If you came looking for Apple Guardians, you found it! Only the site name has changed. All else stays the same. Welcome back.

May 30, 2010

What BP Does Not Want You To See!

Have you started to use renewable energy yet?  Still think drilling for oil is harmless?  Watch this video featuring Philippe Cousteau (grandson of famous explorer Jacques Cousteau) as he describes what he saw as "one of the most horrible things I've ever seen underwater."  "It's a nightmare."

May 28, 2010

WYCD #6 - Become an Ambassador

What You Can Do for the world's habitat's #6 - Become an EcoLogic Ambassador. 

What is EcoLogic?

EcoLogic is a non profit agency that works with poor, rural communities to help them become better environmental stewards in order to save their forests and water and improve their living conditions.  They put local people in charge of projects, providing them with the tools they need to sustainably manage their natural resources.  EcoLogic currently operates in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama.

How do I become an Ambassador?

EcoLogic Ambassadors support the organization by making a personal contribution and reaching out to their networks on EcoLogic's behalf.  By hosting a house party, organizing a giving drive, bringing awareness to local schools, town associations, or club chapters, Ambassadors are active members of the outreach effort.  Their efforts provide crucial core operating support and help build awareness in the broader community. 

When you sign up you will receive The Ambassador Toolkit that has been custom designed to make meeting your pledge fun and easy.  For example, it contains excellent advice on planning house parties or small events with a timeline to walk you through the planning process step by step.  And when you host your event, EcoLogic will supply you with slide show presentation, EcoLogic newsletters, annual reports, postcards, and donation envelopes.  You can even have business cards printed with your name and title as an Ambassador.

EcoLogic gets results.

In Belize
  • 42,018 acres of coastal wetlands and mangrove forests protected.
  • Landmark legal victory achieved for indigenous lands rights for communities buffering the park.
  • Five village resource centers built that offer eco-friendly tourism activities coordinated by locals.
  • Two river campsites built to further river-based ecotourism development.
  • more...
In Guatemala
  • 355,780 acres of forest conserved.
  • 90,000 trees planted using a new, more effecient reforestation technology.
  • 182 clean burning stoves built.
  • more...
In Honduras
  • 444,790 acres of coastal wilderness under sustainable management or protection.
  • 5,000 trees planted in community managed lands.
  • 62 communities now involved in microwatershed protection work, covering 16 microwatersheds.
  • more...
In Mexico
  • 617,763 acres of forest under community management or protection.
  • 500 community members trained in watershed protection.
  • Communities organized to support fire prevention activities.
Learn more about becoming an EcoLogic Ambassador.

May 26, 2010

The Ailing Arctic

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a wilderness of 30,685 square miles (80,000 sq km), home to caribou, polar bears, musk oxen, arctic foxes, and grizzlies.  Milliions of birds from over 100 species breed there each year.  Although the Refuge has been protected from development since its foundation in 1960, the proposal to drill for oil on its coastal plain presents a threat to its wildlife, especially to the breeding caribou. 

Rising temperatures and earlier spring melts could expose polar bear cubs, born in snow dens, to the harsh cold of the Arctic too early in their development. 

The deeper causes of many of the problems facing the Arctic, such as global warming and pollution, lie much further to the south, in the industrialized nations, and can only be tackled there. 

Go to Defenders of Wildlife and help save the Arctic.

Visit Humans vs. Habitats to learn more.

May 24, 2010

WYCD #7 - Have an Inspiring Movie Night

What You Can Do #7 for the world's habitats - Have an Inspiring Movie Night. 

Sometimes people need motivation in order to make even the smallest changes in their daily lives.  One of the best ways to inspire someone towards motivation is through visual aids like - movies.  Here are three of my  favorite conservation inspiring movies.  These will motivate even the most environmentally passive to make sensible changes, and will drive the conservation-minded to find new ways of making a difference. 
Here they are:

1.  Earth

"Disneynature brings you a remarkable story of three animal families on a journey across our planet - polar bears, elephants, and humpback whales.  Earth is both majestic and intimate as it captures rare footage of nature's wildest and most elusive animals." 

2.  Blue Planet

"From the unique vantage point of 200 miles above Earth's surface, we see how natural forces - volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes - affect our world, and how a powerful new force - humankind - has begun to alter the face of the planet.  From Amazon rain forests to Serengeti grasslands, Blue Planet inspires a new appreciation of life on Earth, our only home." 

3.  Planet Earth

"This 11 part series is brilliantly narrated and sensibly organized so that each 50-minute episode covers a specific geographical region and/or wildlife habitat until the entire planet has been magnificently represented by the most astonishing sights and sounds you'll ever experience from the comforts of home.  Without being overtly political, the series maintains a consistent and subtle emphasis on the urgent need for ongoing conservation, best illustrated by the plight of polar bears whose very behavior is changing in the wake of global warming - a phenomenon that this series appropriately presents as scientific fact."

