Category Archives: Green Living

Tips and lessons on how to live a sustainable health lifestyle.

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

 

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

by Amy Lignor

 

Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that perfect garden grow.

create the perfect vegetable garden, Sowing the seeds, insects, watering, garden layout, weeding, tips

That list to “create the perfect vegetable garden” begins by digging up the perfect plot. After enriching the site with organic material and fertilizer, and marking your rows with stakes, you are then ready to plant. So…what comes first?

 

Depending on what you wish to grow, you want to make sure that when it comes to your garden layout that the rows are running from east to west – tall plants being on the north and east sides of the setup so that the early crops, such as lettuce, as well as hot-weather vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, all get the right amount of sunshine.

 

Sowing the seeds is the most prominent skill you need to know. For small seeds, create furrows that measure barely one centimeter deep in the soil, and scatter the seeds evenly and close together for the best growth. For larger seeds that should be planted about three centimeters apart, dig the furrows at least two centimeters into the soil. Cover with a thin layer of potting mix or compost, then pack down the seeds and water gently.

 

When it comes to watering, seeds must be imbedded in soil that stays continuously moist until they sprout; therefore, check every day to make sure the soil is never too dry. Overwatering is also a mistake, because larger seeds can rot in a soggy bed. Plants need between three and four centimeters of water each week, and it is very important for young plants with shallow roots. As plants grow the roots go deeper into the soil, where moisture remains even though the surface soil can become dry.

 

A garden hose is still a necessary implement, but by using a rotary sprinkler or a soaker hose, you receive even more efficiency when it comes to watering. But whichever you happen to choose, make sure your watering is scheduled for the mornings or early afternoons.

 

Even though many do not like thinning the garden, this step is a ‘must-do.’ Ask the experts; they understand that although destroying seedlings can seem like a bad thing, it must be done in order to grow that perfect plot. If the rows are too busy, carrots can twist and lettuce can barely form. So when the seedlings reach 3-5 centimeters in height, make sure to do that much-needed thinning by pulling plants out carefully to avoid disturbing the roots of those that remain.

 

And the third basic step that must be learned and done on a continuous basis comes in the form of weeding the garden. Weeds will always compete for room, pushing vegetables aside and taking whatever nutrients the soil can offer. Weeds will grow rampant in a well-taken-care-of plot, and if they’re left alone too long it is a strong possibility that the roots of the vegetables you’ve tried to grow will be broken or twisted from those annoying weeds. Keep in mind that pulling weeds is far easier after a rainstorm or the day after a good watering has been done to the garden. The weeds will come up far easier and leave those much-wanted vegetables alone.

 

If you’re worried about insects affecting your vegetable garden, keep in mind that these little terrors cannot stand certain plants, such as onions, garlic, and even chrysanthemums. Therefore, planting these particular things will help repel any insects that want to call your garden “home.” In addition, make sure to keep those milk jugs and soda bottles around the house, because these all come in handy as covers to place over your thriving vegetables when frost is in the forecast.

 

Follow these tips and, with a little work, you will watch that perfect garden grow right before your very eyes!

Source:  GIG News

After 89 Years This “Mouse” Still Works Overtime

 

After 89 Years This “Mouse” Still Works Overtime

by Amy Lignor

 

For those who are unaware, Mickey Mouse is one year away from turning 90 years of age. Created in 1928 by the lovable Walt Disney, this character continues to bring happiness and joy to kids and families all around the world. Through depressions, national tragedies, and more drama than anyone can name, Mickey Mouse and the Walt Disney Company survived and is still, to this day, going strong.

If you are a grandparent in 2017 with a grandchild who is head-over-heels in love with the “Mickey Mouse Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, vision, environmental stewardship, grants & rewards, be inspiredClubhouse,” it is a wonderful feeling when a commercial comes on talking all about the concept of citizenship being an integral part of Disney. Committed to using their immense resources wisely and protecting the planet, Disney not only helps to conserve nature but also to inspire kids to join them in caring for the planet Earth.

Children in communities everywhere are starting up recycling programs, “green” campaigns, tree planting and saving events, and more. It is because of Disney’s vision to increase environmental stewardship among kids that the Disney name remains one of the largest growing businesses anywhere in the world.

