Please Help Save Wildlife

This message is from the president of the NRDC, Frances Beinecke. Warning… unpleasant facts are revealed below.

It’s a dirty little secret: government agents spread deadly toxic poisons on public lands to kill wildlife at the behest of agribusiness.

Tell the Secretary of Agriculture this shocking slaughter must end: http://www.savebiogems.org/wolves/poisonaction

Most Americans don’t even know it’s happening. But wolves, bears, bobcats and foxes are being senselessly poisoned. So are dogs. And their painful deaths and needless suffering are almost indescribable.

Compound 1080, one of the killer toxins the government is using, can take up to 15 excruciating hours to kill.  Sodium Cyanide is another poison used in powerful spring-loaded devices known as M-44s that are baited to attract animals. M-44s are distributed throughout our public forests and kill literally thousands of mammals every year. Many animals, including dogs, are unintended victims of this poison device.

America’s public forests and lands exist for our enjoyment and for the preservation of nature. They should be safe places for wildlife, our pets and our families.   That’s why NRDC is launching a massive national campaign to tell Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that our public lands and forests are NO place for such deadly poisons. We need the Secretary to hear from millions of Americans! Tell Tom Vilsack you want the poisoning to end — and you want it to end now:  http://www.savebiogems.org/wolves/poisonaction

Secretary Vilsack oversees Wildlife Services, the government agency responsible for the poisoning. They are supposed to work for you and me, but instead they act at the beck and call of agribusiness that sees many wildlife species as predators or pests.

Vilsack has the power to halt this senseless killing on our public lands. Your urgent letter to him will help create a public outcry he can’t ignore!

There are safe and effective alternatives to poisons. There is simply no reason for this slaughter to continue. But it will, unless we take action to stop it.  No more Compound 1080. No more M-44s. And no more wolves, bears, foxes, and bobcats poisoned on our public lands — endangering our pets and families in the process.

Tell Tom Vilsack to get the poisons off our public lands once and for all:
http://www.savebiogems.org/wolves/poisonaction

Help Save the Tongass Forest… Again!

The Tongass National Forest in Alaska was the first bit of environmental activism I ever got involved in. That was ten years ago! When we lived in South Carolina, our friend Ryan sent a note about saving the forest and since then I’ve been involved with helping to save the planet. So here we go AGAIN with them still wanting to cut ancient trees from the Tongass.

Under the so-called “Vilsack policy,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has said he would personally review and approve applications to cut timber in the roadless areas of our national forests.

His first act? He wants to invite chainsaws into a protected roadless area of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is our largest national forest and one of our most precious wild places.

I just signed a petition to tell Sec. Vilsack: Stop chopping down our national forests. I hope you will, too. Please have a look and take action.

Petition to save the Tongass National Forest in Alaska

Help Save the Buffalo!

Our government is retarded sometimes… they try to keep the buffalo inside the boundaries of Yellowstone Park.  And if the buffalo go outside the park, they may be killed or herded back into it. What a waste.

Natural Resources Defense Council is trying to stop the practice of herding the buffalo and their newborn babies back into the park. If you would like to help, go here for more info and to send a letter to the Department of Agriculture:

Save the Buffalo

Thanks in advance!! Together, we can make a difference.

Sky Harbor Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Today, in honor of Earth Day, I volunteered to help at the rehab center, and it was wonderful!! I’m going to sleep well tonight because I raked a mountain of leaves. Let’s see how many of the animals I can remember…

