Thursday, November 29, 2007

climate change info - Worldwatch Institute

Newly-updated online information related to climate change can be found at the website of the Worldwatch Institute - see that part of their site, here.

If you do go to their site, take few minutes to look around at the many other resources available there, on topics such as food, global security, energy, consumption issues, and population issues. They also have a long list of excellent publications, many of which are available as downloads, including their annual "State of the World". See more on the publications here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

conserv. news 11-28

A new Audubon Watchlist is now out. One hundred seventy-eight species in the continental U.S. and 39 in Hawaii are included on this "list of America’s most imperiled birds. WatchList 2007, a joint effort of Audubon and American Bird Conservancy, reflects a comprehensive analysis of population size and trends, distribution, and threats for 700 bird species in the U.S."

See it at this link.


Also bird conservation-related, read the most wonderful article I have seen in years in this month's (December) National Geographic: "On the Wings of the Albatross", written by Carl Safina, with photographs by Frans Lanting. Safina's article is incredibly good, and Lanting is one of the world's most accomplished wildlife photographers. Some sections are at National Geographic's website, here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Among All These Versions of the Truth

Among All These Versions of the Truth
The world is a miraculous space.
In the life I have been given,
I am poised to see it.
Everyone looks at the quetzal’s tail,
but I look at the belly…
trying to see the heart beating…
his heart is like mine.

Let me always remember,
May my prayer always be to remember…
let there be no human chauvinism within me!
Let me see the world and all life within it
as neighbor and ally.
Only if I reexamine my own life
under the magnifying lens of truth
will I know that
I am only an equal member, and nothing more.
Knowing only this as certainty…may I live it and breathe it!
Once knowing, then acting -
may I practice it and make it part of my flesh.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

bird conserv. news 11-24

Birds in Canada's boreal forest recently received an assist from the Canadian government, which is protecting 25 million acres from future industrial uses such as logging and mining. Lauded by groups such as the Boreal Songbird Initiative and Bird Studies Canada, this move will allow for preservation of "critical breeding and feeding grounds for millions of migratory birds".

Read more at BirdLife International's website.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

bird conservation in the upper Midwest

Regional organizations in the Midwest who are doing excellent work on avian conservation issues include:

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative

Illinois' Bird Conservation Network

Audubon Minnesota

The Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative

Go to any of the sites linked above to learn more about programs and accomplishments of these groups.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

another bird conservation info source

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a webpage devoted to migratory bird conservation info and data. The Migratory Bird Data Center page is here.

By accessing various databases at this site, I was for example able to learn that 69,840 federal duck stamps were purchased in Wisconsin in a recent year (2003 was the year I chose).

I was also able to easily access links to bird abundance maps. To choose one for the Boreal Chickadee, for example, I went to this link - which helps me to understand why we see so few of them in Wisconsin. Most of their range is north of us. To see the entire list of links to abundance maps, go here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

plans for recovery of Red-headed Woodpecker populations

I did my masters thesis on the decline of the Red-headed Woodpecker. So, the news that an effort to restore Red-headed Woodpecker populations is starting in Minnesota is good news as far as I am concerned. Read more about this new and growing initiative at this site,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

mentors and teachers

Gary Snyder, the great poet, essayist, deep ecologist, and Zen Buddhist has a new book: Back On the the Fire, published recently by Shoemaker & Hoard. It is yet another shining example of his years of amazing work (now 19 books altogether). Snyder is surely one of my mentors/teachers, although I have never come close to meeting him.

If you're curious about Snyder and have never read any of his work, see some background at these sites: here, here, and here.

Yet another mentor/teacher of mine (and another one I've never met), is the author Matthew Fox. Without these teachers, I can't imagine how I'd have a unified view of the past, the present, or the future.

More on Matt Fox can be found here, here, and here.

conservation information, aside from other types of information on this blog

Bird conservation information will appear here regularly, but it is of course also available at several of the sites listed in the sidebar on the right. The names of the organizations should easily lead readers to the kinds of information they are seeking.

I often write about other topics, here, however - and anyone wishing for just bird conservation information only would be well-advised to bookmark some of the sites originating from national and regional sources. Some of those, and others not already listed on the right are as follows:

NABCI, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, has a very worthwhile site; check it often. See it here.

The bird conservation part of the National Audubon Society can be found here.

David Sibley's experiments with window glass; other related information

David Sibley, famous bird field guide author and artist, is working on some very interesting experiments attempting to reduce the number of birds having window collisions. Read more about it at his blog, here.

