Propane vs. Gas: The Camper’s Debate


Propane vs. Gas: The Camper’s Debate


Although they say every “opinion” is worth about two cents nowadays (and if you’re career happens to be in politics it’s worth even less) there are some definite facts that come along with choosing what is easier and better, between propane and gas, to use in the Great Outdoors.


backpacking, environment, summer, travel, propane, white gas, hunting, camping, fuel options, bio-fuels

Let us begin with the issue of ease. It is absolutely true that propane is one of the easiest fuel sources to use. After all, you screw in the container, turn on the valve, and simply light the gas that’s exiting the burners; how much more ease can you ask for? Seeing as that propane is already under pressure, you do not have to pump it or do anything special. When you’re talking about white gas (Coleman fuel), you have to pump the container up, heat up a bit of the fuel, and then ignite it. So it obviously takes more time in the set up and start up categories than when speaking about a propane stove.


Propane stoves for the camper also provide the benefit of ease when it comes to transportation. There is no need to worry about filling it up, spilling fuel by mistake, or priming the stove, which makes it more fun and less of a chore for the individual when it comes to enjoying their camping experience.


Although this is starting to sound like propane runs away with the race, it is important to note that even with all the benefits, propane does have some definite problems that you will encounter with gas stoves. Propane is not able to be used in very low temperatures. Say you’re looking at a forty degree hunting/camping/fishing weekend. Or maybe you are an ice fishing lover and will sit in 0 degree weather or less; if that is the case, propane is definitely off your list and white gas is the one and only choice.


If we’re talking about backpacking instead of driving that RV or camper up to your site, propane also is not the one you want to go with. Although it’s easy to transport, that benefit falls apart when talking about throwing it into your backpack for the long trek. Propane containers are heavy and they are not disposable. Seeing as that garbage cans can usually not be discovered on top of the mountain, you will also be forced to carry those containers back down with you. When it comes to gas containers, they are lighter and smaller, which makes the backpacker far happier.


In addition, when it comes to refilling the propane canister – the small ones, that is – you will be unable to. You will be forced, instead, to trash them in a landfill, whereas white gas stove containers can simply be refilled.


When you get down to the brass tacks of cooking, another issue also crops up when speaking about cooking with propane. Simply put, when propane burns, heat, light, carbon dioxide, and water are produced. When the water vapor comes in contact with your food it alters the taste ever so slightly. This is why many choose to use charcoal to cook instead of propane, because the briquettes offer a great flavor to the food.


Keep in mind that there are three types of stoves to choose from: Canister stoves, which are easy-to-use, low-maintenance stoves that typically screw onto the threaded tops of self-sealing fuel canisters that contain two pre-pressurized gases (isobutane and propane). Liquid fuel stoves, which are extremely versatile stoves that connect to refillable fuel bottles, not only white gas. And, last but not least, Alternative-fuel stoves that is a category that continues to grow bigger with each passing year. More and more backpacking and camping stoves are being made that run on fuel pellets or actual wood.


Make sure that the size, ease of transportation, and the ability to run the stove in certain temperature are all issues you take into account before choosing what is right for you. Whereas propane might be perfect for that family camping trip, your backpacking excursion most certainly will call for the smaller, easier to carry gas options.


But no matter what, keep those Great Outdoors safe and have one heck of a trip!


Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

Be a Citizen Scientist


Be a Citizen Scientist

by Amy Lignor


Yes, there are thousands upon thousands of scientists studying and practicing in various fields. From studying space to medicine to climate control, there are “minds” working at all times around the globe to stop the harm, ignite the new idea, and fix what needs fixing. However, the one thing most all scientists can agree upon is there is a whole lot of work to do and help is always needed.

Members of the Cascades Butterfly Citizen Science Team pictured on Sauk mountain. Photo by Karlie Roland.

Members of the Cascades Butterfly Citizen Science Team pictured on Sauk mountain. Photo by Karlie Roland.

