Archive for the 'baby seals' Category

Dec 04 2007

ADOPT A HUMAN #2

Right now human leaders are meeting in Bali to talk about global warming and the climate crisis. No penguins, spotty owls, polar bears. Lots of humans talking and arguing about how much or how little to do or not do and what it will cost.

Of course, some of them are talking about money and not the billions of living things that are threatened. A very sad and interesting article by Gregor Peter Schmitz of Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, talks about how the United States is working with China and India to make sure no strong limits are set on the greenhouse gases that are creating the climate crisis.

The poorer nations naturally want to catch up with the richer nations. Unfortunately for penguins and polar bears and billions of people, this means more power plants, more cars, and superhighways, and more and fancier things to buy: second homes and speedboats and expensive sneakers.

Countries like China and India don’t feel it is fair to limit their growth and do without all the advantages that the European countries and Australia and Canada and the United States enjoy. And some of the leaders of the United States don’t want to give up anything. Der Spiegel writes about how together they can block real action:

Washington is hoping that the two greenhouse gas emitters will openly declare during the conference that they are unwilling to accept any binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases — at least not as long as the US is unwilling to do more or if the Western industrial nations do not provide them with more financial aid for climate protection initiatives. If successful, the US could use the tactic to prevent itself from becoming an isolated scapegoat if negotiations in Bali end in a stalemate.

That may make sense to well-to-do humans but it is certainly unfair to the rest of us.

Penguins from all over the world have written us about our new Adopt A Human campaign. Here are some people who could certainly use our help.

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Farmers by factory, Baokang, China – Reuters



These farmers are playing cards in the shadow of a cement factory spewing smoke. I’m sure there are several penguins and a porpoise or two or some baby seals who might be willing to chip in and buy them masks.


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Children using public toilet, Jakarta harbor – Beawiharta/Reuters



This makes me very sad. For the children. For their parents. For the water.


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Chinese miners shovel coal – Oded Balilty/AP



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Storm survivors, Bangladesh -Rafiqur Rahman/Reuters



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Bali policeman at Climate Conference – Jewel Damad/AFP



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Britney Spears – Robyn Beck/AFP



We recently learned that human beings have been searching the world wide web for information about global warming and Britney Spears. According to Glenn Chapman of AFP:

A review of Yahoo searches reveals global warming, celebrity meltdowns, social networking and a literary boy wizard’s final adventure captured mankind’s attention in 2007.

The US Internet giant sifted billions of searches made this year by its hundreds of millions of users worldwide to identify trends regarding what piqued people’s interest …

“It is really a barometer for what is interesting and relevant for the world,” Yahoo director of product marketing Raj Gossain said while discussing the findings with AFP.



Well if anyone knows about meltdowns, we do. Adelie 622 wrote in to say she would be glad to help Britney Spears in any way she could.

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Adelie 622 – Photo: George F. Mobley



Adelie 622 sent off an email just the other day. “Swim, Britney. When in doubt, swim. We’re all in this together. Your friend, Adelie 622. Penguins United Chapter 12.” Unfortunately, the email bounced back.


We’ll keep writing.





No responses yet

Apr 25 2007

A BILLION PEOPLE

What’s a penguin worth? A baby seal? A polar bear?

A billion people?

How much will you give me for a billion people? Mothers and brothers, sisters and cousins. Grandfathers and grandsons?

American scientists have figured out how to measure how much land would be lost and how many people might be affected by rising sea levels.

They figured out how many people might die if melting Arctic and Antarctic ice – or storms – raise the level of the sea 100 feet. That’s the level of the big Tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people.


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Meltwater stream on the Greenland ice sheet.

Photo by Roger J. Braithwaite, The University of Manchester UK



I’m only a penguin, but the answer scares me.


“More than 1 billion people live in low-lying areas where a sudden surge in sea level could prove as disastrous as the 2004 Asian tsunami, according to new research by U.S. government scientists.”

I’ve never seen a billion of anything. A billion is bigger than my penguin mind can imagine.

“The team also found that a 100-foot (30-meter) rise in sea level would cover 3.7 million square miles of land worldwide.”

But let’s suppose the water doesn’t get that high. What if it’s just one-sixth that high:

“A rise of just 16 feet (5 meters) would affect 669 million people and 2 million square miles of land would be lost.”

Maybe these scientists are just trying to scare us. A lot of people think scientists exaggerate. This is what one of them, E. Lynn Usery, said:

“Sea levels are currently rising about 0.04 to 0.08 inches (1 to 2 millimeters) each year, making it unlikely such a scenario would suddenly occur across the globe, Usery said.

“But he said 10,000 years ago sea levels rose 20 meters in 500 years – a relatively short span – after the collapse of the continental ice sheets due to warming temperatures.

“‘It can happen in a short period of time if we look at the historical data,’ Usery said.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18230533/


So I guess the penguin question of the day is: what are you willing to do to save a billion people?

No responses yet

Apr 20 2007

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING

Forgive us, but sometimes it takes a while for us to get word of what’s going on. We just heard that Canadian Fisheries spokespeople were disappointed that only 860 seals were killed during the first three days of Canada’s seal hunt. They indicated “that melting ice has depleted much of the herd in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.”

Only 860! Oh my God – or maybe Oh your God!

Why so low? Well it seems the seals have been drowning before the hunters could get to them.

How can a seal drown? Well it takes a bit of time for baby seals to learn how to swim. Kind of like humans and bicycles. And so much ice is melting that the baby seals have been drowning. They try the best they can to cling to the pockets of ice, but many of them don’t make it.


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Courtesy: Rei Ohara



“The quota for all three phases of this year’s seal hunt is 270,000 seals. That is 65,000 fewer than last year, a change imposed mainly because of the toll from the ice conditions.”

What’s so important about seals? “Fishermen sell seal pelts mostly for the fashion industry in Norway, Russia and China, as well as blubber for oil, earning about $78 per seal.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17953506/

No responses yet