Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

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

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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TED Tuesday: From redwoods to north pole November 3, 2009

Filed under: biology,ecology,forest,nature,TED — Radiance @ 9:00 AM
Science writer Richard Preston talks about some of the most enormous living beings on the planet, the giant trees of the US Pacific Northwest. Growing from a tiny seed, they support vast ecosystems — and are still, largely, a mystery.
 
 
Lewis Pugh talks about his record-breaking swim across the North Pole. He braved the icy waters (in a Speedo) to highlight the melting icecap. Watch for astonishing footage — and some blunt commentary on the realities of supercold-water swims.
 
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TED Tuesday: Restoring a rainforest July 7, 2009

Filed under: ecology,forest,human interference,rtr09,TED — Radiance @ 12:00 AM

I have written about the speaker, Willie Smits, and his incredible work in sustainably replanting the rainforests in Samboja Listaria before. It was in connection with the RTR09 fundraising campaign that I was volunteer blogging for at the time. I had watched this talk that time but I didn’t start the TED Tuesday till much later. So today I’m sharing that fascinating talk with my readers. And also a few words from my previous post about him,

What made Dr. Smitts stand out as different from others for me was his reaction to the audience’s claps when he mentioned that there were a 1000 Orang-utans in the conservation centre he ran. The audience found this an impressive achievement and began clapping. Dr. Smitt immediately interrupted, “No, no, no! Wrong!!! This is an indication of our failure to sustain their natural habitat.” This told me that here was someone who really cared about the ecosystem and not about his achievements in saving it.

 

By piecing together a complex ecological puzzle, biologist Willie Smits has found a way to re-grow clearcut rainforest in Borneo, saving local orangutans — and creating a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems.

 

Sunday Spotlight: Earthlings June 7, 2009

Filed under: animals,art,earth,forest,sunday spotlight — Radiance @ 12:00 AM
Nature, animals, humankind … make the connection. That is the tagline of this award-winning documentary film (@EarthlingsMovie on Twitter) about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research. I would like to share a few lines from their homepage that describe the documentary, its impact and its making.

“Considered the most persuasive documentary ever made, EARTHLINGS is nicknamed “the Vegan maker” for its sensitive footage shot at animal shelters, pet stores, puppy mills, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs. The film is narrated by Academy Award® nominee Joaquin Phoenix and features music by platinum-selling recording artist Moby. Initially ignored by distributors, today EARTHLINGS is considered the definitive animal rights film by organizations around the world. ….. Nation Earth was established to produce documentary films on socially urgent issues. EARTHLINGS, released in 2005, was the company’s first feature film and is the first of a documentary trilogy. The company is currently at work on the second instalment, UNITY, which will explore the unifying force of consciousness found in nature, animals and humankind. UNITY is scheduled to be completed in 2009.”

Now I must warn my readers, as does the trailer of the documentary at the start, the footage in the documentary is very graphic. I had to stop watching the trailer half way through. But that is exactly the kind of “shock treatment” impact needed to get anything past our thick skulls. I’d say it is appropriately named “the Vegan maker” as it will not be surprising if you feel squeamish eating any kind of meat after you’ve watched this documentary. However, my view about this whole issue is very different from most people (as it is on many other topics like human history).
If we look around, we see that food chains exist on our planet, one species being dependent on the other for their dietary needs. Plants don’t consume any other species but simply CO2 and use sunlight. But from there upwards, someone consumes someone else, be it the herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. Nature has designed us all to consume one or the other of our fellow earthlings. So then how are us humans different? We should not feel bad about eating other earthlings for our nutrition. However, there IS a difference between us and all the other species that we have morals. The lion doesn’t think of the deer’s suffering before digging his sharp teeth into its tender flesh. But nature has given the ability to understand other earthlings’ suffering. Shouldn’t we be using that ability when dealing with other earthlings?
I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, “So you’re telling me, it is OK to kill the animals only if we do it in a way that they don’t suffer?” Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying. One species killing and consuming the other is a law of nature. Because if you say I don’t want any killing to be done at all for my needs, then you’d have to stop eating! Now you’ll say, “I’ll turn vegan/vegetarian/herbivore.” So my question is, just because you don’t see blood pouring out of a tomato or a banana doesn’t scream and protest when you detach them from the plant, you categorise that as “not killing” them? Think about it. Aren’t we being biased in our definition of violence and killing? So I don’t get this whole point of being Vegan. You are still eating someone … they’re just not as animate as some others whom us omnivores eat. Being herbivore or carnivore or omnivore is everyone’s choice. But no one should fool themselves in thinking they’re helping the planet by choosing to be herbivores. You’re still using plants and animals for other purposes than food. If you really want to help the planet, strike a balance. Us humans have made this mistake too many times. We go all out in doing something and then when the ecosystem is out of balance due to it, we chose to completely stop doing it and feel proud of ourselves for stopping. No, that’s not how the Earth works. She wants a balance of everything. And all we’ve given here over and over again are extremes.
Because of our inherent intelligence, we have worked out ways of using our fellow earthlings for more than just nutrition. We make everything, from all sorts of basic commodities to absolutely unnecessary embellishments out of these species, plants and animals. So using these earthlings for food is only a part of our reckless consumption. What needs to stop is being reckless, not the consumption. What needs to stop is cramming of cows and pigs and chickens into “inhumanly” small spaces because we just need more of them. What needs to stop is making their life hell when they’re alive even if we are eventually going to kill them. What needs to stop is killing of snakes and seals and whales and tigers for the use of their respective body parts till only the last few of them remain on this planet. What needs to stop is capturing of animals from the wild and their confinement into cages for our entertainment, their abuse while being trained to do “acts” that nature never intended them to do. We need to acknowledge the right of other species to flourish on this planet and be able to live a good life. There are 6 billion of us on this planet. That’s a big number when it comes to making a difference … only if we chose the right direction.

