Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice, and don't forget your friends!

Happy Solstice, everybody! Finally, it's officially winter, and Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. We at can hardly wait for the new year, and our new President! Meanwhile we've been very busy with preparations for the holidays (hence the no updates thing) and with fighting off Bush's last minute attacks on the Endangered Species Act, and the environment. Recent actions include:

Stop Bush's Last Minute Attacks on the Environment
Stop Drilling off the Virginia Coast
Clean Slate Energy Agenda
Green Nation

Click any of those links and all you have to do is sign a petition to do your part!
Now, I know I'm too late to get in under the 'ship by Christmas' deadline but just in case you have any last minute shopping left to do, WWF, Defenders, and other organizations still have great gifts and adoptions available all year round! You can even send your loved ones an environmental e-card to let them know you didn't forget about them, and their gift is in the mail. You can go to these sites and others and choose from any number of great environmentally conscious gifts or symbolic wildlife adoptions:

World Wildlife Fund
Defenders of Wildlife

Here's another holiday idea. When you get the feeling that sometimes your loved ones just don't know what to get your for the holidays, why not purchase some wildlife holiday cards and send them a little pre-holiday note. Let them know that all you really want to do for christmas is help save the world, and could your loved one maybe make a donation to the charity of your choice instead of buying you yet another turtleneck sweater, please? It's a great way to help your charity, AND get the word out there by introducing your friends and family to activism.

And a last minute holiday suggestion: Don't forget to send holiday cards to your elected officials wishing them a happy holiday and letting them know how important environmental legislation is to you!

Have a Happy Solstice, everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Winter can be a bad time for bears. Helpless, asleep in their dens, they are easy targets for trophy hunters. In Russia, the killing of denning Brown Bears leaves thousands of cubs orphaned every year. Many die, while others become attractions in circuses and roadside zoos. Some are even eaten. Den hunting is just about the most unsportsmanlike method of trophy hunting, right up there with shooting animals from airplanes. Please tell Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin how you feel about this terrible sport.

In Alaska, Polar Bears continue to face the challenges of global warming, and trophy hunting. While it is illegal to hunt polar bears for trophies in the United States, it is still legal in Canada. In most cases it is illegal to transport the carcass (for example trophy bits, such as heads, paws, and hides) of an endangered or protected animal into the country even if it was killed elsewhere. Not only does this encourage poaching in the U.S., but puts added strain on struggling Polar Bear populations in Canada and other countries. There are only an estimated 20 to 25 thousand Polar Bears left in the world, and we need every one of them if the species is going to continue to survive. Please help Defenders of Wildlife stop Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Safari International from stripping these magnificent animals of vital protections.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back to their old tricks

So, the election is over. Obama is the President-Elect, and gas prices are down to 1.77 or less in some places. But what about those erstwhile former players in the Presidential campaigns?
Well, while Mr. Bush is trying to push through damaging plans to log old-growth forests, and continues his attempts to undermine the endangered species act, Sarah Palin has returned home to Alaska, and continues to be the same woman we know and loathe.

Let's start with that debacle at the turkey farm, which highlights how completely clueless the woman is, not just about wildlife and compassion towards animals, but about her VERY SURROUNDINGS. It is kind of nice to know that she's slid so far down the scale now that she's doing her 'exclusive interviews' while standing in turkey manure. But no sooner has she settled in back up there in the frozen north than she's getting back to her old games.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wild Horse Reprieve; but our work isn't done!

From the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. I've highlighted some important points in this brief for you.

As many of you may recall, last summer BLM announced it was considering putting to death thousands of wild horses in its care, as a way to balance the books. After a massive public outcry, the decision was postponed until the next Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting. The meeting took place this past Monday, following release of a long-awaited Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The GAO Report was a disappointment in that it failed to address the systemic problems associated with BLM's wild horse management policies, focusing instead on options available to address the glut of horses in government holding: 'euthanasia,' sale without limitation (i.e. slaughter), or release of the captive horses on some of the 19 million acres lost by the herds since passage of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. The GAO merely sent BLM and Congress back to the drawing board, while failing to investigate the underlying cause of the current crisis: the unnecessary removal of thousands upon thousands of wild horses from our public lands.

At Monday's meeting, BLM Deputy Director Henry Bisson announced that any decision regarding 'euthanasia' would be postponed for a year. In the meantime, BLM will be working with Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, as well as other private parties, who have offered to take thousands of horses off BLM's hands into privately-run sanctuaries. Our deepest gratitude goes out to Mrs. Pickens and the other good Samaritans offering their land in this 11th hour reprieve for the horses.

A looming crisis has been averted, but many concerns remain:

- More than ever, a moratorium on round-ups is in order until actual numbers of wild horses and burros on public lands have been independently assessed, and legally-mandated range studies have been conducted.

- The BLM 'bail-out' by private parties should come with strings attached to ensure that we are not just emptying government corrals so that BLM can continue rounding up more and more horses.

- At Monday's meeting, the Advisory Board made some highly disturbing recommendations, including shipping horses abroad as 'foreign agricultural aid,' removing restrictions against slaughter for horses sold under the Burns Amendment, and extending Burns Amendment sales to younger horses and foreign markets. Death in a Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouse is no better, if not worse, than a government bullet to the head. WE MUST REMAIN VIGILANT.

The incoming Obama-Biden administration presents an opportunity toward a new beginning for the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program. Please contact the Office of the President-Elect and express your concerns and hopes for the future of our wild horses.

On behalf of America's wild horses and burros, thank you for your support,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Click here to join our email list and receive the latest updates.

A big thanks goes out to all of the private parties who have donated time, money, and land to help these horses. However, just as the AWHPC suggests, it will all be in vain if we allow the BLM to use this 'bail out' as an excuse to round up more horses. I hope those parties have let it be known that this is a one time deal, and I hope that they will continue to put effort into encouraging the BLM to change their round-up policies, and stop the problem once and for all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Coyote 'problems' in Washington State

From the Seattle Times:
Coyote Presence Concerns Neighbors: Animals prowling North Spokane kill pet cat.

Get a load of this quote: "[the owners] The Wichtermans got Sylvester, a 12-year-old long-haired black-and-white cat, when he was a kitten. Tricia Wichterman said Sylvester was a tomcat who liked to be outside at night."

I'm sorry. You leave your cat out at night, I consider you to be completely at fault for his demise. Its sad, yes. But if you took proper care to make sure your cat was INDOORS in a SAFE ENVIRONMENT he would still be alive. Oh yeah, and get your pets neutered, you denizens of the land of dumbassery. Maybe it's the fact that there are little Sylvesters running around all over the neighborhood ripe for the picking that attracts the coyotes!

I also like how the cat owners stated that they were worried because the coyotes are so 'bold'. Coyotes are like that. If you knew anything about coyotes you would know this. Of course they hung around and kept coming back to where they had killed the cat, you basically took their dinner away from them and they were looking for it. Coyotes are opportunist who will eat just about anything, including Fluffy Tinkletoes, the family Persian. This does not make them evil. This makes them wild animals. So keep your pets indoors, and start making an actual concerted effort to coyote/skunk/raccoon proof your trash cans, don't leave pet food outside, and stop calling the POLICE for god's sake when you see a coyote in your yard. The police have better things to do. Rant over, and out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Say no to Coal. Even clean coal!

From the Sierra Club:

Are you in on the truth?

