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Earth Dr Reese Halter's Blog

NATURE'S BLUEPRINT

Tag Archives: Conservation International

Snow gum, Victoria, Australia

Story ran in the Victoria Times Colonist January 22,2009

Seven western states and four Canadian provinces have joined forces in a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. An entire new source of long-term revenue is available to British Columbia’s (BCs) government, which will enable protection of massive tracks of old growth forests and fresh water supplies.

Under the Western Climate Initiative, Arizona, California, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have agreed to cut the region’s carbon emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The backbone of their plan is a cap-and-trade system. A similar approach was used in the early 1990s to combat acid rain around the Great Lakes caused by the pollution from coal-burning power plants.

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California Lutheran University Climate Change student assessment of Earth Dr Reese Halter's class

Story ran in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution August 16, 2010

Each spring during my childhood I planted trees with my dad and my brother, and the bees always intrigued us. Last year in late June (2009), I finished “The Incomparable Honeybee.” I was cautiously optimistic that the overall death rate among honeybees was trending downward.

Just before the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, the overwinter and spring bee survey numbers from across our nation were released. The numbers were startling; our humble honeybees are sicker than ever.

The honeybee deaths from 2010 were much higher than those reported in 2009. In 2010 the death rate was 34 percent, up from last year’s rate of 29 percent.

On average beekeepers in the U.S. lost 42 percent of their operational bees in 2009-10 compared with 23 percent in 2008-09. This loss is more than three times greater than what is considered acceptable at about 14 percent.

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Story ran Malibu Times December 30, 2012

When I was a young boy, biologist Farley Mowat’s book’Never Cry Wolf’ eloquently described nature and wolves – like the world had never known before. Wolves are exquisite predators; it’s time for humans to grant amnesty to this majestic animal, which plays a pivotal role in the wild.

Portrayed throughout history as a villainous critter that wastefully kills, the wolf’s reputation precedes it. The traditional image, however, is unwarranted and incorrect.

Wolves are highly intelligent social animals. They are a critically important predator in the western food chain. They keep populations of ungulates (or animals with hooves) healthy. In nature there is no room for unfit or diseased-ridden animals. When wolves eat, so too do a host of other animals including: wolverines, lynx, bobcats, mink, weasels, hares, porcupines, squirrels, mice, voles, shrews, ravens and crows.

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Story ran on Huffington Post October 29, 2012

This has been one of the busiest seasons (2012) on record with 19 storms so far being named in 2012, 10 of which have become hurricanes including Hurricane Sandy. In 2010 and 2011, we also saw 19 storms, the record was set in 2005 with an astounding 27 storms. The weather is getting wilder so let’s take a much closer look at hurricanes.

Hurricanes are nature’s fiercest storms, with about 18 occurring each year.

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Story ran in Malibu Times January 13, 2013

Since 2006, seventy three million sharks, annually, have been slaughtered, that’s approximately a half a billion dead animals. That means as high as 90 percent of sharks around the globe have been decimated in the vast open oceans. Poachers are now even hunting sharks in reserves e.g. Columbia’s Malpelo Wildlife Sanctuary.

When top-predators are removed there’s a dreadful reverberation that results throughout entire ecosystems. Predators keep ecosystems in balance. They cull the old and weak – essentially ensuring a high level of fitness amongst their prey.

When humans brutally massacre sharks for their fins (fining them alive and throwing them back into the sea) food webs unravel. Currently, we are knowingly impoverishing all oceans. As a result, jellyfish populations are exploding and new diseases are emerging.

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beaut valley

The most magnificent and extensive garden’s the Western world has ever seen are located 12 miles outside Paris at Louis XIVs Palace – Versailles.

Louis identified, at a young age, with Apollo and adopted the sun as his emblem. In fact, he danced as Apollo in one of the more than 40 ballets he performed in as a youth.

The Sun King’s emblem was extensively used: inlaid into furniture, marble floors, woven into carpets and ballet costumes, wrought into gates and grilles, carved into marble vases for the gardens and into door panels of staterooms of the Palace.

Prior to 1661, King Louis XIII used Versailles as a hunting retreat.

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White Sands, New Mexico

Children often ask: Why is history so important? For which I regularly answer – because the past is rich with information and lessons.

From about AD 800 to 1300 the Earth underwent a slight warming period so dubbed “The Medieval Warm Period.” Most places experienced milder winters and longer summers but temperature differences never amounted to more than one degree C or so. And everywhere was not necessarily warmer. For example, the eastern Pacific was cooler and drier.

Globally, the climate went through sudden and unpredictable swings. The most startling was the extent and duration of droughts.

The difference between 20 millimeters or eight-tenths of an inch of precipitation spells the difference between life and death.

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Story ran on Huffington Post, Feb 16, 2013

Honeybees are incomparable; their honey is one of Nature’s greatest riches attracting honey-hunting humans for millions of years dating back into the Paleolithic period as far back as the Old Stone Age.

Archeologists have documented almost 400 sites in 17 regions, including Europe, North and South Africa, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, where ancient peoples recorded the cherished honey-hunt in detailed petroglyphs.

Shamans with supernatural powers climbed trees with vine ladders, carrying collection baskets tied to their waists, to fearlessly raid hives. The shamans knew that honey was loaded with vitamins and minerals.

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Southern California switched-on grade 4 student :)

Trees and their ancestors have been on our planet for more than 350 million years. It seems rather fitting that both tree scientists and jewelers treasure their fossilized parts.

Amber is fossilized tree resin or pitch that was once deliberately exuded from conifers or cone bearing trees. Sticky resin is a protective mechanism allowing trees to seal wounds, such as branch or bark breaks, or insects that attack by boring into the tree. Not only does the resin seal the wound, it also has potent antiseptic properties that protect trees from air borne diseases.

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The exposed structural roots of this ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine resemble arms like that of a giant squid. White Mtns, Calif, Earth Dr Reese Halter's root research circa 1989

The antiquitous sedimentary White Mountains of east central California are home to the world’s oldest living trees – the venerable Great Basin bristlecone pines. Some of these trees have witnessed more than 1.68 million sunrises.

It seems fitting that the oldest trees on Earth should be living on layers of rock that started as sand and mud or shells deposited on the bottom of a shallow, warm sea 600 million years ago.

The White Mountains are the second highest in California next to the Sierra Nevada’s and the third-highest peak at 14,246 feet above sea level. Being located just east of the Sierra’s means that the White Mountains are dry. Most of the scant precipitation falls as snow, the remainder comes as isolated thunderstorms. From November to April the climate is inhospitable with 100 mile per hour winds occurring frequently.

At two miles above sea level the ultraviolet radiation is extreme. July and August are the hottest months, with average temperatures rarely exceeding 50 degrees F. and precipitation is a meager 12 inches per year.

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