Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

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…)

The Wasatch Mountains, Under Pressure Again

04/03/2012

backcountry skiing Big Cottonwood's USA Canyon, behind The Canyons, site of the proposed "SkiLink"

Once again, the Wasatch mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah are being threatened by ski resort expansion under the guise of a transportation solution. I spent many years in the Wasatch, and during my absence, Dick Bass has managed to put not only a chairlift in Mineral Basin on the back side of Snowbird, (read “DogBird”, the name coined by mountain guide Dennis Turville) but a crazy tunnel (locals call it the Bass Hole) complete with magic carpet conveyer belt-type rig, under Hidden Peak to allow intermediate skiers access to the once pristine back bowl, Then there’s cat skiing somewhere near Ruth’s pass above Alta, and not to mention the insanity of helicopter skiing on national forest lands.

This proposed development would severely impact the backcountry ski experience and wilderness qualities of the beautiful Wasatch mountains. If you’re a Utah resident, or even a visitor to the Wasatch and you’ve had just about enough encroachment in one range, visit SaveOurCanyons’ website here to chime in and see what you can do to help give your two cents worth.

A sane backcountry skier points out where the proposed SkiLink would go, obliterating acres and acres of pristine backcountry ski terrain and wilderness area.

Black Diamond’s New Online Catalog

02/03/2012

It saves trees and the presentation is amazing, and great images. I’m quite impressed with Black Diamond’s reach-out with their new online catalog. Check it out.

A Panorama from the new Black Diamond online catalog. Hmm..worth the price of admission.

A “Modest” Kiwi Environmental Centre

14/01/2012

Check out the South Coast Environmental Society, and stay tuned for the video, “Welcome to the Food Forest”. There are tons of volunteer opportunities as well.

Build It & They Will Come

14/01/2012

An Outpost of Sustainability

Robert and Robyn Guyton were determined to start a food forest instead of mowing a front lawn. And a forest did they grow,  when in the mid-’90’s,  they purchased some land and a house in the small coastal town of Riverton, New Zealand. Riverton along with its neighbor, Invercargill rank as one of the southernmost towns in the world, and back then Riverton was an affordable place to buy land. It still is compared to the northern resort towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, the latter which graces its runway with  private jets, rivaling Aspen Colorado.

The Guytons worked  in earnest on their two lots planting trees and plants based on permaculture practices. When they first started, they received some odd looks from the neighbors, as their front yard started to take on the forest look. There were no other like-minded people in Riverton when they arrived, but undeterred, they started a cooperative learning center called the South Coast Environment Society.

Today the organization modestly states on its website it is an umbrella group for a “several” local environmental groups who have information,displays and meetings in the centre. Those several groups include:

Groups working for protection and enhancement of local ecosystems:

  • Riverton Estuary Care Society
  • Aparima Pest Busters
  • Aparima Nursery Enterprise
  • Seed Balls for Restoration projects

Groups working to promote sustainable lifestyles:

  • Riverton Natural Health Group
  • South Coast Permaculture
  • Sustainable Lifestyles project
  • Riverton Organic Food Co-op

Groups promoting sustainable growing methods

  • Riverton Organic Growers Gardeners Group
  • Southland Seed Savers
  • Riverton Organic Farmers Market
  • Riverton Community Orchard
  • Rivertonians for Alternatives to Toxic Substances (RATS)

Robert Guyton

My wife and I met the Guytons when they were giving a presentation on sustainability to the ultra small Garston School, (which deserves its own blog post),  New Zealand. We were intrigued with their presentation, which included a movie (to be posted on this blog) called “Welcome to the Food Forest”. We decided to take our chances and take the hour and half drive from our place and show up unannounced. Even though we had a standing invitation, we happened to miss them, when we stopped by to say hi. Nevertheless, I decided to interview Mark Baily while visiting the centre. You can see the video on my adjacent post.  We’ll have to get down there again when Robert and Robyn are home, so we can get the proper tour of their food forest!

Protesting Gold Mines in Peru Pays Off

30/11/2011

Successful Gold Mining Protestor

Copper and gold mine project in Peru suspended in face of protests
LIMA, PERU, AND BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Faced with increasingly violent local opposition, the developers of the giant Conga gold and copper mine in northern Peru suspended the project late Tuesday night, saying they were bowing to a demand from the government of President Ollanta Humala.

Much of the northern district of Cajamarca has been paralyzed the last six days by general strikes called by Conga opponents that closed businesses and schools. Residents were concerned that the massive gold and copper mine could pollute the region’s water supply, a charge the mine’s operators, led by Colorado-based Newmont Mining, strenuously denied.

The situation became more violent Tuesday, as protesters burned an office at the site of the proposed mine and clashes between protesters and police in the area left 17 injured and two arrested. Thousands of demonstrators massed in the central square of Cajamarca, the region’s largest city.

As proposed, Conga would be a giant open pit gold mine similar to the Yanacocha mine 20 miles to the north, which is also operated by Newmont. But it would include a copper mine and smelter.

Newmont has proposed investing $4 billion in the new project, which could produce between 580,000 and 680,000 ounces of gold a year. The government had projected it would receive royalties and taxes totaling $800 million annually once the mine was fully operational after 2014, income the left-leaning Humala government was counting on to finance social and infrastructure project. Read the rest of this story..

EMF’s – Time to Unplug

29/10/2011

Cellphone Towers EMR Damaging Biological Systems of Birds, Insects, Humans
By: Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

Cell Towers affect wildlife/humans

The electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted from mobile towers is so powerful that it affects the biological systems of birds, insects, and even humans. The study, released by the environment ministry, called for the protection of flora and fauna by law.

“The review of existing literature shows that the EMRs are interfering with the biological systems in more ways than one and there had already been some warning bells sounded in the case on bees and birds, which probably heralds the seriousness of this issue and indicates the vulnerability of other species as well,” the study found. read the rest of this story..

Jagger Visits Peru, Talks Environment

18/10/2011

Rolling Stones Front Man Mick Jagger Arrives at Machu Picchu
by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES

British rock star Mick Jagger arrived at the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu on Thursday, as part of a trip to Peru that has included a sit-down with President Ollanta Humala and a visit to an eco-lodge in the jungle region of Madre de Dios.

The front man for the Rolling Stones, Jagger travelled to Machu Picchu by train from Cusco and was expected to climb Huayna Picchu, the picturesque peak that overlooks the ruins, on Friday, state news agency Andina reported. Read the rest of this story..

Here’s an Idea: Shweeb

29/09/2011

The Shweeb: Where's the passing lane? Aside from that, sign us up!

Shweeb’s bike-powered 200 meter monorail, pitched as an adrenalin-fueled sky cycling adventure in Rotorua, New Zealand, may be headed for bigger tracks. Google, who found out about it a few years ago,  has been so enamored with the system, in which users are suspended form the track in transparent pods to cycle around the landscape a t speeds of up to 45 km per hour, they’ve invested 1.05 million in developing the technology. I t could be the future for alternative transportation, so Google claims.  What one would do about traffic jams is something to ponder, but that’s a minor speed-bump compared to running fossil fuels till we’re extinct.