Tens of thousands of people have learned the truth about coal through our new website and online video at Despite the coal industry’s $40 million slick advertising campaign to mask the harmful and polluting nature of coal fired power plants, we are just not falling for it.

Now it’s time to take the truth about coal to the masses. We are launching a public awareness campaign to rebut the coal industry’s misleading claims. And we need your help.

Click here to come up with a new slogan for coal. One that tells the truth.

The best entries will be used on our ‘truth truck’ that will a carry a mobile billboard around D.C. and straight to the coal industry’s headquarters. (Don't worry, we've made sure our campaign is carbon neutral, which is more than we can say about the coal industry!)

Hundreds of comments have flooded in to the website from people telling their own story about coal. Here are a few of the most powerful:

Cathy in Ohio: I worked for a respiratory doctor and we would get coal miners in our office for treatment with black lung disease, emphysema. Poor souls had worked all their lives and basically gave their lives to that miserable coal mine. Their families felt helpless because it was the only job they knew and they worked and suffered. My utility bill was horribly expensive and they burned coal for our power and we paid dearly. There's got to be a better way for all involved.

Bill in Wyoming: I live in Wyoming, and we are coal country, and I live and breathe coal, but I do agree we have many, many options, so who will take that leap into the future? So instead of mining coal, we can get good jobs building wind turbines, solar panels, and set up incentives for research and development in alternative renewable energy sources. We can do it!

John in West Virginia: I grew up with coal in WV. For people who like to continue breathing, coal is not an answer. The strip miners are also polluting the beautiful state of my birth, making it impossible for people to live anywhere near their mining operations. Coal is part of the problem, and no part of the solution.

Real people, telling real stories about how coal affects their lives and communities. Let’s make sure that these are the types of messages that get out to the public, not the misleading sound bites the coal industry uses to mask the truth.

Submit your slogan today and let the country know what you really think of coal.

Thanks for all you do to protect the planet.

Bruce Nilles
National Director, Sierra Club Coal Campaign

I have long been on the anti-coal bandwagon, first for the health and saftey hazards of coal mining for miners, and now for the health and viability of our planet, and our economy. If you've ever been in coal country (WV, PA, etc) you've probably seen the damage done by coal mining. Slag heaps, and acres of countryside left unliveable because underground seaming (removing layers of coal from between layers of rock) has left the surface unstable and prone to caving in.

I still see no good reason why we should continue to kill workers in polluting coal mines to fuel polluting coal power plants, when we have so many better options available to us.

For more information about the evils of coal mining, visit the Stop Mountaintop Removal campaign.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Eleventh Hour Action for Wild Horses

From Front Range Equine Rescue:

The link below will give you some information about the upcoming meeting (November 17) where BLM will again promote and possibly decide its horrific plan to kill and/or sell to slaughter wild horses in government holding facilities.

Please continue to leave messages for your Congressional representatives, call your local media and respond to “comments” on news articles on the internet. The public outcry must become deafening for our horses.


This link is to the GAO (Government Acct’g office) recommendations; see the final one. Feel free to contact Robin at the number provided with your thoughts and humane recommendations. One simple solution would be to raise the nominal $1.35 per animal unit fee charged to livestock permittees on our public lands to cover the cost needed to feed wild horses (and burros) in holding facilities.

If the cost could be raised, I'd like to then argue that Wild Horses should be allowed to roam free for the same cost! We may only have until tomorrow to sway the BLM, so make the next few hours count!

Florida Drought Restrictions tighten

Kudos to whoever wrote this article in the Tampa Tribune.
People need to learn to do their part, and the governing body needs to learn to uphold its edicts. If Bob on Palm Lane keeps watering his lawn every morning regardless of restrictions, Bob on Palm Lane needs to be held personally accountable for this water crisis.
Maybe we need special water police. Oh, I know, lets appoint a Water Czar! All joking aside, water shortage is a bad, bad thing for everyone, and everyone needs to do their part to help.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Cape Wind" project is a great environmental news site I discovered through another agri-enviro blogger recently. Today browsing the 'most popular articles' list I discovered this old article and had to look into it:
RFK Jr. and other prominent enviros face off over Cape Cod wind farm.

Large scale clean energy projects like this one are the ones that really scare people. I've said before that I'm more of a proponent for personalized energy than large scale commercial energy projects. But the plain fact is we're going to need at least some of these large arrays in order to meet the energy quotas necessary to keep our homes and businesses running. So in this case the question comes down to whether or not historic Cape Cod is really off limits.

I have to argue with myself over this one. I've never actually been to Cape Cod, so I can't say exactly what the impact to the historic lighthouse views would be. Some concern has been expressed about light pollution due to the flashing lights necessary to warn away aircraft from the wind turbines...I hate light pollution. Still, to me 130 scattered wind turbines away-out-there in Nantucket Sound seems preferable to me than those ugly inland windfarms like I saw out near Palm Springs, California. California has about 13,000 or so wind turbines.
So we'll put the view aside for now, since I can't make an informed decision on that. Next of course is economic impact...will building a wind farm off the coast really put hundreds of fishermen out of work? I doubt it. Some, sure, but wind farming isn't going to stop fishing in the Sound. Already some folks such as this man in Iowa who lost other factory jobs are making a living building new green economy products such as turbine blades and solar panels.
I consider recreational boating impact to be of least concern, so I'm not even going to talk about sailing.
Now we come to the environmental impact. Even the big name enviro funds are split on this issue. The Massachusetts Audubon Society and The Humane Society are concerned about seabirds and ocean life, while World Wildlife Fund and GreenPeace have given the project their blessing. Certainly any place that is a good place to build a wind farm is going to be a place where eagles, hawks, seabirds and other avians like to circulate, and the impact on those populations needs to be weighed. Also the impact on ocean life due to the drilling and digging that will need to be done to the seabed to anchor the turbines and bury the electric cables. You can check out the Cape Wind Project FAQ for more details on these subjects.
So, in closing, this Cape Wind project sounds to me like a well planned, well thought out, and ultimately necessary step toward energy independence...pending of course the final Environmental Impact Statement.
I leave you to make your own decision.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Addressing Climate and Economy

Via the Environmental Defense Fund:

You say you want a Climate Action Mandate?

According to an election night national poll sponsored by Environmental Defense Fund that's exactly what the new President has.

The poll found a majority of Americans believe that given the current economic crisis, now is the time to address climate change—because investing in clean energy will create millions of new jobs and rebuild the economy.

The survey, conducted by respected Democratic pollster Douglas E. Schoen, also found that two-thirds of Americans think investments in economic stimulus should be funded with revenue from large companies paying for the global warming pollution they emit—rather than tax hikes or more borrowing that increases the national debt.

A Clear Message

The public thinks there's not a minute to waste. They want economic revitalization and action to address global warming to go together, and they want it paid for by polluters.

A few of the other poll highlights include:

  • 78% of voters think it is very or somewhat important to address the problems of global warming and climate change, while 22% do not.
  • 35% of voters think it is most important for Congress to pass a plan that creates new jobs by investing in renewable energy projects. This compares with 26% who said expanding health care coverage is most important and 23% who said regulating the financial services industry should be the top priority.
  • 50% of voters said that our oil addiction and economic problems are linked and should be dealt with together, compared with 26% who said we must deal with our oil addiction now and only 13% who said we should deal with our economic problems first.

