Celebrating the Best in Cruelty-Free and Vegan Products: Peta2’s Annual Libby Awards
Every year, animal rights organization Peta2 hosts the Libby Awards to recognize and celebrate the best cruelty-free and vegan products, as well as memorable moments that have made a positive impact for animals. The awards showcase the growing popularity and success of the cruelty-free and vegan movement, highlighting the innovation and compassion behind these products and initiatives. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at this year’s winners, including the favorite cruelty-free beauty product, the most craveable vegan snack, and the best viral moment for animals.
Favorite Cruelty-Free Beauty Product. The beauty industry has seen a significant shift towards cruelty-free and vegan products in recent years, with more and more brands recognizing the importance of animal welfare. This year’s winner for the favorite cruelty-free beauty product is [Product Name]. This exceptional product not only delivers outstanding results but also aligns with the values and ethics of conscious consumers. Its cruelty-free status ensures that no animals were harmed or tested upon during its production, making it a top choice for those seeking ethical beauty options.
Most Craveable Vegan Snack. The popularity of veganism has led to a surge in delicious and innovative plant-based snacks. This year’s winner for the most craveable vegan snack is [Snack Name]. With its mouthwatering flavors and guilt-free ingredients, this snack has won the hearts and taste buds of vegans and non-vegans alike. Its recognition in the Libby Awards highlights the increasing demand for satisfying and cruelty-free snack options that cater to a wide range of dietary preferences.
Best Viral Moment for Animals. In the age of social media, viral moments have the power to raise awareness and make a lasting impact. The best viral moment for animals this year goes to [Moment Name]. This powerful and heartwarming event captured the attention of millions, shedding light on the importance of animal rights and inspiring change. From heartwarming rescues to inspiring stories of animal advocacy, these viral moments play a crucial role in creating a more compassionate world for animals.
The Peta2 Libby Awards serve as a platform to recognize and celebrate the best cruelty-free and vegan products, as well as impactful moments for animals. The winners of this year’s awards showcase the incredible progress being made in the cruelty-free and vegan movement, highlighting the increasing demand for ethical and compassionate alternatives. As more consumers embrace cruelty-free options, the industry continues to evolve, offering a wide range of innovative products that align with our values. Through initiatives like the Libby Awards, Peta2 encourages individuals to make conscious choices that promote the well-being of animals and contribute to a more compassionate world. So, whether you’re looking for the best cruelty-free beauty product, a mouthwatering vegan snack, or want to be inspired by viral moments for animals, the Peta2 Libby Awards are a great resource to discover and celebrate the best in cruelty-free and vegan products and initiatives.
Powering Youth Climate Justice: Advancing Democracy and Recognizing Children’s Rights
We are thrilled to unveil the incredible work of Powering Youth Climate Justice. Our organization is driven by a shared vision that emphasizes the importance of science, children, and democracy in addressing the urgent issue of climate change. Through our efforts, we aim to scale litigation, advance democracy, and advocate for the recognition of children’s rights.
One of the most significant milestones in our journey towards climate justice was the landmark case of Held v. State of Montana. This case served as a turning point, culminating in a resounding victory for the climate movement. From the courtroom in Helena, Montana to the international stage in Strasbourg, France, climate science has been at the heart of our work.
At Powering Youth Climate Justice, we firmly believe in the power of youth-led litigation on behalf of children. By taking legal action, we are setting important precedents that pave the way for meaningful climate action. Our efforts have not only had a significant impact locally but have also powered our global docket, inspiring similar initiatives around the world.
Scaling Litigation for Climate Justice
Our organization is dedicated to scaling litigation as a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. We recognize the immense potential of legal action to hold governments and corporations accountable for their contributions to the climate crisis. Through strategic litigation, we aim to create systemic change that will benefit both current and future generations.
By leveraging the power of the law, we are able to challenge policies and practices that perpetuate environmental harm. Our legal strategies are rooted in scientific evidence, ensuring that our arguments are robust and compelling. Through our work, we seek to establish legal frameworks that prioritize climate action and protect the rights of children.
Advancing Democracy for Climate Action
Democracy plays a crucial role in addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change. At Powering Youth Climate Justice, we are committed to advancing democracy as a means to drive climate action. We firmly believe that the voices of young people must be heard and taken into account in decision-making processes.
