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Reese Halter's Blog

NATURE'S BLUEPRINT

Tag Archives: ellen degeneres

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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The mysterious lives of lobsters have intrigued humans since their first description by Pliny in 100 AD – and for many good reasons.

With lobster names like: Hunchback locust, regal slipper, marbled mitten, velvet fan, musical furry, unicorn, buffalo blunt-horn, African spear, Arabian whip and rough Spanish; it’s not difficult to see that some 45 species of ocean dwelling lobsters with a global annual worth of $31 billion are of culinary and scientific interest.

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wild flowers

Story ran Malibu Times July 25, 2012

This Earth Week I’m giving thanks for all the magnificent hummingbirds I’ve watched this spring, these little beauties are worthy of our admiration; let me tell you why.

The diminutive warm-blooded hummingbirds of the West are beautiful, fearless and possess magical-like qualities. Rufous, Anna’s, black-chinned and calliope hummingbirds appear during the late spring and early summer. They attain speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour and migrate some 1,700 miles to their wintering habitat in Mexico.

Hummingbirds are often heard – by their hum – before they are seen. Their feather colors are a combination of brilliant iridescents and metallics. Their beaks are needle-like in shape. They have extremely strong chest muscles that account for 30 percent of their body mass – the highest of any migratory birds. These muscles enable them to roll their shoulder joints back and, using their wing tips projected in a flat figure of eight, they hover. In fact they accomplish this extraordinaire feat of 200 beats per seconds in the same manner of a variable-pitch rotor on a helicopter. By slightly altering the wing angle they can move forward, backward, sideways and with ease perform upside-down maneuvers. There are about 10,000 species of birds, of which only 328 kinds of hummingbirds can hover.

Hummingbirds are specialists. They co-evolved with flowering nectar-rich plants over the past 40 million years. These remarkable birds have helped shape the landscapes of South, Central and North America. They have been Mother Nature’s emissaries of evolution and curators of diversity.

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Story ran in Huffington Post August 14, 2012

Humans and dogs have shared an inseparable bond that dates back well over 15,000 years. Throughout the ages our constant companions offered unconditional love and friendship, and now new research shows they empathize with us.

Dogs have played a pivotal role in human history. They have acted as draft animals, assisted with hunting and herding, offered both warmth and protection, guided the blind and they have humored us with play.

The first evidence of dogs and humans being buried together comes from a German site ‘Bonn-Oberkassel’ about 14,000 years ago. Also around that period dogs followed humans across the Bering Land Bridge into North America. The first evidence of human and dog internment was recorded at Danger Cave, Utah some 11,000 years ago.

It now turns out that people and dogs are linked very closely from behavioral patterns associated with a simple yawn.

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Story ran in Huffington Post July 5, 2012

A couple years ago artist Matthew Mazzotta’s idea of turning dog waste (methane gas) into renewable energy caught the world’s attention with the ignition of a continuous flame at Park Spark in Cambridge, Mass. Since then, his splendid public awareness campaign of turning dog pooh into biogas has inspired other students and entrepreneurs across America, Australia and the UK to take waste and turn it into lucrative energy.

The dog-park biogas process is relatively simple: Pet owners stoop and scoop using a biodegradable bag, and toss bags into a methane digester on one of the two air-tight 500-gallon steel tanks. Microbes and water in the septic tanks work in an oxygen-free zone breaking down the dog pooh; methane gas is released, rises and is ready to be used as energy. At Park Spark it is piped directly into an old-fashioned gas-burning lamppost.

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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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