healthy ecosystem

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What are the sharks in our Monterey Bay Habitats exhibit up to? Only one way to find out: 👀 📹  Sharks are an important part of healthy ocean ecosystems throughout the world, including the waters of Monterey Bay.

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Wolf and elk in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Pictures by Sergey Gaschak.

THE RADIOACTIVE FALLOUT ZONE HAS TURNED INTO A REFUGE

After 300,000 people had to abondon Chernobyl after the catastrophic nuclear accident in 1986, wildlife have been thriving in the area - including large packs of wolves. Fields, villages and towns are replaced with forests and wetlands, and the fallout zone is now the largest wildlife sanctaury in Europe. 

Despite the radioactivity in the area, animals seem to be as good as unafected, and the wildlife of Chernobyl is considered healthy. Journalist Mary Mycio writes:

According to all the population counts performed by Ukraine and Belarus over the past 27 years, there is enormous animal diversity and abundance. The prevailing scientific view of the exclusion zone has become that it is an unintentional wildlife sanctuary. This conclusion rests on the premise that radiation is less harmful to wildlife populations than we are.”

Read the rest of Mary Mycio’s story about Chernobyl’s wildlife

Watch the rest of Sergey Gaschak’s gallery of Chernobyl’s wildlife

The grass is always greener! March marks Seagrass Awareness Month, a time to recognize the importance of healthy seagrass beds in maintaining our ocean’s health. 

In places like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, eelgrass – a type of seagrass – provides a primary food source for a variety of marine animals, and protection for others. In addition, seagrasses can help filter pollutants out of the water and prevent erosion, keeping the water column healthy and clear. 

Here, otters raft together in Elkhorn Slough, a tidal salt marsh in Monterey Bay, where they provide a critical service to eelgrass beds. Otters help protect these precious grasses by munching on predators like crabs that would otherwise threaten eelgrass beds. 

What will you do to make like an otter and protect seagrasses? 

(Photo: Becky Stamksi/NOAA)

anonymous asked:

So, do you have any cool interesting facts about spiders that would help someone be less afraid of them?

 Spiders are our friends!

They are a very important part of any healthy ecosystem. They eat insects - 400 to 800 million tons of them a year to be exact, including some that can trasmit diseases or are seen as pests by people - and are themselves a valuable food source for birds, small mammals and even fish.

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In fact, some are even pollinators! Many species of spider use flowers as a hiding spot to hunt for insects. By moving from one flower to another, they can aid in the plant’s reproduction just like a butterfly.

(spoiler: there’s a spider there) source

There is at least one species of spider that actually feeds on nectar, though! Bagheera kiplingi, named after the black panther from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, lives in Central America and eats mostly some nutritious little nubs that grow at the tips of an acacia’s leaves, though they also consume nectar and sometimes, ant larvae. They’re also very pretty.

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All spiders can produce silk, though not all of them make webs. Spider silk is pretty much a magical substance, with evidence suggesting it has antiseptic properties, is rich in vitamin K, can facilitate blood clotting and neural regeneration and have historically been used to make clothing, strings for musical instruments and as part of microscopes and telescopes - not to mention its super strength and elasticity which is inspiring novel technologies.

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Although most spiders use their silk to make webs of all shapes and sizes in which they stand and wait for prey to get trapped, others have more creative uses. The Deinopis spiders, for example, make tiny webs that they hold with their front legs and throw at any passing insect like a goddamn cartoon supervillain.

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The diving bell spiders use their silk to make an underwater cocoon in which they lives for most of their lives. The air inside the coocon needs to be replenished occasionally since it eventually starts shrinking, but scientists confirmed that gas exchange actually happens between the bubble and the surrounding water: oxygen comes in, carbon dioxide goes out.

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Some spiders even make balloons and kites out of their silk! They can use it to get a ride in wind currents, with some spiders being found floating at a height of five kilometers above sea level. This has allowed spiders to colonize far-away islands where nothing but birds, bats and marine animals can reach.