Through our advocacy efforts, we strive to empower youth to actively participate in shaping climate policies. We work towards creating inclusive spaces where young people can voice their concerns, ideas, and solutions. By engaging with policymakers and stakeholders, we aim to foster a collaborative approach to climate action that is rooted in democratic principles.
Recognizing Children’s Rights in the Climate Crisis
Children are among the most vulnerable groups affected by the climate crisis. At Powering Youth Climate Justice, we are dedicated to advocating for the recognition of children’s rights in the face of climate change. We firmly believe that every child has the right to a safe and sustainable future.
By highlighting the impact of climate change on children, we aim to mobilize support and action. Through our work, we strive to ensure that the rights of children are protected and upheld in climate-related policies and decisions. We believe that by prioritizing the needs and well-being of children, we can create a more just and sustainable world for future generations.
Powering Youth Climate Justice is committed to driving change through science, children, and democracy. Through our efforts to scale litigation, advance democracy, and recognize children’s rights, we aim to make a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change. Together, we can create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
Experts explained that climate change played a significant role in the rapid intensification of extreme weather events. Hurricanes, wildfires and prolonged drought can significantly impact human lives and environments.
Rapid intensification of hurricanes due to climate change
(Photo : by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Recent Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California. Hurricane Idalia hit parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Eastern Carolinas and the Big Bend Region in August and early September. Meanwhile, tropical storm Hilary unloaded heavy rain conditions in Southern California
As September begins, active hurricanes are most likely to emerge. Hurricanes and tropical storms can unleash severe weather conditions:
Recently, Hurricane Idalia hit parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Eastern Carolinas and the Big Bend Region in August and early September. Meanwhile, tropical storm Hilary unloaded heavy rain conditions in Southern California.
According to an expert, Andrew Grigg, the Gulf of Mexico experienced a noticeable increase in hurricanes’ frequency and rapid intensification in recent years.
Grigg is a weather historian and an MA student in Environmental Science.
Grigg added that the trend of hurricanes can be attributed to the climate change effects. Grigg also began a blog called Climate Conduit that provides perspectives and articles about climate, environment and weather conditions.
“The key factors driving this phenomenon include warmer sea surface temperatures, which provide more energy for hurricanes to intensify and rising sea levels that exacerbate storm surge impacts,” according to Grigg.
The recent Communications Earth and Environment report showed climate change could fuel back-to-back or shift from flooding to drought conditions. The frequency of shift could make it more challenging for communities to prepare.
Grigg added that climate change could help shift atmospheric circulation patterns. It can allow hurricane development to intensify due to favorable conditions.
The ocean’s role in climate change
As global warming unleashes more heat, the ocean plays a crucial role in absorbing the heat and greenhouse gas emissions. It could likely influence the intensification of possible storms or hurricanes.
“Warmer ocean waters supply the fuel that hurricanes require to thrive,” according to Abner Miller, who is also an environmental scientist at starlinkhow.
Miller explained that warm waters and global temperature rise could likely accelerate hurricane formation. He mentioned that “every 1°C increase in sea surface temperatures, storm intensity increases by 5% to 10%.
Climate change has a crucial role in sudden or unprecedented excessive rainfall.
According to Miller, the warmer air has more moisture, which can unload stronger storms and rain. The result can cause dangerous flooding and damage to infrastructures.
People near the coast or flooded-prone areas can become at risk of hurricane impacts, especially in poorer countries.
As a result, weather forecasting and improved warning systems can help anticipate the impacts of intense weather events.
Also Read: Climate Change Threatens Sea Urchin Survival That Can Devastatingly Affect Coral Reef
Climate change linked to wildfires
(Photo : by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images) Wildfire in Greece on September 3, 2023. Climate change is linked to the global impacts of drought, wildfires and powerful hurricanes. Extreme weather events can rapidly intensify, causing damage to wildlife and humans.
Climate change is also a key driver in prolonged drought and extreme wildfires. The human-caused activities has caused all-time greenhouse gas emissions.
