Because "You're An Idiot" Is Generally Ineffective
Monday, September 28, 2009 | Author: eventer79
For some ridiculous and endlessly disappointing reason due to a combination of staunch denial of personal responsibility, obstinance, ignorance and god knows what else, there are still people out there who claim that climate change is a "hoax" or it's "natural" or some other such nonsense. Of course, almost all of them are people who know virtually nothing about the scientific process themselves and generally haven't even viewed the data but suddenly consider themselves experts on global climate, one of the most complex systems on earth. For some reason they are completely oblivious to the fact that stating such backwards things pretty much makes them look and sound, well, like an idiot.

I'm not going to write out all the reasons they are wrong, other than to say the data is overwhelming -- I've seen it, I've talked to climatologists, I've read very critically the literature. And there's no room for argument in there, it's so obvious that even a monkey could see it. Because it's not just about change, change in and of itself IS natural. It's about the RATE of change and that is what we in our infinite short-sightedness and self-destructiveness have accelerated to a disasterous point.

Should you run into one of these misguided souls, Grist has put together a phenomenal page called How To Talk To A Climate Skeptic. Very well laid out into clearly defined sections, it addresses all of the commonly heard excuses folks use to try and avoid accepting responsibility for their actions. You can now have the perfect response to that moron (bless their heart, right?) whining, "Scientists don't agree" or "But it's cold today!" or "The models don't agree" (this last is my personal favourite because it's usually from someone who couldn't build or even define a mathmatical model if their life depended on it).

Most likely, the result of using this page will cause the blustering denier to stick their fingers in their ears screaming "I can't hear you!" in a desperate attempt to maintain that their uninformed statements based on nothing more than hope and fantasy are right.

Oh well, the truth hurts.

What A Dickhead!
Friday, September 25, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

A new species of chimaera has just been named after years of languishing unknown in museum collections. Chimaeras are related to sharks and are the oldest living group of fish in the world, haunting deep oceans for hundreds of millions of years. This new species, the Eastern Pacific black ghostshark, flies through watery darkness, thousands of feet beneath the waves off North America's Baja Peninsula.

A distinctive chimaera feature is the retractable sex organ males wear on their heads. Club-shaped and spiked on the end, scientists hypotheisize that the fellows use it to stimulate females or draw them in for mating.

Hey, some girls like it rough.

Why Ask Why?
Monday, September 21, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Why don't people care about resources, like water, that are so clearly linked to survival?

Why are they convinced that it will just magically keep appearing when they need it?

Why does everyone know that actions have consequences yet remain convinced that there are no meaningful consequences for THEIR actions?

Why is a basic compassion for living things lacking everywhere, even among my co-workers in the conservation field?

Why is it ok to forever decimate a natural area with no real demonstrated benefit, but if we want to PRESERVE said area, we must prove concrete benefits?

Why can each person only think of their own benefit and not the costs to other people or other lives?

Why are people incapable of thinking in the long term?

Why, as a species, is humanity totally incapable of altruism?

Why are contributions to resource consumption celebrated but choices conserving resources derided?

Why is no value given to anything outside of self?

Why are atrocities permitted "as long as I can't see them?"

Why do we allow our own breath, our future to be ripped away, trampled down, paved over for a short term gain that does not even benefit us? We even applaud while it is happening.

Why are people proud of themselves for being short-sighted and narrow-minded?

Answers welcome...
What's Seven Feet Long And Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?
Friday, September 18, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact! (Yes, that IS all I'm good for these days -- I promise, real posts shall return, I am slowly gathering my energy. But I'm trying to at least keep up with your Friday entertainment!)

The Humboldt squid is not the world's largest squid, but it's not exactly a pushover either. They can easily grow up to 7 feet long and weigh 100 lbs. They belong to a group called cephalopods, which includes octopus, squids, and cuttlefish. These are highly intelligent animals, and like cuttlefish, squid communicate and camoflage themselves using a system of rapidly changing color pigments in their skin. For example, watch the dark colour bands rippling on this fellow below (not a Humboldt) -- the complexity and speed at which they can control these pigments are startling!

They usually reside between 600 and 2300 feet deep in the darkness of the ocean, but at night, they will rise to the surface to hunt in packs. Ah yes, nothing says wilderness like the haunting sound of a squid pack in full cry...

A Tall Drink of Water
Friday, September 11, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

In the winter, glaciers store about 75% of the world's freshwater supply. Be nice to glaciers or else they will spit it out into the ocean and then it will be too salty to drink!

How much water is that exactly???

The entire world has 1.4 million cubic kilometers of water. For those of you who are not Canadians excellent at visualizing that particular quantity, that is 3.69...umm, what comes after trillion -- gajillion? -- or 3,690,000,000,000,000 gallons of water. A LOT.

Well dang! Why do we have water shortages then? Oh, because less than 1% of that is available as drinking water. And of that, very very little is readily available for use (i.e. in streams and rivers).

