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The Coming Climate Exodus: What We’re Doing to Help Wildlife’s New Migration by Peter Pearsall and Cecilia Garza – Y ES! Magazine

The Coming Climate Exodus: What Were Doing to Help Wildlifes New Migration

As climate change forces species to head for cooler climates, biologists are using new tools and partnerships to make sure we helpand don’t hindertheir flight.
by Peter Pearsall, Cecilia Garza
posted Mar 01, 2013

Wind River Valley Corridor in Yellowstone National Park

Wind River Valley in Yellowstone National Park is a wildlife corridor used by bighorn sheep. Photo copyright Jill Pangman.

For black bears, Floridas State Road 46 is one of the deadliest motorways in the United States. It winds east-west for some 50 miles, skirting Seminole State Forest, one of the state’s key bear habitats. Since the year 2000, more than 100 bears were killed each year in collisions on Florida roads like this one, and for the last two decades around 80 percent of total bear deaths in the state came as a result of such accidents.

These deaths are a tragic outcome of what conservation biologists call fragmentation, which occurs when a species habitat is cut into small pieces by human infrastructure like roads and developments. Fragmented populations are vulnerable to threats including starvation, genetic isolation, and local extinction. If a fragmented population of bears cant follow seasonally available food, and cant deepen their gene pool with new mates, their chances of long-term survival are slim.

Conservationists now have an unexpected set of collaborators: the employees of state and federal transportation agencies.

Luckily, bears that want to cross State Road 46 are better off today, because it now features an underpass designed specifically with their needs in mind. Passageways like this one, known as wildlife corridors, connect fragmented habitats. They helped to hasten the removal of the black bear from Floridas endangered species list in 2012.

For more than 20 years, wildlife corridors have been among the tools conservationists used to make sure all sorts of animals were able to move around in search of food, mates, and territory. But today, climate change is forcing these specialists to change the way wildlife corridors are designed. As warming accelerates, animals and plants are starting to change the way they travel, generally moving north or to higher elevations in search of the cooler temperatures theyre used to.

Will our roads and buildings stand in the way of this exodus? New partnerships and tools suggest that were at least doing our best to make sure they dont.

New policies make an old enemy into a friend

The first piece of good news is that conservationists are no longer working alone. Legislation has given them a new and unexpected set of collaborators: the employees of state and federal transportation agencies. These are the same people who, as designers of roads and bridges, used to be the chief agents of fragmentation. But a few key pieces of law seem to have suddenly changed that.

In 2001, federal legislation created a State Wildlife Grant, which set aside money to help protect animal species that were rare, endangered, or whose numbers were simply unknown. Four years later, the passage of the 2005 Transportation Bill required planners seeking federal funding for roads and public transportation to consult with their local wildlife agencies early in the planning process. The bill put wildlife managers in partnership with transportation workers for the first time.

Different species have different requirements, so the goal is to find the habitat where the different species preferences overlap.

A third piece of legislation came in 2008, with the founding of the Western Governors Wildlife Council. Created to coordinate conservation efforts across 19 states as well as three U.S.-administered Pacific islands, the council works to identify crucial habitats and to insure that conservation is incorporated into every type of development. The council features a special initiative on wildlife corridors that makes sure that the designs make sense across state lines.

These three projects put biologists and planners on the same team in a way that made conservation a lot easier to do.

Black bear crossing road

A black bear crosses a busy road in Alberta, Canada. Photo by KegRiver.

It’s amazing that this one sentence in a thousand-page document [the Transportation
Bill of 2005] changed the way [transportation planners] did business, said Dr. Paul Beier of Northern Arizona University, one of the leading experts on wildlife corridors.

But finding accord between conservation and urban planning can be a tricky business, said Kelly McAllister, wildlife biologist at the Washington State Department of Transportation. In Washington, finding a species with a fixed migration route is almost unheard of, he said. You start mapping out areas of suitable habitat across a broad landscape, looking for connectivity between heavily developed areas and agricultural areas. Before you know it, the entire state becomes suitable habitat.

The metaphor we like to use is conserve the stage, instead of the actors.

The challenge, said McAllister, is giving wildlife managers sufficiently protected, well-defined tracts of land to work with. Different species have different requirements, so the goal is to find the habitat where the different species preferences overlap.

Its often difficult, McAllister said, for scientists to come to an agreement with the Department of Transportation, which is the largest land developer in the state. But were definitely working together on this, he says.

Beier calls it nothing less than a transformation of the role of transportation agencies, which until then had been the biggest agents of fragmentation. After the 2005 Transportation Bill, suddenly they became part of the solution.