May 15, 2010

Messing with Mangroves

Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats in the tropics and subtropics.  They protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge (especially during hurricanes), and tsunamis.  Mangrove forests support lichens, orchids, bacteria, and provide nesting sites for birds, and vital nursery and feeding sites fish, crustaceans and other shellfish. 

Florida has an estimated 765 square miles (2000 sq km) of mangrove forests, comprising of three different species: the red, the black and the white mangrove.  During the 20th century large swathes were destroyed as the area was developed, including 44% in Tampa Bay, and 87% of those around Lake Worth.  Even the conservation measures currently adopted in the Everglades National Park are not enough to protect it from water pollution.  Florida's wading birds, which depend on mangroves for their nesting areas, have declined to around 10% of their original level. 

Thailand's mangroves have declined as a result of the timber and charcoal industries, urbanization, agriculture and aquaculture.  In 2004, however, a plan was established to preserve the remaining forests.  The 2004 tsunami underlined to local communities the important role mangroves play in providing protection against surges. 

May 13, 2010

WYCD #8 - Play Games For Good.

What You Can Do to help the world's habitats #8 - Play Games For Good.  (made for kids, but played by everyone)

There's a recently launched online gaming website out there called Xeko (pronounced "zeeko").  Xeko delivers engaging game play for kids that ignites imaginations and sends the next generations of heroes on an adventure to save the world.  The Xeko motto: Be a Force For Good!

My daughter discovered this game, and ever since, we've been hooked (that's right, both of us).  It's fun.  It's relaxing.  And, realizing that your gaming is making a difference in the real world, it's addicting.  Oh, and for the kids, it's educational (but don't tell them that).

How Xeko Started:

Xeko started out as a collectible card game revolving around endangered species. Launched on Earth Day 2006 it won the Creative Child Magazine 2006 Toy of the Year Award and The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval in its first year.

Xeko is now a Virtual World...
  • Where kids play online games that cause good to happen in the real world. 
  • Enables kids to learn how to give, how to be good citizens and how to turn their gaming actions into a real world of Good. 
  • Has created a new trend in gaming called "Gaming For Good."
  • Turns online gaming efforts into tangible offline results through non-profit partners and "Mirrored Gaming."

Mirrored Gaming:

Kids + Online Gaming + Nonprofit = Do GOOD in real world.
  • Xeko partners with non-profits to promote causes through online games called "GoodQuests."
  • By meeting a collective goal in game, kids activate the donation to the non-profit.
  • Mirrored Gaming engages, entertains and rewards kids for making an impact in the real world by immersing them in the needs of real people, animals and the Earth. 
  • Kids feel the empowerment and become inspired to see the results and help change our world. 

How kids have helped others through Mirrored Gaming:
  • Built 8 homes for 8 families in Honduras.  (Habitat for Humanity)
  • Repaired 6 boats to protect sharks and other wildlife from poachers.  (WildAid)
  • Planted 2000 trees in Niger.  (PlantIt 2020)
  • Helping scientists track polar bear migration in the Arctic. (Polar Bear International)
  • Fed 100 under-served families healthy produce in Sacramento.  (Fresh Producers)
  • Adopted a panda from an earthquake-affected area in China.  (Pandas International)
  • Built one camp in Uganda for kids living with HIV.  (Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation)
  • Sending a chronically ill family to a Disney vacation.  (Bert's Big Adventure)
...and the list continues to grow!

Join Xeko now, and Be a Force For Good.

May 5, 2010

Grazing in the Grasslands

The grasslands of Asia's high steppes supports around 30 million livestock, many of which are grazed on a nomadic system (moving from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location).  However, over the past 50 years Russian and Chinese herders have been encouraged to adopt more sedentary grazing methods mixed with arable farming.  As a result, the fragile ecology of their grassland has been unbalanced, and around 75% has been degraded. 

The dry Patagonian steppe in Argentina hosts abundant wildlife, including the endemic wild llama, the "guanaco."  Human settlement is limited to ranches and a few small towns.  Its aridity leaves the Patagonian steppe vulnerable to overgrazing by sheep and goats, which are turning some areas into deserts. 

Once common across the Indian subcontinent, the great Indian bustard is now on the verge of extinction because livestock overgraze its grassland habitat.  Fewer than 700 birds are thought to survive. 

To find out more about whaat we are doing to our planet, check out Humans vs. Habitats.

To find out more effects of grazing cattle, check out The True Price of One Hamburger. 

May 3, 2010

WYCD #9 - Switch Your Energy, Now!

What You Can Do #9 - Switch Your Energy to Cleaner Energy, Now!

