Archive for February, 2008

SUPPORT CCAN

February 29, 2008

CCAN stands for Chesapeake Climate Action Network. They work very hard to find Global Warming solutions for Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Check out their website. Their director is Mike Tidwell. They have a new newsletter, so now is a good time to join them. I like birds and bears but I wholeheartedly support the good fight and they are the best goodfighters in this area.

Matt

Not An Afterthought, I have Given Birds a Very Real Thought

February 28, 2008

Sometimes I read that Global Climate Change can cause plants to reproduce earlier or later than they do in nature now and this will impact birds who are adapted to eating seeds, berries or pods during certain seasons. That will change. After watching birds for almost 40 years and taking several college level bird oriented classes, like Ornithology I really see this as a plausability with birdlife.

When the newspapers write that France’s champaigne industry will move to Southern England and that will change what birds are where, and other birds will fall by the wayside, because there are vast changes in the feeding ecology of certain birds. As the south moves north diseases, like the West Nile Virus, will not only become more significant in human populations, and I am very sad about that.

Diseases like West Nile will become more significant to bird populations. West Nile is somewhat contained now in the US but what disease is not contained that has a simular dynamic to West Nile Virus?

This is happening already for birds as many of their foodforms are replaced for plantings of crops that are important to our species, but less important to indigenous birds. I have seen the impacts of this change on birds in a very noticable way. The literature on birds heavily supports this.

Global Warming at a quick rate will ravage birds. That is a realistic scenario and we as a species play a major role in the quick rates Global Warming is occurring in the US and in the world.

Matt

This Was posted to the Opinion Section of the Billings, Montana Gazette

February 28, 2008

*I thought this Opinion piece I wrote was relevant to this blog so I will share it with you because this is what I truly think.

Opinion

Dear Sir:

 I find myself primarily agreeing with Vicki Meretsky about the polar bear and Global Warming in an opinion written in the Billings Gazette yesterday. Meretsky is an associate professor of Public and

Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

I believe the polar bear should be listed as Endangered, not because it symbolizes anything, but I believe the polar bear is Endangered by Global Climate change, symbolic, or not.

In 20 years, we will have an ice free artic, no matter what the cause of Global Warming is. I do not care how good a polar bear can swim; nothing short of whale is going to swim the kind of distances a polar bear will have to swim in its search for Seals. Seals are not just polar bear food, They will also need the ice to thrive within but may  have no ice to thrive within. I do not think polar bears, notoriously slow reproducers, are going to survive on shorebird eggs or kelp.

Brown and black bears will compete with natives and wolves for caribou. Every now and then a  polar bear will luck into some caribou scavenge or a live caribou, not enough for survival, but enough for old bears to survive on.

If western Canada does not flood, polar bears will hang on there, if natives tolerate them. Some of the southern populations of polar bear, at Churchill and James Bay, may hang on this century but Alaskan polar bears will go extinct perhaps by as early as 2075 at current rates of melting ice and the use of fossil fuels (like oil) and wasteful energy practices.

 Humans will be too busy trying to survive to worry much about polar bears and the Endangered Species Act. I am painfully pro polar bear and I want the native coastal culture to survive and not be wiped out. As we explore for more oil, rather than ween ourselves now of one of the sources of Global Climate Change, (our addiction to oil and gas), polar bears will, as a population, go over the ridge in the USA (die out).

I do not think oil derricks are going to drown polar bears, but I think we need to be looking for other other energy, rather than oil.

Matt

Matt has seen many grizzlies and black bears in Yellowstone and Glacier areas and has seen many polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba and Banks Island in the Northwest Territories. Matt is now disabled and in Rockville, MD. He has a son in Bozeman, Montana and 2 children in Maryland and one in Maryland who grew up in Montana. Matt worked on grizzly bears and bears of the world and bear conservation.  Matt is a graduate of the wildlife program at Montana State University.

This is Very Important But Not Directly Related to Global Warming or Bears or Birds, For That Matter

February 27, 2008

I remember “the day” and so do most of you, when World Book or Brittanica Encyclopedia’s were a fact of life. These books were hauled around by encyclopedia salesmen, who scored when my parents brought a 1966 World Book Encyclopedia and yearly update. I remember using World Books for papers, all of them, through my high school graduation. I started using newer encyclopedias in college, but I soon discovered the specialty journal.

