So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Our dear friend Paul Jamiol has officially hung up his ‘editorial cartoonist’ hat for the election season, and will be focusing more on his photography, his wife, and his dogs. To keep up with his future endeavors, you can visit Jamiolsworld.com.

Paul’s ‘toons have graced TheZoo’s pages for most of our 16 years, and his custom header artwork depicting the original Critters was a wonderful and thoughtful gift to us.

Here are the last few ‘toons from Paul’s mind and hand. Note, the Kanye one is actually from August, but I forgot to post it – it still fits in with the current events.

No, Paul, “Thank YOU!”

Open Thread, say whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday December 8, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Maybe it is just me, but these climate summits have been happening for a while yet very little seems to be accomplished. Mr. Peadbody’s coal trains still chugging past former West Virginia mountaintops. Climate summits seem a lot like Earth Day. Feel good for a little while, but there will be no sense of urgency until the officials at the meetings sit around the tables knee deep in water. Climate deniers, while in a vast minority in the scientific community, rule the roost in political circles, where money sets the agenda. A part of me thinks that Republican/Libertarian support of marijuana law changes in the various states is a cultural shift away from ‘religion is the opiate of the people’ to ‘cannabis is the opiate of the people’.

Read on, if you dare.  

 

The Watering Hole, Tuesday April 14, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Today environmental news  and food politics cross paths, in the UK anyway.

Warmer Waters Threaten Future of Traditional Fish and Chips

I can just see the proposals now for a pipeline connecting the Great Lakes with California after seeing this bit: Record low snowpacks in Southwest is bad news for water supplies

And the last bit of good news…

Mercury levels in Arctic birds found increasing over the past 130 years

Open thread, discuss.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday October 7, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

California leads the way again! The truth is most plastic bags don’t get recycled, and as we now know, plastic particles are affecting the food chain in the oceans. Hemp is a suitable alternative for making ‘throw away’ totes.

BYOB Policy -Bring Your Own Bag

Reports show that traditional breeding techniques are years ahead of GM technologies in developing crops to withstand drought and poor soils, writes Lawrence Woodward. Yet GM advocates are sticking rigidly to their script even as the evidence mounds against them.”

Read on.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday September 30, 2014: Environmental News and Food Politics

Study calculates that water on Earth is actually older than our Sun!

The heathens who conduct science in this country strike another blow against the ‘earth is 8000 years old theory. It turns out that the water here on earth may be from interplanetary sources older than our sun (which itself is a bit older than 8000 years old).

Read on…

National monument expanding

Looks like Obama muffed another one. Large portions of Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument increased in size by a factor of six.

Obama’s fault.

 

Born free… again

 

I just knew that this study would come out of Oregon (OSU to be precise)

If Hops aid cognitive function in mice, maybe beer will do it in humans

Pass, pass pass that bottle of beer.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday August 26, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Since it is harvest time, going to focus on food politics for this post.

First, how about a smart phone app that can determine whether the product you are buying leans Democratic or Republican. You get to vote in the food aisle every time you shop.

Corn flakes – Repub or Dem?

Next up – drought and bottled water. Did you know that most of the stuff comes from drought prone states?

Water from where?

Last – a staggering number of Americans will succumb to Type 2 Diabetes and many of them are people of color without good access to fresh veggies or good information about diet and nutrition. It doesn’t hurt that they are inundated with advertising pointing to bad food choices. Think about how many McDonald’s commercials have people of color featured. These commercials are not about being inclusive or progressive. They are predatory. When was the last time you saw a black person touting the benefits of arugula?

Fritos, Egg McMuffins, Whoppers, …supersize me!

Can you eat just one?

 

 

Tuesday March 18, 2014 Watering Hole – Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

Paris implements a partial ban on driving carsBus riding is free during pollution event. Seems there are too many cars on the road. Can you imagine a ban on cars here in the good old freedom fighting US of A?

Winners and losers. Seems that are too many buckets at the Texas well and farmers are getting turned away. Rain, rain, don’t go away, pretty please.

Cryogenics worksIf you start as moss, you’ll come back as moss.

Divers find 65 foot long crack in Columbia River dam. There’s only one thing to say about this – oh shit!

Baseball season is approaching. Dining during the national pastime: The top ten vegetarian friendly ballparks. Philadelphia may not win the pennant this year, but we’re number 1 in something!

