- Happy New Year, the UN has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.
- On Monday, a ban on red snapper fishing went into effect. Surprise, the fishermen are not happy. The decline is estimated to be about 97% in 60 years.
- The sea lions of Fisherman’s wharf, who showed up after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and whose disappearance was causing some consternation, have been found off Oregon, where there’s better fishing in an apparent El Niño year.
- SEED magazine interviews Paul Ehrlich. “I don’t think I’ve seen a single scientific review of something I’ve written that says, ‘this is wrong.’”
- Fantastic / superb essay on the great discrepancy between predicted and observed extinctions.
- How did Obama do environmentally? Good not great. From the Conservation Maven, reminding me once again how similar ‘conservation’ and ‘conservative’ look.
- Nice and morbid article on the work of a fellow Berkeleyan Steve Bellan on anthrax in Etosha NP, with pictures.
- The Carteret Islands are being inundated by rising sea levels, forcing migration of about 800 of the 1,300 inhabitants. This spring, Dan Box traveled to the islands to report on the evacuation.
- Carol Kaesuk Yoon on “Naming Nature.”
- National Red Lists is a new website spearheaded by ZSL to consolidate national-level information on species declines.
- An interview with Erik Patel on the ecological ramifications of the political unrest in Madagascar, though take with a grain of salt because his solution to the poverty/conservation problem is birth control and tourism…
- It’s been a slightly environmental few days for the Obama administration, with Tom Vilsack (Sec of Ag) releasing a new vision for the Forest Service (Defenders of Wildlife seems to like it), and the Obama family taking a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
- WCS launches the Mannahatta Project website, to be accompanied by awesome book and museum exhibit, eventually city-wide conquest.
- Coral reef in Australia makes a spectacular comeback in just a few years after bleaching incident. Meanwhile, “Super Reef” off of Tanzania makes a spectacular comeback after bleaching events in 1998. What a spectacular coincidence.
- Interesting article on the Great Himalayan National Park, and its effects on locals.
- Little behind, but Obama did repeal those ESA rules, but did not change the ruling on the Polar Bear.
- Europe’s not going to meet its 2010 Biodiversity goals. Sad trombone.
- Somebody got a photo of a jaguar in Barro Colorado.
- The wolverine spotted in the Sierras appears to be from Idaho, probably.
- Papua New Guinea is getting its first national conservation area.
- WCS is getting some money from the World Bank and GEF to protect tigers. Weird, since pretty much the entire WCS tiger team moved to Panthera a couple years ago..
- Patagonia employee gets paid time off to bike over 2,000 miles to promote Yukon2Yellowstone project. Blogs about it, with pictures.
- Andy Revkin finally pushes back against George Will. I have to say, the fact that this is such a big deal — that a major columnist is trying to deny climate change — is actually pretty encouraging. I think in years past, Will just would’ve gotten away with it.
- Dave Connell, associate director of marketing at TNC, wants you to know how important marketing is to conservation.
- Obama’s restoring the old ESA rules.
It’s condensend Conservation Blog, January 1 – 8. Back on a regular schedule tomorrow.
- Some thoughts on the Salazar nomination in the New West. Probably the key lines: “In the list of things that Obama has on his plate for the coming term, public lands reform is not at the top…Obama, no doubt, did not want to begin his administration’s tenure with a fight over his appointment to Secretary of Interior and use up any political capital over something that would distract him from his larger goals.” Watching Obama roll out his other cabinet picks was sort of satisfying because I had no dog in those fights. “Ah, another sensible pragmatist! Excellent. Good government,” I would think, “Best not to appoint too many ideologues.” To people who don’t really care about Interior, the Salazar nomination probably looks the same way. It’s a strange feeling realizing you’re that far out of the mainstream.
- George Bush, working on his legacy, just designated huge swaths of the Pacific as Marine National Monuments. Who knew that the U.S. had jurisdiction over the Marianas Trench? The Washington Post is eating it up. Well, okay, the Pew Environment Group is saying that “Mr Bush has protected more special places in the sea than any other person in history.” Maybe we all have Laura Bush to thank. Regardless of what he’s doing in the middle of the Pacific, Bush is passing a lot of midnight regulations on his way out of town. Pro Publica is keeping track.
- A nice piece on gorillas, conservation and livelihoods in Rwanda. Meanwhile, WCS says that the key to saving mountain gorillas is funding the guards that protect them.
- A beautiful poster of recently-introduced species to the Amazon.
- It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but the piglet squid is always smiling.
- A coalition of 29 environmental groups have released a 391-page policy document for the incoming administration, focusing on green jobs and clean energy and highlighting the need for science-based policy and transparency, but covering a wide range of topics. You can read it here (pdf). NRDC, one of the co-signers of the document, has some of their folks blogging about various aspects of the proposals.
- FWS has decided that the Northern Mexican Garter Snake should be listed as endangered, but it doesn’t have the funds to do so. Plenty and ESA Blawg consider that fact.
- In honor of Thanksgiving, the NY Times offers a charming editorial on wild foods. “We have a great deal to learn from Twain’s instinctive premise: that losing a wild food means losing part of the landscape of our lives.”
- The Vigorous North, one of my new favorites, shares some links on inner-city wilderness areas, including a proposal to turn Fresh Kills from a dump into a preserve. (Preserve of nature, not trash. Well, the trash is still there. &c.)
- An update on what the American Bison Society’s been up to, including a public survey that shows that Americans care about bison but don’t realize that there are only a few thousand “pure” bison left in the wild.
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) is a “leading contender” for Interior Secretary. He’s the chair of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. The article points out that Grijalva has a 95% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He’s also the newly-elected co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Congress. If you really want to get into it, he just released a 23 page report (PDF) on the Bush administration’s failure to protect our public lands. Or you can browse through his legislative record, which is impressive. In particular, he appears to have a dedicated interest in American Indians, who fall under the purview of Interior, and who were consistently ignored and abused under both the Bush and Clinton administrations. Okay, not to mention back to ~1492, but there has been a bi-partisan disinterest in Indian rights, so Grajilva is a potentially re-assuring pick for both them and those interested in parks / endangered species conservation.
He also seems to be getting universal approval from various and sundried bloggers, so… cool. (Lots of positive response / comments at Dos Centavos, Screechowl at Daily Kos, and Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News)
Five physics lessons for Obama. Including: “If the [nuclear] waste is stored underground in such a way that there’s only a 10 percent chance that 10 percent of it will leak—which should be more than doable—the risk will be no worse than if we had never mined the uranium in the first place.”
Or how about: “What about high-quality batteries—the kind used in cellphones and laptops? These batteries contain only 1 percent of the energy of their equal weight in gasoline. You can recharge them cheaply, but current batteries typically die after 1,000 charges. If you include the cost of replacement, then they are far more expensive to use than gasoline, though a bit less harmful to our atmosphere.”
Worth a quick read.
- Andy Revkin sums up the top 10 environmental suggestions from Times readers to President Obama.
- I’m not crazy about our governor, but he did good with these new climate change regulations. Businesses in California will be funding rain forest conservation in Brazil and Indonesia. Meanwhile, his old industry is struggling to bring environmental indoctrination through a new product, CSI: Yosemite.
- Gremlins re-discovered in Indonesia. First live pygmy tarsiers in over 80 years.
- The War on the Environment has begun: the military’s been enlisted to help combat ozone depletion / climate change.
- House sparrow numbers down 68% over the last 30 years in Britain. Weird, huh? Maybe we can give them ours back.
- Daewoo is obtaining a 99 year lease for land in northern Madagascar to grow corn. Not good.