For Ecuador’s Sápara, saving the forest means saving their language

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored The Sápara people of Ecuador, who live in one of the most biodiverse forests in the world, are fighting to retain their traditional language, spoken today by only a handful of native speakers.Tropical rainforests around the world and especially in Latin America are at the forefront of a rapid decline in linguistic diversity, and the traditional ecological knowledge encoded in it.Half of the world’s languages, many spoken by only a few dozen or a few hundred people, are kept alive by only 0.1 percent of the world’s population, and constitute some of the most threatened languages.2019 has been declared the “year of indigenous languages” by the U.N., in recognition of the importance of linguistic diversity around the world and its rapid decline. NAPO, Ecuador — Gloria Ushigua, president of the Sápara women’s association, stops by a large, thin, spindly tree that looks almost dead, and breaks off a thin branch. Running her fingers along it, she finds a small, almost invisible inch-long raised groove and bites into it. Tiny ants swarm out, which she picks off with her teeth. “Ormigas acidas,” or sour ants, she explains in Spanish. “Before my grandparents even heard of limes or lemons, we used these ants to season our dishes when we wanted a sour taste.”This is just one of many examples of how the Sápara, who have inhabited the eastern part of the Ecuadoran Amazon in the Napo eco-region around Yasuni National Park for centuries, have developed a deep local understanding and language for the rainforest they call home — a rainforest that happens to also be one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. But that knowledge is threatened on multiple levels.Gloria shows a fungi commonly used for ear-ache. The cultural and oral traditions of the Sapara are considered an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” by UNESCO because of the depth of ecological and medicinal knowledge the Sapara have. Image by Sarah Sax for MongabayCurrently, only 400 Sápara, considered the smallest of the Ecuadoran indigenous nations, remain, and only a handful of elders speak Sápara fluently; when they die, many of the stories and traditional ecological knowledge encoded in the language is at risk of extinction. The nation also faces external pressure: their roughly 400,000-hectare (990,000-acre) territory sits on top of six oil concessions, two of which the Ecuadoran government has repeatedly tried to auction off.“It’s a dangerous situation for us, the Sápara,” Ushigua says. “There are so few of us in our territory and there is also petroleum in our territory. We know that if we allowed oil extraction in our territory it would be the end of us for good.”The story of the Sápara’s decline isn’t dissimilar to that of other nations and tribes in the Amazon Basin. Once a nation of around 200,000 people, the Sápara were decimated after contact with outsiders through the rubber trade, enslavement and disease. Now they’re in a race against time to revitalize their dying language. And they’re not alone. At least a quarter of the world’s languages are threatened with extinction, according to a WWF report in 2014, and most of them are indigenous.Language losses in forests worldwideA recent U.N. report on the state of global biodiversity warns that as many as a million species could be at risk from extinction in the coming decades. The U.N. has also designated 2019 the “year of indigenous languages,” to draw attention to the rapid decline in indigenous languages worldwide. Even though indigenous people constitute less than 5 percent of the world’s population, they conserve an estimated 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity.Globally, areas of high biological diversity, largely tropical rainforests, are also areas of high cultural-linguistic diversity. In fact, the three core areas of biocultural diversity are situated in the three largest, most intact tropical rainforests: the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and Southeast Asia.“When you look at distribution of languages around the world, tropical forests really show up as hotspots of linguistic diversity, and overlap with trends in biological diversity,” says Jonathan Loh, an honorary research fellow at the School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, U.K. “They are also the areas where decline is happening the fastest.”Half of the world’s languages, many spoken by only a few dozen or a few hundred people, are kept alive by only 0.1 percent of the world’s population, according to the WWF report. These are some of the most threatened languages.A young girl participates in the traditional “mono gordo” Sapara festival, which was celebrated for the first time in 30 years in June 2019. Image by Sarah Sax for Mongabay“Most of the world’s 7,000 languages are spoken by indigenous people. When the language is lost, the traditional and ecological knowledge that are encoded in the language [are] also lost,” says Loh, who co-authored the WWF report. “We could be losing a lot of potentially valuable knowledge. Who understands the species and the relationships to the ecosystem better than the people who have lived there for centuries?”The central idea of biocultural diversity is that the diversity of life on Earth is comprised not only of biodiversity but also of cultural and linguistic diversity, “all of which are interrelated (and possibly coevolved), within a complex socioecological adaptive system,” according to The Oxford Handbook of Endangered Languages.“People became interested in biocultural diversity for the same reasons people became interested in global biodiversity: It was starting to decline rapidly,” Loh says. A conservation biologist turned biocultural scientist, Loh became interested in the connection between biological and linguistic diversity when he became aware of the fact that thousands of languages worldwide were spoken by just a few people, largely in the tropics. “It very much reminded me of rare, endemic species distribution. So I started to do research. And here I am.”Biocultural diversity and the SáparaIn 2001, UNESCO recognized the language and traditions of the Sápara as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” in large part because of their complex oral culture, which is deeply marked by their environment and reflects a profound knowledge of the Amazonian jungle.Walking through the rainforest with a hunting party of Sápara, their deep knowledge of the forest is never far from sight. They bring no water or food with them. A large curuarawangu liana is cut, and from it flows sweet, filtered water. A midday snack of chonta palm and tuco, a grub that lives in the roots of the palm, is produced. A paca, a large forest rodent, is killed, and from the dozens of vines surrounding the hunting party, the sturdiest and most flexible are expertly chosen to tie up the heavy animal and carry it back to the community.The tuco grub, which lives in the roots of the chonta palm is a staple for the Sapara. Image by Sarah Sax for Mongabay.By far the most rapid losses in linguistic diversity have occurred in the Americas, where 60 percent of languages are threatened or have gone extinct since 1970.