Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

Almost gone … hope not! November 28, 2009

Filed under: endangered species,extinction,human interference — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

Guest post series ‘Almost gone …’ by Scott Bright (@Speciesguy)

Hi kids, parents and all. Today I wanted share of some positive things that people are doing to make a difference for endangered species. When you watch these videos, you’ll want to thank these people. Hey, I’m doing my best here, I wish I could write like Richard Bach, but I try to make it interesting.

Lions Get To Live

In Africa, the lions were eating the farmers’ cattle, so the farmers did the only thing they thought would solve the problem, which was to take out as many of them as possible. So, fewer and fewer lions were to being seen. Hey, if they were my cows, I would do the same thing. Lions are professionals at running to catch something to eat.

Well, a group of people who called Conservation org. learned that this was happening, and sent some people to talk with the farmers. Check out the solution. Now the farmers let the lions live! Yahoo! See video. It’s a great video of people helping in a tough situation. Just Google some good things for endangered species, and you’ll find some good things happening.

Raising Shark Awareness

Here’s another person I read about. Here name is Lesley Rochat from South Africa. Boy, does she care about sharks and other marine life. She has a cool video about Maxine the shark. This is a great video! She was a friend with a ragged toothed shark for ten years, and this shark became a star! And with all of our support, will put an end to shark finning. Parents, she has other videos, but you’ll have to use your discretion. They are the best videos made to stop shark finning.

Breeding Species In Captivity

When a species home gets smaller and smaller, animals get in a lot of trouble as far as survival is concerned. Now some caring people take animals from where they live and breed them. It’s called, “breeding in captivity.” It just means that they make other species away from where they live. If people did not do this, the animal would go extinct.

I can’t wait to share this with you! On an island called, “Madagascar, they have some of the strangest animals on our planet. The thing is, species like the fossa, the leaf tailed gecko, and aye-aye only exist on this island. And a lot of their forests are being cut down. People are trying to change that too. So for now, some people learned that a lot of the animals were in trouble there and sprung into action.

Way To Go Duke

Yes indeed, Duke University came to the rescue! Take a look at this video. One of the animals they breed is the aye-aye. Just say eye, eye, and you will had said their name right. My hats are off to the people at the Duke Lemur Center because they are breeding a bunch of species that would have gone extinct.

Look how cute the aye-aye’s are. And it’s the only place on earth where they live. Ok, I found one other video about Dr. Kathy Williams and what she does. Thank you Duke!

To Wrap Up For Today

What I’m suggesting is we learn about what’s happening with different animals, and get enthused about the value of a species! When we learn why a species is important, that is valuable information to share with your teachers, and with your parents help, you can write a leader. Way to go! Thanks kid, parents and all, I hope you enjoyed me sharing what some wonderful people are doing to make a difference. What species will we look at next week? Stay tuned.

Please check out the books on my site, if we educate our kids with books, DVDs, and write a leader, we can be part of the solution to lower the endangered species rate. And I have cool bamboo items for the home. Check my site, I have other fun videos, plus blogs and books for your learning. Remember, education is what can turn this around.

I also post some funny looking species on Twitpic.

SpeciesHelp.com

And I’m Speciesguy on Twitter. Come say hi.

 

Almost gone … Southern Cassowary November 14, 2009

Filed under: endangered species,extinction,forest — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

Guest post series ‘Almost gone …’ by Scott Bright (@Speciesguy)

The Cassowary Has A Great Purpose!

One day, I became fascinated, and I’m sure you will to, with exploring different parts of the world. And as fate would have it, I clicked on one of the strangest places on earth as far as animals go, “Australia!” The species that captivated my attention was a bird called the Southern Cassowary. They weigh in at one hundred and fifty pounds or more! That’s right, you read correctly. Just take a peek at one! And man do they look prehistoric! I found a great video for you to see one up close.

Here is what’s so valuable with this bird. It’s called a keystone specie. Just what does that mean in layman’s terms? Well, it’s responsible for replenishing rain forest. Just how can a bird be so responsible for that task? Good question. I have 800+ books for your child and you to explore! What Is your favorites species kids? Just type them in and explore. Click here to start your child’s learning.

Boy, Can They Eat Fruit!

This bird can eat fruit whole and then run all over the forest and drop the seeds whole. The result? Trees happen in a matter of weeks! I’m telling you, don’t try this at home, this bird is a professional.

