Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indonesia: Ground Zero for Rainforest Destruction

According to the non-profit organization Rainforest Action Network (RAN), the fashion industry has a dirty secret they would prefer you didn't know: Many of the disposable bags and other designer packaging used by the fashion industry come from one of Indonesia's leading rainforest destroyers.

When top fashion brands buy their disposable packaging from Indonesia's leading rainforest destroyer, they are supporting the destruction of some of the planet's most biologically diverse ecosystems. RAN is asking them to help save rainforests instead.The carbon emissions resulting from Indonesia's rapid deforestation account for around eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions: more than the combined emissions from all the cars, planes, trucks, buses and trains in the United States. This has made Indonesia the third largest global greenhouse gas emitter, just behind the U.S. and China.

RAN has written over a hundred letters to fashion companies, and has seen favorable results, with companies such as H&M severing their ties to companies linked to rainforest destruction. See the RAN website for more information on their campaign and how you can help.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are you still seeing hummingbirds?

Fall migration is underway. The following is courtesy of Journey North/South:

While people in the north were saying their last goodbyes, hummingbird migration reached a peak in the Gulf Coast states last week. Swarms of hungry hummingbirds appeared in backyard feeders as they poured down from the north. "We have had over 100 draining our feeders for the past week," wrote an observer in Louisiana. "I'm using 3 gallons of nectar per day," wrote another. A Texas observer with 7 feeders has room for 56 birds to feed calmly. "Calmly doesn't happen at my feeders," he noted. "I tried to estimate the number of flying, hovering, diving, chirping, squeaking, squawling birds" and came up with exactly 201.

You can read all of the observations that people have made at the following link:

You can also report your own observations here:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Exxon Mobile Guilty of Killing Birds

Last month the E-bulletin focused on PacifiCorp, one of the largest electric utilities in the West, pleading guilty to unlawfully killing Golden Eagles and other raptors and migratory birds in Wyoming:http://www.refugene augSBC09. html#TOC07

This month it's ExxonMobil with connections to bird deaths in six states, again mostly in the West (i.e., Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas).ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil-and-gas company, pleaded guilty in federal court on August 13 to charges that it killed 85 protected birds, including hawks, owls, and waterfowl.

The company violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in five states over the last five years. The discovered birds died from exposure to natural gas well reserve pits, oil tanks, and waste water storage facilities at Exxon Mobil drilling and production facilities.The company will pay $400,000 in fines and $200,000 in community service fees to waterfowl rehabilitation and preservation programs. ExxonMobil will also be placed on probation for three years and must implement a plan to minimize future bird deaths.

There are thousands of similar energy facilities across the West, including and beyond ExxonMobil. It is unknown how many bird deaths go undetectedThe $600,000 paid by ExxonMobil may seem substantial. Still, the amount is roughly equal to what the company makes in income in 20 minutes, based on their $8.6 billion earnings for the first half of 2009.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Observations of Fall Migration

It's hard to believe that it's almost time for our birds to leave us and make their journey south for the winter...but it is.

From the Journey North website:

"All but one nest of barn swallows has left our barn for their journey south. I miss them." writes a Michigan observer on 08/29. In the same week, another observer in Florida reported, "The number of barn swallows passing through is just amazing!"

Did YOU know that swallows are among the first migrants in the autumn? Where do you think they go when they leave their breeding grounds in the north? Click here to view the swallow migration map: