Google’s Been Putting Profit Before Ethics (petition)

Elephant tusks used to make ivory products - greenretreat.org

Elephant tusks used to make ivory products – greenretreat.org

 

Gator Woman, a blogger friend of mine, has blogged recently about Google’s deplorable practice of helping in the trafficking of illegal animal parts, including elephant tusk ivory. She found a petition asking for Google to stop this practice, but was unsure about the veracity of the petition’s claims. So she and I have done some research on it and have found that it is true. The following is some of the info we’ve found about Google.

According to The Guardian, a British newspaper that I greatly respect for publishing this story while American newspapers have not:

Google is helping to fuel a dramatic surge in ivory demand in Asia that is killing African elephants at record levels, a conservation group claimed on Tuesday.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said there are some 10,000 ads on Google Japan‘s shopping site that promote the sale of ivory.

About 80% of the ads are for “hanko,” small wooden stamps widely used in Japan to affix signature seals to official documents. The rest are carvings and other small objects.

What’s worse is that The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has sent Google a letter asking that they stop promoting the sale of illegal animal parts such as ivory, but Google has not responded. The funny thing is that Google’s own policy states that it is against the practice, yet it still does it. Google says:

Google doesn’t allow the promotion of elephant ivory. Google doesn’t allow the promotion of whale products including bones, meat or oil. These restrictions are the same on Google’s wholly owned Japanese site.

The EIA says that Google has failed to enforce its own rules and has not responded at all to the EIA’s letter.

So what is a consumer of Google products such as Google Chrome internet browser, Google internet apps, and the Google search engine to do? Boycott!!! Stop using Google and start using alternative products. I have stopped using all three and now use Internet Explorer and Bing, which work just as well.

Google has also been caught red-handed delving into the personal info of their Gmail users and sharing that info with companies, thereby helping those companies tailor their ads to individuals based on what each individual searches for, buys and emails.

The only way that Google will cease these business practices is for consumers to stop using their products. The big dogs at Google may not care much for people’s right to privacy, the right to not be preyed upon by corporations, or the rights of endangered animals being killed for their parts by poachers, but any big corporation will always care about their profits. Only slumping sales will get them to pay attention and hopefully stop what they are doing.

It’s up to us to act and to force change. It won’t happen any other way.

To sign the petition against Google, go to action.sumofus.org. Thanks.

To Pres. Obama: Protect Polar Bears And Other Arctic Wildlife From Oil Drilling (petition)

Photo courtesy of santabanta.com

Photo courtesy of santabanta.com

 

Polar bears and other Arctic wildlife will lose their habitats, and ultimately their lives, without intense public pressure on Pres. Obama and Congress to block Big Oil from doing more damage to the environment.

From Care2 Petition Site: 

President Obama:

America’s Arctic is ground zero for climate change. The indicators are everywhere: Permafrost is melting, shorelines are washing away, and record low ice cover is forcing polar bears and other Arctic wildlife to struggle to survive.

To add insult to injury, Shell and other big oil companies want to begin drilling in the Arctic Ocean. This would release an additional 15.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

Shell’s long list of setbacks and failures over the past year — coupled with the extreme risk for oil spills and further climate destruction in an already-fragile ecosystem — provides overwhelming evidence that the oil and gas industry is not prepared to operate safely in the Arctic Ocean.

President Obama, your climate legacy starts by saying no to Arctic Ocean drilling.

To sign this petition, go to thepetitionsite.com.

Stop Koalas From Becoming Timber Industry Casualties (petition)

Photo courtesy of images.fineartamerica.com

Photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com

 

As human civilizations expand exponentially, the habitat of the koala shrinks to almost nothing.

This is the scene in Victoria and South Australia. The Blue Gum plantations have become a make-shift home of sorts for koalas that have lost their natural homes to deforestation.  But their new home is dangerous- timber companies are cutting down trees on the plantations, too, and koalas are being injured and killed in the process.

Our-Compass says:

Volunteer wildlife carers are struggling to keep up with the number of casualties — koalas suffering from broken limbs and backs, severed arms and impact wounds. Many more don’t even survive the fall. Witnesses have even described injured koalas still on the felled trees as they are pulled through the shredders.