To see more about how to reduce collisions, see information at the website of the Wisconsin Humane Society, here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

climate change information from climate scientists

I often receive information from people who still doubt the consensus on climate change. Recently a friend sent a link to yet another article about some "authority" who claims climate change is bunk. What I wonder is this: why is it that it is so easy to believe people who are TV "journalists", fiction writers, (or TV meteorologists), radio talk show hosts, and all others of that ilk, who have no advanced training in science (a PhD and years of work should carry some weight, but apparently not in modern-day America, where there is little respect for intellectual pusuits, and even a disdain for science or scholarship!), but not the words of the people who have really done the work? If I have a heart attack, do I ask a plumber for answers about what to do? I think the answer must be yes for many people today. Meanwhile, lots of other folks around the planet are moving forward with strategies to deal with cllimate change, instead of arguing about whether it exists. My prediction: we'll be last in line.

If you want to read information from trained people, engaged in real science focusing on climate, go to the RealClimate blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a fine book on bird migration

I've been reading a fine book, Songbird Journeys, by Miyoko Chu, published in 2006 by Walker & Co., New York. Even if you're an advanced birder who has been studying and reading about migration for a long time, you will find something of interest in this book. Along with a description of many research projects focused on bird migration, there are sections on migration "hot-spots", citizen-science, resources, a detailed bibliography and notes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ethics and the preservation of biodiversity

In the quest to reach across cultural, religious, and intellectual boundaries, see this excellent online chapter-by-chapter set of pdfs from the book “Ethics for a Small Planet: A Communications Handbook on the Ethical and Theological Reasons for Protecting Biodiversity”, published by the Biodiversity Project, in Madison, WI.

Why bother? Here’s author Jane Elder’s opening statement in chapter one:

“Why step into the murky world of values, ethics, moral perspectives, and theological viewpoints? Why not stick to the facts, the purely rational? Why? Because humans are
complex beings, and we make decisions about what to do, about what is right and wrong, through a mix of thought and feeling, rational argument and intuition, head and heart, data and gut instinct.”

Find this at this link, on the website of the Biodiversity Project.

Monday, November 12, 2007

There is another way

Although many of us feel despair about the direction of globalization and the actions of huge corporations, there IS another way.

Much attention has been paid to this recently; that in itself is hopeful. Here are some sources that seem to point in valuable new directions:

Ethical Corporation magazine (yes, I know...but their logo actually says that is "not an oxymoron)...

A wonderful artist-photographer ( Chris Jordan) and his work on consumerism; see a video of him discussing and displaying his work, here... and an interview with him, here.

A recent article on some companies with different corporate values in Yes! magazine, here, and a related article, here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Climate Counts, and carbon offset information

You may share my deep concern about the issue of climate change in a broad sense - if that's true, see the following sources for more information.

One of the potentially useful organizations and sites I've found is Climate Counts. If you spend only a few minutes reading through the information on their site, you may agree.

I'm committed to learning more about this topic and sharing what I learn.

As one example, I'm concerned about the use of carbon offsets and their real value, but as the following paper mentions, it is probably not useful to entirely discount their usefulness or appropriateness. I have not yet read all the way through this document yet, but it looks very worthwhile.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Costa Rica and New Zealand lead the way toward a carbon-neutral future

Costa Rica and New Zealand are on the path to a carbon neutral future, and they lead the rest of the world. While they are admittedly small nations, they are taking bold steps toward complete use of alternative energy, abnd the elimination of emission of greenhouse gases; read more at the site of Worldwatch Institute, here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

avian research entities

Around the world, a wide array of research entities are conducting avian research ranging from breeding bird studies, to work on migrants and their movements and stopover ecology, and studies on birds on their wintering grounds. Many of these entities need support, whether as monetary donations or citizen involvement. Just a small sample are mentioned below.

Learn about the varied work of the Institute for Bird Populations at their site, here.

Information about the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology is here.

Read about one of western North America's foremost ornithological research and conservation organizations, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, here.

Closer to us midwesterners are Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why do we think the natural world is beautiful?

The Department of Philosophy at the University of North Texas is a hotbed of environmental ethics. They publish the journal by that name, for one thing, and the faculty there includes several of the most distinguished environmental philosophers in the world (Eugene Hargrove, J. Baird Callicott).