DISCUSS…

The Waterless Watering Hole, Monday, February 3rd, 2014

A few recent articles got me started connecting several dots, which then began forming an unsettling picture. Read along, and let me know what you think.

First, according to this ClimateProgress article from January 31st, what was once the largest lake in the Middle East, Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran, has reportedly lost 95% of its water. While Lake Urmia is a saltwater lake, and not essential for agriculture or drinking water, such a huge reduction in size is more than alarming. From the article:

“Dam construction recently increased throughout the country, to provide both badly needed electricity and water supplies for irrigation. But that’s also diverted massive amounts of the freshwater that formerly flowed into Lake Urmia. Other major rivers throughout the country have gone dry, and the dust from the riverbeds and the salt from Lake Urmia’s dried basin are now a form of pollution unto themselves. Major cities around the country — including the capital of Tehran, home to 22 million — are making contingency plans for rationing. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently named water as a national security issue, and demonstrations and riots over water supplies have already erupted.”[emphasis mine]

“According to a 2012 study by the United Nations, 65 percent of the decline can be chalked up to climate change and the diversion of surface water cutting inflow to the lake. Another 25 percent was due to dams, and 10 percent was due to decreased rainfall over the lake itself.

A long drought in Iran ended two years ago, but the recent boost to rainfall has not been able to offset the other effects on the lake. Average temperatures around Lake Urmia rose three degrees in just the past ten years. In Pakistan, which sits along Iran’s southeast border, climate change has reduced snowmelt and river flow. That’s led to domestic political strife, and to a strained relationship with India over dams along the Indus River — Pakistan’s main source of freshwater.”[emphasis mine]

A commenter on the thread then led me to this Guardian article from November, concerning Hongjiannao Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake:

“Data released by local meteorological agencies on Thursday and reported by Chinese state media, shows the lake has now shrunk by almost one-third since 2009…”

Then there was this article by Graham Land entitled “Asia’s Disappearing Lakes”, with its alarming opening paragraphs:

“One of the worst environmental disasters in living memory is the near vanishing of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. What was once one of the world’s four largest lakes, containing some 1.5 thousand islands and covering 68,000 square kilometres (26,000 miles), by 2007 the Aral Sea was only 10% of its previous size and divided into four lakes.

What happened to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan’s inland sea was not the result of normal changing weather patterns. The fate of the Aral Sea is a story of human intervention, contamination and local climate change.”

Next, Brad Plumer interviews Francesca Femia of the think-tank Center for Climate and Security in this Washington Post article. Ms. Femia states that, during the period between 2006 and 2011, “…up to 60 percent of Syria’s land experienced one of the worst long-term droughts in modern history.”

“This drought — combined with the mismanagement of natural resources by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, who subsidized water-intensive crops like wheat and cotton farming and promoted bad irrigation techniques — led to significant devastation. According to updated numbers, the drought displaced 1.5 million people within Syria…They all moved into urban areas — urban areas that were already experiencing economic insecurity due to an influx of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees.”

Ms. Femia added, “…we’re not making any claim to causality here. We can’t say climate change caused the civil war. But we can say that there were some very harsh climatic conditions that led to instability.” Later in the interview, Ms. Femia says that it was a 2011 NOAA report “showing that a prolonged period of drying in the Mediterranean and the Middle East was linked to climate change” that brought the conditions in Syria to her attention. [I mention this simply because I find it ironic that a NOAA report is taken so seriously outside of the U.S., while so many of our “exceptional Americans” are dumbfuck climate change deniers who wouldn’t trust a NOAA report if god it/him/herself read the report to them.]

We’ve all read the recent stories about the toxic spill in West Virginia that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people. (And they’re still peeling more eye-watering layers off this onion of a story.) We’ve seen the photos and news reports showing West Virginians driving to designated water-supply centers for their ration of clean water–which didn’t appear to be enough for families to bathe, drink, cook, and somehow wash clothes with. At one point, Wal-Mart had to call in the local police to help protect a delivery of bottled water.

Now imagine if the Keystone XL pipeline is given the go-ahead, and eventually there’s a spill that contaminates the Ogallala Aquifer. Instead of 300,000 people being without clean water, it would be 3,000,000 – all vying for relief deliveries of fresh water.