“There is so much to learn about the different Amazonian languages,” Bernat Bardagil Mas, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in Amazonian indigenous languages, tells Mongabay. “What little we do know is this: How rich Amazonian linguistic diversity is, and how endangered most of the languages are.”According to Loh, most of the languages threatened with extinction are evolutionarily quite distinct from the few dominant world languages; they also represent very different cultures and knowledge systems. If trends continue as they have, this vast store of knowledge could largely be lost by the end of this century.“Conservation biologists sadly in the past have just focused on biological diversity,” he says. “But particularly in those biodiversity hotspots that are also linguistic and cultural hotspots, conservation really needs to take into consideration and conserve the whole of biocultural diversity, instead of just the biological diversity.”The Sápara now have a language revitalization plan in place, which includes teaching children the language at school, and developing pedagogical tools to help both children and adults relearn the language. For Ushigua, there is no doubt in her mind that any attempt to revitalize the language will directly impact the Sápara’s ability to also protect their forest.“Years ago I made the point that protecting the integrity of our forest and protecting our culture and language went hand in hand, but there were no spaces to do both, so I chose to fight for our territory,” she says. “But if the forest goes extinct, we as a people are done. And if we were not here, the forest would not exist in the same way it does today. It’s that simple.”The Sapara control 400,000 hectares of rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon, most of which sits on top of oil reserves that the Ecuadorian government is considering exploiting. Image by Sarah Sax for Mongabay.Banner Image Caption: The Sapara have been living in the Ecuadorian Amazon for centuries; their language and traditions reflect a deep knowledge of their environment. Image by Sarah Sax for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Willie Shubertcenter_img Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Anthropology, Biocultural Diversity, Culture, Food, Forests, Human Rights, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Rights, Language last_img read more

Indonesian court fines palm oil firm $18.5m over forest fires in 2015

first_imgFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Banner image: Peat fire in Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Note: Mongabay Indonesia reporter Lusia Arumingtyas contributed to this report. An Indonesian court has fined a palm oil company $18.5 million for fires that destroyed 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of forest on its concession in Borneo in 2015.The judgment is the latest in a growing number of cases where courts have taken a zero-tolerance approach that makes concession holders liable for any fires that occur on their land, regardless of whether or not they can be proven to have started the fires.Observers have welcomed the verdict, but say the challenge now will be to compel the company to pay up. Since 2015 the government has won $223 million in judgments in similar cases, but collected just $5.5 million.The company in the latest case, PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, is a supplier to Singapore-based Musim Mas Group, a major oil palm trader whose customers include consumer brands such Unilever. Musim Mas said it was seeking an explanation from PT Arjuna Utama Sawit. JAKARTA — A court in Indonesia has ordered palm oil company PT Arjuna Utama Sawit to pay the equivalent of $18.6 million in fines and damages for fires on its land in Borneo in 2015, in the latest instance of a zero-tolerance enforcement approach against concession holders.The fires razed 970 hectares (2,400 acres) of forest in Katingan district, Central Kalimantan province. The company, a supplier to Singapore-based Musim Mas Group — which has committed to a “no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation” (NDPE) policy to ensure the sustainability of its palm oil supplies — holds a concession to manage 16,600 hectares (41,000 acres) in the district.The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry sued PT Arjuna Utama Sawit at the court in Palangkaraya, the provincial capital. On Oct. 23, the court found the company violated environmental regulations and ordered it to pay 99.6 billion rupiah ($7.1 million) in fines to the ministry and 162 billion rupiah ($11.5 million) for the environmental damages incurred.Jasmin Ragil Utomo, the ministry’s director of civil litigation, welcomed the ruling, although the judgment awarded was less than the total $25.6 million in fines and damages that the ministry had sought. A lawyer for the company, meanwhile, told local media it would appeal the verdict.The judgment, while far from the largest won by the state, is notable because it marks the latest instance of a growing push by the government and courts to take a zero-tolerance stance against companies with fires on their concessions. Rasio Ridho Sani, the environment ministry’s director-general of law enforcement, praised the Palangkaraya court’s use of the concept of strict liability, under which concession holders are responsible for any fires that occur on their land, regardless of whether or not they can be proven to have started the fires. The concept has been employed successfully in a number of cases since 2015, when fires razed 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres) of land — an area larger than the U.S. state of Vermont.“The verdict shows that land and forest fire is an extraordinary crime,” Rasio said in a press statement. “Companies have to take responsibility for fires on their concessions.”With Indonesia experiencing another scorching fire season this year, Rasio said the verdict was an important reminder that companies couldn’t evade liability no matter how long ago the burning occurred.“Even if the land and forest fires happened a long time ago, they will still be prosecuted,” he said. “We can track traces [of fires] and evidence of past forest fires with the support of experts and technology.”More fires broke out on PT Arjuna Utama Sawit’s concession again earlier this year, prompting the environment ministry to seal off the affected area.Smoke rises from an oil palm plantation on a peatland in Sumatra. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Trouble collectingWinning a judgment is one thing; collecting the fines, though, could prove difficult. Prior to the PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, Indonesia had won judgments against nine companies in forest fire cases since 2015. Those companies were ordered to pay a combined 3.15 trillion rupiah ($223 million) in fines, but only one has paid its tab of 78 billion rupiah ($5.5 million).Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Arie Rompas said the government faced the same challenge this time around. He also called on the environment ministry to revoke the company’s permit immediately to prevent it carrying out any more activities, including burning, on the land.Arie said Musim Mas, one of the world’s biggest oil palm traders whose customers include major consumer brands such as Unilever, should also be held responsible for the burning, given that it sourced some of its palm oil from PT Arjuna Utama Sawit. He noted Singapore’s transboundary haze pollution act of 2014 that allows the country to take legal action against locally registered companies or citizens who commit fire violations in other countries that result in pollution in Singapore. The 2015 fires led to haze spreading beyond Indonesia to Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand.Responding to the verdict, Musim Mas said it was carrying out an investigation in accordance with its grievance mechanism.“We have immediately reached out to Arjuna Utama Sawit for more information and are currently waiting for their response,” the company told Mongabay.Peatlands buring in Indonesia in 2014 to make way for oil palm. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.‘Risky acquisition’In its lawsuit against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, the environment ministry had asked the court to prohibit the company from selling its assets or otherwise undergoing any kind of change in ownership. But the court rejected that request, leaving open the possibility that the company could be sold off without paying the fines.Singapore-listed crushed limestone producer GCCP Resources recently announced a plan to fully acquire PT Arjuna Utama Sawit in a reverse takeover deal worth S$220 million ($162 million) that would see the Indonesian company take over the former’s board listing.The acquisition is pending GCCP Resources’ due diligence on the financial, business and legal aspects of PT Arjuna Utama Sawit and approval from its shareholders.But the acquisition could allow the owners of the palm oil company to evade responsibility for paying the fines, said Reynaldo Sembiring, the deputy director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).“One of the methods of corporate crime is to shift responsibility,” he said. “It can be done in two ways: through a change in the board of directors, or through an acquisition.”If GCCP Resources proceeds with the takeover knowing that there’s a court judgment against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, “then it’s a risky acquisition.”“[The assets] that it acquires could be seized by the state,” Reynaldo said. “And GCCP Resources will have no excuse for running away from its responsibility” to pay the fines after the takeover.Regardless of the change in ownership of PT Arjuna Utama Sawit, the ultimate owners of the company still have to pay up, Arie said.“The beneficial ownership has to be made clear so that they are legally responsible,” he said. “We have to target the owners, or the group, which must be held responsible.”Reynaldo said there was a concern that PT Arjuna Utama Sawit could quietly sell off assets such as equipment pending the appeal. To prevent unknowing buyers from shelling out money for assets that could later be seized by the state, he said the environment ministry should work closely with local prosecutors and financial regulators to ensure no assets change hands.He also called on the ministry to draw up plans for rehabilitating the burned areas. “The restoration plan will be the basis for how the fines will be utilized,” Reynaldo said. “As such it can be used to justify the monitoring of the company’s financial transactions and assets.”Fires in Samboja, East Kalimantan. Image by Yovanda for Mongabay.History of violationsThe 2015 fires aren’t the only troubles in which PT Arjuna Utama Sawit is embroiled. In 2013, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) accused the company of violating a number of regulations by operating on peatland despite a government moratorium banning such practices.Walhi also found out that the company hadn’t acquired a forest conversion permit, which is required to clear forests for oil palm plantations, or an environmental impact assessment. It also alleged the company’s operations had polluted a local lake.“Based on our monitoring, this company has had a lot of problems since the beginning, when it started operating even though it didn’t have the necessary permits,” said Greenpeace’s Arie, who previously worked at Walhi and authored the report. “Furthermore, the company operated on peatland and on moratorium area.”He added that fires on PT Arjuna Utama Sawit’s concession were a recurring event.“Our monitoring indeed shows that the company burns [its land] every year,” Arie said. “Fire spots keep being detected, and because the concession is on peatland, clearing keeps happening.”In 2017, a number of villagers reportedly confronted PT Arjuna Utama Sawit for allegedly seizing 300 hectares (740 acres) of their customary lands. The villagers also complained that the company hadn’t fulfilled a promise to allocate 20 percent of its concession for local farmers.In 2019, U.S.-based environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth lodged a grievance report against PT Arjuna Utama Sawit at Musim Mas. It accused PT Arjuna Utama Sawit of clearing 33 hectares (82 acres) of forest and preparing to raze another 94 hectares (232 acres) between November 2018 and February 2019.In April, Musim Mas engaged with PT Arjuna Utama Sawit to verify the allegations. PT Arjuna Utama Sawit told Musim Mas that the clearance area was outside of its concession.Arie said the company shouldn’t have been allowed to start operating in the first place, given its lack of necessary permits. “The main problem is that the regulations aren’t enforced consistently, especially the regulation on peatland moratorium,” he said. “The company clearly operated without following the procedures, but instead the forestry ministry in 2013 decided to issue it with a permit to convert the peatland.” Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Deforestation, Dry Forests, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Law, Fires, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fires, Forests, Law, Law Enforcement, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Peatlands, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests last_img read more

Impending Amazon tipping point puts biome and world at risk, scientists warn

