Environmental Activities

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I called to the mountains
but they didn’t reply.
Perhaps the distance truncates
the force of my lamentations.
Or perhaps they don’t care;
I belong to a race of terracidal maniacs
who’ve killed her kin.
Likewise the flowing waters
strain to avoid my legs, kicking at
lily pads,
perhaps marking it as insult to injury,
striking the earth when she is down.
We are porcelain and too dainty
for survival.
My hands coated in red dirt
is phony: I’m a closeted urbanite
with product
in my
hair.
I should bake myself
in the sun. I should bury myself
in hay and clippings.
I should….but I won’t.
There is work to be done.…

Living a Christian Life in the Current Political Climate

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I am a Christian. That simple statement sparks so much controversy among the masses. There was a time I too thought the face of Christianity had become marred by hatred and judgment. But I have seen a change.

The current debate in this country is centered on the return of Christianity to our government. Even as a Christian, I find this debate confusing. While I am committed to my beliefs, I do recognize that our country was founded with two basic principals in mind: religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

I recognize that those who came to this country were escaping a government that tried to force them to follow a religious doctrine they did not believe. I also recognize that our founding fathers saw fit to make sure that the government did not have that type of control over individual freedom.

I get confused by political platforms that suggest big government is too intrusive while at the same time suggest that government should follow a Christian belief and mandate very personal choices. I wonder how government can be too big in the realm of capitalist enterprise but not too big in the realm of personal choice, regarding belief and body.

We face real problems in our country right now that grow from personal fears. We are distracted by rhetoric that gains popularity through fear mongering. I have seen adolescents lash out at each other based on ideals that they have very little to no true knowledge about. I have seen people, groups of people, injured due to the spread of ignorance and hate. If we pretend that these differences are a reason to hurt others to protect ourselves from our own fears and insecurities, we are weakening our country, our society and ourselves. 

At the same time, I have seen changes among the Christians I know. There was a time when their choices and beliefs were dictated by fear rather than love. I have also seen the backlash from people of other beliefs that feel ostracized by Christians asking the same questions I felt compelled to ask. But as all people become less likely to just read headlines and listen to rhetoric, and instead start asking questions – understanding, acceptance and tolerance has begun to flourish.

The fact is, we are human beings, individual human beings, and the only way we will live peacefully with each other is if we educate ourselves and learn to accept differences in others. As a Christian, it is my goal to follow the life of Christ. I am human, so will I perfect this? Probably not. I am weak, but I will continue to try to live a life of acceptance, tolerance and love – even for things I don’t understand.…

Wildlife in Your Backyard: Baby Dove and Mother Dove

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I awoke one morning, surprised to see that there was a bird’s nest on my back porch. It wasn’t just any bird’s nest- it was a dove’s nest! The bird had chosen to make a nest sitting perched above my fusebox, about seven feet off the ground. I found this quite interesting. Here is the story…

Doves are beautiful birds. I don’t ge

nerally see many of them around Hagerstown, MD. More often I see sparrows, black crowes, cardinals, and the like. When I first saw the bird’s nest on my porch, I didn’t necessarily think it was a dove’s nest. Then, a couple of hours later, I saw the gray dove sitting in the nest. This is quite a treat, because usually birds of any type will want to keep their nests hidden, to ensure the safety of the eggs and the baby birds. If a dove is letting you see the nest, it must feel very comfortable in this location!

The doves on my porch were considered Mourning Doves. They have actually grown quite used to nesting in areas occupied by humans, so it isn’t that strange to find them on your porch or in a windowsill, or in a planter hanging on one of your trees in your backyard. The doves adapt well to these situations.

The interesting thing about mourning doves is that they usually mate for life. The two birds will stick together, and often both parents will watch over a nest. I personally only think I saw the mother dove on my porch, however. The mother dove showed up first in May, right before summer.

The dove at first was there on and off again, for a period of about a week. This nest had actually been used by some other birds in the past, other than doves, and so the dove was making it her own. She added about an inch all the way around in height to the nest, and then she was ready to have her egg.

Doves usually have two baby doves at one time, generally. Each spring, they will have up to six “hatches” of offspring, two in each hatch. It was literally impossible to be able to see the egg, though, because the mother dove stayed on the nest at all times. At least, every time I looked she was there. Whereas the previous bird who used this nest always flew away when I would come outside the back door, the dove stayed put. She wasn’t moving for anything.

