7. General Articles

Is the Meatless Monday Movement For You?

There’s a growing worldwide movement to help you and the planet! Discover the many benefits of eating less meat and how you can participate.

Have you heard of the Meatless Monday movement?

It was developed to encourage people to have one day per week without meat.

It is not about becoming a vegetarian — although it can be a baby step toward vegetarianism. It’s simply about having all the meals for one day each week without meat.

How did Meatless Monday begin?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/is-the-meatless-monday-movement-for-you.html#ixzz31UhljJXR

Compare Brains Check Out These Brains!

human brainTake a close look at all these brains. Are they what you expected to see? What kinds of perceptions do you have about brain structure, brain sizes, and the relationship between brains and complex behavior?

What a wonderful world- David Attenborough- video

If you need an “up” please watch this video and marvel in our magnificent world. You may find yourself going to this video more than once over the next few weeks as end of the year stress wears you down. And, please share it widely and show it to youngsters. It is that uplifting. Sing along with it as well.

Why You Should Never Kiss a Pig And other wisdom from the Nobel Prize-winning scientist and pandemics expert Peter Doherty. —

By Michael Mechanic| Thu Sep. 26, 2013 3:00 AM PDT This particular pig was, in fact, kissed by Florida school principals who lost a bet with their students. Eve Edelheit/Zuma One morning in October 1996, Peter Doherty, a veterinary pathologist and virologist was awakened by a 4:30 a.m. telephone call. “Something’s gone wrong,” was his first thought. Doherty was living in Memphis at the time, and figured one of his Australian relatives was calling with bad news. His wife picked up, and the caller said he was from the Nobel Foundation. “I’d always wondered how you know it’s not a fake, because you’ve got people in the lab who are perfectly capable of doing that,” Doherty says.

Frogs Behaving Badly-  20 November 2010 A GYMPIE couple watched a battle of epic proportions unfold on their patio one evening. We’ve all bitten off more than we can chew at some stage but Johannes Solymosi said he was shocked when he discovered what seemed a twist on the normal predator/prey scenario. A green tree frog, perhaps tired of eating moths day in and day out, turned the tables on an unsuspecting snake and decided to partake of something a little out of the ordinary. “It was about 6pm,” Mr Solymosi said, “my wife saw it happening and yelled out to me.” The frog, determined to make a meal of the little crowned snake, was not about to let dinner get away. “The frog stayed in the same position for quite some time,” he said. “The snake was moving and the frog was waiting to see what would happen.” Grabbing his digital camera, Mr Solymosi started recording the scene. “The frog was getting impatient and started shoving the snake into his mouth with his front feet.” At that point the snake decided to fight back and started to wind itself around the frog’s hind leg. “That’s when the frog panicked because the snake tried to strangle him,” Mr Solymosi said. At this point discretion seemed the better part of valour, he said, and the frog released its ’death hold’, before both combatants went their separate ways.

Threat to a national symbol as India’s wild tigers vanish

Endangered: The latest audit found just 1411 tigers.Endangered: The latest audit found just 1411 tigers. Photo: AFP

Matt Wade, New Delhi February 15, 2008

INDIA has been shocked by the news that it has only 1411 tigers left in the wild, a decline of 60% in the past decade. Poaching and the loss of tiger habitats amid India’s rapid economic development have been blamed. The audit of wild tigers by the Government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority has raised fears that India could lose one of its national symbols.

Topiaries Montreal gardens

click for more here Montreal Gardens

Kiss and sell: Will Chinese demand transform Australia’s cane toad problem into a princely export?

January 27, 2010 | By Paul Ryan

Australia weathered the global economic crisis better than most countries thanks largely to the preceding decade of bumper coal and gas exports driven by insatiable Chinese demand. Now, a Queensland entrepreneur is hoping Chinese demand will solve one of northern Australia’s most pressing natural problems: cane toads. Charleville meat processor John Burey is planning a trip to Beijing in February to determine the viability of exporting cane toads to China.

