Earth Hour – 29 March 2014

Monica:

I can’t wait to see the stars!

Originally posted on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor:

Today, Saturday 29th March 2014, billions of peoplein over one hundred and fifty countries (that means over seven thousand cities) will turn out the lights. A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) initiative, dating back to 2007, has once again united the world in an effort to bring attention to energy consumption, sustainability and climate change issues.

This remarkable annual global occurrence takes place between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm (YOUR) local time.  Starting in New Zealand and ending in Tahiti, lights of some of the world’s most iconic monuments, landmarks and skylines will be switched off. Many will also turn off their televisions, computers, Xboxes and PlayStations, and any other power-driven gadgets they have.  

This is undoubtedly the largest ever collaboration to help safeguard the planet, and numbers of participants are growing every year. The hour has, in many places, evolved into something much longer. Environmental projects are taking…

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Gray Wolf Protection/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Comment Period

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal agency charged with administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on land. wikipedia/Endangered Species Act  The ESA was enacted by Congress in 1973 and has been called “the Magna Carta” of the environmental movement”. –Historian Kevin Starr, quoted in Wikipedia above.

USFWS is required to use fact and science to decide which wild creatures will be added to or removed from ESA protections.  This is a tall order for a politically-impassioned reality that encompasses wolves.  It seems fair to say that USFWS has not yet lived up to its mandate.

The currently-proposed USFWS rule would remove wolves from the ESA in the remaining 45 states where they continue to enjoy federal protection.  USFWS recently extended the comment period on this proposed rule until March 27, 2014.  The comment period was extended to give those interested an opportunity to speak about a recently-issued independent scientific peer review report on USFWS’s proposal.

This report was prepared by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara (NCEAS).  It discusses the benefits wolves bring to ecosystems they inhabit and NCEAS’ conclusions that the present state of wolf recovery does not justify removing them from ESA protection.

It is important to understand what the proposed USFWS rule will and will not do.  Wolves in three states – Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana – have already been removed from federal protection.  This was accomplished a few years ago by congressional action on a “must-pass-or-the-government-will-cease-to-function” budget bill.   This bill included the wolf de-listing proviso; many voted for it who might otherwise have opted to continue wolf recovery.  The legislation stipulated that each of the three states submit to the USFWS a plan for the management of wolves within their state.  When USFWS approved the plan, as it has done in all three states, hunting could begin.  Wyoming’s “shoot on sight” management plan was approved and is in effect.  Wolf numbers are down by huge percentages in these states. 

Sadly, nothing about the proposed rule will change this.  Wolf hunting in these three states will continue whether or not the proposed rule is promulgated.  The only fix for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where most wolves in the lower 48 are located, will be either congressional action or a wholesale change in attitude.  The proposed rule anticipates removing federal protections for wolves elsewhere in the lower 48 states. 

Nevertheless, opposing this rule is important.  Wolves have not recovered; removing them from ESA protection throughout the U.S. would insure they never will.

Please raise your voices for those without a voice:

Submit your comment to USFWS by March 27 by following this link:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073-43030

and sign the petition circulated by Congressman Peter DeFazio of Oregon and directed to USFWS Director Dan Ashe:

http://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/respect-science-and-maintain-endangered-species-act-protections-for-gray-wolves

Thank you!

Posted in Department of the Interior, ecology, Nature, politics, science, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, wolves | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wolves Give Life

This gorgeous video comes courtesy of Shelley Coldiron, executive director of W.O.L.F.,  and Amelia Curzon, who blogs at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor  The video explores the ways in which wolves are regenerating the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park and even changing the course of rivers!

As regular visitors for years to Yellowstone, we have noticed the change in elk and even buffalo behavior.  More wary and alert, elk do not graze, heads down, for long periods in one location.  They watch and move.  We assumed this was a learned response to wolf re-introduction.  And now the beneficial effect on vegetation, streams and rivers, and the animals who congregate there is becoming clear.

Wolves renew, taking the weak and the sick, who might otherwise die of starvation; leaving the strong to procreate, returning balance to the areas they inhabit.  Like fire, like wolves.  The fire that cleanses, purifies, makes room, restores, renews, regenerates, gives life.  Like fire, like wolves.

Wolves give life!  Let us raise our voices in praise!