It is important to bring this to the forefront of each child’s life. What Disney is doing and plans to do takes up an even longer list than perhaps Santa Claus’s “nice” report that he “fills” each year. With increasing consumption of finite resources across the globe, it is expected that energy costs will rise and raw materials will be drained. Disney works every day to broaden the understanding of environmental decline. That way awareness is increased in consumers, investors and businesses.

Disney hears the voices of everyone and anyone who wishes to speak about a subject or an issue. They determine if an issue should be at the forefront by collecting feedback from their three key audiences in a biennial survey. This research continues to confirm Disney’s belief that by investing in environmental citizenship grants and awards, they can help to build a better and healthier life for everyone.

Disney’s long-term environmental goals are in place. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and waste, Disney’s long-term goal is to reach a “zero” state and meet all of the urgent global challenges. When it comes to water issues, Disney evaluates community risks, then designs and aids local conservation programs to raise responsibility and educate citizens on how best to conserve water resources.

Although the concept of zero net greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste, and conserving water resources to the point where it won’t be an issue anymore may sound like “Once Upon a Time” dreams, they aren’t. Because with each new day and new “set of eyes” watching Mickey Mouse and learning more and more about how best to help their community and planet, an entire generation is being raised on how to erase that “footprint” made by previous generations once and for all.

Short-term goals for Disney have been set as well: By 2020, they plan to reduce net emissions by 50% from 2012 total levels; by 2020, achieve 60% waste diverted from landfills and incineration; and by 2018, maintain potable water consumption at 2013 levels at existing sites while developing water conservation plans for new sites.

Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, vision, environmental stewardship, grants & rewards, be inspired

If you are a parent and wish to get involved, learn more about the Disney Friends for Change. Supporting young leaders in pursuit of making their communities greener, safer, smarter, healthier, and cleaner is exactly what they aim to do. Their annual grants program, through a collaboration with a leading youth organization, Youth Service America, will provide $500 grants to help young people make positive changes in the world.

In the end, working hand in hand with this already beloved company, you can help all those young change-makers out there improve and literally transform their communities. Even after 89 years, following the lead of the treasured mouse will take us all in the right direction.

Source:  GIG News

A Special “Friend” in Puget Sound Shines a Spotlight on the Disappearing Orca

 
A Special “Friend” in Puget Sound Shines a Spotlight on the Disappearing Orca

by Amy Lignor

 

Her name was Granny, and this particular orca came by that title quite honestly. Being the oldest member of the small population of endangered orcas dwelling in Puget Sound, on January 3rd it was announced that Granny was “presumed dead.”

The Orca Project Corp
“Granny”

Not seen since October, Granny was spotted thousands of times at the head of one of the three family groups of whales that travel with their mothers and/or grandmothers in the area. She was labeled “J2,” yet everyone referred to her as Granny. A study, published back in 1987, estimated that the orca was born around 1911 – which means she was a ripe, old age of 105. Therefore, it was not actually a shock when the Center for Whale Research located on San Juan Island (a nonprofit group that keeps the federal government’s annual census of these particular whales) reported that Granny’s status was changed to deceased.

 

The shock comes when taking note that individual southern resident killer whales that are spotted many times in the inland waters of Washington State, have gone missing. Each whale is identified by specific black and white markings that differ from others, as well as fin shape variations not seen on other killer whales.

 

Back in 2015, eight orcas were born; yet even with this great number, this well-tracked group is now down to only 78. During the year of 2016, seven were declared missing or dead, with one male found deceased off the coast of British Columbia. Officials stated that he was most likely struck by a boat or, less likely, another animal; either way, the orca died at the very young age of eighteen.

 

All types of protection efforts were put in place in order to keep these orcas alive, but due to lack of food for the creatures, pollution on the rise, and death by vessels in the area, the orcas ended up on the endangered species list in 2005.

 

For those who want to support these poor creatures that are truly disappearing off the face of the earth, there are many organizations that need not only donations but also volunteers to help them fight their fight. One on the smaller side but that has been highly effective is The Orca Project Corp. This non-profit works with many of the world’s top marine mammal experts in order to alter the public’s attitude and the government’s lack of supervision when it comes to marine mammals. Committed to providing the world with a behind the scenes look at orcas in captivity, they heighten the pressure on government agencies to keep the orca plight at the top of their ‘to do’ lists. By raising awareness, this particular Project has improved animal welfare regulations.