Honeybee Blues Documentary

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Honeybee Blues tells the story of the world’s disappearing honeybees and the efforts of Australian scientist Dr Denis Anderson to save them from annihilation.

Honeybee Blues tells the story of the world’s disappearing honeybees and the efforts of Australian scientist Dr Denis Anderson to save them from annihilation. From the native bush and orchards of Australia to the industrial farmlands of the United States and the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Honeybee Blues is a scientific detective story that tells a 21st century cautionary tale. The European honeybee, or Apismellifera,is used for commercial honey production and by a global pollination industry worth up to $100 billion. Without it we would lose a third of the world’s food supply.

Frank Pope, Ocean Correspondent

In 1994 an area of coral reef on the southern part of Kenya’s coast was designated as a marine reserve by the government wildlife agency.Fishing activity would be restricted within its boundaries, it was announced. But the authorities met fierce resistance from those who felt their traditional way of life would be destroyed.“When the warden went down to start up the park, the local fishers doused him and his car with petrol and held up a match,” said Tim McClanahan, one of the co-authors of Rebuilding Global Fisheries, a new study published today in Science.For seven years the imposed regulations were all but ignored by the fishermen. But Dr McClanahan collected information from the fishermen and every year presented them the data. In 2001 they finally accepted the decline in the size and quantity of their catches was real. The large nets were banned and some areas were closed entirely.

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August 11th, 2009

Ben Franklin favored the turkey, rather than the bald eagle, as our nation’s symbol.  Some residents of the small town of Easton, MA have gone one step further by holding a memorial  service for a wild turkey named “Freddy” after he was shot and killed last week by local police.  Many mourners left flowers and notes for the deceased bird. One grief-stricken individual even set up a Facebook site for “Freddy,” which currently has over 1,500 fans. The turkey in question had become a local favorite, roaming around town, visiting local businesses and probably taking handouts from people.  But, in a classic case of wildlife habituation, Freddy” took a turn for the worse when he became aggressive, attacking an unsuspecting  motorcyclist at a red light.  Police felt that the bird’s aggressive behavior toward humans made relocation infeasible, and thus Freddy was given a death sentence. I find this story of human-animal relationships particularly fascinating and somewhat tragic. I hate to say this for fear of drawing Easton’s wrath, but the local residents–the same folks mourning “Freddy’s” death– probably caused the animal’s demise through their misguided compassion.  Turkeys can be aggressive and the more habituated and closer they become to humans, the less fear they have of attacking them.  Thus, by feeding and habituating the bird, they likely produced the bad behavior, ultimately leading to the animal’s death. click here for rest of article

Pictured: The amazing moment Mila the Beluga whale saved a stricken diver’s life by pushing her to the surface

By Mail Foreign Service Last updated at 8:35 PM on 29th July 2009 It looks like a moment of terror – a diver finds her leg clamped in the jaws of a beluga whale. In fact, it was a stunning example of an animal coming to the rescue of a human life. Yang Yun, 26, was taking part in a free diving contest without breathing equipment among the whales in a tank of water more than 20ft deep and chilled to Arctic temperatures. She says that when she tried to return to the surface, she found her legs crippled by cramp from the freezing cold. At that point Mila the beluga took a hand, or rather a flipper. Lifesaver: Beluga whale Mila pushes crippled diver Yang Yun to the  surface after Yun's legs cramped during a competition, leaving her  paralysed Lifesaver: Beluga whale Mila pushes stricken diver Yang Yun to the surface after Yun’s legs cramped during a competition, leaving her paralysed Mila tries to manoeuvre Yun with her mouth before pushing her to  the surface. The whale has been credited with saving the 26-year-old's  life Mila tries to manoeuvre Yun with her mouth before pushing her to the surface. The whale has been credited with saving the 26-year-old’s life ‘We suddenly saw the girl being pushed to the top of the pool with her leg in Mila’s mouth,’ said an official at Polar Land in Harbin, north-east China. ‘She’s a sensitive animal who works closely with humans and I think this girl owes Mila her life.’ Thankfully belugas, which live in the Arctic and sub-Arctic and feed on small fish and squid, have only small teeth and Yang Yun was uninjured. At depths of 20ft and below, the water pressure keeps a body down, particularly if, as in this case, the limbs are effectively paralysed by the cold. Reliving the drama, Yang Yun said: ‘I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. ‘Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface.’ Yun safely at the surface of the tank thanks to Mila Yun safely at the surface of the tank thanks to Mila

