Thirty-Three Lions Rescued from Vile Circuses

On Friday Animal Defenders International airlifted 33 lions — most in poor health — rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia.

These awesome big cats will be returned to their homeland in Africa to live in an animal sanctuary.

The 33 lions have been rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia by Animal Defenders International in the biggest rescue and enforcement operation ever undertaken to eliminate the use of wild animals in circuses, which has been banned in both countries. Photo credit: ad-international.org

The president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, said “these lions have endured hell-on-earth and now they are heading home to paradise. This is the world nature intended these animals for.”

Photo credit: quotesgram.com

I loathe the corporations profiting from animal slavery circuses and dolphinariums. The late oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau said it best when asked about freedom for the Animal Kingdom: “When we return wild animals to nature, we merely return them to what is theirs for man cannot give wild animals freedom, they can only take it away.”

Some of the lions suffered terrible eye damage. Photo credit: ad-international.org

Many of the 33 imprisoned lions were brutally declawed as well as suffering from broken teeth. One cat named Ricardo lost an eye and another lion is almost blind.

This brave male lost his eye. Photo credit: ad-international.org

Twenty-four of these lions were rescued in surprise raids on a circus in Peru. They were found in tiny cages on the back of trucks. Nine other lions were voluntarily handed over from a circus in Columbia.

These lions suffered unimaginable conditions at the hands of an illict operation. Photo credit: ad-international.org

These 33 beaten-up lions are going home to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa. The temperature and climate are perfect for these cats.

The moment a lioness was re-united with her two cubs. Photo credit: ad-international.org

All 33 cats are flying on a McDonnell Douglas MD 11-cargo aircraft with a team of compassionate veterinarians that will monitor the felines during the flight since none will be sedated during the long ride home.

Fida, one of 25 lions rescued over a three-month period from travelling circuses which were banned in Bolivia, was seen at the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, before she was loaded onto a plane to be flown to Denver, Colorado, February 16, 2011. Twenty-five lions were rescued from the circuses by Animal Defenders International, who worked together with Bolivian government officials. An Animal Defenders International spokesman said, “Bolivian law prohibits the use of wild animals in public performances. The lions, which range in age from three months to 15 years old, will live on 80 acres at The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.” Photo credit: Reuters/David Mercado

In 2011, Animal Defenders International successfully airlifted 25 lions from illegal animal circuses in Bolivia to a sanctuary in Colorado.

The legendary friend to the Animal Kingdom — the incomparable Bob Barker said, “I am one of millions of people who was just born with a deep love of animals. I have been devoted to animals since I can remember. As a kid I picked up strays and tried in my clumsy ways to help injured animals. I’ve done it all my life, and now I’m doing it on a much larger scale.” Photo credit: malibutimes.com

Animal Kingdom superhero Bob Barker helped launch these stealthy Peru circus raids, and crowd funding, along with GreaterGood, raised half the cost of the journey to South Africa.

#EmptyTheTanks

The days of unscrupulously profiting from animal slavery are coming to an end quickly. It’s morally unacceptable to keep animals captive for entertainment purposes. The more kindhearted people who refuse to purchase tickets for circuses with animals or dolphinariums, the faster we can hasten their demise.

There is hope because in May 2013, India assigned cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) non-human-persons-rights. The Ministry of Environment & Forests agreed to ban the use of cetaceans for public entertainment and forbid them from being held captive anywhere in India. I predict many other nations will follow India’s compassionate ruling.

Photo credit: postivenewsus.org

Thank you to all those intrepid warriors who protect the Animal Kingdom 24/7/365 !

#LoveIsTheSolution

The Earth Doctor at CNN studios in Hollywood, California. Photo credit: Amanda McPhillips

 

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “The Insatiable Bark Beetle.”

         

 
 

Posted in Animals, dolphinariums | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What We Do to the Arctic, We Do to Ourselves

Earlier this week, extreme weather events read like the script of Hollywood blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Police assist people on streets flooded by the Mapocho River in Santiago on April 17. Photo credit: nbcnews.com

Last Sunday, heavy rains battered northern Chile — three years worth of rainfall fell in 12 hours. Four million people in the capital city of Santiago had no drinking water. Landslides wreaked havoc, rivers breached banks and the world’s largest copper mine was shut down.

More than 70 horses at Cypress Stables in Harris County, Texas, were rescued from horrendous flood waters earlier this week. Photo credit: houstonpress.com

The following day, Houston, Texas, received 17 inches of rainfall in 24 hours — or what Salt Lake City, Utah, receives in a year. Two hundred and forty billion gallons of water — the equivalent of 363,363 Olympic swimming pools — destroyed over 1,000 homes, 1,200 people and hundreds of animals were rescued, eight people died, and damage is estimated in excess of $5 billion.

