Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

What Gives You Hope?

26/07/2012

Grafton Pond, NH

“The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. 
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I started Mountain Spirit Institute in 1998 when we led our first trip to Peru, with the basic mission “to facilitate a deeper connection to the natural environment, each other and ourselves.”  Since then it has become ever more apparent how we need “nature time” more than ever. It’s good to see people out on the trail, and in kayaks these days, but National Park use is down in the U.S, and technology competes for the breath of fresh air. We just offered a presentation last night in a small town in New Hampshire called “Get Outside While You Still Can.” The piece below echoes a lot of what we covered in our presentation, and why we started MSI.

 By Eric Utne,
Founder, The Utne Reader

As I’ve said in this column before, I’m afraid it may be too late to avoid the devastating effects of global climate change. (more…)

“Get Outta Here”

20/07/2012

GET OUT! 

•    Get Out into nature that is
•    How do you view nature?
•    Find it hard to get nature time?
•    Technology Got ya?

How do you spend your time?……

Doing This?

Or Doing This?

Come and explore, with Mountain Spirit board members
Bob Stremba and Randy Richards,

Nature Deficit Disorder
&
Why we need to get outside while we still can!

GETTING OUTSIDE!
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25th , 7:00PM
Cost: Free

Lake Sunapee Bank Community Room
116 Newport Road
New London, NH, USA
For more information call 603-763-2668 or http://www.mtnspirit.org

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?

Death Valley’s “Sailing” Stones

17/07/2012

Sailing Stones

THE SAILING STONES, also referred to as sliding rocks or moving rocks, are a geological puzzling phenomenon found in California, Death Valley. These rocks, some as heavy as 300 Kilograms, are mysteriously transported across a virtually flat desert plain without human or animal intervention, leaving erratic trails in the hard mud behind them, some hundreds of yards long. They move by some mysterious force, and in the nine decades since we have known about them, no-one has ever seen them in motion.. until recently..

Mystery or Mother Nature?

Deep in the heart of the California desert lies one of the natural world’s most puzzling mysteries: the moving rocks of Death Valley. These are not ordinary moving rocks that tumble down mountainsides in avalanches, are carried along riverbeds by flowing water, or are tossed aside by animals.
These rocks, some as heavy as 700 pounds, are inexplicably transported across a virtually flat desert plain, leaving erratic trails in the hard mud behind them, some hundreds of yards long.

They move by some mysterious force, and in the nine decades since we have known about them, no one has ever seen them move.
Until now. Racetrack Playa is the seasonally dry lake (a playa) located in the northern part of the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S.A. that is famous for ‘sailing stones‘.  One cold winter morning, when the snowmelt covered the playa, the solution to the puzzle was finally caught on film.

Interesting comments and opinions, both pro and con here..

Editor’s Note: We include this post simply because it’s certainly a natural curiosity of mother nature. Let’s learn more about the planet on which we live.

Edward Abbey on Backcountry Skills

12/07/2012

Getting out of the city
North Cascades, WA

Edward Abbey: Action outdoorsman and author of Desert Solitaire, *The Monkey
Wrench Gang and 17 other popular novels and essay collections, was one of America’s most powerful and relentless spokesmen for the environment and certainly its most uninhibited. Here, at Abbey’s curmudgeonly bat, is his introduction to The Backcountry Handbook, of which I thought I’d post  the first half. I doubt many fans of Edward Abbey would find this little gem, buried in an outdoor handbook.

There’s one thing that gripes me in my lurching about in America’s blessed but overcrowded backcountry, it’s those androids from the moronic inferno of contemporary techno culture who apparently

Learned outdoors etiquette from The Boy Scout Handbook of I928.I mean the cretins who build their campfires with green logs laboriously chewed from living trees with dull hatchets. And then erect a corral of rocks to enclose a fire about l0 times bigger than even a White Man needs. And then,
upon departure from the scene of their felonies, pile all their garbage upon the smoldering remains-including such non-combustibles  as tinfoil and wet tin cans, wet condoms and Pampers-let it smoke and black- en and stink for  while and conclude the infamy by heaping this mess with a pile of mud and stones.  Everywhere we go in what’s left of natural America, we find these miniature trash dumps. The intention, no doubt, was to prevent forest fires, as Smokey the Bore has been instructing us for 50 years. But fires are natural, inevitable and good for the forest;   Any Native American can tell you that, if you can find one. (The true terror of the modern forest is not the wildfire but the logger with his chain saw, the road builder with his bulldozer, the cowboy with his cow. These types wreak far more destruction upon our forests than any wildfire ever did or could. And wreak it at our expense, financed by our tax dollars.) Why do these Ralph Lauren he-man Campfire Girls build giant fire rings filled with half-baked rubbish? I don’t know. No one knows. They are the product not of thought but of ritual, spastic reflex, ancient ideologies conceived in sin and whelped by bureaucrats. One discovers such mementos even in the sand and rock of the desert, where the nearest tree may be a scrubby juniper four feet tall, l0 feet away. Mysteries of the Wild.  But irksome. There are many things that irk, actually, not only me but you, but this is not the place for a complete listing.