Pets can be the best medicine Originally published August 04, 2009 By Krista Brick Special to the News-Post

Pets can be the best medicine
Photo by Travis Pratt

Bridgitte Farrell plays fetch with her dog, Lucky. Farrell credits the dog with helping her through a battle with breast cancer.

When Bridgitte Farrell heard the diagnosis of breast cancer, she knew she was in for a battle. But what she didn’t realize is that one of her important weapons in that fight would be a dog named Lucky. In March 2006, Farrell learned she had breast cancer and started treatment two months later. “The chemotherapy really depressed me and kicked my butt,” said the executive director of the Frederick County Humane Society. “It took a toll on me and there were days I couldn’t get out of bed.” Sensing her pain, Farrell’s eight-year-old black lab stayed by her side. “I used to lay on him and cry on him. He knew I needed him and he never left me,” she said. “He just knew I was very sick and it was comforting to have him with me.” click here for rest of article

Several animals drown as shelter floods, 600 others moved to fairgrounds

Posted on August 4, 2009 at 9:50 PM Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 12:34 PM (WHAS11) – Witnesses say it took only minutes for floodwaters to rise nearly waist deep inside Louisville’s animal shelter. But with only a dozen people, and nearly 600 animals, shelter workers couldn’t get them all to safety in time.

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Authorities say one dog and nearly a dozen cats drowned Tuesday afternoon as the record breaking rains flooded many parts Louisville and Southern Indiana. Grabbing as many as they could hold at once, workers and volunteers plucked animal after animal from dark, damp rooms and kennels, trying to rescue as many as they could of the nearly 600 animals that were at the shelter when floodwaters started pouring in. Volunteers were trying to stack crates on top of each other to get animals out of the water, since the water level rose more than halfway up on the bottom row of cages. They are also asking for donations of cleaning supplies for the shelter.

Scientists discover coconut-carrying octopus Posted Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:00am AEDT Updated Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:15am AEDT

The  octopus stacks, transports and assembles coconut shells as portable  armour The veined octopus covers the coconut shell with its body before lifting it up (Museum Victoria)

Two scientists at the Melbourne Museum have recorded the first case of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selects, stacks, transports and assembles coconut shells as portable armour. Many octopuses use available objects such as shells and rocks for shelter, but that is not considered tool use. Dr Mark Norman says what makes these animals so special is the the planned future use of the coconut shells. “It comes at a cost, carrying these shells in this awkward way and it’s a fantastic example of complex behaviours in what we consider the lower life forms,” he said. “I think these sorts of behaviours are everywhere in nature. There’s really complex behaviours that we write off because we think we’re the clever ones.” He and colleague Dr Julian Finn spent more than 500 hours diving in remote waters off Indonesia to observe and film the animals. They watched the octopuses dig out coconut shells from the ocean floor and empty the shells of mud using jets of water. Dr Finn says it is not unusual for octopuses to live inside coconuts but it is how the veined octopus uses the shells that is unique. “It gathers them together, it stacks them like bowls, covers its whole body over bowls, lifts them up and then trundles along on its arm tips until a predator comes or there’s a threat,” he said. “Then it closes them over like a ball and hides inside.” This series of actions are among the most complex ever recorded for octopuses. The veined octopus evolved this behaviour by first using clam shells as shelter. However once humans began discarding large numbers of coconut shells they found the perfect armour to protect themselves against fish attackers. The pair have written a scientific paper on the veined octopus which appears in the scientific journal Current Biology.