I could go on, but I think you catch my drift: if mankind, and the United States in particular, continues to ignore global climate change, refuses to enforce current environmental regulations, continues to rely heavily on finite and filthy fossil fuels, and refuses to consider stricter pollution regulations, then clean drinking water will become more scarce, and more valuable. If scarcity of water is fueling riots and protests in other parts of the world, imagine what could happen in the United States: with so much of our citizenry being over-armed and paranoid, how soon would the shooting start? And, if even Iran is already considering water to be “a national security issue”, eventually the inept fools who occupy Congress might finally get it through their thick skulls that clean water is essential to life as we know it, and is therefore more important than oil. So, when do you think the first War for Water would start? Or maybe it would be referred to as WWW: World Water War?

Not that I think that all of this may happen within my lifetime, but as Rachel Maddow used to say, “Somebody talk me down!”

This is our daily open thread–talk about whatever you want!

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 4th, 2013: Monday Medley

First, let’s start with: HAPPY NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY! Look out, the grammar police will be out in force, so mind your adverbs, adjectives, and parenthetical phrases!

Next, from Foreign Policy Magazine: I suppose it’s nice to know that the CIA has nothing on Noam Chomsky:

“This month, a two-year-long investigation into CIA records on Noam Chomsky concluded with a surprising result: Despite a half-century of brazen anti-war activism and countless overseas speaking engagements, the Central Intelligence Agency has no file on the legendary MIT professor.”

However, Mr. Chomsky himself seems somewhat ambivalent about this fact:

“Interestingly, Chomsky, a man forever mistrustful of U.S. government statements, actually believes the CIA’s denial. But it’s not because he’s warming to the agency as he grows older: It’s because he’s convinced of its incompetence.”

A couple of commenters on that FP thread provided a bit more information: According to Propublica.org,

“A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do. Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records. The new proposal – part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice – would direct government agencies to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist.””

– and –

Per the CIA website:

“Does the CIA spy on Americans? Does it keep a file on you?
By law, the CIA is specifically prohibited from collecting foreign intelligence concerning the domestic activities of US citizens. Its mission is to collect information related to foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence. By direction of the president in Executive Order 12333 of 1981 and in accordance with procedures approved by the Attorney General, the CIA is restricted in the collection of intelligence information directed against US citizens. Collection is allowed only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities. The CIA’s procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed, and, depending on the collection technique employed, the sanction of the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may be required. These restrictions on the CIA have been in effect since the 1970s.”

Last, let’s look at pictures. I ran across an environmental website called Take Part, where I found a slideshow of some beautiful, some amazing, and some just plain horrifying photos from around the world. From the same website, here’s another slideshow of some of Mother Nature’s wonderful creations in the animal world. And finally, from The Weather Channel, we have eight cute baby animals.

This is our Open thread, what’s on your minds?

The Watering Hole, Friday Jan. 18 2013; Drought and Heat vs. Civilization(s)

Sinagua Petroglyph Collage, a few of the more than 1000 ancient glyphs carved on a sandstone cliff face at theV-Bar-B site near Wet Beaver Creek in the upper Verde Valley of Arizona

Sinagua Petroglyph Collage: a few of the more than 1000 ancient glyphs carved on a sandstone cliff face at theV-Bar-V site near Wet Beaver Creek in the upper Verde Valley of Arizona

Drought-reduced precipitation typically goes hand in hand with elevated temperatures, and the consequences to impacted civilizations can be, and usually are, devastating. Case in point: a thousand years ago, what we today call the American Southwest was home to essentially five different (and advanced) cultures. In the area commonly referred to as the Four Corners, the Anasazi culture embraced today’s SW Colorado, NW New Mexico, NE Arizona, and SE Utah. In eastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and probably extending into northern Mexico as well, the Mogollon people dominated. In the southern Arizona deserts lived the Salado and the Hohokam, and between Hohokam and Anasazi lands, the Sinagua. The Sinagua (name based on historical Spanish records which described the aboriginal inhabitants’ desert surround as sin agua, i.e. ‘without water’) are considered by most archaeologists and anthropologists to be the precursors of the Hopi people of northern Arizona, a premise with which the Hopi are in general agreement. It’s also believed, at least in some quarters, that the Sinagua persisted longer than the other four major cultures, although dates of ‘departure’ or disappearance are extremely difficult to ascertain with any precision. Suffice to say that all five cultures had disappeared at least a century, possibly two centuries, prior to the arrival of the Spanish (in Arizona) circa 1539.