Editor’s Note: Did you know that The Monkey Wrench Gang was blacklisted from the east coast booksellers during its first printing? Maybe the east coast establishment didn’t want to disturb the goings-on, as this book surely tends to do. I have a well-read family member, that has an incredible breadth of education and reading behind him. What’s more he was a hut ranger in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He had never heard of Edward Abbey. I’m not sure if he’s read him yet. I’ll have to loan him my tattered copy of The Gang.

Magnetic Sensors Discovered in Fish May Explain Wi-Fi Risks

11/07/2012

Don’t adopt technology blindly

Discovery of magnetic sensors in fish and rats may explain why some people can ‘feel’ wi-fi, smart meters, power lines and electropollution
From: NaturalNews.com
Many people suffer real side effects from and are sensitive to electromagnetic pollution. Wi-fi, smart meters, cell phones and other
But new science may have some answers. Magnetosensory cells have been identified in fish, and similar cells are known to exist in pigeons, rabbits and rats.

It is well known that many people are sensitive to electromagnetic pollution. Wi-fi gives them headaches. Being near high-voltage power lines can bring on migraines. Using a cell phone unleashes similar symptoms. Until recently, there was no medically-understood mechanism by which electromagnetic waves could be sensed by humans. These devices all impact human biology in ways modern science still doesn’t understand. But now, thanks to some fascinating science summarized here, that mystery may be closer to being solved.  Scientists from the University of Munich, led by geophysicist Michael Winklhofer, say they’ve located and identified “internal compass needles” in the noses of rainbow trout. These are called magnetosensory cells, and they turn out to be far more sensitive to magnetic fields than anyone previously thought.

Electromagnetic sensors found in fish

As TGdaily.com reports: in their article, Source of animals’ magnetic sense found  “The cells sense the field by means of micrometer-sized inclusions composed of magnetic crystals, probably made of magnetite. These inclusions are coupled to the cell membrane, changing the electrical potential across the membrane when the crystals realign in response to a change in the ambient magnetic field.  “This explains why low-frequency magnetic fields generated by powerlines disrupt navigation relative to the geomagnetic field and may induce other physiological effects,” said Winklhofer.

Electro-smog is getting worse by the day
Read the rest of this story..

A related article: How to reduce risks of electromagnetic pollution

Vanishing Rivers of Ice – Dave Breashears

06/04/2012

Mountaineer and Filmmaker Dave Breashers presents Rivers of Ice, Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya

Before and After Shots..Not Good.

The Greater Himalaya has the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar ice sheets, providing vital fresh water for almost every major system  of Asia. Over the past five years, Breashears and the team of his nonprofit organization, GlacierWorks, has conducted ten photographic expeditions to the region, to study and document the effects of climate change on this delicate landscape.

Dave Breashears

Breashears presents at the Boston Museum of Science on April 12, but alas, tickets are sold out. Nevertheless we thought it was worth the post here. You might try to try the climber’s move and squeeze in somewhere.

Retracing the steps of pioneering alpine photographers and explorers George Mallory, Vittorio Sella and others, Breashears and the team have captured  high-definition photographs that  match those of the earliest expeditions. By comparing this contemporary imagery with the historic photographs, Breashears and his team are discovering staggering changes to the region—changes with potentially devastating consequences.

There is  debate in the scientific community about the rate and extent to which Himalayan glaciers are shrinking.  Nevertheless, scientists agree that there is a trend of melting beyond what is expected to occur naturally. Although future impacts of glacial melt cannot be known, any disruption to the water supply will inevitably present challenges to the millions of people living  downstream.
Breashears plans on sharing his work in a blend of first-person story telling and imagery.
More info: Mount Washington Observatory

Thursday, April 12, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
Museum of Science, Boston

9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ride to Work

05/04/2012

Commuting by bike: dangerous

From: The Adventure Journal
I have biked everywhere within 4 miles of my apartment in the past 5 years, including every job I’ve had — I’ve never had to drive to work in Denver. I find riding a bicycle exhilarating, but that’s no reason for you to think you should. In fact, here are 9 reasons you shouldn’t bike to work. I’m sure you can think of others.