 

On their incredible website, you can learn about how best to help the Project in their work to aid marine mammals. They also list a great deal of campaigns that they are a part of, giving updates on how their work is progressing and what others can do to help. From Lolita, held over 40 years at the Miami Seaquarium in a pool that is completely illegal – not nearly up to the current standards of the Animal Welfare Act; to Morgan, a young female killer whale captured off the coast of the Netherlands just to be shipped off to be put on ‘display’ in the Canary Islands’ SeaWorld – the list goes on and on regarding the creatures in trouble and the work that still needs to be done in order to give them a better life.

 

So for those who want nothing more than to help the helpless and stop the orca from literally being erased off this planet once and for all, it is time to take a stand!

 

Do it for Granny. A blessed orca that lived a long, long life and brought smiles to one and all!

 

The Orca Project Corp

 

Original Source:  GIG News

2017 Will Be Green!

 

 

2017 Will Be Green!

by Amy Lignor

 

This statement is not a “hopeful” imagination talking; it is actually quite true. Very recently the Pantone Color Institute declared that green will most definitely be THE color for 2017. This is a company that calls global color authority, trending, save the planet, renewable energy sources, Google, Facebook, Amazonthemselves the “global color authority,” and states that everything from high fashion to trends will be on the green path throughout next year.

So…when we look at a “green” trend that is all about saving the planet: who do you think will be the leader when it comes to jumping on the “green” machine in 2017? Right now, it seems that the well-known company, Google, is looking at changing the times completely and finding a brand new “clean” way in which to run their business.

For those unaware of the facts and statistics, it seems that Google in the last year consumed as much energy as the entire city of San Francisco. When they came out with a recent statement, they did not proclaim that they were “cutting” these statistics, they actually proclaimed that all of the energy Google uses in 2017 to run its data centers located around the world will come entirely from renewable energy sources: wind farms and solar panels.

 

Google is the epitome of an online giant. They are also a bit of a quiet giant, seeing as that they have over the past decade – without building up media fanfare – made deals (extremely large deals) with renewable energy producers. Google has basically guaranteed these producers that they will buy their energy from them which then, in turn, will allow these renewable energy companies the money to build even more turbines to service the country.

 

Unlike carbon-based power, wind supply prices do not fluctuate, which will allow Google to make even more money by helping the planet, itself. Are they the only mega-company doing this? Not at all. But Google’s large computer centers are among the world’s fastest-growing new consumers of electricity. And by working with wind farms, Google hopes that they will increase the development of the renewable energy industry. With their purchase, Google’s huge deal will also lower the costs of both solar and wind energy, allowing them to look better to other companies because they will save them money in the long run.

 

It did not take long for Facebook and Amazon to step up to the plate after Google made their announcement. Facebook has already entered into similar deals with wind producers, and Amazon has announced five more solar projects on their horizon. Microsoft states that it has been 100% carbon neutral for the last two years. This means they have invested in things like planting trees and other projects meant to compensate for the fossil fuels a company eats up. Microsoft hopes to have at least 50% of its electric power supplied from renewable sources by 2018.

 

Is this all a gimmick, as some have stated? Well…Google certainly has had an imagination when it comes to alternative energy in the past. It was in 2007, Google patented an idea to build a floating data center powered by waves, and nothing else. Although a cool idea, it was never built. However, Google has shown proof of the renewable deals now in place, and has never wavered in its commitment to bring the best energy efficiency to its data centers.

 

From business and industry to fashion to politics, it seems that “green” will most definitely be at the center of many projects in 2017. In the next year, people will hear a great deal about “The Paris Agreement” which is now in force. Germany is closing all its nuclear power plants, so the need for investing in renewable, clean energy sources will grow almost overnight.

 

If things keep moving forward the way they are, 2017 may just go down in history as being the glorious year dedicated to all the good things “green” stands for!

Source:  Baret News

Gifts That Give Back to Others

 

Gifts That Give Back to Others

by Amy Lignor

 

When it comes to the holidays and the long, long list of places to shop, things to buy, etc., it’s nice to know that there are companies out there not only providing quality goods for the holidays, but also using your money – the buyer’s money – to help worthy causes. It’s a great time of year to support those out there who need the
brothervellies.comsupport. Not only that, but also supporting companies striving to use only eco-friendly products when it comes to their goods and/or services. Although some prices may be higher than the consumer wants to spend, it beats throwing your hard-earned money away on those HDTV’s or cell phones. With these gifts you will be receiving the added gift of knowing that you helped out the right people and/or did your part in preserving the planet.