What caused their collective (and more-or-less ‘sudden’) disappearance? Until recently, the presumed most significant factor was the enduring and severe drought that blanketed the Southwest in the late thirteenth century. Speculative dates of disappearance range from the early 1300’s to, in some cases, as late as 1450. One could surmise that, since the people were dependent upon both crops and wild game for their food, a crippling drought would likely have played a significant role both in crop production and in the quantity (and quality) of food and materials available to hunters and gatherers; modern tree ring data generally confirm those suspicions.

There are, too, other considerations that have arisen in archaeological and anthropological studies over the last couple of decades, particularly in re the disappearance of the Anasazi. These new theses involve emergent evidences of an apparently severe and divisive religious ‘crisis’ of some sort alongside an obvious infestation of internecine conflicts between different subgroups, with ensuing cultural demise brought to logical conclusion by the encroachment of severe drought. The archaeological and anthropological evidence is, of course, scant and largely speculative; the evidence of a severe drought and its likely impact remains a far more unchallengeable reality.

What tweaks the imagination is the reality that today, we here in the US (along with peoples of other countries throughout humankind’s emergent global society) are on the apparent leading edge of extreme anthropogenic global warming and its consequent climate changes that predict not only severe droughts and untenable temperature elevations, but also profoundly destructive storms as well. In addition, the US finds itself confronted by divisive local and global religious conflicts, intermingled with malignant cultural subgroups including such bizarre “cults” as the National Rifle Association in league with gun manufacturers and sellers as well as with innumerable and heavily armed individuals and deviant “militias” (none of which are EVER ‘well regulated’).  Add to that our myriad numbers of absurdly severe political AND religious extremist and/or racist entities and suddenly the problem becomes clear — obvious, in fact, to the point where, after one reflects on historical precedents, the question: what could possibly go wrong? answers itself in a single word: everything!

The Hopi, descendants of at least the Sinagua and perhaps also the Hisat’sinom (Anasazi), have a word that essentially describes the human predicament, both ancient and modern: Koyaanisqatsi. According to the Hopi Dictionary: Hopìikwa Lavàytutuveni, Koyaanisqatsi means “life of moral corruption and turmoil” or “life out of balance”.

[NOTE: Koyaanisqatsi is also the title of a 1983 film (a Francis Ford Coppola Production) which is presented in ‘mystical’  fashion as . . .

time-lapse photography, often shown in hyperspeed, and shot primarily in the desert of the Southwest and New York City, (and) shows the contrast between the pace of the natural world and the one that man has made.

It does, indeed, point toward the ‘life out of balance’ and ‘life of moral corruption and turmoil’ memes which are so frighteningly commonplace in today’s USA. It’s available on DVD, and well worth a watch.]

The modern Hopi people are, meanwhile, derivative of ancient culture(s). They are a people who trace their roots back, via their thesis of origins, to the emergence, at Sipapu in the Grand Canyon, of Human from the Third World of the creation into this, the Fourth World. The Hopi also believe that, by way of antecedent wanderings and explorations of North, Central, and South America, from Atlantic to Pacific and from Arctic tundra to the very tip of South America itself, the paths of the ancient nomads finally converged and crossed at the point where their three great mesas tower above the surrounding desert plains. The Hopi understand themselves to be descendants of these first inhabitants of the Americas. They remain a peaceful people, deeply religious Keepers of the Earth who believe that their progress on life’s road derives from the unspoken observation of life’s laws. Their village of Oraibi, on Third Mesa, is the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in what is, today, the United States. The Hopi people and their culture have withstood the onslaught of at least three tiers of invaders — Navajo, Spaniard, and American — and yet their culture remains intact and faithful to its beliefs, and to practices which are rooted in an antiquity few others can or will ever even attempt to comprehend.

Sinagua Ruins (Hopi ancestors) at Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, and Montezuma Castle, Arizona

Sinagua  (ancestral Hopi) Ruins at Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, and Montezuma Castle; Arizona National Monuments on the Colorado Plateau and in the Verde Valley, resp.

Perhaps it would be wise for modern societies to, for once, listen to and heed the precepts of ancient wisdom, to consider the potential consequences of Koyaanisqatsi in this modern era, perhaps even to attempt correction of those cultural practices (and foibles) which can — and have — provoked the demise of otherwise advanced civilizations. But I’ll not hold my breath in anticipation.

