California county.

Citing fears that if wolves move into the area they will attack cattle, Tehama County supervisors have told the California Fish and Game Commission that they oppose putting the predators on the state’s endangered species list.

The county officials said in a letter this week that “experience in other states suggests that control of wolf populations will become difficult if not impossible” if wolves are listed as endangered because protection efforts are “not based on scientific evidence, but rather on ethical and moral concerns.”

Supervisor Ron Warner said a public meeting on wolves hosted by a conservation group drew as big a crowd as when the county imposed restrictions on medical marijuana.

“The cattlemen were really up arms,” he said. “These people are adamant about the fact they don’t want the wolf reintroduced down here. We’ve got a big enough fight going on with the mountain lions.”

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Saving Salamanders and Ourselves, From Ourselves

26 Jul

by Tierra Curry / Center for Biological Diversity

When you think of mountaintop removal coal mining, you probably don’t think of salamanders.

But you should — because when coal companies use the cheapest and most destructive methods to blow off the top of an Appalachian mountain to extract the coal buried inside, guess which animals make up the single largest group that’s destroyed in the process?

Yep, salamanders. The Appalachian Mountains, where 2.5 million pounds of explosives are detonated daily for surface mining, are home to more kinds of salamanders than anywhere else on Earth. By weight, there are more salamanders in the forest than birds and mammals combined.

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Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson arrested in Germany, Faces Extradition to Costa Rica

16 Jul

from the Herald Sun / Australia

Captain Paul Watson was arrested in Germany over the weekend and will be extradited to Costa Rica on an outstanding arrest warrant from an incident that occurred in 2002.

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Two New Wolf Packs Established in NM

16 Jul

Federal wildlife managers have designated two more Mexican gray wolf packs in New Mexico, bringing the number of packs in the American Southwest to 14.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been trying to return the predators to their historic range in New Mexico and Arizona for more than a dozen years, but the program has been troubled by issues such as politics, illegal shootings and courtroom battles.

The Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, once roamed parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Hunting and government-sponsored extermination campaigns all but wiped out the predator. It was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976, and a captive-breeding program was started.

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Fox Thought Extinct in Oregon Possibly Photographed on Mt. Hood

20 Jun

By Ian C. Campbell, The Oregonian

Photo from Cascadia Wild: A red fox photographed by motion-detecting infrared camera in Mt. Hood National Forest. The fox is thought to be a Sierra Nevada red fox, which hasn’t been found in Oregon in decades.

With an invisible flash of infrared light across the snow, motion-detecting cameras in the mountains of Oregon may have snapped evidence of a nocturnal fox not seen in the state in decades. These new photos provide hope for the survival of one of the rarest animals in North America.

Although the photos clearly reveal some kind of red fox, environmentalists still need to confirm this is Oregon’s lost fox. “We are operating under the assumption that these are the Sierra Nevada red fox because it is the only montane red fox that occurs in the mountains of Oregon,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Three Hundred People Breach Earthen Dam, free Xingu River from Belo Monte project

18 Jun

by Amazon Watch

While the Brazilian Government prepares to host the Rio+20 United Nations Earth Summit, 3,000 kilometers north in the country’s Amazon region indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolk, activists and local residents affected by the construction of the massive Belo Monte Dam project began a symbolic peaceful occupation of the dam site to “free the Xingu River.”

In the early morning hours, three hundred women and children arrived in the hamlet of Belo Monte on the Transamazon Highway, and marched onto a temporary earthen dam recently built to impede the flow of the Xingu River. Using pick axes and shovels, local people who are being displaced by the project removed a strip of earthen dam to restore the Xingu’s natural flow.

Residents gathered in formation spelling out the words “Pare Belo Monte” meaning “Stop Belo Monte” to send a powerful message to the world prior to the gathering in Rio and demanding the cancellation of the $18 billion Belo Monte dam project (aerial photos of the human banner available upon request).

Demonstrators open a channel in an earthen dam across the Xingu River that paves the way for the Belo Monte Dam, June 15, 2012 (Photo by Atossa Soltani/ Amazon Watch / Spectral Q)

Demonstrators planted five hundred native açai trees to stabilize the riverbank that has been destroyed by the initial construction of the Belo Monte dam. They also erected 200 crosses on the banks of the Xingu to honor the lives of those lost defending the Amazon.

Also this morning, hundreds of residents of Altamira held a march to the headquarters of dam-building consortium NESA. The actions are part of Xingu+23, a multi-day series of festivities, debates and actions commemorating 23 years since the residents of the Xingu first defeated the original Belo Monte dam. Residents have been gathering in the community of San Antonio, a hamlet displaced by the consortium’s base of operations and in Altamira, a boomtown of 130,000 severely affected by the dam project.

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Thousands Blockade Ski Resort Development in Bulgaria

18 Jun
PHOTO: A protester is detained by police during a flash mob organised by environmental protesters in central Sofia June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Dimitar Kyosemarliev

A protester is detained by police during a flash mob organised by environmental protesters in central Sofia June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Dimitar Kyosemarliev

Dimitar Kyosemarliev/REUTERS

Police detained nine activists after over 1,500 people blocked a major Sofia intersection late on Thursday for a second day in a row in a protest against the controversial changes.

Chanting “We want nature, not concrete” and “We want veto on the forests law” over 100 people while police tried to push them out of the road.

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