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

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.


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