first, the RCTC campus is closed tomorrow, so i get a free day! woo!
second, with this cold snap we’re having (we seem to be having quite a few this winter), there is an actual positive side to this: the emerald ash borer might be drastically reduced due to the cold, which your ash trees will be severely grateful for.
i’m hoping the mountain pine beetle that is overtaking the black hills trees, mostly ponderosa pines, and basically killing them will also be affected by this. the last couple times i went out to the hills, i read up on how the bug is spreading throughout the hills, and the only thing that can really stop them is extreme cold – it will kill the larvae. unfortunately, there hadn’t been extremely cold winters in SD in a while; the beetle kept propagating.
The first recorded outbreak in the Black Hills occurred in the late 1890s. An estimated 10 million trees were killed during this outbreak. Approximately five outbreaks have occurred since that time though none has reached the same magnitude. The outbreak in the early 1970s resulted in the loss of more than 440,000 trees. The last outbreak occurred from 1988 to 1992 and resulted in the death of approximately 50,000 trees. Beetle populations are increasing and are expected to continue to increase during the next five years.
i took this picture in 2010 – you can see how some of the trees on the hillside are brown while the others are green. the forest rangers (i would love that job!) have been taking photos of the progression and when you visit mount rushmore and take a tour through the information side of it, you can see the damage the bugs have done to the hills over the last 20 years or so. pretty disturbing, loads of organizations like www.TheToolBoss.com are trying to raise awareness and to prevent the worst.
turns out that once the beetles are in hibernation, they can tolerate temps down to -30. i’m not sure if SD got down to those temps or not, but with -24 predicted here, hopefully SD will get down to those temps at least sometime this winter.
so, while you’re complaining about this arctic front that’s whipping through the midwest, think about the trees that are being salvaged from a bug infestation. i’ll gladly go through some character-building chilliness to help out a few trees! but then that’s the tree-hugger in me 🙂
i had my interview with my cousin tom, which wasn’t so bad! he could talk for hours and hours if you’d let him. one thing it’s hard for me to wrap my head around though is that he and george are severe conservationists, yet severe republicans (more like libertarians, but that’s another story).
when they set up part of their land to be a part of a 15-year lease to pretty much give the land back to nature, they took government money for it. yet, the government needs to keep its fingers out of the regulations. but, if farming went south here, we’d have to import from countries where regulations aren’t held to a certain standard and there is no USDA. i’m so confused!!! *boggle* either you want government or you don’t. can’t have it both ways!
another thing that confuses me is how adamantly pro-land/pro-environment you can be, yet think tree-huggers are the devil (he also had some choice words to say about PETA that I had to agree with – hahah).
i’ve got to call my dad and see what his take is on this and see if he can explain the mindset to me.
i am pissed off at the idea of earth day. maybe it’s because i grew up in a household where recycling, reusing, and composting were second nature, but why aren’t people more aware of what’s happening with the climate and dwindling resources, especially potable water? why do we only allot ONE DAY to awareness of this subject? EVERY DAY should be earth day.
yes, i’m passionate about the environment – if we don’t care for the environment, THAT’S IT. no need to worry about health care, gun control, autism, civil wars, etc., because *poof* we’re goners. part of the reason i’m so passionate about devil’s syrup? look at what monoculture (corn and soybean) farmlands are doing to the earth – erosion and diminishing water tables.
so: one day? not going to cut it. i know people who don’t recycle because they just don’t care – they say one person isn’t going to make or break it, so why should it be them? WHY NOT YOU? – something like this STARTS with one person. one day of the year to focus on the earth is not going to convince these people to start being a little more environmentally conservative. not even a month, a lá black history month or sexual assault awareness month, is going to do it. we need EARTH YEARS, aka, every. single. day.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
lots of news on the MN wolf hunt lately. i wanted to know more.
the first regulated wolf hunt in minnesota just closed the northeast angle’s window due to its quota being reached. the northwest part of the state can still hunt, and from nov. 24-jan. 31, the second season opens to hunting and trapping. there was a lottery of 600 licenses throughout the state – heard on the radio that the majority of those were applied for by people living in the northern half of the state, with very few southerly type wanting to hunt wolves.
there’s been kind of a brouhaha about this in the state, as the wolf population was waning pretty badly mid-1900s. so much so that they were put on the endangered species list in the last half. they were removed from the list just this past january, after quite a long legal battle.
and since it took so long to get wolves off the list, state congress, which had wanted to start a hunt LAST year, shoved a hunt through legislation, and the DNR had to cut down its time for public input and assessment on the matter. which public opponents of the hunt sued over.
during the last 10 years, the wolf population has remained pretty steady at about 3000, and “The fact they remained at that number for so long indicates there maybe isn’t any room for anymore growth.” but the DNR has said that as long as the population remains at or above 1600, they’re good. anything below that and they will seek to start increasing numbers.
hunters are saying they’ve seen declining deer populations, but the DNR says that probably just isn’t true. the deer population in MN in around 1 million, and wolves take down maybe 6000 of them. wolves don’t eat as much as people think they do.
there is a general fear among those who live next to wilderness areas up in northern MN – pet dogs have been killed (mostly because they’re seen as competition) by wolves, and they are getting a little bold as far as how close they’ll come to civilization (walking down a street). but as far as i could see, there haven’t been human attacks or livestock attacks.