In a couple of weeks, she seemed to get very fat. It isn’t because she was pregnant. It’s because she was positioning her body to cover the baby dove that had hatched to keep it protected from prey. After three weeks total, I saw the baby dove. It was smaller than the mother dove, but not by much. It was as if by the time the bird was able to show its face, it was already pretty big. I assume that there were two eggs initially, but that only one of them made it. Thus, for the next two weeks, both mother and baby stayed in the nest. Once or twice, I would see the baby bird alone, but not often. Finally, both mother and baby left, on to bigger pastures…

I didn’t see anymore of mother and baby dove, but generally the baby dove will live on the ground for a few days after leaving the nest. It has to gather its strength to be able to fly. The mother …

Environmental Road Rage

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The endless string of red ruby taillights, like a necklace outlining the curves of a sleeping beauty does not incite pleasurable images, rather it sends me into a rage. “How dare you cause a traffic jam in my mountains,” I scream in typical Coloradoan road rage. I swerve off to a frontage road only to get stuck behind Denver plates going under the speed limit. “Must be from California or Texas,” I fume as I yank my mother’s three-quarter ton pick-up into the on-coming lane to pass on a blind corner. It’s a normal Sunday drive home from work, taking an hour and a half to travel fifteen miles. I’m livid by the time I get home.
I am a native, said with condescension and righteous snobbery; born and raised (by my transplanted Californian mother) in Colorado’s beautiful mountains. I remember when Vail and Eagle were separate towns. I remember skiing when snowboarders were dangerous herds of out-of-control kids, before terrain parks and sick jibbers. I learned to drive on the switchbacks of Fall River Road, and lost kids in my high school to the unprotected cliffs of Oh My God Road. These mountains thirty miles west of Denver are my mountains.

Back in Colorado for a post-college internship, after spending four years attempting to pry open my mind, I was conflicted in a new way. They were still my mountains; but my driver’s license had Oregon written across the top. Still a native I get pulled over so the cop can verify that I am my mother’s daughter, and oh how I’d grown. I now understand economy and the need to relocate for the numerous reasons that life proposes, but my mountains are being trampled by thousands of summer-heat melting Denverites. Heading west and up to break from city heat, they hike off trails increasing erosion; they start camp fires without rings, not putting them out completely; they invade small tourist towns making daily life for residents nearly impossible; their kids graffiti rocks; their trash floats down creeks; their million dollar houses destroy entire mountain slopes, creating uninteresting views and displacing wildlife. They are destroying the mountains that I love. It seemed an unstoppable spiral motivated by an unreasonable expectation of ownership (theirs and mine) and economics. 
Then I saw Colorado 1870-2000, by William H. Jackson & John Fielder. This photo history of Colorado compared landscape photos taken by Jackson in the 1800’s with photos taken by Fielder from the same spots in 2000. The comparisons showed once seemingly booming towns, now empty meadows desecrated by harsh winters or wildfires. Growing population centers then, now Lake Dillon. For pages the then and now photos showed me that though I worried for my docile mountains, they always had the upper hand. Blizzards; rock, mud and snow slides; floods, fire, wind, and draught have kept man’s transgressions in check far as long as man has attempted to inhabit the folds of the Rockies and conquer their peaks.

Once in a while out-of-town drivers force a scream from behind my steering wheel for their incessant braking, but now I worry less for my powerful mountains loved my Mother Nature herself, and I laugh when I hear of her demolishing storms and construction thwarting weather and plate movements. Millions of years from now, she will be here and we will not, and I’m ok with that.…

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park: A Don’t Miss Attraction in Central Pennsylvania

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Family owned and operated since 1965, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park has fascinated thousands of people each year with all the wonderful exotic animals and their wildlife safari. Located in Halifax PA, the park is home to many animals from all over the world. When you arrive, the one thing that stands out right from the very beginning, are the columns of deer antlers that mark the entrance to the park, and the large lake that you can fish from if you desire. The park has a very farm like appearance to it, with it’s dirt roads and buildings that resemble barns. You can stroll around the park and view the animals including Zebra, Gemsbok, Black Bears, Monkeys, Lemurs, Mountain Lions, Snow Leopards, Wallaby, Ostrich, Ducks, Prairie Dogs, Bobcats, Tortoises, Arctic Fox, and many, many more.

