Monday, February 23, 2009

Turtle Power!

Yes, it isn't just in popular 1980's cartoons. It's in the more than 45,000 people who have already signed the petition to help protect sea turtles from bottom longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. With 6 out of 7 species of sea turtles listed as threatened or endangered, continuing protections for these animals is critical, starting with working to limit the number of deaths each year from irresponsible fishing practices. Snared on sharp hooks or in nets, sea turtles often drown. In incidents of snaring by longlines in 2006-07 the government estimates nearly 1000 turtles were snared, with up to an 80% fatality rate. So call that 800 a year. 800 doesn't seem like that high a number, but consider that we have no idea how many sea turtles there really are because we can only track females who come to shore to lay their eggs. Male and juvenile sea turtles will spend their entire lives at sea.
But wait! There's more!
Fatality rates for sea turtle hatchlings are staggeringly high, due to natural predators alone. Add to that all the trouble man makes for them, and repopulating the oceans becomes a truly daunting task. Sea turtles are constantly losing prime nesting beaches to development, and like the polar bears and their melting ice, sea turtles are faced with the problem of global warming raising water levels and putting much of their nesting habitat under water. Even if the beaches are left alone, nearby lighting from developments can confuse turtle hatchlings, causing them to flounder inland and be run over on roads, die of dehydration, or become prey to domestic cats and dogs.
What more can you do to help besides signing the petition and donating to sea turtle conservation? Defenders of Wildlife has a list for you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Urge your Representative to support the new Anti-Slaughter bill

This is one of those lazy copy paste updates I know ya'll love. It derives from the fact that the internet hates me, and I haven't been able to get webpages to cooperate, so I'm just pasting you the email the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign sent me. Enjoy.

With the 111th Congress comes a new opportunity to end the transport of American horses for slaughter in Mexico and Canada: please call your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to co-sponsor the newly-introduced Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503).

While our Campaign's main focus is on keeping wild horses in the wild, we must also ensure that the thousands of wild horses unnecessarily rounded up each year do not end up over the border at Mexican or Canadian slaughterhouses. Although the last remaining U.S. slaughterhouses have closed their doors, slaughter remains our wild horses? greatest threat once they have been removed from the range. Nothing the Bureau of Land Management says or does will change that sad reality.

Please visit and enter your zip code to locate your U.S. Representative. Remind him/her that horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia and that America's wild horses are also being slaughtered - we should not allow these living symbols of our Nation to end up as a gourmet meal for diners in Europe and Asia (which is where horse meat is exported to).

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

The AWHPC Team
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sarah Palin vs El Lobo

I took this quote from the comments section of Scientific America's article "Why does Sarah Palin Support shooting wolves in Alaska?"
Quote from commenter "Alaskan Lady"

"There is a lot of confusion about Sarah Palin and her support of aerial wolf hunting. We are former 20+ year Alaska residents, and my husband, a hunter, was appointed to the Alaska Board of Game by former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles in 2000. The 7 member Board makes wildlife management decisions for the state. The current Board has approved aerial wolf control.

We made the 10 minute video, End Aerial Wolf Hunting, in Jan of 2008 using testimony from Alaska Department of Fish & Game staff, a master hunting guide, and Board of Game members. Although the video has not been updated since the ballot initiate vote in August of 2008, the testimony, documentation, and research has not changed. The video also references a study done by the National Research Council and the American Society of Mammalogists.

This video exposes the fallacy behind Governor Sarah Palin's claim that predator control is based on sound science. Declarations that the program is for the benefit of subsistence hunters are shattered with documentation showing that sport and trophy hunters take up to 73% of prey in areas where aerial wolf hunting has taken place.

A 4 1/2 minute version of the video can be seen here:

Five years in the making, this video exposes the truth about the stranglehold the hunting lobby has on wildlife management in Alaska.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

No such thing as 'clean coal'

A billion gallons. That's a lot. That's how much waste was spilled in the recent Tennessee coal ash disaster. That's worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. How is that clean?
Now take into account the tons of coal slag that gets dumped into creeks and valleys every year, the tons of carbon emitted by coal burning plants and factories. Even if you clean up coal, it's still not remotely clean. That's like saying "Oh, this is clean chalk, though. It doesn't leave white smears on your black slacks, and you never have to cough and choke on chalk dust when you beat the erasers." It just doesn't happen. So do you know what people started doing instead of getting chalk dust everywhere? They switched to white boards and dry erase markers. Ah, progress.
Nowadays most markers are nontoxic, and their components can even be recycled. Why can we do this with markers and not with energy? Simply because people aren't making the effort and the commitment needed. Tell them they need to make a commitment.
Sign the Petition.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Leaders for Energy Independence

“The prices of fossil fuels have fallen significantly over the last six months, but now is not the time to become complacent and fall back into wasteful habits,” Rendell said. “Demand for energy will rebound, but the rate of new discoveries of easily obtained, high-quality oil will not be able to match it. Prices will increase again, so we must make ourselves ready.”
So said PA Gov. Edward G. Rendell today.
“Since taking office, I’ve set out to make Pennsylvania a leader in the development and deployment of alternative and renewable energy technologies, because we cannot continue to depend on foreign oil and we need to be better stewards of our environment,” said the governor. “We’ve also stressed the importance of conserving energy and using it more efficiently because the cheapest, cleanest energy is that which we do not use."

Think about it. Gas has been creeping back up again. By no means must we imagine that the tough times are over. But let us also consider this concept of 'rebounding.' Do we really have to? Think about it. You've survived the economic and energy crisis so far by driving less, carpooling, eating in, turning the lights off when you leave the room, dialing the heater back just a couple of degrees. Just because costs have dropped for a time, do you suddenly feel compelled to go wasting electricity and gas willy nilly? You're comfortable with the temperature set at 68 instead of 72. Stick with that. Is it REALLY necessary to drive halfway across town to pick up pizza from that place you like? Or would you maybe be just as happy slapping together one of those 'do it yourself' pizzas at home with the kids? hmm.

We, as consumers, can't really control the cost of services like water and electricity on our own. But we can learn to conserve out own resources. Not all of us can afford to install solar panels, or a wind generator. But all of us can turn off the lights when we leave, turn down the heat, maybe take shorter showers which saves water and electricity by not using as much water from your water heater. Some of us can maybe afford to get water conserving faucets and shower heads and toilets. The point is, do what you CAN, and you CAN make a difference. Even if the difference is only to you.