March was the hottest year on record at a staggering 1.28 degrees Celsius or 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit above average. It was the sixth consecutive record-breaking month of heat.

Louis Marquez carries his dog Dallas through floodwaters after rescuing the dog from his flooded apartment Tuesday in Houston. Houston, with more than 2 million people including 90,000 arriving last year alone, is the nation’s fourth-largest city. And Harris County, which includes most of Houston, has seen a 30 percent jump in population since 2000, with an accompanying 25 percent increase in pavement. Photo credit: David J. Phillip/AP

So what’s going on?

A coal-burning power plant in China’s Inner Mongolia region. Globally, burning coal since the 1950s has tripled the amount of mercury toxicity in the oceans to over 80,000 metric tons. Everything that lives in the ocean is contaminated with mercury. Photo credit: abc.net.au

We have burned an immense amount of fossil fuels. The oceans are supercharged with heat. Since 1997, the oceans are holding the equivalent heat of one atomic Hiroshima-style bomb detonating every second for 75 straight years.

Graph & images courtesy of StateOfOurClimate.com

The Arctic is melting at a stunning rate. This year, from January to March, all Arctic permafrost, subarctic wetlands and Greenland are heating up the fastest by 7 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 11 degrees Celsius). March 24 set an all time low maximum ice cover at 5.6 million square miles. The 13 smallest maximum Arctic ice covers on record have occurred over the past 13 years. We just lost a massive area of 620,000 square miles of sea ice, or, twice the size of the state of Texas.

Polar bears eat ice seals, but the shrinking ice floes have decimated most seal populations so polar bears are now thinner and swimming and walking father in order to survive. Photo credit: Robert Rosing/NatGeo

The polar bears in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska are telling us that what we do to the Arctic, we do to ourselves. Populations have gone form thousands to hundreds in the past decade. From 2004-07, only two out of 80 polar bear cubs survived. One 400-pound female swam the equivalent of  16 consecutive marathons —  about 400 miles in nine days — looking for ice. Her year-old cub drowned, and she lost 88 pounds — 22 percent of her body weight.

The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of fires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009. They were Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disasters. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia’s highest ever loss of life from bushfires;173 people died and 414 were injured as a result of  these mega fire storms. Photo credit: AP

The Arctic acts like a huge air conditioner for the Northern Hemisphere and we are quickly losing its life-sustaining cooling affect. The concern is that as the Arctic rapidly melts, the incidence of wild weather events are  spiking, like floodsdroughtsheatwavesfire storms, insect  plagues, extreme blizzards and Earth’s ability to grow food. In addition to all this, each year, we are adding  two billion pounds of bee-,  soil- and  water-killing neonicotinoids onto the agricultural fields. Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached a tipping point.

Honeybees are incomparable. They gives us the food we eat, most of the clothes we wear, powerful pain medicines,  44 million pounds of bees wax and 2 billion pounds of honey each year. When honeybees are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides they loose their minds and shake to death eerily reminiscent of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Photo credit: ntu.edu.sg

Please embrace the new three Rs:

  • Reduce what you consume.
  • Reuse materials like glass mason jars.
  • Refuse petroleum-based plastics.

This Earth Week please take my pledge and lend a helping hand to #SaveNatureNow.

From the Indian Ocean with my friends Chris Lindgren and Georgie & Mike Dicks aboard Sea Shepherd Australia’s rigid inflatable “Bruce the Rib” — recording a shark segment.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “The Insatiable Bark Beetle.”

         

 
 

Posted in Bees, Energy, Humans, Oceans | 1 Comment

Greenland’s Record-Breaking Melt

Last weekend, while the Northeast shivered from unseasonably frigid temperatures, Greenland was broiling.

Summer-like temperatures eclipsed ice melt records for Greenland. So far this month scorching temperatures over parts of Greenland have been measured as high as 64°F (17.8°C). Photo credit: thinkprogress.org

Warm, southerly winds gust to hurricane force of over 75 mph in a staggering early season heatwave. Temperatures hit 36 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius) above average along the southwest coast of Greenland on Monday, April 11. Ice has begun to melt with gusto.

According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, an early melt event over Greenland’s ice sheet occurred this week, smashing by a month the previous record of more than 10 percent of the ice sheet.

The melt was driven by warm air from the southwest and rain along the coast. The Danish Meteorological Institute reported that almost 12 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet shed at least one millimeter of melt water on April 11.