Stronger protection for wildlife is needed. At a minimum, the detection, capture and relocation of koalas (and other at risk wildlife) needs to occur under government supervision before forest areas are logged.”

The petition: Please call on the Ministers responsible in Victoria and South Australia to stop the tragic killing of koalas and introduce stronger protection for wildlife.

Tell Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell: Stop Delisting Wolves

Photo courtesy of thekarbancycle.files.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of thekarbancycle.files.wordpress.com

 

From Our-Compass.org:

Our worst nightmare is now a reality. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has formally proposed to remove all Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for nearly all gray wolves across the United States.

Please send an urgent message to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell — demand that she provide oversight during the official review period and urge her to re-think the official proposal before it becomes final.

To read more and to sign the petition to help save wolves, go to Our-Compass.org.

Hummingbirds On The Brink Of Extinction

Ann Novek( Luure)--With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors

I have been fascinated by hummingbirds ever since I was given a pack of wild animal cards in hospital while my tonsils were removed and fell in love with Heliothrix aurita, a speck of fire and jade. And also wine-red Topaza pella, perched in a jungle whisking a crimson tail.

I still have those cards. Their pictures seem crude now, but when I was eight I was enraptured. The Aztecs said the Earth’s first flower was fathered by the god of poetry in the shape of a hummingbird; and everything about hummingbirds seems tailor-made for a poet.

Birds see ultraviolet light, and female hummingbirds have a taste for iridescence, so males have turned themselves into flying jewels. Their metallic sheens, glancing as soap bubbles, are reflected in equally iridescent names for which taxonomists have plundered all the shimmer in the lexicon.

There are more than 300 species: words such as…

View original post 165 more words

The Red Panda: A Species in Need of Protection

Photo courtesy of RedPandaNetwork.org

Photo courtesy of RedPandaNetwork.org

 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is currently keeping a close eye on red pandas and their habitat across India, Nepal and Bhutan to better understand and help this adorable, but declining species.

The WWF describes the red panda:

“Most people don’t know that China’s famous black and white bear has a little red cousin. The red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat with a bear-like body and thick russet fur. The belly and limbs are black, and there are white markings on the side of the head and above its small eyes.

Red pandas are very skillful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees. They use their long, bushy tails for balance and to cover themselves in winter, presumably for warmth. Primarily an herbivore, the name panda is said to come from the Nepali word ‘ponya,’ which means bamboo or plant eating animal.”

Almost 50% of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas. Because its survival depends on such a limited area, it is extremely vulnerable to any alterations in its habitat. That’s why the loss of nesting trees and bamboo, which provides their main source of food, is causing a decline in red panda populations across much of their range.

Photo courtesy of images.NationalGeographic.com

Photo courtesy of images.NationalGeographic.com

One of the ways that the WWF is trying to help red pandas is by working with yak herders and other community groups to reduce human impact on its habitat. Fines and/or jail time for people caught hurting or killing the animals have also been instituted. This punishment is meant to deter poaching- red panda fur caps and hats have been found for sale in Bhutan.

For more info about these beautiful but vulnerable animals and how you can help them, visit worldwildlife.org.

 

Macaws: Some Species May Be Extinct, Others Are Endangered

Hyacinth, red-fronted, and blue-throated macaws are seriously endangered, and the glaucus and Spix’s macaw may already be extinct in the wild, according to National Geographic.com.

Because of their startling beauty, playfulness and intelligence, these birds are in high demand as pets. Owning one, however, is illegal. But the illegal pet trade is still devastating their populations, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Another problem is that though the vibrant coloring of the macaw’s feathers is suited to life in Central and South American rain forests, the habitats of many of their species are disappearing at an alarming rate.

For more information about the endangered macaw, visit WorldWildlife.org.

The Arctic Fox: Another Possible Casualty of Global Warming/Climate Change

Photo courtesy of imagecache6.allposters.com

Photo courtesy of imagecache6.allposters.com

Arctic foxes are beautiful animals, perfectly adapted to their climate. Although their looks are cute and almost delicate compared to other foxes,  their home range is quite large and encompasses the coldest places in the world- the entire Arctic tundra, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Scandinavia, and even Iceland. These animals are so tough that they are the only native land mammal in their area of Iceland, according to Defenders of Wildlife. 

