100 Years of US National Parks : Happy birthday to ‘America’s best idea’ !!

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The National Park Service turns 100 – today, August 25, 2016 – the Service is inviting visitors of all ages to join in the celebration throughout the month! In the US itself – with special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, the National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial!

On twitter #NPS100 and #FindYourPark

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Climate change: Alaskan village votes on whether to relocate …









Coastal village of Shishmaref, which is losing ground to rising sea levels, could become the first in the US to move over the threat of climate change, reports The Guardian 

One resident said: “To put this in perspective: I was born in 1997, and since then, Shishmaref has lost about 100 feet,” he continued. “In the past 15 years, we had to move 13 houses – including my dear grandma Edna’s house – from one end of the island to the other because of this loss of land.”

“Within the next two decades, the whole island will erode away completely.”

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More on climate change and education NAEE

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BIG but NOT GOOD news….It’s World Elephant Day!





The elephant is one of the most persecuted creatures on earth! African elephants are slaughtered at an alarming rate for their ivory in places like Zimbabwe and Kenya  – fueled, dare I say, by the likes of China and other Asian countries demands for luxury goods. Asian elephants especially those in Thailand, are often abused in the name of ‘entertainment’

For the above reasons, World Elephant Day was established in 2012…..

Anne Dillon, with Patricia Sims of the Elephant Rehabilitation Foundation, tell us more: It’s the fifth annual World Elephant Day. What’s happening in the elephant world, and has anything really changed for them? In 2012, the World Elephant Day campaign was created as a rallying point for elephant conservation organizations and individuals worldwide to come together to help spread the word—through unique grassroots events and initiatives—about the dire situation that elephants presently face all over the world. Those threats may pertain to the ongoing and seemingly unstoppable slaughter of elephants for their ivory, the abject circumstances that captive elephants constantly endure at the hands of the entertainment industry, or the sad life of a street elephant begging on the streets of Asia, to list only a few of the grim scenarios that may define their lives.

On a personal level – the elephants ‘I have met’ have been brilliant beasts. In Africa on safari many, many years ago were magnificent and played a key role on the savannah; in Thailand, riding on their backs was an experience and was done at a ‘Nature Park’ where conservation was the uppermost aim.

To get involved – visit http://worldelephantday.org

For environmental education – visit http://naee.org.uk

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Overshoot Day 2016 … ‘Waste of energy more problematic than pollution’ !

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If a tree falls in the Forest, does anybody hear? Bruce Cockburn’s song is about – to my mind – energy and ecology…. a tree has impact, whether we hear / know about it or not!

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.
To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.

From today’s The Guardian: Scotland’s industries and farmers must cut energy, greenhouse gas emissions and resource use as waste overtakes pollution as the major environmental threat, says head of regulator.

Scotland’s environment agency has warned the country’s industries and farmers that their waste and inefficiency is now the biggest threat to the environment, overtaking pollution.

In a marked shift in strategy, the regulator’s chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, will urge businesses, farmers and manufacturers to adopt a “one planet prosperity” policy designed to cut their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and resource use.

“The major threat to the environment now is that humanity is overusing the planet as a resource base,” he told the Guardian.

More about Overshoot Day here

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World Ranger Day …. thinking of the wonderful women and men in the field!








Rangers are everywhere looking after the natural world on our behalf – and alongside us! In the United States – we are on the cusp of the National Parks Service centenary  : see here to find out more, plus #FindAPark

In East and Southern Africa – teams work against the incredible challenge that is the fight to combat poachers wanting elephants : see Kenya Wildlife Service and David Sheldrick amongst many groups

In  England and Scotland – human activities constantly threaten the wilderness areas and historic  :  see national parks 

In New Zealand’s tussock lands, Department of Conservation officers aim and achieve the impossible – looking after critically endangered species such as the Takahe

All of these experiences relying very much on the continual need for successful environmental  and community education, alongside conservation and management programmes.   Here’s to #WorldRangerDay via their website and others    on twitter !

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Tigers in the news – for all the wrong reasons!


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Today – July 25th – is International Tiger Day but this big cat is in very BIG trouble …. We must change attitudes regards Chinese medicine!


  1. Should a tiger who attacks a person, be put down? 
  2. Should we continue to use animal products – especially from a critically  endangered species – and especially when the concepts re TCM  are doubtful at best ? Let me know what your think here or on LearnFromNature twitter 

Tigers attack women

Last weekend, at a Beijing safari park, tigers attacked 2 women who ‘got out of a car’ …. reports are that the tigers have NOT been executed (a possible response) – certainly, there has been much criticism of the safety measures at this particular safari park

Reports in Shanghai Daily (my local English-language paper), then world press including CNN 

“Many of these safari parks in China should be banned because they train tigers in a cruel way to entertain visitors or sell tiger products,” Mang Ping, a professor from the Central Institute of Socialism and a founder of the Zoo Watch animal protection NGO, told the Global Times.

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Legalization of trade in tiger products

Following on from the above – which raised the profile of tigers –  this news comes along..

From The Global Times: China banned the trade and use of products made from tigers in 1993.

However, in the revised version of China’s Wild Animal Protection Law which was approved on July 2 and will be put into effect in 2017, some animal populations, bred under controlled conditions with “mature” technology, can be regulated differently from wild populations and used to make commercial products, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Sorry to say – Chinese Traditional Medicine – TCM for short – has a LOT to answer for!      Education is of course key…. see NAEE

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See Know Your Tigers infographic 





Great Barrier Reef in trouble (again)

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The amazing Aussie watery world heritage site that is the Great Barrier Reef is in danger of ‘complete ecosystem collapse’ , according to citizen science program Coral Watch.

I last blogged about the Great Barrier Reef in June 2013 – ‘Australia hasn’t done enough to stop UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’, a new report by conservationists says.’

Things haven’t improved. Reports including in The Guardian would suggest they are perhaps worse….

Scientist Justin Marshall reports : “Complete ecosystem collapse” is being seen on parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as fish numbers tumble and surviving corals continue to bleach into winter….“The lack of fish was the most shocking thing…Coral and other organisms like anemones and giant clams bleach when water temperatures are too high for too long. When they become stressed, they expel their colourful symbiotic algae that provide them with energy, becoming pale or white. Unless the water temperatures quickly return to normal, many of those organisms die.

Lizard Island was particularly badly hit by the global bleaching event that hit every major reef region in the world and killed almost a quarter of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef. But, in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef, between Lizard Island and the Torres Strait, a majority of the coral is thought to have died.

The mass bleaching this year was driven by climate change, which raised water temperatures close to the maximum threshold coral could stand

They (the corals) are just holding on by the fingernails,” he said.

Education programmes – see NAEE for examples – are a good measure, but our action to battle climate change will better the results.

More info: Coral Watch 

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