Global temperatures surged in February (1.35C or 2.43F) coming within striking distance of 1.5C (2.7F) the goal agreed last year in  Paris — experts now say it’s a climate emergency. Note that the Arctic was more than 5.36C (9.95F) above average for the month of February (traditionally the coldest month of the year). Parts of the Arctic were more than 16C (29F) warmer than “normal” for February — on par with June temperatures (the warmest month of the year). This is a terrifying milestone. Photo credit: climatechangenews.com

The Arctic is experiencing unprecedented warmth for 2016. The High Arctic — above 80 degrees north latitude — is the  warmest it has ever been in modern times.

A river exiting from beneath the rapidly diminishing ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq, Western Greenland. Photo credit: Dr William Colgan

Tropical heat is being transferred from a record hot El Niño pole-ward in the Northern Hemisphere due to a weakness in the polar jet stream.

Melting Greenland ice sheets due to the climate in crisis are impacting ocean circulation and raising sea levels around the globe. Photo credit: Dr William Colgan

Last summer, my colleague from York University recorded the rate of loss that the Greenland ice sheets are undergoing post 2010. Those ice sheets are melting three times faster than prior to 1980.

This photo was taken during the 2000 Australian Olympic Trials in Sydney, NSW.  An Olympic swimming pool contains 660,000 U.S. gallons (2,500,000 liters) of water. Photo credit: Swimming Australia.

Greenland is losing 8,300 metric tons of ice per second each day during the summer melt — the equivalent of 286,848 Olympic swimming pools worth of water every 24 hours. Frighteningly, that is ice melting on the land running off into the North Atlantic Ocean.

Much of South Florida will be inundated with just a few feet of sea level rise by 2040. Map courtesy University of Arizona.

This has devastating implications for sea level rise along the U.S. eastern seaboard, particularly for six million people in the low-lying sunshine state of Florida.

Photo credit: nasa.gov

Also, the ice-cold melt waters are diluting the normally saltier polar waters, which are heavier and act like a weight on a conveyor belt, pulling the lighter, warmer North Atlantic Gulf Stream water back towards the equator. Greenland’s melt waters are slowing down the Atlantic Gulf Stream current by as much as 30 percent. The Gulf Stream brings heat from the equator for 163 million people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, enabling those countries to be habitable and grow food crops.

Seismic airguns are deadly for whales, dolphins & porpoises. Every 10 seconds — non-stop for a couple months — airguns explode under the sea as Big Oil scourers seabeds for more heat-trapping oil & gas. Those explosions are 8 times louder than a jet engine and they deafen whales.  A deaf whale is a dead whale. Photo credit: oceana.org

It is clearly time to take the climate in crisis very seriously and terminate subsidizing the fossil industry — the wealthiest polluters on the globe.

Lucid Energy pipes used in Portland, OR contain four 42-inch turbines. As water flows through the gravity-fed pipes, the turbines spin and power attached generators feed energy back into the city’s electrical grid. Photo credit: LucidEnergy.com

All towns and cities around the world are required to future-proof in the face of the forthcoming wild weather.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”

         

 
 

Posted in Climate in Crisis, Future Proofing, Oceans | 2 Comments

1080 Kills Wild Australia

Australia’s native animals are facing a stunning onslaught of feral cats. Just how bad is it and what can be done to correct the imbalance?

Domesticated house cats, Felix catus, were brought from Europe to Australian in 1804, and by 1820 some cats were abandoned, became feral and lived on the edges of the fledgling city of Sydney, NSW.

The only native predators of feral cats are dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles. Photo credit: wikipedia.org

Today — almost 200 years later — feral cats live right across the continent in deserts, forests and grasslands. According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy an estimated 5 to 18 million feral cats are now driving extinctions.

30% of Australian mammal species are threatened with extinction. Feral cats are the major threat to mammal fauna. Photo credit: AustralianWildlife.org

Each feral cat kills between 5 and 30 animals per day. These formidable hunters prefer mammals, but also eat birds, reptiles and amphibians.

If each feline predator eats five animals a night and that’s multiplied by a conservative population estimate of 15 million cats, a minimum estimate of 75 million native animals are killed every 24 hours.

In July of 2015, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government released a plan to bait, trap and shoot more than two million feral cats.

‘Your country is sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals so please, don’t add cats to this morbid record,’ wrote activist Brigitte Bardot in a letter to the Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Photo credit: twitter.com

Activists like Steven Morrissey, former frontman for The Smiths, declared the plan “idiotic.” Animal rights defender  Brigitte Bardot penned a compassionate letter to Australia’s pro-fossil fuel Environment Minister Greg Hunt advising him to neuter the wild cats instead of killing them.