(For full poll results, here is a link to the pdf file.)

It's clear that the public no longer buys the tired argument that economic progress and environmental protection are at odds with one another.

That should serve as a warning to those who plan to try marshaling old scare tactics when the climate debate starts back up in January.

Our single-minded goal for 2009 is to leverage this transformational opportunity into real change.

EDF scientists, economists and policy experts are already deeply engaged in the rapidly evolving conversation.

It's going to be one heck of a year. We'll use regular Transition Report updates to keep you posted.

Thanks for all you do,
Sam Parry
Director Online Membership and Activism

P.S. What do you think? Sound off in the EDF Green Room – our online soapbox for the EDF Action community.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tell the BLM to stop mismanaging wild horses

From Front Range Equine Rescue:

Dear Friends:

As you know the BLM proposed a massive killing of wild horses in holding facilities as a way to manage their budget. The next BLM Advisory Board meeting has been scheduled for Monday, November 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Reno, Nevada.

Written comments pertaining to the meeting can be sent to Bureau of Land Management, National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno, NV 89502-7147.

Written comments must be submitted by November 12 (close of business). Ramona’s number is 775-861-6583.

Please contact her to express your opposition to any plan to kill wild horses (they call it euthanasia) in holding pens. BLM has been presented with both short and long term strategies to help the horses by numerous wild horse advocates. We have no indication they plan to implement any of these suggestions.

Ideas to suggest:

Raise the cost to public land permittees from the meager $1.36/acre that they pay

Expand the range back to areas where wild horses were allocated usage per the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act

Let wild horse herds back into zeroed out areas

Start a “sponsor a wild horse” program where the public can donate to help feed horses in holding facilities

Fire those at management level who grossly mismanaged the BLM’s budget for the wild horse and burro program; use their salaries to help pay for the horses’ needs

Offer any other constructive ideas you have and express your concern over the proposed killing. Let them know how important wild horses (and burros) are to the American people.

For the horses,

Hilary T. Wood


P.S. – Our attorney, a long time wild horse advocate, will be attending the meeting to express our views.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Weighing in on Whale Wars

I have been waiting with much anticipation for Animal Planet's new series Whale Wars to start. Last night was the inaugural episode, and I was both delighted, and disappointed. The episode started out promisingly with a confrontation with the Japanese whaling fleet, then quickly became just another reality show, with strife and conflicting personalities among the crew. While these incidents are surely important to the outcome of the mission, I still felt time is being wasted on the people, rather than the whales. Either way, I plan to continue to tune in and watch.
Now from reality TV, to actual reality.
In 1982 the International Whaling Commission instituted a moratorium on commercial whaling. Japan fought the ban for several years, then in 1986 withdrew their opposition to commercial whaling...and announced their plans for large scale *scientific* whaling. Under these guidelines they were able to whale within certain limits, conduct their supposed research, and then because it's illegal to waste the meat from whales slaughtered for research, sell the meat on the open market. Smell fishy to anyone else? It certainly does to most anti-whaling advocates. Especially since OUR research shows that most Japanese prefer beef to whale meat these days, and the majority say they rarely if never touch the stuff. It is my understanding that Japan has thousands or more TONS of the stuff frozen and stockpiled on floating refrigerator ships. So why do they keep whaling?
One reason they claim is tradition. Whaling is a tradition in Japan and many other countries such as Russia, Norway, and yes, even here in the United States where certain Eskimo tribes still practice subsistence hunting. But I seriously doubt the Eskimo have an arctic cache full of enough muktuk to feed all of Alaska, while they go out and kill more whales. The Eskimo communities work closely with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to impose sustainable limits - limits that sustain both the bowhead whale population in the Bering Sea, and the Eskimo whaling communities that depend upon the annual harvest.
Another reason Japan might be insisting it be allowed to continue its whaling practices is a desire to thumb their noses at anti-whaling countries. From some of the footage shown on Whale Wars, it seems like the Japanese whalers are treating it all like a big joke, holding up giant plaquards for the GreenPeace and Sea Shepherd helicopters to read that claim they are 'Weighing stomach contents' or 'measuring brain mass' or doing other so-called 'research'. The fact of the matter is, we learn a hell of a lot more from whales when they are still alive and breathing than we do by cutting them up.
Now from the question of Japan's right to whale, to the question of whether the Sea Shepherd oversteps their bounds in trying to stop them. This is where I have trouble forming a good solid opinion. The Sea Shepherd and its crew are the rogues of the Anti-Whaling movement. The flagship (harhar, pun) anti-whaling organization most people think of is GreenPeace. Ironically, the Captain of the Sea Shepherd is one of the founders of GreenPeace, but he was later asked to leave the group. Captain Paul Watson and GreenPeace don't get along, these days. GreenPeace, as the name suggests, is a group who's ultimate goal is a peaceful resolution to the issues they protest. They practice a passive form of protest, following the whaling fleet, taking pictures, holding up signs, and 'bearing witness' as they say to the tragedy of whaling. I have an immense respect for GreenPeace. But I have to agree with Captain Paul Watson when he said "You don't just stand by and watch while someone kicks a puppy."
The line between the Sea Shepherd's aggressive form of protest and eco-terrorism is thin. I think the question that would define it better is whether or not Japan really IS breaking international law by whaling in the southern waters. Personally, I think they are. I think they cleverly dodged the bullet, and would love to wag their behinds and say 'nany nany boo boo' to us. They're kicking the puppy and just daring someone to do something about it, and I, for one, am the type of person who would kick back. But the line is thin, my friends, and crossing that line will do more harm to our cause than good. Chain yourself to trees if you must, but don't blow up the loggers.
My thoughts will be with the Sea Shepherd and her crew, as I watch the rest of the season unfold.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Victory for Prop. 2!

Another victory for animals to come out of Tuesday's election was the passing of California's Proposition 2. Prop 2 banned the use of battery cages (small cages in which chickens are kept for egg laying purposes. Animal advocates have long argued that confinement in such small cages is cruel and unusual punishment.) in California, and will hopefully set a precedent to begin eradicating this practice throughout our country.
The proposition also contained legislation which bans other types of cruel confinement on factory farms such as gestation crates for pigs, and veal crates for calves. This is a huge step in the right direction that has taken a long time to come to pass. Don't let us lose momentum now! Please contact your state legislators and encourage them to introduce similar measures in your own home state!
On a related note, Farm Sanctuary Campaign Associate Casey Martinson has reminded me that tail docking is only one of many atrocities facing dairy cows.
Casey says: "In light of the many pressing concerns currently on Farm Sanctuary’s legislative agenda—downed animal protection, the use of cruel factory farm confinement systems, foie gras production and so on—I’m not sure that efforts to ban tail docking will be given high priority during the next session of Congress. However, we would certainly give our full support to any tail docking measures that are introduced, and if we see any opportunities for our members to lobby in support of such measures, we will issue alerts accordingly."
I can certainly understand how tail docking can be considered a minor concern, when one considers all the other issues facing dairy cows. I can certainly understand that it would be difficult to engage people's interest and raise funds for a fight against tail docking in the face of so much other suffering. However, just because the issue is small, I see no reason to pass it by completely, and hope it will simply 'go away'. I encourage everyone once again to write to their representatives and inquire as to whether any legislation concerning the welfare of cows in the dairy industry is pending, and urge them to condemn cruel practices. I don't expect anyone to go writing a bill specifically to ban tail docking, but I definitely think efforts should be made to insert a ban on tail docking into any current legislation upholding the health and well being of dairy cattle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A President for Conservation

Congratulations Barack Obama and all the new democrats who were elected to office yesterday! By electing these new leaders, we the voters have been instrumental in bringing change to Washington, and will soon be helping to reverse the damaging environmental policies America has suffered from for the past 8 years. Read Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen's statements about the election:

Obama Administration offers opportunities to advance environmental issues
Nov. 4 Press Release

You can also try to dig up Obama and Biden's Conservation Report Cards here.

