I am very excited to be covering the African Rainforest Conservancy’s 21st annual Artists for Africa Benefit in a few weeks for The Chic Ecologist. Honoring Kris and Doug Tompkins and in support of the conservation of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests, this year’s benefit will also feature the naming of a newly discovered frog.
This frog, discovered in the Nguru South and Nguu North Mountains of the Eastern Arc rainforest of Tanzania, changes color from a milky white during the daytime to yellow with brown spots during the nighttime.
|What:||African Rainforest Conservancy Benefit – Artists for Africa|
|Where:||Prince George Ballroom – 15 East 27th St, New York|
|When:||Wednesday, April 11th – Cocktails begin @ 6 p.m.|
|Cost:||Cocktails $125, Dinner $500 – event tickets available here|
Additional event highlights will include silent and live art auctions showcasing the works of over forty celebrated artists—including William Abranowicz, Chris Dei, Gerald Forster, Chris Jordan, Carlo Mari, Arthur Meyerson, Jonnie Miles, Joseph Peter, Mirella Ricciardi, and Spencer Tunick—many of whom have graciously supported ARC over the years and will also be in attendance. Providing the ambiance for the evening is a choral performance by the New York City Master Chorale.
Raising over $1 million over the past two decades, this annual event supports ARC’s mission of promoting the conservation of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests by empowering local communities to become the guardians of their forests. Event proceeds will provide core support for ARC’s grassroot conservation and community development programs in 146 villages throughout the mountain ranges and coastal forests of East Africa—among the oldest and most biodiverse in the world. › Continue reading
The folks over at The Nature Conservancy have a great dialogue going on right now promoting the awareness of water usage through their 20 Days of H20 Campaign. You can tweet or re-tweet your favorite ways to save water, or learn new ones through the tips they add each day up until the 22nd of March.
Curious how much water you use? Check out their infographic (above) on many of the ‘hidden’ water usages such as food and energy production, clothing and more… you may be surprised at what you find. › Continue reading
The United Nations Environment Programme is holding the World Environment Day on June 5th with the theme: Forests: Nature at Your Service. What began in 1972 has spread worldwide into an international day of action for the environment.
It has also been declared the International Year of Forests to highlight the importance of this natural resource. In decline worldwide, we depend on forests to combat climate change and provide water, shelter, habitat and support life on our planet.
When one speaks of Thailand, often images of elephants are conjured up. Images of elephants are everywhere, from temples and shrines to logos and even the name of their beer (Chang, which means Elephant in Thai). The Thai people seem to have a deep reverence for these magnificent creatures, however, there is a darker almost contradictory side to this appearance.
Almost all of the domesticated elephants (those used for work and human contact) have been subjected to a ‘breaking of the spirit’ in a device called the Phajaan.
Squeezed into a cage only large enough to contain the baby elephant, they are chained into place, beat with sticks of bamboo and poked with sharp devices with hooks and nails. For 6 days or even longer, these elephants as young as 4 are subjected to this brutality without food, water or shelter. This is usually the time they are permanently separated from their mother and family, to begin their life of servitude.
Elephants have largely played a working role in Thailand. Used as war machines by Alexander the Great, they have been used as working animals for logging and farming for generations. With Thailand’s dwindling forests, and now a ban on logging, these elephants are finding themselves out of work and in trouble. Many elephant owners and mahouts (elephant keepers or drivers) have adapted to the tourist industry by using their elephants for jungle treks and walks. Others have used brutal torture techniques to train their elephants to perform tricks or paint. Often in cities around Thailand, you will see elephants begging in the streets for their mahouts, which generate a great deal of income for the owner at a great expense to the elephant.
With all of this brutality and pain, there is a ray of light. The Elephant Nature Park along with its founder, Sangduen Chailert, known as ‘Lek’, have created a sanctuary for these retired and abused elephants and is educating people around the world about the plight of these Asian Elephants. › Continue reading
A great new technological step for wildlife conservation efforts comes in the form of a map. The Gap Analysis Program (GAP), which is itself a program under the umbrella of the US Geological Survey, makes it’s mission to “keep common species common.” Essentially, the objective of the program is to maintain that species not (yet) threatened by extinction don’t end up reaching an endangered species list, an issue often deprived of much-needed attention in light of it’s preventative nature. It takes a different track to keep policy makers (and anyone for that matter) informed than traditional conservation efforts which generally maintain species-by-species data, by instead maintaining information about regions and landscapes (which in turn allow those who will want to manipulate them a better idea of what they’d be doing).
These efforts recently culminated in a national land cover viewer (and accompanying data set) that combines several important relevant data-sets into one easily accessible package. To be more particular, it combines the following:
- The Southwest Regional Gap Analysis project (2004)
- The Southeast Regional Gap Analysis Project (2007)
- The Northwest Regional Gap project
- The updated California Gap project (2009)
- The Landfire Project (for all remaining regions)
And just when you thought it wasn’t possible, the whaling issue becomes dirtier. On one side, it was found that whale feces form a significant contribution to the marine environment, and in turn, to the ecosystem as a whole. This of course is positive and presents even greater reason to discourage unnecessary whaling. On the other, pro-whaling government officials seem to be coming clean that their votes were purchased through money and prostitutes.
The Sunday Times sent investigators undercover, in light of the looming discussion on whaling quotas (Japan and other pro-whaling nations are pushing to legalize commercial whaling to some degree with quotas), to several different countries to try and find if any representatives would be willing to trade their vote in exchange for money. Implicated in the investigation were representatives from Grenada, Republic of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and St Kitts and Nevis. They were approached by a fictitious billionaire proposing to purchase their votes for substantial aid packages.
The following media frenzy has been distressing to watch, and frustratingly shallow on facts. Media responses range across the board, from John Stewart’s Daily Show brilliant simulation of the failure to cap the oil leak, to Rush Limbaugh’s statement that the oil is as “natural” as the ocean water it’s polluting and therefore should be left alone. › Continue reading
It seems that it’s conference season these days. Another interesting Green event that would definitely be worth checking out is the Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities Conference. The event takes place May 20th through the 22nd in Portland, Oregon. It’s free and open to the public, and sure to be very educational.
Acknowledging the varied understandings of the term “sustainability,” the Understanding Sustainability conference seeks to discuss the way in which the term might be approached in a truly useful and efficient way. Through innovative dialogue and debate, the conference seeks to create or improve on green frameworks for environmental scholarship, activism, research, and policy. › Continue reading
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