Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Wildlife’s Overpasses on Today’s Highways

19/07/2012

Wildlife Bridge Overpass – Giving animals a leg up on the auto traffic

Where’s the merge lane and who has right of way when the only traffic are animals such as tigers, wallabies, possums or kangaroos? I suppose whoever is highest on the food chain gets to go first across these overpasses with no roads, and only trees and grasses.

Someone posted the aerial image at right this evening. At first glance it looked like the same bridge under which I passed two years ago on the east coast highway heading north from Sydney, Australia. I dug in my files, and found the snapshot of the bridge and include it here.

I was so taken aback by the site of the strange overpass,  which looked like a neglected highway department lapse in maintenance, that I stopped the car and took a picture. At the time, I didn’t know what it was, and after some discussion with my wife, decided it must a wildlife corridor.

Wildlife Overpass – East Coast Australia

It’s good to see there are others. The Facebook image didn’t have a caption indicating where it was, but looks like it could be another location in Australia. Anyway, “Good on ya” for building this you Aussies! Anybody got an idea how many of these wildlife overpasses there are, and who’s the traffic cop?

This Way of Life.. An Inspiring Film

09/02/2011

Don't Miss This Dose of Inspiration

The film This way of  Life is as inspiring as it gets. Filmed in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand’s North Island, this documentary is about a Maori family: a good and strong man and his wife who bring up their kids in the out-of-doors, raising wild horses. Peter, the father, is someone this writer admires for his steadfast adherance to what is right action in the midst of some people around him who act very badly.  We happened to pick up the movie at the library the other day, and were wowed by it.
A lot of what we strive for here at Mountain Spirit Institute is encapsulated in the documentary, and how this family lives their lives. No nature deficit disorder here. But the hardships, and even the new house where the kids get their own rooms, don’t sugarcoat the difficulties faced by the family.  We are about to bring a child into this world, and this film has added fuel to our fire to continue to head for the mountains. A cure for affluenza, for sure.

Director: Thomas Burstyn
New Zealand, 2010, 84 min.
Against the stunning beauty of New Zealand’s rugged Ruahine Mountains, Peter Karena and his wife Colleen instill in their children the values of independence, courage, and happiness. The family is poor in possessions but rich with a physicality and freedom within nature that most of us can only dream of. The children ride bareback, hunt, and play in the wild. Shot over four years, this film is an intimate portrait of a Maori family and their relationship with nature, adversity, horses, and society at large. Special mention at Berlin International Film Festival, 2010 Hotdocs, New Zealand’s Oscar shortlist.

You can learn a bit more about the family and the film on their Facebook page.
See the Movie Trailer

Buying Palm Oil products hurts Tigers

24/01/2011

TIGER-friendly labels on products which use palm oil grown without destroying Asian jungles could help save the endangered big cats, according to Australia’s major zoos.

Palm Oil Products: Not good for tigers

I was at Sydney’s Taranga Zoo a few weeks ago, getting quite an education. Not only was I learning about Australia’s amazing wildlife, but also, about how the harvesting of palm oil is adversely affecting tigers and other animals in Asia. Below is an article from Australia’s Daily Telegraph. I shot the image of the tiger through a good-sized plate of glass.

By Malcolm Holland, Environment Reporter: Daily Telegraph
World demand, and prices, for palm oil has skyrocketed, sparking land clearing in the jungle homes of tigers in Indonesia and Malaysia. Land clearing was so widespread it had put Sumatran tigers “on the next step to extinction”, Taronga’s CEO Cameron Kerr said yesterday.

World demand, and prices, for palm oil has skyrocketed, sparking land clearing in the jungle homes of tigers in Indonesia and Malaysia.Land clearing was so widespread it had put Sumatran tigers “on the next step to extinction”, Taronga’s CEO Cameron Kerr said yesterday. Read more of this story
Learn more about the Don’t Palm Us Off” campaign
Which has three main focuses:

Labelling legislation – The Truth in Labelling Bill has been reintroduced to government for consideration and you can help get it accross the line. Scroll to to top of this page to find out more.

130,000 petition signatures collected – This enormous public response will now be used as a catalyst to demonstrate the community’s desire to change food labelling laws in an attempt to weaken our region’s link to the palm oil crisis.

Truth in Labelling Website Live – Nick Xenophon’s Truth in Labelling website is now up and running. It contains information on the palm oil bill and ways you can express your voice on fair labelling issues. Visit: http://www.truthinlabelling.com.au/

Intelligent Design?

24/01/2011

Gold coloured ants?

How can you make this stuff up? There must be intelligent design involved with this little creature.  Ants that look spray-painted gold can’t be real, but they are. I shot this one on a porch  railing at a Eungai Creek home, about an hour south of Coff’s Harbour in New South Wales, Australia’s east coast. The ant, shining in the sun, looked like it just came out of a bodyshop with a fresh coat of high-gloss gold enamel.  A quick Google search didn’t answer any questions as to how the gold colour helps this ant. Nor did I find anything on the ant. If you have any answers, leave a comment!

Hello. We’re back… but not in U.S.

27/12/2010

Greetings from Australia, Mate.
By R. Richards

Caution in Australia...

Sorry we’ve been a bit out of touch. We’ve been busy packing up our New Hampshire home, updating our programs’ webpages and heading to the Southern Hemisphere for a while. We’ve been on the eastern coast of Australia for the Holidays, and will be headed to New Zealand on January 10th.