Following two recent catastrophic events, the West Virginia coal mine explosion and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, we all need to reevaluate what we are doing to our planet and to the lives of others. 

Coal is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.  In addition to carbon dioxide, methane is released.  Both of which are greenhouse gases causing climate change and global warming.  Coal mining causes water pollution and a choking of water habitats when debris from mountain-top removals are dumped into the waterways.  And coal mining destroys local habitats, causing some species to struggle harder to survive, therefore landing on the endangered list. 

On April 5th, 29 coal miners were killed in a devastating explosion in West Virginia.  Because of the high demand for coal to turn on the lights for most households, 29 lives were lost, and 29 families now struggle harder to make ends meet. 

Oil drilling pollutes the local waterways and directly poisons wildlife.  When oil is recovered from the ground other substances like mercury, lead, and arsenic come up too.  This is even more dangerous with offshore drilling, where water increases the spread of these toxins.  And, seismic waves used to locate oil under water disorients whales causing them to beach themselves. 

On April 20th, an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded resulting in a huge fire, the sinking of the rig, the death of 11 people, and a massive oil spill.  More than 400 species are at risk in the gulf in addition to habitats such as Louisiana's barrier islands and marshlands.  And hundreds of families along the coast make their living on the shrimp and fish that are prevalent in these waters.  Because of the high demand for oil to turn on the lights for most households, 11 lives were lost and countless others will have a very difficult time supporting their families. 

Now is the time to switch your energy to a cleaner, renewable energy source.  If you live in an area that is deregulated (meaning, you don't have to stick with the "one and only" energy provider), then you can choose your energy source.  There is someone offering clean energy to your area right now.  You just have to look.  If your area isn't deregulated, it will be soon.  And as when as that happens, change your energy. 

In addition to obviously helping the environment, wildlife, and decreasing the demand for dangerous resources, you will save money.  Because the running of clean energy is less expensive, companies offering clean energy can charge less.  Significantly less.  These companies also don't have to worry about high insurance costs for their employees because capturing solar and wind energy is nowhere near as dangerous as the removal of coal and oil. 

Are you going to switch your energy provider to a cleaner, renewable source?  If not, you're saying...

"In today's economy I don't want to significantly reduce what I am paying each month on my energy bill.  I'd rather throw my money away, thank you." 
"I don't mind the arsenic in my water, and I rather enjoy the smell of sulfur from the local coal mines in the early mornings." 
"I don't care about the preservation of wildlife or about how other families are getting on." 

However --  if you have a brain and a heart -- you'll make the switch.

April 30, 2010

WYCD #10 - Know Your Carbon Footprint

What You Can Do #10 - Know Your Carbon Footprint.

Every choice you make contributes to the health of the planet, for better or worse.  Even a small reduction in your consumption of natural products can make the difference between what's lost and what's saved. 

To make responsible choices, you have to know about your impact.  Then you can start making positive changes in your lifestyle. 

It's easy to identify your personal - or your family's - carbon footprint.  There are many sites online that offer carbon calculations.  However, they aren't all the same.  Some are more detailed than others.  My recommendation is to choose several calculators, complete them, and then come up with an average personal CO2 emmissions.  But, if you only want to do one, go to the Nature Conservancy's website.  They're not only detailed but quick, easy, and they explain how your actions directly impact our planet. 

Once you know what you're doing to your environment, you'll know what you can do to change.

April 29, 2010

WYCD #11 - Give a Green Gift

What You Can Do #11 - Give a Green Gift.

Are you looking to give a gift to someone who has everything?  Can't find a unique gift that's affordable and meaningful?  No matter what the occasion - birthday, Mother's day, Father's day, Christmas, Hanukkah, or even a graduation gift - you can put a smile on anyone's face with one of these special online gifts, and you'll smile, too, knowing you're making an impact in the preservation of some of the world's most fragile habitats. 

When you buy a Gift for a Living Planet you will receive a personalized certificate with a message for your special recipient explaining exactly how your gift to them is making a difference.  You can either print it out and frame it, or email it as is.  Here's a few examples of gifts you can give:

Send a Turtle to Rehab ($15) -

Indonesia is a home to 6 out of 7 of the world's marine turtle species: as it provides important nesting and foraging grounds, as well as important migration routes at the cross roads of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

All 6 species of marine turtle found in Indonesia are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.  The main threats include habitat and nesting site destruction, by-catch, illegal trade and unsustainable exploitation.

When you send a turtle to rehab, one of the thousands of sick or injured turtles that are regularly brought to the Bali turtle centre for recuperation will be nursed back to health. 

Chilies, Dung, and Engine Oil ($25) -

As human populations expand and natural habitats shrink, people and elephants are coming into conflict over living space and food. 

