Category Archives: Green Living

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

Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane

 

Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane

by Amy Lignor

 

Humane. There is a reason why this word and human are basically spelled the same. What needs to happen, however, is for them to mean the same. There are societies out there that talk about just that. From clubs to groups to volunteer organizations that protect all varieties of our animal friends, “humane” is one act that they wish would be considered in any and all situations.

 

controversal, population reduction, Wildlife contraception, PZP immunocontraception, Science and Conservation CenterOne species that can overrun various areas of this country very quickly are deer. Deer hunting is certainly legal and allowed, but when it comes to “killing programs” that have been created expressly for the purpose of reducing deer populations by utilizing only weapons, controversy abounds. This controversy doesn’t just come up when talking about how difficult and unsafe it is to “kill” deer in urban and suburban areas; the fact is, killing deer does not actually result in any long-term population reduction whatsoever. Hence, why wildlife fertility control was thought up by a stellar human mind, and has become a way to easily and safely stop the killing.

 

In Billings, Montana, the Science and Conservation Center can be found. This Center’s mission is to control deer and various wildlife populations that have grown, or could grow, out of control by means of fertility vaccines. The Center is the world’s only dedicated facility for the development of wildlife contraceptives and methods for its application. They not only distribute the vaccine where needed, but the Center is also the repository for all records and data required by the Food and Drug Administration.

 

Wildlife contraception is not new, yet to many it remains a mystery. Questions come up every day about different species and settings and how the fertility drug would or could even work.

There is, to this day, a great deal of misunderstanding about this subject – arguments made that by following this path instead of killing a species outright will negatively affect the economy. Again, a belief that is simply untrue.

 

Called PZP, this vaccine can be used to control fertility in adult female deer and other mammals. Unlike other fertility control vaccines that have been created and tried out, causing unacceptable and undesirable behavior changes in a species, PZP goes no farther than preventing fertilization from occurring. Being a natural protein, it is completely safe to the animal and can be delivered by hand or – so as not to disturb the species – remotely inserted using a dart gun.

 

With just one treatment, the PZP vaccine can now prevent deer from having fawns for up to three years, reducing the time needed to dart the animals and the cost needed for treating the deer.

 

Since the 1990s, several successful PZP immunocontraception research projects on deer have been done. Primary goals of these projects were to judge how effective PZP was in deer and whether or not more than 200 of them could be darted each year. Both goals were achieved quite easily. But the most important piece of data discovered was that just PZP alone could stabilize and reduce a deer population over time. Thus, taking away the need for killing.

 

During the time certain organizations have utilized PZP, the number of deer collisions/car accidents have dramatically decreased. The deer have become healthier and growth rates remain low, even with the fact that urbanization has resulted in more deer migration. Over a five-year period, the deer population decreased by nearly 60 percent when it came to the Fripp Island project. And with fewer deer, fewer tragedies have occurred.

 

In the end, people must educate themselves on the PZP vaccine before adding to the arguments. If they do, they will see that this has most definitely become a proven way to save human lives without having to wipe any other species off the map.

Source:  Baret News

Doing Our Part

 

Doing Our Part

by Amy Lignor

 

There are books being published as of late – wonderful books telling the stories of amazing wildlife rescues, as well as neighborhoods and communities across the U.S. that have taken on projects to save the wildlife in their own surrounding areas.

 

wildlife rescues, saving wildlife, what can you do, animals, do your part, must do listWe always talk about these “success stories,” yet never actually give information on exactly how these “problems” turned into “victories.” Wildlife projects always become successes because of one thing and one thing only: people who give their time to help these species survive and thrive.

So how do the rest of us help in our own little way? Is there a “must-do” list when it comes to saving wildlife and keeping habitats healthy? Is there a “problem” in your own area that you would like to get the neighbors involved with in order to save a creature? Actually, it’s not overly difficult to do our own small part to make this world a better place for both humans and animals. It’s not overly difficult to understand that humans and animals can live together in peace; no one has to get out a gun and take an animal down for acting like…an animal.