From diverting resources from landfills to women’s empowerment to sustainability, here are unique gifts to give to the people you love and support brands that have literally signed up to change the world.

We begin with the country of Africa, which has garnered many news headlines as of late. It is the Ambassador Amina Mohamed who spoke about how Africa is attempting to unleash its full potential in the coming years. For those who are unaware, Africa is not only the cradle of mankind, it also plays home to the youngest population in the world. The people in charge wish to enhance their economic growth by promoting democratic ideals in the years to come, and put their trust and support behind these young minds so they can literally grow up and change the world.

Made in the very first African workshop that makes high heels for women, comes the Brother Vellies Bianca Boot for Christmas. This is something that all women will drool over and beg to have as part of their wardrobes. (brothervellies.com)

Also from Africa comes the Indego Africa Mini Liyo Bag. Handcrafted and stunning, the profits made from this wristlet handbag are used to fund educational training programs for the women of Africa who handcraft them. (shop.indegoafrica.org)

Peace Treaty Hamba Earrings are incredibly modern and created by a cooperative based in Jaipur that generates sustainable income for Muslim, Jain and Hindu artisans. (apeacetreaty.com)

For the runner in your family, the Veja Esplar leather sneakers are perfect for both male and female. Created from wild Amazonian rubber harvested by local families, the consumer will not only love the sneaker, but also be proud that only sustainable methods were used to gather the materials and absolutely no trees were harmed. (veja-store.com)

Ace & Jig is a great brand that has offered women who love to wear athletic clothing, a new leisure item. Working with a textile mill in India, by purchasing the Ace & Jig pants, you are supporting a fantastic company that provides free childcare for all their weavers/employees. What a great idea to offer employees in this country, don’t you think? (garmentory.com)

Africa, eco-friendly, Peace Treaty Hamba Earrings, Omondi Pullover, Patagonia Recycled Jacket, incredible gifts, earth friendly, Christmas, gift ideas, Ace & JigAlthough there are many recycled jackets on the market, it is the Patagonia Recycled Jacket that has all the cool guys and manly-men yapping. As rugged as Indiana Jones would don, this product is made from 100% recycled down, wool, and polyester. This is definitely a company working to save the planet one jacket at a time. (patagonia.com)

Also working with gathered and repurposed fabrics, but from vintage stores, the Omondi Pullover made by designer Recho Omondi features hand stitched embroidery and will become a wardrobe favorite immediately. (rechoomondi.com)

There are a great many companies working all year round to product the most amazing goods for all of us to savor at Christmas, while also doing their very best to stay eco-friendly, and support their citizens, and you can find them on the Internet under all eco-friendly brands/stores.

One not to be missed out on, however, is a company called Bambeco. Beginning on Earth Day 2009, it was while the two founders were standing on a dramatically receding glacier in the wilds of Alaska—when they saw evidence of how the shift in climate had begun to harm the surroundings—that they decided to act. They began to wonder if they put together one resource for home goods where every product offered impacted the world in a positive way, if consumers would gravitate towards them. They did. Bambeco is now the premier brand for sustainable home goods, offering an assortment of products that are all original in design, reclaimed, recycled, repurposed, renewable, natural or organic.

So this Christmas, as you’re scurrying around to shop for all the ones you love, take some time to check out these incredible gifts that offer both the giver and receiver a great feeling of having done something awesome for this planet…and its people.

 

Source:  Baret News

Forecasting Climate Change

 

Forecasting Climate Change

by Amy Lignor

As with anything in this world, it depends on whose opinion or observations you trust as to just how bad climate change is becoming.

climate change, global warming, EPA, financial challenges, save the planet

As 2016 begins to wrap up, climate scientists, atmospheric physicists, chemists, oceanographers – you name it – no one can come up with any other explanation for climate change and the warming of our planet other than human activity. How fast is it happening? What impacts will occur next year? There are a list of questions, as always, but the only fact that never changes is that humans and the trouble we are causing is the main source of global warming.

Evidence is produced showing that changes in weather, oceans and ecosystems/habitats, come from natural causes, but the evidence is not prevalent. Human activities include releasing billions of tons of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere each and every year. Climate changes will not cease, seeing as that the more greenhouse gases we emit, the larger future climate change problems will become.

It’s important to note that the global average temperature has increased by more than 1.5°F, with some regions of the world warming more than twice that amount. Greenhouse gases and their build-up are responsible for a list of troubles: from temperatures and precipitation patterns to the melting of glaciers to shifts in ecosystems that have negatively affected the length of growing seasons and the migration of birds.

