ants, books, coral reefs, Environment, Nature, oceans, Uncategorized, wild horses, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker – Nov 26, 2018

Lisa Carne

photo: Lisa Carne

Saving Coral

BBC Earth, by Zoe Cormier

“So far we’ve lost half the world’s reefs, and one of the biggest threats – climate change – shows no sign of abating. Scientists say if we do nothing, 90 per cent of the world’s tropical reefs will be gone by 2050, along with all the fish, wildlife and humans that depend on them.”

The Director of the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology says that we have learned that “putting a big seawall around the reefs” and leaving them alone doesn’t work. “We have to stop thinking that if we leave nature alone and treat it with the utmost respect that is sufficient. It’s not,” she says.

Not all hope is lost, she says: we just need to apply the science, ingenuity, manpower and – above all – money, while we still can.

“It might seem hopeless – but look at the hole in the ozone layer,” she says. “We identified the problem, acted to remove harmful gases from the atmosphere, and boom: the hole closed. That’s remarkable, and it shows that we can fix these things, we just have to start acting now.”

Read the entire article here

Larisa Bogardis

photo: Larissa Bogardis

Judge blocks controversial plan to sterilize wild horses in Oregon

From NBC News, by Daniella Silva, Nov 5, 2018

“U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a preliminary injunction on Friday that stops the Bureau of Land Management from moving forward with its plan to surgically remove the ovaries of wild mares in the Warm Springs Management Area of Hines, Oregon, according to court records.”

Read the entire article here.

Timothée Brütsch

photo: Timothee Brutsch

For ants, unity is strength — and health: Ant social networks put a brake on disease spread

From ScienceDaily, 23 November 2018

“High population density, as well as frequent and close contacts between individuals, contribute to a rapid spread of diseases. To protect their colonies, ants have developed disease defense mechanisms, including adaptations to their social organization. Ants do not interact randomly with other colony members, but are organized in sub-groups according to their age and the tasks they carry out.

“How ants collectively deal with problems, such as the risk of an epidemic, could give insights into general principles of disease dynamics. Social interactions are the routes on which diseases travel and define how epidemics may spread. Basic research on ants can help us to deeper understand epidemiological processes, which can be relevant also in other social groups.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Also, if you’d like to visit my website, here is the link.

And if you are interested in my books about the sentience of North American trees, visit Amazon to purchase.

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algae, algae farms, beer, Environment, global warming, oceans, plastic, spiders, The Ocean Cleanup, Uncategorized

News from The Treetalker

The Ocean Cleanup Has Reached the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup, an idea brought to life by founder and CEO Boyan Slat, has been in the news for a month or so. The 2,000 foot-long U-shaped floating pipe, launched a month ago from San Francisco, reached its goal on Thursday—the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” an area in the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice the size of Texas. The goal of the mission is to trap floating plastic, return the debris to shore, recycle the plastic and create new products from it.

There will certainly be some trial and error, but if successful, the project could expand to the other 4 garbage patches. They are hopeful that they can clean up 90% of the plastic garbage in the world’s oceans by 2040.

First, a link to the CNN article, with video.

Here is a link to the project’s site.

It is also good to know that this is not the only program committed to help clean up the oceansthe California Coastal Commission’s volunteer group is focusing on trash reduction with land-based efforts. There are a group of volunteers that clean up beaches and coastal waters, preventing yet more plastic waste from entering the ocean in the first place.

Also, The Marine Debris Program is an initiative included in the Save Our Seas Act, signed by President Trump last week.

 

Below, a view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Photo AFP


Experts say algae is the food of the future. Here’s why.
by Rachel Crane   @CNNTech

The article’s author visited an Algae “farm” in southern New Mexico, where a strain of algae, nannochloropsis, is being grown. It is already available in supplement form at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Amazon, and is being developed into snacks and protein powders. These powders will be “virtually imperceptible when added to other foods, and not going to change the flavor.”

The company’s CEO, Miguel Calatayud, believes that if the world’s population grows from 7.5 billion to 10 billion as expected, we’ll need to think more seriously about protein alternatives like algae.

“There will not be enough animal protein or other vegetable protein,” he said. “There won’t be enough arable land, and what’s even more important, there won’t be enough fresh water.”