A fox, a cougar, and a funeral

The fox, a formerly healthy male, had clearly been killed by the cougar (I’ll spare you the gory details … was grieving and I was observing a fox funeral. I have no doubt that foxes and other animals have rich … a funeral ritual by a female red fox. Others have also seen similar events. In 1947 a naturalist on the East …

Blog Entry by Marc Bekoff – Published on Jul 22, 2009

Animals are generous and forgiving beings
Published on July 8, 2009
Jasper is a moon bear. I try to practice what he teaches. Jethro was my long-time companion dog, and I also try to incorporate his lessons about compassion and love into my life. Jasper, Jethro, and many other amazing animal beings teach us numerous lessons about forgiveness, generosity, dignity, peace, trust, and love. We must listen to them carefully and incorporate them into our lives.Jasper arrived at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre outside of Chengdu, China in 2000 and given the name he proudly carries. Jill Robinson MBE (founder of Animals Asia; www.animalsasia.org) and the wonderful humans who work with her receive bears from bear farms after the bears are no longer useful to the farmers. Bears usually arrive in horrible condition, suffering from serious physical and psychological trauma. Each bear is given a complete physical and a psychological evaluation. Many need surgery because of their physical condition (missing paws, worn down teeth, or liver cancer). After they’ve acclimated to the center some bears have to be kept alone, whereas others can be introduced to other bears (for details about bear farming and bear rescue see http://www.animalsasia.org/index.php?module=2&lg=en; www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227061.400-bear-tapping-a-bile-b…).
There are degrees of self-awareness in animals
Published on July 6, 2009
Did David Graybeard, the chimpanzee who was first observed to use a tool by Jane Goodall, have any idea of who he was? Do elephants, dolphins, cats, magpies, mice, salmon, ants or bees know who they are? Was Jethro, my late companion dog, a self-conscious being? Do any of these animals have a sense of self? What do these animals make of themselves when they look in a mirror, see their reflection in water, hear their own or another’s song or howl, or smell themselves and others? Is it possible that self-awareness  “Wow that’s me!” is a uniquely human trait ?Because there’s much interest and much exciting work to be done concerning what animals know about themselves, it’s worth reflecting on what we do and don’t know about animal selves. There are academic and practical reasons to do so.In his book, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Charles Darwin pondered what animals might know about themselves. He wrote: “It may be freely admitted that no animal is self-conscious, if by this term it is implied that he reflects on such points, as whence he comes or whither he will go, or what is life and death, and so forth.”

David Attenborough arrives in Cairns Saturday, December 5, 2009 © The Cairns Post TERMITE mounds and velvet worms have lured world-famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough to the Far North. Sir David is understood to have arrived at Cairns airport about 1pm yesterday before driving to Mungumby Lodge, a 36ha private nature reserve near Black Mountain, south of Cooktown. His mission is to collect footage for a new documentary called First Animals, detailing early life on Earth, including the velvet worms found in the tropics. The series is expected to screen on the BBC and Discovery Channel in early 2010 before being picked up by other stations. He will film at Mungumby Lodge until Tuesday before catching a flight from Cairns to Brisbane for more filming. Mungumby Lodge co-owner Hamish Haslop said they been preparing for Sir David’s visit for the past eight weeks. “We had to make sure there was access to all the places he wants to film and make sure everything is in place should anything go wrong,” he said. “But we are thrilled to have him coming here as he is really the Joseph Banks of this century in that he has brought nature to the world. Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason said it was “sensational to have such a prominent orator on nature” come to the region. The rest of Sir David’s trip will see him head to Heron Island near Gladstone to film sea sponges and crustaceans. Sir David has made several trips to Queensland including to such places as Cape Tribulation.