This is today’s open thread . . . speak up, and enjoy!

Elegy Written in a Dying Forest

There is a tree that stands in the forest
That one tree is all forests –
All trees are that one . . .
(John Denver, from Amazon)

elegy-a amazon john denver

The morning air was soft; there was a breeze, light at first but soon one which became gusty. There was also a left-behind dying ember, one that the breeze gathered in its arms, then carried away and deposited a few yards distant. Minutes later, there was, on that spot on the floor of the forest, a tiny fire, one which, within hours, grew to become one of the most massive wildfires in the recorded history of the American Southwest.

It was ignited in those early morning hours of May 29, 2011 and soon spread to ultimately burn across and largely destroy nearly 850 square miles of lush mixed conifer forest which once straddled the rugged hills, valleys, and ridges that topographically define the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona’s White Mountains. The Wallow Fire — so named because it began a mile or two north of the Mogollon Rim in the Bear Wallow Wilderness Area, just a few scant miles to the east of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation boundary — raged for more than forty days and forty nights before it was declared officially “contained” on July 8, 2011.

It was started by a pair of campers who, for unfathomable reason, failed to completely and totally extinguish their campfire near Bear Wallow Creek before leaving on their morning’s exploratory walkabout. Sadly, they left their two dogs behind in the camp, their leashes tied to a tree; the dogs were undoubtedly among the very first casualties of the wildfire that quickly (and literally) exploded into the surrounding forest, thanks to a wicked southwesterly wind which blew dying campfire embers into the drought-parched surround and then blew those flames steadily northward. For more than a month.

The fire burned for one day less than six weeks, and destroyed almost everything in its path in the process. There still remain, today, here and there, occasional and isolated patches of green and unburned forest which the fire, for reason only it knows, avoided or ‘went around’, but the bottom line remains unchanged: 841 square miles of once-beautiful National Forest are almost completely gone, all thanks to human presence. Humans. Us. We the people. Nothing more, nothing less.

Over the course of most summers during the decade prior to the Wallow fire, we had enjoyed as much time as our situation cared to permit us to enjoy, in that forest. We’d spent days, occasionally even weeks, camped there, alongside its large grassy meadows — ‘cienegas’ in the local parlance — amongst neighbors of elk and deer, of black bears and mountain goats, of wild turkeys and of cougars, and of (recently reintroduced) endangered Mexican Gray Wolves. And wildflowers, of course. It was as close to paradise as anyone might ever dare imagine.

But there were signs of problems. Drought had left its mark. Huge stands of trees, in random areas here and there, were, thanks to massive (drought-induced) bark beetle infestations, each and all dead. And drying. Bark beetles thrive in drought-stricken forests, after all, and the Apache National Forest had become, over the previous decade or two, their perfect habitat. And too, there was the tree density, itself a consequence of extensive logging in the previous century where virtually all of the giant old growth trees had been cut down; in their stead grew their offspring — small, and dense, their vitality no longer curtailed by the deep shade of the old giants. In short and given the right conditions, flammables were everywhere even as the probability of wildfire slowly elevated, year by year, thanks to human-induced climate change and the inevitable consequences implicit therein.

And then it burned. And now, it’s gone. The devastation which remains echoes the words of the poet, Shelley, who described the essence of the (enduring) human dilemma more than two centuries ago, when he wrote:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Below are my own impressions of that which once was, assembled in a few photographs alongside a few words of lament, words which I wrote one afternoon in the summer of 2007 whilst sitting next to a campfire on the edge of Butterfly Cienega, itself (then, no longer) a grassy meadow deep in the Apache National Forest. There were elk and deer grazing nearby, and in the distance one could see — everywhere — skeletons of dead trees; and with every passing year there were more of them. Now they, too, are gone.

