can be read here. Enjoy!
From Take Part:
Catching Shark Finners Red-Handed
How do you catch poachers in Costa Rica who cut the fins off sharks, throw the animals overboard to slowly die, and then sell the body parts to Asian restaurants that make shark fin soup?
One way is to surreptitiously attach satellite tracking devices to suspected poachers’ boats while they’re docked in port. Then track the vessels to a protected marine preserve 500 miles offshore, and sneak up on the poachers under the cover of darkness to video them violating national law.
This is precisely what happened on the final mission of The Operatives, the series that wrapped up its first season Sunday on Pivot TV, the television network owned by Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company.
Pete Bethune, the Operatives’ leader, gives a wrap up of the mission to Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands in his captain’s vlog. (Check out the video above.) The ocean surrounding the Cocos, a national park, is home to one of the world’s largest populations of hammerhead sharks, and that has attracted the shark finners.
“Sharks are apex predators,” said Bethune. “They take out the weak, old, and sick fish and help maintain the genetic strength of the species they predate upon. Remove all the sharks, and you take away a key element of the ecosystem that can lead to its collapse.”
Humans kill an estimated 63 million to 273 million sharks a year, according to a 2013 study.
The GPS-tagged video the Operatives captured will be turned over to Costa Rican law enforcement authorities.
for a moment, anyway. Don’t be surprised if it pops back into his %$&)(* within only a few months or less….
Google Inc. (GOOG:US) Chairman Eric Schmidt said the world’s biggest Internet search company made a mistake in funding a political group that opposes U.S. action on climate change.
Schmidt said Google paid the American Legislative Exchange Council as part of a lobbying campaign on an unrelated issue. Without elaborating on Google’s relationship with the group, Schmidt said facts about global warming aren’t in dispute.
“The people who oppose it are really hurting our children and grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” Schmidt said on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show” yesterday. “We should not be aligned with such people. They are just literally lying.”
Story: Google Cuts Ties With Right-Wing Group: ‘They’re Just Literally Lying’
Google confirmed in a statement yesterday that it won’t renew its ALEC membership at the end of the year.
The Mountain View, California-based company and others are under mounting pressure from organizations that back government policies to combat climate change to abandon the Council, which says it supports free-market policies, because of its approach to environmental issues.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) has withdrawn from ALEC, saying affiliating with group “which is actively fighting policies that promote renewable energy was incongruous,” according to a report in Bloomberg BNA last month.
Story: Yelp Takes a Quieter Approach to Breaking Up With ALEC
ALEC develops model legislation for state legislatures. It was behind Florida’s so-called Stand-Your-Ground law that drew scrutiny after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer who later was acquitted of murder. It has also pushed to repeal state mandates for renewable energy use.
The group has written model legislation calling for an interstate research council to study possible beneficial effects of climate change and to examine how regulations capping carbon may hurt the economy.
Video: Why Did Google Support ALEC in the First Place?
“It is unfortunate to learn Google has ended its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council as a result of public pressure from left-leaning individuals and organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial,” Lisa Nelson, ALEC’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Bill Meierling, the ALEC senior director of public affairs, said Google joined ALEC in August 2011 and was active in a communications and technology task force the group created to discuss broadband, privacy and e-commerce issues. The company paid ALEC about $10,000 a year.
Meierling disputed Schmidt’s suggestion that the group denies human activity is a cause of climate change. But he said ALEC has “significant concerns” rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would hurt the economy.
From The Seattle Times:
Thousands march in NYC, around globe over climate
Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change.
The crowds of marchers, which included actors Mark Ruffalo and Evangeline Lilly, wound through midtown Manhattan, joined along the way by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The march was one of a series of events large and small held around the world — organizers said 40,000 marchers took part in an event in London, while a small gathering in Cairo featured 50-foot art piece representing wind and solar energy — two days before the United Nations Climate Summit. More than 120 world leaders will convene Tuesday for the meeting aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.
The New York march drew people from all over the country. A contingent from Moore, Oklahoma — where a massive tornado killed 24 last year– took part, as did hundreds of New Yorkers affected by Superstorm Sandy, which the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British meteorological office said was made more likely by climate change.
Myrtle E. Williams, a nurse at a nursing home in the Rockaways, said Sandy was a “real eye opener.” The storm nearly two years ago “made people wake up and say this is real devastating,” she says.
Williams said Sandy brought home the devastation people usually see on television from far away, like the Asian tsunamis and the hurricanes that hit southern states.
“I think people are becoming more aware when it happens to them,” she said. “When it comes to your door, you can equate with other people who are going through something just as devastating.”
Now the question she asks: “Can we make a change so that this will never happen again?”