Just remember, folks, that the work doesn't stop here. Just because we've elected new administration does not mean that our job is done, and we can sit back and let them take it from here. It's as important as it ever was that we continue to vote when necessary, petition, rally, fund raise, and continue to make our voices and thoughts heard, not only to our new leaders but to our friends, enemies, family, and neighbors as well. Animals don't have a voice. The oceans, our rivers, and our air cannot speak for themselves. We must do it for them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Voters decide whether animals need more space

From the Washington Post, via Los Angeles, California.

I have written a few articles in the past about the cruel and inhumane confinement that many animals on factory farms exist in. I will continue to write them until I feel the message has gotten across, and similar initiatives have passed in all fifty states.
I personally believe that battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates, among other factory farm atrocities, are cruel and unnecessary punishment of innocent animals. Just because we're going to eat them doesn't mean we have to torture them first. I hope everyone visits Farm Sanctuary and sees what I'm talking about.
If you think I'm right about cruel confinement that's great. If you don't, that's okay too. But either way I hope you read the article, and do a little research about the humane and food safety issues behind this ballot measure.
What really rankles me is the amount of money people have put into campaigns to either support or defeat this measure. I can never understand why people throw all their money at campaigning instead of just going out and DOING the thing. With the money both sides have thrown at the problem, they could have probably gotten together and done a lot to come to some sort of compromise on the issue. Like raised the money necessary to help large-scale egg-farming operations convert from battery cages to a cage-free operation. Why do people always have to use their money to FIGHT?
Again, my personal thought, everything comes down to the consumer. If the consumer shows the operator that they want a different product, or they are willing to pay for something to be done differently, the operator will eventually have to bow to the consumer. So California voters, if you want cage-free, antibiotic-free, disease-free laying hens laying your eggs, get out the vote and tell them so.
My final thought on factory farms: I don't like'em. I believe in local economy, and supporting your local farmers, not giant corporations. For a few months now I've been getting the majority of my eggs from seven free-range hens of varying breeds we keep on our farm, and they do me just fine. However, if anyone knows the secret to getting hardboiled farm fresh brown eggs to peel cleanly, I'd be obliged to know it.

Still on my blacklist: Dairy Cow tail-docking. When will it stop?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Surviving the Recession. Ending an addiction.

Well, plummeting stock markets and the like have done us one favor in the past month. They helped make the price of gas almost attainable again. Here in my area its around 2.65, with some places higher and some lower. In California I don't think it has dropped below 3 dollars yet, but there has definitely been a decline in cost. Crude is down from 117 a barrel to about 66 dollars. Despite the fact that fuel cost is down, a recent poll says that demand for gas is still down as much as 6% from where it was previously at higher prices. Our economic crisis has finally done what all the begging, pleading, preaching, and cajoling of conservationists could not: Cut the demand for fossil fuels.
Here is my message to you: Don't let politicians and capitalists convince you that the only way to save our economy is to drive more and shop more. All you are doing by taking such action is helping to continue to build our national economy on a culture of waste. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
We've been given a chance. Our first big break in ending our addiction to oil, and our wasteful habits concerning water and energy conservation. We need to take this break and run with it. Build momentum, don't fall back into the same old routine! Life's tough for everyone right now, but if you've been able to get by on ten dollars less in gas a week, then please, I urge you to continue to do so. Gasoline isn't something you can buy when it is on sale and stockpile like Ramen Noodles and Cola from Costco. You buy it, you burn it up, and its gone. Money down the drain, followed by acid rain. Now is the time to make an investment in yourself, your family, our economy, our country, and our world. And you don't have to do a thing. And that thing is to give in to the pressure of politicians and lobbyists who would have you believe that buying into our oil addiction is the only way to support our country.
Cutting our demand for fossil fuels is the only way to get the message across to our energy companies and government that we need new sources of clean, renewable energy. Not just energy we can live with. Energy we can live by.
I have no links, no alerts, no petitions for you to sign today. Just food for thought. Eat up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Everglades are drowning?

Its not something you hear everyday. Here we've all been led to believe that the suburbs and Disney are draining all the 'glades and leaving them high and dry. If only it were that simple! Read the full story here:

Btw, folks, sorry for the lack of updates this month. I had a little accident that required some stitches and made typing uncomfortable, but I'm back in the game now! Hope everyone has had a good October so far. All I can say is I wish Florida would send us some of that rain!

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Drill, baby, drill" is not the answer!

Courtesy of Care2:

The scope of environmental damage from Hurricane Ike is only now becoming apparent: at least half a million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and water spaces of Louisiana and Texas.

Stop Big Oil and demand the clean energy future we deserve. »

The Minerals Management Service, which oversees oil production in federal waters offshore, said the storm destroyed at least 52 oil platforms and another 32 were severely damaged.

And yet Big Oil and its allies continue to say that drilling off-shore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is environmentally safe. We cannot allow Congress to be fooled by Big Oil's smooth talk.

Urge your Representative and Senators to reject the tired pro-drilling policies of the past and move our country towards the clean energy economy we need. »

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A question for the presidential debate

Today I got an Email from the folks at the WE campaign ( inviting me to submit a question for the next presidential debate using the MySpace official debate page. Well. Me and Myspace, we don't get along. So I decided to go ahead and phrase my question and post it here on my blog.
So here it is.
My question is, why in a time when the government seems so hell-bent on privatizing everything from banking, to health care, to social security (all of which I think are BAD ideas) has no one spoken about privatizing Green energy? Why are you not encouraging people to take their fate in their own hands and go Green for themselves, rather than waiting for the government to pile on the bandwagon and organize everything for them?
The answer is probably simply the fact that the government wishes to maintain control of the energy industry through the use of companies going Green large scale. Think Solar fields and Wind farms. But folks, why are you letting the government control you, and how you spend your money? Because believe me, you're still going to be spending money. Wind and sunshine are free. But the technology used to harness them isn't. If you have to pay for it, why pay someone else? It sort of like leasing a car for five years and then returning it to the dealership. You've spent just as much money as if you'd bought the car, but now that you're done spending, the car is gone. If you have to pay for it, why not just keep it? Just like buying a new vehicle, making your home a Green Energy home is an investment.
I'm not saying it's going to be a cheap investment. According to the nifty calculator I found a while back...and I will post a link to when I find it again, because I could swear I already did...Anyway, only taking into account a very loose estimate of how often the lights, tv, and such are on, and the energy consumed by only our major appliances, my nifty calculating friend has informed me that it would cost about nine thousand dollars to install a solar system to support our house. My mother's house, which is considerably larger, clocks in at around 20-25 thousand. Yes, it's a considerable investment, when remodeling. It's much easier and less expensive to incorporate solar and wind power into your home when you are building a new home. But consider the benefits:
If your system is big enough, you may have little to NO electric bills.
If you live in a state which allows it, you may even receive payment from the electric company for any surplus energy you make.
Have you ever looked at your electric bill closely? For some people almost half their average cost of electricity is eaten up by the transfer. There are taxes and fees for transformers, for lines, for some of the electricity that is made at the plant is lost in transmission. Just because that electricity fizzled off into the ozone layer doesn't mean you didn't have to pay for it. And here is the kicker for me: You can live completely off the electric grid if you want to. Ever wanted to just escape? Go for it! Build your mountain cabin and never worry about a snow storm knocking out the power lines. Even better, never even have to LOOK at powerlines! I hate seeing powerlines.
So basically, here are my thoughts on the subject: I don't believe that the green energy initiative is the government's responsibility. I believe that it does and should begin with the individual.
I believe that this 'privitized' form of energy will save energy, and money.
I believe that our leaders should be encouraging us to strike out on our own, energy wise.
I believe that grants and loans specifically for green energy projects should be more visible and more easily accessible to the common consumer.
I believe in energy independance, not just for our country, but for INDIVIDUALS.

