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Archive for the ‘Environmental Concerns’ Category

One of the most creative and latest/greatest social sites being placed out on the world wide web recently is a site called, Soul Needs!

It really works on getting to know people for their wholesome goodness, as well as a place for each and every person to come and explore fitness by way of the mind, body and soul.

Create your own profile.

Explore the “Circles”, various communities centered around specific topics or needs for fulfillment — or, create your own.

Take the many quizes available on the site to explore where you stand with your mind, body, and soul.

There are also other areas in development — entertainment and events, to begin with.

If you are wanting something a little more fulfilling than the social sites you have been to lately, you really should take the time to explore this more by clicking on the link below:

 

SoulNeeds Beta – Dashboard – txbluebonnet.

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On January 9th of this year, a posting was made by Timmy called “You want what?”.   In the posting he states:  

Today’s Kick in the Ass goes to an anonymous person, or asshat, who filed a claim against the federal government for of $3 quadrillion for over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina.For the sake of perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which was $13.2 trillion in 2007. A stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn.Or maybe this would be a better way to put it in perspective – compare that to $250. That’s the amount FEMA gave residents of my area when in September 2004 Hurricane Ivan dumped 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Nine inches is an unbelievable amount of water to come roaring thousands of feet down mountains and into already flooding streams. The result was the worst flash flooding in the history of the area. That’s where the “impressive” numbers stop. Because unlike some other natural disasters that gained the attention of the world and the backing of disaster efforts and corporate moneys, “only” dozens were killed. “Only” hundreds of homes destroyed. “Only” thousands were displaced. The town I once lived in, Jacksonburg, was wiped off the map. The town was situated on the inside of a huge horseshoe bend in the creek. A temporary earth and culvert bridge had been put in place to allow work on the existing bridge. This became a dam as soon as the wave of water brought trees off the hills. Within minutes, dozens of homes were gone. These were homes built out of the 100 year flood plane, and no one ever imagined flood water could possibly reach them, including my aunt’s home. How did people recover? Neighbors helped them out, mostly. The company me and some other residents worked for declined to help saying the numbers just weren’t there.

But at least not one opportunistic attorney got rich.

This is certainly an atrocity with the audacity of some thinking that they are going to sue the government, especially, for such an exorbitant and outrageous sum of money.  That being said, though, I responded on his posting with the following comment:

I so concur with your thoughts on this.  Any suit would be insanity and justification in comparison to what??

True.  The Katrina victims did face great adversity in their plight; however, years have gone by, and at some point in time, a line in the sand should be drawn, and those same victims should say to themselves, “While we were victims during the Katrina hurricane storm, we are now Katrina survivors!” and work to strive to empower themselves to move forward, out of adversity, and towards a better life for themselves and their community.  At some point, the past can be remembered, but shove the memory to the past and allow all to move to the recovery and survivor mode.

Okay, okay.

Off of my soapbox — for now…

Of course, I don’t want to downplay the enormity of the devastation felt by New Orleans and its surrounding communities; however, at some point of time advocating must be done towards moving the victims from the poor pitiful me stage to empower them to say that they are victors above all because they have overcome such an awful fate of nature that day.

I am sure that there are many victims of the Katrina that have moved forward and are looking at this suit as “Oh, God, when will be able to forget and move on without this being played out and expanded in the media again and again and again??” or “When can the healing process begin without having constant reminders of the past?”

What is really going to be served at attempting to bankrupt the very government that continues to issue grants and support in many continuing situations throughout our society?  Are they really thinking this all the way through?  Do they really want to be remembered for causing a riff in the economy from a potentially bankrupt government, as well as the affect on our children and other members of the society throughout the United States, as well as other parts of the world that we, as a nation of people, do help to support???

Does anyone have a true good solution???  I’d really love to hear it…

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In Slate.com there was a cartoon that indicated the lack of US cooperation with the Global Warming issue.  With Al Gore’s campaign for the “Inconvenient Truth” that he has been doing in the past few years, you would think that the prospect of US’s involvement with the global warming issues would be higher.  What this cartoon fails to portray is the thought of what cooperation is being had by the other countries in this world.  I wonder what that would actually look like????

080102_ed.gif

 

 

 

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in my apartment. It has a lot of good possibilities; however, I have been busy trying to make ends meet and have some for savings, that it never seems to find the way to the feng shui. lol…

Any ideas???

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“Asabe Ladagu, a Christian widow in this capital city of Borno state in northern Nigeria, has survived without income the past 16 months. It was that long ago, the former librarian told Compass, that Muslim administrators at Ramat Polytechnic forced her into early retirement – without pay – after she and others requested land to build a chapel.