In London, celebrities including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel joined tens of thousands of people in the march through the capital’s center.
Campaigners marched through the streets chanting “What do we want? Clean energy. When do we want it? Now.”
Speaking at the start of the march, Thompson said: “This is important for every single person on the planet, which is why it has to be the greatest grass roots movement of all time.
“This is the battle of our lives. We’re fighting for our children,” she said.
In Australia, thousands of people marched in cities across the country on Sunday as part of a global day of action on climate change. The largest rally was in Melbourne, where an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets with banners and placards calling on the Australian government to do more to combat global warming.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was a particular target of the protesters. Abbott’s center-right coalition has removed a carbon tax and has restricted funding for climate change bodies since coming to power last year.
very, very cool….
From the Seattle Times/AP:
Chinook spotted in upper reaches of Elwha River
PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park says that for the first time in more than a century, chinook salmon have been spotted in the upper reaches of the Elwha River following the recent removal of two dams.
Fisheries staff equipped with snorkels confirmed the presence of the three big fish above where the final chunks of the 210-foot-tall Glines Canyon dam were blasted away last month. The salmon were between 30 and 36 inches long, with two resting near the submerged stumps of ancient trees and the third in a deep pool in what used to be Lake Mills.
The biologists also saw 27 bull trout and nearly 400 rainbows. Hundreds more chinook have been counted just downstream of Glines Canyon.
The Elwha had a legendary run of massive chinook before the 108-foot Elwha Dam was built in 1911, cutting off access to their spawning grounds. Both dams have been removed in a $325 million river restoration project that began in September 2011.
Actions speak louder than words – but watch the video and decide for yourself
scary. Especially when we have two in our own yard and many around the neighborhood….there was a note in the latest NCCC issue, but here’s a similar article:
Love it. It’s hard to find companies in this day and age that take much of a stand on anything, because in large part the lawyers and PR people get in the way. But this page says it all – kudos to Burpee!
Burpee’s Policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
As America’s oldest and most trusted supplier of vegetable and flower seeds and plants, Burpee has provided home gardeners with the very best open pollinated and hybrid varieties for more than 100 years. We take great care and pride in supplying seeds that are well suited for both conventional and organic gardens across the U.S., with quality and integrity foremost in mind. For that reason, we do not sell seed that has been genetically modified (GMO). Burpee has never bought or sold GMO seeds, and we have no intention of doing so in the future.
There is profound confusion by the public as to what genetically modified seed is and is not. We are here to provide facts that we hope eradicate that confusion, specifically as it relates to Burpee and our seeds.
It is important to understand that hybrid seeds are very different from those that are genetically modified. Hybrids seeds are purposely bred in the field to produce offspring that have the best traits of their parent plants. Through a process of careful and painstaking selection, our breeders hand pollinate varieties using controlled transfer of pollen from one parent to another parent, which results in a specific and consistent combination of desirable characteristics. Horticultural experts identify the traits of varieties from within the same species over a period of months and years and develop new varieties that are grown in trial gardens at Fordhook Farm in Pennsylvania. This is much the same process as is used by horse or dog breeders to produce offspring with the desired results.
GMO seeds are quite different, however. GMO varieties are not bred in a field or greenhouse; rather, they are developed in a laboratory setting using modern biotechnology. Techniques such as gene splicing are used to extract traits from different species to insert them in to another plant. According to the Non-GMO Project, “this experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding”. To learn more about GMO varieties, we recommend a visit to: Non GMO Policy
Each year, more and more Americans discover the overwhelming joy and economic benefits of gardening at home. New gardeners often have questions about the features of different seed types and which offer the best qualities in terms of yield, disease resistance, size, and taste. Many of these answers can be found in the extensive library of resources housed at our website: www.burpee.com.
Burpee has always supplied safe, non-GMO hybrids, tried and true heirloom seeds, as well as certified organic varieties that are recognized as organic under the Oregon Tilth Certification, a subsidiary of USDA regulatory. Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) provides a system that combines strict production standards with on-site inspections. OTCO is internationally recognized and provides legally binding contracts to protect the producers and buyers of organic products. It was also one of the first organizations to gain accreditation to begin offering organic certification under the USDA organic regulations.
Burpee is proud to have supplied American home gardeners with the highest quality, non-GMO seeds since 1876. We look forward to providing you with all the ingredients you need for a beautiful, bountiful garden.
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
From the Seattle Times:
Seattle couple hosts attic full of bats
Six weeks ago, overnight, about 270 bats decided to take up residence at the Columbia City home of Brenda Matter and Bruce Crowley.
Yes, it was a disconcerting sight.