What many of us laypeople do not know, however, is that you do not need to head to a big-name college and earn a degree in order to provide some of that much-needed help. It’s actually a fact that having more “citizen scientists” out there helps to gather vital information and data. Such as, a simple walk taken every day by someone with the hobby of birdwatching can make a huge difference in global environmental research.


Citizens already are providing extremely large amounts of data as they monitor their own back yards and neighborhoods, so to speak, when it comes to biodiversity. Tree foliage monitors, studying habitats, etc., but there is also more to do. A new study published in the journal, Biological Conservation, makes the suggestion that citizen scientists have the potential to “contribute more to regional and global assessments of biodiversity.” Some can monitor species and habitats being built, or ones being destroyed by expansion in their community; they can examine satellite imagery for evidence of deforestation, and more, and provide that data to environmental scientists working hard to stay on top of and track ecological issues. In fact, there are many species that have been placed on watch lists and even earned endangered status because citizens were eager to help and eager to make sure that no species would follow the path of the Dodo, simply because the government was too busy to care.


Citizen naturalists/scientists are people truly concerned with the environment and have made a conscious choice to do their best to make a difference, both locally and nationally. They spend their free time outside, observing nature and all that’s being done (rightly and wrongly) to alter nature. And being a citizen naturalist is a job that literally anyone with a passion for this great big world and the need and want to help their community can become involved with.


There are projects galore that citizen naturalists have become a part of and seen to fruition. Cleaning up local parks and streams is one, with some even going out into their community schools and teaching water monitoring classes, opening up children’s eyes and minds to ecosystems and the unfortunate threats to our wildlife. Many naturalists even work hard to get their own towns certified as Community Wildlife Habitats, and pass on information to citizen science programs in the area.


When it goes into the “science” branch, people volunteer their time to help the scientists with their research, which allows the scientists the benefit of having a lot more data to analyze. Varying in both size and scope, there are projects on local, national – all the way up to global levels where the “citizen” can play a large part in cleaning up the environment and saving species, by giving scientists the largest and best donation they can possibly make: their time.


So as you walk outside and take a look at that tree foliage in your backyard, or watch the birds as they come home at night to their nests, make sure to take notes of the changes you see happening all around you. After all, it could be your “nugget” of data that saves the life of something this world can literally not afford to lose.


Find a project:  Nature America

                          Adventure Scientists

                        Citizen Science Alliance


Source:  Baret News

The Environment Engineers


The Environment Engineers

by Amy Lignor


From the title of this article, you may think that this is all about conservation, organizations that promote and work on creating healthy habitats, or even companies promoting a greener, healthier planet. However, the real environment engineers we speak of are actually four-footed creatures whose mission it is to better nature’s ecosystem.

Beavers, healthy habitats, benefits, ecosystem, environment, dams, water qualityNot as mystical as, say, the wolf. Not as talked about as the Black Rhino or the long list of other species that are endangered and moving closer and closer to extinction. No, this little guy is sometimes forgotten about completely; yet, without them, the environment would be in far worse shape than it is already.

The beaver has a myriad of skills they’re born with that allow them to always be successful on their nature missions. It is no surprise that the term for an active person who gets things done is: “As busy as a beaver,” when you think about the amount of work these creatures do. Felling trees, changing waterways, building dams – the beaver not only does this to benefit themselves, mind you, but also to benefit other species…including humans.


Think about this: Dams help control both the quality and quantity of water both animals and humans utilize. The ponds, streams, and flooded areas they create are actually vibrant habitats that serve more plants and animals than you can shake a stick at. A variety of fish, insects, and birds benefit from the healthy world the beaver creates. And it is a fact that some animals choose to only live close by the beaver’s habitat.


However…like many animals the beaver has seen a horrendous drop in numbers over the centuries. Once upon a time in North America beavers could be found in almost every pond or stream you looked at. The statistics for the population were once out of this world, with some studies even stating that there may have been over 100 million+ of the creatures at one time. But during the early 20th century the beaver was suddenly looked at for their fur and not the part they played in a healthy environment. Thus, trapping became monumental and almost lent to the beaver’s complete extinction. Over time, as people grew wiser to the issues, reintroductions of the animal into various habitats brought the number back up to approximately 12 million. Big number, yes, but certainly not when you take the past into account.