Now from the comfort of my seat I use Wikipedia, which is quite good, and it is on everybody’s computer, including my teenage son, who is just starting to write papers. What brought this up is that there is supposed to be a scientific species account for free on line and just before I was inspired to write this, I was trying to Google the source, or species account on line. Yesterday I let it pass thinking it was more stuff about intelligent design, and I do mean stuff.

Encyclopedia’s are an important, but obscure, memory (World Book and Brittanica). I was more likely to invent, or build on a favorite teen myth, that somehow my dog ate my paper, although yesterday I did see my dog eat paper. GAK!

Matt

The Norwegians Are Way Ahead of Us in Preparing For Human Caused Global Warming

February 26, 2008

I could not believe it but we may be close to a disastor. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read “Doomsday seedvault opens in the arctic” by Doug Mellgren. The jist of the article is that the Nordweigans have a “doomsday” vault in the arctic where they store seeds to plant after a natural disastor or a nuclear holocaust. The Norweigans opened the vault because Global Warming threatens humanity and they believe it more than we do (Good old USA).

I could not help but think of a Road Warrior scenario or a conspiracy that would put John Kennedy’s death mythology to shame. Can this actually be happening? Well when a chunk of ice the size of Florida melts in the North Artic in six days you (we) had better hope that we were as smart as the Norwegians.

 Do we have a history of vision..? it is spotty, but we actually do. Do you want the Bushie’s in charge of visionary, I think not. I get old looking at the problem. Our next president may be ground down by this problem.

Whatever happed to the many good old days that I remember. They are just that, good old days and valuable memories to the likes of me; hiking down the Teepe Basin Trail with a bunch of college student volunteers who worked on my bear study. Watching grizzly bears from point 9648. Seeing black bears at Apgar, along the road eating clover and grass. Being in the McKenzie Barrons and seeing Gyr Falcons sitting on the welcome gate of the Oldsqaw Lodge. Seeing the beautiful town of Old Harbor in the Kodiak Archipelego. Hearing my children laugh in the background as a Great Grey Owl landed on our pick up at Porcupine Station in the Crazy Mountains. I was very excited and I think the laughing was at me.

Those are nice memories and they pale next to the wrath of nature if “Diddly Sqat” is done to help ourselves through Global Warming.

Daily, I have to convince myself that I am not a nutcase, then I turn to the news for some more water to be splashed on my face. Frankly, not anyone I no can make this Global Warming scare up.

Matt

Sea Ice the Size of Florida Melts In the Arctic

February 25, 2008

I would normally bat my eyes at such a large slice of sea ice the size of Florida melting in 20 years, but that much ice melted in the arctic in the last 6 days. That is a lot of ice. I am just telling you what Clayton Sandall, of ABC, wrote about Global Warming and that much ice melting that fast will be the end of polar bears in the Alaska Arctic if that keeps happening in the next 20, or so, years.

I have to laugh, and cry a little having lived in Alaska, went to college there for a portion of my college, helped win some ground for brown bears from the Exxon-Valdez Mitigation Funds, went to SW Alaska about 30 times for at least 2 weeks each time, and so forth. The flawed political delegation in Alaska has called into question many of the scientific warnings about Global Warming being overblown as this same group of people and Alaskan’s choose to gain from a Natural Gas Pipeline at the possible expense of the very survival of the polar bear and humankind as a species. A population of under 500,000 persons in Alaska, hold a species and the rest of the world at risk so they can bank or waste a royalty and some consultations on a gas pipeline that we should be weening ourselves of. Go figure!

The good news is that I saw populations of humans reject a coppermine by Arsoco for health reasons, maybe that kind of thinking will eventually come into play in great places like Alaska in time to save polar bears in time to pad our specie’s falling. Wishful thinking Matt, get ready for an old fashioned donnybrook with these guys…there is no being nice about this kind of thinking…it just has to be stomped out if we are to survive as a species.

Matt

What Is Going To Happen To the North American Black Bear Because of Global Climate Change.

February 24, 2008

This is an opinion.

 The North American black bear is (Ursus americanus) is a generalist and can eat foods of all types. Though the bear has a carnivorous dentittion I have seen wasp, wild strawberries and ramp onions in the bear’s scat and a lot of berries of all kinds and White Bark Pine Nuts.

