EarthTalk: Endangered Grizzlies And Strategies For E-Waste


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Dear EarthTalk: Is the federal government’s decision to take Yellowstone’s grizzlies off the endangered species list good news or bad news for the iconic bear? —Jeffrey Elder, Los Angeles, CA

It depends who you ask. The majority of environmental and wildlife advocates would prefer to keep endangered species protections in place for Yellowstone’s grizzlies, which they consider to be still at risk. Meanwhile, many ranchers, hunters and libertarians applaud the Trump administration’s decision to take the fearsome predator off the list.

But why now? According to the National Park Service (NPS), some 690 grizzly bears now roam the greater Yellowstone ecosystem — up from only 136 or so bears in 1975. “The number of females producing cubs in the park has remained relatively stable since 1996, suggesting that the park may be at or near ecological carrying capacity for grizzly bears,” reports NPS.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke considers the delisting decision “very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region” and “the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners.”

But the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) counters that while grizzly bear numbers in the Greater Yellowstone area may have improved since the animals were first protected in 1975, the bears continue to be isolated from other grizzly populations and are threatened by recent increases in human-caused mortality. Meanwhile, climate change and invasive species have taken a huge toll on two of the bears’ primary food sources, whitebark pine seeds and cutthroat trout, prompting the bears to prey on livestock outside national park borders, leading to increased conflict with livestock ranchers. CBD maintains that drought and climate change are likely to worsen these problems.

Recent scientific data showing a decline in the bears’ population over the past two years as a result of managed kills due to livestock conflict, car crashes and poaching support CBD’s claims. The group’s senior attorney, Andrea Santarsiere, says that the Trump administration’s real reason for pushing the delisting is more about appeasing trophy hunters “who want to stick grizzly bear heads on their walls” than about concern over the health of iconic American wildlife populations.

“This outrageously irresponsible decision ignores the best available science,” says Santarsiere. “Grizzly conservation has made significant strides, but the work to restore these beautiful bears has a long way to go.” Overall, grizzlies now occupy less than four percent of their historic U.S. range. European settlement led to the decimation of some 50,000 grizzlies that once roamed the western half of the Lower 48.

“It’s incredibly disturbing to see the Trump administration end protections for these beloved Yellowstone bears even as their numbers are falling,” says Santarsiere. “This deeply misguided decision just isn't supported by the science, so the Trump administration may be leaving itself vulnerable to a strong legal challenge.”

While the Trump administration has not made any noise to date about delisting the other major population of grizzlies in the lower 48 in and around Montana’s Glacier National Park, environmentalists worry that it’s only a matter of time given the relative population stability there too.

CONTACTS: NPS Grizzly Bear Ecology, www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/gbearinfo.htm; Center for Biological Diversity, www.biologicaldiversity.org.

 


 

Dear EarthTalk: What can we do to solve the e-waste problem caused by so many of us tossing our cell phones out and getting new ones every two years? —Sandy Bartram, Beverly Hills, CA

As more and more of the world develops — and smartphones become ubiquitous — electronic waste (aka “e-waste”) is a bigger problem than ever. Around the world, people generate some 50 million tons of e-waste every year, much of which ends up improperly disposed of in landfills where toxins common in electronics like lead, mercury and cadmium can leach out and contaminate surrounding soils and groundwater. Much of the remaining e-waste gets shipped off to developing countries happy to profit from taking others’ trash despite the environmental consequences, or even worse, just dumped illegally into the ocean.

But thanks to consumer pressure to do the right thing, most major electronics manufacturers have started to pay attention to the problem and take action to reduce the flow of e-waste. Apple, for instance, long targeted by Greenpeace and others for lack of concern about the environmental and health impacts of its sourcing and production processes, has made great strides in the last five years in recovering customers’ old products and reusing the constituent parts in new products.

In 2015 alone, the company collected some 90 million pounds of Apple-branded e-waste, recovering upwards of 61 million pounds of material, including steel, plastics, glass, aluminum, copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, nickel, silver, tin and gold, to re-incorporate into new products. Environmental advocates who love their iPhones can sleep easier knowing that lead, mercury, beryllium, arsenic, PVC, phthalates and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are no longer welcome in or will soon be phased out of Apple’s supply chain.

But most of us upgrade our smartphones every two years, so that means that even today’s greener iPhones still contribute to the e-waste problem. That’s where Europe’s Fairphone comes to the rescue. By incorporating long-lasting design and fair-traded materials, ensuring good working conditions and making products that are fully recyclable, easy-to-fix and reusable, Fairphone hopes to revolutionize the smartphone market with its eco-conscious products.

As the electronics industry matures and moves toward more sustainable components, that combined with better design can also help reduce the steady stream of e-waste. For instance, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have come up with a way to extend the life and boost the productivity of lithium ion batteries — the standard power source in today’s electronics — by treating their electrodes with hydrogen. Such a development could be huge for preventing e-waste, given that most of us toss our old phones within two years when the battery inside starts to deteriorate and underperform.