first_imgAgriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Drought, Amazon Logging, Amazon Mining, Cattle Ranching, Conservation, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Drought, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Industrial Agriculture, Infrastructure, Land Use Change, Mining, Plants, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforest Mining, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Trees, Tropical Deforestation Article published by Glenn Scherer Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Climate models coupled with real world biome changes are causing prominent scientists to forecast that, unless action is taken immediately, 50 to 70% of the Amazon will be transformed from rainforest into savanna in less than 50 years.That ecological disaster would trigger a vast release of carbon stored in vegetation, likely leading to a regional and planetary climate catastrophe. The Amazon rainforest-to-savanna tipping point is being triggered by rapidly escalating deforestation, regional and global climate change, and increasing Amazon wildfires — all of which are making the region dryer.While models produced the first evidence of the tipping point, events on the ground are now adding to grave concern. The Amazon has grown hotter and dryer in recent decades, and rainforest that was once fireproof now readily burns. Plant species adapted to a wet climate are dying, as drought-resistant species flourish. Deforestation is escalating rapidly.Scientists say the tipping point could be reversed with strong environmental policies. However, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is moving in the opposite direction, with plans to develop the Amazon, including the opening of indigenous reserves to industrial mining and agribusiness, and the building of roads, dams and other infrastructure. Amazon trees may not die immediately in a severe drought, but weakened trees can die off many years afterward, even after several years of regular rainfall. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Fotos Públicas.“We’re on the edge of a cliff,” says top climate scientist Carlos Nobre, who published an editorial with renowned conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy last month warning that “The Amazon tipping point is here.”Many scientists who study the Amazon rainforest are very worried. The tropical biome over recent decades has grown increasingly dryer, making the once nearly fireproof rainforest prone to raging wildfires. Extreme weather events, such as high heat, droughts and floods, are on the rise. The dry season is getting longer and hotter and trees are dying. Computer models show that all this could be a foreshadowing of far worse to come — potentially, a recipe for a tropical rainforest disaster.But what exactly is the Amazon tipping point? What might it look like, and when might it happen? And how might it occur: will the tipping point occur as a gradual downhill decline, or sudden freefall? Mongabay spoke to several leading scientists to find out.The Amazon rainforest, as its name suggests, is historically a rainy, humid, green place. In its natural state even lightning wasn’t enough to start a fire there — the vegetation was simply too wet for ignition. But today, this is no longer true over much of the region. Researchers say the very wet hydrological cycle that kept the rainforest thriving for millennia is under threat, with the biome enduring greater and greater stress and instability due to worsening deforestation and escalating climate change.These trends may not be irreversible: Human activities — deforestation versus reforestation of native vegetation, for example — have the potential to either push the Amazon over the brink to a new ecological paradigm, or possibly tip it back toward its original state.In the past, IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency led crackdowns on illegal mining and deforestation. But under President Jair Bolsonaro, IBAMA has been largely defunded and de-toothed. Deforestation in Brazil increased rapidly over the last year. Image by Ascom IBAMA/Fotos Públicas.Rapid progress toward a tipping pointAccording to the tipping point theory, large parts of the Amazon rainforest today are on the verge of dying back into a drier, degraded savanna or shrubland. Some researchers, like Nobre, are sure we’re on the edge of a dangerous precipice. Others aren’t convinced it’s so near, but don’t deny an eventual biome transition.The argument isn’t merely academic, or the answer only locally relevant: The Amazon holds a vast store of carbon in its plants and soil; so a transition to degraded savanna would not only be a disaster for the region’s biodiversity, and its indigenous and traditional peoples who rely on it for their livelihoods; the forest-to-savanna conversion, especially if it happens quickly, could tip atmospheric carbon emissions deep into the danger zone, leading to global climate catastrophe.Unfortunately, worsening deforestation — which models say could more rapidly bring on the tipping point — is currently trending in the Amazon basin: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in office since January 2019, is pressing ahead with his Amazon exploitation agenda. According to draft legislation seen by Brazil’s O Globo newspaper, the Bolsonaro administration wants to open indigenous reserves to industrial mining, as well as oil and gas exploration — development currently banned by law — while also building new hydroelectric dams and expanding agribusiness.In the first year of Bolsonaro’s rule, Brazil’s deforestation rate soared to an 11 year high, and environmental protections were severely cut back. Hopes of the country reaching its Paris Agreement carbon reduction goals are fading, as the president puts forward plans for new Amazon roads, dams, railways, and electrical transmission lines.Those actions have scientists alarmed: if the Amazon overshoots the critical tipping point, it would mean a massive die off of Amazon vegetation that could send billions of tons of carbon skyward — just as the world is scrambling to curb greenhouse gas emissions.Amazon wildfires occurring August 15-22, 2019. Recent studies have found that events on the ground fulfill forecasts made by climate models: The Amazon is getting progressively dryer, leading to far more numerous wildfires. However, those fires typically are in edge areas where the rainforest is under pressure from agribusiness. Image courtesy of NASA/Fotos Públicas.A rainforest without rain isn’t a forestThe first signs of a forest-to-savanna shift — propelled by a changing climate, accelerating deforestation, and increased wildfires — are beginning to show up on the ground, according to Nobre. The tipping point is “no longer a theoretical forecast about the future,” the climatologist told Mongabay; previously he had based his forecasts on climate models.After signs of a changing Amazon were revealed by several biome studies over the last two years, Nobre and Lovejoy decided to up the ante on their previous forecast. What they had predicted via climate models, was now happening in real-time, and far faster than expected.Nobre now projects that 50 to 70% of the Amazon will become savanna in less than 50 years. “For over half of the Amazon to become a degraded savanna in 50 years — that is falling off a cliff,” Nobre warns. “In evolutionary biology, it’s a snap.”At the heart of this forecast, and a major factor in Nobre’s and Lovejoy’s upgraded warning, is a landmark scientific report from a long-term international scientific collaboration known as RAINFOR, which collected data from 106 different Amazon one-hectare (2.5 acre) plots over three decades. The study, led by ecologist Adriane Esquivel Muelbert of the University of Birmingham, shows that species adapted to a wet rainforest climate are dying while drought-resistant species are on the rise.