Just One To Four Thousand Left

So why does anyone need to be concerned about this species? If this bird goes extinct, what’s to happen with the forest? I’m sure you can put 2 and 2 together. Other animals count on the cassowary. This species’ forest habitat is becoming fragmented. Some caring people of Australia have put up signs for cars to slow for cassowary traffic; if only the people in the cars will slow down.

True Story

My journey began when I pulled up to my computer and read about this large bird. Hours went by and i got more and more passionate about the cause of saving it from extinction. Yeah, a global awareness had to be developed. So here’s the deal. We are all in this together to make a difference. If you see an organization online that wants to preserve Cassowaries, make a donation to their precious cause.

I know if the people of world take an interest in the 16,000 species on the verge of extinction, we can turn this around. As for myself, I’m picking another part of the world to focus on. After all, the animals of Africa need to have the spot light on them too. I’ve written other interesting things to read about to make a difference. Once again, it’s all part of the tapestry my friend. This and all other species truly are in a race against time, and it will have to be all of us working together if we’re going to turn things around.

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Almost gone … Aye-aye November 7, 2009

Filed under: endangered species,extinction,forest — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

Guest post series ‘Almost gone …’ by Scott Bright (@Speciesguy)

The aye- aye needs our help

I recently discovered a species from an island located at the bottom right of South Africa, Madagascar, called the Aye Aye. Isn’t that a strange name for an animal? It’s a nocturnal lemur that eats seeds and grubs. I felt quite moved to share about what’s going on with them. The only place on earth that they exist is on is on this isolated island of Madagascar. The species needs some worldwide focus at this time.

Folklore

The people of Madagascar have some strong folklore in place. It depends which people you talk with on the island. Because some people there think it is a good omen to see one. But some believe that if an aye- aye points at you with its middle finger, you will die. So, they are killed at sight. Come on! It’s only a seed and grub eating nocturnal lemur.

Foraging method is ingenious

Their method of foraging food is pretty amazing. Their middle finger is three inches longer than the other fingers and it taps quite rapidly on trees to look for grubs. Hey, someone has to be assigned to the task. I wonder how many years of evolution did it take for them to figure out this behavior? A Woodpecker does the same thing, only with their beak. Personally, I think they have the un kept hair of Einstein, so they have that going for them! Lets try to do our best to share information about this rare animal.

No beauty contests

As you can plainly see from the picture, the only beauty contest they you could consider entering them in would be in October. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

They are being bred

Whew! This is good news. I’m glad there are people out there that know the time to breed this animal is now. Else they will be lost to us forever!

Aye-aye in the media

I found a video of a baby aye-aye that has been bred in the U.K. Its name is Kintana (meaning star in Malagasy). The aye-ayes are also flourishing at the Duke Lemur Centre in the US. More cool videos about various endangered species that I handpicked plus some interesting and informative blogs are showcased on my website.

Launch Passion For Endangered Species

I’ve started a cause for endangered species on Facebook. It’s a place for kids to learn plus dialog with each other. Please share this with your kids. I just started the cause and am asking for your help. Come on kids!

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‘Almost gone’ introduction October 24, 2009

Filed under: animals,endangered species,extinction — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

There is a very high number of species on this planet __ELE4that are about to go extinct in near future. As the scientists have indicated, we’re in the middle of the sixth mass extinction. However, this one is different from the earlier ones in that it is caused and accelerated by one of the numerous species themselves, homo sapiens. And therefore I believe it is our responsibility that we should acknowledge our role and try to salvage as many of them as possible. There is hope to be found.  Where?  It’s going to be the people that are inheriting this gorgeous blue planet, the children. It is important that our children learn about the importance of each of them in the ecosystem. Every species has a role to play on this planet. None, absolutely none, is here without a purpose. If our children understand their purpose they will understand their value. And only then there is a chance that the future homo sapiens will not make the same mistakes as their ancestors.

Few days back I came across Scott Bright (@Speciesguy) on Twitter who has a passion for teaching kids about various endangered species. About a year ago Scott saw some statistics online that said 16,928 species are endangered of extinction at this time. He was shocked to learn this and decided that he had to do something to make a difference! Since then Scott has been doing his best at writing for and about endangered species. His main focus is on sharing the information in a fun way for kids (and their parents) to discover why each species is unique, the value of each species and what roles they play in our biosphere. His website also provides a place where your child can write to a leader with your help. One of the ways Scott is making a difference is showing where people can adopt an animal on line.  Zoos and other places have become a safe haven for preserving endangered species, like Texas!