 

First, take the time to educate yourself on the variety of species that may be living in your area. Learning about all the wonderful wildlife and even plants that make a home near you is not only interesting but can also help you better protect these species by understanding them more. Most of us already know the important services the natural world provides – from clean air to clean water to recreation, but learning more about the problems that are harming these services can help you to fix them.

 

Secondly, visit a national wildlife refuge, park or other “protected land” that provides safe habitats. Roaming these stunning areas will put that spark in you that will make you want to volunteer at your local nature center or refuge. Wildlife related centers, such as these, not only save animals and plant life, but also provide millions of jobs and support local businesses.

 

You can also make your very own home wildlife friendly in very simple ways. Storing your garbage in sheds, cans or some other sort of “locked” shelter monumentally reduces the chance that a wild animal could come calling. You can reduce the amount of water you use in both your home and garden, as well. That way, you give the animals in your area a better chance of survival because water will remain plentiful. By disinfecting bird baths, diseases can be avoided. And by picking out decals you love and putting them on your large glass doors and windows, you can automatically stop those bird collisions that cause them pain, trauma and death.

 

When it comes to keeping your yard beautiful, check those herbicides and pesticides you’re using. On the market now there are organic choices that help nature, whereas some are nothing more than hazardous pollutants that cause negative effects to both you and your animal friends.

 

One thing that many people don’t remember happens when an overseas trip is taken. Vacations are fun and seeing other unfamiliar countries and landscapes is amazing. But overseas there are actual products being made from threatened or endangered species – gifts that they have literally killed for in order to make money from nothing more than souvenirs. The market for illegal wildlife goods includes everything from tortoise-shell to ivory to coral. And when it comes to furs, many species on the verge of absolute extinction are being killed to create them.

 

In the end, make sure to really educate yourself about the horrors happening to wildlife and habitats across America. By getting involved and doing your part, you can help protect your entire neighborhood and the community can live happier and far more peaceful lives. Bring hope and health to your town or city, and always remember: animals and plants need to survive in order for this country to be that “perfect nation” all of us can be proud of.

 

Source:  Baret News

Abandoned Parks Contaminate the Environment

 

Abandoned Parks Contaminate the Environment

by Amy Lignor

 

Areas that were once just a spark in someone’s mind; a place that could be built to bring fun and recreation to visitors, while also making a whole lot of cash, have now hit the headlines as being bad for the environment. Not the zoos of the world, of course, but theme parks. Some that were even built ‘once upon a time’ but then left absolutely abandoned without any clean-up occurring whatsoever.

 

Just recently a headline came to the surface regarding a Disney project once called River Country. When it comes to the Disney name, of course, people think of all the fun that can be had in California at the “Land” as well as Orlando at the “World.” But there was once a water-park (the first ever designed by Disney) that is now shown as overgrown and decaying.

Abandoned Theme Parks, amoebic meningoencephalitis, environmental footprint, River Country, Disney
Abandoned River Country

From 1976 to 2001, River Country did offer guests a place for fun. But this partially-filtered water environment made the park’s environmental footprint completely different than other modern water parks. Now, this particular water system was brought about by the Disney Imagineers (AKA: Disney engineers) who devised a new filtration system that combined the sandy bottom of the park with the water from nearby Bay Lake, which they then dammed up in order to create the natural look of a “lagoon.”

 

But even with this filtration system, choosing it brought about a death in 1980. Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis was contracted by a child. Amoebas found only in non-chemical-treated waters, like that of River Country, carries this disease. And, although rare, has a fatality rate of over 95%.

 

River Country did go on after this horror and even continued when bigger, fancier water parks were built. What did take it down completely came with the tragedy of 9/11. Travelers feared flying which basically struck the Disney businesses in a bad way. With the decline in attendance, River Country was shut down in 2002…never to see the light of day again.

 

It still remains unclear as to why Disney didn’t simply tear town the park, rather than let it rot away. Although theme parks are huge sources of entertainment, environmentalists are hugely concerned that these extensive parks, which take up numerous acreage, are having direct negative effects when it comes to depleting both energy and water.

 

When it comes to air pollution, a theme park contributes ten-fold. Pollution is caused by the massive amounts of energy needed to keep the park running. Fossil fuels are burned in order to power the rides, heat and cool the buildings, and light lamps that illuminate the place. Carbon dioxide emissions also rise when gasoline is burned to transport people to and from the park.