New tools, new challenges

Another way that conservationists have responded to the new complexity brought on by climate change is by developing and using new tools, including GIS (global information system) mapping software. With GIS-based programs, specialists can zero in on specific aspects of a topographical map by identifying desired featuressuch as elevation, light, and soil typeand tuning out the rest.

Out of this way of seeing comes the idea of land facets, which are discrete parcels of land that offer specific and relatively permanent types of habitat to wildlife. For instance, high-elevation north-facing slopes with rocky soils is a land facet, one favored by bighorn sheep. Low-elevation flats with thick soils is another, which pronghorn antelope prefer. The aim is to define wildlife corridors based on long-lasting geographical features, aspects of the landscape that arent liable to change with rising temperatures.

As warming accelerates, animals and plants are starting to change the way they travel. Will our roads and buildings stand in the way of this exodus?

A hundred years from now, a stand of ponderosa pine might become a stand of juniper as things heat up, said Jeff Jenness, a developer of the GIS-based software that conservationists and planners use to identify land facets. But the hill under those trees will largely remain the same. By identifying land facets, we can sort of predict this change and maintain an environment that supports a number of species.

Land facets tend to harbor predictable assemblages of species, so creating a corridor that includes different kinds of facets should provide animals with the geographic diversity they need to survive, Jenness said.

The metaphor we like to use is conserve the stage, instead of the actors, adds Beier. Or, if you like sports, conserve the field, instead of the players.

While older methods concentrated on the specific needs of so-called focal speciesthreatened or endangered species singled out for conservationapproaches based on land facets seek to support a broad swath of organisms by focusing first on the land.

As climate change raises sea levels, changes temperatures, and increases the likelihood of catastrophes like droughts and storms, some species will almost inevitably be lost. At the same time, conservation biologists are doing their best to make sure that plants and animals can find safe passage to cooler climates. With any luck, these living things will be around to join us as we adapt to a changing climate.


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Arrests in Washington Signal Increasing Urgency on Keystone Pipeline by Chris Francis – YES! Magazine

Arrests in Washington Signal Increasing Urgency on Keystone Pipeline

Forty-eight leaders of environmentalist groups such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org were arrested today while participating in civil disobedience. They were demanding that President Barack Obama stop construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

by Chris Francis
posted Feb 13, 2013

Civil disobedience on Feb 17

Leaders of environmentalist organizations engage in civil disobedience in front of the White House. Photo by Christine Irvine.

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, a group of 48 environmental and social justice movement leaders were arrested in Washington, D.C., after refusing to move from a main thoroughfare in front of the White House. Participants included the presidents, directors, and founders of major environmental groups like the Sierra Club, 350.org, Friends of the Earth, and the Labor Network for Sustainability.

The participants said they were engaging in civil disobedience in order to highlight the urgent need to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline construction. They wish to hold President Obama accountable for his statements made against the pipeline and encourage him to put a stop to the project, which they claim will damage the quality of groundwater and encourage the carbon-heavy practice of tar sands mining in Alberta.

This demonstration was an especially meaningful step for the Sierra Club. For the past 120 years, the Sierra Club has maintained a standing rule of not using civil disobedience, according to Conservation Director Sarah Hodgdon. But the urgency has finally called for this tactic.

Before leaving for the demonstration, many of the participants described their intentions in posts to the Tar Sands Action website.

If not now, when? asked Allison Chin, president of the Sierra Clubs Board of Directors. Im here to help create the space for President Obama to exercise bold leadership on climate, because I agree with him that, in his own words, failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.

We must move rapidly and responsibly toward a transformation in this country, said Cherri Foytlin, a co-founder of Gulf Change who walked to Washington, D.C. from New Orleans to participate in the demonstration. This fight is no less than the moral struggle of our time.

The demonstration precedes the upcoming Forward on Climate rally scheduled for noon on Feb. 17 at the National Mall in Washington, but the two are characterized as separate events. While todays civil disobedience was intended to protest the Keystone XL pipeline specifically, the weekends Forward on Climate rally will address multiple climate and environmental issues, including hydraulic fracturing and national standards for CO2 emissions.

Although todays demonstration included civil disobedience, organizers have asserted that the Forward on Climate rally will not. Hodgdon did not anticipate the demonstration setting a precedent for civil disobedience at the rally. The leaders have been communicating with each other to make sure everyone knows the rally will be legally cooperative.

Chris Francis wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Chris is a recent graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University where he studied English literature and religion while working as managing editor and editor-in-chief of IWUs student newspaper, The Argus.

