April 17, 2011

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

Peter Houser of Living with Birddogs visited China earlier this month and caught a glimpse of the future:
[N]early all of the enviroment that I saw was horribly damaged. During the entire time in country I saw only a handful of songbirds, a few magpies, no rodents, no hawks. Certainly no game birds. Anything that looks green is under mono-species cultivation. Most of the country is covered by a cloud of smog from the coal-burning electric plants. 5,000 years of human occupation have left a mark on the land and the animals that will not disappear until the next ice age. So, get out your checkbook and send some money to your favorite environmental advocate group. This trip really brought home to me how much we stand to lose if we do not learn to live in a balanced relationship with our environment.
Peter is just one of a number of fine hook-and-bullet bloggers to sound an alarm. Check out Chad Love here and here and here [and, heck, just nab Chad's RSS feed. He's good].

And don't miss Hal Herring's great editorial in Field & Stream, and Bob Marshall's special report, here.

Maybe you saw the April 15 NY Times article: G.O.P. Push in States to Deregulate Environment. [Alternate link via Google.] Quote:
In the past month, the nation’s focus has been on the budget battle in Washington, where Republicans in Congress aligned with the Tea Party have fought hard for rollbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency, clean air and water regulations, renewable energy and other conservation programs.

But similar efforts to make historically large cuts to environmental programs are also in play at the state level as legislatures and governors take aim at conservation and regulations they see as too burdensome to business interests.
If we hope to save our country from the big oil billionaires business interests that control so many of our politicians, we better get busy. Don't wait until the next Ice Age. Get busy now.

That fresh hell in the photo at the top of this post? Not China. It's Canada. And it kills me to think of it, but that toxic landscape used to be boreal forest. Did I mention that Canada is the #1 supplier of oil to the US? Countless wildfowl die in those tailing ponds. The air, the rivers and the people — the men, women and children — who live nearby are being poisoned. But we mustn't burden the business interests! Oh, no, mustn't do that.

See also:
Boreal Songbird Initiative
Contact Elected Officials Seriously: they are public servants. They work for us.
iLoveMountains.org Because mountaintop removal mining is in a horror category of its own.

The Mountain

Terje Sorgjerd, who created last month's awesome video of the Northern Lights, has done it again: another great video, this one filmed on 12,000+ ft stratovolcano Pico del Teide in the Canary Islands. Terje writes:
This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide. Spain´s highest mountain @(3715m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.

The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide.
Read more here. Oh, and play the vid on full screen — it's beautiful.

H/T: the most excellent Ethan Siegel of Starts With A Bang, who knows a thing or two about the night sky.

April 1, 2011

Flickr Friday: Coyotes

In keeping with today's "green hillsides" theme, here is a great shot of coyote pups on a green hillside by Friday's featured photographer Marc Briggs, currently of Santa Barbara. [See Marc's Flickr photos here.] He says: "I love hiking and exploring...and shooting wild and open land around Santa Barbara and central California." As luck would have it, photographs of wild and open land around Santa Barbara and central California are photos I tend to love.

Can you spot the third young coyote in this picture?

For a sound track to accompany the photo, visit this post.

Other links:
Urban Coyote Ecology and Management [Illinois]
The Saga of Chicago's Coyotes Continues
More coyotes: dog snatched off porch; "kid fends off pack attack with backpack"
Foiling urban coyotes

San Timoteo Canyon

new growth, a photo by FromTheTrunk on Flickr. Click to embiggen.

Ah, I love this photo.

San Timoteo Creek is down there between the groves and the willows. Saw some beautiful Hooded Orioles there earlier this week. Check out the bare patches where slabs of hillside gave way during the December 2010 rains. Those green hillsides will be brown soon if it stays as hot [92F] as it was today.