So what can be done other than poisoning, trapping or shooting feral cats?

Dingoes, which were once present across Australia, are known to prey upon feral cats, feral goats and emus, and they deter introduced European foxes from expanding their populations. Photo credit: thomasnewsome.com

The solution, ladies and gentlemen, is to work with nature, not against her. Allow me to introduce the largest land predator on the Australian continent – a 55-pound, free-ranging dog, called a dingo, which is classified as a subspecies of grey wolf.

Young male dingoes may live alone or in packs of up to 10 animals. Dingoes roam vast distances and communicate with wolf-like howls. Photo credit: Jason Edwards Nat Geo

Dingoes kill feral cats. They also keep populations of rabbits, rats, red kangaroos, swamp wallabies, common bushtail possums, common wombats and another 164 species in check. Dingoes prevent diseases from becoming epidemics by culling the old, weak and sick amidst their prey.

Even though the dingo is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICUN), the dingo is still the only Australian mammal not protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Photo credit: abc.net.au

Currently, Greg Hunt’s Ministry of the Environment spends millions of dollars each year spreading 1080 poison to eradicate all dingoes. According to one Sydney veterinarian — 1080 poison is analogous to being electrocuted for two days before it finally kills dingoes or any other native animal that makes the fatal mistake of eating it.

Instead of safeguarding this exquisite apex predator, the dingo is regarded as a wild dog under the Rural Lands Protection Act. Wild dogs are declared ‘noxious animals’ under that legislation, so they cannot be protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Photo credit: TheOchreProject.org

The government-sponsored dingo 1080 program is ecocide. We know that ecosystems unravel when apex predators are deliberately massacred. Special interest groups representing livestock farmer’s loathe dingoes, yet without these essential top predators diseases amongst vermin quickly erupt into epidemics.

Every year thousands of dingoes are shot, trapped, poisoned, fumigated and hunted in a government sanctioned plan to exterminate the species from Australia. The timid Aussie dingo is losing the battle — they face extinction on the Australian continent by 2030. Photo credit: abc.net.au

My colleagues from the Australian Wildlife ConservancyUniversity of Tasmania and  The University of Adelaide concur that allowing dingoes to perform their apex predator role will significantly reduce the feral cat population.

Australian environment groups banded together and commissioned this terrifyingly beautiful portrait of the world’s ~ best ~ minister, Greg Hunt. Photo credit: Alice Workman/BuzzFeed

Will Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stop the 1080 dingo eradication program? Voters are dissatisfied with the current Australian federal Liberal government and particularly Greg Hunt and Malcolm Turnbull because they continue to promote big coalfracking and 1080 poison.

On Monday 11 April, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s official dinner in Perth, WA, will open “the world’s largest LNG event” – a conference that will bring together a roll call of some of the world’s biggest climate culprits including the CEOs of Chevron, Shell, Malaysia’s Petronas, Origin Energy, and Woodside Petroleum.

I predict that both Hunt and Turnbull will lose their current political positions in the forthcoming election.

Renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall – the only human ever accepted into chimpanzee society – speaks on the importance of dingoes to the Australian ecosystem, and how the species is facing extinction after decades of persecution. Photo credit: JaneGoodall.org.au

The Australian continent needs dingoes, not more deadly poisons that seep into fresh water and threaten the health of all life forms. End the dingo ecocide, now.

What we do to the dingoes — we do to ourselves !

#SaveNatureNow – Please support the crucial conservation work of  TheOchreProject.org   and  JaneGoodall.org.au

 

Reese Halter planting trees in the northern Rocky Mountains, circa 1987.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author  of  The Insatiable Bark Beetle.

         

 
 

Posted in Dogs, Forests | Leave a comment

Protect Whales from Deadly Plastics

The oceans are sick and dying. Dead whales are a horrific omen.

The coast of southern Chile turned into a mass grave for 337 sei whales that were found beached in what marine biologists say is one of the biggest whale strandings ever recorded. Photo credit: (Vreni Haussermann/Huinay Scientific Center via AP

Last year, over 700 whales were stranded around the globe, including 337, 23-ton sei whales found along a remote stretch of Chile’s rugged coastline.

Dead sperm whales along Texel beach, The Netherlands. Photo credit: rt.com

In January, 30 sperm whales were strewn across Europe’s trash-filled beaches. It was frightening to see these record-holding deep divers disgorged from the sea.

