Anonymous asked: Not sure if this is something up your alley that you've ever had experienced with or even think positively of, but I was looking for websites and places that allow you to "buy an acre of the rainforest", save trees etc etc. Do you know of any trustworthy and respectable organizations that foster something like this?
Interesting question and I’m embarrassed I don’t completely know the answer. I’d investigate conservation land trusts that work internationally - stick to organizations that conserve and protect land in a variety of contexts, not just rainforests. World Land Trustlooks excellent, but honestly I do not know this organization. The Nature Conservancy has a rainforest program, but knowing what I know about the NC, there are organizations who would use your donation much more effectively.
I am biased toward smaller, leaner, non-profits with a clear mission and a long track record.
My favorite charity/org is the Turtle Survival Alliance. It’s a small organization with very big impact. They help conserve and protect land for turtles, influence conservation policy, help stop illegal turtle trading, and they have a phenomenal turtle breeding program.
Offshore Oil Leases in America’s Arctic Rejected by U.S. Court Court
Decision Paves the Way for Obama Administration to Reconsider Drilling in Wildlife-Rich Arctic Waters
Today, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Department of the Interior violated the law when it sold offshore oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups made up of the following: the Native Village of Point Hope, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund. Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization, represented the groups.
Statement from Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold:
"We don’t know nearly enough about the Chukchi Sea ecosystems - let alone about how to clean up an oil spill in ice-locked seas - to let international corporations go around poking holes in the seafloor," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “We do know that the Arctic Ocean is crucial for marine birds and mammals, holding globally significant feeding and resting areas for dozens of species, and they need to be protected. This decision gives the White House a chance to reconsider drilling in the Chukchi.” Via
Winner of black rhino hunting auction states his $350,000 will help save the species. I note this is common practice outside the U.S., and animal reserves and refuges depend on trophy hunting as a major source of funding. The fees hunters pay goes towards breeding, land use/habitat protection, and education programs.
Private hunting operations in these countries control more than 540,000 square miles (1.4 million square kilometers) of land, the study also found. That’s 22 percent more land than is protected by national parks.
As demand for land increases with swelling human populations, some conservationists are arguing that they can garner more effective results by working with hunters and taking a hand in regulating the industry.
Sport hunting can be sustainable if carefully managed, said Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist with the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, who led the recent study.
"Trophy hunting is of key importance to conservation in Africa by creating [financial] incentives to promote and retain wildlife as a land use over vast areas," he said.
The more interesting angle, from my point of view, is why conservation efforts to save the black rhino (and many other species) has failed so miserably. In other words, despite the many millions funneled from traditional conservation groups, why is the black rhino still rare? Overall, untold billions have been spent towards conservation efforts and yet dozens of species fall down, extinct, every month. So, for me, I’d like to see a shift in conservation management towards better and more effective practices. This would begin with a bold admission that efforts to date have failed.
Published in 1949 as the finale to A Sand County Almanac, Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ defined a new relationship between people and nature and set the stage for the modern conservation movement.
Leopold understood that ethics direct individuals to cooperate with each other for the mutual benefit of all. One of his philosophical achievements was the idea that this ‘community’ should be enlarged to include non-human elements such as soils, waters, plants, and animals, “or collectively: the land.” - Via.
Authors in the Naturespecial feature on coastal threats argue that rather than restore costly sea walls and other engineered coastal defenses, it might be more efficient to restore tidal marshes, coastal wetlands, barrier islands and other natural ecosystems that have traditionally served as buffer zones for coastal-dwelling communities.
Two other scientists believe that natural buffers could keep pace with sea level rise and offer continuing protection.
“Tidal marsh plants are amazing ecosystem engineers that can raise themselves upward if they remain heathy, and especially if there is sediment in the water,” says Patrick Megonigal of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, one of the authors.
The world’s largest living organism has shrunk by about half over the past 30 years as a result of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish, which prey on coral.
Some of its 400 or so species are endangered or threatened, and marine biologists fear they could soon be wiped out. The establishment of a gene bank, using human fertility techniques, is a bold response by scientists seeking to conserve the reef, which runs for 1,600 miles off the Queensland coast. “We create a coral fertility clinic and we put them [the sperm and embryonic cells] in a bank, to hold them for now, but to use them in the future,” Mary Hagedorn, from the US’s Smithsonian Institution, said.
Dr Hagedorn, a marine biologist who perfected the techniques while working with coral in Hawaii, is liaising with Australian colleagues to deploy those techniques in the cause of conservation. Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science helped to gather samples for the DNA bank, which has been set up at Western Plains Zoo in the town of Dubbo, in the New South Wales outback, 250 miles from the sea.
The project is akin to a captive breeding programme for endangered animals. If all goes according to plan, the genetic material will be thawed and used to grow new coral which will then be reintroduced into “the wild” – transplanted back into the ocean – to help restore and repopulate damaged reefs.
Another climate change related seed bank is fired up, this time for coral. Perhaps Earth’s fate is “Museum”. More on this depressing read, here.
Bump in corn grown for ethanol has polluted water and wiped out 5 million acres of conserved land, AP finds
Five million acres of land — more than in Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have been pulled from conservation on Obama’s watch, according to Agriculture Department figures.
What’s more, from 2005 to 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 1 billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.
Some of that fertilizer has seeped into drinking water, contaminating rivers and boosting the growth of enormous algae fields in the Gulf of Mexico; the algae eventually decompose, sucking oxygen from the water and leaving behind a huge dead zone, currently covering 5,800 square miles of sea floor where marine life can’t survive.
That dead zone is just one example of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.
Turtles may have been a victim of dynamite used to fish illegally.
At least 70 dead turtles were spotted on beaches and in shallow waters in northern Guanacaste on Tuesday, but reports from fishermen indicate that the death toll may be much higher.
“We have reports from fishermen whose boats are surrounded by hundreds of dead turtles,” Roger Blanco, the lead investigator for the Guanacaste Conservation Area with SINAC, told The Tico Times. “They say they are headed for shore.”
With its black shell and dark body, the rare Eastern Pacific green sea turtle sub-population is considered a separate species from the green sea turtle by some scientists. The sub-population is critically endangered both in Costa Rica and worldwide.
This video shows how small frogs and other animals use the FrogLog to escape from swimming pools. The FrogLog provides an escape ramp for lizards, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, birds, bats, ducklings, and other small animals.
I need to make something similar for my parents’ pool!
Pulitzer Center grantee Jim Wickens obtained footage proving that fishermen in South America are illegally hunting dolphins to use their meat as bait for sharks. Some environmentalists believe three thousand or more of the animals are slaughtered every year.
Both horrible and heartening. Horrible because dolphins are sentient and social beings; heartening because investigative journalism is alive and well.