We recently followed the controversy over the shooting of “Cecil the Lion” by an American dentist Walter Palmer from Minnesota. There were other trophy hunting stories that enraged people around the world. (here and here and here). Now, a trophy hunter appears to be vying with Palmer as the most hated man on the Internet after he filmed and posted his killing of a black bear with a homemade spear. Josh Bowman has been denounced around the world for his video from Alberta, Canada as he celebrated the slow killing of the bear.
With climate change and other environmental crises, it is hard to often find positive environmental stories but here it is. The National Park Service has announced that various conservation and legal measures have result in bringing back the beautiful Island fox from the brink of extinction. The recovery of the Island Fox is an example of how it is possible for humans to repair some of the damage that we do and actually save animals from extinction.
There is an interesting study by the U.K. Environment Agency that challenges the view of banning plastic bags is clearly better for the environment. Sometimes green measures can have hidden carbon costs or negative externalities. The study suggests that a cotton reusable bag commonly used for groceries must be used at least 131 times to overcome their costs and be a net positive for the environment. Los Angeles recently added its name to the list of cities banning free polypropylene bags. Customers must pay 10 cents a bag or bring a reusable bag.
Yesterday, I took my son Jack and my nephew Jake (from Florida) on one of my favorite hikes: Little Devil’s Staircase. Located in Shenandoah National Park, it is a tough hike up a gorge with wonderful waterfalls and rock scrambles. It was raining when we arrived, which is not ideal due to the risk of slipping and the water pouring down the trail. However, the rain and misty conditions added to the size of the waterfalls and made the hike even more beautiful than usual.
I just received a few photos from our seventh day in Alaska when Jack and I went onrivers with a wonderful adventure with Chugach Outdoor Center in Hope, Alaska. Chugach is an outstanding company that is owned by Jay Doyle and is associated with RaftDenali. They have an incredible program for running Class III-V rapids through the canyons in the gorgeous Chugach National Park. I thought I would share them as a way of encouraging any reader who might be interested in a great day on the river.
The growing tensions in the South China Sea just got more tense. A tribunal in the Hague has ruled that there is no legal basis for China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. With a huge investment in the construction of artificial islands, China has responded by simply dismissing the arbitration ruling on international law. China boycotted the proceedings before the five-member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands. Many felt that the boycott reflected the weakness of the Chinese claims, which were unanimously rejected by the panel. Immediately after the ruling, China issued a statement that said that China “solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it.”
We finally boarded our delayed Delta flight after midnight and began our long flight home. I took this and the pictures below out of the plane window as we said goodbye to Alaska and all of the new friends that we made there over the two weeks. We left as we had arrived: enthralled by the immense beauty and wildness of this place. We want to come back as soon as possible. There is no place on Earth like Alaska and Alaskans are some of the most unique and interesting people that you will ever hope to meet. We packed a huge amount into these two weeks and only scratched the surface of things to do in Alaska.