A note to my special blogging friends on WordPress, whose work I adore:

Please forgive me for being less responsive of late.  I have begun two projects, potentially major.  Both involve wolves.  These projects are in the thinking, planning, and researching stages.  In order to get them off the ground, I will have to join with other people – Yikes!!  I have always preferred to work alone, and that will have to change!  I must be more like a wolf in cooperative effort – my survival is at stake, too.

When the project is something more than an idea, I want to share it with you and get your feedback.  In the meantime, I am thinking of you and hoping what is dear to your hearts is also bearing fruit.  Blessings to you, dear Bloggers!

The “deer” in the video are really elk, but this has no effect on the point made.
Posted in blogging, Department of the Interior, ecology, national parks, Nature, politics, science, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, wilderness, wolves, Yellowstone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Belly Laughs for Breakfast

I have a TV screen in the kitchen, where I often indulge my addiction to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) while I cook.  Today I saw a few snippets from the middle of Tugboat Annie, a 1933 classic with Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery.  Both Dressler and Beery have the most expressive voices and faces – faces which could launch a thousand tugboats.
Here’s what I heard:

Wallace Beery dancing with Marie Dressler:

 You seem to have more feet than most people!

And she to him earlier in the movie when talking about his uncomfortable new shoes:

 I told you to wear the box they came in!

A drunken Wallace Beery talking about his erstwhile employer:

I wouldn’t spit on him if he was on fire!

Marie Dressler to her son (Robert Young) about Beery:

Your father never struck me in his life!!! … except in self defense!

Maybe you had to be there!  Cheers and good belly laughing!

Posted in humor, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Citizen Advocate Programs

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is setting up Citizen Advocacy programs across the U.S. and inviting us all to participate.  These programs are focused on approaching the challenge of dealing with climate change.  The NRDC proposes to train participants in the art of changing minds. Here’s what they say about their purpose:

NRDC Citizen Advocates has two purposes. The first is to create the political will for a livable planet and a clean energy future. Our initial focus is to support the President’s climate plan. If we successfully defend the Clean Air Act, the EPA, and the President’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants, the result will be a 25% reduction of those emissions by 2025 and a 30% reduction by 2030.

These outcomes are a critical step forward.  They will increase the competitiveness of green energy alternatives and increase the rate at which they are deployed in the economy.

The engine that will generate these results is the energy, passion, and activities that you and other Citizen Advocates will take. And that leads directly to our second purpose…

The benefits to you

The second purpose of NRDC Citizen Advocates is to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in expressing their personal and political power. This is HOW you will help us achieve our first purpose. It is also a huge benefit to you. Can you imagine going from feeling the situation is hopeless and that you can’t make a difference, to feeling like you are truly making a difference?

As a Citizen Advocate, you’ll start from wherever you are—in terms of your personal skills and power— and learn to do things you’ve never done before. We’re committed to doing everything we possibly can to make sure that you have those breakthroughs and feel that your efforts really are making a difference in dealing with the carbon crises.

The NRDC as an organization knows how to accomplish its goals.  The possibility of sharing in some of that knowledge and accomplishing something of value appeals to me.  If it appeals to you, too, here are the times and places for the initial meetings in Little Rock, Arkansas; Springfield, Illinois; Lansing, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; and Denver Colorado:

The NRDC invites you to find out more by attending a 2.5 – 3.0 hour Advocacy Team Startup event:

Little Rock, Arkansas
Saturday January 25, 2014
1:30 – 4:30 pm
Main Library
100 Rock Street
Click to R.S.V.P.

Springfield, Illinois
Sunday, January 26, 2014
2:00 ‐ 5:00 p.m.
Jubilee Farm
6760 Old Jacksonville Road
Click to R.S.V.P.

Lansing, Michigan
Monday January 27, 2014
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Michigan Environmental Council
602 W. Ionia Street
Click to R.S.V.P.

Des Moines, Iowa
Tuesday January 28, 2014
6:30 – 9:30 pm
The Mickle Center
1620 Pleasant Street
Click to R.S.V.P.

St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday January 30, 2014
7:00 – 9:30 pm
Ethical Society
9001 Clayton Road
Click to R.S.V.P.

Denver, Colorado
Saturday February 1, 2014
9:30 ‐ 12:30 am
Capitol Heights Presbyterian
1100 Fillmore Street
Click to R.S.V.P. (I’ll be there.)