“Our project was quite conservative. We didn’t take samples from deforested areas,” Muelbert told Mongabay. “This is why it’s so worrying. Even in the most remote corners of the planet, we are seeing the human impacts.”A NASA study published in October 2019 co-authored by Sassan Saatchi and Armineh Barkhordarian corroborates these findings. Humidity is decreasing across the region, their research found, even in areas unaffected by deforestation. Aridity has steadily increased by 20-30% over the last three decades.This real-world data points to a knock-on effect: a positive feedback loop long seen by scientists in their models, which has begun pushing the Amazon to the tipping point. “Even the Northwest [Amazon], which is supposed to have huge resilience and lush rainfall is being impacted,” Saatchi reveals; drying effects began showing there after the 2005 drought. In the Southeast Amazon — a region with far greater deforestation — drying tendencies have been tracked since the early 1990s.“It’s extremely alarming.” Saatchi says.Impacts are now being seen at all levels: Tree canopies and leaves are getting warmer and the air around them less humid. The soil below, increasingly parched by long-term drought or washed out by intensifying floods, holds less water to feed roots. “In rainforest areas, length of dry season has increased by 5-7 days per decade consistently over the last 30 years,” reports Saatchi.Trees act as pumps, sending water from the ground back toward canopy leaves, then into the sky, keeping the atmosphere humid and recycling rain across the Amazon forest. Since trees regulate climate, and climate affects trees, small changes in either can create a domino effect.According to scientist and United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) researcher Marcos Heil Costa, the Amazon rainforest needs at least seven months of rain to thrive. “Six months rain and you have a savanna,” he says. However, Costa’s research shows that over the last decade, the wet season has been starting late and the dry season is coming early.The Arc of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon — a vast swath of former rainforest intruded on by roads, dams and mines, and converted to cattle ranches, soy plantations and other monoculture croplands. Image by KBHS Social Sciences.It’s in the more deforested Southern Amazon that this drying effect is most dramatic, Costa told Mongabay, pointing to two studies published in 2019. Some areas there are already approaching the six-month rainforest-to-savanna threshold. “This is evidence that the conditions for a tipping point are being satisfied,” he says.Amazon areas heavily impacted by ranching, logging and land grabbing are also typically closer to the neighboring already-dry Cerrado savanna, putting them at a natural disadvantage. Meanwhile, the so-called Amazon Arc of Deforestation — a vast crescent shaped swathe of tree loss sweeping from Pará and Maranhão states in Brazil’s East, through Mato Grosso state, to Rondônia and Acre — is pushing relentlessly northward.Rainforest isn’t only at risk from the drying. Agriculture, critical to Brazil’s economy, Costa says, is already affected: “If you talk to any farmer in Mato Grosso [state], they’ll tell you rainfall is decreasing.” Amazon and Cerrado rivers and aquifers are being affected too, which is extremely bad news for Brazil’s great Eastern cities which rely on both biomes for their water supply.Dry conditions in the degraded Southeastern Amazon are resonating westward into largely forested regions — the most crucial for delaying positive climate feedbacks adding to the drying. “The moisture and the airmass is moving East to West,” says Lovejoy. “So it’s the deforestation in Brazil that makes the biggest difference,” for forested Amazon areas farther west. Total forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon since 1970 totals 718,927 km2 (277,579 square miles), an area larger than France that grows bigger with each passing year.But what still isn’t precisely known is at what point climate change and tree loss combine to be self-propagating — a process that drives itself without further need of human forcing — resulting in an unstoppable death spiral that rushes onward until the Amazon as we know it ceases to exist.Once Amazon rainforest conditions are degraded sufficiently due to human causes, a self-propagating “natural” cycle takes over. The challenge for scientists is pinpointing the timing of the rainforest-to-savanna tipping point. Image by Shanna Hanbury.Uncertainty and a “call to action”As dire as all of this sounds, scientists aren’t certain in their tipping point calculations. Previously, climate models predicted a tipping point — based solely on total deforestation — would be reached when 40% of the total Amazon was deforested. But after adding in the impacts of climate change and Amazon fires, that prediction was halved to 20-25%. Today, an estimated 17% of the Amazon’s original total forest cover has been lost.As things now stand, regional and global climate change are believed to be roughly matching deforestation in their Amazon impacts. However, new queries about tree resilience, reactions to CO2, root systems and the behavior of wildfires are complicating, and refining the equation.“The tipping point is something we worry about a lot. But we are [still] not completely sure how the mechanisms would work,” confesses NASA’s Sassan Saatchi. “Our ecosystem models are not completely equipped to simulate this for us. Some show a drastic dieback of trees, others show more flexibility and resilience.”A 2013 climate model simulation, for example, found surprising resilience from rainforest vegetation that benefited from the growth spurt brought on by higher atmospheric CO2 levels. One of the study’s authors, Peter Cox, published a landmark paper in 2000 with the UK Met Office warning about an Amazon tipping point, but he has since backed off from that conclusion.Adriane Muelbert cautions against relying too heavily on climate models, which always are limited by their inputs, so necessarily imperfect. Models, she says, do not carry the same scientific weight as real-life observations which prove a dieback has already begun.Several researchers told Mongabay that today’s climate models need to be improved, with new inputs, before they can accurately represent the dynamics and timing of the Amazon tipping point, and they stressed the need for new investments in science and technology. “We need models to answer the new questions we have today. Twenty years ago savannization was a mere possibility. Today, we have evidence that the forest is already on this path. But the models are becoming obsolete,” says Costa.Others view the emphasis on the tipping point as counter-productive because it could trigger a feeling of helplessness with the public. “Embedded in the Amazon tipping point hypothesis is a fatalism that sends the wrong message — that there is no turning back,” cautions Daniel Nepstad, president of the Earth Innovation Institute.Oxford University professor and rainforest expert Yadvinder Malhi echoes this view: “There’s a feeling that it’s inevitable. That we’re doomed. I don’t think we’re there. There’s a lot that can be done. Rather than despair, I think it’s a call to action to avoid these worst-case scenarios.”As of this moment, the question remains as to whether the first danger signs now evident will result in half the rainforest eventually turning into a degraded savanna or grassy scrubland, or if the forest will respond differently to the combined stressors of climate change, deforestation and fire. But no matter, all those interviewed for this story agree: the earth’s most intact rainforest is clearly in danger.