I believe a lot of other things, but I also believe that I've worn out my wounded mouse arm with all this typing, and I need to take a break. Surely, I will touch on the subject again in the future.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wolves without Boundaries

Now that is a good motto, if I've ever heard one. It belongs to the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, whom I just discovered serendipitously through the Fugly Horse of the Day blog.
Much as we've seen in Yellowstone and other prime wolf habitat, it came to the attention of people (as always, a little late) that wolves in the Grand Canyon region of Arizona were a keystone to the health of the natural environment. Wolves were killed both to protect the natural prey animals, thought to be helpless and 'harmless', and to protect the interests of stockmen who later moved through the region. The government actually hired hunters solely to shoot wolves, mountain lions, and other predators. As the GCWRP states on their website "The exterminators did not understand and, therefore, gave no regard to the important role predators play in nature." Now days we have a much better understanding of the role apex predators like wolves and mountain lions play in balancing nature. With the extermination of these key species, the deer numbers skyrocketted. Without predators to keep them in check, the prey animal populations become weakened, animals die of disease and starvation, and often overfeed on their habitat, causing long term habitat destruction.
In 1999 Mexican Wolves were reintroduces into the Blue Range region of eastern Arizona, a critical first step in wolf recovery. However, unnatural territory boundaries continue to keep wolves from prospering as well as they should. Just as in Montana and Wyoming wolves can be shot for leaving designated recovery areas, wolves in Arizona are trapped and taken back to the Blue Range, essentially killing any hope of creating sustainable, genetically diverse wolf populations.
But the GCWRP seeks to tell us all hope is not lost. They cite that "The Grand Canyon Ecoregion has been identified by wildlife ecologists as offering extraordinary habitat for wolf recovery. The region contains vast expanses of undeveloped land in national parks, monuments, and forests, and contains ample food for wolves. Scientific research indicates that this region, extending from the Mogollon Rim all the way up to the high plateaus of southern Utah, can sustain at least 200 wolves."
So why don't we all give our wolves a chance to flourish and live without borders?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Colorado Oil and Gas industry

From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) on Monday tentatively endorsed a rule requiring oil and gas companies to consult with the Colorado Division of Wildlife if they plan to drill in sensitive wildlife areas.

That consultation would identify any conditions companies would have to follow if they operate in certain Colorado wildlife habitat areas, which include locations that provide winter range for elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep.

The conditions would be guided by a list of basin-specific best management practices. Those techniques are expected to be identified during a later stakeholder process.

Oil and gas companies would not have to consult with the DOW under several scenarios, such as if a company drafts a comprehensive drilling plan or if it limits its density.

The commission's decision to approve the consultation rule came after hours of debate that touched on several different sections of proposed wildlife rules. The proposed wildlife regulations have been at the center of controversy surrounding the current rule-making process for the state's oil and gas industry.

Tom Remington, the director of the DOW, said finding the right balance for the wildlife rules has been a "long journey." He added there are issues that will have to be addressed down the road.

However, he said the rules before the commission on Monday were acceptable to the agency.

"We very much support these rules and would encourage you to do so as well," Remington said.

One wildlife rule the commission did not get to on Monday may prohibit companies from conducting activities like construction, drilling and completion, and laying of pipeline in "restricted surface occupancy" (RSO) areas.

Those RSO locations include areas where bighorn sheep reproduce and bald eagles nest. It would also encompass areas within 300 feet of any stream that is home to Colorado cutthroat trout or 300 feet within any stream or lake designated by the DOW as "gold medal."

As with the consultation rule, companies could avoid the RSO rule if they work with the COGCC director, demonstrate that wildlife is not present in the targeted drilling area, gain an exemption from the DOW or develop a comprehensive drilling plan for the area.

Companies could also possibly avoid it if they show that it's not technically or economically feasible to comply with the rule.

Debate over what areas may be tagged with a RSO designation took up a large part of the commission's Monday hearing. Some commissioners wanted to include more riparian areas under the RSO designation.

So far, Colorado's oil and gas commission has given tentative approval to about 82 new rules for the state's oil and gas industry during six hearings in August and last week. Commission members based much of their provisional votes on rule language drafted by agency staff.

COGCC staff began work on the new rules in August of last year. That process began because of legislation the legislature passed last year that required the agency to expand its focus to consider public health and wildlife impacts, and require the use of best management practices to minimize harm from oil and gas development.

Technically or economically feasible to comply? What? So basically, they can just blow off the rules of they say 'oh, I am le'tired, I don't want to go through this whole long expensive process, lets just skip it!' Hum. I think someone needs to go look up the definition of the word 'rule': "a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc." As in, rules were not made to be broken.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oregon Police shoot to kill Coyotes

Police given order to shoot-to-kill Coyotes.

First of all, I like how in the article a Sherwood, Oregon police officer states that they don't want to give the impression that coyotes are 'on the rampage' and yet if you look at the full url title of the article it uses the word 'terrorizing'. Nice. Trust journalists to try to sensationalize anything they can.
According to the article coyote sightings in Sherwood were rare until the 1980's, and have been on the increase ever since. Surely it has occurred to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider the cause of this increase? Coyotes are extremely adaptable and opportunistic animals, who adjust well to life near or among humans, much as raccoons and skunks do. Certainly suburban neighborhoods provide a boon for hungry animals who can easily obtain a meal from cat food left out (or even your cat if he isn't wily) or garbage cans left on the street. But is that really all that is drawing coyotes to the cities and causing such a staggering population increase? Research in other areas, such as Yellowstone Park have shown that coyote numbers typically increase when other wildlife numbers, such as big game and larger predators, are down. Hopefully DFW is looking into this imbalance to find a way to rectify the situation without putting out 'Wanted: DEAD' posters on the local coyotes. Also, I'm curious as to why this matter is being handled by the police department, and not by Fish and Wildlife? How is the kill program being regulated? What keeps someone from just going out and machinegunning a whole pile of coyotes?
Though there is certainly no shortage of coyotes in North America, I still find it offensive that they are allowed to be shot simply for poking their noses into what human beings have come to consider their private space.
A note to the people of Sherwood, Oregon: The environment does not belong to you. You're just borrowing it for a while. Think of it as a holiday share. Don't repaint the walls and leave a mess in the kitchen when you leave. Leave it exactly as you found it, maybe even a little tidier. Gaia thanks you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hurricanes and damaged wetlands

From (lord help me) aol news

Coastal Build-Up
In 2003, more than half the U.S. population (or about 153 million people) lived along the Gulf and Southeastern U.S. coastline — an increase of 33 million people from 1980 — and that number is just expected to keep rising.
The buildup of these communities in recent decades and the environmental damage that development has caused exacerbate the impact of hurricanes.
"There's been an explosion of population along our coast," said Amanda Staudt, a climate scientist with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). "That's just putting a lot more people in harm's way."
This is particularly true in Florida, Texas and North Carolina, where populations are increasing the fastest. Hurricanes are especially a threat for homes right on the beach or on barrier islands, such as Galveston, because they receive the full brunt of a hurricane's storm surge.
Coastal features such as barrier islands and wetlands act as natural protection against a hurricane's storm surge, slowing it down and absorbing some of the impact. Studies have shown that every mile of wetlands reduces storm surge by about 3 to 9 inches and every acre reduces the cost of damages from a storm by $3,300, Staudt said.