For those who don’t understand the gift the beaver gives to nature, or know the animal that well, it’s easy to see why a great many people don’t see the positives when it comes to their work. They are incredibly beneficial to the land, and can halt the rapid approach of climate change. Can they stop it completely? No. But they can lend aid when it comes to areas where snow is melting far more rapidly than it once was, lending to droughts that last longer. Warming temperatures bring more rain than snow. And when the snow does fall, because of the early melt, the once gradual release of water has turned into an avalanche. Take the state of Utah, for example. Snow melt this past year happened almost 45 days earlier than the historical average, causing year-round streams to dry up, and harming fish and plant-life.


Beaver restoration and relocation efforts are occurring all over the country and have increased within the last five years. When the families once again begin to thrive, they build a dam and create a perfect habitat for all those other creatures in the ecosystem that rely on the beaver for help.


So take the time to “meet” and learn about this “busy” engineer. You’ll realize that without the beaver, global warming, climate change, and all the other negatives Washington, D.C. can’t seem to get a handle on will grow even worse…even faster.

Source:  Baret News

A Highly Debated Piece of Technology Serves a Purpose


A Highly Debated Piece of Technology Serves a Purpose

by Amy Lignor


When even saying the word “drone” in 2016, debates spark up immediately as to whether they are safe, they are needed, and what they can even do to save countries and people from war and terrorist attacks. Just this week we have seen horrific bombings occur in the stunning city of Belgium, and politicians vying for the Oval Office coming out to assert their thoughts and ideas about the future of national security (some being quite frightening). However, when stepping away from the “politics” of this technology, the idea of drones and the use of drones when it comes to environment and conservation efforts is definitely good.

Sumatran rhino

Think about what it would be like to have miracles reported each day instead of pain. Just this week a believed to be extinct creature rejoined the world when a Sumatran rhino was found. Thought to be completely gone from Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, the rhino had not been seen in forty years. The World Wildlife Fund on Tuesday announced that a female Sumatran rhino was there, and was safely transported to a more secure location. Once in its new home, the very rare rhino will be better protected from poachers. There are plans to move even more animals there in the near future to start a population that has been sadly missing.


What is quite successful is the wide use of drones for environmental research and wildlife preservation. In this category, the drone technology is more commonly referred to as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or eco-drones. At this moment monitoring the polar ice melt in order to help determine animal migration patterns, eco-drones are the perfect piece of technology when it comes to reaching impossible sites and causing minimal impact to the surroundings.


Not only can the eco-drones track and photograph species that are extremely hard to monitor, like that amazing rhino, but they also collect data for conservationists so that the full understanding of the land and its resources can be had by people who choose to protect that land.


Eco-drones are also extremely successful when it comes to finding poachers and stopping the threat they cause to a variety of species. And when a species needs to be monitored to protect human life, the eco-drones also come into play. Right now the technology is being used to spot sharks off the California coast in order to help lifeguards better monitor the beaches.

green technology, drone, UAS, eco-drones, environment, Amy's Angle


Climate changes, monitoring air pollution in rapidly expanding areas…the list goes on. So, remember during these political debates the importance of eco-drones for the health and welfare of the environment and aiding in animal protection. As it stands now, they are one of the most worthwhile and helpful pieces of “green” technology ever to be created.

Images:  Shark-Spotting Drones Protect Swimmers     Sumatran rhinoceros

How to Have Yourself a Merry “Green” Christmas

How to Have Yourself a Merry “Green” Christmas

By Amy Lignor


Yes, the turkey is carved and eaten and those awesome decorations are beginning to crop up around the neighborhood, as well as in your very own living room. This is the time of year where everyone smiles just a bit more, as family and friends get together and remember how wonderful family and friends really are.