************

Elegy Written in a Dying Forest

elegyThe trees are dying, one by one,
Through fire, disease, and drought-drenched sun;
Where once lived lush green firmament
Now stand dried bones – in dark lament.

elegy-1 the trees are dyingI gazed upon what once had thrived
In climate harsh, where life survived
To offer self in Nature’s Way,
In service — balanced — night and day.

elegy-2 I gazed upon what once had thrivedNo other lives were lesser made
By gathered sun, by filtered shade,
By Spirits who, no germ of greed
Could ever sow, yet still succeed.

elegy-3 no other lives were lesser madeIn other lands, where men are Kings,
Where gluttony in quest of things
Defines deep shallowness of Soul,
Where Nature’s Way is ne’er the goal –

elegy-4 in other lands where men are kings‘Tis there that men are born to die
Not ever having sensed the sigh
Of generous and selfless Grace
Which ere defined this wooded place.

elegy-5 tis there that men are born to dieAs men pretend, and mimic God,
Scant few amongst them find it odd
Or even pause to sense, to see –
God’s image -more- “becomes” a Tree.

elegy-6 gods image more becomes a tree

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

Tornadoes – 2011 and 2012

Has anyone noticed that the tornado season has started a bit early and more violently this year? Fundies, of course, will attribute this to an upswing in Solar activity. Somehow, there seems to be a message, here!. Someone is missing the point.

As a Floridian, I can’t wait for June and the start of the hurricane season, or will it be May?

Technology, greed and politics are getting at the point where the Earth is beginning to complain:


  • Weather Patterns have changed – More and earlier disasters have occurred with each passing year.
  • Winter and Summer temps are on the rise.
  • Tornadoes are hitting earlier than usual and 2012 seems to be headed for a banner year
  • Hurricane patterns are moving north.
  • Drought regions are becoming more prevalent in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
  • Levels of CO2 are increasing.
  • The amount of methane (CH4) from ‘fracking’ is equal to or greater than that recovered as fuel. CH4 is upscale from CO2 both of which are greenhouse gasses – That,s a double whammy!
  • Plant and animal extinctions, based on regional temperature increases are on the uptick.

The last item (Driven by its predecessors) is a primary marker when species divergences have a check point at either 6000 or a million years ago – the extinctions over the near industrial era have occurred in the past 600 years (woolly mammoth excluded) and there is an increase on extinctions as we get further into the industrial age. When will grain crops cease to exist? Could Canada and Canada become the bread basket of the World?

It’s almost at the point where the Koch clan need not be concerned about passing on their wealth. There will be no heirs. I’d rather that my granddaughter not have to suffer for the pleasures of the rich.

Think about it.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 – Hump Day: A Tale of Two Countries’ Camels


The country of Somalia has been much in the news for several major crises: civil war, warlords, pirates, a United States rendition prison camp, and the worst problem of all compounding the horror for Somalians: continuing and devastating drought conditions causing the deaths of livestock such as cattle and goats. But what makes this drought, considered by experts to be the worst in 60 years, so much worse, is what one would have believed to be unthinkable: even the camels, the “ships of the desert”, able to withstand weeks without water, are dying.

While Kenya and Ethiopia are also being affected by the ongoing drought, Somalia has felt the brunt of it due to the political situation: warlords first allowing, then banning, UN and other aid organizations; warlords intercepting famished families traveling to refugee camps, often taking what little these poor people have. Most of the refugees are nomadic herders, depending almost entirely on their camels and other livestock for their food and market value. One herder refugee, who used to consider himself to be a rich man, lost more than 300 camels out of his herd of 350.

According to AZG Daily, in an article entitled “CLIMATE CHANGE ‘THREATENS PEACE’, UN OFFICIAL WARNS”

“[The UN] Security Council formally debated the environment for the first time in four years, with Germany pressing for the first-ever council statement linking climate change to global peace and security…It also requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on global trouble-spots….”The move came after two regions of Somalia were declared a famine, after the worst drought in six decades.”

Read more articles regarding this tragedy here, here, here, and here.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who recently visited the devastated region, is calling for additional funding for the World Food Program, the International Red Cross, and other organizations, to try to avoid further catastrophe.

In the meantime, Australia is facing a problem with their own camel population: too many wild camels, whose methane-laden flatulence is reportedly increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some scientists have suggested a solution of killing off much of Australia’s wild camel population, estimated at as many as 1.2 million.

Hmmm…Somalia is losing camels, while Australia has a whopping and troubling surplus of camels. Why can’t U.N. officials and international aid organizations figure out a way to solve both problems? Yes, the solution would have to involve providing an irrigation method and replanting of the drought-stricken flora, but there must be a way to save the people and livestock of Somalia, and the camel population of Australia. I can’t help believing that better minds than mine could come up with a solution; I just hope that someone can do so before both situations are beyond saving.

This is our Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?