 

When it comes to excess waste, attractions that bring in large crowds for extended periods of time who need to eat, drink, etc., bring about a great deal of trash. Some of which can be recycled, which increases the consumption of fossil fuels. Trash that cannot be recycled ends up in a landfill, making the issue of global warming worse as it emits methane while it decays.

 

Excess water usage is utilized by theme parks, and even though a lot of this water is recycled, the parks require a massive quantity when the rides are first installed. The daily upkeep also puts a strain on water supplies in the area they’re set up in.

 

Perhaps the most negative issue of theme parks on the world, however, is how much clearing of natural habitats take place in order to build them. Depending on the location, the impact can be absolutely drastic. Most theme parks cannot be built in urban areas; rural areas are chosen that are basically untouched which they then clear in order for construction to proceed. This all leads to clearing trees, leveling land, and leaving various species of both birds and animals homeless.

 

As  continues to rot away, naturalists are keeping a large open eye on what the construction and water systems are doing to harm the environment. What people need to remember is that even while these “fun” areas are constructed, there are definite negatives that come with each and every project. In the near future, perhaps laws will be put into effect that combine nature with these manmade sites, before the “fun” environmental footprint stamps out everything that’s struggling so hard to hang on.

 

Source:  Baret News

Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”

 

Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”

by Amy Lignor

 

There are a million lists put out daily, it seems, that tell you all about the most popular sports, hobbies and activities in the U.S. Well, there just so happens to be one that’s climbing up the charts, tipping the scales (literally) when it comes to finding, photographing and spending time with a creature of nature. Move over birdwatchers, THIS is herping.

 

reptiles, amphibians, herpetologists, New Mexico, Florida, discover, hobbies, tips & info, herping
Green anoles mating

There are even herping shows for herping enthusiasts being held more and more across the U.S., where any and all can attend the event to see the largest variety of reptiles and amphibians in one place at one time. There are actual laws in place where this hobby is concerned as well, and even lists and documents about how to be a herper, where to go, and how much fun you will have.

 

First, it’s important to note that when it comes to choosing herping as your outdoor activity, the habitat of these particular animals tends to be fragile. In fact, many things that humans can do that seem to be of no danger whatsoever to other species can be detrimental to these creatures. Depending on where you choose to travel to practice herping, conditions do change. Cold winters are a poor time to ever try herping, considering that a high percentage of these creatures are dormant when the snow flies. And when it comes to the weather, especially if the Southwest is your choice of where to herp, rain, or lack of it, definitely affects the activity of these desert animals. The phase of the moon also changes when and where to herp because these nocturnal species can be influenced highly by a half or full moon.

 

When it comes to photographing these creatures, state parks can be the greatest places to do so. There, you can find extremely hard to locate reptiles in their own habitats. Unfortunately, if you are driving through those parks at night, very slowly, you can be suspected of illegally collecting the animals for captivity. But if you tell the personnel at the park what you want to do, chances are they will simply allow you to take your pictures.

 

If looking for the best two states for herping, New Mexico is one and Florida is the other. When it comes to Florida, herping enthusiasts have everything to choose from: the Sweet lands, the Keys and the Florida Everglades.

 

The Everglades is a whole lot of fun to spot reptiles and amphibians, especially when you consider that through the Glades run two main roads, Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail. There is both good and bad brought by these roads. Once easy to cruise, they are now known for heavy traffic that continues to take a toll on all wildlife attempting to cross them. But when it comes to the outer fringes of the roads, everything from water snakes to racers to the coolest reptile you can think of can be spotted. And the road SR 9336 is perfect to drive at night during the warmer months to spot mud turtles, corn snakes, eastern diamondbacks, as well as Burmese pythons. Just watch out for those water moccasins which may be waiting in that tall grass.

 

In New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment offers over 120 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among this number is four species of horned lizards and over 45 snakes. Herping is absolutely free and is extremely stunning in this desert paradise. From spotting the bright green and yellow collared lizard sunning itself on a fence to perhaps (if you’re lucky) sighting that Gila monster traveling along the desert trail (don’t touch, by the way), you have a ton of chances to see the coolest of the cool.