The EPA is not uncaring or silent about this problem. It was just recently, in 2016, that the EPA launched an online portal that actually provides local leaders with information and tools that will better equip them to handle climate changes. Based on the area they live in, this online service (Adaptation Resource Center/ARC-X) provides users with the info pertaining to their specific areas and concerns.

People may roll their eyes at this –i.e., “more useless government spending.” But the fact is this site is more than necessary. Recent statistics proved that the federal government incurred more than $357 billion in direct costs due to extreme weather conditions, storms, and fires over the past 10 years. Climate change is also expected to bring about highly significant financial challenges to everyone. Which is why the EPA designed ARC-X to help all local government officials.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, stated that: “From floods and droughts to dangerous heat islands and other public health effects, communities are facing the very real impacts of climate change. ARC-X is a powerful new tool that can help local governments continue to deliver reliable, cost-effective services even as the climate changes.”

The system is not only about telling people what is coming in regards to dangerous weather or the ill effects of climate change, it actually guides people through the process of how best to adapt to the changes that have already come about. They can adapt and address their specific risks and problems, and read case studies done on towns and communities that have already successfully adapted, so others may learn from them.

Yes, no matter who sits in the chair in The White House, climate change and ecosystem issues will continue. And, yes, there will be money spent in many areas in an attempt to stop what seems to be a constantly-increasing problem that will continue to get worse until we learn how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We have done good work, thus far. From wind energy to solar shields to environmental projects that are saving trees, forests and better serving industry, work is most certainly being done correctly. But more has to happen. Global warming was projected to not only continue during the 21st century, but intensify. Therefore, the most aggressive action needs to be taken by us – the world’s population – in order to literally save this planet for the next generation to be able to “breathe” a little easier.

Source:  Baret News

 

The Environment Engineers

 

The Environment Engineers

by Amy Lignor

 

From the title of this article, you may think that this is all about conservation, organizations that promote and work on creating healthy habitats, or even companies promoting a greener, healthier planet. However, the real environment engineers we speak of are actually four-footed creatures whose mission it is to better nature’s ecosystem.

Beavers, healthy habitats, benefits, ecosystem, environment, dams, water qualityNot as mystical as, say, the wolf. Not as talked about as the Black Rhino or the long list of other species that are endangered and moving closer and closer to extinction. No, this little guy is sometimes forgotten about completely; yet, without them, the environment would be in far worse shape than it is already.

The beaver has a myriad of skills they’re born with that allow them to always be successful on their nature missions. It is no surprise that the term for an active person who gets things done is: “As busy as a beaver,” when you think about the amount of work these creatures do. Felling trees, changing waterways, building dams – the beaver not only does this to benefit themselves, mind you, but also to benefit other species…including humans.

 

Think about this: Dams help control both the quality and quantity of water both animals and humans utilize. The ponds, streams, and flooded areas they create are actually vibrant habitats that serve more plants and animals than you can shake a stick at. A variety of fish, insects, and birds benefit from the healthy world the beaver creates. And it is a fact that some animals choose to only live close by the beaver’s habitat.

 

However…like many animals the beaver has seen a horrendous drop in numbers over the centuries. Once upon a time in North America beavers could be found in almost every pond or stream you looked at. The statistics for the population were once out of this world, with some studies even stating that there may have been over 100 million+ of the creatures at one time. But during the early 20th century the beaver was suddenly looked at for their fur and not the part they played in a healthy environment. Thus, trapping became monumental and almost lent to the beaver’s complete extinction. Over time, as people grew wiser to the issues, reintroductions of the animal into various habitats brought the number back up to approximately 12 million. Big number, yes, but certainly not when you take the past into account.

 

For those who don’t understand the gift the beaver gives to nature, or know the animal that well, it’s easy to see why a great many people don’t see the positives when it comes to their work. They are incredibly beneficial to the land, and can halt the rapid approach of climate change. Can they stop it completely? No. But they can lend aid when it comes to areas where snow is melting far more rapidly than it once was, lending to droughts that last longer. Warming temperatures bring more rain than snow. And when the snow does fall, because of the early melt, the once gradual release of water has turned into an avalanche. Take the state of Utah, for example. Snow melt this past year happened almost 45 days earlier than the historical average, causing year-round streams to dry up, and harming fish and plant-life.