Christmas, environment, Think 'green', energy savings, recycle, tipsBut there are also ways to remember how wonderful everything around us is. The Great Outdoors takes its toll, as we well know, but when the Christmas bells are jingling and Santa is on his way, there are a variety of things we can do to make our “green” world even “greener” – even if it is covered in white. From gifts to food to energy usage – all the way to choosing that mighty Christmas tree – being environmentally conscious is a huge contribution we can give to the world while enjoying every inch of it.

First, look at all the unique gifts out there. Yes, the world of cellphones, computers, video games – all the electronics – hold a high place on the list for most buyers. But there is a whole other category that not only saves cash, but also provides help to small businesses and gives back to the environment. From bamboo bath towels to curly lamps to recycled LP’s that have become a very cool salad set, this Christmas “green” shopping is a whole lot of fun. There are a variety of lists on the Internet and in magazines promoting sustainable designs and “green” living items that make fantastic Christmas gifts for the ones we love.

When it comes to Mother Nature there are other things we can do to decrease our very own environmental footprint, especially when it comes to the ‘cleaning up’ factor. For those who don’t know, one million extra tons of trash is made around the holidays (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency); the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, trash rises by 25%. Therefore, using recyclable wrapping paper can do a great deal to help.

Inside the home, lower the thermostat just a tad. Chances are you certainly won’t feel the cold, considering the company coming over and the stove that will continually be on while baking those awesome sweets and treats for the holidays.

When it comes to lights – as most of us know – there are houses out there that are simply stunning. There are also those that light up so bright that it would be surprising if our friends on Mars didn’t see it. So having a design that allows to cut back on those house and yard lights would help. And choosing to decorate with the LED lights is a must, considering they can use 90% less energy than regular holiday lights.

Heading to Costco or Sam’s is a great idea when the list of food is made. Buying in bulk instead of single packages of, say…soda, baking supplies, and snacks, reduces package waste and also the hit on your own wallet. Not to mention, think about serving less meat on the menu this year. Chicken, pork, most especially, beef, take a heavier toll on the environment than fruits and veggies. Cows actually produce high amounts of methane, which is worse for global warming than carbon dioxide. So as not to serve the platters of meat side by side, try to switch out at least one with those heart-healthy veggies.

And the biggest Christmas treat? The tree. This time out, support those small business Christmas tree farms and get yourself a real tree. Then recycle it. Before wondering if cutting a real tree actually harms the environment by deforestation, it is important to know that’s not the case. Most Christmas trees are grown expressly for Christmas and can be planted or composted when Santa says “so long” for the year. Plastic trees, however, take petroleum to create and then are very hard to recycle. So having that little piece of fragrant, beautiful Mother Nature in the home is a gift that everyone can enjoy!


Source:  Baret News

Checks & Balances are Necessary for the Healthy Habitat

Checks & Balances are Necessary for the Healthy Habitat

~ Samantha Lewis

The one thing that animal rights’ activists, environmental workers, scientists, and even government agencies seem to be able to agree on is that the world is a place of checks and balances. In order for a country to remain level and not slide too much to either side that ends up hurting the planet, people must work together and be educated. If a habitat has too much of this, but needs that, the check and balance system comes into play. However, there are certain issues around the globe that still cannot be solved with the check and balance system, because the taking of species is either a conclusion someone has come to that is not working, or an illegal job where animals and habitats are the poorer for it.


Diceros_bicornisExamples of this are easy: The Black Rhino. The habitat needs this species, and this species is dwindling because of illegal activity. They are hunted for their horns and horns alone, and then their carcass is just left. There is no reason for this killing except to line pockets, which means this is a failing of the check and
balance (and legal) system. Wolves. Where there was once none, there are now a great deal. But instead of initiating the ‘move’ to other states that need them, the way to take care of them is simply to shoot – destroying the ecosystem. Sharks, dolphins…hunted, caught in nets, having the fin ripped off the shark for the creature to die just to make soup even though the creature is now disappearing from the seas and causing the oceanic habitats to die out as well. This is, yet again, where checks and balances are not being watched.