 

You know it’s an activity that’s growing exponentially when you note that there is an association representing herping called, The North American Field Herping Association. Dedicated to bringing together amateur, private and professional herpetologists from Canada, the United States and Mexico, they strive to educate one and all on how best to conserve and manage native North American reptiles and amphibians.

 

In other words, jump on the herping bandwagon now and hit the most awesome trails in America.

 

Image Source

Source:  Baret News

Communities Communing: Building a Certified Wildlife Habitat

 

Communities Communing: Building a Certified Wildlife Habitat

by Amy Lignor

 

Everyone knows, whether “green” minded or not, that human activity, such as building homes, has brought harm to wildlife. The more the country expands, the smaller the wildlife areas become, ever-

native plant species, NWF, wildlife habitats, wildlife garden certification, make a difference
Red-naped Sapsucker (Image USFWS Mountain-Prairie)

shrinking until there will be none left whatsoever for the animals to call home.

 

However, with the National Wildlife Federation’s help, more and more communities and neighborhoods are halting the elimination of habitats locally, and teaching on a global scale what can be done to save everything from birds to butterflies to plants and shrubs that are literally the last of their kind.

 

What may seem like an extremely large undertaking is actually started with something very small, easy to do and easy to keep up: planting a simple wildlife garden in the neighborhood or even in the backyard. This garden is a sustainable habitat for all kinds of creatures, small wildlife, plants and bushes, songbirds – things that will not only get a better chance of survival, but also provide you with a glorious place to sit and relax while watching nature in motion.

 

These wildlife habitat “gardens” begin at ground level, by planting the native plant species of your area that wildlife around you depend on. Then, as your project becomes even bigger, you can add other things to enhance that garden so even more species have a home.

 

The list of amenities for the wildlife garden is short and simple. It includes food, which would be the native plants, seeds, berries, fruits, etc. that a variety of wildlife exist on. Water, of course, because all animals need that to survive, bathe, and even breed. Shelter or cover for the animals so they can face the bad weather as well as have a place to hide from predators. Truly, those are the only three things needed. Figuring out how best to manage your garden so it can have only good effects by keeping the soil, air, water and habitat healthy, not only will provide for a wildlife community but also for the human neighbors right next door.

 

The landscape around you and available to you is another consideration. If in open, dry spaces, you can
 produce a meadow setting by planting grasses and wildflowers that are drought tolerant and need full direct sunlight conditions. If you live on more rocky terrain, you will create a glade setting with the correct shrubs and sedums to help the local wildlife. And if you live in the more moist areas of the world, with wet soil similar to marsh settings, you will make sure that wetland and bog plants and grasses are there in order to attract the critters that need these things to thrive.

When it comes to being in a forest area with many hardwood trees, you or your entire neighborhood can come together to provide that perfect forest setting with the large canopy cover for the animals. This particular setting allows for scattered layers of woodsy plants, such as ferns and shade-thriving perennials.

 

In other words, no matter what your surroundings happen to be, you can build a wildlife habitat garden that will provide everything these animals need.

 

Some of the greatest news is that when you are all set up, your community can actually certify the wildlife garden with the National Wildlife Federation’s Community Wildlife Habitat program (www.nwf.org).

 

There are two goals to reach for this particular certification. One, a certain number of homes, schools and common areas must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise their young. The program also requires sustainable gardening practices (examples: reduce water usage, remove invasive plants, and eliminate pesticides). Two, communities will earn education and outreach points through various activities (examples: educating citizens at community events, native plant sales, stream clean-ups, and much more).

 

The NWF Community Wildlife Habitat lets each community concentrate on their local priorities; whereas some focus their efforts on water conservation, others set their sights on creating wildlife corridors by connecting parks and community areas to new Certified Wildlife Habitats.

 

The NWF also supports these communities and their citizens by giving them monthly progress reports showing which properties have been certified in their community. The organization also gives full access to the NWF Community Wildlife Habitat Resource Center online, which allows all communities to connect, as well as join in on bi-monthly conference calls. Products given out are free paper applications and paper tip sheets discussing everything from pollinators to creating and building nesting areas, as well as giving updated information on the best and most neighborhood-friendly wildlife gardening practices. Not to mention, a 30% discount on merchandise from the NWF catalog is awarded to all participating volunteers.