  1. Three adorable baby raccoons who live in a cage outside the infirmary. They are amazing… their paws are velvety soft and their eyes so beautiful and sparkly. They kept wanting to touch my straw hat.
  2. Three baby pileated woodpeckers, who came to be there when their tree got cut down.
  3. Four baby owls, about 4 weeks old and so cool! They were just kind of standing around in their container, statuelike.
  4. Two baby possums, so very cute!
  5. A hawk which came in while I was there… he had an infected injury on his right wing, poor baby. Hopefully he’ll get better quickly.
  6. Baby crows, doves and woodpeckers.
  7. Baby turkeys and chickens.
  8. Peacocks, including a beautiful male who was showing off for two of the hens.
  9. A single, lonely french guinea hen.
  10. A whole bunch of chickens, ducks and geese… some permanent residents, some just while recuperating.
  11. A handi-capable goat who I was told is very, very sweet. She walks around on her front knees instead of her feet and her bottom lip is all messed up, curled sideways up and over her top lip.
  12. A mother cat with two kittens.
  13. Two roomfuls of exotic parrots – at least four macaws, some umbrella cockatoos, african grey parrots, a gaufin cockatoo and some others. Most came there because they were abused or rescued. They are permanent residents.
  14. Two full-grown male raccoons who fight all the time. Not nearly as friendly as the babies, though they wanted to see my hat, too.
  15. Two crows who will be released soon.
  16. A great horned owl who got hit by a motorcycle. He only has one eye but he’s nearly recovered and will be released on the property of someone they know, who hopefully will be able to see it from time to time.
  17. Ten turtles, including one gopher tortoise who had been kept as a pet but given to the center after the “owner” found out it was illegal to have one.

And I learned something today. Ducks lose their waterproofing if they don’t get wet for a while (a month or so) and they can actually drown without their waterproofing, because they sink.

In all, a very fine day. I don’t want to see a rake again for a while, though! At least until my blisters heal. I do want to go back and learn how to help with all the other chores – they’re doing good work there and I would like to support them. Volunteers help feed the animals, collect eggs, clean out their cages and I’m sure some other stuff. I guess I’ll find out!

Celebrating Earth Day

This year, to do something nice for the planet, I’m going to volunteer at the Sky Harbor Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Saturday.  It’s pretty close to us, and I didn’t even know it was there until I found it by searching for events  on the Earth Day Network web site. I’ll be helping to clean up around their 2-acre site, and perhaps I’ll be volunteering there on a regular basis. I’m excited and can’t wait to help!

Did you know… next year will be the 40th anniversary of Earth Day!

Less Aggravation & More Trees Left Standing

Every time I see a phone book at the end of our driveway, I get mad. I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it, and I don’t use it. I shove it in my cabinet and it sits there for a year until the next one comes. Then I pull it out and take it to be recycled… and so the process repeats year after year. I called once to have them stop, but I don’t think anything happened… we still have 5 pristine phone books. Today I found a site which says it can help you opt-out of receiving phone books. Yayyy!!!! I hope it works.

Yellow Pages Goes Green

Consider these facts (borrowed from the About page on the site):

Over 500 million of these directories are printed every year. That is nearly two books for every person in the country! These directories produce a staggering amount of waste, not only in terms of misused natural resources but also in filling of valuable landfill space.

To produce 500 million books:

  • 19 million trees need to be harvested
  • 1.6 billion pounds of paper are wasted
  • 7.2 million barrels of oil are misspent in their processing (not including the wasted gas used for their delivery to your doorstep)
  • 268,000 cubic yards of landfill are taken up
  • 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are squandered

Saving Gas, Money and the Earth

It’s pretty sad these days to go, “Oooo! ONLY $3.81 per gallon!” when driving by a gas station. The good news is, you can alter your driving habits and get as much as 35% better mileage. Woo!

SixWise – Hypermiling: How to Save Big on Gas

As you may be able to tell from my last few posts, I’m trying to clear out my Opera tabs (48 at this moment). I notice I post lots of these little tidbits with links when I’m doing that. Hope you enjoy them!!

Crafty Recycling

I just love projects which take something people would normally throw away and make something useful out of it. Here is one such example:

Plastic Bag Tote

What a great idea! Now I have something to look for at the junk store – an M crochet hook. I’m guessing it won’t be too hard to find around here. One problem for this project is we don’t get too many plastic bags because we almost always use canvas bags at the store. I wonder how many it takes to make it?

