I scream, you scream, we all scream for …. 27 June 2008Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco.
… ice cream…
The San Francisco Chronicle has a good update on the colony collapse / honey bee problem… and Haagen Dazs over in Oakland is worried… what if there are no strawberries?
PDT Washington — Could strawberry ice cream disappear from our lives? What about vanilla Swiss almond?
The folks at Haagen-Dazs are worried enough that they and others have mounted a campaign to halt the shocking decline of honeybees and other pollinators of strawberry plants, almond trees and the rest of the roughly 90 percent of terrestrial plant life that needs pollination.
Officials of the Oakland company told Congress on Thursday that more than 40 percent of its product’s flavors, derived from fruits and nuts, depend on honeybees. Without bees, fruits and nuts cannot exist.
As for whether strawberry, raspberry or almond ice cream could disappear, Haagen-Dazs brand director Katty Pien said, “We hope not, but that’s why there is such a sense of urgency, so that the millions of people who love our strawberry ice cream can have it forever.”
Honeybees mysteriously began to abandon their colonies in 2006, destroying about a third of U.S. hives. The rate of decline is accelerating, reaching 36 percent last winter.
“How would our federal government respond if 1 out of every 3 cows was dying?” Maryann Frazier, a bee expert at the University of Pennsylvania, asked during testimony to the House subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture.
Federal research dollars are beginning to flow and will jump dramatically with the newly passed farm bill, but scientists remain baffled about the cause of pollinator decline. The problem extends not just to the commercialized honeybee imported from Europe 400 years ago but, etymologists say, to other native pollinators.
Those include native bees such as bumblebees that are also showing rapid declines, plus butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, hummingbirds and bats. Lack of data on these species hinders measurement.
When I first saw this bee laying motionless on its side, I wasn’t sure if it was dead or just sleeping, as I have seen solitary desert bees sleeping in flowers before. I took this photo and wandered off to take some more wildflower photos. When I came back, the bee was still there. I just had to know if it was alive or not, so I bumped the flower. The little fuzzy bee woke up and flew off to another Apache Plume flower, where I left the sleepy bee undisturbed this time. [Bee sleeping in a flower, from The Firefly Forest]
And a bit more…
Visalia beekeeper Steve Godlin said 1.3 million honeybee hives are trucked in each spring from around the country to pollinate the California almond crop, which is fast replacing cotton in the Central Valley. The collapse of honeybee hives and the enormous demand for almond pollination has sent its price soaring.
That will show up soon in grocery store prices, said committee Chairman Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Fresno. Haagen-Dazs’ Pien said the company is bracing for not just higher costs but a reduction in the supply of pollinated ingredients.
After a survey showed half the public is not even aware of the bee decline, the company awarded a $250,000 research grant to UC Davis and the University of Pennsylvania. It also opened a public education campaign, starting with a limited edition flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee and a goal to distribute 1 million flower seeds to consumers and community groups to aid native pollinators. A Web site, www.helpthehoneybees.com, provides information.
I think that 50% have heard of the problem with the honey bee is GOOD… more than I would have expected.
The article has several links to information about the collapse or what can be done with the plain old home garden to help…
The group, at www.pollinator.org, is issuing guides for each of 35 eco-regions of the country that can be used by farmers, public-land managers, corporations and consumers for choosing pollinator-friendly plants and practices.
“People who were afraid when they saw a bee are now afraid when they don’t see one,” Adams said.
Just saw this near the end of the previous thread…
We are the last “first” people. We forget that. We act big, misuse our land, ourselves. We lose our own primary.
–Charles Olson, Call Me Ishmael: A Study of Melville, 1947
spermaceti to petrol
1. Farewell to the Holocene
Our world, our old world that we have inhabited for the last 12,000 years, has ended, even if no newspaper in North America or Europe has yet printed its scientific obituary.
. . .
This planetary deficit of opportunity and social justice is captured in the fact that more than one billion people, according to UN-Habitat, currently live in slums and that their number is expected to double by 2030. An equal number, or more, forage in the so-called informal sector (a first-world euphemism for mass unemployment). Sheer demographic momentum, meanwhile, will increase the world’s urban population by 3 billion people over the next 40 years (90% of them in poor cities), and no one — absolutely no one — has a clue how a planet of slums, with growing food and energy crises, will accommodate their biological survival, much less their inevitable aspirations to basic happiness and dignity.