 

Not only will you be receiving certification, but you and your community will be able to enjoy the absolute beauty that your wildlife habitats provide.

native plant species, NWF, wildlife habitats, wildlife garden certification, make a difference

Source:  Baret News

Help a Monarch: Be a Butterfly Hero

 

Help a Monarch: Be a Butterfly Hero

by Amy Lignor

 

Not many know that one of the most beautiful species that we have gotten used to seeing all our lives has declined by over 90%. It is a truth that the monarch butterfly population has actually lost one-third of its monarch butterfly population, declined by over 90%, ill agricultural and gardening practices, become a "Butterfly Hero"summer breeding habitats in the U.S. because they have been destroyed, due to ill agricultural and gardening practices.

 

So…enter the heroes. As part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program, “Butterfly Heroes” is calling out to kids, families and teachers to get involved, to connect with the gardeners and agricultural industry out there in America and try to start up projects that will end up creating new habitats for monarch butterflies; a place where they can safely live, fly and breed.

 

Planting food for the monarch butterfly is a must. By pledging to be a Butterfly Hero, you will pledge to plant a garden that provides food, water and safety. So, how do you pledge? Simple. Head to the website of the NWF (www.nwf.org) and seek out “Butterfly Heroes.” Once there, you enter a photo on the Butterfly Heroes Pledge page of you, your family, your community or your class making the American Sign Language sign for butterfly. (This is made by linking your thumbs and crossing your two hands in front of you at the wrists with your palms facing you.)

 

Once you do this, you will receive the “Butterfly Hero” kit which includes, a seed packet with native milkweed or a flowering nectar plant for your garden, because the monarchs drink nectar from flowers and their caterpillars eat only milkweed. Planted in a sunny spot with some protection from the wind, these garden seeds will sprout in the spring, grow in summertime and come back every year. You will also get a Ranger Rick Wildlife Notebook where you can write down your observations as you watch the growth of your garden and all the butterflies, caterpillars, and even other wildlife move in to make it their new home address.

 

Parents, becoming a “Butterfly Hero” allows you to spend some incredible time with your kids. You will have the fun of enjoying nature and seeing your child’s face light up as they take on a project that not only helps wildlife, but also educates them as they take care of the garden and watch the butterflies, bees, and birds arrive.

 

There are even extras that the NWF Activity Finder suggest that will help you and your child connect even more with nature. From creating an Enchanted Wildlife Garden to growing a sunflower playhouse; from hosting a hunt for fireflies to a dewdrop discovery, there are lists of things that can be done to keep your child entertained and the monarchs’ wings fluttering. It is a wonder out there, and all kids should play a part in that, as well as be the heroes who will make sure these species never have to be at risk again.

 

And for the teacher? Your students can explore, learn and actually become the scientists in your town or city. By creating a monarch habitat garden, students can better engage with nature while classes are made fun. Seedling observation and measurement perfectly works as a math class; while tracking weather impacts on the garden and observing the growth of nature that the garden supports makes for the perfect science class. Now, THIS is learning.

 

The NWF would like kids, families, parents, teachers – everyone out there – to help reach their goal of getting 10,000 people to plant butterfly gardens as part of the “Butterfly Heroes” project. Gain education, have fun, spend time outside and with your loved ones just by making the pledge at www.nwf.org/garden.

 

It is time to save this iconic creature. Make sure the monarch butterfly continues on.

monarch butterfly population, declined by over 90%, ill agricultural and gardening practices, become a "Butterfly Hero"

Source:  Baret News

Our Wild “Next-Door” Neighbors

 

Our Wild “Next-Door” Neighbors

by Amy Lignor

 

The population grows and grows and it’s becoming clear, as new wildlife neighbors arrive on the street, that being able to coexist with nature is far more important than it once was. Wildlife actually supports wildlife, population, be a good neighbor, coexistence, wild critters, backyard, tips & ideashumankind and when a species becomes extinct, problems for humans ensue. Example: If bumble bees come to an end, you can basically kiss that garden you love “so long.”