This reminds me of a show we watched last night on the BBC Channel – Dumped. They sent 11 people to live in a garbage dump for 3 weeks, where they learned to scavenge and make money from the trash, and also they built a pretty nice place to live with things they found. It’s amazing what gets thrown away in our society… not a sustainable way to live at all. Will we all learn we can’t just consume, consume, consume… before it’s too late? I hope so.

Protecting the Gopher Tortoise

One of the joys of living in Florida’s rural areas is the gopher tortoise. They dig burrows in the sand and munch grass, living a pretty sedate existence (except when their territory gets invaded by another turtle). I was happy to learn that Florida recently reclassified the gopher tortoise as threatened, which means increased protection. Yay!! One of the best results of the reclassification is repeal of a law which said it was OK to bury the tortoises during construction, as long as you paid a fee. Now that’s no longer allowed, thank goodness!!! Defenders of Wildlife has an article – No Tortoise Left Behind – which gives a lot of good info about the plight of and hopes for the recovery of the tortoise population.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Guess where the world’s largest landfill is…? If you said the Pacific Ocean, you would be right. Apparently there’s an area twice the size of Texas that’s filled with trash – mostly plastic. It’s a terrible, huge problem, killing more than 1 million birds and other sea creatures every year, because they eat it, get stuck in it, or feed it to their babies. And because of the way plastic degrades, it’s pretty much impossible to clean it up.

Most of it comes from land, either washed in via storm drains or blown in by the wind. Once the trash enters the water, it’s carried by currents and wind into the patch, where it can drift for many, many years before being eaten, sinking or washing up on the beach.

Here are a couple of places with more information, from HowStuffWorks and a personal account by Charles Moore. It’s rather frightening, and I keep wondering what I can do to help clean up this mess. Maybe that will be my next job?

Park Cleanup

Today, with my nifty new grabby thing, we got to pick up a whole grocery bag’s worth of trash from our walking route in the park! I was thrilled. What a great way to directly help the environment. Thanks, Bleys, for the gift! And thanks, eagle-eye Trav, for spotting the trash, helping to pick up and showing me how to use it better. I’ve never been so happy picking up trash!! 😀

Soapberry – Saponinlicious

I truly believe we are making ourselves sick by producing unnatural products… we’re poisoning our environment. I wonder how many kids have autism or something like that because of the amount of lead in our lives? It seems every day there’s a new story about lead or some other terrible thing in this or that product. How many of us have Christmas lights from who knows when that are full of it? I read the other day that you should wash your hands after handling strings of lights because lead will get on them from touching the lights. Aieeee!!!

Anyways, this rambling was due to seeing an article about Soapberry – I want to try this on my clothes:

Laundry soap grows on trees

I’ll let you know how it is if I try it. I hope I get a seed!

Eating Well is Expensive

The cost of food is a frequent topic in our house. It’s our biggest single expense – we spend even more on it than our house payment. Geesh! But we try to eat well, preparing almost all of our meals from scratch, with very little processed food. Today I found an article which cites a recent study that found it’s a lot more expensive to eat a healthy diet:

New York Times: The High Price of Healthy Food

We often wonder how it is that processed, crappy food can be so much cheaper. They had to do a lot to the ingredients to make it, so how can it cost so little? It doesn’t make sense. Is it government subsidies at work? If so, why aren’t we subsidizing the small farmers who bring us fresh produce? Our food system is terribly backwards… I wonder how we can fix it. I suppose it’s up to consumers, but can people afford to vote with their wallets, without going hungry?

Complimentary Starchy Grain!

Bleys found a great site – freerice.com – where they donate grains of rice for every vocabulary word where you can choose the correct meaning. It’s great fun! Hard, too. The most recent word I tried was ameliorate – I’ve seen the word but got it wrong…. ameliorate = improve. I’ve made it (briefly) to level 44 so far.

This made me think of being a kid and calling myself Emilia Bloka, when I was learning Spanish. 🙂 Which makes me remember getting a Spanish dictionary for Christmas! I believe my parents have a film of me showing off my spiffy new dictionary. I love those films!!