Of their several ingenious adaptations that make it possible to survive in such extreme conditions is deep, thick fur which allows them to maintain a consistent body temperature, as well as compact bodies which minimize the surface area that is exposed to the cold air.

Unfortunately for this amazing creature, it is under threat of extinction due to a variety of factors. They are prime targets of the fur trade and have fallen victim to diseases spread from domestic dogs.

Then, of course, there’s global warming. The Defenders of Wildlife webpage about the arctic fox explains:

“The Arctic fox is losing ground to the larger red fox. Arctic foxes are specially adapted to thrive in the far north. Where conditions are less extreme, however, this highly specialized species is generally out-competed by its cousin, the more adaptable red fox.

As climate change takes its toll and the snow-line continues to recede further and further north, the range of the Arctic fox shrinks, too, giving way to the northward advance of the red fox.”

The longer we humans take to acknowledge that the scientific proof of global warming is certain and irrefutable, the less time we will have to halt the extinctions of animals such as the arctic fox- animals which are very dependent on the specific conditions of their home habitats. Conditions that, as we argue and argue, will continue to shift and change.

Europe Takes Action on Bee Decline While US Does Little

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

It’s a familiar, yet still maddening scenario.

The public, as well as scientists, express legitimate concern about something. The US government reacts more or less by explaining that it will deliberate on potential courses of action once all the facts are responsibly gathered by experts from government-run agencies. Then and only then, will something possibly be done.

It seems Europe often does things a bit differently. The recent collapse of bee populations world-wide, and the question of what to do about it, offers a fresh example of this. In a May 28 online article, The Guardian (a UK newspaper) published this:

“The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to perform a risk assessment of the insecticide fipronil [by the European Commission], paying particular regard to the acute and chronic effects on colony survival and development and the effects of sub-lethal doses on bee mortality and behavior.”

The EFSA’s official statement about the result of the study was this:

“The insecticide fipronil poses a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize.”

What’s particularly interesting is that Europe has acknowledged for years the scientific evidence which shows that pesticides are causing damage to bees and have acted swiftly and decisively on the matter. Science, plus huge public protests, ultimately culminated in the European Commission (EC) imposing a ban recently on three neonicotinoids, chemicals similar to fipronil. The assumption is that the EC will ban fipronil as well.

While it is obviously a good thing that Europe is taking steps to address the problem, Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director, thinks even more should be done. According to The Guardian, Contiero said:

“These pesticides have been building up in our environment for a decade, so limited, temporary bans won’t be enough to give bees a breather. The commission should develop a comprehensive plan for the protection of insect pollinators, starting with a solid ban on fipronil and other bee-harming substances.”

So what sweeping, vigorous action has the US government taken? In the words of The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as reported by Food Safety News online, this is it:

“The forces impacting honeybee health are complex, and the USDA, our research partners, and key stakeholders will be engaged in addressing this challenge.”

They’ll be engaged in addressing this challenge. Which is to say that there will be no bans.

The Pesticide Action Network of North America, and the Center for Food Safety have both petitioned the EPA to place bans on these dangerous chemicals. Lawsuits against the EPA are pending, as well. Unfortunately, the odds are against the bees.

Endangered Parakeet Population Grows on Predator-Free Island Reserve

Malherbe’s Parakeet- photo courtesy of ScientificAmerican.com

Malherbe’s Parakeet- photo courtesy of ScientificAmerican.com

From ScientificAmerican.com:

“Malherbe’s parakeets are one of the world’s rarest and least-studied birds, with fewer than 300 wild individuals on Earth and a total population of maybe 1,000. Endemic to New Zealand, the birds were only recognized as their own species in 2000 after many decades of being considered a colorful variant of the orange-fronted parakeet (C. auriceps). Unfortunately, the 10 years leading up to that new taxonomic declaration were devastating to Malherbe’s parakeets, as an invasion of rats and stoats took their toll on the tiny (23-centimeter) birds.

Early this century the New Zealand Department of Conservation brought most of the remaining Malherbe’s parakeets into a captive breeding program. Then, in 2007 they started moving some captive-bred birds to Maud Island, a predator-free 320-hectare island that also serves as a nature reserve for other endemic species.”

For more, go to ScientificAmerican.com