 

Coexistence is the key; not extinction. And because this earth is running out of so many excellent homes for a huge variety of species, there are places now where you can spot anything from a hummingbird to a very large raccoon in peoples’ backyards as you take a walk through the neighborhood. These streets, however, are not upset by them in the least.

 

Coexistence comes with learning. Once educated, anyone can live side-by-side with the animals. One creature that can be anywhere is the raccoon. Even though they prefer woodland and wetland areas, due to urbanization they’ve adapted to a more “citified” life. Nocturnal, choosing to sleep in dark, quiet areas when the sun’s out, the raccoon will feast on insects, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and some small mammals, like rats, that you don’t particularly want around the house.

 

To prevent having issues with the raccoon, making sure all pet food is inside at night will help immensely, and closing off the pet doors at night will make sure raccoons are not allowed inside. Garbage cans should be secured, and if your garden is the problem, pick up all fallen fruit. Remember, as with all animals, if coming upon a wild one like the raccoon, simply continue on your way and they will do the same. If they’re injured, call up your closest refuge and they’ll come retrieve the animal for you.

 

When it comes to opossums, we’re talking about the world’s oldest living mammal (the Virginia Opossum), and for a creature to live that long, you have to expect a very good built-in defense system. “Playing possum” is a slang term used by humans, but for the creature it means if they see something dangerous, their heart rate and breathing slows in order for them to appear “dead.” Once their predator is gone, they’ll simply roam back to their home.

 

What you may not know, however, is that for this creature that defense is actually a last resort. The opossum, a very non-aggressive animal, will choose to open its mouth and let you view those razor sharp teeth; but if you’re still not intimidated, the opossum may go to Round Two, drooling and blowing bubbles through its nose to appear diseased to a predator.

 

When the opossum is born they’re only around the size of a honeybee, which means it doesn’t take much digging in the backyard to come upon one. Climbing and swimming are skills they have ten-fold. Like the diet of the raccoon, pet food attracts them; but with their climbing ability, simply by putting up a small fence around your fruit trees will stop that problem in its tracks. By closing off entrances, like vents into the house and shutting the garage door at night, you can better prevent running into one.

 

There are bigger animals causing a stir, of course, such as the Bobcat. Being the most common wildcat, it’s seen in almost all locations. Its size depends on the supporting habitat around them, but their reddish brown coat, typically striped and spotted with black, provides excellent camouflage from any would-be predator.

 

Learning to coexist with the Bobcat is easy; unfortunately, hunters and the automobile have become the Bobcat’s worst enemies. If you see one, simply call the local refuge before ending a life. You never know how many little bobcats are waiting at home.

 

The major species found in the U.S. is of the deer variety. When it comes to the Black-tailed Deer, it’s important to note that their numbers have gone down considerably. The most important things to know about the deer is that if you find a fawn alone, leave it that way. Mom will return before dark, but seeing as that the babies are born without a scent, the mother can go off and forage for food and not worry about other wildlife sniffing them out. They will panic easily, as well, so never get too close or touch a deer in any way no matter how tame it may seem. Even attempting to herd one out of your backyard, because of its sharp hooved feet, can cause the deer to injure you or itself. By simply leaving the gate open, the deer will leave on its own.

 

Preferring to eat all kinds of grasses and new growth, a deer fence (appx. 8 feet tall) is the perfect answer to keep your rose bushes or garden intact. Not to mention, that barking dog is a very good deterrent.

 

From the Gray Fox to the Mallard Duck, coexistence is more than possible. So…before you decide on your own how best to “clear” your backyard, make one call to your local refuge and you will learn all you need to know to become a very good neighbor!

Source:  Baret News

Green Study Released Ranks 2016’s Best & Worst States

 

Green Study Released Ranks 2016’s Best & Worst States

by Amy Lignor

 

The experts are back! Yes, the latest when it comes to the best and worst in various categories of “green living” has been released, with some states coming in far higher on the “worst” list than many could have possibly imagined.