Dog, gone it … has pooch tolerance overlooked the impact of pets on the environment?

Dog, gone it ... has pooch tolerance overlooked the impact of pets on the environment? Photo: Ben Rushton

Miranda Devine April 13, 2008

CLOVER MOORE’S plan to give over even more of Sydney’s parkland to unleashed dogs is just a sop by the Lord Mayor to a newly vocal group of pet activists. Such people are generally unhinged and antisocial. Unable to live with other humans, they inflict themselves on animals. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But it becomes a problem when they try to inflict their lifestyle on the rest of us, who are minding our own business, wanting our children to frolic in a park without being mauled, hoping to walk down the street without stepping in steaming dung or trying to jog without being bowled over by a frenzied mutt. It is a real problem when they humanise their pets to such an extent they consider them to be substitute children, with equal or superior rights. Pet owners are just getting too big for their boots. When a man with an unrestrained dog tells a mother in a Surry Hills park that it’s her two-year-old that needs the leash, and when militants are demanding the right for Fido to ride (and pee) on buses, and when the State Government earmarks $4.6million to educate people about how to “interact safely with dogs and prevent bites”, you know something has to give. So on behalf of the seething silent section of the community fed up with pooch power, it is time to point out some impolite facts about the obscene cost of pets, and the toll on the environment which comes from their farting, their faeces, their food, and all the chemicals used to keep them allegedly pest-free. Australians spend more on pet care than on foreign aid, the Australia Institute think tank reports. The nation outlays an estimated $1.55billion on pet food and pet care products, and another $714million in 2000 on veterinary care, not to mention the puppy perfumes, fashion, toys, jewellery, spas and even shrinks, to an ever-increasing total of more than $2.5billion a year. In the US and Europe, a staggering $17billion is spent just on pet food. Just think of all the greenhouse gas emitted making the pet food cans, raising whatever creatures provide the meat and transporting those cans all over the place. Talk about carbon footprint – or pawprint, as some wags call the measurement of an animal’s energy consumption. Sanctimonious greenies are forever berating consumers for buying plasma TVs, but what about the close to 4million dogs we own, and the 2.5million cats? Their flatulence alone creates enough methane gas to heat the planet.

Court denies return of illegal birds, 30 November 2009 A Victorian court has denied the return of 173 exotic birds to their keeper after finding they had been illegally imported into the country. The result is a win for Australia’s fight against illegal wildlife trade, an issue taken seriously due to the risk it places on Australia’s unique flora and fauna. Mike Smith from the federal environment department said in addition to disease risks, Australia has is a signatory to an international treaty which places regulations on the global wildlife trade. “Bird smuggling can put Australia’s biodiversity at great risk and can have long-lasting, devastating impacts on both the environment and the bird keeping industry,” Mr Smith said. “Exotic birds can carry some particularly nasty diseases which have the potential to wipe out native species, or become invasive pests which compete with our native wildlife. “Illegal trade in wildlife is a serious crime with equally serious consequences. This is why the department has ramped up its focus on illegal wildlife trade over the last few years.” The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts began investigating the involvement of the 61-year-old man from Sunbury, Victoria, in relation to bird smuggling back in November 2006. A number of search warrants at premises throughout Victoria in 2007 led to the discovery of numerous exotic birds, which were seized in August 2007 under national environment law. The Sunbury man applied to the courts to have his birds returned, however, the County Court of Victoria concluded on Friday (27 November) the birds were illegally imported. The man was denied the return of the birds. Mr Smith said a number of the forfeited birds will be rehoused at government institutions, while the remainder will need to be euthanased due to the potential risks they pose to the Australian environment. The department is continuing its investigations into the illegal importation of exotic bird species in Australia and will continue to seize birds, animals and plants that have been smuggled into the country. Australia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The birds in question were species listed under this convention.