If this seems unduly apocalyptic, consider that most climate models project impacts that will uncannily reinforce the present geography of inequality. One of the pioneer analysts of the economics of global warming, Petersen Institute fellow William R. Cline, recently published a country-by-country study of the likely effects of climate change on agriculture by the later decades of this century. Even in the most optimistic simulations, the agricultural systems of Pakistan (a 20% decrease from current farm output predicted) and Northwestern India (a 30% decrease) are likely to be devastated, along with much of the Middle East, the Maghreb, the Sahel belt, Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Twenty-nine developing countries will lose 20% or more of their current farm output to global warming, while agriculture in the already rich north is likely to receive, on average, an 8% boost.
In light of such studies, the current ruthless competition between energy and food markets, amplified by international speculation in commodities and agricultural land, is only a modest portent of the chaos that could soon grow exponentially from the convergence of resource depletion, intractable inequality, and climate change. The real danger is that human solidarity itself, like a West Antarctic ice shelf, will suddenly fracture and shatter into a thousand shards.
–Mike Davis, “Living on the Ice Shelf: Humanity’s Melt Down,” 26 June 2008
Photo of Tatiana by Thomas Hawk, thomashawk.com
Diet and Weight
Before she arrived in San Francisco, it appeared Tatiana was reaching her physical maturity. In the six months before she left Denver after steady growth as a cub, zoo records show her weight fluctuated only slightly, between 292 and 299 pounds, in the middle weight range for Siberian females.
But in San Francisco, her weight declined steadily, dropping into the 270s in her first year at the zoo in 2006, into the 260s the first half of last year, then into the 250s last fall. In her last live weighing last December, two weeks before the fatal attack, Tatiana weighed just 244. Her necropsy set her weight at death at 242 pounds, 50 pounds less than her zoo arrival weight as noted in the San Francisco Zoo’s “Individual Specimen Report.”
In Denver, she was being fed 42 pounds of meat a week: six pounds a day, seven days a week. The Denver Zoo says she was in good shape, and that there was no indication she was over-weight when she was sent to her new home.
But upon her arrival in San Francisco, zoo records show she was fed less, 36 pounds a week: six pounds six days a week, with the seventh day a “fast day” that is not uncommon in big cat zoo diets. Her weight records show Tatiana lost 20 pounds in her first month in San Francisco.
.. and this:
“Frantic for Food”
In the months that followed the return to the smaller diet, Tatiana’s keepers made note several times of her apparent hunger for more food in the log entries. From the zookeeper’s log of April 21, 2007: Tatiana “frantic for food.” From the log of June 1: Tatiana “frantic for food.” From the log of June 3: Tatiana “very hungry.” From a November 11 zookeeper report, noting Tatiana’s theft of part of a male tiger’s meal: “Animal got double her ration today. She acted like she wanted more.”
The San Francisco Zoo’s Jencek said the keepers’ notes were not unusual. “You want the animals to be excited about meal time. That’s the kind of response you want from them. I don’t want an animal being sluggish. I’d rather have an animal that’s active and enthusiastic.”
But some outside experts disagreed, saying zookeepers make note of the unusual, not of normal behavior. “You do want some eagerness to eat, but it sounds like this was on the other side of that,” said Richardson. “At least the keeper thought it was, or he wouldn’t have written that. You know maybe we’re not giving her enough. First thing that pops into my mind. That’s without seeing her, but that’s the most common reason a cat would be that hungry and act that hungry is that she’s not getting enough.”
Pat Derby, founder and president of PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) and a veteran of 35 years working with tigers and other captive wildlife, said feeding behavior is important. “We instruct our keepers if the animals eat everything that you feed and they still display signs of hunger, if they’re snarly and they attack the meat, you want to increase their diet. Behavioral signs are critical to any diagnosis. You can’t just look at an animal and say they look thin or fat.”
Throw the zoo officials and any city officials involved into the tiger grotto. Every chapter of that Christmas day at the Zoo is a nightmare.
The Chron also has an report on local reaction to the ruling in Heller
[T]he National Rifle Association immediately said it would use the ruling for a new round of legal challenges to gun-control laws, including the ban on handgun possession in public housing in San Francisco.
San Francisco voters approved a broader prohibition on handgun possession by city residents in 2005, but it was overturned by state courts, which said it conflicted with California law.
Trigger-lock law threatened
A separate ordinance, passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2007, requires gun-owning residents to keep their weapons in locked boxes or to disable them with trigger locks. Cox said the NRA might challenge that law as well.
That restriction, the court said, “makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense.” One advantage of having a loaded handgun available, Scalia observed, is that “it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.”
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris said both the Housing Authority ban and the local trigger-lock requirement appear to be vulnerable under the ruling.
The ruling “leaves open for dispute and interpretation some of the existing laws that we have restricting or regulating gun ownership and use,” said Harris, who was co-author of a brief signed by 18 prosecutors around the nation urging the court to rule narrowly and leave local regulations intact.
The courts will be busy