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park also offers a petting zoo, where you can feed the animals the park’s regulated diet food and crackers are sold to feed the animals for 25 cents. The petting zoo is open from 10am-6:30pm on weekends, and from 10am-5:30pm on weekdays. As a personal note, you may want to visit a camel in the back of the petting zoo area. You will have to make a mad dash past the goats, sheep, fawns, and deer, as they will come to nibble for some food. There is a camel in the one area to the right inside the petting zoo. This camel is incredibly friendly and loves to be petted. He is extremely gentle and seems to enjoy a good neck scratch. If I could speak camel, I would have swore he was asking me to take him home with me. There are a few other animals back there too, such as Llamas, and other camels as well. Admission to the petting zoo is included with your park admission.

Another excellent feature about this park is the reptile building. The reptile building is open Tuesday through Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. They have half hour presentations throughout the day for those who like to gain more information about the animals there. The animals vary from time to time, but you can find Pythons, Boa Constrictors, Anaconda, various other snakes, lizards, turtles, Argentine Horned Frog, even baby alligators. You will also find parrots such as the Cockatoos, and various kinds of Macaws. You can even see a Two-Toed Tree Sloth! Admission is $1 for ages 3 and up.

By far, the most exciting aspect of Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is their safari tour. This tour takes you across 150 acres of land in a bus that has the top cut off of it. There is approximately 500 animals to view on this tour. Here you will find Buffalo, Yak, Texas Longhorn, Elk (some of the most magnificent), various types of deer, Barbado and Mouflon Sheep, Rhea, Emu, Scottish Highland Cattle, Watusi, and Llamas. You can see herds of animals grouped together doing what they would do naturally in the wild. These animals come right up to the bus, and some even step up onto the stairs, for some food from the driver. Truly amazing! You don’t realize how large these animals are until you have one standing within 2ft of you. Numerous tours are given throughout the day, each about 45 minutes in length. Tickets are sold at the refreshment stand located near the entrance to the park. The cost is $5 for adults and $4 for children, under 3 years old is free. This is such a great price for the amount of animals you get to see and …

Climate

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Even when the climate
is very hot and you’re tired
of preaching and you
feel no one is listening-

Keep going! 
Drink the water of God’s Word 
and continue.

Walk by faith, 
knowing that a harvest will come.

You are only the seed planter, 
God is the One Who will make it 
bear fruits.…

Padre Island Wildlife

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The best show on North Padre Island isn’t in a night club, or in a playhouse, but rather right outside by a canal that’s part of Laguna Madre. I suppose that this is a relative opinion, as some people don’t care much for nature or the out-of-doors. However, for those of you who love watching nature, you may find this an amusing story and will perhaps be inspired to look for such comedy in your own backyard. Just this morning I stopped at the Whataburger on North Padre Island for breakfast. For those of you who don’t know, Whataburger is a fast food chain that’s primarily located in Texas, and was started in Corpus Christi. They have fairly good food, for a fast food chain, and if you’re looking to grab a quick meal while you’re vacationing on North Padre Island, then you might want to stop there.

So what does the Whataburger on the Island have to do with the best show on the Island? Well, right behind the Whataburger is a canal with some public spots to moor your boat. So, if you happen to be cruising around Laguna Madre and want to get a burger, you could come over and park your boat behind the Whataburger. And of course, where there’s water at the coast, especially with summer coming on, there’s wildlife. And wild it is. I parked behind the Whataburger this morning to eat a biscuit, and lo and behold there is this giant crane-like bird. He had to be at least three feet high and he had a really long neck. He was brown and tan in color, and his feathers were very smooth and neat. The immediacy of him was a little astonishing, he was only about five feet from my car when I first pulled up, although he did retreat a few feet in response to a two ton car pulling up so close to him. After shimmying a few feet away down the wall of the canal, he just sat there eyeing me, and attempting to look superior to all the other creatures. He seemed to be saying “I’m so much better than the rest of you.”

This superior attitude could have been in response to all of the rather mad seagulls that were flying around the canal. When I say mad, I mean stark raving crazy. Some of the seagulls were sitting on the dock posts, but never for very long. The reason being was because another seagull would dive bomb the one sitting on the post, forcing him to move quickly so that the kamikaze seagull could alight on the dock post instead. This happened more than a few times, with one of the seagulls (who apparently wasn’t paying very much attention) almost falling backwards off of the post and into the water. He managed to catch himself just before taking a dunk into the canal and flew away as if nothing had happened.