If elephants' and humans' competion for space isn't managed, it could lead to poaching and the decline of elephant numbers across Africa.

A simple rope or wire fence - smeared wih chili grease, engine oil, and dung - can help these majestic creatures live in harmony with local people. 

Because elephants have an aversion to this concoction, a farmer in rural Africa can safely protect his crops with no harm to the elephants that live nearby. 

Give a Panda Room to Grow ($50) -

Panda populations once spread from southern and eastern China to parts of neighboring Myanmar and Vietnam. 

Due to human encroachment and loss of habitat, the panda is now confined to small, isolated patches of forest in the mountains of southwest China. 

When you give a panda room to grow, you are helping to link and grow isolated panda habitats with coridors of bamboo forest. 

Like a bridge connecting an island, this will allow the remaining pandas to extend their range, find more food, and increase the liklihood of interaction with other pandas, which will help them to increase their population. 

Find more gifts that...
  • are unique.  When's the last time you gave someone dung as a present?
  • are easy.  Just buy online and you can either print or email the personalized pdf certificate.
  • last.  You will be helping to find long-term solutions to benefit people and nature.

April 23, 2010

WYCD #12 - Protect an Acre of Tropical Forest

What You Can Do #12 - Protect an Acre of Rainforest.

Did you know:
  • every 4 hours an area the size of Manhattan disappears?
  • the burning of forests amounts to 20% of global carbon emissions?
  • every year an area the size of England disappears?
  • climate change could lead to the extinction of a third of all species by 2050?
  • the burning of forests releases more carbon than all cars, trucks, and planes combined?
  • the 10 deadliest disasters of 2007 were climate related?

The tropical forests of Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America are the heart of nature's gifts.  Theses jungle ecosystems teem with life - from mysterious plants and insects to majestic gorillas, elephants, and jaguars - and provide countless resources and services depended on by people everywhere.  Yet, we are destroying tropical forests at a rate threatening their very existence.  An area the size of Manhattan disappears every 4 hours. 

When tropical forests are burned and cleared, it affects every one of us.  The burning and clearing of forests pours at least 20% of climate-changing greenhouse gases into our atmosphere - more than all the world's cars, trucks and airplanes combined!

Fortunately, there's a simple solution.  Protecting tropical forests slows the production of greenhouse gases, sustains life by providing homes for thousands of species of plants and animals, and ensures the livlihood of millions of people with fresh air, clean water, traditional remedies, and storm protection. 

Over the past 3 years Conservation International has conserved 143 million acres of tropical forest - equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road.   We can all help stop the burning and clearing of these forests. 

It only takes $15 to protect an entire acre of forest, including the wildlife and people it supports, and it's impact on our future climate.  Learn where your money goes.

Protect a few acres today and help stop climate change.  Your generosity means the world to everyone. 

And here's some more helpful, and simple, ideas.

April 22, 2010

Earth Day Special - WYCD #13 - Join Team Earth

WhatYou Can Do #13 - Join Team Earth

Happy Earth Day!  I can't think of a better day to introduce to you #13 in the "What You Can Do" series to help the world's habitats.  Join Team Earth

Conservation International has launched a groundbreaking opportunity, a tool designed to catalyze personal and collective action via the connective power of the web.  It's called Team Earth. 

Team Earth is about doing more and doing less.

Doing more is about all of us doing more of a few simple things.  Things like planting more trees, using more energy-effecient light bulbs, and protecting more acres of forests, which help fight climate change.

Doing less together can help the planet too.  Doing less is about using less paper, driving less, and using less energy by doing simple things like turning down your thermostat. 

Team Earth is everyone, and everyone is made up of all of us.  Together, we can do enough small things to help make our shared planet a better place.  Check it out, and join today.  Happy Earth Day.

April 21, 2010

WYCD #14 - Stop the Clock on Species Extinction

What You Can Do #14 - Stop the clock on species extinction. 

Fast isn't always good.  Species, for example, are estimated to be heading towards extinction at a rate of about one every 20 minutes.  That's a pace a thousand times faster than the norm during Earth's entire history.  Actually, it isn't fast, it's out of control... and it isn't good.

This situation is directly tied to two issues - habitat destruction and climate change.  In the same 20 minutes, we will destroy 1200 acres of forest and emit 180,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere worldwide.  Less forest cover means fewer acres of habitat for species and more climate-changing carbon in the air.  As climate, landscapes, and oceans change, species must move or adapt.  Those that can't simply die out. 

Add your voice to the growing number of people who are signing the petion to "Stop the Clock" on species extinction. 

Conservation International (CI) will deliver the petition to government and business leaders at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October.  By signing the petition, you're telling government leaders to incorporate forest protection into their national policies on climate change - for the good of our species, our climate, and ourselves. 

