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Archive for April 24th, 2008

Famous Last words …

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

“With the worsening of the global food crisis, the time is coming when it will be inevitable to discuss whether we preserve the environment or produce more food. There is no way to produce more food without occupying more land and taking down more trees … In this moment of crisis, the world needs to understand that the country has space to raise its production.” ~ Blairo Maggi, the governor of Mato Grosso state and Brazil’s largest soy producer (aka, “King of Soy”)


Soybean USDA

Between August and December 2007, at least 2,700 square miles of Amazon rain forest were clearcut illegally for soy farming and cattle ranching.

In the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, verdant green Amazon Rainforest is broken up by broad tracts of pale green and tan deforested land. In 2005, the government of Brazil said that 48 percent of Amazon deforestation that took place in 2003 and 2004 occurred in Mato Grosso.

The transformation from forest to farm is evident in the photo-like images, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The top image was taken on June 28, 2006, while the middle image is from June 17, 2002. The bottom map shows the difference in deforested areas over the time period, with some of the largest cleared areas marked in red. On this map, areas that were non-forested (either naturally or already deforested) in 2002 are light gray, while areas that remained forested in 2006 are darker gray.

Although some deforestation is part of the country’s plans to develop its agriculture and timber industries, other deforestation is the result of illegal logging and squatters. The Brazilian government uses MODIS images such as these to detect illegal deforestation. Because the forest is so large and is difficult to access or patrol, the satellite images can provide an initial alert that tells officials where to look for illegal logging.

These images were produced by the MODIS Rapid Response Team, which provides both the 2006 and 2002 images in a variety of resolutions, including MODIS’maximum resolution of 250 meters per pixel.

NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at Goddard Space Flight Center. Map by Robert Simmon. (Text: NASA Earth Observatory)

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Only One Guess Allowed!

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

Who said:

  • “I think that ethanol is the most popular whipping boy in the agricultural world at the moment”
  • “So to say that biofuels are the culprit clearly underestimates the demand and really shows a gross misunderstanding of the world food situation,”
  • “We have to grow more food. We have to increase yields”

Hint: To increase yields, farmers are forced to buy lots and lots more fertilizers!

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See the tags for the answer!

Posted in agirculture, agriculture, Bill Doyle, corporate lies, corporate profit, environment, food riots, North America, Potash Corp, soil erosion, topsoil, toxic | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arctic Marine Mammals on Thin Ice

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

(source: Ecological Society of America)

Experts outline primary risks of climate change to natives of the Arctic

The loss of sea ice due to climate change could spell disaster for polar bears and other Arctic marine mammals. The April Special Issue of Ecological Applications examines such potential effects, puts them in historical context, and describes possible conservation measures to mitigate them. The assessment reflects the latest thinking of experts representing multiple scientific disciplines.

Sea ice is the common habitat feature uniting these unique and diverse Arctic inhabitants. Sea ice serves as a platform for resting and reproduction, influences the distribution of food sources, and provides a refuge from predators. The loss of sea ice poses a particularly severe threat to Arctic species, such as the hooded seal, whose natural history is closely tied to, and depends on, sea ice.

The Arctic undergoes dramatic seasonal transformation. Arctic marine mammals appear to be well adapted to the extremes and variability of this environment, having survived past periods of extended warming and
cooling.


Walrus – Odobenus rosmarus divergens – hauled out on Bering Sea ice, Alaska. (Photo Credit: Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps)

“However, the rate and scale of current climate change are expected to distinguish current circumstances from those of the past several millennia. These new conditions present unique challenges to the well-being of Arctic marine mammals,” says Sue Moore (NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center).

Climate change will pose a variety of threats to marine mammals. For some, such as polar bears, it is likely to reduce the availability of their prey, requiring them to seek alternate food. Authors Bodil Bluhm and Rolf Gradinger (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) note that while some Arctic marine mammal species may be capable of adjusting to changing food availability, others may be handicapped by their very specific food requirements and hunting techniques. Species such as the walrus and polar bear fall under this category, while the beluga whale and bearded seal are among those who are more opportunistic in their eating habits and therefore potentially less vulnerable, at least in this regard.


Look here, General George, I can’t unzip the fur! (Photo Credit:Kathy Crane, NOAA Arctic Research Office.)

Using a quantitative index of species sensitivity to climate change, Kristin Laidre (University of Washington) and colleagues found that the most sensitive Arctic marine mammals appear to be the hooded seal, polar bear, and the narwhal, primarily due to their reliance on sea ice and specialized feeding.

Shifts in the prey base of Arctic marine mammals would likely lead to changes in body condition and potentially affect the immune system of marine mammals, according to Kathy Burek (Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services). She and fellow researchers point out that climate change may alter pathogen transmission and exposure to infectious diseases, possibly lowering the health of marine mammals and, in the worst case, their survival. Changing environmental conditions, including more frequent bouts of severe weather and rising air and water temperatures, also could impact the health of Arctic marine mammals.


Exasperated polar bears shoo the submarine USS Honolulu off their melting porch (450 km from the North Pole).

The effects of climate change will be compounded by a host of secondary factors. The loss of ice will open the Arctic to new levels of shipping, oil and gas exploration and drilling, fishing, hunting, tourism, and coastal development. These, in turn, will add new threats to marine mammal populations, including ship strikes, contaminants, and competition for prey.

Timothy Ragen (US Marine Mammal Commission) and colleagues describe how conservation measures may be able to address the secondary effects of climate change, but that only reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can-over the long-term-conserve Arctic marine mammals and the Arctic ecosystems on which they depend.

Ragen talks more about the issue on an Ecological Society of America podcast. Visit http://www.esa.org/podcast/ to listen to this latest edition of ESA’s podcast, Field Talk.

Lead authors of the collection of papers in the Special Supplement to Ecological Applications are:

John Walsh (U. of AK, Fairbanks)–climatological understanding C.R. Harrington (Canadian Museum of Nature)–evolutionary history of arctic marine mammals Maribeth Murray (U. of AK, Fairbanks)–past distributions of arctic marine mammals Gregory O’Corry-Crowe (Southwest Fisheries Science Center)–past and current distributions and behaviors Bodil Bluhm (U. of AK, Fairbanks)–food availability and implications of climate change Kristin Laidre (U. of WA)–sensitivity to climate-induced habitat change Kathy Burek (Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services)–effects on Arctic marine mammal health Grete Havelsrud (Center for International Climate & Environmental Research-Oslo)–human interactions Vera Metcalf (Eskimo Walrus Commission, Kawerak)–walrus hunting Sue Moore (NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center)/Henry Huntington (Huntington Consulting)–resilience of Arctic marine mammals to climate change Timothy Ragen (U.S. Marine Mammal Commission)–conservation in context of climate change

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest professional organization of ecologists, representing 10,000 scientists in the United States and around the globe. Since its founding in 1915, ESA has promoted the responsible application of ecological principles to the solution of environmental problems through ESA reports, journals, research, and expert testimony to Congress. ESA publishes four journals and convenes an annual scientific conference. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

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Posted in Climate Change, coastal development, energy, environment, exploration, food, gas, Global Warming, health, hunting, oil, polar bears, politics, shipping, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

EU needs more pesticides, scientists claim

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

Scientists: Reduction in pesticides makes EU uncompetitive!

(Reuters) Scientists from seven European Union countries have warned against a planned reduction in the number of pesticides allowed in the EU, claiming this could increase resistance of pests and make crop cultivation uncompetitive.

“The scientists […] fear that reducing the available range of pesticides could lower their efficiency as it is likely that it will increase resistance.” they said.

The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. (photo credit: Clinton & Charles Robertson, via wikipedia)

“In order to safeguard the production of food at affordable prices, it is essential to provide farmers with access to sufficient diversity of crop protection solutions.” the scientists’ spokesman from the UK’s Rothamsted Research institute added: “This is essential to prevent or delay the development of resistant pests, and to maintain the efficacy of remaining crop protection products,” he added.

Is their concern legitimate, or are they sacrificing the truth for the sake of their careers? The Chemical giants are doing booming business with their “+cide” products. Are the scientists party to their business “success?” FEWW would welcome any information provided by genuine whistleblowers. [Strict confidentiality of the sources of information is assured.]

A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest. A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest.


Codling moth: It is native to Europe and was introduced to North America, where it has become one of the regular pests of apple orchards. It is found almost worldwide. It also attacks pears, walnuts, and other tree fruits.

Pests include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for disease or cause a nuisance. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, there are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals.Pesticides are hazardous to some wildlife in the sea because it gets evaporated and goes into the clouds.Then it rains, surface run-off into the sea and poisons them. (Source Wikipedia)

Types of pesticides

There are multiple ways of classifying pesticides:

  • Algicides or Algaecides for the control of algae
  • Avicides for the control of birds
  • Bactericides for the control of bacteria
  • Fungicides for the control of fungi and oomycetes
  • Herbicides for the control of weeds
  • Insecticides for the control of insects – these can be Ovicides (substances that kill eggs), Larvicides (substances that kill larvae) or Adulticides (substances that kill adult insects)
  • Miticides or Acaricides for the control of mites
  • Molluscicides for the control of slugs and snails
  • Nematicides for the control of nematodes
  • Rodenticides for the control of rodents
  • Virucides for the control of viruses (e.g. H5N1)


A weevil of the Curculionidae family: Lixus angustatus (Image credit: Alvesgaspar, via wikipedia)

Weevils are often found in dry foods including nuts and seeds, cereal and grain products. In the domestic setting, they are most likely to be observed when opening a bag of flour although they will happily infest most types of grain including oats, barley and breakfast cereals. Their presence is often indicated by the granules of the infested item sticking together in strings, as if caught in a cobweb. If ingested, E. coli infection and other various diseases can be contracted from weevils, depending on their diet.

Pesticides can also be classed as synthetic pesticides or biological pesticides (biopesticides), although the distinction can sometimes blur.

Broad-spectrum pesticides are those that kill an array of species, while narrow-spectrum, or selective pesticides only kill a small group of species.

A systemic pesticide moves inside a plant following absorption by the plant. With insecticides and most fungicides, this movement is usually upward (through the xylem) and outward. Increased efficiency may be a result. Systemic insecticides which poison pollen and nectar in the flowers may kill needed pollinators such as bees.

Most pesticides work by poisoning pests. (Source Wikipedia)

Posted in environment, food, health, pesticides, poisoning, politics, soil, soil degradation, Water pollution, whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Arctic Melting FAST!

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

Rocket Science: Ice + Heat = Water


Arctic summer sea ice. Image taken by NASA satellite September 16, 2007.

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