But there is yet another in the headlines. Wild horses. Some come out and claim that the species are killing habitats. (No offense, everyone, but before we got here the animals and the habitats thrived, so perhaps we should be looking at our own tastes and non-environmentally friendly choices before turning to the animals). In other cases, there are actual arguments being made that people are too close to their horses. That’s why they cannot be killed, or thrown into the old glue factory, or sent to France as a dining choice…because humans have too much nerve to like them. Make up your mind.


Here is what the truth is. These are facts that can most definitely be checked with any (real) organization. In North America, wild horses are necessary because they complement the ecosystem. Because of their lives, everything from soil building to plant seeding to reduction of dry vegetation to the prevention of catastrophic fires, has been helped by these particular animals.


Perhaps there are arguments that the horses are ‘liked’ more than other animals, such as cows, that can just be killed because people want hamburgers, Nokota_Horses_croppedbecause the law on wild horses is more a ‘beauty’ law than anything else. It was in 1971, that the U.S. Congress recognized wild horses as: “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.” Fast forward to the world of 2014, and these horses, these wild mustangs, are actually far more necessary than a symbol…they DO contribute greatly to the diversity of life forms. In other words, without them, you are taking out the balance that will bring about, yet again, environmental disuse and disrepair.


Before getting all angry, the balance works both ways. If the wild horse population exceeds the capability of the habitat then the environment will no longer thrive either. However, the Bureau of Land Management conducts the removal of wild horses from public lands to keep the balance after years of monitoring the habitat growth and the expanse or decrease of the herd. It is unnecessary to just go out and shoot – even though that is the mindset of many.


This is the work that should be understood:


“Poor rangeland health can accelerate a decrease in the health of the animals. Therefore, the BLM annually monitors the condition of the animals and their habitat. The BLM will also periodically count wild horses and burros. Resource specialists from other disciplines also monitor the rangelands. The BLM assesses the monitoring and census data and determines if and how many animals must be removed from the range. When the BLM determines that there are too many wild horses or burros, a “gather plan” and environmental analysis is made.”


Short and sweet and to the point. There are already people in charge of making sure the checks and balances work, and when people take matters into their own hands they are actually risking their own property that they work hard to achieve. Animal adoptions also exist. Animal movement to other states, exists. If you remember, that is how the wolves set up shop in Yellowstone, because they were moved there to HELP the environment. When a pack or a herd or any gathering of a particular animal grows too expansive, they are moved, not killed.


Yes, protection is a must. Protection for you and your family. But that is not the majority of kills that are happening when it comes to various animal species. And that should be remembered.


Source: Baret News Wire

Bonnie Holmes-Gen: On Pollution and Air Quality in America

Bonnie Holmes-Gen: On Pollution and Air Quality in America

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 11.29.05 AMBonnie Holmes-Gen is the Senior Director for Policy and Advocacy at the American Lung Association in California (ALAC). At the ALA, Ms. Holmes-Gen is responsible for advocating the public policy concerns of ALAC before the California Legislature and state agencies such as the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission. She specializes in air quality and environmental health issues including: global warming and 
AB 32 implementation; heavy-duty diesel pollution; alternative fuel and zero emission vehicle programs; electricity generation and air pollution; indoor air pollution; and statewide and local air pollution control programs.

Q: What did the 2014 State of the Air report find about current state of air quality in California and the U.S.?

A: Too many people are breathing unhealthy air in Los Angeles, and throughout the country. While real and steady progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to do. Los Angeles continues to top the list of cities that have the worst ozone pollution. The bad news is that we continue to get failing grades in the L.A. region, but the good news is there’s been a tremendous amount of work to reduce pollution. The investment and control measures that have been implemented have made a big difference. Over a third of the ozone pollution has been erased because of our state, federal and local control measures.

What is the difference between Ozone pollution and Particle pollution?