Choosing carefully when it comes to selecting your next smartphone and recycling your old one for free at BestBuy or through its manufacturer are important first steps in becoming part of the solution to the growing problem of e-waste. Becoming an advocate by encouraging others to do the same is another way to greatly expand your positive impact. The non-profit e-Stewards program is dedicated to teaching people how to deal with used electronics, and individuals can pledge to become one of the program’s Envoys to help spread the word about the importance of reducing e-waste.

CONTACTS: Apple, Greenpeace, Fairphone, e-Stewards.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of the nonprofit Earth Action Network. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

See also:
Better-Looking Rooftop Solar Panels
EarthTalk: Protecting The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

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Daily Astrology

November 16, 2018

This is a busy day, filled with notable planetary changes. Newly arrived in Pisces, the Moon and Mars join up a mere two minutes after midnight. Creative juices are stimulated. Some emotions may overheat. Shortly before dawn Venus resumes forward motion…
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November 2018

Learn Reiki to awaken your healing hands to help yourself, your loved ones and pets be healthier and happier. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher) This one-day...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
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Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
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Discover the power of your inner queen  Are you experiencing life transitions causing you to wonder “Who am I? Where am I going? What do I do now?” Metaphysical meets modern to...

Cost: $20

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Join us the second Tuesday evening of the month for a Reiki Share in the Usui Reiki system of natural healing. We are a gathering of Reiki practitioners who share experiences, practice...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
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The Fertility Awareness Meetup provides women with an opportunity to learn about and discuss natural birth control options and fertility. This is a space where women can connect with peers, access...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Women's Center
46 Pleasant Street
Cambridge, MA  02139
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Sponsor: AC Fertility Awareness
Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

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The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
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Contact Name: Brad Fanger

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Please join us at our monthly meetings, second Wednesday each month September - June in Westboro, MA. A welcoming community working for the greater health and wellbeing of all. Contact...

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Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
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In more recent years, as the dreams of progress continue to falter, our confidence in the future is shaking. What it means to be human; what education and morality mean; what corporations stand...

Cost: $10

Where:
Scottish Rite Museum
33 Marrett Road
Lexington, MA  02420
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Sponsor: Lexington Community Education
Telephone: 781-862-8043
Contact Name: Craig Hall
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In this talk, Joan will help you realize how much you are already communicating with your animals. She will show you how your animal companions respond to energy. You will learn how to set the pH...

Cost: $10

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Telephone: 978-474-8010
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November 16 - 18 12.5 PDAs! Taijiquan is usually taught from the outside in: you learn the choreography, practice for years, and gradually come to understand what’s going on inside. In...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
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Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
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This is a “Mediumship Gallery” with June Edward, the “Massachusetts Medium”! Have you ever wanted to talk to someone on the other side? Is there someone you know who’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
VFW
109 Robbins Rd
Walpole, MA  02081
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Sponsor: June Edward "The Massachusetts Medium"
Telephone: 508-259-1231
Contact Name: June edward
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Want to know more about the Women of Wisdom Schools of Wisdom Personal and Spiritual, and Professional Development Programs? This is your opportunity to meet the amazing instructors, hear...

Cost: Free

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
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Contact Name: Brad Fanger

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“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.” — Sanskrit Proverb Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the healing...

Cost: $40 (limited hardship rates available)

Where:
Museum of Modern Renaissance
115 College Avenue
Somerville, MA  02144
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Sponsor: HolotropicMA
Contact Name: Allen Howell M.Ed. LMHC
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Instructors: James Ashton & Beth Masterman Adult level A half-day, workshop for anyone curious to learn about the chakra energy system and the timeless wisdom it provides for living a...

Cost: $80

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
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This transformational workshop for singles and couples will equip you with the awareness, tools and skills to create the connection and intimacy you desire. Discern the 3 keys to unlock true...

Cost: $147/person; $294/couple

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
22 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, MA  02472
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Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
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Join us for an afternoon filled with fun! We’ll have your favorites: psychics, mediums, animal communicators, and spirit art! Holistic practitioners offering Holy Fire II Reiki, chair...

Cost: Varies per service

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
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“Our World needs us—the sensitives/the empaths! We are the helpers, healers, the artists, and the holders of sacred space so that others may open. But first, we must accept our...

Cost: $65

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private office
North Andover, MA  01845


Sponsor: Sacred Spiral Dance
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
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Hello brothers and sisters, Better World Meditation will be hosting a guided meditation and a solo flute concert with Steve Tapper Event Schedule: 7:30PM Doors open 7:45PM Guided...

Cost: $10

Where:
Saint John's Episcopal Church
74 Pleasant Street
(Rear left side of church door on Lombard Road-2nd floor)
Arlington, MA  024746
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Sponsor: Better World Meditation
Telephone: 617-699-0636
Contact Name: Steven Kriger
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November 17–18 Note: Class runs 10am to 5:30pm on Saturday, 11/17 and 11am to 4pm on Sunday, 11/18 Students will learn to communicate with animals and to enhance human/animal...

Cost: $190

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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