Grigg explained that wildfire frequency in parts of Canada and the Western US is linked to climate change. The role of rising temperatures and prolonged droughts are conducive conditions to wildfires, including dry vegetation.
“Climate change can lead to altered precipitation patterns, reducing rainfall in certain regions and contributing to drier conditions that increase the risk of wildfires, ” Grigg said.
In a study in Environmental Research Letters, researchers warned of the unusual autumn wildfire in California that caused widespread power outages and safety concerns. The favorable conditions could unleash unprecedented fires.
On the other hand, Miller noted the the infernos in the making or the increasing wildfires in parts of the Western United States and Australia.
“Long periods of high temperatures and drought produce tinderbox landscapes. The changing climate exacerbates these conditions, increasing the likelihood of wildfires erupting and spreading quickly,” Miller added.
According to a report in Ecosphere, researchers warned that fire frequency could result in potential ecosystem collapse, affecting animals sensitive to heat.
In Australia, low-intensity fires harm the habitats of riparian birds, causing a significant impact on the rare and threatened population of Purple-Crowned fairy-wrens.
In the US and Canada, the greenhouse gas emissions contributed by 40% to deadly wildfires in US and Canada.
Also Read: Summer Reaches Hottest On Record; Warmer Temperatures Become Unusually Frequent, Reports Warn
Climate change can prolong drought conditions and heatwaves
Grigg explained that prolonged drought conditions and heatwaves are also linked to climate change, especially the extreme heat waves in the Pacific Northwest in 2022.
“In various parts of the world, climate change is associated with an increased likelihood and severity of droughts, ” Grigg said. He noted that higher temperatures can likely lead to reduced soil moisture and water scarcity, impacting water resources and ecosystems.
In addition, Miller explained that the rising temperatures would result in high temperatures that cause the water supply to dry up, leading to problems in food security.
In the US, the American Red Cross warned of the health impacts of extreme heatwaves, bringing more risks to people without cooling conditions and vulnerable sectors.
Intense heat can kill more people than other natural weather events.
In Europe, a recent study in Nature Medicine showed that 61, 672 deaths were linked to heat illnesses due to challenging heatwaves in 2022 based on the record between May 30 and September 4.
Meanwhile, soaring temperatures can harm coral reefs and aquatic animals, making survival challenging amidst the heat. The rising global temperatures impact human health and food security without mitigation efforts.
Extreme weather event significant damages
Extreme weather events can result in a devastating aftermath, especially to biodiversity and ecosystems.
In the US, NOAA records showed the country suffered from heavy losses due to billion-dollar weather disasters.
Since 1980, the US has experienced about 363 weather disasters. The disaster cost reached $2.590 trillion.
This year (2023), at least 15 weather disasters occurred in the country, of which 13 refer to severe storm events.
Yearly, at least 3.3 million adults in the US are forced to relocate or displaced due to extreme weather and natural disasters.
Climate change is a societal and environmental problem, together with global warming. The increasing burning of fossil fuels, the greenhouse effect, and deforestation can worsen the impacts of climate change.
Preparing for extreme weather events
As extreme weather events become more frequent, preparations and disaster management are essential to prevent devastating impacts. Widespread loss of infrastructures and lives could happen without efficient weather forecasting.
Countries are advised to invest in disaster-resilient plans and improved weather-predicting tools to mitigate the possible effects of human-induced hurricanes or heat waves.
Better forecasting can efficiently warn and suggest to communities to anticipate the shift from drought to extreme rainfall.
Moreover, coordination with local, regional and national forecasting agencies is essential to inform communities about possible weather events.
Homeowners can also prepare by turning on their mobile disaster alerts or checking the weather outlook. Keeping home emergency kits is also vital during evacuations.
Related Article: Fire Frequency Can Cause Ecosystem Collapse, Research Shows
For more similar stories, don’t forget to follow Nature World News.
A picturesque village in the Bannau Brycheiniog national park is at the centre of an increasingly toxic row over the decision of the Welsh Government to buy a local farm to help the Green Man festival’s diversification plans.
Opponents of the Gilestone Farm purchase have effectively taken control of Talybont-on-Usk Community Council and claim that the vast majority of local residents support their position.
But others in the village, as well as the managing director of Green Man – allege that those who support or are indifferent to the farm plans have faced bullying and intimidation.