There’s also social spiders that live in communities, spiders that share their burrows with tiny poisonous frogs as roommates, and spiders that look more lavish than peacocks and also can dance better than you.

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So yes, spiders are valid and, all in all, very few of them are dangerous to humans in any way. Even those that can have dangerous venom will think more than twice before using it on you, because venom is expensive to make. And today, provided you seek medical assistance immediately in case you actually get bitten, you are likely going to be just fine.

So if you see a spider in your home, try not to be scared! Just think of how its family has survived for millions of years, how many fun facts it hides behind those multiple eyes that watch you while you sleep, and how you can probably thank it for not having less desirable roomies giving you malaria or something.

(by @paleoart)

anonymous asked:

Hey there, I've been really enjoying reading your blog and have been learning a lot. I'd like to ask about some claims I see being made online about that everyone needs to stop eating meat/animal products imminently to lessen climate change. Is that the full picture? Most articles I see online promote a "plant based" (read: vegan) diet, but is it feasible for everyone to even do that? Would it even help? Thanks :)

This is a very complex question, and a lot has been written on it from different perspectives, but I have to say that it definitely is not the full picture.  To be honest, the question you asked could become an entire paper and/or thesis, but here are some reasons why everyone stopping eating animals immediately is neither feasible nor sustainable for people or the climate. 

The fact of the matter is, we have to feed -everyone- with the land and resources we have.  Climate change aside, that is the problem ag seeks to solve. So a solution is not truly sustainable unless it is capable of feeding everyone and is better for the climate than alternatives. Ok? Here we go!

So, does going animal-free work to feed everyone?

  • Many people (myself included) cannot safely exist on a diet devoid of animal products. Whether it be due to celiac, soy allergies, corn allergies, other gut disorders, many people need at least some animal products to survive. I have celiac. I also cannot eat soy more than occasionally without getting very sick and risking permanent health consequences. The majority of the items on the list of foods I cannot eat without getting sick and/or putting my health at risk are plant-derived. I am far from the only one like this. 
  • Allergies to plant-derived foods are far more common than to animal-derived ones.  Of the top 8 allergens estimated to cause >90% of allergic reactions by the Mayo Clinic, half of them are plant sources, and of the plant sources listed (peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat) those are common sources of protein for vegetarian/vegan diets. If we cut out animal-based protein, where are people with these allergies going to get protein?
  • Saying “everyone can eat vegan” is ableist, and denies the reality of many people, myself and many of my family members included.

Going totally vegan may actually be bad for some ecosystems

  • Grasslands and rangelands need grazing to survive. These lands evolved under pressure from native herbivores, which in turn were kept in check by predators. Humans have largely eliminated those predators from a good chunk of the world, or severely reduced them (see the issue with deer overpopulation in the US due to human elimination of predators). 
  • Even if all the land currently grazed by herbivores was returned to wild populations, we risk herbivore overpopulation issues and long-term environmental degradation. If we just remove all grazing herbivores, we wind up with habitat degradation and in many places, increased fuel for forest fires, which causes its own problems. Removing herbivores also changes ecosystem balance for many other species that rely on herbivores to clear out excess brush, provide manure, or alter habitats.
  • A totally vegan diet for humanity wastes land.  (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/earth/going-vegan-isnt-actually-th/) Most grazing land is unsuitable for row crops without massive inputs of fertilizer and tilling/irrigation, which themselves can have a fairly high carbon footprint, and repeated tilling can be very bad for certain kinds of soil. (http://cropwatch.unl.edu/tillage/structure
  • Have you ever seen the rangelands of California or Montana? It would be extremely difficult to grow row crops there, but we are really good at growing cattle and sheep there!  Since grassland is 26% of the world’s land area, and 70% of the world’s agricultural area, any diet that doesn’t use pasture-produced animal products will be wasting a lot of land that could be feeding people. (http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/agpc/doc/grass_stats/grass-stats.htm)
  • As the world population increases, pressure on existing land usage is going to increase, and so agriculture needs to rise to meet this challenge.

