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Showing posts from September, 2013

Greenpeace Activists Not Pirates

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B. McPherson Battle for the Arctic Greenpeace activists arrested in their attempt to board an oil exploration platform in the waters of the Arctic have been declared non-pirates. This has brought some relief to the environmental activists known for their peaceful protests in defending the environment.  Their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, has been confiscated and the activists jailed.
A high seas confrontation with the Russian coast guard off the coast of Murmansk saw two activists hanging from ropes, being pummeled with water cannons from above and harassed by coast guard members from below. Greenpeace members in zodiacs were held at gun point. Warning shots were fired from the oil platform into the water near the inflatables.
While President Putin has declared that it is obvious that the protesters are not pirates, nine of the Greenpeace people have been told that they will remain in jail for two months while awaiting charges of piracy. Others of the crew will be detained for lesser tim…

El Salvador Bans Glyphosate Use

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B. McPherson Are you ready for Roundup in your baby's food? In the fight to keep GM crops from polluting their fields legislators in El Salvador have banned the chemicals used on them, taking any advantage in buying GM seeds away. In total, 53 agricultural chemicals have been banned with glyphosate, paraquat and endosulfan topping the list.
Glyphosate was first developed as the herbicide Roundup, an effective killer of broad leaf plants. Monsanto developed a genetically engineered corn that wouldn’t die when sprayed with the chemical – Roundup Ready corn. The GM corn has been widely planted in the US as well as soybeans, canola  and sugar beets, all resistant to glyphosate.
The US has found over the years that superweeds that won’t die have evolved in many areas. Canada is starting to recognize the presence of superweeds as well. While that is troubling, questions have been asked about the widespread use of glyphosate and the health of people who ingest trace amounts in their foo…

GM Alfalfa Ruins Farmer’s Crop

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B. McPherson BigAgro Silences Naysayers A farmer in eastern Washington State has had his alfalfa crop rejected by a broker because of pollution by RoundUp Ready plants. The RoundUp Ready alfalfa was found when the crop was tested. Many countries refuse the importation of genetically modified seeds and food.
The GM alfalfa is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate which kills most broadleaf plants. Costs are reduced because weeding becomes unnecessary when herbicide can be sprayed onto the fields. It is legal to grow GM alfalfa in the US.
People who are opposed to the growing of GM plants have long pointed out that once in the field, the pollen(male gametes) is not under control and can be spread by wind and by animals. This has led to disputes about whether a farmer has made unauthorized use of the genetically altered seeds owned by the biotech company. If a farmer chooses to grow GM alfalfa, then a neighbouring farmer who grows organic alfalfa will soon have his fields polluted wit…

Texas Drought Has Cattle Ranchers Worried

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B. McPherson Texas is getting fracked by BigOil The ongoing drought in Texas has cattle ranchers worried. Severe to exceptional drought has spread across 65% of the state. Water levels in reservoirs are expected to reach record lows in the coming weeks.
Ranchers are reducing herds in an effort to keep pastures from overgrazing. In spite of this the majority of pastures in Texas are in poor shape. Texas cattle herds are their lowest since 1967. In addition to the lower levels in the reservoirs, the ground water is scarce and lake levels are falling. Some lakes are down to a third of their capacity. To preserve drinking water supplies, some farmers have been cut off from irrigating their parched fields leading to a worsening of the grazing and grain production. Water authorities are frantically drilling for underground aquifers to deal with the disaster
Texas governor Rick Perry has declared hundreds of counties disaster zones
WHEREAS, record high temperatures, preceded by significantly …