May I just take a moment to say 'duh'.

"Our wetlands and barrier islands ... are our first line of defense," she said.
But the development boom in coastal areas has damaged these natural defenses, putting coastal residents even more at risk.
"The more we develop, the more we lose," Staudt told LiveScience.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that since the 1700s, the lower 48 states have lost more than half of their wetlands. While not all of that acreage loss is right along the coast, and some is likely a result of natural changes along the shoreline, a good chunk is due to development.
For instance, some of the Katrina damage to New Orleans was partly a result of the damage to the protective wetlands along Louisiana's coast. Development and subsidence, or outright sinking, of the state's coastline today mean that Louisiana loses an area of wetlands equivalent to the size of 32 football fields every day, according to the NWF.
Many hurricane experts have warned for years against destructive coastal development and imprudent policies that encourage people to build in coastal areas, but that often doesn't stop the building.

After looking at the pictures that accompanied this article, I just have to wonder what makes people think that it is wise to build a house that close to the gulf coast shoreline. Not only are they devastating important ecosystems, but they really aren't doing themselves any favors either, to look at the pictures. Why is it even allowed to go on? Why aren't these areas more protected, or why at least are there not zoning restrictions to prevent people from building in such flood-prone places?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gold Butte Burros

- Gold Butte's burros need your voice. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed a new Herd Management Area (HMA) Plan for Gold Butte's burros in Nevada, effective for the next 10-20 years. The Gold Butte HMA is the last of three HMAs in the Lake Mead Conservation Area BLM has not yet zeroed out: the area used to be the third largest concentration of wild burros in the West with an estimated population of 800, with 600 in Gold Butte alone. The plan authorizes round-ups every 4-5 years with a population target of just 22 burros. When the herd grows to 49, BLM intends to remove them again, even though the established appropriate management level allows up to 98 burros throughout the 271,000 acres of the HMA. BLM is only offering two options: the new plan or 'No Action.' Please support the No Action Alternative until an option is presented for responsible management of viable herds. This should at least include:

1. Allowing the burro herd to reach its high AML range of 98 before any round-up can take place, not 49 as the current plan is written.
2. Providing for maintenance of existing water developments and requiring water be provided if any new springs are fenced off.
3. Allowing the burros' forage measurements to still extend 10 miles around water. The new plan only allows 1-3 miles to be used, a very short distance for burros!
4. Establishing a rangeland recovery plan for those portions of the HMA that were burned by wildfires. Currently, BLM has no plan in place to help the burros survive for the next 20 years.
5. Not continuing to allow the National Park Service to remove or dispose of this last remaining burro herd. Any removals should be done by BLM through normal procedures.

Comments must be postmarked by September 19, 2008:
BLM Las Vegas Field Office, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130
Phone: (702) 515-5000, Fax: (702) 515-5023
Patrick Putnam/Assistant Field Manager or
Jerrie Bertola, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Be sure to include EA # NV052-2008-435, Gold Butte HMAP in your subject line.

For more suggestions on how to help, please click here. On behalf of America?s wild horses and burros, thank you for your support,

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
Click here to join our email list and receive the latest updates.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Striking it rich in North Dakota

North Dakota Oil Boom is bittersweet

First of all, let me say congratulations to all the hardworking people of No Dak who have 'struck it rich' in the last year. Anyone who has read my blog knows I'm not a big fan of oil drilling. But this situation is by far and away better than say, opening up ANWR. This is land that is already in use by the public, not a national park. I also enjoy the fact that actual PEOPLE are benefiting from this boom, not just the government and big oil companies. I hope that their new found riches don't change them, and that like the man who went out and bought himself a heated tractor (oh, sometimes I wish I had one! Or at least one with a seat {Bobby ate mine} and a radio!) they choose to spend their money locally, invest in their community, and in the land itself.
I sympathise with the people who are bothered by the boom. I know the feeling. If I lived right smack in the middle of the thirty acres that I love (stole your line, Marty Robbins!) I would still be too close for my own comfort to other people. I loath traffic, the noise and the dust it creates. I don't like to see my small town changing. My biggest issue here is the use of hydrofracturing to reach the oil deposit, and the storage of the oil. I'd like to see an environmental impact report on these subjects. I think I'll go research hydrofracturing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mad bloggin' on wolves

My friend Quis got me started reading various blogger's articles on Palin last night, so that naturally led me to a succession of articles on feminism, and wolves. Here are the ones about wolves.

Her Deadly Wolf Program

Killing the Wolves again
This one made me cry. R.I.P. Limpy, of the Druid Peak pack. The Druids are my favorites.
It also highlights the amazing kinship of all living things...who knew reintroducing wolves could help Aspen trees grow? And actually increase the number of Pronghorn Antelope?

What horrifies the wildlife watchers is killing a wolf just for being a wolf. "For anyone to just go out and shoot a wolf without any reason, [a wolf] which hasn't gotten into any trouble, is criminal," says Connolly. "It's dishonorable, disrespectful of nature, and it shows an extreme lack of understanding of how the natural world works."

The wolf in all of us
Unfortunately this one appears to be older, and as we all know, Bush changed his mind. Still, a good article.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rancher accused in death of Bison

Hello, Associated Press! And thanks to my friend Pam for sending me this article.

First off, I want to know what makes this dumbass software mogul a "Rancher"? Does he raise satellite dishes? Hmm. There is no mention in the article of whether or not he also raises other livestock on his land.
Second, I personally am of two minds about open range livestock ranching. I do think that owners of livestock certainly have a responsibility to keep track of their animals, and keep them out of places they shouldn't be. That said, it sounds like Mr. Downare, the owner of the slain bison has always had a good track record for recovering his animals when they've strayed. I also think it behooves (haha, pun) anyone in open range country to fence their own property properly in order to keep unwanted animals out. Bison can't be held off by a single strand of hotwire, like a dairy cow. In Arizona our fenced yard looks almost like a military compound, more of an effort to keep deer, coyotes and javelina OUT than to keep our dogs IN. Arizona, or at least our part of it, is also open range country. If I woke up to find a cow in the yard, I would not blame the rancher. I would say to myself, "Gee, how'd that bugger get in? I guess I'll just haze him out and check the fences." Let it also be said that I do not consider Bison to be a domesticated animal, and as such caring for and containing them is probably very different from cattle, and other considerations need to be made.
My favorite part of this article is where the 'Rancher' Software Mogul (note my sarcasm) insists that he shot the animals 'to protect himself'. Because like, maybe he might DIE if he didn't have satellite television for a day! God forbid one of His creatures should poop or shed hair on your lawn.
Bottom line for me is: If you don't want buffalo pucky in your yard, GO BACK TO YOUR CONDO IN TEXAS! and leave the "pristine pasture on rolling hills" to the buffalo!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Palin: the real scandal

Palin: the real scandal

By Leonard Doyle in Anchorage
Saturday, 6 September 2008

Seen from the air, Sarah Palin's state is an environmental wonderland. From Anchorage to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, there is a vast landscape of snow-capped peaks, fjords, crystal glaciers, coastal lagoons, wide river deltas and tundra.