For questions or comments, please contact Harold Hedelman at: hhedelman@NRDC.org

Thank you!

Posted in politics, science | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

33 Word Challenge – Who is your God in Buddha’s Heaven of 33?

Taking up the 33-word challenge from Trifecta via Polysyllabic Profundities
Here is my contribution to Buddha’s heaven:Black wolf, white wolf

Burnished gold eyes see into your heart.
Uplifted ears hear what you need not speak.
Alert senses understand intention.
Throat voices life’s joy and sadness.
Cooperative spirit and fierce will
model survival skills.

(And this place is heaven, too.)
Posted in blogging, wolves | Tagged , | 33 Comments

Delisting the Wolf – Your Help is Needed!

Monica:

Here are additional/alternative ways to comment on the wolf de-listing, provided courtesy of Amelia at Mungai and the Goa Constrictor and Carmen Mandel. Thank you!!

Originally posted on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor:

Grey wolf howling

Image: Lynn M. Stone / Nature Picture Library

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in its comment period on their proposal to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48.  Hearings are being held throughout the country.  If you can go, please do.  If that’s not possible, please write or call.  They need to hear from people who want the wolf protected, not only from those who don’t.

AMENDMENT
Many thanks to my good friend, Carmen Mandel, for providing a DIRECT LINK to add your comments. Please add yours. There are almost 32,000 signatures, as I write this, but this figure falls a long way short of previous opportunities.
This is so important
Please add your comment now
Your Voice in Federal Decision-Making

ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO COMMENT
Please click here for details

Click here for more details:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Related…

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Posted in blogging, Department of the Interior, Nature, politics, science, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, wilderness, wolves, Yellowstone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Wolves – De-Listed?

Wolves Cross the Road
photo from “Wolves Cross the Road” in Wild Wolf Encounters, True Stories of Wolves in the Wild

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed to de-list the gray wolf in the lower 48 United States.  USFWS thinks wolves are fully recovered as a healthy population and can withstand anything thrown their way.  If this proposed regulation is enacted, the wolf would lose the protections of the Endangered Species Act in the states where such protections still exist.  We have seen what has happened when wolves were de-listed in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  These states submitted management plans to the USFWS which permitted hunting of hundreds of wolves, down to a population of approximately 100 a state.  USFWS approved these plans, and the frenzied slaughter continues.  Most of our country’s wolves existed in those three states and in the national parks which adjoin them.  You have heard me talk about this here before – many times.

Comments on this proposed de-listing can be made to USFWS electronically through December 17, 2013 by following this link:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service electronic comments (The link www.regulations.gov is not functioning at the time of posting; hopefully it will soon work. Please don’t give up.) Update: link is now functioning.  Docket ID number is
FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073-30560  You need this number to enter a comment; number is sometimes but not always available on the link (!).

USFWS is coming to Colorado and will hold a public hearing on November 19.  I will be there to give my comments in person.  On October 16, Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation organizations hosted a public comment meeting to replace one cancelled by USFWS when the federal government shut down.   I also made comments at this hearing.  What follows is some version of the comments I intend to give November 19 and something like the comments I did give on October 16.

Please, inform yourselves about what is happening and is about to happen to wolves in this country.  If you care, communicate with USFWS.  They need to hear from more people who have a stake in ongoing wolf recovery and protection in the U.S.

Thank you.

And thank you, Mungai and the Goa Constrictor, for spreading the word on this and other issues and for encouraging me to do the same.