Every evening, 270 bats come streaming out of the attic of the two-story, century-old Victorian home so they can forage.
It’s a warm, cozy, protected attic with just the right size gaps as entrances. A perfect bat home.
Something like this had never happened in the 28 years the couple has lived there.
“It was,” says Crowley, “hard to believe.”
Luckily for these little creatures, Matter and Crowley didn’t immediately call a pest-removal service.
They could have. Bats are protected, but not when found in dwellings.
“I wasn’t really scared, more curious,” says Crowley. “Growing up on Capitol Hill, you used to see garter snakes everywhere in gardens. We don’t have poisonous snakes here, so I’m not afraid of them, either.”
Bats for centuries have suffered from lousy public relations. A few examples:
In the drawings for Dante’s “Inferno,” a gruesome Satan is shown with giant bat wings. You act unstable, and get called “batty.” Even a superhero like Batman is portrayed as a moody Dark Knight. For some people, bats are filthy, bloodsucking, ugly flying vampires that carry rabies. “Flying rats” are what some call them.
But bats are real protectors of the environment, say advocates such as Bats Northwest.
The ones in the Northwest eat insects, and if not for them we’d be overrun by moths, flies and mosquitoes. Plus, bat guano makes great fertilizer.
Matter and Crowley are truly your prototypical nice-type Seattleites. After some research, they decided to do the right thing by the bats and made them a neighborhood attraction, putting out lawn “bat-watching chairs” on the sidewalk in front of their home in the 3900 block of South Ferdinand Street.
On a recent night, 16 kids and adults gathered at dusk to watch the nightly bat excursion.
It wasn’t IMAX-type excitement. The attic is what, 25 feet above ground, and the bats are small, each weighing a third of an ounce.
The bats also don’t fly out all at once, so no Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds”-type visuals. Just a handful at a time.
As Romi Silverman, 9, who lives next door, says, “It’s just, like, cool.”
It’s the kids who sit nightly and have counted 270 bats, which takes considerably more patience than some of the adults have after standing around for 15 minutes watching the flitting creatures.
Doing all this for the bats will cost Matter and Crowley at least $610, probably more, and a bunch of their time.
They don’t mind.
“With the nightly gatherings, and meeting all the neighborhood, the whole thing will have the sort of memory load that comes with an exotic vacation. But the costs should be only a fraction of what a vacation like that would cost,” says the couple in an email.
The couple have spent $260 for rabies shots. Without their health coverage, they say, the price would have been $1,500.
They decided to get the series of shots when one night, a bat made a wrong turn and, instead of going outside, began flying all over the upstairs. Crowley finally caught it with a canning jar.
You never know when there might be a next encounter, with maybe a scratch or bite from a scared bat, and a tiny percentage of them do carry rabies.
The state’s Department of Health says that fewer than 1 percent of bats have rabies, and only 5 to 10 percent of sick, injured or dead bats tested had rabies. Don’t handle bats, says the agency, and the odds of contracting rabies are “extremely small.”
The state recommends sealing up attics where bats take up residence. A contractor contacted by the couple estimated that would cost at least $350, if “it’s an easy job.”
The job entails putting screen around the attic, with the screen funneled so that once the bats leave, they can’t come back in.
Matter and Crowley will wait until September for that work.
That’s because the bats right now have pups, and the pups are staying in the attic because they can’t yet fly.
Matter and Crowley also have crawled around the attic to cover their belongings in plastic to protect them from bat excrement. They’ll also themselves be replacing the insulation, where the bats likely are nesting.
Then, to give the bats a new home, Matter and Crowley are putting up a bat house — which looks like a stretched-out birdhouse — on a 12-foot pole.
Michelle Noe, president of Bats Northwest, joined the crowd outside the home on that recent night.
She’s 32 and became a bat enthusiast while getting her degree at the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources and itemizing the species on the Olympic Peninsula.
It turns out the Northwest has some 15 kinds of bats, with the most common aptly named the “little brown bat.”
Noe guessed that’s the kind that took up residence at the home of Matter and Crowley.
“Bats have been inhabiting the night’s skies for over 50 million years, while the rest of us mammals have mostly stuck to the ground or trees,” she says.
She preaches about bat myths, such as bats being vampires.
Vampire bats do exist, but only in the tropics, and they make up only three of the more than 1,200 species of bats.
Plus, they don’t suck blood, but just make a cut with their teeth in large mammals like cattle and lap up the blood.
Meanwhile, the nightly viewings continue at the home of Matter and Crowley.
“I was thinking today about why we are happy about the bats,” says Matter. “The bats need to go somewhere, and they think our house is a natural feature in the landscape. That feels pretty cool to us.”