Their strain of algae takes what would otherwise be wasted — saltwater, desert land and CO2 — and turns it into something special. Made up of 40% protein, it can produce about seven times the amount of protein as soybeans on the same amount of land. The plant also releases oxygen into the air. (About 50% of the world’s oxygen comes from algae).

“There are tons of desert areas all over the world and most of them have brackish water underneath,” he said. “What we are building it’s 100% sustainable and 100% scalable.”An interesting article.

Read the rest of it and see video here.

180530100615-mission-ahead-algae-1-780x439

And now, here’s some news that might motivate governments to take action on climate change:

Add beer to the list of foods threatened by climate change
Rising temperatures and periods of drought will target barley crops worldwide

By Jennifer Leman, October 15, 2018, for ScienceNews

‘Malted barley — a key ingredient in beer including IPAs, stouts and pilsners — is particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures and drought, both of which are likely to increase due to climate change. As a result, average global barley crop yields could drop as much as 17 percent by 2099, compared with the average yield from 1981 to 2010, under the more extreme climate change projections, researchers report October 15 in Nature Plants.

That decline “could lead to, on average, a doubling of price in some countries,” says coauthor Steven Davis, an Earth systems scientist at University of California, Irvine. Consumption would also drop globally by an average of 16 percent, or roughly what people in the United States consumed in 2011.’

The report also mentions that other crops such as maize, wheat and soy and wine grapes are also threatened by the global rising of average atmospheric temperatures as well as by pests emboldened by erratic weather.

Some other details here

Danielle Griscti:Flickr

And Spotlight on:

Yellow garden spider
They
are found throughout most of the United States. They are orb-weaving spiders, spinning their webs in circular, spiral patterns. Orb-weavers have an extra claw on each foot, to handle the threads while spinning. They prefer sunny places with as little wind as possible to build their webs. The web of this spider spirals out from the center and can be two feet across. The female builds the large web, and a male will build a smaller web on the outer part of her web. The male’s web is a thick zigzag of white silk.
The spider had various meanings—it could be a trickster, a creator, or an intercessor between gods and man. Here is an Osage legend, which teaches that smaller doesn’t mean less significant:
“The Spider and the People”
One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge stag. The chief became very excited.
“Grandfather Deer,” he said, “surely you will show yourself. You are going to become the symbol of my people.”
He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider’s web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up off the ground, he was very angry. He struck at the spider sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.
“Grandson,” the spider said, “why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?”
The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. “I was following the tracks of a great deer,” the chief said. “I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people.”
“I can be such a symbol to you, “said the spider.
“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”
“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed.”
The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.

From Black Walnut Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Vol. 2: Midcontinent

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Also, remember that Volume 3 of my series of books about trees is available on Amazon.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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News from The Treetalker

Greek island Tilos on its way to becoming fully powered by renewable energy, Oct 10, 2018, Megan Treaty, for TreeHugger

This small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, home to only about 500 people year-round, but whose population doubles during tourist season, is about to show the islands around the world how to become energy independent using only renewable sources, if only on a small scale, using wind turbines, photovoltaic and a battery storage system. They are hoping to initially cover 70% of their needs, ramping it up to 100% soon.

They are currently dependent on fossil fuels that are delivered by an undersea cable, which is unreliable and is subject to tectonic activity. For the full article, click here.

tilos_greece.jpg.860x0_q70_crop-scale

How will 9 billion or 10 billion people eat without destroying the environment? By Joel Achenbach, for
The Washington Post, October 10, 2018

A sobering report published Wednesday in the journal Nature argues that a sustainable food system that doesn’t ravage the environment is going to require dramatic reforms, including a radical change in dietary habits.

The report comes on the heels of a warning from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global leaders need to take unprecedented action in the next decade to keep the planet’s average temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Global warming has typically been linked to the burning of fossil fuels, but food production is a huge and underappreciated factor, and the new report seeks to place food in the center of the conversation about how humanity can create a sustainable future.

Half the planet’s ice-free land surface is devoted to livestock or the growing of feed for those animals. That’s an area equal to North and South America combined. Rain forests are steadily being cleared for cropland. And the demand for food is increasing faster than the population: Rising income in China and many other formerly impoverished countries brings with it a higher demand for meat and other forms of animal protein. Some 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is already used in agriculture, and the demand for that water will intensify. To read the rest of the article, click here.