After some time, the seagulls got tired of kamikaze attacking each other and decided instead to pick on some small birds that were in the field beside the canal. A few of the seagulls flew over to the smaller birds and started chasing them all over the place, until finally the small birds gave up and left. There didn’t seem to be any reason for this, it wasn’t over food or at least it didn’t appear to be. As soon as the little birds left, the seagulls went back to sitting on the dock posts. It was as if they had just run the little birds …

Climate Crowd Can’t Cope

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Green campaigners are losing the debate on global warming. Alarmists have lost the lure of climate catastrophe. With increasing desperation, they seek to draw public attention back to global warming and its supposedly dire effects, despite that predictions are overstated or just plain false.

More pressing public matters exist, such as exponentially rising national debt, the stagnant economy, the lack of jobs, opportunity, and innovation in America, and the flight of progress and prosperity from a once great nation forever. If these are the public’s worst worries, why do alarmists worry about climate so much?

Answer: Alarmists are invested in catastrophe. Academic livelihoods depend on it. Reputations rely on it. Governments collect billions of tax dollars on it, supporting a network of subservient scientific societies to promote the hoax.

In the meantime, radicalized conservation associations push climate change instead of solving real environmental problems. Crony capitalists get rich on it by feeding at the public trough, peddling products like windmills and solar panels that could never survive in the marketplace without taxpayer money. Yes, climate ideology is a profitable business for special interests, lining particular pockets at the expense of everyone else.

Yet with all this power and money at their disposal, the alarmists are losing the battle for public attention. Opinion among scientists is turning against the alarmist doctrine too. People worry less about global warming than ever before with air pollution and nuclear power emerging as the most pressing problems, not climate. Why is this?

Word is getting around that warming has stopped, despite mainstream media efforts to suppress the facts. No global warming has occurred for nearly 20 years. Global temperature has flatlined despite that hot places and cold places exist all the time. Sorry to poke holes in ignorant populist beliefs, but Mother Nature attends to neither alarmist agendas nor catastrophe claimers who chugged the climate Kool Aid.

The climate agenda costs dearly at a time when the world suffers economic stagnation and recession. Funds that flow freely to save the environment from unrealized temperature rise ought to flow toward saving jobs, business, and trade. Public sentiment has turned toward saving itself instead of spending on disaster that never comes.

No longer able to cope with the rejection, global warming activists are now claiming that anyone who disagrees with them must be a racist or mentally ill. Pathologising dissent rings of Orwellian reality and a misanthropic regime of radical environmentalists. Every storm, dry spell, and molecule of ice melt — even the cold — is now blamed on global warming. Such nonsense is propagated by mainstream media with no sense of investigative journalism and an alarmist clique that has lost its senses and can no longer cope.…

Top Climate Scientist Argues for 6 Percent Annual Reduction in Greenhouse Gasses by 2012

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A recent paper by NASA’s premier climate scientist James Hansen calls for a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions each year starting in 2012. Noting that current greenhouse gas levels have already caused dangerous levels of warming, Hansen is calling for urgent action now to stabilize the world’s climate.

Hansen noted that the .8 degree Celcius increase in global temperatures since 1900 has already resulted in a number of dangerous climate impacts. Increasingly rapid polar sea ice decline, increasing melt in Greenland and Antarctica, receding mountain glaciers, a 1-2 percent yearly decline in coral reefs, the movement of habitable climate zones northward or to higher elevations, the expansion of deserts and dry zones, increased drought, excessive heat and fires, and the increased frequency of mega heat waves like those in Europe in 2003 and Russia in 2010 are all current effects of human-caused global warming and increased greenhouse gasses.

This observation that world climate systems are already undergoing substantial stresses at an .8 degree temperature increase led Hanson to conclude that sustained warming above 1 degree C was an intolerable risk. Hansen noted that, to stabilize world temperatures at a safe level, massive CO2 emission reductions need to start in 2012 at the latest.