The Christians viewed the denial as deliberate discrimination against Christians by Muslim administrators at a time when there were seven mosques on campus.”

 ~~Nigeria: Ramat Polytechnic Discriminates Against Christians

Can you believe that this is about a current day issue and not something that just happened during Biblical times?   With all the advancement of technology and forward thinking, you would have thought that we would be much more above and beyond this — no matter what part of the world we all live in!

 

 

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[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0IQNwZ-zsI]

 [YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-LzM9fMS-0]

What is it that Toronto really represents??? 🙂

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Quite possibly! In response to another blogger’s blog posting, I responded:

“It is indeed something to think about… China, Mexico, and many other countries are mass producing things for us….

but, flags have to rise when are products are being imported tainted with things that could kill each and every one of us and the environment we know it to be.

As ecological conscience we Americans are purported to be, you would think that the ecological organizations would also rise to the occasion to speak out and alert American Businesses to quickly begin to rethink our mass productions to be done here in the States for the safety consideration of one and all here.

Can you tell? It most certainly has been on my mind lately……”

What was his blog posting…. See below:

“With a lot of manufacturing jobs moving over to China, are we setting ourselves up for failure???? Hmmmmmmm…….

Let’s look at the facts that have been uncovered in recent months. I’ll start with the mass pet food recall that killed several pets. The cause of the recall was because of contaminated ingredient glutin, which was imported from China.

It gets worse. The U.S. is importing seafood from China. Some of it is farm raised in ponds that the EPA would condem. This food is not being properly inspected and tested by the FDA. Yet, we Americans keep buying it.

And for the latest, Matel is recalling millions of toys because the paint used on them contains excessive amounts of lead. And these toys are made guess where… That’s right! China.

Are we really better off getting our food and goods from China? They could be taking us down without us even knowing it. What would happen if the U.S. got involved in a major war similar to WWII? We would not have the manufacturing capabilities to produce the goods necessary to defend ourselves like we did during WWII. We will not have the experienced workers necessay to man the factories, let alone the factories to make the goods.

Think about it………”

What do you think? Have you been trying to sort out the madness lately in the news????

 

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It certainly has its point driven home. What ARE the carmakers going to do to eliminate the gas guzzler’s on the road? True. There are the hybrids that are saving many consumers hundreds, if not thousands of gas expenses, each year; but, the prices of most of the hybrid vehicles are still seemingly out of reach for the average car buyer these days.

What do you think???

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This first clip is from Coronado High School for a Environmental Awareness Informercial Project. A bit silly at times, but I think that they drive their point across:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BldbzKBE1Iw]

and, not so entertaining videos as prepared by Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District Public Affairs Manager Deborah Bass who gives insight into how this virus, which currently has no human vaccine, can impact the health of the public.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YirZ77EvA8Y]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYw9uu2tIck]

 

 

 

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For 6 years now, the West Nile Virus has been hitting the crow population hard. Scientific American’s May 17th, 2007, article, “West Nile Hammers U.S. Birds”, spells it out best.

“Now a major analysis confirms that American crows have been extremely hard hit nationwide–populations have fallen by 45% since the West Nile virus arrived–and several other common birds continue to decline as well.”

However, with some bird populations bouncing back from the devastations of the disease, the article concludes with the following caution:

“Ecologist Carsten Rahbek of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark notes in an accompanying commentary that the study shows that “West Nile virus could potentially change the composition of bird communities across the entire continent.” That could bode ill for plants, Kilpatrick notes, as many of the birds eat caterpillars and other pests, while others disperse seeds. The crisis for birds isn’t over yet, adds ecologist Kevin McGowan of Cornell University in Ithaca, as a lot of birds have not yet been exposed.”

One cannot help but think about how all the viruses (good and bad) are affecting our world.

See also…

What is one Bee’s Pleasure is Another’s Disdain?

PS. If you see a dead bird or squirrel, or suspect symptoms of the West Nile Virus, call 1-877-WNV-BIRD, IF you are in the State of California only.  If you see a dead bird or squirrel, in any another State, please contact your local animal control or health agencies in your State.

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This seems to be the latest blasts from the conservative Republicans and they seem to be standing behind the Christopher Horner (a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) who has put together a book called, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism), where he seems to combat every issue that Mr. Al Gore has presented to be true in a very Oscar approval way with his campaign.

Now, whether or not the book by Christopher Horner is based upon fact or fiction, or if the campaign that Al Gore has been heading up during the past years is fact or fiction, I am not here to say.  I haven’t the time to analyze every word for every word; hopefully, some scientists will be able to make heads or tales from what are seemingly, at this point in time, great hypothesis arguments from each point of view.