The guardian of this wilderness – and Governor of Alaska – has, this week, become one of the most recognisable faces in the world. But behind her beaming smile and wholesome family values is a woman aligned with the big oil and coal firms that are racing to exploit Alaska's vast energy reserves. In the short term, that has bought her popularity at home.

"I love the woman," the pilot on our flight shouts over the noise of the engine, "especially what she wants to do with oil, we just have to drill more, there is no alternative. What's the point of leaving it all in the ground?"

It is a stance that guaranteed John McCain's new running mate a rapturous reception at the Republican convention this week where the response to the coming energy crisis was a chant of "drill, baby, drill".

But the woman who could soon be a 72-year-old's heartbeat away from the United States presidency has an environmental policy so toxic it would make the incumbent, George Bush, blush.

Mr McCain has stressed he is concerned about global warming and has come out against drilling in the Arctic reserve. But, in recent weeks, he has wobbled on the issue. And environmentalists are describing Mrs Palin, who denies climate change is man-made, as "either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading".

She wants to start drilling. She wants to block US moves to list the polar bear as an endangered species. And she has allowed big game hunters to shoot Alaska's bears and wolves from low-flying planes.

The 44-year-old governor says a federal government decision to protect the polar bear will cripple energy development offshore. As a result, she is suing the Bush administration, which ruled the polar bear is endangered and needs protection.

The US Geological Survey says climate change has shrunk Arctic summer sea ice to about 1.65 million sq miles, nearly 40 per cent less than the long-term average between 1979 and 2000.

In such a situation it was unconscionable for Governor Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming's threat to sea ice, says Kassie Siegel of the Centre for Biological Diversity.

"Even the Bush administration can't deny the reality of global warming," Ms Siegel said. "The governor is aligning herself and the state of Alaska with the most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints by denying this."

Governor Palin would also like to bring open-cast coal mining to Alaska's Brooks Range Mountains, an act of environmental vandalism in the eyes of many.

The Palin administration has allowed Chevron to triple the amount of toxic waste it pours into the waters of Cook Inlet. This, even though the number of beluga whales in the bay has collapsed from 1,300 to 350 – the point of extinction – because of pollution and increased ship traffic.

On the Republican convention floor she said: "We Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas and take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We've got lots of both."

The fact that drilling won't solve every problem "is no excuse to do nothing at all", she said, putting the country on notice that "starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more nuclear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ... and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative sources".

Mrs Palin also took a swipe at Barack Obama's environmental stance saying: "What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?"

Her support in Alaska relies on squeezing more money for the state from the oil companies themselves. In Alaska, every man woman and child is in line for a bonus cheque of about $2,000 (£1,100) from the state's massive oil wealth fund. This is, in effect, a vote-buying machine for the would-be Vice-President.

Governor Palin wants nothing to hinder the oil companies. She maintains that polar bears are well managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation. And if the ice should go away, then they will adapt to living on the land.

Many oil companies abandoned Alaska when prices fell in the 1980s but they have been rushing back to drill and prospect areas that are among the least hospitable on earth. That spirit of the Klondike is already in full swing in Prudhoe Bay the epicentre of oil production and one of the world's largest industrial complexes. It's so big that BP, UPS and FedEx operate a special fleet of jets from Anchorage just to service to the region.

Hundreds of spills involving tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil and other petroleum products occur in the area each year. Decades-old spills are still a problem and 17,000 acres of wildlife and marine habitat have already been destroyed.

But Prudhoe is just a tiny fraction of the area being targeted by Governor Palin and the oil companies. A similar fate of environmental destruction awaits the entire coastal plain as well as the special areas of the western Arctic – home to migratory caribou herds, musk oxen, wolverines, grizzly and polar bears should a McCain-Palin administration be elected.

The oil boom has attracted oilmen from across America. One of them is Todd Palin, husband to the vice-presidential candidate who works for BP on Alaska's North Slope.

It is illegal to hunt polar bears, and that is not about to change. But in an area known as "Polar Bear Seas", from Point Hope on Alaska's far western edge to the pristine coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, one tenth of the world's polar bear population is at risk, as well as beluga and bowheaded whales and bearded and spotted seals.

Big game hunters are happy to pay lots of money to shoot wolves and bears from the air. They also chase them across the snow to the point of exhaustion and then land the planes on skis, shooting them from point-blank range. The animals are considered endangered across the "lower 48" states of America, but not Alaska. The hunters keep and sell the animals' pelts.

Last year, Mrs Palin proposed offering a bounty of $150 per wolf, as long as the hunter provided the wolf's foreleg as proof of the kill. The measure did not pass. She even spent $400,000 on a state-funded campaign to block attempts to end the hunt.

Its not just wildlife conservationists who object. Many ordinary Alaskans also condemn the practice as barbaric.

Trish Rolfe, who runs the Sierra Club's Alaska office, thinks Governor Palin has been a disaster for Alaska's environment. "The idea that she stands up to the oil companies is a joke," she says.

"The governor pays lip service to the issue of global warming but denies it is man made. She will not even spend money to help the Inupiaq villages which are about to fall into the sea."

(The Blogger here. Anyone else notice that Sarah Palin looks exactly like the evil animal hating President of the Homeowners Association from "Over the Hedge"? Hmm, curious...also, I tried to type 'republican' into my labels window and blogger automatically suggested 'reptile', harhar.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Top Issues: Drilling

Yesterday my mood was improved by my mother, followed by an email from the Obama campaign, informing me that in the wake of John McCain's announcement of Palin as his VP more first time contributors donated to the Obama campaign than ever before. Ah, the smell of political suicide in the morning.
Today, irked by the once again rising cost of gas (and doughnuts) I'm not in such a good mood.
A good friend of mine told me when we were discussing various political problems the other day that she supports more drilling in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Alright, I'll give her that. I respect her opinions. But I see no point in opening up new areas such as in the Gulf of Mexico and ANWR to drilling when we aren't even striving for peak production with the drilling operations we HAVE. Until such time as production peaks in our CURRENT oil interests, I continue to be against further drilling. And I also expect that by such time as production peaks we will also be well on our way to the We Campaign ( goal of 100% clean energy.
So that said, here is your chance to speak out against further offshore drilling, thanks to Defenders of Wildlife:
Please urge the U.S. Minerals Management Service -- the federal agency accepting comments on the Administration’s plan -- to shelve the Bush/Cheney Administration’s latest offshore oil drilling scam.
  • Offshore drilling contaminates water, routinely spilling oil and toxic liquids into our oceans and releasing hazardous fumes into our air.
  • Pollutants like mercury and persistent hydrocarbons contaminate important marine habitat near platforms.
  • Seismic testing associated with drilling can cause dolphins, whales and other marine mammals to become disoriented and stranded and -- in some cases -- even die.
  • Massive spills that can result from drilling and increased tanker traffic can kill dolphins, seabirds, sea turtles, fish and marine mammals.