(Daniel Acker:Bloomberg)

The Climate Outlook Is Dire. So, What’s Next?
By Somini Sengupta, for The New York Times, Oct. 9, 2018

A report issued Sunday by 91 scientists painted a stark portrait of how quickly the planet is heating up and how serious the consequences are. In response, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, warned world leaders, “Do what science demands before it is too late.”

With the world’s largest emitters of CO2 unwilling to back off on their own pollution-causing policies, and the poorer countries unable to afford to change, things look frighteningly like we’re headed for catastrophe, and a lot faster than we previously thought. For the rest of the article, go here.

rendon Thorne:Bloomberg

US states agree on plan to manage overtaxed Colorado River
By DAN ELLIOTT, Oct 10, 2018, for Associated Press News

Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River say they have reached tentative agreements on managing the waterway amid an unprecedented drought. The plans announced Tuesday, Oct. 9 were a milestone for the river, which supports 40 million people and 6,300 square miles (16,300 square kilometers) of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico. The plans aren’t designed to prevent a shortage, but they’re intended to help manage and minimize the problems.

If you are interested in reading the details of this story, go here.

Ross D. Franklin

Also, Spotlight On:

Pipsissewa
The Creek Indians called the Spotted wintergreen “pipsisikweu,” which means “breaks into small pieces,” after the belief that that it could break down gallstones and kidney stones. The plant has been employed for centuries to treat many ills, but as it is increasingly rare, it is best not to collect it from the wild.
Pipsissewa has been a traditional ingredient of root beer and is still included in several brands. The oil is a flavoring agent for dental preparations, especially if combined with menthol and eucalyptus. In the 19th century Alice Morse Earle wrote in Old Time Gardens that the word Pipsissewa is one of a few words from the Algonquin that is today used in the English language.

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OK then. Another month gone by. Who knows what will happen next, right? Stay tuned to your local real news station…or not, as you choose.

Remember, Volume Three: The East of Secret Voices has been released see my page on Amazon to buy it. Have a great week (or month)!

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News from The Treetalker

Large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetation

September 6, 2018

Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial — or detrimental — to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.

read the article here.

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Map by Eviatar Bach

GOING THE DISTANCE  Painted ladies travel 12,000 km each year, farther than any known butterfly migration

By Leah Rosenbaum, June 20, 2018

Though found across the world, the orange-and-brown beauties that live in Southern Europe migrate into Africa each fall, crossing the Sahara on their journey; analysis of butterfly wings suggests that the butterflies head back to Europe in the spring. The round-trip is about 2,000 more than successive generations of monarchs are known to travel in a year. Some tenacious individuals even make the return trip in a single lifetime.

Read the article here.

061818_LR_butterfly-est_feat

A Leader in the War on Poverty Opens a New Front: Pollution
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, Aug. 24, 2018

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is resurrecting the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement started by Martin Luther King Jr. He sees the climate and environment as issues on par with poverty and racism.

He and Al Gore are bringing attention to the problem of coal ash, its pollution of local drinking water and the health of citizens and workers in the area.

Read the article here.

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books, endangered species, Environment, forests, fruit trees, global warming, green living, habitat restoration, Indonesia, plants, protecting rain forests, trees, Trees in the News, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

WWF“What does ‘protecting people and forests,
supporting economic growth’ mean to you?”

Forest News, Gabrielle Lipton, July 12, 2018, Dateline: Indonesia

At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, Forest News spoke to the director for The Nature Conservancy about rethinking the way forests factor into development, if they are to keep giving us the things we want and need.

The initial economic growth of these countries has been fueled by harvesting and selling of timber. This area holds about 60% of the world’s population, and as people’s lifestyle improves, forested land disappears in favor of agriculture, animal husbandry and mining. This results in poor air quality because of carbon emissions.

The organizations attending the Summit are working to advance ideas about ways to help the population’s economic growth continue to expand without cutting down all the trees.

Read this article here.