While I do know that we should be careful about our use of our resources on this Earth, I don’t think that we need to run around like Chicken Little and say that the day of gloom is today, or even tomorrow.  Changing our behaviours to conserve our resources can never really be a bad thing; after all,  we do need to not be greedy with our resources and destroy them for future generations.  However, do we need to be in panic mode and go into alternative behaviours without a well thought out process?  I am not quite so sure; after all, who is to say that the seemingly well thought out process is actually the wrong choice and, in the end creates more harm than good.

After all, we have some other baffling things at hand — like the virus created for the demise of the fire ants, but is it the same type of virus that is affecting the bees and their contribution to pollination, which in turn affects the growth of our  food production???  Stay tuned…

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism)

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Last Sunday, after I got off of work, I drove to different Churches for more pictures of crosses for my Cross Project.  Got some, but stopped in my tracks when I saw this tree, propped with 2x4s all around the tree trunks, then surrounded by wire fence all around with a diameter of more than 6-8 feet.  I thought to myself, “Dang!  They are going to make sure that if someone runs into those trees during construction, that person is going to know it and others are indeed going to know it was very intentional!” 

Austin is well know for its conservation approaches to many of the surrounding lands.  This was a welcomed relief while on those Church grounds after seeing for the past month a large hill being topped off because they are building a ranch on top of that hill just past Bell Mountain off of RR 2222.

There is hope still!!

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One of my many fond memories of my childhood is being very little (maybe 4 or 5 – the age that many older adults still enjoy picking you up and letting you sit on their knees). We were sitting outside in the “courtyard” of sorts between my Grandparent’s home and the guest house that was attached to a detached garage (detached from the main home, that is). The yard had a huge pine tree that overpowered the levels of the roofs of the structures and hid the water well from view. Along the sidewalks and the outer outlining areas, separating it from the rest of the ranchland were many flowerbeds that had roses and daisies planted in them. They were all a-bloom.

One of the visitors that my Grandma had over was an older man and a friend to my Grandma and Grandma. I always loved it when he would come over because he would bring us the largest jar of honey that you would have ever seen in your life with the largest honeycomb right smack in the middle of it. I loved picking up the honeycomb and allowing the fresh honey to be dribbled all into my mouth. It was almost tradition that my Grandma would let me have the first taste of the fresh honey brought to us.

My Grandma would have made fresh bread for this occasion and we would spoon heaping spoonfuls of honey all upon the hot bread and savored each and every bite as my sister and I would play outdoors and the adults would continue talking beyond when the sun went down.

Before the sun went down though, I sat on this man’s knees for a bit. A bee landed upon my knee and I quickly got the attention of everyone by saying, “Grandma!” without even a flinch. This man quickly patted me on the back and assured me that, if we just watch the bee, he will fly away soon and look for something else to light upon. The bee did fly away while the beekeeper continued to tell us a story about how he collects the honey from the bees and how the bees were our friends.

Apparently, this story wasn’t heard near and far though!!

Katie Couric, from the CBS News, aired a story entitled, “FYI: What’s happening to the bees? Lots of theories but little proof as scientists scramble to solve what could be an agriculture crisis!” She started out with the story about a Pennsylvania farmer:

“As if by one sudden swoop, thousands of bees disappeared from the Pennsylvania farm of Dave Hackenberg. But he was just the first of hundreds of bee farmers — also known as apiarists — to report a sudden die-off or depopulation of their hives to researchers.

He told National Geographic: ‘In almost 50 years as a beekeeper, I’ve never seen anything like it.'”

and then continued by explaining:

“In short, a quarter of the country’s 2.4 million bee colonies have been decimated or lost. There are many theories about what’s caused the loss, but there is no definitive answer.

One thing has almost been agreed upon: Scientists are calling this Colony Collapse Disorder. Well, except for those who call it Fall Dwindle Disease (the phenomenon’s former name).

A Congressional Research Service report for members of Congress listed the following possible causes of CCD, as reported by scientists.

 

  • Parasites, mites, and disease loads in the bees and brood
  • Known/unknown pathogens
  • Poor nutrition among adult bees
  • Level of stress in adult bees (e.g., transportation and confinement of
    bees, or other environmental or biological stressors)
  • Chemical residue/contamination in the wax, food stores and/or bees
  • Lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees
  • A combination of several factors”
  • and concluded with some resources that will be posted at this end of this blog posting.