Ozone is an irritating gas – it actually causes burns on lung tissues like a bad sunburn. It’s a corrosive gas and can cause health problems the day you breathe it in and long after. Ozone pollution contributes to worsening of respiratory illnesses, triggers asthma attacks, and has even been linked to heart attacks, strokes and can cause premature death.

We considered particle pollution one of the most dangerous pollutants. These tiny particles are a mix of ash, soot, metals and chemicals, and are a fraction of the size of a human hair. These tiny pollutants are breathed deep into the lungs they pass through into the bloodstream and affect the heart and other organs. Tiny particles have been linked to heart attacks and strokes, they’ve been linked to cancer including lung cancer, they cause asthma attacks, and these tiny particles have also been linked to delayed lung growth in children.

What laws and regulations will make the difference in the future?

We’re moving in the right direction, and seeing some steady reduction in pollution in Los Angeles and across the state. But we do need to take Bonnie Holmes-Gensome important steps because transportation sources are the majority of our pollution problems. We really need to focus on how we can ratchet down dramatically on transportation pollution if we’re going to achieve our standards. That means we need to transition to zero emission and near zero emission technologies and fuels. In the passenger car sector, we need to move to battery electric, fuel cell, other zero emission cars as quickly as we can. In terms of the heavy duty sector – trucks, buses, and the ports – we also need to move to zero emission and adopt the cleanest sources we have available.

We’re actually supporting some legislation by Senator [Kevin] de leon (D-Los Angeles), SB 1275, and also by Senator [Ricardo] Lara (D-Long Beach), SB 1204. This package of bills is geared towards putting a million electric vehicles and near zero emission trucks and buses on California roads, and to do all of that in the next decade, and to ensure that all income levels benefit from clean transportation technologies. We need to do more of what we have been doing, [like] with California’s strict emissions standards on cars and fuels, and we need to make this transition to zero emission.

What can the individual do?

We need to grow healthier in terms of our community planning, and pay attention to what individuals can do in terms of changing individual patterns of getting around. Everybody can make a difference in their community by driving less and embracing cleaner, zero emission transportation options that are out there. If someone is buying a new vehicle, consider a battery electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicle, or even just a cleaner conventional vehicle. Everybody needs to be focused on reducing emissions from the cars they drive and finding other ways to get around.

We can conserve in our home and reduce energy usage. This helps to reduce emissions from the power sector. Reducing wood burning is important because wood smoke contributes to winter time peaks in particle pollution, so people should consider investing in cleaner natural gas or electric fireplaces that don’t emit particles and don’t harm health. Supporting community efforts to plan for smarter growth, more transit focused growth, is another action people can take.

Kareem Maddox – Kareem holds an A.B. in English from Princeton University, and loves narrative of all kinds. He splits time between a tech firm and a National Public Radio affiliate station in Los Angeles.



Preserving the Reserves

Preserving the Reserves

 ~ Amy Lignor

When it comes to the outdoor enthusiast, environmentalist, or simply the lover of the Great Outdoors – the natural reserves across the globe are a much-needed part of life as we know it.


Spoonbill Rosette-Habitat-Roadtrekin.comPhotographing the beauty of nature; riding bikes, running, walking, canoeing – you name it, the world is one big landscape that offers millions a way to rest, relax and rejuvenate. But as the world grows and the human population overtakes nature, preserving habitats and creating natural reserves becomes a far bigger problem to solve.


These protected areas are extremely important, seeing as that all types of wildlife, flora, fauna, and some truly amazing geological formations have to be kept alive. The nature reserves located in the U.S. come from various sources, with the government basically setting up protection by opening National Parks or designating certain acreage as private so that nothing can be harmed and the habitats can remain healthy.


In addition to the government, there are private landowners, charities and research centers that create natural reserves in order to make sure that this land and the creatures in it are not erased by the growth of suburbia or the ever-increasing energy and industrial issues.