Your signature brings us one step closer to protecting our life on Earth, and ensuring that rare and threatened species will survive.  Please sign the petition and ask 5 friends to the same.

April 20, 2010

WYCD #15 - Become an Everyday Environmentalist

What You Can Do #15 - Become an Everyday Environmentalist

Remember when "environmentalist" just meant... recycling?  Not anymore.  Today calls for a whole new level of green thinking.  And every personal, science-based choice you make now will greatly offset the damage being done to our planet which, in turn, will reverse the current trends in habitat loss

25 Ways to be an Everyday Environmentalist (or 25 ways to go green):
  1. Buy sustainable coffee
  2. Go vegetarian (or just eat more veggies and less meat).
  3. Use Earth-friendy hair and body products.
  4. Select only sustainable seafood (if you eat seafood).
  5. Buy local, and always buy organic.
  6. Go paperless.
  7. Buy used.
  8. Use wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  9. Clean with poison-free household products.
  10. Green your pets.
  11. Raise your own eggs... I mean chickens.
  12. Create backyard habitats.
  13. Garden with native plants.
  14. Run a car on vegetable oil.
  15. Don't litter & pick litter up.
  16. Don't hike with pests.
  17. Leave a "light" trail.
  18. Green your office.
  19. Carry non-plastic reusable water bottles.
  20. Leave your computer on?
  21. Take the stairs.
  22. Have virtual meetings.
  23. What you can't recycle, compost.
  24. Build a home for homeless bees.
  25. Get reel with your mower.

April 19, 2010

WYCD #16 - Plant a Billion Trees

What You Can Do #16 - Plant a Billion Trees:

Well, at least plant one tree.  And you don't even have to do any of the work.  Join me in helping the Nature Conservancy plant a billion trees in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. 

Why are we planting a billion trees?

Because the Atlantic Forest is on the brink of disappearing.  Only 7% of its original area remains.  It is considered one of the most endangered tropical forests.  Coastal development, urban expansion, agriculture, exotic plantations, ranching and illegal logging have all contributed to the degredation of this once vast landscape. 

Tropical forests are the "lungs of the Earth," storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in a never-ending cycle of life.  The Atlantic Forest - one of the biggest tropical forests in the world - helps regulate the atmosphere and stabilize global climate. 

Forests support 1 billion people on Earth - their livelihoods, their water supplies, their energy and their cultures.  The Atlantic Forest, the focus of the Plant a Billion Trees campaign, alone provides clean water and hyro energy for over 120 million people in Brazil. 

The Atlantic Forest is home to 23 species of primates, 1,000 species of birds, and over 20 thousand species of plants, most of which are not found any where else on Earth. 

 What is the Nature Conservancy doing?

They are working in the Atlantic Forest to restore 2.5 million acres of land by planting 1 billion trees over the next 7 years. 

Tropical forests like this one play a particularly special role in the fight to end global climate change.  This reforestation effort will also remove 10 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.  It's like taking 2 million cars off the road. 

The ecological and economical effects of the Plant a Billion Trees campaign will be felt locally and globally.  One of the goals is to protect 10 critical watersheds in the Atlantic Forest that provides water and hydo power to more than 70 million people.  And they hope to create 20,000 direct jobs and an additional 70,000 indirectly as part of this landmark conservation effort. 

Where do I come in?

At just a dollar a tree, there has never been a conservation project of this scale that's ever been so within the world's reach.  Only one dollar (or more if you wish) and you will be a part of something very special.  Use the link along the right-hand side of this blog to plant your tree.  Help make this blog's goal of 100 trees towards the overall 1 billion goal.  Please plant a tree today and help us ensure even more lasting results for the Earth's last great places. 

April 18, 2010

The Quickly Melting Quelccaya

The Quelccaya Ice Cap, on which Lima, Peru depends for its water supply, has been retreating by 30 meters a year since 1990. 

Visit Humans vs. Habitats to find out why.

More Mosquito Maladies

Mosquitoes in North America are entering their winter dormancy 9 days later than in the 1970s, increasing the period during which they can spread disease. 

Visit Humans vs. Habitat to find out why.

April 17, 2010

WYCD #17 - Adopt a Species

What You Can Do #17 - Adopt a Species.

One of the most adorable, and meaningful, gifts you can give to someone is a WWF Species Adoption.  There are 100 different species to choose from, all with an IUCN status from "vulnerable" to "critically endangered."  With so many to choose from there is guaranteed to be a favorite for everyone. 

Here's what you get:
  • For $25 and up - You will receive an adoption certificate, species information card and a photo.
  • For $50 and up - You will also receive a baby plush/stuffed animal of your adopted species and a gift bag specific for the occasion.
  • For $100 and up - Your adoption certificate and photo are framed.
  • For $250 - You receive two plush animals (parent + baby) or one very large plush of your adopted species. 
Of course this varies by species adoption. 