After I browsed through his two websites, links to which are at the end of this post, I got in touch with Scott and requested him if he would want to guest post on my blog. And Scott has graciously agreed to share, not one, but a number of posts with us. So we’re starting a new series called ‘Almost gone’ for every Saturday. Each post will focus on one species. He and I sincerely hope that you will share them with your kids. If Scott’s posts here pique your kids’ interest, head over to his website. There you’ll find a treasure trove of books, CDs, DVDs and more about endangered species to further stoke you child’s enthusiasm. And your purchase only helps promote awareness about endangered species.

Remember, it’s the kids that are a powerful resource for saving endangered species.  And education is the fastest way getting the endangered species, like sharks, polar bears, wolves and rhinos to name a few, out of their current status. Looking forward to you and your kids’ company on here.

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Sunday Spotlight: Rockford’s Rock Opera September 27, 2009

Filed under: acoustic,animation,extinction,nature,sunday spotlight — Radiance @ 10:00 AM

Rockford

A cute little dog called Rockford gets lost and ends up in the Land of Infinity. There he meets lot of fascinating creatures who, to his surprise, turn out to be the last one of each that has gone extinct from our planet! They sing and dance and tell Rockford the stories of their extinction. Sounds like a great way of teaching your kids about ecology, extinction and their role in preserving the nature? It definitely is!

Rockford’s rock opera is a unique adventure in sound for adults and children. With narration, sound effects, songs and videos, it’s a totally new kind of musical experience. Its Facebook page describes it with words “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The War of the Worlds, or Jungle Book meets Jurassic Park…” The members of this “musical experience” include Matthew Sweetapple, Steve Punt, Elaine Sweetapple and Jess Hodge along with others. Each one of them has contributed to this musical in their own capacities as producer, script writer, narrator, singer, voice-over for characters, illustrator to name only a few aspects. The first part of the story (52 minutes long) is available as mp3 audio for free download on their website. They also have a YouTube channel which lets you sample some of the animation videos that are part of this incredible story. I have listened to the audio book and watched the videos and cannot praise the creators of them enough. The music is catchy, lyrics are simple to understand and the animation is fascinating.

The first work of the Sweetapple label that I came across wasn’t the Opera at all. I saw their video Distant Generation on YouTube which was favourited by a friend and instantaneously fell in love with these folks. I then decided to dig a bit deeper and found a treasure trove of creative works in form of Rockford’s Rock Opera audio and video. Ever since then I have shared these works with people whenever I’ve gotten a chance. But I’ve always wanted to do a Sunday Spotlight on them and today seems to have been the fateful day. I am going to share the words directly from the website as I think they best describe the Opera and its purpose and scope.

Rockford’s Rock Opera is an amazing adventure in sound for adults and children. Part One of the story (six chapters: 52 minutes) is free! It features narration, read along text, characters, sound effects and music and is available as a free mp3 download and an audio stream. Great to listen to on your computer, your ipod or burnt onto CD, this is a free audiobook like no other. The website also contains useful background information about the story (including key information and free downloadable teaching resources about extinction and ecology), how the story was made and the facts behind the fiction.

Once you’ve sampled the story, you can buy it as an unabridged book on compact disc, together with illustrations and animated digital videos. Rockford’s Rock Opera is more than an electronic book, it’s a Musical Story about animals and an adventure about life on earth. It’s an original tale about extinction, but it’s also a story of hope. Created by Sweetapple and scripted by comedian and writer, Steve Punt, Rockford’s Rock Opera’s book on CD is funny, thoughtful, magical and like nothing you’ll ever have experienced before. Also, included are useful free Lesson Plans for teachers. Just press play to enjoy it online, click for Free Downloads – as an mp3 or iPod Story – then visit the shop to buy the specially enhanced discs that come with 24 page colour books, illustrations and videos. Truly a collectors’ audiobook on CD.

Much more than an adventure story, with animated videos, amazing sound effects and music, this is a children’s talking book like no other, available in a variety of easy-to-enjoy formats. It’s great for adults too and includes our own audiobook blog. Perfect for learning, great for storytelling in the classroom or for a wonderful, relaxing bedtime story treat, Rockford’s Rock Opera is first in a new generation of best children’s books. From the very young to older kids and adults, you’ll never have heard anything like this before. Edutainment at its very best for parents, teachers and especially, children!