So think carefully next time you turn on the tap or the hose because that resource supply is tiny and finite! And it's on the brink of being too contaminated for use.
Progress? Or Empty Words?
Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Yesterday, a federal judge agreed with the case of these twelve filers:

Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Project

The suit asserted that the delisting of the Northern Rockies population of grey wolves was illegal (which it was) and demanded an injuntion on the wolf hunt in Idaho and several other states, including helicopter-rifle-hunting in Oregon.

Bad news: The injunction was denied on the grounds that the filers could not provide "sufficient" proof for irreparable harm to grey wolves. Apparently science is not good enough for courts. I'd say death and population collapse qualify as irreparable harm, wouldn't you??

Good news: The judge agreed that the claim of illegal action under the Endangered Species act was legit, which means that prospects improve that the courts will rule for the relisting of this wolf population.

I'm trying really hard to be happy about that but it's hard when I can see guffawing rednecks with rifles putting wolves in their crosshairs right this very minute. I can only hope for a disproportionately high number of misfires...
Sometimes All You Can Do Is Weep. And Hope. And Keep Trying.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009 | Author: eventer79
I've been following the fight to protect grey wolves closely for you. This is an endangered species, reintroduced into the northern US and still working towards meeting recovery goals as framed under the Endangered Species Act.

Today is the 8th day of the open season on grey wolves in Idaho. You can read more here.

Personally, I am so angry that I really have no words. There is simply no way to plumb the depths of outrage and of sorrow for the selfishness, no, the wrongness of these events. The "justification" giving for the slaughter of these wolves is based on nothing but fiction. One look at the science will tell you that the only thing overpopulated is human ego.

Please call, email, write, click anywhere you can find. Talk to legislators, the media, let them know that this is not acceptable. Emotions aside, this is bad wildlife management at its worst and a state that believes it can bully its way past the rest of us while destroying resources that are in the trust of the ENTIRE North American public.

It's cliche but I cannot say it better than this right now: JUST SAY NO! Speak loudly, because the voices of the wolves themselves, the song in which the notes of this pup are only part of the rich melody, the language of the ecosystem in which the wolf plays a vital and irreplaceable role -- that is being ignored.
That's A Big Damn Rock
Friday, September 04, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact!

The photo in the previous post is one I took several years ago, the last time I was in Yosemite National Park. "Spectacular" is an understatement for that place, it is truly magical and like no other place I have visited in this wide world. The Sierras in general are rather mind-blowingly awesome and once in the Yosemite Valley itself, you pretty much have to be dragged out kicking and screaming. So I thought I'd share a couple fun facts (and my photos of course!) about this wonderland...

El Capitan, that famous rock face that draws climbers from all over the world, is the biggest granite rock in the world. It's 4,000 foot high face is rather impressive to stand in front of; you can see its imposing breadth to the left in a view from Taft Point, with the Merced River winding at its feet.

Yosemite Falls is the 5th tallest waterfall in the world (Angel Falls in Venezuela maintains the top spot at 3,212 feet) with a total of around 2,400 feet. It's fed primarily by snowmelt and in the spring, can easily blow boulders out of place.

The valley itself was carved by uplift and glaciers over 50 million years. That's right, 50,000,000 years. The sheer granite faces, especially the distinctive, clean slice of Half Dome (right) belie the cutting force of millions of tons of ice and water and time.

Add all that to the towering 3,000 year old redwoods in Mariposa Grove, bustling black bears and golden eagles and mountain lions, glacier lakes nestled high in the thin cold air (like Tanaya Lake, below), and beauty of contrast and scale that is enough to break your heart with the majesty of it all and you end up with a place that will touch your soul. This park has been connected to my family for generations, so its story is part of my story too. And I can promise you, if you ever get a chance to emerge from a certain highway tunnel that leads into the park itself and witness the allure of this ancient valley, it will take your breath away.

A Cloudy Day
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 | Author: eventer79
I'm reading the quote from Sunday. Even though I've read it probably 50 times between then and now, it still leaves me thoughtful, even on this somewhat grey day and in my current mood of upset, perturbed (that's just a good word), and something else I can't put my finger on.

What is peace? Where do you find it?

To me, peace is that inner stillness, a quiet calm that feels as if a balm was spread on the tumult within. A slow, soothing breath pulling in a clean slate and letting out the suffocating noise of unrest.

It's as simple as a cliche walk in the woods, feet crunching a leaf or two, a chickadee leading the way with his chick-a-dee-dee-dee call. I will stop and crouch down and just let the space bring me that calm. I will look at leaves, 27 different shapes and sizes, at ferns and flowers on the floor, at fungus in a slow, inexorable procession around a log. Even the business of an ant doing his thing brings me closer to peace: he is so intent on his job and so focused, so in his world that there is reassurance in his resoluteness.

It's five minutes standing with a stream, letting the flow of the water fill me to the brim with the certainty that it will keep going. Knowing the clarity of the lives beneath its surface never falter as they go through their day.

It's standing for a moment on my porch after dark, drinking in the starlight above the trees across the street. Confident that up there, there is perfection because those stars are the one thing I can see that we can't touch, can't sully or claim or kill or dim no matter how hard the effort.

That peace is out there and I think right now, I may go for a little walk down to the lake and remember how to breathe.