This gift is especially great for kids of all ages.  The information cards are very educational, and kids will generate a heart for conservationism now, which will then create a powerful force for our future.  The adoption certificate and photo will give them a sense of pride and ownership for their select species.  You'll be amazed at how closely they pay attention to anything involving their species, whether at school, on tv, or the internet.  And, of course, the plush is a "must have" (with a minimum $50).  You're sure to come off a winner with this gift in more ways than just saving the species.  When a child has a stuffed animal they know is a representative of an endangered species, they tend to take extra care of it.  It becomes a priceless and deeply cherished possession.

Now, Species Adoption isn't just for kids.  Many adults appreciate the value of this form of conservation effort.  Like me, for example.  I'm patiently waiting till Mother's Day for my tiger adoption, so I can add it to the others I already have. 

Don't know your special someone's favorite animal?  That's okay.  You can purchse a species adoption gift card for the same amount and let them decide.

WYCD #18 - Become an Activist

What You Can Do #18 - Become an Activist.

Becoming an activist is as easy as 1. click, 2. type, 3. send.  For example:
  • 1-2-3: Tell Congress to oppose efforts to weaken the clean air act.
  • 1-2-3: Ask your representative to cosponsor the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act.
  • 1-2-3: Help tighten regulations to protect captive tigers and prevent increased demand for tiger products that put wild populations at risk.
  • see the rest.
Join WWF's Conservation Action Network and they'll send you email action alerts on breaking issues and let you send free personalized messages to policy makers.  You can track which actions you've taken and learn about your victories. 

Why should I become an activist?

Our living planet needs your help.  By participating you will be playing an important role in protecting the Earth from the enormous threats it faces.  Decisions made today will have far reaching effects on which plants and animals survive into the future.  Yet decision makers are not hearing enough voices calling for protection of the natural systems on which all life depends.  As a result, important laws and programs are at risk.  And not enough consumers are using their enormous power to reduce environmental impact and change business behaviors. 

How does it work?

Review the list of current campaigns and click on the ones that interest and inspire you.  You'll be given backround information about the issue and why your help is needed.  With your authorization, the Conservation Action Network will send emails or faxes on your behalf to decision makers at no cost to you.  But the most effective, and you're encouraged to do it this way also, is to edit/personalize the original letter and mail it.  Emails are sent all the time and officials are overrun with them, leaving most of them unread.  They show more respect and attention to a cause where someone took the time (and the cost of postage)  to deliver their message.  However, sometimes time is of the essence and needs to be delivered via email or fax.  And, not all government officials ignore emails.  For example, South Carolina's Senator Lindsey Graham always responds to my emails... and I don't even live there. 

Some of the most recent major victories:
  • Sumatran elephant and tiger habitat protected - The government of Indonesia commited to more than double the size of Sumatra's Tesso Nilo National Park, one of the last havens for endangered Sumatran elephants and critically endangered Sumatran tigers.
  • Clean energy tax incentives extended - Congress extended tax incentives that encourage individuals and businesses to install renewable energy systems and build energy-efficient buildings, which will help slow climate change.
  • Illegal logging ban enacted - The United States became the first country in the world to prohibit the import and sale of illegally-sourced wood and wood products.  Orangutans, Siberian tigers, and many other species around the globe that depend on forest habitat will benefit from this legislation. 
  • see the rest.
Decisions made today will have far-reaching effects on which plants and animals survive into the future.

April 16, 2010

WYCD #19 - Vacation with WWF

What You Can Do #19 - Vacation with WWF:

For this year's vacation, consider spending it with WWF. Or, if you already made plans for this year, consider it for next year.