“My sense is that the changes you are seeing in the Southern Amazon are a prelude,” Lovejoy says. “You’ll see a lot more fire, a lot of dead vegetation. It will get a lot drier. It’s not a pretty picture, even though you can’t be too definite about it.”And simply sitting back and waiting for real-life observations to confirm an Amazon tipping point, he says, is an “unthinkable” experiment.The Amazon rainforest on fire. In extreme droughts, fire spreads rapidly, causing widespread destruction. In the past, the rainforest was too wet to burn. Almost all rainforest fires in Brazil today are set by humans seeking to convert forest into grazing and croplands. Image by Paulo Brando/IPAM.Fire in a tropical rainforest no longer a paradoxWhen Ane Alencar, now the science director at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IMPA), started to research fire in the Amazon a quarter century ago, she was largely on a solo mission. In the early 90s scientists weren’t studying rainforest fires because, simply put, there weren’t many. “This was new,” she recalls, “It’s a very strange phenomenon.”Naturally, an Amazon fire cycle should happen only once every 500 to 1,000 years, Alencar explains. But recently in the Eastern Amazon — a region with high levels of land clearing — she has found areas that are burning every three years. “Parts of the Amazon are already at this point of auto-destruction,” she asserts. “The system can no longer sustain itself. The drier it is, the more fire there is, and the more fire there is, the drier it gets,” and so on.A study published in January 2020 by IMPA researcher Paulo Brando estimates that the area of the Amazon burned by wildfires could reach 16% of the forest by 2050. “Aggressive efforts to eliminate ignition sources and suppress wildfires will be critical to conserve Southern Amazon forests,” his report states.These fires look different than the gigantic blazes that occur in temperate regions. And unlike fires on cleared land, wildfire in standing tropical forests often go undetected, smoldering beneath the canopy. But by degrading the forest, they worsen future fires. During the intense 2015 El Niño drought,Nepstad says that exactly this sort of under-canopy wildfire burned through an Amazon area of standing forest in the Northeastern Santarém region larger than the area deforested that entire year in the biome.“It’s all a question of how frequent and intense those really severe draughts are,” Nepstad told Mongabay. “And when they [do] hit, are there sources of ignition? That’s a huge opportunity for us.” By preventing ignition and boosting firefighting and monitoring efforts, he says, a lot of Amazon fires could be avoided or contained.But such policies require political will. And so far, under Bolsonaro, policy is moving in the opposite direction, with the gutting of environmental agencies responsible for fighting wildfires and illegal deforestation. In 2019, Brazil’s fire prevention program was slashed by 50% as part of a 45 million dollar (187 million reais) budget cut to the Ministry of Environment, according to a report by O Eco, a Brazilian environmental news website.“The amount of fire ultimately depends on ignition. And ignition is sparked by humans and very much signaled by politics,” says Alencar. Most Amazon fires are set by landholders and are not due to natural causes. “The [Brazilian] government needs to grasp the value of the Amazon. It makes me sad that we are throwing this away.”Preventing an overshoot of the Amazon tipping point is critically important not only to the rainforest biome’s indigenous and traditional peoples, but to everyone on this planet. Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABrIrreversible damage across the worldEven as the tipping point debate continues, there is expert consensus on one fact: The death of billions of Amazon trees would release enormous quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, undoing global emissions reduction goals, raising planetary temperatures, and causing more extreme weather events.A massive Amazon die off might also trigger knock on impacts in other biomes and ecosystems. A recent study, for example, found that Amazon fires are melting Andean glaciers. But it isn’t known exactly how Amazon forest-to-savanna conversion — with giant carbon releases — might force other global biome tipping points.“When you take the Amazon away, the effects are felt in far-flung parts of the planet,” says Timothy Lenton, a professor at the University of Exeter who studies the connections between the earth’s different tipping points. “It could mean that other places far away will get wetter or drier as the circulation of the atmosphere reorganizes itself.”It is thought that savannification of the Amazon biome would be permanent: “Biodiversity will diminish drastically and the ecosystem will change completely,” Costa projects. “Trees that are not adapted to fire will not survive. It’s a process of natural selection.”To avoid the Amazon tipping point, Brazil’s government needs to step up, says Monica deBolle, an economist and environmental policy advisor at the Peterson Institute of International Economics. “We need a government that is making an active effort to protect the Amazon, which hasn’t been the case under Bolsonaro.”But the international community, she says, with its own climate emissions problems (which in turn impact the Amazon), must step up too. “Attacking the Bolsonaro administration, as some governments have done, without considering cooperation and the provision of incentives to avert deforestation, has put Brazil’s government in a confrontational position which does not serve anyone’s interests,” deBolle wrote in an October 2019 policy brief.Nobre and Lovejoy, the chief proponents of the tipping point theory, still have hope for a sustainable future despite their forecasts. “The time to act is now,” they told Mongabay, urging politicians to have a change of heart. They prescribe ambitious reforestation goals in order to save the Amazon, along with the transformation of industrial agribusiness practices, including the adoption of best practices that allow for the intensification of beef production on already degraded lands and the elimination of vast monoculture plantations of soy and sugarcane.For Lovejoy, there is a silver lining in abandoned land plots that are recovering naturally; he notes that a quarter of Brazil’s 16-20% lost tree cover has been deserted and is now growing back.