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps., YES! Magazine. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
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From the Culture of Aloha, a Path Out of Gun Violence by Poka Laenui – YES! Magazine

This is something I have been talking about for a long time and I am so grateful and heartened to see this article in Yes!

We have to change ourselves, our culture and the things that DRIVE violence in order to stop it.

From the Culture of Aloha, a Path Out of Gun Violence

Beneath mainstream culture runs a current of domination, individualism, and exclusion that is harming our children. We assume this is normalbut is it really?

by Poka Laenui
posted Feb 07, 2013

Flower by Lesley Show

Photo by Lesley Show.

U.S. society tends to deal with violence by treating it as an individual occurrencefocusing on the perpetrator and how he is different from us. The more people killed or maimed, the more horrendous the event, the more we separate the actor and event from ourselvesthe good peopleand individualize responsibility to the gun-toter. All that matters is believing that were differentwhether because of race, religion, political beliefs, economic status, mental illness, or some other characteristic. Its the stigmatizing game.

We exclude the other from ourselves, rather than admitting to common characteristics. Added to this deep attitude of exclusion is a deep acceptance of violence as a means to domination, to superiority, to being the winner. So deep and pervasive are these attitudes of domination and exclusion in our culture that we dont even see them until they are called to our attention. These attitudes are two of three that form the basis of the primary U.S. deep cultureone that goes below our ethnicity, or even religion, and forms our fundamental approach to relations with one another, with the economy, with the environment, with education, and with god(s) and religion. The third leg of this deep culture is individualism. It is a domination, individualism, and exclusionor DIEdeep culture that is the essence of modern U.S. society. DIE pervades our leisure, work, politics, familiesit affects virtually everything we do. We assume our deep culture is normal and defend it as natural for a society.

There is no better mental health treatment for a child than the loving embrace of the childs community.

But not so. In Hawaii, we express the values of Oluolu (compatible, non-conflictive, mellow, comfortable, non-dominating), Lokahi (elevating the importance of family, groups, seeing things with holistic eyes) and Aloha (caring, sharing, inclusiveness, and love). This OLA culture (in Hawaiian, ola means life and health) exists not only in Hawaii or among Hawaiians. Around the world, there are pockets of OLA. Many families practice it, as do some churches, schools, and social groups. Unfortunately, it stops too often at the borders of those small groups.

In response to tragic events like the shootings at Sandy Hook, we need to be far more broadly focused than on treatment for autism or more treatment for mental illness. We need to see beyond the remedy of weapons control in a civil society.

If we understand the broader framework before us, we can have a better common appreciation of the depth of change to be made.

The very deep culture of DIE itself must be replaced with OLA (however one chooses to express it). In a culture of inclusion, loving, caring and sharing, every child is treasured, honored, and accepted. There is no better mental health treatment for a child than the loving embrace of the childs community. From that starting environment, the childs challenges as well as gifts are addressed.

Needle exchange photo by D.M. Gillis
Why Punish Pain?

A hit of compassion could keep drugs from becoming a crime problem.

In an OLA school environment, we would find group and individual achievements and excellence praised, rather than superiority or domination. Tests would be taken by groups helping one another get to the correct answers, rather than separating children and ranking one higher or smarter than the other after the tests.

These fundamental values, practiced from early childhood, should spread far beyond the school ground, working their way into the core of all our relations with one another, with our treatment and respect for our environment, with our curiosities and acceptance of different religions, languages, and customs, with nations and cultures different from our own.

None of us can change the deep culture alone. But if we understand the broader framework before us, we can have a better common appreciation of the depth of change to be made.

Knowing that others are already practicing a culture of life and health, we need not feel so isolated in our work. That knowledge is the foundation of long and deep change in our society.

Poka Laenui wrote this article for How Cooperatives Are Driving the New Economy, the Spring 2013 issue of YES! Magazine. Poka is executive director of the Wai‘anae Coast Community Mental Health Center.

Four Reminders of Human Goodness After Sandy Hook http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/4-reminders-of-human-goodness-after-sandy-hook
Following the heartbreak in Newtown, many Americans find themselves wondering—are people just horrible? Jeremy Adam Smith on why compassion, forgiveness, and resilience are everywhere, even in tragedy.

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps., YES! Magazine. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

(Read the original article with comments at the link below-
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/how-cooperatives-are-driving-the-new-economy/violence-guns-and-deep-cultures?utm_source=feb13yn&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mrCultureAlohaGunViolence )