Category: Environment

Minnesota Dentist Walter Palmer Under Fire For Renewed Trophy Hunting

Walter Palmer (left), whose face was edited out of the picture, holding a rare ram in Mongolia

This week saw the unwelcomed return of dentist Walter Palmer, 60, to international media coverage.  Palmer was widely denounced over his shooting of “Cecil the Lion” for a trophy five years ago.  He is now back with a series of gruesome pictures with a dead ram from Mongolia. The argali ram is considered “near threatened” but are a favorite for trophy hunters including a similar hunting trip by Donald Trump Jr. Continue reading “Minnesota Dentist Walter Palmer Under Fire For Renewed Trophy Hunting”

Trump Administration Sued Over Impact of Expanded Grazing Operations On Wolf Populations

Canis_lupus_layingI have often criticized the Trump Administration for its environmental policies from blocking climate control measures to rolling back on pollution regulations to developing pristine natural areas, including recent changes to hunting rules in Alaska.  Now the Forest Service is being sued over its failure on how expanded grazing operations are impacting gray wolf populations.  Given the ruling on DACA yesterday on the failure of the Administration to satisfy basic procedures requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act, this litigation will hopefully succeed in forcing a reevaluation of the operations of these private businesses on federal lands.

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Trump Plan To Put Pipeline Across Appalachian Trail

download-7Much of the discussion yesterday focused on the historic ruling in favor of workplace protections for LGBT workers.  Lost in the coverage was another case where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of another horrendous policy of the Trump Administration on the environment. I have been a long and vocal critic of President Donald Trump’s record on the environment and the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline us the latest rollback on Obama era protections.  The Court voted 7-2 decision in favor of the $5.1 billion pipeline project across one of our most cherished and most used natural areas: the Appalachian Trail.

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Trump Administration Finalizing Rule To Allow Controversial Hunting Procedures In Alaskan Federal Lands

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I have often criticized the Trump Administration for its environmental policies from blocking climate control measures to rolling back on pollution regulations to developing pristine natural areas.  The most recent change in hunting rules in Alaska however are truly disgusting. The Administration is finalizing rules to allow hunters in Alaska’s national preserves to shoot not just bears and wolves but their cubs and pups in their dens.  The policy change is horrific for many of us who cherish the environment and particularly the Alaskan parks and preserves. Continue reading “Trump Administration Finalizing Rule To Allow Controversial Hunting Procedures In Alaskan Federal Lands”

Weekend Photos: Fond of the Lake

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Having seen the weather outside to be both glorious and inviting, I suddenly realized it was necessary for me to engage once again in “essential travel necessary to maintain critical infrastructure within the state’s economy”. So I hitched up the boat and took it to a scenic lake.

Once on the pond, I realized I should have brought my fishing pole as in some areas near shore the fish were occasionally jumping out of the water–just begging to be caught and eaten for dinner. Sadly I couldn’t accommodate their aspirations. Nevertheless the water was surprisingly warm and the air was filled with a pleasant waft of the forest and something that was blooming. A couple bald eagles circled in the distance, keeping their watch. I do not speak “Eagle” so I could not introduce him to the fish I saw earlier.

Still, it was as it always is, enjoyable to be away from it all, and snap a few shots.

Click each to enlarge

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Video Captures Frightening Encounter With Bear In Wild

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 6.54.51 AMI had to share this video from Italy.  As many of on the blog know, my primary recreation is backpacking and hiking. I have often shared photos of wild animals spotted on those trips but this video from the Brenta Mountains in the Italian Alps is quite unnerving.  To have a large bear moving toward such a small child is really dangerous but thankfully everyone (particularly this young boy) remained calm and cool.

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Weekend Photos: Today’s Column, The Basalt Of The Earth

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Once again I needed to “make essential travel to facilitate commerce related to critical infrastructure.” *** So I loaded up some tools and headed down the highway. For me I find the semi-arid coulees to be relaxing and soul-resting. Unless someone or natural events disturbs the area, it otherwise will remain nearly identical to what it was ten or twenty years earlier. Wildland fire seems to be the main cause of change and even in that example only a few years are needed for restoration. Time moves at a lichen’s pace.

Click on each photo to enlarge.

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Weekend Photos: The Tide is Low But I’m Holdin’ On

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Though the state ordered us to Stay at Home and cower, it was of great necessary for me to drive to the Washington State Coast on “essential business travel related to maintaining critical infrastructure”. Yet, I did manage somehow to find a few moments during this noble duty to brave hazardous viral shoals, and pandemically mutated Coho-vid Salmon to bring you a few photographs of the infested outdoors. Please, do not worry for me–I had my cloth facemask somewhere in the glovebox and Geiger counter on a shelf in the garage, so I was protected.

Click on each to enlarge.

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Washington State Prohibits Citizens From Fishing, Cites Corona Virus Outbreak

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The restrictions enforced against Washingtonians are approaching absurdity. Somehow Washington State believes that fishing alone in the middle of Banks Lake will lead to worsening the COVID19 outbreak, so it banned recreational fishing. Yet going into a crowded big box store to panic-buy toilet paper and bags of flour is legal and safe.

Is there a threat that we the public are not aware. Is it that Corona Viruses from China can waft into the jet stream and drop like paratroops onto fisherman at Westport? Might it be frightfully possible that we may be swallowed whole by mutant razor clams lurking beneath the sand. What, if we may ask, is this horrorshow?

I suspect it is one of the worst kind of threat…a government agency given too much authority.

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Saturday Photos: A Great Northern Railroad F7

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

A couple years ago we were driving up the coast and a chance glance to my left brought me something I have not seen for many decades, a locomotive having Great Northern Railroad livery. I had to stop and take pictures then, but having only a anemic flip-phone camera, it was nothing to write home about.

I unexpectedly found myself presently having no meetings, paperwork was deferrable, the car had a tank of gas, and the camera was beckoning. This could mean only one thing…ROAD TRIP. So, I thought I’d return to that small town from years ago and snap a few frames.

Click each image to enlarge

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Sunday Photos: Single Lane Forested Road, Single Lense Reflex, Single Purpose

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

It’s the weekend and time to return to the sticks, with of course the requisite camera and hunger for fresh air. Spring yearns to blossom her colors yet winter continues his reign, or should I say “rain”. Nevertheless I still remain patient. All seasons are good as long as you are there to experience them.

Click each photo to enlarge

Continue reading “Sunday Photos: Single Lane Forested Road, Single Lense Reflex, Single Purpose”

Joaquin Phoenix To Save Planet One Tuxedo At A Time

I usually do not comment on Hollywood stars and their disconnected reality. However, since I first thought this was a joke meant to amplify his brilliant performance in Joker, it appears that Joaquin Phoenix is serious in announcing that he will wear the same tuxedo in all of his award ceremonies this year to reduce waste. It seems a declaration that preceded the statement from the movie that “I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it’s a f**king comedy.” Nevertheless, the sacrifice was met by breathless support from British designer Stella McCartney, who declared that she was “proud to join forces” with the “Joker” star. 

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Study: Air Pollution Causes Loss In Bone Density

We often discuss how pollution is often discussed without addressing studies showing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year due to its health impacts. One of my greatest disagreements with the Trump Administration is its staunchly anti-environmental policies and its opposition to climate change reforms. Indeed, additional rollbacks on environmental protections are being pushed forward by the Administration. The connection between air pollution and death rates for lung cancer, stroke, asthma and other ailments is well established. Now a new study has linked it to the loss of bone density and strength.

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New Zealand Horrified By Videos Of Beachgoers Kicking Shark To Death While Laughing and Taking Selfies

We have discussed disgraceful attacks or abuse of wild animals from birds to squirrels to tortoises to rabbits to sharks in the past but few reach the level of reported savagery as this week in New Zealand where a shark allegedly was pulled from the water and kicked to death on a beach. Most of us cannot imagine wanting to participate in such an attack on a wild creature. Indeed, many of us travel hundreds or thousands of miles just to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. Yet, there remain many people who get a sick joy in harming animals or watching such unspeakable scenes of cruelty. The most distressing element is to see children in some of these pictures. However, the one promising note is that there were people who sought to intervene to help the shark though they said that they roughly treated by the mob.

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