 

Beaver restoration and relocation efforts are occurring all over the country and have increased within the last five years. When the families once again begin to thrive, they build a dam and create a perfect habitat for all those other creatures in the ecosystem that rely on the beaver for help.

 

So take the time to “meet” and learn about this “busy” engineer. You’ll realize that without the beaver, global warming, climate change, and all the other negatives Washington, D.C. can’t seem to get a handle on will grow even worse…even faster.

Source:  Baret News

Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”

 

Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”

by Amy Lignor

 

Although it would be a heck of a lot nicer to say that the Endangered Species List was getting smaller and smaller because creatures are being saved every day and they’re all now thriving, this is actually a tale of the list getting larger, but having that increase be a good thing.

Endangered Species List, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Xerces Society, bee protection, Hawaii, yellow-faced bees, get the buzz
Photo by John Kaia

The list has never “buzzed” at any point in our time, but after a great deal of turning away from a particular species that seriously needed help, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally added seven species of yellow-faced bees (from the state of Hawaii) to the U.S. Endangered Species List. And because of this move, there is now hope that they can be saved by the special protection that the federal government claims it will give to them.

 

Extra protection is more than important when it comes to these species, because bee populations all across the country have been declining. Not a lot of people even noticed; for 90% of the population, bees are still a species you either run away from so as not to get stung, or swat them in the air. It took a lot of time to make people see that bees are a necessity to this planet and the consistent decline of the species has been frightening.

 

It was a decade ago that 33 different bee species were placed on an FWS “watch list” because of the concern. Then, the concern turned to real fear. The seven types of bees now defined as being endangered are: Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana, and are the very first bees in the country to be protected.

 

The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that actually petitioned the U.S. back in 2009 to protect the bees. Especially seeing as that the common North American bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, was moving closer and closer to extinction. These seven that did make the list, however, are native only to Hawaii, and without them left to pollinate, various plants would go the way of the do-do, as well. Now all we have to do is make others see that there are a variety of bees vanishing that the rest of the country absolutely needs.

 

The bee’s diverse habitats are becoming devastated by various activities, such as building and industry, as well as from fire issues. With the loss of bees goes the loss of native vegetation which would then harm grazing practices. In other words, conservationists are breathing a sigh of relief that the FWS has added them to the list and is finally taking the bee issue seriously.

 

With the seven bee species now federally protected, the next step in the saving process can begin. Such as, authorities can now focus their conservation efforts on helping the bee populations recover before it’s too late. Although this first step took ten years to come to fruition, now everyone must concentrate on better control and management of natural bee habitats. Currently these species are found in areas that are quite small and surrounded by land developments, meaning that federal lands must be officially designated so that the bees can come back from the brink of death.

Source:  Baret News

The Little-Known Mammal Faces Destruction

 

The Little-Known Mammal Faces Destruction

by Amy Lignor

 

There is always talk, calendars, posters, charity events, and more for certain endangered species that people have literally fallen in love with. Wolves, seals, whales – you name one, and they are all well-represented by amazing organizations. However, there is one mammal out there in the world that is literally the “most-trafficked” who are not getting much of a shot at survival. Why? Because they are not spoken about as often as some of the others. Until now…

 

endangered species, pangolin, black market, poached for scales,  illegal trafficking, high-end cuisineEveryone detestable you can think of, from poachers to crime syndicates, are deleting the pangolin from the face of the earth. In fact, wildlife experts have stated that the level of destruction when it comes to the pangolin is “staggering.”

 

Take the past three months, for instance. 10,000+ pangolins have been trafficked in this short amount of time. Back in June, Hong Kong authorities actually confiscated 4.4 tons of pangolin scales that were stashed in cargo coming from Cameroon; they were labeled “sliced plastics.” This accounts for 1,100 to 6,600 African pangolin deaths, and the illegal haul was worth over $1.25 million on the black market.

 

In July and August, officials seized even more pangolin scales, almost a ton, in containers arriving from Nigeria and Ghana into Hong Kong. And the poor creatures, themselves – over 650 – were discovered by Indonesian authorities hidden in freezers at a home located on the island of Java.