1. It’s too dangerous.
Can you imagine being out there on a bicycle with all these crazy drivers flying past you, nothing to protect you except a plastic and styrofoam shell on your head? You could get killed. The absolute best thing is to stay in the protective cage of your car, because no one’s ever been killed when they’re inside an automobile. Driving is safe.

2. You have to wear a tie to work. Or a suit. Or a skirt.
Not only that, it’s important to wear your tie/suit/business casual attire from the moment you leave your house in the morning until the moment you get home. There is no conceivable way you could leave some clothes at your office, and change into them after you ride your bike to work, two or three days a week. Plus, your suit/tie combination is so dialed, you can’t just spread your tie collection out over two locations. Where the hell is my cornflower blue tie? I need to see if it looks good with these shoes. And like there’s some way to ride a bike in skirt or a dress?
Read the rest of this story..

Thanks to Justin Canny for the post on FB.

Lost Cities of the Amazon

30/03/2012

Downtown in The Lost Cities of the Amazon
by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES ·
By Nicholas Asheshov

A "Lost" people?

Some weeks ago two events, one of them startling, came together to pin-point the mysterious new conundrum of the Amazon.  The first was the appearance on a busy riverbank in the Madre de Dios of a few dozen members of a previously-isolated group of Indians.  They killed someone who had been trying to help them. The naked Indians, seen on TV screens around the world, were described by anthropologists as descendants of an unbroken line of hunting and gathering savages, living fossils of our neolithic past.

Area of Coverage

This is, according to new Amazon thinking, incorrect. These Indians are the sad, socially degenerated remnants of nations and tribes that were productive, sophisticated and stable  just a few centuries ago.The other event was an article in The New York Times that reported on the discovery in Acre, only a few hours travel from the Madre de Dios Indians, of extensive, deep straight, or sometimes circular, trenches, ridges and mounds dating back to pre-Columbian times, indicating a large, well-developed society. This was just the latest evidence that the Amazon, or at least parts of it, was heavily populated by well-organized societies in much the same way as the high Andes were remodelled by the Tiahuanuco, the Chavin, the Chachapoyas, the Huari, and the Incas.

Over the past couple of decades the pre-history of the Americas has been revolutionized, setting off poison-tipped academic and ecological vendettas. First of all, the Americas were populated much earlier, at least 33-35,000 years ago, double the time previously calculated.  That is back to Neanderthal epochs.

An Excellent Read

Second, there were many more people here when Columbus arrived than was earlier thought.  And, most important, the societies and nations of the Americas were much more sophisticated and structured than was previously understood.  They were agriculturalists, not the war-whoopers of the movies.  Their mode of life and agriculture had massive, long-term effects on the original pre-human forests.   Fire was a basic control mechanism.

Today the evidence of genetics, linguistics and archaeology is clear that the Amazon was not just an impenetrable green hell populated by primitive hunters and fishermen eking out an unchanging, culturally marginal existence. The same applies to North America.  Here most of the descriptions of primitive Indians come from 18th and 19th century travelers who were seeing only the sorry leftovers of great nations that had been obliterated by smallpox, viral hepatitis, influenza and other European and African diseases.  The Conquest set off the Dark Ages in the Americas. read the rest of this story

Playing in the Dirt: Good for Kids

24/03/2012

Stopping Crohn's Disease by getting dirty

Why Playing in the Dirt is Good for Kids
By Preeti Sunil
From: buzzle.com
Parents are at their wit’s end trying to teach children lessons in hygiene only to find them indulging in their favorite hobby, yet again! Dirty, mud covered clothes and bodies are symbolic of childhood. However, new research suggests that this is an evolutionary instinct, which must not be curbed

It is no secret that most children have an insatiable urge to grab the dirtiest looking things and put them into their mouth. Even a child who is less than a year old is hardly able to do much except drink milk and sleep all day, experiences a personality change the moment it is put down on the ground, out in the open. The exploration begins and everything including dirt, mud and even poop finds its way into the tiny mouths. (more…)