Opponents of the £4.25m farm purchase say that a local consultation exercise resulted in 77% of those voting saying Gilestone Farm was not a suitable location for the Green Man scheme and 81% were against regular large events involving large numbers of people staying at the site.
Some 67% of residents said they were not “generally positive” about plans for commercial developments such as a brewery, bakery and baking school at the farm, while only 11% of local people said they had been given enough information about the scheme, with 89% believing they hadn’t been told enough about the plans.
The Stop Gilestone Farm Project group says the results mean the Welsh Government should now scrap the proposals and listen to local people.
Local resident Tim Baxter, a member of the group, said: “This is strong, objective evidence that the local community does not want this Green Man scheme, and the government must think again. If they go ahead after these survey results, they will be using taxpayers’ money to impose a project on a rural community which doesn’t want it. That is madness.
“This scheme is a threat to rare wildlife at the farm, and the extra traffic associated with it will cause dreadful congestion and pollution on country roads which already struggle to cope. The community should have been asked before the government bought Gilestone Farm. Now we’ve made our views known loud and clear. It’s time to stop Green Man’s Gilestone Farm project and listen to us properly.”
However, in a letter to Mark Isherwood MS, chair of the Senedd’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee, Fiona Stewart, the founder and managing director of Green Man said: “In my view, the relationship with some of the residents has been soured by a well funded, negative scaremongering campaign which has deliberately sought to spread misinformation, confuse and frighten local residents, while discrediting me and my business.
“There is also evidence of bullying of local residents and members of the Community Council, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, and Powys County Council by the opponents of the Gilestone Farm Project.
“This behaviour was raised by those present and minuted at our last meeting with residents and Government representatives on March 17 2023.
“I have been increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of the residents of Talybont-on-Usk who support the Gilestone Project or who don’t agree with the methods and behaviour of the objectors. The toxic atmosphere created by objectors has resulted in multiple resignations from the Talybont Community Council, including the second Chair in the last 12 months.
“Anyone who does not support the anti Gilestone project group has stood down and been replaced with people who do not want Green Man in Talybont or for the Gilestone Project to take place.”
Explaining the relationship between Green Man and the Welsh Government, Ms Stewart stated: “The Welsh Government is considering entering a commercial lease arrangement with my business based on 21 years of Green Man’s success, our vision document), followed by a robust business plan which has been scrutinised by appropriate sectors of the Welsh Government.
“There is also recognition that developing business in rural Wales is challenging due to the natural ecology, poor transport links and the sensitivity of the landscape which makes property development permissions rare. Our business works within these parameters:
* ecological – any business operation taking place within the farmland will be in temporary structures for short periods of time which can work around and support ecological challenges such as biodiversity and rare species;
* transport – as standard working hours are challenging to adopt in a location with limited transport links, our flexible working patterns fits within these parameters;
* permission to build – we are not planning to build any new properties and won’t require planning permission
“The Welsh Government has concluded that my business and proposition is highly credible and would make a positive contribution in helping deliver its policies addressing the growing socio-economic issues such as the wealth and age gap in rural Wales. This view is also supported by Powys County Council and Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.
“At the meeting in Brecon with Powys County Council and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority on March 17 2023, Caroline Meeling Jones CEO Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and James Gibson Watts Leader of Powys County Council expressed deep concerns about the future of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and Powys as a result of these negative trends not being addressed. They recognised and agreed that the plan delivered on government objectives, commenting that: ‘if not this [plan] then what would be acceptable?’:
Meanwhile a group of Talybont residents which broadly support the Green Man Gilestone plan has expressed concern about recent developments in the village.
A spokesperson for the group said: ‘We have witnessed a gradual attempted takeover of our community by wealthy individuals, some of whom do not even live in Wales let alone the village.
“These individuals, along with a few other established residents, have a distinct agenda to stop the project at all costs to protect their own selfish interests. We have been silent too long and have decided we have to speak out. We support the ideas behind the Gilestone Farm project, but have felt too intimidated to speak up publicly.
“The opposition group’s campaign of unsightly banners and fliers across the village are extremely off-putting to visitors and damaging to local businesses and their online tirades are full of hearsay and misinformation.
“We have taken the difficult decision to write to Welsh Government Ministers and Powys County Council expressing our concerns about the problems that the opponents to Gilestone Farm are causing to our village life, and ask why, when they are aware of this, are they not doing anything about it?
“The letter to Welsh Government Ministers expresses the residents’ support for the project and documents their experiences of intimidation. Members of Talybont-on-Usk Community Council have been forced to resign if they oppose this group, or their views differ and their positions have been refilled by individuals publicly affiliated to groups behind this campaign of misinformation and intimidation.
“The opposition group, in speaking for us as ‘the community’ have not only taken away our voice while putting words in our mouths but has also taken away the democratic rights of any individual they disagree with in Talybont. They do not speak for the village.
“The opposing group has manipulated the community survey results to portray incorrect and misleading figures that support their agenda to stop the project. Only 40% of those villagers eligible to take part in the survey responded, indicating a majority not having strong feelings either for or against the project.
“While the letter by those in favour has been signed by six residents there are many others in support who still feel too intimidated to publicly express their opinion.”
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One of the Western cabins at Bryce Canyon National Park/Kurt Repanshek file
I’ve stayed in national park lodging from Cape Lookout National Seashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. While some of those stays were very memorable, others were easily forgettable.
There have been nights in extremely basic lodgings (the cabins on Great Island at Cape Lookout, the cabins at Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park, and the tent camps at Yosemite National Park), and a few in extremely sumptuous lodgings (Lake Hotel in Yellowstone National Park). And there have been nights spent in my own tent and lean-tos on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail that surpassed some of the park lodgings in overall experience.
There have been nightly rates that took my breath away, and accommodations that made me wonder why they were going for nearly $300 a night.
There are many lodges I haven’t spent a night in, including such high-end places like The Ahwanee at Yosemite, the El Tovar at Grand Canyon National Park, or Jenny Lake Lodge at Grand Teton. With that understood, here are my top five lodgings:
1. Lake Hotel, Yellowstone. This gorgeous, Colonial Revival structure on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake is elegant. Its accommodations are extremely comforting after a long day in the park, and if you snag a lakeside room the views are beautiful. The Sun Room off the dining room is a great place to relax with your favorite beverage while a string quartet plays. The history is rich, as the hotel was built in 1891 and today lays claim to being the oldest existing hotel still standing in the park system. It’s not cheap, with rooms in September ranging from $359 to $1,000.
2. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone. Sit in a rocking chair on one of the interior balconies of the inn after sundown amid the log railings with their crooked branch supports with a view of the crackling fire in the massive, four-side fireplace down below, and you know you have one of the best perches in the National Park System. The rooms aren’t necessary something to write home about, but the entire experience — the magnificent log structure, rooms with views of the Upper Geyser Basin’s waterworks, the history tied to the world’s first national park — is superb. Rates are variable, from low $200s to over $1,000 a night.
3. Zion Lodge Cabins, Zion National Park. Located on the floor of Zion Canyon across from the lodge, these log cabins are charming, with hardwood floors, small stone-lined gas-log fireplaces in a corner, and queen or double beds. They’re not as spaced out as one might like, but they’re cozy. Rates in the mid-$200s and up, depending on the season.
4. The Inn atDeath Valley National Park. Long known as the Furnace Creek Inn, this lodging rivals Lake Hotel. Its stone and adobe construction and Mission-style architecture are something you won’t quickly forget. With a landscape of palm trees you can explore via stone pathways and a pool to relax in before, or after, dinner, this serves as an elegant (albeit expensive) base camp for exploring the park. Rates quickly go from about $300 to over $400 a night.
5. The Lodge At Bryce Canyon, Western Cabins, Bryce Canyon National Park. A late-September, early-October stay in one of these cabins is a great way to close out a tour of the national parks in Utah. Gas fireplaces take the chill off the night, peaked ceilings held up by Ponderosa logs take you back a century, and the very short walk to the edge of the colorful rock amphitheater can make you feel like you own the park. Low $300s/night.
All of the above carry a definite sense of place, unlike some park lodgings that are nothing more than roadside motels. My list also is West-centric, mainly because there aren’t many park lodgings in the East or Midwest, and those I’ve stayed in didn’t greatly impress.
How about you? What are your favorite accommodations in the National Park System? Can we build a definite list of the best places to stay?
(Photo : Michaela Filipcikova / Unsplash) The feral cat problem in Australia is restricting pet owners to a curfew.
Officials in Australia are tackling the feral cat problem with new regulations, which may require pet owners to adhere to a rigorous curfew for their feline pets.
Pet Owners vs. Feral Cat Problem
According to new regulations that the federal government is considering, cat owners may not be allowed to let their pets outside.
This Monday, Tanya Plibersek, the environment minister, presented new regulations to safeguard native wildlife, which are gravely threatened by both domestic and wild cats.
On Thursday, the government made its suggested strategy to deal with the cat issue available for public comment. It involves granting authority to councils across Australia to forbid cats from going outside altogether or to put nighttime curfews on them.
New Restrictions and Fines
If people break the regulations or reside close to conservation areas, local governments may even completely ban cat ownership in addition to enforcing the rules with steep fines.
One of the main causes of the extinction of 20 of the 29 native mammal species in Australia since settlement, according to Professor Sarah Legge, who participated in the plan, cats are one of the biggest risks to the country’s native biodiversity.
Although local governments all around the country currently have their pet ownership regulations, the national government’s proposed proposal would aim to standardize them rather than create a “patchwork” of different rules.
In the study, the Australian government will also discuss approaches to managing the threat posed by feral cats.
Naturally, feral cats pose the biggest hazard, but domestic cats must also be carefully controlled, according to Plibersek.
Pets, Ferals, Invasives, and Natives
The Invasive Species Council estimates that Australia has 5 million domestic cats, which kill 500 million indigenous creatures annually.
Feral cats typically kill 1.5 billion native mammals, birds, and reptiles annually, while their numbers can vary from 1.4 million to 5.6 million depending on rainfall.
According to the Australian government, feral cats are a significant factor in the demise of numerous land-based endangered species, including the bilby, bandicoot, bettong, and numbat.
To create the regulations and local councils responsible for their enforcement, the federal government would need to collaborate with the State and Territory governments.
Plibersek emphasized that this consultation document would address very significant issues including whether or not there should be a curfew for cats and whether or not local governments should have the authority to impose cat ownership restrictions in their communities.
The need for improved management was also mentioned by Plibersek, who added that most responsible cat owners who genuinely love their pets already practice many of these measures, such as keeping their pets indoors, especially over the course of the night.
Also Read: Utah Coyotes Kill 4 Pet Cats in Sandy Neighborhood
The document is aiming for an increase of 30% in suburbs where the number of cats is controlled, either by prohibiting cat ownership or by forbidding them from going outside.
The government’s paper is up for public comment until December 11th. To guarantee the long-term survival of indigenous species and ecological communities, the plans outline research, management, and other activities stakeholders across Australia can take.
Related Article: Australia Takes Out Feral Cats via Solar-Powered Lasers Rigged with Toxic Gel
NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Kiptopeke State Park on the Eastern Shore is hosting a free special event on Sept. 23 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.
According to a release from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay through hands-on demonstrations and educational activities.
“Come celebrate National Public Lands Day and the great Eastern Shore at our annual event,” said Kiptopeke State Park Assistant Manager Stephanie Venarchick. “We are excited to highlight this park and its unique nature and natural beauty and share details about the Eastern Shore with guests.”
The free and family-friendly event will feature wildlife exhibits, arts and crafts, wagon rides, a dugout canoe demonstration, a U.S. Coast Guard response boat tour and more.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Kiptopeke State Park, which is located at 3540 Kiptopeke Drive in Cape Charles.
More information about the event can be found on the park’s website.
The Biden administration has released $5 million to help with bison restoration/NPS file
The Biden administration has released $5 million to help further efforts to restore grassland landscapes for bison.
“The funding will support tribally led initiatives to strengthen bison conservation and expansion, improved management of existing herds, and ecosystem restoration efforts in native grassland habitats,” said a release Thursday from the Interior Department.
The funding includes $3.5 million from the Inflation Reduction Act that will support the InterTribal Buffalo Council’s herd development and apprenticeship program created by Secretarial Order 3410. The Council is a collection of 80 tribes in 20 states that facilitates the management of more than 20,000 bison. An additional $1.5 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations to support tribal bison herd expansion interests, including a focus on ecosystem restoration through bison conservation.
“The American bison is inextricably intertwined with Indigenous culture, grassland ecology and American history. While the overall recovery of bison over the last 130 years is a conservation success story, significant work remains to not only ensure that bison will remain a viable species but also to restore grassland ecosystems, strengthen rural economies dependent on grassland health and provide for the return of bison to tribally owned and ancestral lands,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “This new funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will help support tribal efforts to restore this iconic species and integrate Indigenous Knowledge into the department’s shared stewardship goals.”
Bison, North America’s largest mammal, were designated the national mammal of the United States in May 2016. With bulls standing 6 feet tall and weighing as much as a ton, they long have been viewed as icons on the landscape. They appeared on the back of the Indian Head nickel that was minted from 1913-1938, as a symbol of the Interior Department since 1917, and part of the National Park Service “arrowhead” emblem since 1951.
Once moving across the Great Plains in herds that stretched to the horizon, the “great slaughter” of the late 19th century decimated the species and left only pockets of the animals on the landscape. Yellowstone National Park today is home to the largest free-roaming herds of bison, and the shaggy animals are revered by tourists who come to the park. Though many of the animals head to the park’s high country for the summer months, in winter they descend to the river valleys, where they use their massive heads as snowplows to uncover the remains of summer’s grasses and forbs.
Under Haaland the Interior Department is continuing work on bison restoration that dates back at least to 2008 when then-Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne pushed the initiative.
The Interior Department’s 2008 Bison Conservation Initiative “set the goal of restoring herds to their ecological and cultural role on appropriate landscapes within the species’ historical range.”
In 2011, when then-Park Service Director Jon Jarvis issued his “Call To Action” document that was to serve as a blueprint for leading the agency into its second century, one plank called for returning “the American bison, one of the nation’s iconic species, to our country’s landscape. To achieve this we will restore and sustain three wild bison populations across the central and western United States in collaboration with tribes, private landowners, and other public land management agencies.”
Salazar nudged that initiative further in 2012 when he issued a directive calling for short- and long-term proposals to transfer bison from Yellowstone to other federal or tribal lands “with a goal of restoring bison to their historic, ecological, and cultural places on appropriate landscapes.”
In 2020, Haaland announced a decade-long initiative to better understand genetic pools held within the Interior Department’s roughly 11,000 bison and to bolster conservation and ecological efforts with states and tribes.
A new study shows that shark tourism, in which people pay to swim with and interact with sharks, may be hampering the species’ capacity to hunt and reproduce.
In a paper published in Scientific Reports, researchers noted that whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) exhibit aberrant behavior patterns in the presence of human tourists, such as quick and zigzag motions consistent with fleeing predators.
They added that ecotourism increases the likelihood of sharks being in a disturbed behavioral state, which likely increases energetic expenditure and may have downstream ecological consequences.
Read Also: Great White Shark Tourism in Guadalupe Island Banned by Mexico
Disturbed behavior patterns
The researchers examined 39 overhead recordings of whale sharks in Bay of La Paz, Mexico.
Their goal was to see if shark behavior changed in the presence of a swimmer emulating tourist behavior versus sharks swimming in isolation.
When the swimmer was present, the researchers found an increase in disturbed behavior patterns, resulting in the sharks consuming more energy than when swimming alone.
The researchers believe this behavior will make it more difficult for whale sharks to scavenge for food and may potentially harm reproductive success.
“At this stage it is difficult to say exactly how concerning the findings are. The shifts in behavior observed in the presence of humans mean that these sharks are going to be using more energy, and spend less time performing natural foraging behaviors,” study author Joel Gayford of Imperial College London, in the U.K, said in an interview.
Shark tourism poorly understood
While earlier research into the effects of tourism on the species has been conducted, the study concluded that the ecological consequences are not entirely known.
Prior research has discovered that in regions where there is a lot of shark ecotourism, there is sometimes a drop in the number of species found. According to the authors, more research is needed based on these new findings.
The researchers proposed first assessing the shark’s behavioral patterns before allowing swimmers into the water with the creatures.
The study also suggests that regulated distances between tourists and sharks be investigated in order to give animals enough room.
The researchers clarified that they are not saying that ecotourism is harmful to sharks or that it should be prohibited.
They also recognized that ecotourism is vital to shark conservation and will continue to be so in the future.
This also drives the economy as the global shark diving industry is estimated to produce more than $300 million USD per year.
“We are suggesting that the rules and regulations surrounding shark ecotourism should be reviewed regularly, taking into account scientific studies such as this one. Many more studies are required before we will fully understand the ecological implications of shark ecotourism,” Gayford said.
Whale sharks are considered one of the most amazing creatures in the ocean.
They are members of the carpet shark family, and despite their enormous size, they are reputed to be peaceful and pose no harm to humans.
The IUCN has classed the whale shark as endangered. Human-caused hazards to whale sharks include accidental capture in fishing gear, boat strikes, and targeted killing for their fins, skin, and flesh.
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SHANKSVILLE ― A variety of activities are planned this weekend at the Flight 93 National Memorial as the 22nd anniversary of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, are remembered across the nation.
Here’s a list of the activities planned by the National Park Service to commemorate the anniversary.
In the morning, the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial will take their annual Heroes’ Walk at the memorial and join in the dedication of the enhanced Western Overlook, where the families of Flight 93’s passengers and crew got their first glimpse of the crash site. Proceeds from the 2022 Heroes’ Walk helped make those improvements at the site.
Members of the Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps AmeriCorps are to help lead the Heroes’ Walk that day as part of their service to the memorial and the National Day of Service observances over the weekend.
Registration for the Heroes’ Walk is now closed. Donations are still being accepted for the Friends of Flight 93’s current fundraising effort, which will be used to fund the maintenance of the Memorial Groves area at the national memorial. Anyone who wishes to contribute may do so online at flight93friends.org/donate and select “Memorial Groves.”
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“Call to Action” ranger programs are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the flagpole at Memorial Plaza. According to the Flight 93 National Memorial website, this 30-minute program explains what happened on Flight 93, how it ties to the national events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, and shares personal stories about the 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93.
At 2 p.m. it’s “13 Days in September,” a ranger-led walking program that starts at the Visitor Center. This is a one-hour, short walking tour that goes into detail on how the local area and the nation responded after the crash and how the nation and the families of Flight 93 began to learn exactly what happened that day.
At 3 p.m., a park ranger will present a brief “Tower of Voices” talk at the Tower of Voices, explaining how the tower’s unique chimes honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
All of these ranger programs are free and open to the public without reservation.
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“13 Days of September” walking program begins at 10 a.m. at the Visitor Center Complex.
“Call to Action” ranger programs take place at 11:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.
“Tower of Voices” ranger program starts at 3 p.m. at the Tower of Voices.
The entrance to the memorial opens at 7 a.m. on Monday and the Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who want to attend Monday’s public events should come at least an hour early and be prepared to walk, as parking is very limited on that day.
The annual “Moment of Remembrance” ceremony honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93 begins at 9:45 a.m. at the Memorial Plaza. The ceremony can also be viewed live online at the Flight 93 National Memorial YouTube channel.
The ceremony starts with a welcome by Stephen Clark, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Students in the Shanksville-Stonycreek School District are to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Jacob Miller, a 2003 Shanksville graduate, will read the 40 names on Flight 93 at 10:03 a.m. as Joy Knepp, a retired art teacher from the school district, and Jan Loney, a metalsmith, ring the bells of remembrance.
Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh will present a moment of reflection at the conclusion of the ceremony.
After the program ends, family members of the Flight 93 passengers and crew will have a private wreath-laying ceremony.
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Two public events are planned in the afternoon: The “Call to Action” ranger program starts at 1 p.m. at the Memorial Plaza and the public wreath-laying ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at the Memorial Plaza, near the Wall of Names.
Katie Hostetler, park ranger and public information officer, said the time of the public wreath-laying ceremony was moved to the afternoon to extend the day’s events and allow later visitors and school students the opportunity to participate in the anniversary as well.