Vote For the 2011 BioFool of the Year for April 1st: Friends of the Earth U.S.

Friends of the Earth U.S..

Vote at the link above and to read more.

According to Friends of the Earth, it has been a good year for Biofools: ethanol subsidies were slipped into the December tax cut deal, EPA approved a 15 percent ethanol blend for cars up to a decade old, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico covered up that region’s other ecological disaster — a dead zone the size of Massachusetts caused by agricultural runoff from the Midwest.

Learn more about the 2011 Biofools nominees:

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Defenders of Wildlife: Compromised the Battle but the War is Not Over

Northern Rockies Wolf Settlement

Message from the President of Defenders

Dear fellow Defenders of Wildlife,

Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife
Rodger Schlickeisen
President
Defenders of Wildlife

Since last fall, it has become increasingly likely that Congress would pass legislation that would be disastrous for wolves and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although Defenders has steadfastly opposed that legislation, we became convinced that the only real hope of stopping it was to reach a settlement of the litigation we brought in 2009 successfully challenging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s illegal decision to remove federal protection from wolves in the Northern Rockies.

Accordingly, on March 18, 2011, we joined with nine other conservation organizations in filing with the U.S. District Court in Montana a settlement agreement we negotiated with the Interior Department. Like any settlement agreement, this one is a compromise, but one that we are convinced was necessary to help avert what could easily be the most disastrous assault on the ESA since that monumental law took effect nearly four decades ago. We are also convinced that, if the agreement is approved by the court and all parties live up to their responsibilities, it will provide a path in which wolves will continue to recover in the Northern Rockies and science, not politics, will prevail.

Whatever happens now, we will continue to lead the effort both for wolves and the ESA going forward. Below you will find more detailed answers to questions about the settlement and what our next steps will be to ensure the long-term future of wolves across the Northern Rockies.

All of us at Defenders of Wildlife are extremely grateful for your continued support in our ongoing efforts to save America’s wolves.

Sincerely,
Rodger Schlickeisen

Frequently Asked Questions About the Settlement

Why are you settling?

As we entered the current congressional session, the politics surrounding this issue could not have been worse. Since August 2010, when a Montana federal court restored ESA protections for wolves across the Northern Rockies, anti-wolf sentiment in the region has continued to grow. In particular, anti-wolf extremists have provoked political responses from state governors and the Idaho and Montana congressional delegations, including federal legislation to permanently remove Northern Rockies wolves from the protection of the ESA.

Though we were able to block bad wolf bills last session, pressure continues to mount in Congress to resolve the issue through legislation. Barring some alternative resolution of the controversy, wolf delisting language would almost certainly be included in any final bill to fund the federal government this year. In an effort to avert damaging legislation that would not only be very harmful to wolves but would establish a very dangerous precedent of political interference with species protection under the ESA, Defenders pursued a settlement agreement with the Interior Department that will allow for wolf recovery to continue and eliminate the rationale for legislation delisting wolves.

What would happen if Defenders didn’t settle?

At the very least, we would expect Congress to pass legislation that would reinstate the same 2009 wolf delisting rule that was struck down twice by the courts, allowing Idaho and Montana to resume killing wolves without any additional scientific safeguards to ensure the long-term survival of the species and without any legal recourse against it.  If that’s not bad enough, other bills have been introduced that seek to permanently delist wolves throughout the Northern Rockies, including Wyoming, and throughout the entire lower 48 states. This means wolves in Washington, Oregon and Utah would have no federal protection whatsoever, even though populations there have just started to recover. And wolf recovery in the Southwest, where there are currently only 50 Mexican gray wolves remaining in the wild, would effectively grind to a halt.

What does the settlement mean for wolves now?

If approved by the Montana federal court, this settlement will allow wolf recovery to continue across the Northern Rockies, especially in places like Wyoming, where an adequate state management plan has yet to be approved, and Oregon, Washington and Utah, where wolves have only started to recover. Idaho and Montana will be allowed to resume managing wolf populations within their states, but with critical scientific safeguards in place to make sure wolves are protected, including monitoring and independent scientific review. Now it’s up to Idaho and Montana to hold up their end of the bargain and demonstrate that they can manage wolves responsibly. If they fail to do so, wolves could once again be placed under the protection of the ESA.

What are the terms of the settlement?

The agreement reached will provide a critical scientific safety net that will allow wolves to be delisted in Idaho and Montana while retaining protections across the rest of the region. The Interior Department will help ensure that the states are adequately managing wolves by monitoring the status of wolves in Idaho and Montana on an annual basis. After three years, the Interior Department will also seek an independent scientific review of the status of wolves in the region to more clearly define what constitutes a viable and genetically connected wolf population in the Northern Rockies. Finally, when Wyoming develops a wolf management plan that meets the requirements of the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue a new delisting rule based upon the best available science.