Massive rectangular heads evolved to hold 500 gallons of spermaceti oil-filled capsules. A couple hundred years ago the whalers brutally killed hundreds of thousands of sperm whales for their prized  spermaceti. It made candles and makeup; lubricated the machines of the industrial revolution. So fine is spermaceti oil that NASA used it in their space mission, as it does not freeze in outer space. Photo credit: Franco Banfi

These 65-foot, 55-ton incredible whales reach two miles deep into the abyss and its frigid darkness, relying upon 17-pound brains (more than five times heavier than a human brain) that use echolocation to hunt colossal squids. It is the  battle of Earth’s two largest titans.

People walking near dead sperm whales on the Dutch island of Texel on January 13, 2016. Photo credit: bbc.com

Instead of remaining mysterious and far away from rapacious humans, these giant whales can no longer hide; they are now dying in record numbers.

All whales are vital for the health of the oceans.

A sentient sperm whale fertilizing the sea. Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

We need all the whales alive because they fertilize the sea with their flocculent fecal plumes (or poo), rich in iron and nitrogen, stimulating phytoplankton — the base of the entire marine food web. In turn, the phytoplankton and ubiquitous blue-green bacteria called prochlorcoccus provide us with almost two out of every three breaths of oxygen that we breathe.

A coal-fired power plant in England — the country where the industrial revolution began. Photo credit: National Geographic Jason Hawkes

Burning fossil fuels has destroyed 40 percent of the ocean’s phytoplankton. The whales are rebuilding the ocean’s missing phytoplankton, thus ensuring we all breathe.

Germany’s Environment Minister Robert Habeck and Gerd Meurs, director of the Multimar National Park Center, holding up some of the plastics found in the stranded sperm whales’ bodies. Photo credit: Wadden Sea National Park

Last week, 13 of the 30 January sperm whale necropsies from Germany revealed that the whales were starving. Their stomachs and intestines were bloated with plastics, causing slow and painful deaths by clogging their circulatory systems and eventually stopping their hearts.

You are what you eat and your intestines absorb – plastics are deadly poisons. Photo credit: SurfRider.org

What we do to the oceans with subsidized, climate-altering, petroleum-based plastics, we do to ourselves.

Americans consume 50 billion plastic water bottles a year. To make those 50 billion plastic bottles it took 17 million barrels of deadly, heat-trapping oil. Photo credit. vox.com

There are an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans, and it is killing whales and so many other marine species, including sharks, rays, tunas, sea turtles, sea lions and albatrosses.

#SaturdayPlasticPatrol March 12, 2016 — plastic pollution collected along a quarter mile reach of Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades, California. Photo credit: Naio Halter

It is time for each of us to reduce our consumption, reuse materials like glass and repurpose everything else. If something cannot be repurposed then refuse to buy it.

Join the #SaturdayPlasticPatrol movement each Saturday morning around the globe and pick up three pieces of plastics off beaches, river banks, sidewalks, local parks, streets or a parking lots. Take a picture, post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #SaturdayPlasticPatrol and get a friend to join each week. Do it for our oceans.

Thirteen dead sperm whales were washed up on the beach near the German town of Toenning in Schleswig-Holstein. Photo credit: CEN

We need the whales to survive, and they are telling us to stop polluting the oceans. It is time to seriously listen and immediately end deadly plastic pollution.

Dr. Reese Halter examining root growth of snow gums on Mt. Stirling, Victorian Alps, Australia, circa 1994.

#SaveNatureNow

Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”

 

 

         

 
 

Posted in Oceans | 4 Comments

Tokyo Massacres Pregnant Whales in the Southern Ocean

On Thursday, Tokyo announced that its bloodthirsty Southern Ocean whaling fleet had returned with 333 Minke whales — 207 of which were pregnant.

Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon vessel, Yushin Maru No. 2, with the slaughtered Minke whale in Mackenzie Bay. Photo credit: Glenn Lockitch, Sea Shepherd Australia

Japan plans on repeating this cruel, shameful and cunning massacre of 3,667 more sentient piked whales of the Antarctic for the next 11 years.

The Nisshin Maru rams the MV Bob Barker, pushing it into the Sun Laurel — as Sea Shepherd Australia precludes illegal refuelling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Photo credit: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Australia

In 2014, the International Court of Justice at The Hague found Japan guilty of feigning science in order to commercial whale in the Antarctic Ocean. Last year, the Australian federal court fined Japan for killing thousands of Minke whales inside the Australian quadrant of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Japanese government officials condoning the illegal and inhumane slaughtering of Antarctic Minke whales as the grenade-tipped harpoon boat — Yushin Maru No. 2 leaves port from Shimonoseki on Dec. 1, 2015. Photo credit: time.com

Japan refuses to abide by the World and Australian court rulings. They intend on continuing ecocide without receiving retribution.