November 19, 2013 Proposed Remarks to US Fish and Wildlife Service:
Hello U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
So happy to have you here, so you can see and hear firsthand how concerned the speakers tonight are about the continued viability on the land, the continued flourishing, the long-term good health of the gray wolf.  As they go, so do we go.
Some of us attended and spoke at the meeting held October 16 at the University of Denver College of Law.  Just to be sure you got my remarks from that meeting, I have submitted them as a comment.  This comment tonight is more of a plea from the heart.  Perhaps you might call it a scream from the heart.
What is happening to the gray wolf in the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming is nothing short of a nightmare.  I wish it were only a nightmare, but it’s a living truth.  Those states have submitted, and you have approved, management plans which called for and successfully carried out the killing of most of the wolves in those states.  Numbers don’t lie.  They don’t even exaggerate.  The small population that survives can’t, without being shot, migrate outside limited national park boundaries to insure reproductive health of the species; may not be able to sustain themselves through cycles of disease; may not continue to thrive in the face of climate change which affects the habitat, health and numbers of their prey populations.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t seem to understand that Americans want wolves on the land.  We want their beauty, we need their wildness, we value the benefits they bring to the ecosystems they inhabit.  We crave a connection to wolves.  Thousands flock to the national parks in the hope of seeing them.  And when we are indeed lucky enough to see them, we realize that the fairy tales we were weaned on have nothing at all to do with their reality.
Wolves are not ferocious creatures eager to slash and kill.  They are glorious wild things, not subject to our control but still very curious about us, willing to stop and take a good look.  Those encounters are moments to cherish for a lifetime.
When wolves were protected by the Endangered Species Act throughout the country, I got up every morning and thought to myself, today is a good day.  Wolves are safe.  You can imagine what it’s like to get up today and be forced to confront the slaughter that passes for an approved management plan.
The mission statement of the USFWS, as set forth in the June 13 bulletin initiating the comment period for proposed regulations concerning gray and Mexican wolves, requires you to:
 work… with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people (emphasis added).
It also requires you to:
actively engage… with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species
 [F]or the continuing benefit of the American people – not just for a few people, not just for the ones who live near wolf populations; not just for people who are privileged to graze cattle on public land near wolf populations – land that belongs to every one of us in this room and in this country; but for all Americans, for me, for my children, for all of us and all our children, for our land, for our ideas about ourselves as decent people, for us.  That is your mission and your duty.
And working with others in improved and innovative ways to conserve, enhance, protect, recover is also part of your mission.  You need to listen to more people.  You need to broaden the scope of your collaborators.  You need to listen to us tonight.  We are sickened by this killing and it has got to stop.
We learned in the civil rights movement that when the states can’t get the job done, the federal government has to step in.  That’s why we have a federal government.  And the states are not getting the job of preservation done.  They’re getting their own agenda done far too well.  We need the Fish and Wildlife to act, to take up once again a rather shredded mantle of protection.
Thank you!
Comments in more or less this form given at October 16 hearing organized by Defenders of Wildlife and others:
Thank you, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for being willing to listen to the remarks of those who have a stake in wolf re-introduction in the lower 48 states.
My name is Monica Glickman.  I live in Denver and have communicated with the Fish and Wildlife service many times, by letter and email.  I hope you think my communications have been civil.  I believe utterly that people who disagree, or believe they disagree, can speak and listen to each other in a civil way.  It’s the foundation of our democratic system, and without that ability, we do not function as a society.
I have encountered wolves in the wild a few times.  Not many but a very special few.  These encounters have been in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  Some of these encounters have been for extended periods.  For example, one encounter at Grebe Lake in Yellowstone permitted us to watch throughout the day a wolf coming and going to his kill at the lake.  He knew we were there and permitted us to watch quietly from a distance.  When hikers came by, he retreated into the forest.  There was never a hint of a threat.
On another very special occasion in the Tetons, we encountered 2 wolves, I believe a mating pair, who may have been concerned about pups in a den.  There was never a close approach, never a threat, simply a watchful interest.
Other encounters were quicker.  Wolves crossing the road on their way to another kill, where 200 people waited for them.  We got our own show, as they stopped at the top of the road cut to look at us.  One melted into the trees.  The other stopped for a long time.  Curious, he stared, before going on about his important business.
On another occasion at Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone, the encounter was of a different kind.  We hiked to the lake. My husband decided to take a nap while I explored the lakeshore.  I returned about an hour later, and we packed up to go.  On the trail, impossible to miss, was an enormous black pile of wolf scat. And disappearing into the grasses across the meadow was a large black canine.  My husband was asleep on the ground. Again, no threat. Only a message – “I was here”.
The connection between wolves and humans is palpable.  We seek them out, and the fascination is mutual.  They always stop to look, and when a wolf looks you in the eyes, you will never forget it.  Those days are among the most special of my life.
So I take it personally when wolves are shot.  I take it personally when fear and myth govern their management.  Management decisions, particularly at the state level, are being based upon the idea of an evil, mythical creature who kills for pleasure.  I have heard people say this, and they believe it in good faith.
But you know better.  So I am asking you, Fish and Wildlife Service, to take care, to take very good care that decisions regarding wolf re-introduction and continued protection are based upon fact and science, and not upon fear, hate, or myth.  Those who have the power to manage wolves, whether they act for federal or state governments, must not base their decisions upon fear.  This cannot be permitted.
Others will talk to you about the benefits wolves bring to the ecosystem and the ways their effect on livestock can be minimized.  The science is there for you to consider.
Wolves, like other animals, including their prey, are subject to cycles of disease.  And we don’t know the effect global warming will have on their ability to find food and to sustain their numbers.  We can’t let those numbers get to a bare minimum and then find out we have mis-judged.
Wolves have a right to be here, and we have to find a way to live with them.
You, Fish and Wildlife, can help find another way.  The day of large predator eradication is over.  The day of government accountability has dawned.  As concerned citizens, we ask this of you.  We demand this of you.  Find another way!  You can do it!
Thank you!
Posted in Department of the Interior, Grand Tetons, national parks, Nature, politics, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, wolves, Yellowstone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