Xavier Cortada

T Agitprop—12 Artists on Climate Change, by Zoe Lescaze of the New York Times, August 22, 2018

A strongly visual article about the work of 12 contemporary artists who focus on several different aspects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, or connections to other living species and our affect on them, the destruction of beautiful natural landscapes, the extraction of resources from the land, the impact of more powerful storms on society and critically endangered species and the issue of extinction.

Visit the article for a look at some of their works and their stories.

Xavier Leoty:AFP

From Angelique Chrisafis, in France, for The Guardian, August 24, 2018
Choose a Side: the Battle to Keep French Isle McDonald’s-Free

The Mayor of Ile d’Oleron, the second-biggest island off mainland france after Corsica, is a major tourist destination is leading the fight, saying the island is “not about mass consumption.” Others say, “Oleron is a beautiful place, it’s important to protect it. We don’t need McDonald’s in a place that is pioneering local organic food, sustainable development, zero waste and alternative ways of living that aren’t about mass consumption.”

The battle has been going on for 4 years. Recently, a court in Poitiers ruled that the town had no legal basis to stop McDonald’s and must let them come in or pay fines on a daily basis. The verdict on the appeal is due next month.

Read the article here.

Dmitry Kostyukov:NYT

Also from the New York Times:
Paris Bees at Work From Notre-Dame to the Luxembourg Gardens
Paris has seen a marked rise in urban beekeeping, with more than 1,000 hives atop landmark buildings as well as in community gardens across the city.
By Alissa J. Rubin, August 24, 2018

Hives have been on the roof of the Opera Garnier for over 30 years; there are hives on top of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Luxembourg Gardens have been home to honeybees for over 150 years. They also give apiculture classes, with perhaps 200 people graduating every year.

Paris officials want to ensure that there will be enough bees to service the trees and flowers of the many local parks, gardens and cemeteries. “Perhaps one reason people now want to keep bees is that it’s a way of participating in the protection of the environment.”

Paris has all but ensured the relative purity of its honey by eliminating the use of pesticides in city parks and gardens, and forbidding pesticides on plantings on home terraces and roofs, as well as cemeteries.

Read the article here.

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Remember, Secret Voices from the Forest—Volume Three: The East is now available, $32.95 on Amazon.

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News from The Treetalker

From the New York Times,
Designing the Death of a Plastic
by Xiaozhi Lim, August 6, 2018

Decades ago, synthetic polymers became popular because they were cheap and durable—Greek for “many parts,” because they are long chains of many identical molecules — polymers were not designed to disintegrate or disappear. On the contrary, they were meant to last as long as possible once they began replacing metals and glass in long-lasting things like automobiles and airplanes..

Now, scientists are creating material that self-destructs or breaks down for reuse on command.

So, here we are, with literally billions of tons of plastic waste, filling up landfills, strewn all over the environment, floating in great mats in the ocean. Some estimates show that a mere 10% of all plastics are recycled every year.

Many places are trying to ban single-use plastics, but much more needs to be done. Happily, scientists who are working to create methods of creating plastics with built-in destruct mechanism are making progress. They are also working on solutions for the disposal of the existing plastic waste.

Exciting! Read the full article here.

Lei Pan, Michigan Tech

Lei Pan/Michigan Tech

From ScienceDaily,
Old mining techniques make a new way to recycle lithium batteries

Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students from Michigan Technological University have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.

This is a great story! The process is inexpensive and energy efficient, since they use an existing technology. My only question is, “What do they do with the water they use?”

Read the whole article here.

LyndonFrench:NYTimes

Lyndon French/NYTimes

From Medical News Today,
Even low air pollution may cause you serious heart problems
by Ana Sandoiu

A new study appearing in the journal Circulation  looks at the effects of low levels of pollution on the anatomy of the heart, and finds that living next to a busy road can cause you serious heart problems, even levels currently deemed “safe” by the EPA.

Another study linked air pollution to a high risk of diabetes.

The representative for the British Heart Foundation, a partial funder of the study, said, “We can’t expect people to move home to avoid air pollution,” he says. “Governments and public bodies must be acting right now to make all areas safe and protect the population from these harms.”