Update (12 Jun ’09): Two of my blogger friends, Linda MB Hughes and Sandip Sen, got inspired by my blog post and have written their own posts about the movie and their feelings after watching it. Must reads!

 

Learn from the past April 28, 2009

Filed under: ancient knowledge,forest,meteorology — Radiance @ 9:17 AM
I’m sharing with my readers two interesting links that I came across through David Kinnicutt (@HD_EcoDave) on Twitter. Both links are to do with one of my favourite topics, ancient knowledge. These examples of traditional advanced knowledge of two different indegenous people from different continents point to an advanced society that had a different way of life than us. They were definitely muh closer to nature than us but not primitive as we like to think.
Indigenous Australians have long held their own seasonal calendars based on the local sequence of natural events. The Australian bureau of meteorology has these calenders on their website along with the knowledge of the aborigines about the various seasons etc.
Deep in the Suriname rainforest, an innovative conservation group is working with indigenous tribes to protect their forest home and culture using traditional ethnobotanical knowledge combined with cutting-edge technology. Key to the process is bridging the generational gap between indigenous elders and youths: the shamans provide the younger rangers with the historical and cultural information needed to add critical details to the maps.
I would strongly recommend my readers to click on both links and read on about this amazing treasure of knowledge that the past has provided these simplistic people.
 

$10 for a sustainable future April 20, 2009

Filed under: animals,earth,forest,future,rtr09 — Radiance @ 10:17 AM
So far I’ve written 11 blog posts for the ‘Replanting the rainforests’ (RTR09) campaign by Eco Preservation society that aims towards sustainable management of replanted rainforests. The campaign started about 3 weeks back with the aim of raising $100K towards the abovementioned goal and culminates 4 days after the Earth Day on 26th April. The material I wrote about touched upon various aspects of the campaign ranging from why there is an urgent need for action, what are the methods employed for sustained management of the replanted forests and what other conservation projects (saving near-extinct species) it will support. There is much more that can be written about the topic of conservation and its need.
The importance of the rainforests to our planet cannot be justified enough. They’re the lungs of Earth in a reverse sense that they absorb about fifth of the carbon emissions pumped out by humans. Creating “dis-incentives” for tropical deforestation will help sustain those forests which in turn will help us combat the rapid climate change that the planet is experiencing currently. In spite of all the benefits the planet and humans have from them, rainforests are in crisis today. The reasons for deforestation are varied and their plight is grave. People predominantly grow commercially viable plants, like Palm trees for their oil, in the rainforest area which disrupts the balance of this delicate ecological system. Fate of some really unfortunate forests, like those of the Amazon, is now deemed irreversible. The green house gases emitted by our industrialised civilisation are making the matters worse. The scientists are now conceding that the Earth is most likely facing the 6th mass extinction which will see almost half of the known species of flora and fauna disappear in the next century.
However, all is not lost yet if we wake up on time and take action. We need to find solutions to the problems we created on this beautiful planet. And more and more people are coming up with some great solutions. Replanting the deforested areas is one of the solutions that have been around for a while. However, what is needed is sustainably managed rainforests which will only be possible with the involvement of locals in the affected areas. Important people like the Prince of Wales are now involved in this process and making the populace sit up and take notice. There’s also some hope for the Amazonian rainforests after the scientists revised their estimates of ‘irreversible fate’ for them. However, all these projects can only go ahead with sufficient financial support. It is important that ‘we the people’ start taking an initiative and provide strong financial support for such work. Instead of depending on a few thousand politicians and bureaucrats around the world, let us, the rest of the 6 billion, take action. $10 from each one of us will ensure a huge investment for our future on this ‘little blue planet’ while not asking too much from us. Give a gift of $10 (using the Chip-in widget in right hand column on my blog or RTR09 website) to your planet and secure your and your children’s future! Lets reach the mark of $100K in next 2 days and show our solidarity towards our world.
Planet Earth, your children and I thank you profusely for your contribution!