as you can tell from my pretty objective statements so far, i’m neither pro nor con on the wolf hunt. although, hunting for wolves is mostly for sport or for their skins, and also to protect livestock. it’s one thing to hunt for food and survival, but for sport is not the best reason to be hunting an animal, even a predator.
well, megan was on a roll with her blogging ideas! and she’s feeling especially guilty about her environmental footprint, i guess, because her second question was, what’s better? cloth or disposable diapers?
is better than anything i could write on the subject. it’s informative, weighs pros and cons, explains the numbers, even extolls the virtues of second-hand baby goods. really, read it. yes. i’ll wait.
what it comes down to is, as long as your laundrying is as efficient as possible (line-drying, efficient washer, etc.), cloth is the way to go. i would go even further and say that even if your ways of doing laundry isn’t that efficient, you’re still keeping stuff out of landfills. landfills aren’t good. the one thing to keep in mind, though, is that it is time consuming and won’t be easy.
on another topic, i have my uhaul reserved for friday pickup, nate and i are signing papers on friday at 1:30, our stuff is in boxes, we’ve done what we can do, and as soon as we’re packed on friday, we will be leaving st. joe for the last time.
🙁 but 🙂
a farewell post to come.
megan wanted to know what effects having kids has on the environment. i told her that i thought i read somewhere that you could have the worst car ever, fly everywhere, etc. etc., and you still wouldn’t have a worse carbon footprint than having a kid. i don’t know how TRUE that is, so i decided to do some research.
(first, i would like you to know that, unlike some political candidates, i think fixing the environment is a top priority. in fact, it’s MY top priority. like hank green said, what good is universal health care if there’s not an earth to live on? [if i could find the video, i would post it, but i cannot find it.])
ok, so i google “carbon footprint and having children” and HOLY CRAP 1 million results.
wading into the fray, what i find most plausible is a study done by statisticians at oregon state university. from my quick read through of the press release, i gleaned some interesting points:
“…the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.”
“When an individual produces a child – and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future – the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime.”
in the US, a child adds about 9,441 metric tons of CO2 to the carbon footprint of a parent, which is 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for an average person (i’m guessing sans child). other countries will have less of an impact since the US is all about consumption – a child born in china will have 1/5th the impact as a child here. (this may change in the future, as china and india are upping their CO2 outputs.)
to top it off, the stats peeps mentioned that this research is relevant to other environmental concerns, such as shortages of potable freshwater consumption.
i don’t know what to tell you parents and parents-to-be. obvs we wouldn’t be here without reproduction, but with 7 billion people on the planet, and populations doing nothing but rising, the probability of the human race dying out is pretty slim.
i go back and forth – on one hand, there are studies like this. environmentally, it would be better to not have kids right now. but then there’s the old “your ancestors were strong enough, smart enough, and attractive enough to get to this point in the universe, and you’re going to choose not to perpetuate your genes?” argument. which makes me feel horrible and like a bad member of humanity.
i just watched the 11th hour, the environmental movie produced by leonardo dicaprio. it was actually very interesting and had a bunch of scientists and experts talking about the environment and what could happen and what we can do to stop stuff from happening.
mostly is about consumption. the basic notion of reduce reuse recycle would be the best thing we could do for the planet. which got me thinking about a group i’d read about a while ago, called the Compact.
basically you don’t buy anything new for a year. you can buy used items, and obviously you can buy things like toilet paper, food, shampoo, underwear and socks. essentials basically. but no new shiny awesome shoes. no new chandeliers for my living room (which i should take a pic of!). i’m intrigued, but will probably find something like this difficult given my propensity toward instant gratification. i think i’d like to try it for a month and see how it goes, then after that i’ll see how i did (or didn’t).
i read an article that said earth day was 38 years old this year in the US and 20 years globally, and happy birthday earth day.
THIRTY EIGHT YEARS.
and this is reason to celebrate the birthday of earth day? we should be LAMENTING earth day’s birthday. we shouldn’t NEED an earth day. EVERY DAY should be earth day. we’ve been thinking about saving the planet for 38 years. congratulations to us.
…in california and the eastern states where pollution laws are strict, you can buy cars that put out tons less emissions than normal gas-burning cars? they run the same, use the same gas, get the same mileage, but there is a $400 part the manufacturers stick in the car to reduce emissions.
and, did you know that it is illegal to sell/buy this car in states where the pollution laws are not so strict? even if i go to CA and buy this car, i can’t because i don’t live in CA.
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1)
“Each of you has received a special gift, so like good stewards responsible for all the different gifts of God, put yourselves at the service of others” (I Pet. 4:10-11)
We are stewards of this Earth. Since the beginning of time, the Earth has been our home, and there’s not another place we’d rather be. Up until this time, there has been little that we have done to change our conditions; it is a sturdy Earth. People have been few and done little that could damage such a hardy planet that has withstood billions of years hurtling through space and been plummeted with hundreds of thousands of asteroids.
But now we are at a crossroads. The decisions we make as people as a whole could once and for all change the outcome of our home, our planet we call Earth. Population levels have gotten to the point where the Earth may not be able to handle the amount of people its plains and mountains have held, especially in concentrated areas such rld. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead.
Above all, be courageous. Be courageous to take a stand, stand out and stand your ground. The Earth is depending on you, the steward of the Earth.