 

Greenest States of 2016, eco-friendliness, Conservation projects, reduce strain on the environmentOn Tuesday, the list of the “Greenest States of 2016” was released, with the great state of Montana ranking 48th out of 50, and Wyoming coming in dead last. An odd couple, when you consider the cities that most people believe pull their entire state down to the bottom because of their inability to “green” up the environment. But when looking at the results in the individual categories, even more surprises can be found.

 

Seventeen key categories that looked at the overall health of each state’s current environment, as well as the environmental impact of people’s daily habits who live there, caused the states of Vermont, Washington and Massachusetts to take the top three “best” overall spots.

 

Yes, money is a factor. When scoring states for their eco-friendliness, personal finances/wealth played a major part in what states came in “greener and cleaner.” Everything from sustainable, clean drinking water to nutritious sustenance scored higher in states where household incomes were higher, and where the governments were in full support of environmental security and “green” projects.

 

But all cities and states must work harder to save this world for future generations – that is a fact everyone knows, yet is not always believed. Each individual state’s eco-friendly policies must be looked at, with some states needing major changes to begin ASAP. It is important to note that some have shown their ability to work with communities to establish environmental policies that are extremely positive. One instance can be found in Newark, New Jersey. It was there that an environmental commission was established to address the needs of the state and develop new policies and projects to make New Jersey a cleaner, greener place to live.

 

Before instituting policies, however, each state must ascertain its greatest risks, and the areas they fall short in when it comes to being environmentally friendly. Risks must be looked at, from the amount of lead in the water system to the lack of healthy food markets. Once the risks are seen and understood, only then can policies be put in place to remedy the faults. And the only combination in order to carry out these policies is the government working side by side with their communities.

 

Many still believe, even after all the research has been done, that you can’t protect the environment and promote economic growth at the same time. The figures in this latest study show that belief to be utterly false: it is definitely possible to have both in all states. We may be on the verge of transitioning to energy efficient means worldwide. Alternative energy like solar, wind or geothermal will one day be mainstream, affordable and effective but it will also be profitable and accepted in all public policies.

 

It is not a stretch nor a “wish” that electric cars will go from being the “remote” choice to the correct one. Saving ecosystems will be a number one priority for all governments in all states, and public education will be at the forefront making sure the next generation learns from the mistakes made in the past.

 

Once reading through the data that was put together (https://wallethub.com/edu/greenest-states/11987/) Americans will better understand that a high priority in this country should be valuing our environment. Conservation projects should be set in place reducing our strain on the environment, and give all those who come after us the chance to enjoy a country that is as green as it can be.

Source:  Baret News

Transporting Elephants: Will It Be Worth It?

 

Transporting Elephants: Will It Be Worth It?

by Amy Lignor

 

There are things that conservationists and lovers of animals do in order to protect creatures that most definitely need protection. From the struggle of the wolves in Yellowstone to the White Rhino in Africa, there are humans out there in the world who wish to annihilate a breed without giving a second thought to what that actually means.

 

conservationists, animal lovers, African elephant, protection, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, transporting elephantsWell, now…we have a new “attempt” that may seem backwards to some. In a location where poachers have been prevalent in the past and have actually wiped out entire species, conservationists are trying with all their might to save the African elephant by moving them back into this location where they almost perished at the hands of humans once before. Two national parks (Majete and Liwonde, to be exact) are struggling with an African elephant surplus. So, to solve this, 500 of the creatures are being transported from those parks to the once dreaded wildlife reserve.

 

There is a goal when it comes to moving these 500 creatures into the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, and that goal is to repopulate the area with the once-threatened species. And, if this works, to repeat the process in other locations.

 

There is certainly a ban on the trade of ivory internationally. However, poachers go after the African elephants because of the demand made by mostly Asian countries, where they use the priceless ivory to carve jewelry and décor/ornaments that sell at high prices.

 

Photos and stories have been accumulating across the internet when it comes to this “move.” And these photos and stories, from afar, may seem absolutely horrific. The photos tend to make this “heroic” project seem far more dangerous and, quite frankly, mean to the creatures. More dangerous than simply just leaving them where they are.

