26 March 2013

afternoon stroll

^^neighbourhood black bear. Five black bear subspecies roam BC; locally 
it's Ursus americanus altifrontalis. The flowers in the foreground are 
Flowering tobacco, Nicotiana alata .

14 March 2013

garden help

Ladybug!  Ladybug!
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire.
And your children all gone...

larva of the Japanese Ladybug (Harmonia axyridis
check out BugGuide for more ladybugs
 ^^despite their scary looks, ladybugs are voracious aphid predators and a friend to gardeners.
 ^^yellowjacket (Vespula sp.)
 ^^while not very popular, yellowjackets are helpful garden predators
^^visit  What's that Bug?  for lots of great wasp info and photos

9 March 2013

I want my sufferage: International Women's Day

(apologies, I wasn't able to get this up yesterday)

"In the 19th century, female property holders could demand municipal voting rights on the principle of "no taxation without representation." Propertied women in Québec voted unchallenged between 1809 and 1849, when the word "male" was inserted into Québec's franchise act. What Québec women lost, Ontario women soon gained: from 1850, women with property, married or single, could vote for school trustees. By 1900 municipal voting privileges for propertied women were general throughout Canada. But most 19th-century Canadians, women as well as men, believed that the sexes had been assigned to "separate spheres" by natural and divine laws that overrode mere man-made laws, and this stood squarely in the way of achieving votes for all women as a democratic right. 

At the provincial level, public debate in Ontario began among members of the Toronto Women's Literary Club, a screen for suffrage activities created 1876 by Dr Emily Howard STOWE, Canada's first woman doctor. She and her daughter, Dr Augusta STOWE-GULLEN, spearheaded Ontario's suffrage campaign for 40 years. In 1883 the club became the Toronto Women's Suffrage Association, then in 1889 the Dominion Women's Enfranchisement Association - a national group in name only. 

Despite numerous petitions and bills, Ontario's lawmakers, confident that they had public opinion behind them, repeatedly blocked changes. Suffrage groups were thus forced to undertake long years of public education. Valuable support came in the 1890s from the WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, whose leaders saw votes for women as necessary in achieving PROHIBITION. In 1910, the respected and influential NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN spoke out for suffrage... "
read the entire entry at: Canadian Encyclopedia
see also: History of Women's Sufferage, Marionopolis Collge
Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage is a parody music video paying homage to 
Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 
19th Amendment, giving American women the right to vote in 1920.


3 March 2013

plastic ocean

(from: Green and Healthy Living, undated)

Real and Potential Harm to our Ecosystem:

A study in 1975 showed that 8 million pounds of plastic were dumped into our oceans annually (~10% of which consisted of plastic shopping bags). Scientists note that the amount of plastic particles in the oceans has at least tripled since the 1960s. The Great Pacific or Eastern Garbage Patch is an area of marine debris in the central North Pacific Ocean that stretches across ~537,640 square miles or 1,392,400 km2 (about twice the size of Texas). This is literally a floating landfill where garbage concentratres in certain areas guided by circular ocean currents. This is only ONE such gyre -- there are 8 others that have become accumulation zones for plastic debris. Many link the following phenomenon to marine garbage ...

Loss of Fish and all Life that Depends on Fish : 90% of worldwide stocks of tuna, cod and other big fish have disappeared in the last 50 years. Both people and many animals depend on fish as a source of nutrition ...

Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. warns that unless major changes are implemented, we can expect to see the world’s oceans empty of commercial fish by 2048. The consequences for marine ecosystems could be devastating to the future of life across the world's oceans.

A drastic increase of red tide as well as other toxic algae and bacteria in our oceans. The major effect of red tides are the associated wildlife mortalities among marine and coastal species of fish, birds, marine mammals and other organisms.

Increasingly acid seawater that is threatening fish, coral and other marine life. Our oceans are turning into vinegar! 75 percent of all kelp forests have disappeared in the last 50 years

Chemicals found in many plastics act independently and together to adversely affect human, animal and environmental health.

Effects on our wildlife ...

Floating garbage is not only polluting our world's oceans and coastlines, but it is posing a serious threat to fish, seabirds, marine reptiles, and marine mammals. According to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, it is killing more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year.

Wildlife is injured or killed by entanglement or indigestion of plastics

In the ocean, plastic pieces are easily mistaken for zooplankton and fish eggs (primary food sources for oceanlife), and end up in the stomachs of fish, birds and other oceanlife.

In April 2007, Dutch scientists released a report on litter in the North Sea and found that fulmars, a type of seagull, had an average of 30 pieces of plastic in their stomachs.

Plastic bags, bottle tops and polystyrene foam coffee cups are often found in the stomachs of dead sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles, seabirds, and others.

In samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (a primary food source) by a factor of seven. Scientists anticipate a 60:1 ratio by the year 2010.

Many people have seen photographs of seals trapped in nets or strangled by plastic six-pack rings, or sea turtles feeding on plastic shopping bags.

Besides ingestion and entanglement of wildlife, the floating debris can absorb persistent organic pollutants from seawater.

Hideshige Takada, an environmental geochemist at Tokyo University, and his colleagues have discovered that plastic polymers are sponges and couriers of waste chemicals called "persistent organic pollutants" or POPs, which include known carcinogens such as DDT, PCBs and other pollutants and toxins.

These toxins latch on to plastic polymers that are commonly used in consumer products and that are “photodegrading” in our environment (they break up into progressively smaller pieces - referred to as "nurdles").

When ingested, some of these are mistaken by the endocrine system as estradiol, causing hormone disruption.

As sealife mistakes the plastic pieces for food and ingest them, the chemicals and toxins in the plastic pass into the food web that may lead to our dinner table.

read more here