And while the environmental damage of offshore drilling may be significant, the savings to U.S. consumers would not be. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that drilling off our coasts would have "no significant" impact on domestic production until 2030, and even then “impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant."

Tell the MMS that we don't need more drilling, what we need is a new way of thinking!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin VP?!?!

I go on vacation, and the world goes crazy? I figured it would survive without me for a week, at least!
What in the name of all that is holy is John McCain thinking? Palin is more of a right wing whack job than he is! The woman's track record as a Governor (an office she's only held for TWO YEARS) is appalling. Her policies on conservation atrocious. And McCain wants us to believe that he cares about Polar Bears and Wolves and the sanctity of our National Parks?
Here's what Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen had to say:

Shocking Choice by John McCain

WASHINGTON-- Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

“Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

“Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

“This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.”

And I thought the Bush administration was bad! All I can say is I hope that by making this utterly idiotic choice (an obvious push to get female voters!) John McCain has just committed political suicide.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A long awaited....


Yes, thank Gaia, finally.
I will be out of town and away from the computer until Sept. 2, so hopefully the world keeps spinning without me blogging, haha.
It has been years since I've had more than four days off, and six days in the desert seems like a blessing. Hopefully I will come back with some great pictures to share, and maybe a few good enough to add to my new ImageKind Gallery. If I ever manage to get the Living Gaia website up and running all of my Living Gaia related products from both Cafepress and ImageKind will then be available in one place, along with Amazon search engines for 'green' products and books and other products of interest to like-minded people. Which will also hopefully mean less of the ads on this blog, more space for pictures and the like!
Consequent to taking a vacation I did some math and figured out that aside from the obvious loss of pay (I don't get paid vacations) I almost SAVE money by going on vacation, because I'm saving gas not going to work and saving money on eating and such. Scary that.
So, heres hoping everyone else has a great Labor Day weekend! I'll be thinkin' of ya'll down in my canyon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Will it ever end?

That's a good question, when it comes to Alaska's aerial hunting debate. Well here's your chance to try to swing the vote.
Tuesday Alaskans will finally vote on Aerial Hunting in Alaska, and the anti-wolf and other wildlife factions are making a last ditch effort to sway Alaskan voters with smear campaigns against wolves and touting of Alaskan wildlife as a trophy hunter's paradise, ignoring the brutal and unsportsmanlike nature of aerial gunning.
But we can help Defenders of Wildlife share the truth, by helping them to run a new ad exposing the truth behind aerial gunning.
You can view the ad HERE.
We only have until Tuesday folks, so lets get crackin', and close this deal once and for all!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Haha of the day

It's funny, but it's not. From

Republican Leader Boehner caught golfing while House GOP pretends to be outraged at high gas prices
Big Oil tax breaks and subsidies supported by Republicans... $14 Billion
Political contributions made to Republicans by Big Oil this cycle... $13.5 Million
Profit earned by the top five Big Oil Companies last quarter ... $44 Billion
Cost of Boehner's green fees while a small band of Republicans' express faux outrage about gas prices... $240
The Grand Oil Party's hypocrisy about the cost of gas... Priceless
Learn more about the Grand Oil Party's Hypocrisy on Gas Prices »

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Busy update

Sorry folks, but I'm only one person. I kept up really well last month, but I've just been too busy to get anything done this month. Hopefully soon! Meantime, enjoy a whole new way to find 'green' products on Amazon:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Letter of Thanks to Senators Mikulski and Cardin

I just felt the need to express my thanks to Senators Mikulski, Cardin, and all the others who respond in a personal way to all the emails and petitions I'm sure they are bombarded with every day. Form letters they may be, but each one expresses the Senators' thoughts on the subject at hand, explains their personal stance, and cites which legislature they oppose or support. Letters like these let us know that our elected representatives really are listening to what we are saying, and have our interests in mind. And if they don't agree with us, it explains why. So kudos to you, Senators.

And let this be a lesson to you Mr. Roscoe Bartlett of District 6, and the NEVER ENDING slew of identical form letters that say NOTHING other than a basic brush off of 'sorry I can't answer your email, I get tons of email everyday' and 'I can only help you if you live in my district'. Well I DO live in your district, Mr. Bartlett, as you would know if whoever screens your mail ever bothered to actually read it, although if I have any say in the matter it won't be your district for any longer than necessary. I've gotten better form letters from the President of the United States, whom I well know did not read my letter! It is disgraceful and unacceptable behavior to ignore the voice of your constituents in this way. For shame, Mr. Bartlett. For shame.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Huge Oil spill on Mississippi River

Ah F*ck.
That and a dozen other cusswords are about the first things that came out of my mouth when I saw this article.

Huge Oil Spill shuts Mississippi River

This is one of those times when I'm not going to bother to be polite and censor myself. For all you dumbshits who want to drill off the coast and in ANWR or anywhere else that is protected and not already under an unused or underused oil lease, look at this and consider the goddamn consequences. Yeah, sure, the environmental impact of drilling in ANWR will be contained within 2000 sq miles. MY ASS. The oil has to get OUT of ANWR doesn't it? Anywhere that oil goes from there is a potential disaster area! And don't give me any crap about how this was heating oil not motor oil or gasoline, its all the same thing when you get down to the bottom line.
After the devastation and pollution caused by Hurricane Katrina this is the very last thing the Mississippi River region needs. Gaia help us clean up this f*cking mess.

How Do You Spell Relief?

Email from the Center for American Progress Action Fund:

We need real energy solutions that address the real needs of the American people. Add your voice to our campaign to lower gas prices now and lower carbon emissions for the future. Don't let conservatives get away with filling the airwaves with lies that distract us from our goals. Don't let them put the needs of Big Oil ahead of the needs of American families.

When it comes to lowering gas prices now, the president and conservatives say we should drill for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). They tell us that the way to lower oil prices now and reduce oil consumption is to sell our future to big oil companies with leases that won't have a significant impact on our needs until 2030. In other words,

President Bush spells relief: SELL OUR FUTURE

But we take a more realistic approach to lowering prices now.

We spell it: SELL OUR OIL

We need relief NOW! Under eight years of the Big Oil presidency, oil prices have gone up by more than 500 percent. But we can lower oil prices in 20 days by selling a small portion of our strategic oil reserves and reduce our oil consumption in the future by using the profits from the sale to invest in low carbon energy solutions, without affecting our energy security.

When the price of oil goes up who makes more money? Yeah, that's right, the president's Big Oil friends... So who do you trust to help bring down the price of oil? Do you trust those selling FANTASY or those selling REALITY?

So let's help Congress push President Bush to implement REAL ENERGY SOLUTIONS.

Write Congress today about releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves and using the profits to invest in creating a low carbon economy.

Take Action Now

Together we can solve all of our energy needs. This is the first step in our campaign for Real Energy Solutions, so keep your eyes open for more!

Alan and the CAPAF/I Am Progress Advocacy Team

You can read more about this plan on their website.
I think it sounds like a much better idea than drilling in ANWR and using that for funding (yeah, cause I'm sure they will right?) don't you?