 

Although some endangered critters are scary to people, pangolins are as adorable as the wolf pup. A creature covered in scales, there are eight different species of pangolins that were once found in both Asia and Africa. From a yellowish-brown hue to a dark, chocolate brown, these mammals are nocturnal, solitary and feed on ants and termites they retrieve using their long, sticky tongues and nails. Their protective scales make it so the pangolin is often put into the same category as the anteater. However, they are not. In fact, the pangolin have no “family” anywhere on this planet.

 

No ivory to speak of, the reason pangolins are poached is for their scales. Apparently, they can be used in medicine, as well as being used for fashion accessories and, disgustingly enough, eaten; the mammal is said to be “high-end cuisine.”

 

The IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group, as well as the site SavePangolins.org are doing their best to alert people of the fact that pangolins are rapidly deteriorating. Experts stated that it’s most likely the mammal has all but vanished in China, and their complete demise is quickly occurring in Vietnam and Thailand; as well as in Africa where the illegal trafficking is making the pangolin species literally disappear overnight.

 

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network belonging to the World Wildlife Fund, has noted that the pangolin is mainly desirable because it is both rare and exotic. Basically, they are “in vogue” for people who want to sit high up on their thrones in society.

 

At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the vote came through to provide all eight species of Asian and African pangolins with the highest level of protection possible. Supported by more than 180 countries, the law has banned the international commercial trade of these creatures who most definitely need help.

 

In other words, if you wish to dine on high-cuisine, go back to caviar. The pangolin is off the market!

Source:  Baret News

Avoiding a Greek Tragedy

 

Avoiding a Greek Tragedy

by Amy Lignor

 

For those who love history, or just extremely good movies, you have already set your eyes on the Skyrian horse. Sometimes referred to as the Skyros pony, these semi-wild creatures are legendary. Since well before what many believe to be the beginning of creation, this elite horse was responsible for carrying Man into battle – from simple men to the gods, themselves. In fact, the Skyrian horse was supposedly responsible for pulling Achilles’ own incredible chariot. Seeing their plight in 2016, however, it would be safe to say that all the gods on their mount want nothing more than to send thunder and lightning down on us mortals for the simple fact that the stunning horse is on the verge of becoming extinct.

Skyrian horse, legendary creatures, Greek island of Skyros, Skyros Island Horse Trust, Endangered Species list, Skyros pony, Greece

 

These creatures have lived on the Greek island of Skyros for two thousand years, and now one organization – the Skyros Island Horse Trust – has made it their mission to save this extremely rare animal. From the overgrazing of sheep to interbreeding with donkeys to the one problem that is plaguing all species around the world – disappearing habitats – there are only 200 Skyrian horses left on Earth.

 

The Skyros Island Horse Trust is trying to not only save but also bring back the species ten-fold. Through welfare, conservation and education initiatives, this nonprofit is striving to make sure that one of the few creatures carved on ancient friezes, do not perish.

 

As with all of the creatures sitting on the Endangered Species list, the Skyrian horse needs to have their quality of life improved. And the Trust is also working overtime to create the widest genetic pool of the equines on the island while staying true to the Skyrian type. The Skyros pony has an extremely friendly demeanor, making them perfect for equine-assisted therapy as well as teaching children how to horseback ride, yet another “hobby/sport” that has declined.

 

A compelling animal, the Skyros pony is thought to be featured on the actual Parthenon in Athens, as well, which makes them very much a living, breathing facet of history. To see them go extinct would be a horror.

 

When speaking with scientists, it is stated that the Skyros pony descends from equines brought to Greece as far back as the fifth century B.C. Once the isles were filled with them, yet the animals grew smaller in number as well as in size, evolving to island life. Solid in color, the Skyrian horse has a thick, plush mane. Standing 3.5 feet at the shoulder, they are classified as a pony because of their stature, yet have similar proportions to full-size horses with small, strong hooves.

 

It is more than time to turn our gazes toward these loving animals and try to find a way to all come together in order to bring back conservation in Mediterranean countries, which is difficult because of all the daily problems they are facing. With the country of Greece stuck in a very difficult economic situation at the moment, the Skyrian horse is even worse off than other animals’ trying to be saved globally. Even though this particular horse has status and is a truly rare breed, Greece has no government resources or funding to help save them.

 

In the end, the people are the ones that must stand up and fight for the animal’s survival. Even though in politicians’ eyes the complete extinction of the Skyros pony falls far down on their list of things that must be done, sitting back and doing nothing will most definitely lead to another Greek tragedy. One that is most definitely not fiction, and one we can definitely stop from happening.

 

Source:  Baret News