April, 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico what will happen to the wildlife?

Mark Fraser is the host and executive producer of "Nature Walks with Mark Fraser"

The massive Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is quickly becoming the worst of its kind and soon to wreak havoc on the sensitive Louisianan coastline wetland habitats and species.  Pay close attention to the news reports, because you can bet special interest groups will start telling you “It’s not that bad” and that “it’s too soon to speculate”. Well let’s see, 5,000 barrels of Oil a day dumping into the Ocean – let’s face it, that’s terrible no matter how they try to spin it. This is another prime example of why fossil fuels should become just that, “fossils”, and scientists around the world should work vigorously in developing greener and renewable energy.

What about the wildlife?

Soon we will undoubtedly begin to see the heartbreaking images of countless species who pay the ultimate price for our hunger for fossil fuels. Marine and bird life covered in the viscous sticky oil will be in a dire life threatening situations and no doubt thousands will perish from this horrible man made disaster.

In the future we will be again be asking the questions “Why” and “How could this happen”?  Just like we did after the massive Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and yet here we are yet again. Wetlands are some of the most important habitats there are. Many species use brackish water estuaries for a safe place to have their babies. Even people who do not seem to care about wildlife at all and only think of the business side of life still admit the economic implications of wiping out a massive fishery. Some time today (Friday April 30th 2010) it’s believed that this slow moving massive slick will reach the coastline. The species that live in the region are in very big trouble. What will “their” world look like from below when the waters surface is covered in the thick black oily film?

Some day we will finally be free of this dependency on fossil fuels. I wonder what people in the future will think about the choices we made. What will they think about statements like “Drill baby drill?” Ironically in the past few weeks the current administration just approved more offshore rigs.

We need to make companies directly responsible for their actions and accountable for their mistakes. A multi million dollar fine for a company making billions does not cut it. We need change, “actual” change, not just someone telling us what we want to hear. Those animals out there don’t have a voice of their own unless you and I give them one, and as we are about to find out, they very much need one…

Mark Fraser

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Plastic Ocean? Not on our watch!

Mark Fraser is the host and executive producer of "Nature Walks with Mark Fraser"

Atlantic Garbage Patch! The Pacific Garbage Patch! Let’s face it – we have a very serious world wide problem and its time we did something about it! The bottom line is we have a huge appetite for quick fix throw away plastic products. We call and order food for example, it comes in multiple single –use products from the plastic forks and knives to the packaging itself. Sure you could wash and re-use your plastic utensils and fast food cups and straws, do you? We really could just “stop” using them.

Our daily habits from each of our own households combine, and become the collective cause of what “we” are all inadvertently doing to the entire Ocean. I know we are not throwing things into the Ocean, at least we don’t think that we are.

Where exactly does that plastic shopping bag end up or that plastic spoon or plastic straw…. Well, sadly many products even when placed in a recycle bin still actually end up in land fills, or in the sea. Our recycling in the United States is so lacking that it’s actually less then 5%! In fact when you throw a plastic soda bottle into a bin to be recycled, the cap is removed and thrown away! How many soda bottle caps each day are used in the United States alone? Now imagine a year, now imagine where they end up…  Scary isn’t it, well in this case we “should” be concerned. Look at plastic bags, estimates above 300 billion shopping bags a year in the US alone bring the harsh reality close at hand. So the overwhelming majority, never get recycled. It becomes easy to see why we have a serious world wide problem when you think about the big picture. These plastics breakdown, from sun, and salt into tiny particles floating in the sea flowing with the current and inevitably coalescing in massive areas that are thousands of square miles in size that we call a “Garbage Patch”. It’s actually, far worse then a simple “patch” of plastic; it’s a deep field in some areas as much as 300ft and having the consistency of minestrone soup with tiny particles as small as plankton. More and more news reports are coming in about species of whales dying with bellies full of plastic. There are estimates in the hundreds of thousands of marine species that are dying from this plastic particle soup we created.

When we talk about stainless steel mugs, canvas bags, eating locally grown food please understand it’s not about a green fad, a cute trend to be a part of. It’s about something of global importance and “you” can help. If each house hold does their own part, then at least we can seriously slow down this epic problem. Life is about choices, and this is a choice that you must make. Please choose well.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk again soon,

Mark Fraser

Main website

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They live right beside us…. really!

Mark Fraser is the host and executive producer of "Nature Walks with Mark Fraser"

I have always been amazed by nature, I mean the closer you look the more you see! Ironically, so few of us in our busy lives actually take the time to see whats out there.  It’s like anything I suppose, when you get to know something you are far more likely to understand it, even care about it.  I think far to often when it comes to conservation we think more about the messenger then the message itself.  I bet right in your own yard you could find a ton of jaw dropping species, from insects to birds.

It’s all about just taking a moment and “Looking”.

You see once we recognize that we have these “wild neighbors” then protecting them does start to make allot of sense. It’s not some distant land far from us or our families they live “with” us.  I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if someone started destroying your yard or home, well its the same thing, isn’t it?  Like us they simply just want to live their lives. So taking a few moments now and then to learn about them makes us better stewards of our own backyard habitats. Now that is real conservation.

Deciding not to use chemicals on your lawn, will literally save the lives of baby birds that end up digesting insects that have been treated with yard chemicals. The parent birds have no idea when they are feeding their chic’s that they are being poisoned.  I know I wouldn’t drink a bottle of yard chemicals because I would be instantly rushed to the hospital or some emergency poison control outfit. So why do we think that spraying our yards wouldn’t harm wildlife? One of those things that make ya go hmmmm….

The simple steps we take everyday make all the difference! Like the simple choice between the following;

Plastic shopping bags (bad) and canvas bags (Good)

Throw-away coffee mugs (Bad) and Stainless steel mugs (Good)  :-)

Plastic water bottles (Bad) Tap water (Good).

Yes I said “tap water”, did you know the bottled water industry invested millions to make us think that tap water was unsafe, and then sold us tap water in plastic bottles. Ahem…  Please research that a bit and you’ll see what I mean. Business has no business over ethics and certainly no business  deciding to make money rather then protect our oceans from the billions of tons of plastics each year which increased dramatically since the on set of bottled water.  The economy does “not” depend on destroying our planet that logic is flawed.  My dog knows better then to soil where he sleeps,  so why can’t businesses know that they should not manufacture products that cause a direct environmental impact? I’m just saying… Each of these steps to help out are all easy, simple day to day common sense decisions that bring about a truly positive and measurable result. That’s what real conservation is all about. The health of ourselves, our families and our wild neighbors depends on these choices so choose well.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk again soon,

Mark Fraser

Main website

http://www.naturewalkswithmark.org

Youtube!

http://www.youtube.com/user/nwwmark

Facebook !

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Pacific and Atlantic Garbage patch website!

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Coming soon… Nature walks Podcast!

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