Read the entire article here.

cars-air-pollution

Union of Concerned Scientists

From the BBC
A bird’s eye view: Songbirds perceive color like humans
by Lucy R Green, August 2, 2018

In a study involving Zebra Finches, a team from Duke University in North Carolina, found that the birds could distinguish variations in color. They chose reds and oranges, since the female Zebra Finches choose their mates for the redness of the male’s beaks. The male has to deliberately ingest compounds containing carotenoids. The more, the redder the beak.

The enzyme that metabolizes carotenoids into the compound that becomes red coloration is the same enzyme as an important immune pathway, so the redder beaks may also indicate to the females that the male is more biologically fit.

Read the whole article here.

Ryan Huang, TerraCommunications, LLC

Ryan Huang, TerraCommunications, LLC

Also, in “Spotlight On” a piece on the Common buckeye butterfly, one of the “Companions” from Volume 3 of Secret Voices from the Forest. Buy here.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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News from The Treetalker

Three from the BBC

Britain has been suffering through a tremendous heat wave this summer. Parks, gardens crops are all brown and withered. See this article in the NY Times for details on that. But rain has finally returned, by the bucket load, apparently, with accompanying floods, of course.

As a result of the heat wave, there were huge wait times in cross-Channel rail services at the Euro Tunnel, leaving customers waiting, sometime for more than 5 hours in 30C heat (that’s the high 80s, for old-timers like me), often with no facilities.

The queues on the UK side were apparently due to large numbers of passengers headed out for vacations in France, but since the air conditioners in the train were overwhelmed by the heat, the service was unavailable.

They ran additional trains a night, to make up for the time losses, and staff left a water hose running for children and dogs, and a refrigerated van was providing bottles of water. Read the article (and there are lots of pics and video) here.

©howardwalmsley

©Howard Walmsley

BBC Weather forecaster Matt Taylor said there had been a “drastic change” from the heatwave to cooler, wetter and windier conditions.

I’ll say! Apparently, “more than a month’s worth of rain fell within a few hours in Northern Ireland on Saturday. Belfast saw 99mm of rain and homes were flooded in County Antrim. A cleanup operation continued on Sunday. Flights from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Luton and Stansted were delayed on Saturday and some cancelled after temporary restrictions were put in place during thunderstorms across Europe on Friday.”

Flights from several airports were delayed or cancelled; flooding was widespread.

Saturday was the first day since 23 June that nowhere in the UK had temperatures above 25C.

Matt Taylor said the cooler conditions would continue over the next few days, but added that it “doesn’t mean that summer is done with us yet”!!

See pics, video and the rest of the article here.

y289J_ycM2qYMOyI

Brits use yellow and orange for precipitation

And from a scientific point of view–Mary Halton, the BBC News Science reporter explains why rain after a dry spell smells so good to us. “Known as petrichor, the scent has long been chased by scientists and even perfumers for its enduring appeal.”

This scent is actually produced by an abundant soil bacteria as they create a molecule called geosmin. The drops of water hitting the ground cause it to be released into the air. Humans are extremely sensitive to it. But, although we love the smell, we don’t like the taste. Go figure.

Read the rest of the article, and see pics and videos (the BBC seems to be partial to lots of video) here.

©SciencePhotoLib

©Science Photo Library

And one more thing…Blood Moon this last week. Go to CNN’s page of wonderful pics for more like this from all over the world.

Aris Messinis:AFP:Getty Images

Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Also SPOTLIGHT ON the Black Tupelo Tree

 Although Black tupelo produces a good quality honey, the most prized “Tupelo Honey” comes from its cousin, Nyssa Ogeche, the White tupelo tree, which only grows in North Western Florida and Southern Georgia. Because of its high fructose content, this honey resists crystallization for many years, and must be certified by pollen analysis to be the real deal. Beehive keepers clean out their hives before and after the White tupelo blossoms, to keep the honey as pure in content as possible.
The blossom season only lasts about a month, and, according to the folks at the Savannah Bee Company, “Biologists estimate that it takes two million Tupelo tree flowers to produce one pound of honey, and one honeybee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon in its lifetime.”  This company sponsors an educational program for elementary school children called “The Bee Cause Project.” By installing open-window beehives in classrooms for the children to observe a hive in operation, and teaching them the role of bees in food production, they learn the importance of the smallest creatures to our lives.

Jennifer BehnkinMO Dept.Conservation

MO Dept. of Conservation/Jennifer Behnkin

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