 

It was just two weeks ago that a photo of an elephant being lifted by a crane in an upside down position cropped up. In Lilongwe, Malawi, the photo was taken and the AP reported that the elephants will be moved this month and next (and again next year) when “vehicles can maneuver on the rugged terrain during Southern Africa’s dry winter.”

 

Keep in mind these animals weigh between 5,000 to 14,000 pounds, so the photos look even worse, even though moving them is not an easy feat. The process was this: An elephant is shot with a dart from a helicopter. A veterinarian is in the helicopter and the darts being shot are filled with a sedative in order to more easily gather the animals together for the move. More photos show numerous immobilized elephants lying on a riverside plain as a vet fits them with tracking collars…then the crane lifts the creature, hanging upside down, onto a truck.

 

According to the conservationists, the elephants are given another injection once they are in crates that bring them back to life, so to speak, where they are then herded into a transport container. This is how they must do it for the elephants to take the 185 mile journey to the reserve. All anyone can hope is, after going through all of this, that once at the reserve the elephants will not be taken out by poachers yet again.

 

You be the judge, of course. Yes, it seems definitely nerve-wracking for the animal in the wild, but the process (according to the “saviors” of these creatures) has been refined, and is the easiest way to keep the animals safe as they move them. Not to mention, give them the ability to keep the elephant families together.

Source:  Baret News

Is Permaculture Finally Becoming Permanent?

 

Is Permaculture Finally Becoming Permanent?

by Amy Lignor

 

Permaculture projects have been done across the globe for some time now. Good food is produced, the “green” lifestyle is being lived, yet some places looked more than a little bit messy. As the years have progressed, however, the permaculture “fad” has caught on in many countries and the mess is far less. The kinks in the original “idea” have been found, worked on, updated, and the projects have grown in size, stature and become a way of life others want.

 

permaculture, Bay of Plenty, food forests, Geoff Lawton, editable landscapes, green ideasOne such project is located in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Owned by one, Andrew Martin, this stunning farm offers a vegetable garden, food forest and wildlife habitats that all produce effectively and are literally changing the scene and showing how permaculture can better lives.

 

There are a great many people who want to start gardens – start small and then grow from there – yet they find that to be too daunting of a project to take on. Permaculture activists have made huge claims about how food forests feed the world; however, when looking at the areas hardest hit by drought conditions or famine, permaculture projects do not exist there. That is no longer the issue.

 

An Australian permaculture enthusiast by the name of Geoff Lawton has been working diligently to fix these situations by developing demo projects specifically designed for dry conditions or desert environments. A demo site in the Dead Sea Valley of Jordan is a one acre plot where Mr. Lawton and a crew of both interns and volunteers are creating a food forest, education center and experimental permaculture project. Everything is being used to show that permaculture can be successful in all types of weather conditions; chicken tractors, recycled gray water, foraging ducks, and the list goes on. Available water and nutrients are being conserved and soil is being transformed from dry and basically useless land to fertile soil. They are also creating cooling micro-climates that protect the frailest crops from withering in the desert heat.

 

Just recently the BBC did a show focused on food forests, showing this practice that’s becoming permanent, where edible landscapes are being “created” that absolutely work like “all natural” landscapes in the regular forest or woodland areas.

 

All different types of “ideas” are being created around the world now. Think of it…a self-sustaining area that, even though there are issues where it cannot grow on its own, are being created manually with ground cover consisting of wildflowers and mint, shade-tolerant fruit, and more. There are even smaller projects that prove you can make your own small backyard into a garden that is absolutely 100% productive when it comes to living and eating.

From the smallest to the biggest: In Davis, California, the “idea” to create a suburb that is perfectly designed to function with its surroundings, has absolutely worked. Village Homes sports passive solar housing by using neighborhood fruit orchards, chicken coops and beehives in conjunction with a carefully designed system of swales (these are intended to allow all rainwater to soak into the ground). Seventy acres, over two hundred homes, this successful project is more than clean and highly productive when it comes to living “off” the land.

 

With this particular project doing so well, and the work that is progressing around the globe, regardless of weather conditions, shows that permaculture living is definitely a “green” idea that has caught on and is worth its weight in gold.

 

Source: Baret News