Japanese government-funded whalers aboard the floating slaughterhouse Nisshin Maru with six poached Minke whales visible on deck. Photo credit: valuewalk.com

Japan does not own the Antarctic Ocean; in fact, it belongs to the commons — every citizen of Earth. What we do to the oceans we do to ourselves.

The current El Nino is inflicting the longest coral bleaching event ever recorded. Around Lizard Island off the coast of Queensland, 95  percent of the corals along the northern Great Barrier Reef are now severely bleached due to deadly Pacific Ocean temperatures of 34C/93F  – it’s a frightening and undeniable consequence of the climate crisis. Photo credit: abc.net.au

The oceans are sick and dying. They are supercharged with man-made heat, disrupting cold-water currents from carrying iron and nitrogen to the surface and stunting the regrowth of phytoplankton.  The oceans are missing 40 percent of the oxygen-bearing phytoplankton, which is the foundation of the whole marine ecosystem and supplies each of us with almost two out of every three breaths of air.

Sixty-foot long sperm whales weighing 55 tons are miraculously able to dive two miles deep. They hunt colossal squid in the battle of Earth’s two largest titans. Photo credit from Calers News Agency showing a sperm whale fertilizing the sea.

All whales including blues, humpbacks, fins, sperms and Minkes perform an essential life-sustaining process of fertilizing the seas with their flocculent fecal plumes or poop, rich in iron and nitrogen. Whales have a crucial role in healing our ailing oceans by creating more phytoplankton, which enriches ocean habitat and invigorates the atmosphere with more oxygen.

Research from Scripps Oxygen Program/Atmospheric Oxygen Research.

Since 1985, Earth’s atmosphere has lost 589 oxygen molecules per every one million oxygen molecules in the atmosphere, due to burning climate-altering,  subsidized fossil fuels. That’s almost enough missing oxygen to begin disrupting human sleep patterns.

Minke whales are curious, intelligent mammals. They are acrobatic, able to leap out of the water just like dolphins. Photo credit: soundandmarinelife.org

In the last ice age, The Pleistocene, the newest and smallest member of the filter feeders, a “little” 14-ton piked whale known as Minke was born. It is the Southern Ocean Minkes that Japan is determined to destroy.

No EU-Japan trade agreement until whaling permanently ends. Photo credit: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

The Japanese population lost its palate for whale meat four decades ago. Now the only Japanese whaling company, which is owned by the government, forces whale meat into the Japanese school lunch program. This program cannot accommodate over  6,000 metric tons of stored whale meat in addition to the many thousands of tons of annual slaughtered whales from the North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. Japan is attempting to coerce the whale-friendly European Union to take its stockpiled commercial whale meat in a pending new multi-billion euro trade agreement.

In June, 337, 23-ton each, sei whales were found beached along the coast of Chile in one of the largest whale strandings ever recorded. Toxic algal blooms from rising ocean temperatures are being implicated in their deaths. Photo credit: ibtimes.co.uk

The truth, is that in order to fight the climate crisis; every whale on the globe is essential — alive, fertilizing the oceans and generating oxygen because, by 2023, the United Nations predicts a population of 8 billion people on Earth. Currently, we are 7.4 billion — that’s an additional 600 million people requiring oxygen to breathe.

I predict that my colleagues in the Whale’s Navy — Sea Shepherd Australia — will protect the Minkes in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary next year with their swift, new anti-poaching vessel “Ocean Warrior” soon to set sail on the Seven Seas.

#LoveIsTheSolution

Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”

         

 
 

Posted in Oceans | 4 Comments

#Take3ForTheSea

Australian children are learning a simple and effective way to clean up pollution — predominantly plastics — from shorelines around the continent.


Over 100,000 students have embraced the Take 3 message, which is to take three pieces of trash away from the beach or waterway edges when they leave for home.

Take 3 co-founder Roberta Dixon-Valk with some of the trash collected during one of the many clean-up events across Australia. Photo credit: Mark Scott

In 2009, several ocean lovers began collecting plastic pollution off their favorite beach called The Entrance along the central coast of New South Wales. Eight years later, students from that region were keen to clean the same beach. The Entrance receives water from the Tuggerah Lakes, which empties into the Pacific Ocean.

Students from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College removing plastics from The Entrance #Take3ForTheSea. Photo credit: abc.net.au

In just one day, 160 students from two campuses in the Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College collected 44 pounds of trash, including 3,700 cigarette butts and hundreds of large pieces of plastics, including bottles and straws, and they prevented 23 batteries containing mercury poisoning from entering the ocean.