Warmer Oceans Equal Less Oxygen to Breathe

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B. McPherson Will whale poop save the world? New research from the University of East Anglia paints a grim picture for animals if ocean temperatures continue to rise.
The world is heating up. Currently the average global temperature is about one degree Fahrenheit warmer than when records were starting to be kept. It doesn’t seem like much but nature’s systems are very finely tuned and a tiny change can have big repercussions.
Much of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen is produced by one celled plants called plankton(phytoplankton). While they are releasing oxygen into the air, they are also grabbing carbon dioxide and incorporating it into their bodies. While many of these tiny creatures are eaten as part of the food chain, many simply die and fall to the ocean deeps. Their carbon then becomes sequestered.
As the temperature of the oceans increase, the phytoplankton becomes less efficient at removing CO2from the air and releasing O2 for you, me and our animals to use. At the same time the…

Poachers Kill 41 Elephants in Zimbabwe Park

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B. McPherson

Poachers looking to make a quick buck on the burgeoning ivory trade have poisoned 41 elephants in Hwange National Park. The poison has been tracked to cyanide spread onto a salt pan and water holes. The destruction continues. Matriarchs would lead their families to salt and water. They die. The fertile females die. The babies die. The animals that feed on the poisoned elephants die. The animals that feed on those animals die. And for what?
The ivory of the elephant has become the new blood diamonds. The new found wealth of some Asian countries has led to a steep demand for ivory. Convention on Trade in Endangered Species(Cites) has sounded the alarm regarding the very survival of this species. According to their figures, 25 000 elephants were poached in Africa last year. An estimated 30 of them are killed every day in Tanzania.
The Philippines currently leads the world in consumption of ivory, legal or not. The dead elephants’ teeth are made into knickknacks and Christi…

Dolphin Slaughter in the Cove Starts Soon

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B. McPherson Warning: Graphic footage. If you've ever thought about attending a dolphin show, then you must witness this. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has started its annual campaign to convince the Japanese to stop the dolphin slaughter in Taiji Japan. The area, better known as The Cove, hit the public’s awareness with the documentary film of the carnage. Hundreds of dolphins are slaughtered annually by herding them into the confined cove and brutally slaughtering these sea mammals.
This killing season’s campaign is Operation Infinite Patience by the Cove Guardians. This is the fourth season of the Sea Shepherd’s Society efforts to stop the butchery. They have vowed to return each year until the Japanese cease this practise.
Many of the young dolphins orphaned in the killing of their family groups are kept live for sale to various irresponsible aquaria throughout the world. Dolphins that are performing at various venues are brutally ripped from their families and remove…

Fukushima Trending Hotter

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B. McPherson When will TEPCO get serious? The ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is trending hotter. Word has it that today’s readings of radioactivity have reached the highest level yet. The ongoing crisis at the Japanese power plant has the rest of the world watching their ad hoc attempts to confine the damage with growing impatience. Confidence in the willingness of TEPCO to put the resources and expertise onto the job has reaches an all time low.
Last week it was revealed that the hastily built tanks that contain highly radioactive water leaked. The experts there have placed the metal tanks directly on the ground rather than onto concrete pads. Ground water moving below the Fukushima plant and tanks is also being irradiated and leaking into the Pacific Ocean. Last week’s radiation readings were high enough to ensure death with four hours exposure. Today the world is told that the radiation readings are higher still. TEPCO’s response is that more sensitive equipment is being us…

Banned GM Corn Found in Saudi Arabia

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B. McPherson Troubling research  Starlink corn(maize) developed by Aventis and taken over by Bayer has been banned for more than ten years, yet testing of food in Saudi Arabia shows its unwanted presence. Starlink was never approved for human consumption because of its potential to set up allergic reactions. It was approved only for cattle feed and industrial uses.
Starlink was developed to have a built in pesticide that would kill corn ear worm and root worms. The whole plant then engineered to be poisonous to the pests. Unfortunately, it had a possibility that humans would react badly to the corn as well. The bacterial gene inserted into the corn DNA is labelled  Cry9C.
Approval for widespread US planting was granted by the EPAin 1998. Testing in 2000 showed the presence of the modified corn in taco shells, indicating that the Starlink had entered the human food supply. Aventis promptly withdrew its production of the GM corn. The FDA became involved and tested mills around the coun…