If the planet warms forest may extend to the North Coast of Alaska. The black bear is the most tolerated of all bears, as evidenced by black bears in the Pocono Mountains near New York City. When grizzly bears and all brown bears diminish and polar bears dissapear, one of the ways bears may lightly fall with humankind, is the black bear in response to a rapidly warming planet may replace polar and grizzly-brown bears along stretches like the Alaskan Coast and exsit in places throughout North America where forests thrive and black bears can climb trees or be secretive in avoiding us and the occasional adult brown bear.

I have seen 30 million year old redwood and some kind of myrtle forest in Yellowstone National Park’s north side near Slough Creek; these forests were petrified.

Matt

What Is Going To Happen To The Brown Bear In North America?

February 23, 2008

This is a guess or an opinion. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) of which the grizzly is a part, will diminish for the same reason’s it has always had a problem with humankind. The brown bear range will shift to the north. Northern Alaska will be a place where the brown bear, in the short term, does as well as root grubbing, shorebird egg eating,occasional carrion eating and predatory brown bears can minus the salmon spawning populations, which for most coastal Alaskan bears find as an important food resource. These salmon will not follow the brown bear to more northern climes.

Grizzly distribution in the south, places like the Yellowstone Ecosystem,  will hang on as long as food, and some tolerance for the bear, does. So watching the plight of Whitebark Pines and springtime carrion and the elk and bison population does make a difference; so does a desertifying habitat and a short-term cattle killing, hunter maurauding and timber and road-building, US and Canadian  Policy for large carnivours, as this policy has made a differance for the brown bear for many years. If the grizzly will hang on in the south for awhile it will hang on in such places as the Bob Marshall, Lincoln Scapegoat Wildernesses and Glacier National Park in Montana. After 50 or so years all bets are off for the grizzly brown bear and the brown bear of Northern climes.

If we see the worst scenario for our earth’s prospects for warming I am not optimistic for any bears. With about 300 bear biologists, and pehaps 30  and Endagered Species Conservationists in a population of over 5 Billion people, many involved in conserving the human race, my view is shared by many folks. Is there a silver lining for bears?

Matt

More Things On Bears

February 22, 2008

This is hard for many people to read, but I find it easy to write about because it is a topic near and dear to me!

Polar bears have the most to lose if the arctic is ice free in the spring by 2030; as I have read. Polar bears along the Alaska Coast will have to eat other than ringed seals for food or they will to adapt to no seals for food, and I do not think polar bears will adapt. There will be no polar bears around so they will not drown nor will polar bears slowly replace themselves in the population. There may be some polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, but my feeling is, not many; not even in polar bear migratory areas like Cape Churchill, Manitoba. I know that has some scientists tounges wagging, because in the next several years polar bears will do as well, as they can, in parts of arctic Canada. Big game hunters can drop several thousand dollar on coastal villages and shoot one (polar bear).

I guess in the long haul I do not see the polar bear adapting to our quickness as a species in helping Global Warming speed up. I am not a climatologist but I have looked at this prospective problem, and the data on polar bears hard, and conclude that from a science perspective  I find it hard to be optimistic about polar bears in the next several decades, which is fast in nature.

Matt

More on the Endangered Species Act

February 21, 2008

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has interested me since its passage in 1973. I hear a lot about things today that have nothing to do with the ESA. I hear, today, about the I- phone, about Lindsay Lohan about the latest songs (I am such a curmudgeon because so many of today’s songs are from my period of music, but it seems like the music I liked as a youngster, warmed over). I hear a lot about the latest movies and I believe some are definitely great and some are really bad. 

My older daughter, who is 26, tells me that the world is passing me by. The last thing I want to see are the “good old days.” That is not what a simple man like me wants to see happen at all. I think once the current generation gets a chance to develop that it has the potential to do the right thing on things like ESA conservation and related issues like their(ours) role in warming the earth. 

I believe that warhorses like me, once you get by the crusty exterior, want to be helpful and with their knowledge they can help. Those from my fathers and mothers generation the generation, that many call the “greatest” generation, can tell us all about sacrafice.

Are we as a species able to sacrafice enough to have Endangered wildlife survive where there are pretty few of our kind (I know this) to begin with? There are, in fact, a lot of humans on earth. What is the breaking point for Endangered wildlife, animals that are not nor should they be able to speak for Endangered wildlife……..

Matt