“The only sensible way forward is to launch a major reforestation project especially in the Southern and Eastern Amazon,” the two scientists write in Science Advances, “The good news is that we can build back a margin of safety.”The scientific community still has plenty of disagreements concerning the tipping point. But when it comes to the urgent need to reduce deforestation, fight wildfires and invest in science, while preserving Amazon biodiversity and achieving global carbon reduction goals, they are unanimous. The time to act, is now.Banner image caption: Amazon trees killed by drought. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Fotos Públicas.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Saving seniors from tax scams

first_imgSome of those who filed their income-tax forms at the last minute are soon to receive their refund checks, and there are plenty of people out there ready to help spend them. And some of those people – con artists – have ideas of their own when it comes to separating tax refunds from victims, especially the elderly. Home Instead, an organization that provides in-home, nonmedical care to seniors, would like the public to be on alert for such cons. Janice Hall, general manager of Home Instead’s Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville offices, said tax-season fraud is the same as any other time of the year. Contractor, lottery and Internet fraud are some of the more common scams floating around that seem particularly targeted at seniors, she said. But in some cases, these contractors offer to make unnecessary repairs, she said. The usual gamut of scams is also a danger during this time of year, she said. These include lottery and Internet fraud scams. Seniors often fall prey to identity thieves because they are unaware of how to protect their Social Security number, Hall said. “Seniors who live by themselves are isolated and befriend people easily,” she said. “Just because people want to talk to you doesn’t mean they want to be your friend, which is very sad.” Hall advises seniors who get phone calls soliciting them for donations to check out these charities thoroughly before sending in any money. If they are not sure how to check on these organizations, they should have someone they trust look into the charity for them, Hall said. The Internal Revenue Service issued an official statement last month regarding an online scam that involves e-mails being sent to consumers asking for such personal information as bank account numbers. The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for detailed financial information, the statement said. Information on other types of scams can be found online at www.fraud.org. jannise.johnson@dailybulletin.com (909) 483-9318160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “There’s so many scams anyway towards the seniors,” Hall said. “We try to tell them if they have family, to field the calls as they come in.” Unfortunately, Hall said, seniors are typically “very free with their information.” Knowing that seniors might have a little extra cash at their disposal this time of year may bring some unethical contractors out in the open. This may arise in the form of people claiming to be contractors who go door to door offering to work on homes. In some cases, these contractors are unlicensed, leaving their customers without legal recourse if something goes wrong. “Almost every senior’s home needs something done to it,” Hall said. last_img read more

Surprising Things Science Didn’t Know

first_img(Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Scientists presume to speak with confidence about the origin of the universe and billions of years, but have been clueless about some everyday things close to home in the present.Mystery of the whistling teakettle:  PhysOrg reported that two Cambridge researchers have finally figured out how the teakettle produces a whistle.  “Researchers have finally worked out where the noise that makes kettles whistle actually comes from – a problem which has puzzled scientists for more than 100 years.”  Science Now wrote wittily about this, saying:For centuries, physicists have made their living by illuminating the secrets of our universe, from gravity to electricity to black holes. But among the search for Higgs bosons and the endless unspooling of string theories, there remained a particularly glaring mystery: Why does a teakettle whistle? “Oh that,” they said, standing at their stoves in between bouts of programming supercomputers. “Vibrations. Or something.” Now, we are happy to report, human intellect has at last triumphed over the dark shadow of ignorance and solved the conundrum lurking within one of our lowest-tech kitchen appliances…. And having solved another mystery of our vast but perhaps ultimately knowable universe, they smile and sip their tea.Discovery in the knee:  One would think after centuries of dissections and surgeries that the human knee is pretty well understood.  Not so; a “new” ligament has been discovered, reported the BBC News, named the anterolateral ligament.  It looks pretty obvious from the photo in Medical Xpress.  It’s important, too: it helps protect the knee when we twist or change direction.  Without it, the knee can suddenly give way.  A surgeon outside the study group remarked, “If you look back through history there has been a veiled understanding that something is going on on that side of the knee but this work finally gives us a better understanding.”Manhattan’s Grand Canyon:  Just 100 miles off Manhattan’s shores, a canyon rivaling the Grand Canyon plunges off the continental shelf into the deep sea.  Live Science says that Hudson Canyon is “a city in its own right, brimming with an extraordinary universe of life.”  So close to the busiest city on earth, it’s a gigantic feature biologists are only beginning to inventory, inhabited by animals small and great – from plankton to sperm whales, corals, squid, sea anemones, swordfish and much more, some of which are shown in an embedded video clip.  Hudson is just one of 15 such large submarine canyons along the east coast south of Cape Cod that the article says are remnants of ancient rivers that flowed off the continental shelf when sea level was lower.  Beyond the canyon is a series of prominent seamounts – dormant volcanoes rising thousands of feet from the seafloor.Those large canyons appear to be Flood remnants.  It’s hard to imagine ordinary rivers carving so many canyons that huge so close to one another.  Only if massive, unprecedented waters were draining off the continents would these remnant geological features be expected.Once science can figure out the teakettle, maybe it can move on to more grandiose ambitions like explaining why toast tends to land buttered side down.  Those problems at least are tractable.  Evolution is so full of variables, unknowns and degrees of freedom, its error bars surpass the axes.  That’s why any story fits between the error bars.  Let’s tell the Darwin Party to stop wasting our time with speculations about the unobservable past, and help the guy with the bum knee get through physical therapy.  He needs compassionate evidence-based knowledge of knee structure and function, not storytelling about how vacant ecospace led to the Cambrian explosion.last_img read more

