Did you know that Wyle E. Coyote of Looney Tunes fame is cousins with Tech E Coyote, the main character in Loonatics Unleashed? We didn’t either, but if you toon in (ha!) you will find out the connection, as well as get important information on the suburbanization of coyotes, and how we can coexist with them. We talk with Victoria Alzapiedi who has vast knowledge on the subject, and we will help you understand their habits, and how we can live in harmony.
By Susan Lutz
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is watch. We know we should speak up. We know we should act. But, at times, we must let go and watch.
For years I’ve watched young people around me participate in life according to what others have told them. Advertisers cram sugar down kids’ throats; plastic toys fill up bins; we consume and consume and create chaos in our drive to satiate our desires.
I’ve worked to be a model for my kids in how I eat. I speak up about how the milk on the table is made and where the eggs in the carton come from. I show them videos about ecology, recycling, and humane treatment to animals. After awhile, I feel like the teacher in the comic strip, the Peanuts: bla bla bla – after awhile, my message thinned over the airwaves of our home. I knew some was getting in, but society pushes hard. I gave up on some issues, even warmed to a few I once staunchly disliked (i.e. Disney comes to mind).
As I watched my kids and friends’ kids grow, I’d learn of one becoming a vegetarian, another off to build a solar boat, and others blossoming in their awareness of the environment. When a young person’s mind turns on, it’s an amazing thing to stand witness too.
After a class of kids I know saw the documentary film, Fed Up, some were appalled at the treatment of our food system and as if awoken from their childhood world and were shocked at how corporations had a grip on what went into our food. Some I talked to truly empathized with people in the story, suffering from obesity or health issues all so companies could turn a buck.
The light bulbs didn’t just go on – the passion arose. I could see their minds ticking and their ire rise. Discovering the message the film was way more powerful than me just babbling on about it at the dinner table. I am sure the message will fade and settle over time but perhaps a few will let it truly sink in.
The hard truth is we have to go back into the grocery stores, feed our families, and ourselves drink our water, and breathe the polluted air. Cutting out sugar is a lot harder once we realize it is in almost everything we eat. Yet, the power in what they now know gives me the confidence to now watch as they take on these issues for a new generation. And, once they’ve grabbed on and owned it, we can join together and speak up with a louder voice than before.
“Green” eco-warriors are working to protect rhinos and elephants, which are on the verge of extinction, as they are killed by poachers for their horns and tusks. My guest this week, Damien Mander, founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, is working to train rangers in the preserves of Africa, via legal and direct tactics, to bring poachers to justice. He is a vegan and believes that animals suffer tremendously when they are raised for consumption, which is also a major contributor to climate change. Damien is starring in a James Cameron film called “The Game Changers”, which you can check out by going to gamechangers.com. For more information on the work of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, go to iapf.org
By Susan Lutz
The roles of farmers often seem to go to men. Perhaps rooting from generations of roll assignments – the men work the land, the women raise the children and support their husbands. My family’s roots stretch back to farming. I remember the stories of my grandmothers supporting their husbands, doing the chores, and feeding the family and the extra farm hands. Without these women, the farms wouldn’t run. As times change, the farm is changing, too.
Organic lifestyles are creating demands for less pesticides, more local crops, and food grown without GMOs. Farms used to rely on the next generation of children, usually the son, to step up and take over. As large corporations took over acres, they created a mass production and marketing system and small farms couldn’t compete. We watched family farms collapse in the ’80s. Today, women are finding ways to farm with new insight and success.
The US Department of Agriculture reports that, beginning in the 1980s, women farmers were the “fastest-growing sector of the country’s changing agricultural landscape” and they will continue to be well into the next 25 years. The number continues to rise and women farmers are gaining visibility. The economic challenge for farmers has shifted from the tradition of turning the farm over to their children, especially to the boys, to the unknown. Many families turn away from the farm for work, but today more girls and women are choosing to stay. Some enter farming for reasons such as wanting to raise children in the rural lifestyle while others may see it as a profitable way to live. Some simply want to promote organic living. Some women choose sustainable farming and some undertake a larger scale.
Where does a woman, either working alone or with a partner, turn for resources? The growing number of women farmers has created new opportunities in education, management, production, and financial resources. The Internet, blogging, and social media have opened up a new avenue of community to women farmers. With a quick click, any woman can look up how to attack a cucumber beetle without pesticides or when the best time to plant a certain crop is, and they can share stories and develop friendships with other farmers.
Women are taking back the earth. Not from men, but together as partners. My grandmother and grandfather left the farm even before the economy suffered. Over time they gravitated closer to factories and industries offering steady pay. I wonder, if the resources today were available to them, would they have had a chance to grow their farm and adapt with help rather than flee in the hopes of just staying alive and making ends meet. The organic movement is so important to so many women I know. One farm at a time, we may see the land and its caretakers turn over a whole new leaf.