    In the meantime, I am remembering another story where a virus has been developed to destroy the pesty and annoying fire ants, such as in the May 7, 2007, CNN story entitled, “Fire Ants May Have Met Their Match”. They said:

    “Researchers have pinpointed a naturally occurring virus that kills the ants, which arrived in the U.S. in the 1930s and now cause $6 billion in damage annually nationwide, including about $1.2 billion in Texas.

    The virus caught the attention of U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers in Florida in 2002. The agency is now seeking commercial partners to develop the virus into a pesticide to control fire ants.

    The virus was found in about 20 percent of fire ant fields, where it appears to cause the slow death of infected colonies.”

    They are now looking for a partner to introduce this virus into pesticides. But one has to wonder if by gambling with the development of this virus that, supposedly just affects the ants, isn’t potentially affecting our bee supply too????

    With so much biotechnology being developed, one has to wonder if, perhaps, development of some viruses could also be an upset to our balance of nature. What do you think?????

    *******************************************************************

    As promised, some of the additional resources for more information about bees that was given in the CBS News article are (for quick access):

    USDA’s “National Honey Report”

    The National Honey Board – This month’s top topic is the “Colony Collapse Disorder”

    Prepared Testimony of Diana Cox-Foster, Professor Department of Entomology at the Pennsylvania State University before the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture on Colony Collapse Disorder in Honey Bee Colonies in the United States, March 29, 2007

    Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Recent Honey Bee Colony Declines, March 26, 2007, by Renee Johnson, Analyst in Agricultural Economics (Resources, Science, and Industry Division) for the members and committees of Congress

    Honey Locator

    Additional Resources:

    National Human Genome Research Institute

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    having the oil/gas companies fund our health care programs, from the obvious profits that they are squirreling away, so that everyone can have access to health care equally???

    Either the oil/gas companies will tire of having to foot the health care access bills or they will drop the oil/gas prices in effort to get out of paying for the health care access for all.

    LOL…

    Sad, but it could happen — couldn’t it???       😉

    Just a thought!

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    A friend of mine from Canada sent this to me…

    Imagine the effect (if it would really work):

    “Our gas went up this week to about $5.00 gallon for regular. So I won’t pump gas on the 15th NO GAS…On May 15th 2007

    Don’t pump gas on MAY 15th

    In April 1997, there was a “gas out” conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.

    On May 15th 2007, all internet users are to not go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places.

    There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the internet network, and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000.00 (that’s almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies pockets for just one day, so please do not go to the gas station on May 15th and lets try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day.

    If you agree (which I cant see why you wouldn’t) resend this to all your contact list. With it saying, ‘Don’t pump gas on May 15th!'”

    I checked with Snopes and this is what they said:

    [well, unfortunately, I cannot provide you this information because Snopes emailed me and stated that:

    “It is a violation of copyright law to reproduce copyright-protected material without the permission of the rightsholder. Whether or not you credit the source is irrelevant.

     

    You did not ask for, and did not receive, our permission to reproduce our material. Please remove it from your blog immediately.”

     

    According to them, it didn’t matter that I gave them credit of the quoted material for the context of supporting why I the “Gas Out” email is false in accordance to their research. I tried to get clarification on it and, even after several emails back and forth, they wouldn’t budge in insisting that I remove everything that I had quoted them saying. It would seem that, when their contribution to the world is dispelling myths and urban legends, they would appreciate being quoted and credited with the URL to their site.]

     

    At any rate, I truly wish that we wouldn’t be a “Who” in “Whoville” waiting for “Horton” to hear our complaints about the gas prices. There has to be a viable alternative that we can do to make the “Who” in “Whoville’s” voice heard about the stammering increases of oil prices.

    I know that the high prices have changed what I do during the week. On the days that I am off from work, I tend to just stay home, albeit who gets punished really? Me (and others out there like me), because it can be depressing to just stay home and not use up more gas that absolutely necessary to get one to and from work.

    In Austin, I have seen many bicyclists travel on Loop 360. They have made an impact on not using any gas when they ride their bikes to and from work. Of course, we can have a bike or walk day; but, that is only effective for those who are lucky to live near where they work.

    Something that might be interesting to try is to curtail vacations from being far away to those vacations that are in our neighborhoods. That wouldn’t be just shifting the date of purchase of the gas; it would actually have an effect by affecting the gas companies from less gas being purchased from June through August for the purpose to traveling to far away destinations for mere pleasure. So, perhaps, instead of a Gas Out per se by not pumping on a certain day, perhaps the campaign that should be floating around is a campaign to “Vacation at Home in Summer 2007!”

    Do you have any ideas or suggestions that would be equally or more effective????

    UPDATE: Texas Legislation Proposed Action – Gas Tax Out Vacation Option

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