“Take 3″ is an environmental initiative that invites everyone to take 3 pieces of trash with them when they visit the beach or any waterway. Photo credit: surfertoday.com

Getting students from classrooms on to beaches, lake shores and stream-sides and performing meaningful conservation-in-action is working because they are discovering first-hand the importance of healthy ecosystems and how each of them can make a difference.


In turn, those 100,000 students take that message of protecting our planet. It’s helping parents change their habits and refuse plastics.


The #Take3ForTheSea message is becoming part of Australian lives. Students and parents understand that what we do to the oceans and its beaches, stream-sides and lake shores with climate-altering, petroleum-based plastics, we do to ourselves.


It is so heartening to see children across Australia helping to heal our planet and encourage other children from around the globe to follow them.


Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”

         

 
 

Posted in Oceans | Leave a comment

Earth Has Pneumonia

At the end of December 2015, the North Pole registered at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Our planet is warming faster than the predicted worst-case scenario climate models.

This storm in the far North Atlantic is the same storm that caused two tornado outbreaks and widespread flooding in the United States. It pushed temperatures at the North Pole 50 degrees above average to melting point. Photo credit:earth.nullschool.net

From 1997 to 2015, the oceans were supercharged with man-made heat from burning hundreds of gigatons of fossil fuels — equivalent to that of a Hiroshima atomic bomb exploding every second for 75 straight years. Sea life is perishing en masse as thousands of dead squid washed up on the Chilean shores of Santa Maria Island in the middle of January 2016. Thousands of miles to the north, mass deaths of seabirds have escalated in Western U.S. at an unprecedented rate. The staggering cumulative mortality may be as high as 100,000 birds; many are Cassin’s auklets, and the culprit? An unseasonably warm Pacific Ocean.

America’s year without a winter: The 2015-2016 season was the warmest on record. Photo credit: washingtonpost.com

Briefly in February, temperatures soared in the Northern Hemisphere to 2C (3.6F) for the first time since human civilization began thousands of years ago. The Arctic ice in February reached another all-time low coverage, missing the equivalent area of Texas and Montana combined (448,000 square miles). The latent heat escaping from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere, the potent El Niño in the Pacific and the consumption 134 million metric tons daily of fossil fuels make this winter the hottest ever recorded in the U.S.

Winston joins a very select club of Category 5 storms ever recorded to churn the South Pacific waters east of Australia. Photo credit: wunderground.com

In the Southern Hemisphere, an over-heated Pacific Ocean in February spawned Tropical Cyclone Winston with ferocious wind gusts of 205 mph — the strongest wind speeds ever recorded; the top end of Category 5 of the Australian tropical cyclone scale. Winston was the equivalent of 15 simultaneous Hurricane Katrinas, demolishing the Fijian Islands, leaving 120,000 people homeless.

Eighty percent of the Great Barrier Reef surrounding Lizard Island, Queensland has bleached from the latest El Nino. Photo credit: WWF Australia

The current El Niño is bleaching coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, at an unparalleled rate. It is also wreaking havoc across Papua New Guinea as drought has dried up freshwater and laid waste to the food supply. This is a terrifying glimpse of the future.

Douro River harbor, Iberian Peninsula, Spain on the first big storm of the year. Photo credit: carbonbrief.org

My colleagues predict more deadly, costlier wild weather events in the near future. It is time globally to heed the Australian Climate Council’s warming that society is unprepared to deal with “killer heat” in the coming decade(s).

Clearly, it’s time to end paying the largest and most deadly polluters — the fossil fuel industry — $5.6 trillion annually.

Solar roads are being rolled out in France. Municipal water pipes in Portland are generating energy. We have the technologies, they safeguard fresh water, so let’s roll up our sleeves, embrace change and lower Earth’s fever, now.


Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “Wild Weather: The Truth Behind Global Warming.”

         

 
 

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Pacific Tunas Doomed

Pacific tunas are in terrible trouble. The U.S. Pacific tuna fleet is heading west, again, to hunt the remaining tunas.

Skipjacks and Yellowfin tuna are mercilessly slaughtered. Photo credit: pewtrust.org

Almost $400 million worth of harvested tunas annually trump conservation efforts to protect the ocean. At this rapacious rate all the Pacific tunas including skipjack are condemned.

There are over 13 million miles of deadly longlines with a couple billion hooks in the oceans — that’s enough to circle the equator 522 times. Photo credit: fastcoexist.com

There’s not enough ocean or sea life, especially tunas, to sustain the onslaught of 17 Pacific nations including the U.S., Australia and New Zealand and their insatiable demand for billions of cans of tunas including skipjacks.