You could:
  • Trace the route of the Vikings from Iceland to Norway on a Spring 2010 odessey in the land of the midnight sun.
  • Visit the jewels of East Africa: Samburu Reserve, the Great Rift, and the famed Massai Mara.
  • Journey into the heart of one of South America's last frontiers.
  • Imagine the sight and sound of 100 elephants marching by your Land Rover at close range.  In the wilds of Botswana, that's not unheard of.
  • Explore hidden spots of Alaska's famed national parks during small group journeys.  
  • and many, many more. 
Ten reasons why you should vacation with WWF:
  1. The right partners.  WWF only works with tour operators that share their mission. 
  2. Quality time.  On their tours, you spend time in one destination (and you get to know that region better), rather than hop from country to country.
  3. Supporting sustainable tourism.  They often go places where communities are empowered to run sustainable tourism ventures and protect wildlife. 
  4. Well-trained guides. 
  5. Small ships, smaller footprint.  Aside from the wholeheartedly better travel experience tey provide vs. large cruise ships, they have a smaller carbon footprint.
  6. Smart marketing.  Their brochures are printed on recycled paper, and the ink is soy-based.
  7. Encouraging carbon offsets.  Their travel partner, Natural Habitat Adventures, is the world's first carbon-neutral travel company. 
  8. Supporting WWF's work.  A portion of your cost (5-10%) is directly contributed to WWF's general conservation fund, to support their work around the world.
  9. Encouraging air travel carbon offsets.  WWF highly encourages all air travelers to either purchase carbon offset credits, participate in local projects that directly benefit theircommunity, or sponsor projects that take place halfway across the world.
  10. Becoming inspired.  You will walk away from this vacation with a stronger desire to protect the world's last wild places.
Since 1983, the WWF Travel Program has taken curious travelers on wildlife-viewing expeditions throughout the world.  They plan their tours with conservation and the environment in mind.  They are currently accepting travelers for at least 38 unique trips for 2010 through 2011.  Some trips repeat themselves each month or each year, and all are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

WYCD #20 - Panda Pages

What You Can Do #20 - Panda Pages:

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) offers a way for anyone to create their own personal mini-website and take an active role in raising funds to help support WWF's conservation work.  Customize your page to mark a special occasion, honor a friend or loved one, or simply highlight your passion for protecting endangered species.  They call it "Panda Pages" because their logo is a panda, but you can make your page focus on whatever you want to support.

What you can do with Panda Pages:
  • Send emails to friends and family asking them to visit your page.
  • Raise money to help support WWF's conservation work.
  • Connet with members who are passionate about wildlife conservation.
  • Upload and share photos of your favorite animals and nature places.
  • Help protect endangered species and places around the world.
Don't have time to build your own page?  Find a friend's Panda Page or search for a cause in which you believe and make a gift in support of WWF.

Here's my Panda Page - called "Decline of the Tiger."  Stop by and sign the guest book.  And to show you're serious about habitat conservation, either create your own page in minutes, or make a contribution to the page you believe in.  All proceeds go directly to the WWF and their efforts for that cause.

April 15, 2010

Extinction and the Edith's Butterfly

The Edith's checkerspot butterfly has become extinct in 80% of its previous range, because the snapdragon flowers it relies on are drying up too soon. 

See Humans vs. Habitats to learn why.

Climate Change and the Caribou

Caribou numbers in Canada's Northwest Territory are declining - one herd by 35% in five years.  Human activity in the form of mining, oil and gas extraction may be taking its toll, but scientists also point to climate change.  Vegetation is appearing earlier and dying back before calves have gained enough weight to survive the winter.

April 14, 2010

Humans vs. Habitats


It is important to remember that the living and non-living parts of an ecosystem are dependent upon one another.  "Nothing can live alone."  Each living organism requires a certain set of physical and chemical conditions.  Climate and soil conditions determine the kinds of animals that live there. 

If the correct sets of physical and chemical conditions exist, organisms thrive.  Large herds of grazing animals exist only where grasses are abundant.  If trees invade the area, animals that prefer trees become more common.  Where trees produce too much shade, the growth of grass is limited, and the number of grazing animals declines. 

Although large animals are more obvious, an ecosystem includes many different kinds of organisms.  Each organism has its own special "home" within the ecosystem.  The place in an ecosystem where an organism prefers to live is its habitat.  But, a habitat is more than just a place to live.  It must meet all of the needs of the organism.  A good habitat provides enough food and water, suitable living space, and cover.  Cover describes those places where animals hide to escape predators or where the young are protected from harm.  Cover also provides the animals with shelter from harsh weather. 

If the cover, food, water, or living space disappears, the wildlife will also disappear.  The disappearance of these necessities may be due to natural changes in an ecosystem, or...

it may be due to human activities.


The total human demand on the planet's natural resources exceeds the Earth's capacity by 25%. 

Mining, the burning of fossil fuels and polluting industrial activities, intensive agriculture involving excessive chemicals, deforestation for timber and agriculture, the creation of road networks that fragment ecosystems, the paving of the Earth's surface, and the over extraction of water from aquifiers - all these activities are changing the environment irrevocably.  The delicate balance between the species that make up the Earth's rich and varied ecosystems has been disrupted, and thousands of life forms are being pushed towards extinction by the activities of a single species. 

By destroying ecosystems, we are sowing the seeds of our own destruction, because it is on these very ecosystems that we depend for our survival.  Forests absorb carbon dioxide and stop soil from being washed away, mangroves filter impurities and protect the coastline, oceans help regulate the climate. 