It’s Been Nice Knowing Ya’ – Toss Me the Car Keys!

I didn’t tell the full truth in my last post.  Probably to protect the … well, not exactly innocent.

To tell the full story, I have to go back a dozen years to one of our earliest semi-annual spring and fall trips to Yellowstone.  That fall day we had been hiking without seeing any animals.  This wasn’t unusual for those early visits. We seemed to see more animals from the road than in the backcountry, and sometimes that is still true. 

As we reach the car, two men on trail crew stop us to say that down another nearby trail, a grizzly is at his kill.  I’m sure they mean to keep us away, and who would want to go running toward a grizzly defending his meal ticket through the long Yellowstone winter?  As soon as I hear their words, I know the answer.

My husband would want to go down that trail.  Running.  I try a few dissuasive phrases that sound like “blah, blah, blah” to his ears.  I give up and settle in the car, as he grabs his camera and binoculars and starts to rush back into the woods.  “It’s been nice knowing ya’,” I offer.  Not knowing whether I would see him again, or in what form, I add, “Toss me the car keys.” I am very proud of my presence of mind.

Then I wait.  And wait.  Eventually, my husband returns.  He has indeed come upon the grizzly, grizzly at kill-2000who rises up and growls at him while he takes some photos and a very shaky video.  He is breathing hard but is still in one piece.  Some might describe this behavior in unflattering terms, but others would call this person an optimist.

This same optimist is the one who decided, without much consultation, to plunge ahead into last post’s buffalo herd.  I would have been content to find a way around them – there was plenty of daylight and the weather was cooperative.  But I had no chance, as the plunger turned his back on me, increasing the distance between us with every step.  I had the choice to find my own way around the buffalo, leaving him to his luck with the herd; continue what was proving to be an increasingly loud discussion which might have irritated the animals; or follow along.  I followed.

So there you have it!  Optimist, realist?  It’s been nice knowing ya’!

 

Posted in buffalo, humor, national parks, wilderness, Yellowstone | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Contemplating Buffalo

Over the River and Through the Wood – Oh, and Through the Buffalo Herd – We Go

We didn’t really go over the river, Pelican Valley bridgebut we did have to go through a large buffalo herd.  On our hike into Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley, buffalo were on the move far from the trail.  Hayden Valley herd

On our return trip, however, they were close by, Hayden Valley buffaloon and around the trail, too many to skirt without hiking extra miles.  So in we plunged, cows with calves giving us the eye, large individuals picking their heads up to look, expressions of indeterminate intent on their faces.contemplating buffaloWe reached a clump of trees and waited quietly, hoping to accustom them to our presence.  Some, not close by, were making a deep lowing, almost a growling sound.  We had heard this sound from afar earlier in the day and prayed it was not directed our way.  When they began to graze again, we continued to walk.  My steps were slow and deliberate, accompanied by a soothing Sanskrit chant.  At least it calmed me down.  The buffalo seemed mildly interested.  They kept chewing and did not get up.  Please don’t get up!

Almost through the herd, I turned around to see someone in ranger’s uniform close behind me.  He was almost running, his two walking poles moving at race speed.  So much for slow and deliberate.  My first thought was that he was hurrying to give me a ticket.  But he thanked us for showing him the way!  Oh, and thank you for not stampeding them!

 Here’s the picture I took when finally through.  herd on the trailThey don’t seem bothered, do they?

Posted in buffalo, national parks, Nature, wilderness, Yellowstone | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments