Spotlight: Friends of the Earth

Home | Friends of the Earth.

Advertisements

Bat Disease Threatens Ecological Catastrophe | CommonDreams.org

Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in G...

Image via Wikipedia- brown bat with white-nose syndrome

Bat Disease Threatens Ecological Catastrophe | CommonDreams.org.

“I’ve worked with bats over 45 years and never have I seen, or even known about, any kind of mortality rate comparable to what we’ve seen,” says Thomas Kuntz, a biology professor at Boston University.  He is one of the few bat specialists in America.

The disease is called white-nose syndrome.  It started, presumably, in a small cave in upstate NY called Howe Caverns;  a popular tourist attraction outside of Albany.  In 2006 a caver reported many bats displaying white growth on their nose and wings.  These bats were noticeably weaker than the non-infected bats.  They came out of hibernation earlier and died off more rapidly from starvation or over-exposure.

In the last 4 years this disease has spread through the Northeast killing more than a million bats.  This last year new outbreaks have been reported as far as Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Missouri.  Already affected areas include upstate NY, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.  Canada was affected in 2009 in Quebec and Ontario  The ecological impact this will create, or has created is not totally known.

When a cave is infected more than 75% will likely be wiped out during the first winter hibernation and  after the next winter 90% of the original colony will have either died or contracted the disease.

One senior US wildlife official has gone so far as to describe the massacre as “the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife caused by infectious disease in recorded history”.

“One of the biggest problems we’re facing is that we don’t really know much about bats or this fungus,” says Hazel Barton, a British born professor of microbiology at the University of Kentucky whose team are concentrating on studying the fungus behind the deaths.

The most accepted hypothesis of how this disease is killing, according to an article at CommonDreams.org, is that the fungus attacks the immune system and interferes with hibernation.

When I took a class at SUNY ESF called Mammal Diversity taught by Professor Mark V. Lomolino, I remember learning that bats huddle closely in hibernation to become like one large body.  Professor Lomolino teaches a variety of classes at the College of  Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY.  He has a special place in his heart, however, for bats.  I am currently waiting for his comment and this article will be updated as needed.

In most species of bat, individuals will  frequently arise from torpor about once every 12-20 days.  It has been observed that the infected bats will wake up 2-3 times as much.

“In heterothermic bats one or more sensory systems and the brain remain sensitive at low temperatures and initiate the necessary heat production for arousal. Heat is generated by the metabolism of fat and by shivering. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Thermoregulation)”

“Every time they arouse it’s an enormous drain on their energy levels,” says Dr Kunz.  They need to raise their body temperature every time they wake.  The bats with white-nose syndrome wake severely undernourished.  They head towards the mouth of the cave to find insects.  Some don’t make it out and others die of exposure in a few hours.

Six species of hibernating bat have been affected, two of these are endangered species of bat that have been critically affected: the Grey bat, Myotis grisescens and the Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis.

Gray Bat- Myotis grisescens

Gray Bat Range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana bat - Myotis sodalis

 

 

Indiana Bat Range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If America’s bats die out there will be an huge issue in the farming industry related to insects.  Bats eat more than half their weight of insects every night.  The University of Boston, using a test study compiled over eight counties in Texas, believes the US farming industry will go from spending $1bn (£630m) a year on pesticides to $9bn.

The fight has partially moved to preventing the spread into the West Coast.  The Great Plains and the Rockies act as sort of a natural barrier.  Few species from places like Tennessee end up in California, Washington, or Oregon: boasting some of the largest bat populations in the country.

The biggest fear: HUMAN TRANSMISSION!!

This is what happened to Hellbender populations and other amphibians as humans aided the

Chytrid Fungus in a frog

spread of chytrid fungus, a skin-disease.

Spread of Chytrid Fungus

 

 

 

 

 

It is thought that the white-nose fungus may have breen brought by someone from Europe.  It then either mutated into a pathogen or already was one for bats that did not have the required immunity.

“A number of bats in Germany, Hungary and Switzerland have recently been found to carry the white-nose fungus but are not affected by it suggesting that Europe’s bat population has already experienced a mass fatality and become resistant. (CommonDreams.org)”

All it would take is for a careless caver to carry this disease over to the West Coast!

OH-NO-COSTCO – Wholesale Ocean Destruction

Atlantic cod fisheries have collapsed

Image via Wikipedia

OH-NO-COSTCO – Wholesale Ocean Destruction.

As Costco grows bigger, so does their footprint on the environment.

Download the Activist Toolkit, it is a .pdf file.

“Just as our work has encouraged and illuminated progressive seafood retailers around the country, it has also exposed a group of laggards that continue to sell unsustainable seafood with impunity. These companies have yet to take any meaningful action to address the rampant environmental destruction caused by their seafood purchasing behavior. Within this category, one company in particular is wreaking havoc in our oceans on an unparalleled scale: Costco.”

“In any Costco warehouse you’ll find shelves and shelves full of red list seafood. Greenpeace surveys found that Costco continues to sell fifteen of the twenty-two red list species: Alaskan pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallops, Chilean sea bass, grouper, monkfish, ocean quahog, orange roughy, red snapper, redfish, South Atlantic albacore tuna, swordfish, tropical shrimp, and yellowfin tuna.”

Included in the toolkit are colored cards that can be copied and handed out with information and some flyers and a lot f information.

What is “sustainable” seafood?
Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture operations are those which can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the targeted species’ ability to maintain its population at healthy levels, and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem — including humans — by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.

How Sinar Mas is pulping the planet | Greenpeace International

Panthera tigris sumatran subspecies.

Image via Wikipedia

How Sinar Mas is pulping the planet | Greenpeace International.

From website:

“A new investigative report from Greenpeace, ‘How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet’, shows how major brands like Walmart, Auchan and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are fueling climate change and pushing Sumatran tigers and orang-utans towards the brink of extinction.”

Asia Pulp and Paper (or APP) is part of the Sinar Mas group.  The companies listed above are using or selling paper from APP.  Indonesia‘s rainforests are being destroyed along with their carbon rich peat fields.

“The Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape is one of the last refuges for endangered Sumatran tigers and orang-utans.

Several leading companies have already responded to Greenpeace evidence of the Sinar Mas group’s illegal and destructive environmental practices in Indonesia and are cancelling their contracts with the Indonesian palm oil and paper giant. Greenpeace is calling on the rest to follow suit.”

SIGN THE PETITION–(‘t have a direct link because they personalize it when it is sent in an email.)

HERE is a complete list of Greenpeace’s online actions

There is controversy, I have listed a few articles below on the other side of the issue.

 

Our Fists and Actions are Powerful Tools | The IMF Resistance Network

IMF (International Monetary Fund) Protest

Our Fists and Actions are Powerful Tools | The IMF Resistance Network.

 

I did not have as much time as I would have liked to write on this, but I wanted to get it out there.  I thank a guy I knew from Corning, NY for posting something on facebook.  Leave comments on this!!!

Celestine Vision: Global Prayer Project

Cover of "The Celestine Prophecy: An Adve...

Cover of The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure

James Redfield, author of The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight has started a series of Global Prayers.  It is guided prayer, guided meditation, and discussion with James Redfield.

The next Global Prayer will be on October 26th, 8-9 pm Eastern/US.  On the site they give information on different time zones.

From the site:

This week’s prayer visualization
On November 2, we’ll see one of the most important mid-term elections in US history. Let’s focus our prayer on increasing the honesty, integrity and wisdom by those participating in this election. We’ll visualize and affirm that voters can cut through the ideological distortions on both sides to vote for the person who they think can operate in Washington with the most integrity and effectiveness. Join us as we lend our energy to uplifting all those who have to make these difficult decisions in this key election.

Teleconference
Call 646/519-5860 OR 212/461-5860
Caller ID: 6999#
The phone line will open at 7:55pm EDT. Call the number above and enter the Caller ID. Once connected, please say your name and location, then press *6 to mute yourself so the noise level will be kept to a minimum. Each participant will be responsible for their own long-distance phone charges.

Our twice-monthly gatherings have been making a powerful difference, both in people’s individual lives and the world at large. Many of you have written us saying that the energy generated from this network of spiritually-minded participants is “indescribable,” and we look forward to continuing this healing circle of focused prayer. Like all prayer experience devoted to helping others, many participants have felt the results in their own bodies and received guidance for their own lives.

Research tells us that the more people praying together, the more powerful the prayer and the greater the level of energy felt by the participants. We invite you to join the largest regular prayer network in the world. If you would like to take an active role in maintaining a circle of positive intention across the globe, while going deeper and heightening your own spirituality, join us on Tuesday, October 26.

Let’s see how large we can grow, and how much difference we can make…