Although this has been on the web for some time, you may never have seen it. See a slide show that accompanies one of Prof. Hargrove's lectures, here, concerning why we think nature is beautiful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

British bird news

Two bits of British bird news:

British birds have had their worst breeding season ever during 2007, due especially to bad weather in early summer. See more about this story here.

News today from the Outer Hebrides, (officially known by the Gaelic name, Na h-Eileanan Siar) an island chain off the west coast of Scotland - a Mourning Dove was reported there today. This common North American species is very rare on that side of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No Lament

Taste the bitterness of disappointment:
why has this been true for me for so long?
It has been an awkwardly-received gift to me,
to help me learn compassion –
all those before me, and all those around this planet,
who have no options;
they know.

I have my family; they constitute my riches.
Along with the land, water, and sky –
all of which belongs to no one and everyone.
The trees of spring, summer, and fall, they stand witness.
Spring or summer or fall, their multitude of
leaves covering the black branches, and the ground beneath.
Rivers and creeks with their beds of stones or mud;
the wetlands, rich with a fecundity of aquatic plants;
grasslands, and the flowers and grasses surrounding all.

Amid all this, the many animals, birds, fishes;
why would I need to even remind myself of them?
They fill my life with wealth: a value unknowable.

Then I count up the many other sources
that lie abundantly to my right and left:
And I can still find plenty to eat.
It’s true; there’s plenty of food, indeed more than I
could ever need…
books, and enough clothing, blankets on cold nights.
A raincoat, and bags to carry my tools.
And the music fills my ears and the air.
So why is there any reason to lament?
After all, I have taught myself, in a few moments,
all my many reasons for gratitude.

11/6/2007. wpm.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The "Climate Bird Count"?

Just arrived today: The new CBC issue of American Birds, Volume 61.

If you don't receive this publication, interesting articles include one on
the 2007 WatchList for United States Birds, and an article by Scott
Weidensaul, entitled "CBC: The Climate Bird Count?" Weidensaul describes
how Dan Niven, Audubon's senior scientist for bird conservation, along with
a team, will combine many decades'-worth of data from both CBCs and the BBS
to examine the "picture of how climate change is affecting North America's
birds". In this article, Weidensaul quotes Greg Butcher, Audubon's
director of bird conservation: "So one thing we want to do is a threat
analysis, both for Important Bird Areas and WathList species, to look at
which sites and which birds are most vulnerable to climate change".
See more on the 107th CBC at this link.

new online articles from Orion, Grist, and E! Magazine

Two new online articles from the journal Orion are of interest.

See Jennifer Oladipo's "Global Warming is Colorblind" here.

Then, see Bill McKibben's "The Unsung Solution" here.

If you're not familiar with Orion, you're missing some thing very worthwhile. See more about this extraordinary publication at their website, here.

More good online reading can be found at Grist magazine's site, here.

And more still at the site of E - The Environmental Magazine, here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

leading toward the future of renewable energy

Germany is jumping ahead of other countries in its plans to provide for its energy needs. With a goal of 45% of their energy produced by renewables by 2030, it leads everyone else. Read more at the Worldwatch Institute's site, here.

In case you did not know about it, Wisconsin also has plans to move ahead in this area. Read more about the plans here.

Although the U.S. gov't lags behind, there ARE things happening on the federal level - see the DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy page, here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

learn more about Arctic regions

Want to learn more about Arctic regions? The arctic is experiencing the most rapid environmental and ecological changes of any region on earth. To learn more, go to the Arctic Portal.

For an in-depth document on conservation in the arctic, go here. I highly recommend at least scrolling through this document; you will be amazed by the extent of decline in murres, increasing arctic pollution, the spread of oil exploitation infrastructure, and many other issues.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

new information on birds and climate change

Here are a set of links and additional conservation-related information found during recent internet searches:

Biologists Look At Climate Change Effect on Shorebirds - New Hampshire Public Radio here.

A book on birds and the effects of climate change:
MOLLER, A., W. FIEDLER, and P. BERTHOLD, Editors. Birds and Climate Change. Elsevier/Academic Press, 2004. Advances in Ecological Research Series No. 35. 259 pp.

British Trust for Ornithology, 2005. BTO Reserach Report 414 - Climate Change and Migratory Species. Gp to this link.

A paper in the journal Global Change Biology. 2004. Ahola, M. Ilaaksonen, K. Sippola, T. Eeva, K. Raino, and E. Lehikoinen. (10): 1610–1617. Variation in climate warming along the migration route uncouples arrival and breeding dates.