Global warming seems to be one of the most debated issues of modern civilization; everyone has a strong opinion about it one way or the other.
Global warming causes fights at family gatherings, and discords between friends. But how many people really understand the arguments on either side of the debate? It seems like people form their opinions based on how they feel, or what they want the answer to be, rather than based on information or evidence.
Open Letter to the Honorable Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Colin Barnett:
Dear Mr. Premier,
I’m writing to you about the Australian Shark Cull Policy, which targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. This policy was initiated late last year following a spate of fatal attacks in 2011. Despite widespread criticism in Australia, you have refused to back down, claiming your catch-and-kill policy is justified.
Australia should not be allowed to make unilateral policy decisions that affect the global ocean environment. Furthermore, the Australian cull policy violates international laws. It targets various shark species, including the endangered great white. An independent study has found that there is no proof that this initiative will reduce attacks and shows that it would probably have an adverse effect on the environment. Continue reading “Open Letter: Aussies Stop Killing The Great White Shark”
It’s amazing to see the changes that have taken place in the last six months, on the the Bot River Estuary.
Everywhere the banks of the estuary are taking on a more beach-like appearance. On clean white sand, sea shells, sea weed, red-bait and cuttlefish are in evidence.
The water tastes salty and it’s not unusual to see large shoals of tiny fish being preyed upon by diving sea birds, kestrels and duikers.
In the middle of August 2012, the mouth of the Bot River Estuary was artificially breached. This was done after consulting with the Bot River Estuary Forum (BREF), and estuarine specialists (9 Images, click here for Flickr slideshow).
One beautiful sunny morning, a few days ago, while walking the long stretch of beach named Grotto Beach near Voëlklip on the Hermanus coastline, I came across this amazing sight — the after-birth of a Southern Right Whale, washed up on the beach. At least, that’s what I think it was.
The whale that is seen most often in Walker Bay is the Southern Right Whale, so my assumption is that it once belonged to a Southern Right. However, other species do make an appearance occasionally so one can’t be certain.
I didn’t know what this was at first. It looked alien lying there half buried in the sand. I took these photographs and it was only a few days later, after doing some on-line research that it finally dawned on me — it was a whale’s placenta.
It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.
This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.
On Thursday this week a nationwide class action lawsuit was settled. The historic Keepseagle settlement agreement requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay $680 million in damages to thousands of Native Americans and to forgive up to $80 million in outstanding farm loan debt.
The Indians filed the Keepseagle class action lawsuit 11 years ago. They alleged that for three decades Native American farmers were denied the opportunity to obtain low-interest rate loans and loan servicing from the USDA. The Indians alleged that this resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses for Indian farmers. They said that these loans were given instead to their white neighbors.
Native American Indians once inhabited the present United States from Coast to Coast. Today they number 4.9 Million (2008). Apart from language, the differences between Indian tribes is barely perceptible. They were once grouped into eight radically distinct languages, four of which are still in existence today.
With the Earth’s population exploding and nearly every arable acre already cultivated, the future of farming is a looming concern. For inspiration science is looking to the leaf-cutter ant which has mastered single crop agriculture and represents the apex of ant agriculture.
Monoculture crops are the rule in modern agriculture. This is why modern crops are especially vulnerable to disease. A pathogen that can infect one plant will likely be infectious to the rest.
Today the banana industry is being threatened by a fungus known as Tropical Race Four. This infection has resisted every counter-measure and may eventually doom modern bananas altogether.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the latest crisis has hit the Australian Pistachio nut industry. In December 2010 torrential rainfalls created ideal conditions for an outbreak of the moisture-loving anthracnose fungus. Australia’s pistachios originate almost entirely from a single cultivar developed in the early 1980s. Continue reading “Ant Fungus Farmers Hold the Answers for Human Farmers”
Today at sunset I strolled down to the “lagoon” otherwise known as the Bot River Estuary. Lo and behold, the wild horses were grazing on the grassy banks in the distance about 200 meters (650 feet) away.
The Bot River Estuary which lies at the edge of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve near Hermanus in the Western Cape of South Africa
Fortunately I had my camera with me and I decided to get nearer and take some photos. As I approached them the three stallions in the herd watched me carefully before deciding that I was not a threat. In the fading light I was able to take a few — uploaded here for your enjoyment (4 photos).