Believe it or not, creating a natural reserve is not a modern idea. In fact, it was all the way back in the 3rd century BC that the first area was reserved for animals by King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri Lanka. Although conservation was not the issue then. It was because of cultural beliefs, as well as religious convictions, that had countries put aside lands and protect their animals and vegetation. These beliefs, as our world grew, seemed to fall off the radar when more homes were needed in order to take care of the human population.


In this new era, it was not America but Germany that claimed the credit for creating the very first natural reserve in our time. The land was actuallyGreat Blue bought in 1836 to protect it from quarrying – which was beginning to rip the area apart. Although the U.S. was not the first, it was the first when it came to creating a major natural reserve. It was Yellowstone National Park that took the title as being the largest and most stunning protected property in the world. Protected by the Federal government, Yellowstone – although having issues with hunting over time – is still the largest protector of animals, vegetation and geologic formations this world has ever seen.


When it comes to the global scene, there are many countries that have made sure to protect lands in order to save the habitats for the next generation to enjoy. Australia is one country that actually has a National Reserve System that comprises Commonwealth, state and territory-controlled reserves. But they do not stop there; there are also Indigenous lands and a slew of other protected areas that are overseen and managed by not-for-profit organizations.


Egypt boasts 29 nature reserves, with the largest being Gebel Elba (13,700 miles). Denmark is on board with three national parks and several nature reserves; Germany has over five thousand; and the list goes on and on.


It is, or should be, a source of pride to know that no matter what the issues, battles, wars, etc., there are between countries out there – we all seem to be on the same side when it comes to protecting and preserving what little is left of the habitats and stunning animal kingdoms we need.


And the work does not stop when the land comes to an end; marine life reserves are also being opened and ‘declared’ by governments as protected areas all across the globe. Although there are still species that are endangered, people are working together to try and stop any animal, bird, fish, or plant from being taken away from the stunning, unique landscape that is Planet Earth.


Until Next Time, Everybody,




On Memorial Day Remember to Continue the Fight for a ‘Green’ America

On Memorial Day Remember to Continue the Fight for a ‘Green’ America

 ~ Samantha Lewis

America at war is a horrific thing to think about. We strive for peace. We strive to stop the damage being done to human lives. We also miss with all our hearts the men and women we lost over the decades, who gave their lives so that we could have our freedom. These ladies and gentleman made, and still make up, the ‘best of the best’ of us, and should be remembered each and every day, not just next Monday.
Alternative_EnergiesWe have also strived to save our planet; learning that taking care of the globe with every little thing we do is a necessity. Therefore, as it is with the memories of those veterans, both with us today and the ones who fell, we must always remember and do our best to make America the ‘greenest’ country in the world.


All areas of manufacturing are trying desperately to change their ways: new laws are being put into effect; companies are utilizing recycling programs; solar projects and wind projects are into the billions of dollars across the country – and each and every one of us on a personal level is understanding the fact that every day, everything we do, has an effect on the world around us.


Many people believe that America is all ‘talk’ and no actual ‘action’ when it comes to the ‘green’ transformation that has already occurred in other countries, but when you look closely, it’s a fact that the recent economic breakdown actually taught America that we have to find a way to live together. And by doing this, America must use all the ‘clean’ energy resources on hand (as well as find and create others), that will not only help our people find employment, but also help protect seriously vulnerable habitats.


This ongoing ‘energy revolution’, includes every individual caring for nature, and learning the positive aspects of solar, wind, all the way to geothermal heating and cooling processes for the home and business. Not to mention, plug-in hybrids and other ‘ideas’ that will eventually allow us to bid non-renewable energy sources goodbye. We must continue with these processes, and create more jobs by expanding our ‘green’ country, allowing us one day to break away from the gas and oil industries we continue to utilize.


‘Clean Energy Victory Bonds,’ are one idea that has people talking. Victory bonds are not new, of course; they came into being during World War images (5)II. But in this case, Americans would buy bonds from the federal government to invest in large-scale green energy projects, with particular emphasis set in low-income locales. These bonds would pay back an annual interest rate, and are yet another path to consider.


