Posts Tagged ‘ecology’

Stupid and Deadly: America’s Wildfire Policy

October 8, 2019

Stupid and Deadly: America's Wildfire Policy

Forest policy, climate change, and real estate development combine to create deadly fires.

“Today’s monster fires result largely from three human forces: taxpayer-funded fire suppression that has made the forest a tinderbox; policies that encourage construction in places that are clearly prone to burning; and climate change, which has worsened everything.”

“Society masks the costs of building on the edges of the forest, a zone that planners call the “wildland-urban interface,” or the WUI. With its vast forests and penchant for sprawl, California is the epicenter of WUI wildfire damage. Between 2000 and 2013, fire destroyed more buildings in California’s WUI than in all similar areas in the United States combined, and more than 75 percent of all buildings destroyed by fire in California were in the WUI, according to a University of Wisconsin–Madison study.”

— “Burn. Build. Repeat: Why Our Wildfire Policy Is So Deadly.” Jeffrey Ball, Mother Jones

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Top image (“Smokey Says ‘Let It Burn’”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)

December 23, 2018

“All I Want is Truth (for Christmas),” written and performed by Laura Burhenn with her band The Mynabirds.

Laura Burhenn @ TEDx

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New Fairfax County Archery Program

September 18, 2018

New Fairfax County Archery Program

Like many Eastern suburbs, Virginia’s Fairfax County has way too many whitetail deer munching on backyard greenery and blundering in front of moving minivans. The county’s parks department has a chosen technology to control the antlered population boom: bows and arrows. Registered bow hunters climb into tree stand blinds and shoot down at the critters, so there’s little chance of stray shots perforating the neighbors.

Yum, venison steaks!

More:

“Deer control hunt begins in Fairfax County,” Madeleine Simon, WTOP News

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Image (“Fairfax County Deer Hunt, after Atelier Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)

December 9, 2017

“All I Want is Truth (for Christmas),” written and performed by Laura Burhenn with her band The Mynabirds.

Laura Burhenn @ TEDx

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Wildfire: Let It Burn

August 11, 2017

Wildfire: Let It Burn

“Scientists at the cutting edge of ecological research … argue that the century-old American practice of suppressing wildfires has been nothing less than a calamity. They are calling for a new approach that basically involves letting backcountry fires burn across millions of acres.

In principle, the federal government accepted a version of this argument years ago, but in practice, fires are still routinely stamped out across much of the country. To the biologists, that has imperiled the plants and animals — hundreds of them, it turns out — that prefer to live in recently burned forests.”

“Scientists are still trying to figure out how regularly forests burned in what is now the United States in the centuries before European settlement, but reams of evidence suggest the acreage that burned was more than is allowed to burn today — possibly 20 million or 30 million acres in a typical year. Today, closer to four million or five million acres burn every year.

‘From an ecological standpoint, everything I’ve learned teaches me this is a good idea: Stop putting out fires,’ said Jennifer R. Marlon, a geographer at Yale who was among the first to use the term “fire deficit” to describe the situation. ‘These forests are made to have fire.’

Human lives are at stake, too. Firefighters die, more than a dozen in some years, putting out fires that many scientists think should be allowed to burn.”

— Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows,” Justin Gillis, New York Times

More:

“The Future of Fighting Wildfires in the Era of Climate Change,” Bob Berwyn, Pacific Standard

“Benefits of Fire,” SmokeyBear.com

“Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes,” Tania Schoennagela, Jennifer K. Balcha, Hannah Brenkert-Smith et al., PNAS

“Fire Ecology,” Pacific Biodiversity Institute

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-qk7

Top image (“Smokey Says ‘Let It Burn'”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Ain’t No Fish

March 6, 2017

“Some Days There Just Ain’t No Fish.” Produced and directed by Miki Cash and Tom Gasek of Wonky Films. Song written by Carl Sigman and Bob Russell; sung by Hoagy Carmichael.

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Standing Rock

November 22, 2016

“Mni Wiconi: The Standing at Standing Rock,” a short film by Lucian Read about the Native American people of the Standing Rock  community who oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline project. “Mni Wiconi” means “Water is Life” in the Sioux language.

This week, some people are choosing to join them for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Updates:

“Medics Describe How Police Sprayed Standing Rock Demonstrators With Tear Gas and Water Cannons,” Alleen Brown, The Intercept

“Police defend use of water cannons on Dakota Access protesters in freezing weather,” Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“Trump owns stock in Dakota Access parent company,” Harper Neidig, The Hill
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All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)

December 3, 2015

In the spirit of the holiday season and the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

“All I Want is Truth (for Christmas),” written and performed by Laura Burhenn with her band The Mynabirds.

You can order donloads here

Laura Burhenn @ TEDx

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Australia Will Kill Millions of Kitty Cats

July 21, 2015

Australia Will Kill All the Kitty Cats
20 to 30 million feral cats roam Australia, killing 75 million animals each night. 29 of the continent’s mammals have been lost to extinction, and feral cats are implicated in 28 of these eradications. More than 120 Australian animals are currently at risk of extinction by feral cats, which also spread diseases that affect farm livestock.

These critters are not the mild-mannered moggies British colonists brought with them since arriving in 1788 but ferocious felines weighing up to 30 pounds. The Australian government wants to kill 2 million of these furry furies in the next 5 years.

More:

“Feline Massacre: Australia Unveils Plan to Kill Two Million Feral Cats,” Vice

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Nutella Affair

June 19, 2015

The Nutella Affair

Not since Louis XII seized Milan has there been such conflict between France and Italy. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal urged the public to stop eating Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut goo, to help prevent deforestation. Nutella is 20 percent palm oil, and palm plantations are often created by cutting down huge swaths of topical forests. Italy went into an uproar, since Nutella is made by Ferrero, the huge confectionery firm based outside Turin. Michele Anzaldi of the Camera dei Deputati was outraged by the grave e brutto slur against eccellenza italiana.

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