By Susan Lutz
Over the past weeks and months, ideas that began at the grassroots movements finally found movement forward in actions by governments and organizations. As consumers who are opening our eyes, becoming more aware, and utilizing our voices to take action, let’s take a moment to absorb the success and change that has happened so far. Here are a few of the big ones:
1. Microbeads Banned – Those tiny microbeads clogging up the waterways and reeking havoc on the ecosystem were finally banned by the U.S. government. The President signed the bill in late December:
“H.R. 1321, the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015,” which prohibits the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads…”
2. FDA Issues New Safety Rules: Strides were made with the new FDA standards for farmers. Some farms will be able to coordinate efforts – a victory seen for small farmers and the reality of modern day food growers. Food safety plans must be implemented, and again, smaller farmers will be given the ability to provide smaller plans, a much more realistic goal.
3. France Bars Big Supermarkets from Throwing Out Food: Legislation in France is banning large supermarket chains from throwing out food and is instead enforcing food donations to local charities. Though not the answer to the seed level issue, the act provides some relief to the problem of food shortages and food waste in the country – something to watch and learn from and a good model for other countries.
4. United States Fish and Wildlife Reclassifies Hunting: The USFW put out a report in December 2015 concerning the classification of animals as endangered. Lions in West and Central Africa will now be considered “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Lions from other parts of Africa, such as in the south and east, will be regarded as threatened. What does this mean for trophy hunters? For one thing, importing lion body parts will be prohibited. And this is a huge part of the bragging rights of a trophy hunter. The effects these changes have on the population and treatment of lions will need to be monitored. Yet, perhaps it’s a step in awareness plus…
As we roll into 2016, what more can we do? Banning microbeads is important, but yet again, at the seed level how was this allowed in the first place? Without question, there will be so much to watch for in the coming year.
“The main purpose of this piece is to bring to light the many animal extinctions taking place on Earth.”
First, the authors set the scene by describing Earth’s relationship with the universe and then illustrating the history of life on Earth, dating back to one billion years ago. They provide a brief history of humans (Homo sapiens), which especially focuses on the different industrialization eras that took place around the world. Eventually, the book catches up to the present as they contemplate the extinction of modern animals. After spending much time analyzing the extinction of many birds and mammals, the autho
rs discuss the significance of these extinctions. The main purpose of this piece is to bring to light the many animal extinctions taking place on Earth. A handful of solutions are proposed in the final pages of the book.
Several different literary (as well as visual) techniques were used throughout the book, some good, others less effective. Most notably, there were over one hundred photos of wildlife included in the book. The pictures carried great significance and made the text more powerful. However, the few pages that were without any photos were nearly unbearable, as the large chunks of text were quite overwhelming. Even so, the book included important facts on animal extinction when necessary, which proved to be effective. Furthermore, the description of wildlife tragedies were especially influential For example: In [the whale’s] stomach it had a golf ball, surgical gloves, duct tape, miscellaneous plastic fragments, a pair of sweatpants, and twenty plastic bags, among other trash. Plastic cannot be digested and simply clogs the gut, causing death not directly but indirectly, through starvation and disease.” (83) This graphic description leaves readers with a vivid, powerful image and a lasting impression. On another note, I began to notice awkward wording in a handful of instances. For example, the author refers to the Bonobo species as “our sexy living relatives.” Additionally, sometimes the authors seemed to demonize the human race as a whole, rather than pointing out a specific group responsible for poor environmentally sound decisions. Ultimately, the authors make powerful use of certain techniques to illustrate the sad stories of extinction throughout history.
This piece was certainly successful in providing readers with an above average understanding of bird and mammal extinction. I learned many different things, ranging from the importance of biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest to the illegal hunting of elephants for the ivory trade. The use of photography amidst well-written, evocative text throughout the book created an inviting environment to learn and sympathize.
This weeks episode takes us to the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action at the UN, sponsored by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). This event was attended by women from over 50 countries. To have such a collection of amazing women in one place, who presented stories of courage and resilience in combating climate change was deeply touching. Women play a key role in adapting solutions to climate change, and it was an honor to speak with WECAN founder Osprey Lake, environmentalist visionary Sally Ranney, as well as Neha Misra founder of Solar Sister, Harriet Shugarman Executive Director of ClimateMama, Executive Director of CELF Katie Ginsberg and student Coreena, and Patricia Gualinga-Montalvo, Indigenous Leader of Ecuador, whose interview was translated by Amazon Watch’s Executive Director Leila Salazar-López. For more information visit wecaninternational.org