Posts Tagged ‘biodiversity’

Nature Ramble

Viewpoint: Why Burma’s forests must be preserved

An early morning boat journey from base camp in search of a herd of elephants in Taung Lay

For the first time in more than 50 years, a team of wildlife film-makers has been permitted to venture deep into Burma’s barely penetrable jungles. The expedition’s insect expert, Ross Piper, explains why the country’s forests are special and, in his view, deserve protection.

Closed to outsiders for five decades, Burma, also known as Myanmar, is something of an unknown quantity, particularly in terms of its natural riches.

The country is right in the centre of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, one of the most biologically important regions of the planet. We know there are still large areas of good quality forest in Burma, which could be among the last real strongholds for a huge range of species.

Beyond simply supporting a dazzling variety of life, we have to remember that vast forests like these, often thousands of miles away, are crucial to every one of us, not least because they help to stabilise the climate and maintain the water cycle.

A wild Asian elephant herd was found resting in the shade of a valley in Burma

I was lucky enough to be part of a BBC Natural History Unit/Smithsonian Institution expedition to document the wildlife of this long-isolated country and shed some light on the state of its forests.


This expedition couldn’t have been more timely because as the country slowly opens up, its Asian neighbours and developed nations alike are scrambling to establish diplomatic relations, many of whom would ultimately like to take advantage of Burma’s natural wealth.


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Monday Moaning


Is Monsanto’s Glyphosate Destroying The Soil?

The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself. — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

In light of this quote, had Monsanto been around during Roosevelt’s time, he would not have taken too kindly to their business strategy. After all, in 2007, 176 million lbs of an extremely toxic herbicide known as glyphosate, (1) first created by Monsanto, was sprayed onto the soil (and everything standing between it) in this country, with untold environmental and human health fallout.
Untold, that is, until now…

Roundup (Glyphosate): The Science Vs. Marketing

2011 was a watershed year, as far as scientific revelations into the nature and extent of the damage associated with glyphosate-based herbicide usage and exposure is concerned.An accumulating bodyof peer-reviewed and published research now indicates glyphosate may be contributing to several dozen adverse health effects in exposed populations.And as we shall see, human exposure is as universal as is the contamination of our food, air, rain and groundwater with this now ubiquitous chemical.

Ever since Monsanto developed, marketed and patented the glyphosate molecule — Roundup (®) herbicide’s active ingredient — beginning in the early ’70s, a substantial and ever-growing portion of the earth’s arable surface has been transformed into an environmental and human health experiment, of unprecedented scale.

Non-industry funded human research on glyphosate exposure is only now being performed, and the preliminary picture being painted isn’t very pretty. Recent experimental research found that exceedingly small concentrations of glyphosate (450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications) induce DNA damage in human cells. Given these findings, it is likely that the widespread adoption of GM agriculture has and will continue to result in massive collateral health damage; the fallout of which we are only beginning to understand, and yet which we are all no doubt are already experiencing, mostly subclinically.
Source: Activist Post Read more
It is absolutely unbelievable that a company can ride rough shod over the people for so long.
Nothing matters, only profits.
When we read such disturbing comments as this from the article:
“Glyphosate is now contaminating vast subterranean stretches of groundwater in areas directly and indirectly exposed to the application of this agrichemical; a finding that runs contrary to manufacturer’s claims that glyphosate is readily “biodegradable” and even “makes the soil cleaner,” which it does not. Moreover, one 2011 study found glyphosate in 60-100% of all US air and rain samples tested”
The whole scenario is just plain scary… and plain wrong.

Monday Moaning

Vegan friendly

I read this morning about ‘vegan wines.’ Then I nearly choked on my second coffee as I pondered… but, but wines are made from grapes and stuff (yes, there are fruit wines), there’s no steak or pork chops in wine making.

Which all lead to the big question; what the hell are these veges and vegany people up to now?

Well, the post talked about organic farming and there was a new term for me ‘biodynamic’ which sent me off to that great internet oracle Wikipedia:

Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms, emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a self-nourishing system without external inputs insofar as this is possible given the loss of nutrients due to the export of food. As in other forms of organic agriculture, artificial fertilizers and toxic pesticides and herbicides are strictly avoided.

So, I am on a learning curve and I haven’t even finished my second coffee.

Reading further, I discovered some things about wine that I didn’t know. “Many wines are refined and clarified with egg, fish bladder and/or gelatin to remove various particles.” Quote from: Organic Authority.

Toe Jam

So, my initial reaction that they were worried about bullshit ah, manure, was a presumption. Although they don’t specifically mention bullsh… ah, manure in the vegan aspects, I wonder if they object to that as well.Which further lead me wonder what we would do with all the bullsh… ah, manure and political rhetoric in the world if we couldn’t use it to fertilise our grapes.

All this of course prompted me to wonder whether or not ‘toe jam’ was considered to be an animal product.

I am not a vege, nor a vegan, I am a healthy, if overweight (mainly due to my sedentary lifestyle), carnivore and consider these vege and vegany things to be fads perpetrated by the misguided; unless you are specifically allergic to some products.

I wonder as to where the bus will stop next… will grapes be banned from wine because someone heard one squeal as it was be cruelly trodden on?

Here’s something new to consider. Biodiversity itself uses animal products. For example, spraying the vines with ‘Preparation 501’ to enhance photosynthesis. Prep 501 is made from cows horns and manure.  Check here.

So we really are on the horns of a dilemma. How far do we go?

Check out the list on One Green Planet, there’s hardly anything in the supermarket that veges and vegany types can eat. I must admit, I was suprised.

NB: This was written somewhat tongue in cheek between my second and third coffees of the morning. I realise that there are those of you who take this seriously and consider your ideals to be loftier than those of us who are mere carnivores… It appeals to my mischievous nature.

Ecuadorian-UN accord that puts ecology over oil drilling hailed as model for world

White-banded Swallows perching of a tree stump on the bank of Rio Tiputini, Yasuní National Park in Ecuador

23 September 2011 – An Ecuadorian accord to leave vast oil reserves, conservatively valued at $7.2 billion, untapped to protect biodiversity in a national park in return for half that amount from the international community was heralded at the United Nations today as a model in the fight to save the planet.

“It is not often that a government chooses sustainable development over easy money,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a high-level meeting on the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, under which the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Ecuador agreed last year to set up a trust fund to protect the Yasuní National Park, a World Biosphere Reserve in the country’s Amazon region, with an estimated 846 million barrels of crude oil lying under it.

“The initiative is helping Ecuador move on multiple fronts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he told the event, held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual general debate in the presence of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

“It is supporting indigenous livelihoods and culture. It is protecting biodiversity. It will help to avoid emissions of greenhouse gases. And it is showing the contribution that can be made through an innovative financial mechanism.”

Source: UN News Center Read more


Ecuador is one of the lesser known countries in South America, perched between Colombia and Peru.

With all that is going on in the world it is gratifying to see such a small country making the effort and putting the world’s major powers to shame and disgrace.

Ecuador is indeed a model for the rest of the world.

Let’s hope that others follow the leader.


Yasuní National Park

Such beautiful areas of the planet should be left… beautiful and not fall victim to man’s greed for power and money.

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