Rockford’s Rock Opera has received rave reviews from the likes of WWF, BBC radio, The Independent, The Observer and more. And the great news is it is coming on to the stage in 2010. That’s going to be fantabulous! So now learning about our ecosystem and our role in it is really all song and dance.

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Sunday Spotlight: The Age of Stupid September 13, 2009

Filed under: earth,extinction,future,sunday spotlight,technology — Radiance @ 1:34 PM

Age-of-StupidThe Age of Stupid: Promote and win!

“’The Age of Stupid’ is the new cinema documentary from the Director of ‘McLibel‘ and the Producer of the Oscar-winning ‘One Day in September’. This enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching ‘archive’ footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?”, says the synopsis of the film on its official website.

“The Age of Stupid is a 90-minute film about climate change, set in the future, which had its world premiere in London on March 15th 2009 and was released in UK cinemas on March 20th 2009. The film will be released in Australia & New Zealand on August 19th, the global premiere will be live from New York to 45 countries on September 21st 2009.
Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off) stars as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, looking back at archive footage from 2007 and asking: why didnt we stop climate change when we had the chance?”, says the YouTube channel of Spanner Films that is responsible for making of this documentary.

As you would have read above, the documentary is being premiered globally on the 21st (in US) and 22nd (in rest of the world) September, 2009. That’s next Monday/Tuesday. Hence I thought this was an appropriate time for me to focus the spotlight on it. Even though the documentary has been premiered in Australia in August, I haven’t yet gotten a chance to see it. I’m hoping to catch the live online broadcast from NY during the global premier. However, from the trailers I’ve watched and reviews I’ve read it seems like a very different take on the climate change issue. It weaves together 6 stories recorded in present day to make a fabric of human psyche. These are real people and not actors posing as someone. Fernand Pareau, 82-year old French mountain guide; Jeh Wadia, starting a low-cost airline in India; Alvin DuVernay, Shell oil man who rescued 100 people after Hurricane Katrina; Layefa Malemi, living in Shell’s most profitable oil region in Nigeria; Jamila and Adnan Bayyoud, two Iraqi refugee kids trying to find their brother and Piers Guy, a windfarm developer fighting the anti windfarm lobby in England … all show us different aspects of human mentality. The documentary does not set out to show us what we’ve already done to the planet because the assumption is we already know that. It, however, gives us a peak into the future that will be if we continue on our merry (?) way.

Another difference of this documentary from many others is that £450,000 of its budget was raised by “crowd-funding” – selling shares to individuals and groups. Film is therefore completely independent. The people’s contribution does not stop here. Even for the global premier people from various participating countries have organised their own “Indie screenings” to make it truly global. So for me this documentary also serves as a great example of how one can make a difference on a shoestring budget with support of other people who’re probably living on a shoestring budget themselves. I would strongly recommend all my readers to spread the word about The age of stupid and try to get as many people as you can to watch it. You can do your bit in many ways, organising your own screening, spread the word on social media, write a blog or at least watch it yourself.
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Mass extinction with a difference? May 28, 2009

Filed under: biology,earth,extinction,human interference — Radiance @ 12:00 AM
[Image source: PhysOrg.com]
Mass Extinctions, Ancient Viruses May Hold Clues to Life’s Origins

(PhysOrg.com) — Mass extinctions occur repeatedly, though irregularly, throughout Earth’s history, and occasionally these extinctions have been devastating to life on our planet – or have they? Extinction events have sometimes accelerated the evolution of life on earth by eliminating old dominating species and making room for new ones. A new study takes this idea a step further, showing that life may have never achieved the complexity necessary for the development of advanced multi-cellular organisms without recurring extinction events.

I found the above article very interesting because of the concept that mass extinctions are not always “bad” for the life on this planet. However, as far as we know, all previous mass extinctions have taken place due to natural causes. Right now the planet is undergoing the sixth mass extinction which is very greately influenced by humans, it is not natural. So would this one have the same impact on life as all others before? Will it open up an opportunity for new life forms to flourish on this planet? Or will there be only one major species remaining, the homo sapiens? Or rather, like Juan Enriquez contemplates, we’ll become homo evolutis?