One of the first courses I took in college toward my degree in wildlife management was a population dynamics class. And one of the first readings was the classic story of the boom-bust population cycles of the moose and wolf of Isle Royale Michigan, where, prior to the wolf as a keystone predator, the island’s moose herd would overpopulate and overgraze, resulting in starvation and mass die-offs. When the wolves were eventually introduced the belief was that the keystone predator would help stabilize the moose population. But the history of Isle Royale moose and wolf populations have been wildly unpredictable, affected not only by availability of food, but by disease, tick outbreaks, severe winters, and immigrant wolves. Every five years has brought unpredictable fluctuations in both populations, and every five years has been different from all other five-year periods. Even in the 1980s when my classmates and I were closely following this study, it was believed that the populations would reach equilibrium. But that never happened. Continue reading
A couple of months back I posted about a promising geoengineering development here, Save the Planet – plant a tree or feed a krill, that in my view represents a major milestone in our efforts at climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. (Just so happens it’s among the top read posts on this blog) The actual story reads much like a Grisham novel filled with mystery and intrigue and shadowy characters operating on society’s fringes. The main character in the plot, Russ George, a very smart, enterprising entrepreneur, with an obvious respect and love for the environment and penchant for solving big problems, has been much maligned by the establishment and liberal media for his futuristic experiment involving ocean fertilizing. Over on his blog, Mr. George recounts a “bizarre” story of recently being contacted by someone at the U.S. EPA, at the request of the Canadian Government, to find out what the heck he is up to. Continue reading
Linking to an article in The American Spectator by Tracy Mehan on this Earth Day 2013. From Pope Francis to the masses, “Let us protect with love all that God has given us!”
Linking to an article over at MercatorNet by Tracy Mehan, a friend and contemplative thinker on the human condition and the environment. Mehan’s article, In a Natural State, reflecting upon David Botkins new book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell: Discordant Harmonies Reconsidered, offers for consideration a new perspective on understanding the role of humanity in intervening and conserving the natural environment that is constantly changing.
“Nature in the twenty-first century will be a nature that we make; the question is the degree to which this molding will be intentional or unintentional, desirable or undesirable.” Botkin recognizes that abandoning the belief in the constancy of nature is very discomforting leaving us in “an extreme existential position.”
Promising news flowing from the Chesapeake Bay. U.S. EPA is reporting that pollutants, such as phosphorous, nitrogen, and sediment, entering the Bay have fallen significantly since 2009. And the Bay is showing resilience as its inhabitants, such as blue crabs, oysters, and rockfish are beginning to show signs of thriving once again. While much credit goes to the U.S. EPA, USDA, and the Bay States for continuing to work tirelessly to fix a very complicated environmental and sociological problem, we can thank many organizations, landowners, farmers, businesses, and local communities for their individual actions which collectively have resulted in a positive good. Continue reading