When ideas come and go, and both the government and the people who truly want to create a greener America come head-to-head, it’s reasonable to stop for a minute, and think things through before going forward with ideas that simply end up hurting both the economy and the natural world even more.


This country was founded on ingenuity. This country has had the best people taking charge, and heading into battle to make sure that we worked together and invested time, energy, and intelligence into making America great.


So as you bow your heads and pay homage to those honorable people who gave up their lives so we could live, remember that one way you can truly honor them is to help save the country that they fought so hard to protect.


Have a happy and safe Memorial Day, everyone.


We Need to Understand That the Sky Goes Green

We Need to Understand That the Sky Goes Green

~ ZZ Troutski

126 days of peace. That is the number, according to the Weather Channel, that is in the books when it comes to America not having to deal with a tornado incident so large that it not only took homes and buildings but, took lives.


Everyone talks about the sky turning green, which it does, before the tornado falls. And it is more and more apparent that

Photo by Katherine Boyd

Photo by Katherine Boyd

we need to work harder when it comes to saving our environment; discarding the ‘old ways’ that are not working and are simply adding to the problems. In other words, WE need to go green to perhaps help stop the sudden green hue of the skies from forming.


It was only three years ago that a Little Rock, Arkansas suburb called Vilonia was hit and hit hard by Mother Nature. And yesterday, in that very same spot, three years later, a powerful tornado stayed down on the ground for eighty miles, destroying many northern suburbs of Little Rock yet again, with sixteen people losing their lives during this horrific weather event.


Unfortunately, for all of us these debris scenes and pictures on all weather and news stations this morning are not new. A brand new $14 million-dollar school is gone – just like that, looking like nothing more than a landfill. Huge vehicles were picked up and twisted around one another, scattered across the ground by nothing more than wind.


As Little Rock gets sunshine to see clearly the horrendous destruction all around, other states are looking at major flood watches, as well as the chance that another tornado can come along in someplace new. This extreme rash of tornados and heavy storms are not over, says the National Weather Service, warning that the path is expected to continue throughout today across the South and Mississippi Valley.


Numbing is the word for something like this. It is almost a Stephen King novel – something nightmarish, but should never be real. With the way our world looks at the moment, however, our weather is nothing like that of a novelist’s imagination, it is all too real and is getting worse. The footage of Interstate 40 is a frightening wreck, with the President calling States of Emergencies as residents try to search for everyone missing.


In this particular instance, the environmental impact is huge, with officials making sure it does not grow even more difficult by cutting off all power and utilities to avoid chances of fire.


The news we must all take in when watching these headlines is not the debris and destruction, however. It is the point we MUST learn that tornados are not a freak occurrence as they were once thought to be – waiting for the right combination of jet streams, heat, cold, and moisture in order to be created. Nor are they a celestial or religious event, as some believe. They are NOT random.


There are an average of 4.5 tornados per tornado day. There are constant teams and crews out there looking for them, trying to pre-warn everyone around that they are about to fall. Although this technology has gotten better over the decades, it is not full-proof and never will be. Trying to track Mother Nature is like trying to track a unicorn – she has proven the ability to do what she wants when she wants to, and disappear back up into the sky.


Our environment has problems. The changes in air quality, water quality, jet streams – you name it – are issues that all people everywhere have created over time. If you do not believe this, just look at the severe environmental changes occurring over the past twenty-five years or longer.


And, no, we cannot change anything that happened back in the 1920’s on up. We can not close down factories, stop cutting down trees, stop clearing the way for suburbia to grow – that chance is over. Those decisions were made with no thought about what the future could bring, and they can not be taken back. What we can do is try our very best to change our own daily lives in order to help prevent the earth from crumbling, shifting, and transforming into a deadly place to live.


Our overabundances and our ability to overlook various ways to go ‘green’ is what makes that sky green and brings on a roar that can never be forgotten.


126 days of peace is not enough. It is time to change!