We’ve got an exciting  drumming program in Jamaica with master drumming instructor Bob Bloom, and a Personal Sustainability program called Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle in Vermont this spring in the northern hemisphere.

This is my first time in AU, and my first impressions are that the people are very generous, sincere and welcoming. the power of the continent is overwhelming. My first time sitting down to meditate, I clearly heard the words, “It’s about time you showed up.” I take this to mean, not only arriving in Australia but taking the time to sit down since my arrival and sit quietly with the place. More on this in an upcoming post.

Anyway, expect to see posts more regularly from here on out. We’ll be posting from New Zealand of course. Rumors have it that board member Bob Stremba might even come down for a visit and recon some program areas with me.

Sydney Stopover

We had a stopover in Sydney for a week seeing Amanda’s friends, (my newly found friends), before heading north to stay with family for the holidays. A very expensive city but such generous people with a welcoming attitude. It’s Amanda’s ol’ stomping ground, and she still has to show me around a bit, when we head back there on our way to New Zealand.  We happened to arrive just as Oprah Winfrey was shooting a week-long segment of her show here. As it turned out, she was welcomed with opened arms, along with 300 of her audience members. I mention her because of some of the good work she’s doing, such as bringing Eckhart Tolle’s message to a broader audience, and encouraging more conscious living. The people and government of Australia were happy to have her here. The coverage will be invaluable for Australia’s tourism exposure.

The continent is proving itself to be powerful and beautiful. Although I’ve only seen a portion of it, I can feel its power taking hold.

Your Food Supply #20: Meat-Packing Plants

22/08/2010

Jeff Mannix describes a tour he was given of a meat packing plant in California. Also, getting local foods in local schools, and what is in your hamburger?

The Little Pika & Global Warming

03/08/2010

How Global Warming is effecting the Pika, a High Altitude Rock Dweller.
Photographer Wendy Shattil of Denver, Colorado gets great shots in the name of nature. Learn about her efforts to capture and document, on camera, endangered species for future generations.  I talk with her about the pika, a rodent in the rabbit family, who can’t go any higher as the temperatures rise in our mountain environment.

Be sure and check out her amazing images on her website.

Your Food Supply #2: Passionate Restaurateur

26/07/2010

Meet a Passionate Food Supplier

"Made by Hand, From the Soul of Mexico"

After our drive through corn fields, cattle feed lots and processing plants of the of the great American prairies complete with narration on CD of “An Omnivore’s Dilemma” we arrived in Durango for our week of House sitting. When looking for a restaurant which served local food, we found Cocina Linda, run by an energetic and passionate woman to whom we both took a liking. Below is the first post in a series from our informative interview with her. Stay tuned for more the next few weeks.  Watch this video to see why we love Linda and her good food.
Image: Cocina Linda’s Logo

Your Food Supply #1.2: You’re Kidding, Right?

23/07/2010

Do you know how many different cows are in one hamburger?
Feed Lots in Kansas, USA
Question #1: When you are eating a hamburger, you’re not eating beef from one cow, you’re eating a beef mixture from how many cows? Let us know your answer and we’ll tell you after we get 20 responses.

Question #2: Why do you think there is a hedgerow of trees along the feedlot bordering the highway?

A North American Feedlot, Kansas

Your Food Supply #1

20/07/2010

The first in a series of video posts about Your Food Supply

#1 The Trip West: An Experiential Rude Awakening
By Randy and Amanda Richards

This was Amanda’s first trip across the U.S., so we thought we’d drive. Destination? Colorado, where we would house-sit for a fellow Mountain Spirit board member. We thought we’d stay off the interstates, instead, crossing rural routes, starting  with Indiana Route 24, then Missouri Route 36 west of Macon.  Shortly after departing we decided to listen to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a book on tape by Michael Pollan.

Want to know what's in your food?

As we traveled through Indiana, Missouri, and then Kansas, the book narrated our trip with views of tightly packed cornfields, and more corn, and then more corn. It turns out, about the only thing the U.S. is growing  is corn, at least from what we saw.  Sure there are apples in Washington, and spinach, avocados etc, in California, but in the Midwest, there’s corn, and a lot of it. We did see some soybean fields, but nothing much else than corn.  We certainly didn’t see many pastoral scenes of cows grazing on open pastures. But we did see lots and lots of corn. As we listened to Pollan’s book, we were shocked to learn where all this corn is ending up in the food supply, plus how many bushels per acre of corn the farmers were squeezing out of the land. Read his book for the stark details of our homogenized food supply, and as you do, imagine seeing it in front of your eyes, passing by the window of your car. It was eery for us.  I’ve driven across the U.S. probably over 45 or 50 times, and each time I’ve felt grateful to do so, and very cognizant of my impact by doing so.

I won’t go into detail about all we learned in Pollan’s book. Buy his book. However, one of the major topics he covered was how corn is not only a food, but a commodity, that is in almost all our food in a wide variety of forms. Corn drives the modern industrial food machine, being sent to beef feedlots where cows are forced to eat corn. Grass is their natural diet. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically Modified Corn was another scary thing we learned about, plus how our farmers are forced work for fewer and fewer dollars, while ADM and the other monopolies make the money.

So starts our video series, rows and rows of corn, somewhere in Kansas on Route 36, but it could be anywhere in the Midwest. Stay tuned for Your Food Supply #2,  for a feedlot and processing plant scene west of Dodge City Kansas, which may shock you.