So I think we can make the case that a), a vegan diet will not feed everyone, and b) wastes land that could be used to feed people. So by default it’s not sustainable.

But what about livestock and climate change?

  • Livestock production of all types sum up to 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide (http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/),and 24% of global greenhouse gases come from agriculture, forestry, and other land use, according to the FAO. That includes plant and animal agriculture. (source: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data)
  •  Of this, livestock are a major contributor, but so is soil management, which is needed for growing both human food and feed for livestock.
  • By contrast, electricity/heat, industry, and transport account for 25, 21, and 14% of greenhouse gases, respectively. 
  • In the US, livestock account for just 4.2% of total greenhouse gas emissions. To contrast, transportation and energy production account for 27% and 31% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. 
  • The contribution of livestock to greenhouse gases is higher in developing countries, partially due to a lot of livestock eating poorer quality feed or needing longer to reach market, and the fact that grass-fed livestock do produce more methane than livestock fed on lower-fiber feeds. 
  • But as discussed above, those grass-eating livestock are necessary for producing food where other crops can’t grow, and keeping ecosystems healthy.
  • So for the US and other developed countries, focusing on livestock seems a bit shortsighted compared to developing cleaner energy and transport, right? (source: http://www.afia.org/rc_files/801/livestocks_contribution_to_climate_change_facts_and_fiction.pdf Disclaimer: the author of this piece is one of my advisors) 
  • The US EPA here lists a lot of good ways we can improve agriculture to reduce climate change https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#land-use-and-forestry but the fact of the matter is, while ag and livestock ag in particular contribute a good amount to climate change, it’s got a big job to do - feeding everyone!
  • Herbivores like cows and sheep and goats are needed to preserve native forage-based ecosystems and provide food, but at the cost of producing methane that contributes to climate change. However, if we got rid of every cow and sheep and replaced their contribution to human diets with chicken and pigs, we’d have to grow extra food for them, which means more greenhouse gases to grow those foods, and we’re back at square one
  • To me, the real benefit of livestock, especially on range situations, is that they turn human-inedible plant protein into human-edible protein. That’s a significant reason why they’re so important to the human food supply.
  • Livestock also eat a lot of byproducts (brewer’s mash, hulls, tomato pulp, etc) that would otherwise go to waste.  This reduces the impact of their feed production and of waste disposal in other industries. We’d have a lot of reject feed/byproducts sitting around if we got rid of livestock, and those would have greenhouse gas production from their waste disposal.

For me, it amounts to priorities - we know a vegan diet won’t feed everyone and it wastes land. We don’t have enough arable land to feed everyone on a vegan diet, even if everyone could go vegan. 

We have researchers like myself and my colleagues working to help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions no matter what they farm (greenhouse gas emissions are a waste, remember, and cost farmers money). Livestock, especially in range situations and developing countries, eat a lot of stuff that would otherwise go to waste, and help keep ecosystems healthy. 

So it’s not just the analytical life cycle of the animal and it’s impacts, it’s what would the effect on climate change be by a) removing livestock and b) dealing with the human food needs met by doing so? 

To me, livestock earn their keep, and while it is our job to keep improving livestock systems to be more efficient and help  prevent worse climate change, we also need to remember that livestock are an important part of the sustainability of existing systems. 