Financial Planning for Military Caregivers Webinar Discussions

first_imgAudience member question:Do you have any opinion of leading military caregiver families through Dave Ramsey’s class?Answer from audience member: I usually encourage clients to study personal finance resources beyond the popular financial gurus. I think it helps clients build a better understanding of the important fundamentals involved in effective personal finance. I also think it helps them to develop their own understanding grounded in their own study and experience. Caregiving may involve…Less personal timeLess family timeNeed for work-life balanceFinancial issuesPhysical and emotional stressThought from audience member: It can be difficult sometimes for a caregiver to openly acknowledge those costs.What are the most common issues families face?Audience member #1: Many of our soldiers are overwhelmed by the idea that they can no longer do what they know and they have to figure out another direction. I often have to use MRT to help them look past this concern and find the answers within themselves.Speaker: Where are the jobs in the whole bubble of your experience? There are plenty of jobs around what you’ve done. Where can you use your experience in the bigger picture.Audience member #2: Being a MFLC counselor referrals are made to financial consultants at the installations.What are the most common questions military family caregivers ask?Audience member #1: Most of my families are looking at when their payments will begin – there are so many different sources of income that come from different pots they may become overwhelmed. They have a hard time creating a budget without absolute answersAudience member #2: I like that “you have two choices, to know where your money is going or wonder where it went.” Unfortunately a lot of people live by wondering where their money wentAudience member #3: We call it a spending planAudience member #4 to audience member #1: yes, task & info overload is a common challenge. Sometimes the support we can offer is to help families to sort and manage the info & tasks. When we’re under physical & psychological stress, it can be a challenge to remain objective, focused, prioritized, etc…How do you get service members & caregivers to open up about their needs?Audience member #1: Taking the time and making the effort to build rapport/relationship with clients can help them to feel safe about talking.Audience member #2: flexibility and active listening skills are very importantSpeaker mentioned humor was very helpful when done respectfully. Good Resources suggest by speaker and participants:Military One Source – Financial & LegalPowerpay.orgConsumerFinance.govFinrafoundation.orgEbenefits.va.goveXtension.orgeXtenion.org – Online Resources for You!WarriorCare.DoDLive.milAFBA.comEach military installation has a personal financial manager at the Military and Family Support Center Below are questions and discussions from our Financial Planning for Military Caregivers Webinar. center_img This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published January 29, 2016.last_img read more

Ind vs Eng: MS Dhoni faces selection worries for 4th Test

first_imgDhoni will have to get the combination right if India intend to bounce back in the Test seriesIn the wake of losing the third cricket Test and face in the Jadeja-Anderson spat judgment, India will look to regroup and devise a plan to make enough runs and take 20 English wickets to win the fourth Test at the Old Trafford, starting from Thursday.India were soundly beaten in the Southampton Test, losing by 266 runs at the Rose Bowl.Set to get 445 runs on a deteriorating pitch, India did not even attempt to save the Test by defying the England attack, having lost four wickets by the end of the fourth day, and caved-in in the morning session on the fifth day.India were bowled out for 330 in the first innings and 178 in the second to allow England to square the five-Test series 1-1. The visitors clearly looked out of depth on a pitch which saw England cumulatively amassing 773 runs in the two innings.More than their fickle batting, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni must be worried more about the bowlers’ capability to take 20 wickets at a reasonable rate.Not for the first time has this sort of thing happened to India. They could manage to take 20 wickets in an overseas Test only four times in their last 15 Tests. On three of those four occasions, those 20 wickets cost India more than their batsmen could score.And the other instance was on this tour, at Lord`s. However, two of India`s match-winners from that game, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, are doubtful starters for Old Trafford.advertisementWhile Ishant has been ruled out, Bhuvneshwar barely participated in the first nets session Tuesday with a swollen ankle.In the absence of the two premier pacers, Dhoni might have to rely on one-Test-old Pankaj Singh — who on his debut at Rose Bowl went wicketless, Varun Aaron — yet to play a match on the tour, and Mohammed Shami.Shami will have to shoulder the bowling attack — but can Dhoni pin his hope on a bowler, who has taken five wickets at 73.20? His economy rate of 3.81, too, has been the worst among specialist bowlers.And then there is the worrying factor of Shikhar Dhawan`s batting form. The Delhi batsmen has been woefully short of runs and his place in the side is no longer a guarantee.Dhawan is in danger of losing his place to his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir, who last played a Test for India in early 2012, in Nagpur against England.Many have also questioned the reasoning behind the omission of India`s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Ravindra Jadeja has looked a far cry from being regarded as India`s first choice spinner in Tests.While Moeen Ali, a part-time English spinner, took eight wickets in the third Test — six of these coming in the second innings, Jadeja could manage just five on the same pitch.The left-arm spinner bowled 45 overs in the first innings, bagging just two wickets.England, meanwhile, have all the momentum going for them. The hosts ended a winless run of ten Tests, which began in August last year, with a dominant performance.It was almost the perfect Test. Not only did England`s out-of-form batsmen — and under pressure captain Alastair Cook and Ian Bell — make big runs but upcoming star Gary Ballance and debutant Jos Buttler were highly impressive.Another heartening fact is the performance of Moeen Ali, solving their spin problem.last_img