What are the next legal steps?

If the court accepts the terms of the settlement, wolf management will be returned to state fish and wildlife agencies in Idaho and Montana. If the court does not accept the terms of the settlement, wolves will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act throughout the Northern Rockies as they are currently, but only so long as Congress does not adopt delisting legislation.  We would expect that, if the settlement agreement is not approved, anti-wolf sentiment would continue to grow, making it nearly inevitable that Congress would adopt damaging delisting legislation.

How will Defenders continue to protect wolves?

Regardless of what happens with this settlement, Defenders will continue fighting to ensure the successful long-term recovery of wolves across the Northern Rockies. We will continue to oppose efforts by anti-wolf extremists to strip vital protections for wolves where the long-term survival of the species is still in jeopardy. And we will also continue to work closely with ranchers to develop and implement the tools and techniques they need to coexist with wolves, including expanding our program into Oregon and Washington where wolves have only recently returned.

If the settlement is approved, we are prepared to work together with the states to make sure sustainable wolf populations are maintained. Idaho and Montana have made commitments in the past to manage wolves responsibly and we plan to hold them to their word. And if populations are ever threatened with serious decline in the future, we will petition the federal government to restore ESA protections once again.

If the settlement is not approved, we will continue to oppose federal delisting legislation and work toward a solution that protects the long-term recovery of the species and upholds the scientific principles of the Endangered Species Act.

What can you do to help wolves now?

We need your support now more than ever. This settlement provides a path forward that upholds the scientific principles of the ESA and ensures continued wolf recovery across the Northern Rockies. But we need to send a strong message to Congress that legislating away protections for wolves is the exact WRONG approach. For many years, the American people, and members of Defenders of Wildlife in particular, have shown support for wolf recovery and protecting imperiled wildlife. Please, continue to tell Congress that you support wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and the Southwest, and you oppose any efforts to place politics above science in the conservation of endangered species.

Protecting Livestock, Saving Wolves

The Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Coexistence Partnership is demonstrating ways that conservationists and ranchers can work together to protect livestock and save wolves by avoiding and minimizing conflicts.

The program helps prevent conflict between imperiled wolves and humans by supporting the use of nonlethal deterrents and best management practices, including:

  • Range riders or cowboys to protect livestock
  • Guard dogs to alert herders and range riders of nearby wolves
  • Portable fencing or fladry (brightly colored flags strung across a rope or electrified wire that scare wolves) to secure livestock overnight
  • Nonlethal hazing techniques, such as shining bright lights or firing a loud starter pistol, to drive off wolves
  • Good husbandry practices, such as removing carcasses, which attract wolves
  • Moving livestock to grazing pastures away from wolf dens

Check out our video above, Keeping Wolves out of Harm’s Way, to see some of these successful techniques in action.

The program works directly with landowners and communities to:

  1. reduce conflicts between wolves and humans;
  2. keep wolves from being unnecessarily killed by agencies in response to human conflicts; and
  3. increase general acceptance of wolves across the landscape.

What Defenders Is Doing

To date, Defenders has implemented wolf and livestock co-existence projects throughout wolf ranges in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta, and Oregon. These include four major range rider projects in key corridor wolf conservation areas: northwestern Montana (connecting the USA and Canadian northern Rockies); Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in southeastern Montana and northwestern Wyoming; and, most recently, the first ever rider project in northeastern Oregon.

Our project partners include ranchers, state and federal agencies, livestock associations, and other conservation organizations.

How Climate Change Became A “Liberal Hoax”: Big Business vs. Science

Photograph of Noam Chomsky

Image via Wikipedia

The sixth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions.

Linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky talks about the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and other business lobbies enthusiastically carrying out campaigns “to try and convince the population that global warming is a liberal hoax.

 

 

Petition Site That Cares: Care2 – largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare.

Care2 – largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare..

Randy Paynter, CEO and President of C2, started this site in 1998.

The idea is simple: Make it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most.

When he was 13 he was traveling with his father up the Amazon in a thatch-covered boat.  His father was an ornithologist (study of birds).

“What struck me most was the contrast between the remote tribes living in harmony with the rainforest, and the poverty and deforestation in the most “modernized” towns we visited”, said Paynter on the About Us page of the site.  He saw that the world was terribly out of balance and began to believe that we each have the power to make positive changes in our world.

