Saturday, April 28, 2007

Reason for bees' disappearance found?

America's bee disappearances may be due, at least in part, to a toxic fungus similar to one that decimated the bee populations of Europe and Asia. This is a preliminary finding, but if true, it represents some hope for the restoration of the hives of bees neccesary for the nation's agriculture.

My brother sent me the Truthout article, and here is the original, from the LA Times.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's happening to our bees?

Billions and billions of bees across America are dying, for poorly understood reasons.

Here's a detailed analysis from the Christian Science Monitor, April 4, 2007.

Or read a distillation by Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower's home page,

Ornithology 301: Hybrid Warblers

It has long been known that birds occasionally, though rarely, interbreed -- a male of one species will mate with a female of another, yielding often interesting results. Nowhere are the results more colorful and fascinating than in warblers, the tiny songbirds that are already seemingly infinite in variety. An informative article at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website gives us a "mystery bird": while educating the reader about hybridization, the article offers a challenge for sharp-eyed birders to identify a recently discovered hybrid's parentage. Caveat -- this is for serious birders who want a) a tough challenge for the eye, and b) an introduction to a fairly advanced topic in ornithology, although it's written for the average reader and no knowledge of difficult science is assumed. I found it fascinating, and, for the record, I didn't identify either of the bird's parents correctly!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Eat locally

Considering a new diet? Want to help change the world at the same time?

Try the "100 Mile diet"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Karl Rove shows his true colors on the global warming issue

From Sheryl Crow and Laurie David, via HuffPo:

Last night Thelma and Louise drove the bus off the cliff or at least into the White House Correspondents Dinner. The "highlight" of the evening had to be when we were introduced to Karl Rove. How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Buy or rent Sony Pictures' Who Killed the Electric Car? and see one possible solution to our dependence on foreign oil, and what we're up against in trying to achieve it.

In the meantime, visit the website. Or have a look at what Malcolm Bricklin is up to.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

We need to talk about gun ownership

For as long as I can remember, the NRA has been vocal and aggressive in pushing its misinterpretation of the Second Amendment in order that they might arm themselves to their hearts' content. The time has come, nay, is long past, when Congress must face up to them and bring some sense to the nation's gun laws.

The Second Amendment is not a blanket permission for universal gun ownership; it applies only to a "well-regulated militia", or organized citizen army, in a time of war, and protects its right to store guns in the home, rather than in an armory, for such a purpose. Gun ownership beyond that is NOT protected by Constitutional law; and sophisticated automatic weaponry could not possibly have been addressed in 1776. Ideally, gun ownership should be a states' rights issue, since every community has its own concerns.

In any event, it is time that the issue is opened for debate. This is not a call for a ban on guns, simply a call for discussion in order to break the hold the NRA exerts on Congress and on Americans' opinions. We have no reason to be surprised when events such as the tragedy at Virginia Tech occur. Our gun laws are too permissive: there are too many guns in circulation, and we are too anxious to use them. We must begin a discussion about what guns mean to us and our society before such a tragedy happens again.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Wild Turkeys

Leaving the house the other afternoon, I saw a group of wild turkeys in the field next door to my house. I noticed several females and a few males with tails fanned out and looking splendid! They were ambling towards a thicket that borders my driveway, so I slowed down to look at them more closely, and so as not to scare them. They were truly beautiful birds -- and huge! I've been allowing a bow hunter to take one or two turkeys a year from the land around here, but it always bothers my conscience to think he might be splitting up such a beautiful family. I'll check with him this year to let him know my feelings in the matter. In the meantime, the turkeys are flourishing!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Saturday, April 14, 2007

They're back!

The phoebes have returned to nest above my porchlight again this year. This is my sign of spring. There is only room there for a single nest, sitting right on top of the lampshade, and I just leave it for them to come sweep out and move back in every year. It has rendered my porch light useless, of course, but I would just as soon have the pleasure of the phoebes' company as the illumination of my porch. They've come back every year, with the one exception of the year of the rabies epidemic that decimated the wildlife in my wooded area. That year there was nothing around -- no deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, even very few songbirds. That was several years ago, and since then the wildlife has struggled back pretty much to normal. We had chickadees, robins and cardinals all year, of course, but the phoebes' presence signals to me a healthy new season. Welcome back, guys!


New film takes aim at "An Inconvenient Truth", Al Gore, and liberals

Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute, a Republican "think tank", was in San Francisco yesterday introducing his new film, "An Inconvenient Truth...or Convenient Fiction?" The movie goes after Gore as being an environmental extremist, but beyond that is meant to attack liberals more directly, and with a vicious slant. In doing so, Mr. Hayward displayed some of the Republican antipathy toward liberals that keeps the two parties at odds with each other.

Of those in attendance, he said:

“I don’t know how much of the enemy we have here tonight,” said a smiling Mr. Hayward, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, based in Washington. “San Francisco is usually a target-rich environment.”

"Enemy?" "Target(s)?" Are we the terrorists the country is at war with? Mr. Hayward, you agree there is a problem, and that human activity is at the heart of it. The only thing you disagree on is the matter of degree. Why not approach global climate change with a spirit of positive action, and not let the politics turn it into a federal case?


What this blog is to be about

This blog will explore the relationship between human beings and our environment. It will cover issues as they become relevant through events both local and global, political and spiritual, specific and general. I will quote important news items related to climate change, and write of the birds I see in my backyard. As things which I believe belong here occur to me, I will share them with you. My perspective is that of a politically liberal, regulated capitalist, formerly a Buddhist practitioner and currently a secular humanist. See my profile for more details.

My Buddhist experience has essentially taught me that there is no separation between ourselves and our environment, and I hope that through reading this blog you will come to that understanding as well. My goal is, naturally, a peaceful world, and the reconciliation of man with nature is the most important step in the realization of that goal.

May all sentient beings attain enlightenment.