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.


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