Signs of a warming climate are apparent across the world, and the change is occurring so rapidly that many species will have no time to adapt.  Rising temperatures are leading to less predictable weather patterns, and more extreme weather events.  This is interfering with plant growth and natural animal breeding, often upsetting mutually dependent relationships and putting many species, not least humans, under increased strain.  The way of life  - the very survival - of millions of people and hundreds of thousands of species, is threatened.

March 29, 2010

Today's the Day When One Hour Counts.

Earth Hour is today.  It's at 8pm local time.  Your local time.  Wherever you are.  Especially wherever you are. 

It's about coming together to make a difference.  It's about showing we all care about our future.  It's not about what country you're from... but what planet you're from. 

So, come 8pm, grab some candles, surround yourself with loved ones, and turn off your lights for 60 minutes.  Then allow yourself to celebrate your connection to the world... and everyone, and everything, in it. 

Show the love for your home planet....  It's the only one you've got. 

March 19, 2010

Water on the Go.

When you're thirsty, water is always a healthy choice.  But if you drink your water from disposable plastic bottles, your healthy habit could be hurting your efforts to reduce waste.  Instead of grabbling a new bottle of water when you head out the door, fill up a reusable water bottle.  But be careful what reusable bottle you use.  Over time, a reusable plastic sports bottle will contaminate your water with dangerous chemicals.  And even aluminum isn't always safe (sorry SIGG).  Your safest bet is to put your inexpensive, filtered, tap water into a stainless steel bottle.  It's the safest, keeps your water colder longer, eliminates the amount of energy that is used to make the bottles you will no longer be buying, and, you won't be throwing away any more plastic waste that clogs our ecosystem.  What a refreshing way to go-green. 

This diagram shows all that happens with every single water bottle you buy:

photo courtesy of back2tap.

In case you don't fully grasp the intensity of our plastic waste problem, you have to read this!!!...

Fate can take strange forms, and so perhaps it does not seem unusual that Captain Charles Moore found his life's purpose in a nightmare.  Unfortunately, he was awake at the time, and 800 miles north of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. 
It happened on August 3, 1997, a lovely day, at least in the beginning: Sunny, little wind.  Water the color of sapphires.  Moore and the crew of Alguita, his 50-foot aluminum-hulled catamaran, sliced throught he sea. 
Returning to Southern California from Hawaii after a sailing race, Moore had altered Alguita's course, veering slightly north.  He had the time and the curiosity to try a new route, one that would lead... continue reading.

When I originally read this story my passion for our natural world flared.  I was appalled at what we had already done.  Is it too late to make a difference?  No.  And I will do my part in protecting what's left of the purity of nature... and help that purity grow.  If you didn't continue reading the above story, do yourself (and your planet) a favor and read it.  Knowledge is power; and knowing what you're up against will give you the power and motivation to help make a difference.  Tell me what you thought of the story. 

March 5, 2010

Your Indoor Forecast

Dress for the season and your heater or air conditioner won't have to work so hard. 

Have you ever worn shorts inside when there was snow outside?  Or have you ever shivered on a hot summer day?  Then most likely your heater or air conditioner is working too hard. 
You can save lots of energy (and money) by turning the thermostat down when it's cold outside and up when it is warm outside.
Also, consider getting a programmable thermostat.  This will regulate the heating or air conditioning by maintaining a preset temperature.  A programmable thermostat contains a clock which allows you to set multiple temperatures for different times of the day.  For example, during the summer, the thermostat can be set for 78 degrees F (25 degrees C) in the morning, then, at a later preset time, set to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) when the family is away from home for work or school.  In the afternoon, the thermostat is preset for 75 degrees F (23 degrees C) to reduce the temperature for the afternoon and evening. 

This keeps the energy level down as well as your cost.  It just makes sense not to waste so much energy keeping the air and heat blowing for absolutely no one to benefit by.

Iran Celebrates National Tree Planting Day

It's almost spring, and Iran is one of the first countries to celebrate National Tree Planting Day, or as some call it, Arbor Day. 

Let this inspire you to do something to take care of your planet.  Hopefully, if you live in Iran, you will plant at least one tree today.  Hopefully, even if you don't live in Iran (and if your ground isn't still frozen), you will still plant a tree in honor of this special day.

And to make you smile, visit The Drops of Life blog for more pictures of Iranian students planting trees.  It should touch your heart to see we all have the same goal in mind... no matter where we live. 

March 4, 2010

Air Dry

(photo courtesy of Project Laundry List)

Try air drying your clothes.

Clothes dryers use up lots of energy.  They are the second biggest household energy user next to the refrigerator.  You can save energy if you occasionally skip the dryer and hang your clothes someplace where they can air dry.

Project Laundry List is a non-profit organization that is working "to make air drying and cold-water washing acceptable and desirable."  They believe that all citizens everywhere should have the legal right to hang out their laundry.  Check out ways you can help


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