There are 8 species of tuna. Skipjack is not officially a tuna, yet it is hunted ruthlessly for its “light meat” sold in cans by the billions, globally. Photo credit: marinephotobank.org

Three hundred thousand tons of catch, mostly skipjack, are the take. It’s an inconceivable volume of sea life and that’s just one season’s worth of killing nature’s tuna in the Pacific Ocean.

Heartbreaking images of “the doctors of the sea” sharks needlessly murdered. Photo credit: twitter.com

And then there’s the bycatch – seabirds, sharks, rays, sea turtles, porpoises, dolphins, whales and so many other forms of life — haphazardly killed and then disdainfully discarded.

Sea stars and a ray brutally killed and then dumped back into the sea. Ecocide. Photo credit: ocean.si.edu

Not only is this enough to make a grown man drop to his knees and weep – it’s ecocide!

Supercharged oceans with man-made heat from burning fossil fuels are driving the climate crisis, and stronger El Niño’s are causing more mass coral bleaching. Photo credit: Duke University

The oceans are fished-out and the latest El Niño – the biggest and strongest – has adversely impacted all sea life, including causing the longest coral bleaching event ever recorded as well as significantly reducing food for the remaining Pacific tunas and skipjacks.

Bluefin’s are the “sprinters of the sea” — they can beat a Ferrari off the line with breathtaking acceleration. Photo credit: wwf.eu

Pacific Yellowfin tuna is down 38 percent from its original spawning population. Pacific Bigeye tunas are even lower at 16 percent. And Pacific Bluefin tuna is as low as 3 percent of its original population – it’s right on the brink of extinction.

Please support the crucial conservation work of Sea Shepherd Australia as they protect our oceans from poachers. Photo credit: Simon Ager

Unless the entire Pacific tuna industry is shutdown there will be nothing left by 2030.

Plant-based diets are healthy, compassionate and a necessity as our population adds 100 million humans, annually. Photo credit: roxeterawr.com

So what can each of us do to help the tuna? Simple – don’t eat tuna. In fact, please consider not eating sea life or any animals.

You are what you eat and your intestines absorb – plastics are deadly poisons. Photo credit: Surfrider.org

There are as many as 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. Ocean plastics are perfect sponges for persistent organic pollutants like PCBs, DDT, pesticides, methylmercury, biphenyls, phalates and other deadly poisons.

In the past 50 years the oceans have tripled with mercury poison to over 80,000 metric tons from burning coal. Photo credit: theguardian.com

Tiny pieces of ocean plastics resemble fish eggs, which are consumed by small fish and in turn those fish are prey for larger predators. As those persistent organic pollutants move up the food chain, concentrations of poisons are biomagnified. So by the time an apex predator such as tunas, sharks, dolphins, whales or humans munch those poisons from ocean plastics, it’s 100,000 times stronger. Forewarned is forearmed.

An eerie omen depicting the horrendous decline of the health of our oceans. In June of 2015, 337, 20-ton each, Sei whales were found along a remote stretch of Chliean beach in one of the largest mass whale strandings ever recorded. Photo credit: ibtimes.co.uk

The oceans are in peril. Please help by protecting all sea life because we cannot live on our planet without vibrant life in the sea.

#Love Is The Solution

Love is the solution. Love of one another and love of nature.

Earth Dr Reese Halter is the author of Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.

         

 
 

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Just a Dog

Dogs are amazing companions for millions of people around the globe.

This week, I am sharing a very special passage from an author unknown.
“From time to time, people tell me, ‘lighten up, it’s just a dog,’ or ‘that’s a lot of money for just a dog.’

They don’t understand the distance travelled, the time spent or the costs involved for ‘just a dog.’

Some of my proudest moments have come about with ‘just a dog.’

Many hours have passed and my only company was ‘just a dog,’ but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by ‘just a dog,’ and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of ‘just a dog’ gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s ‘just a dog,’ then you probably understand phrases like ‘just a friend,’ ‘just a sunrise’ or ‘just a promise.’

‘Just a dog’ brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.

‘Just a dog’ brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of ‘just a dog,’ I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it’s not ‘just a dog’ but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

‘Just a dog’ brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not ‘just a dog’ but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being ‘just a man’ or ‘just a woman.’

So the next time you hear the phrase ‘just a dog,’ just smile, because they ‘just don’t understand.'”

Please give the gift of life by supporting a local animal shelter.
Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “The Insatiable Bark Beetle.”

         

 
 

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