If Hansen’s plan of 6% annual reductions were enacted by next year, temperatures would stabilize at around 1 degree C warming for the next thirty years and then slowly begin to drop off. If emissions draw-downs were delayed another 8 years to 2020, world temperatures would exceed the dangerous threshold for an entire century. Waiting until 2030 results in temperatures above 1 degree C for the next 500 years.

Hansen notes that a prolonged period of global temperatures exceeding the 1 degree C limit will likely result in passing certain climate tipping points. The higher heat is, therefore, much more likely to create a runaway warming scenario precipitated by a series of events that, once started, are outside of the control of human beings to reign back.

A runaway warming would likely start with the melting of arctic sea ice. The reduced reflectivity of ice during the summer would then cause the oceans to warm. Warmer oceans would destabilize methane frozen on the ocean floor. A portion of these massive stores would reach the atmosphere, convert to CO2 and further warm the climate. Other methane stored in lakes and in permafrost would also be released. Rising temperatures would cause more water vapor to be stored in the atmosphere. Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas. The result would be further temperature increases. Finally, all the world’s ice at the poles would convert to water and water vapor adding fuel to the already vicious cycle.

Hansen’s study also noted that expensive methods designed to use technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere would likely be less effective than envisioned. Hansen notes that the cost of removing 50 parts per million of CO2 from the atmosphere would reach 60 trillion dollars by the end of this century.

Hansen’s warning is that current warming needs to be kept to near or below 1 degree C and that warming be turned back as soon as possible. Prolonged warmth at or above that threshold results in a high risk of starting a feedback effect similar to the one described above. And if feedbacks kick in, the world will change drastically into a dangerous place humanity is not at all accustomed to.

 

Source:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110505_CaseForYoungPeople.pdf…

Oceans and Climates

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It is a proven fact that the climate of our earth is influencing the oceans on this planet. The point to ponder is to evaluate the negative effects of these climatic changes. It is only possible when all the factors influencing the oceans are known. Oceans of the world are the major factor in the ecosystem of the earth. They maintain balance on the surface of the earth. Only the oceans are responsible for stability of the climate of the earth. It would not be an exaggeration to proclaim that they are the parameters of the change on the surface of the earth.

The climate change is more upsetting for marine life as compared to land life. A warming world is a thorn in the flesh of the oceans and is becoming the major source of disturbing the biodiversity.

At the AAAS, William Cheung of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and his team revealed a model to calculate the influence on 1000 species of fish and shellfish all over the world by 2050 due to this obnoxious climate change. The model shows that the fish would shift towards poles at least forty kilometers in a decade. The shift in oceans temperature and climate would be unbearable for many of these species. They are worried about the extinction of many polar species. One aspect they have not mentioned is the Acidification of oceanic waters due to alarmingly high quantity of carbon dioxide.

Patrick Halpin of Duke University, says that high latitudes are the areas expected to be worst affected by global warming and other environmental changes. The oceans are overdone due to temperature; acidity and nutrient loading. Oceans are much vulnerable to chemical changes which are taking place rapidly due to climate change. The experts are comparing the present chemical change with the change of13 million years ago and this would definitely not be the positive change at all. CO2 will change the amount of calcium and other elements in ocean salts. They are of the view that too much carbon dioxide would result in the freezing of the oceanic waters and the surface of the oceans might drop.

The environment of the oceans gets colder resulting in the expansion of ice sheets. The ice sheets ultimately would lower down the surface of the ocean which ultimately leads to the changes of land weather. Acidification of oceanic waters has grown and has become a threat to the coral reefs and other water species. Industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures are also affecting the oceans directly.

Warmer temperatures reduce the capacity of water to intake oxygen and hence make water lifeless. The scientists are of the view that by 2050 the temperature would rise 6 degrees of Fahrenheit, so the present oceanic ecosystem would not be able to maintain itself. Lack of oxygen in waters would reduce the production of water life. Warm waters take in less oxygen, and its impact is disastrous. The bacteria would be replaced by the nitrates and phosphorus filled bacteria. The plankton would not be able to get food from them and starve and a food chain might be lost. Another assumption is that the methane ice won’t melt and after nixing up with free oxygen would make bubbles and consequently increase in temperature.

The solar heat, the diversification of different plants and the discharge of greenhouse gases is alter the temperature and movement map of the oceans and their atmosphere. Even the Artificial change in the flow of wind and temperature directly affect the …