“The answer came in 1998.  The Internet.  Finally, the power to mobilize the world was at hand.  I raised money from some kind and crazy souls, and then really lucked out in finding two extraordinary partners — Matt McGlynn (now our chief technology officer) and Camilla Eriksson (now our vice president of eCards.  In September 1998, we launched Care2 from my tiny apartment” Paynter writes.

The website is driven by those who wish to make changes in this world.  They are a certified B Corporation.

The Butterflies

 

 

 

 

The butterflies on the logo are designed after a Physics concept called “The Butterfly Effect“.  It symbolizes to them that one person can take a small step and make a difference.

You can earn butterfly credits by taking various actions like signing a petition and taking the daily action.  These credits can be redeemed for gifts that make the world a better place.

There is an online community and plenty of fun topics and polls.  you can create groups or join existing ones.

Taking Action

There are so many petitions you can sign on a wide array of topics and issues that you may support.  There is a daily action that you can do and earn credits for.

There is also a whole section on Healthy and Green Living.

I have been signed up for emails through this site for some time now.  Some of my other blogs are based on these emails about petitions available tailored to the issues I am concerned with at the moment.  I have always had a good experience with this Organization.  Enjoy, and help by taking your own little steps…we can make a difference!

Meet the World’s Newest Cat, the Sunda Clouded Leopard : TreeHugger

Meet the World’s Newest Cat, the Sunda Clouded Leopard : TreeHugger.

The “newest” cat species described to science, the Sunda clouded leopard, actually exists in two distinct forms, scientists have confirmed. This big cat is so enigmatic that researchers only realised it was a new species – distinct from clouded leopards living elsewhere in Asia – in 2007. The first footage of the cat in the wild to made public was only released last year.

Genetic analysis has confirmed that the cats living in Sumatra and Borneo are indeed different forms. So that makes two more additions to the clouded leopard family, which is generally considered to be the most elusive of all of the big cats. 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Your Town Doing About Climate Change: Share Your Story

Repower America | Share Your Story.

From The Alliance for Climate Protection and Repower America

Submit your story at the above link!!

Everywhere you look, communities, businesses, cities and states are taking positive steps to address the climate crisis. From schools and churches installing solar panels or working to become more energy efficient to city councils and state legislatures adopting climate-friendly policies, we’re seeing considerable progress in communities across the country.

As 2011 begins, Repower America is collecting as many of these inspiring stories as possible. We’ve done lots of research on our own, but now we need your help to identify the efforts underway in your community. 

 

Earthwatch Expedition and Research: Mammals of Nova Scotia – Earthwatch

Earthwatch: Mammals of Nova Scotia – Earthwatch.

Complete information available at the above link.

Dates for 2011:

March, June. August, September and October 

 

On the Expedition

You’ll monitor mammal populations to determine the impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges.

Working in diverse habitats, from forests to meadows and from wetlands to sweeping beaches, you’ll use various methods to monitor Nova Scotian wildlife. You’ll observe the behavior of raccoons, beavers, skunks, and porcupines, and establish the locations of dens and wildlife trails. You may also use infrared video surveillance and camera traps to monitor more elusive animals such as fisher (a type of marten), coyote, or bobcat. You’ll use trapping grids to sample rodents and shrews, and count deer and snowshoe hare droppings to estimate their population densities and habitat preferences. You may also be involved with using bat detectors to count bats, sampling invertebrates, surveying seabirds, and watching for marine wildlife. In your recreational time, you can go to the waterfront town of Lunenburg and visit museums, see the famous racing schooner Bluenose, check email, and enjoy the shops.

About the Research Area

Geologically, the province of Nova Scotia is the oldest part of the North American Shield. It is almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, connected to mainland Canada’s east coast by a tiny piece of land. Across the Bay of Fundy from Nova Scotia is New Brunswick, Canada, north of the state of Maine in the United States. A large part of the province, Cape Breton, is an island connected to Nova Scotia’s mainland by a causeway. The province is twice the size of Massachusetts, and just a bit smaller than Ireland. Wherever you go in Nova Scotia, you are no more than 56 kilometers (35 miles) from the sea.

Nova Scotia’s highest point, on hilly Cape Breton Island, is White Hill Lake at 530 meters (1,742 feet) above sea level. The lowest lands in the province are actually below sea level, in the Annapolis Valley. Huge dikes hold back the sea and create thousands of acres of farmland. Much of the middle and upper parts of the province are rocky highland plateaus reminiscent of the Scottish landscapes of many of the province’s ancestors.

Cook’s Lake, a focal area for the project, is more than just a lake: The area contains some 330 acres (134 hectares) of mixed coniferous and deciduous woodland, hay meadows, ponds, streams, and wetlands. This woodland has been owned by the family of Earthwatch scientist Dr. Christina Buesching for 20 years as a haven for wildlife.