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Reese Halter's Blog


Tag Archives: Oprah

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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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 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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story ran on Sierra Madre Tattler Sept 3, 2013

Climate change has imposed a long-lasting drought gripping the West, ringing out every last drop of fresh water from the Rio Grande to the Los Angeles basin including our picturesque community of Sierra Madre.

Once upon a time the nearly 11,000 denizens of Sierra Madre had a plentiful source of drinking water; snowpack spring melt waters and rainfall from the Angeles Mountains, home to the thousand year old subalpine limber pines, provided enough moisture to recharge our aquifers – a reliable and abundant supply of ground water.

Prolonged irregular precipitation patterns with above normal temperatures have placed Sierra Madre in a dire predicament: An extreme water shortage.

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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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