So hope that answered your question, anon! For more info, check out this video presentation that you might find neat, as well: http://articles.extension.org/pages/28311/clearing-the-air-on-animal-ag-and-greenhouse-gases

anonymous asked:

Hi!! Are you hopeful for the future of our planet? What are little everyday things that we as people can do in order to prevent climate change? Thankyouuu! :)

Great question. I AM hopeful for the future of our planet - for a couple of reasons: 1) I’m an eternal optimist; 2) The planet is an incredibly resilient place, proven time after time over many millions of years. However, there’s a part 2 to this question - what about the future of humanson Earth? This is a tougher one to ask, and one that a lot of people are reluctant to bring up for obvious reasons! If we continue to  wreak havoc on our home then it is going to be an uncomfortable ride as we hurtle through space on this little rock . A sustainable life for our planet means a comfortable place on it for humans, so I like to focus my work on that intersection, knowing that’s what good for bears/wildlife/healthy ecosystems, is good for people too. I do think that there is hope in a science-savvy, interconnected world for us to pull through and do the right thing (younger generations give me that hope as I see them waking up to the needs of our life support system, knowing we can’t leave it to governments alone to do the work). We are all in this together. The little things we can do are perhaps the obvious ones - like switching off electrical appliances, driving less, supporting the right consumer products, an so on? But we need to accelerate the process of making those little things “the norm”. A cultural shift that begins at home, and begins with people talking, communicating and sharing ideas.

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Only a few animal species use tools and the Egyptian vulture is one of them. Egyptian vultures use rocks to crack open the hard shell of ostrich eggs. Despite their important role in healthy ecosystems, over half of the 23 vulture species are threatened or endangered. Learn about nature’s cleanup crew and how you can help: http://bit.ly/IVADznft (Watch the full video on YouTube)

Out my window I see ash falling

I’ve lost some patience this morning over commentary elsewhere (e.g. not on Tumblr), so here is a rant.

The region where I live is, for the most part, evolved to burn. The wetter areas close to the coast really are not, but because climate change and Euro-colonist bullshit, those areas have burned very badly a number of times (not just recently - BC fires last summer and this - but in the last century+). However, much of the area that burns here every summer does so because that’s what these places do. They are healthier when fires come through periodically.

Fire “management”/suppression has prevented those fires being able to burn normally, because small fires can be controlled by human beings … but those small fires clear out a lot of small plants, and small quantities of burnable dead stuff, and the regular burning of that means that larger fires, the kind that kill huge acres of trees, should not happen too often or too large.

But, no, we have to suppress ALL fires, because they threaten people’s homes and businesses and all that crap. Now everyone’s freaked the fuck out because they know that the past century+ of fire “management” has made the whole problem worse but everyone’s afraid to start letting it burn because of what’s built up … So we gotta keep “controlling” it.

Just like we gotta channelize rivers so that people can keep fucking building in floodplains, over and over and over again.

So now here are people complaining about how it’s those Powers to blame, the wild ones. Why would you venerate Them, They hate us? Isn’t it obvious??

So first of all, the truly wild fires here? They are started by lightning, so if you want a god to blame, you should maybe start with Mr. Thunder-and-Lightning, not immediately leap to fire giants. Or you could stfu because those fires are HEALTHY for this ecosystem, and the reason they are a problem for humans is because modern white-culture humans have no fucking respect for the places they live, and keep failing to behave and build in a way that would reduce their own risk. (For one: Put fucking metal roofs on your damn houses if you MUST build near forests-that-burn.)

Secondly, one of the fires currently really freaking people out? Current theory is it was started by some teenager setting off fireworks in the forest. At the end of a hot, dry summer. Don’t put that on the gods, unless there’s a God of Teenagers you want to yell at.

Too many fires here are started directly by human idiocy. Every. Fucking. YEAR. Campfires, tossed out cigarettes, running logging equipment when you KNOW BETTER and then whoops, it sparked and pretty soon 1,000s of acres are in cinders (look up the history of the “Tillamook Burn” - that specific fuckery happened -repeatedly-, not just once). There are signs along highways here showing how high the fire risk are. People KNOW this shit and they STILL think they can just ignore what’s really going on.

The fires are in many worse now because of less direct human idiocy. Prevention/suppression of the smaller fires. And, also, too, global warming. Things are hotter and dryer now. Well done, everyone!! Time to blame the wild again!!

Why oh why would we want to treat the wild Powers with respect amiright??

Image: Standing Rock Protest

An open letter from Kurt Dongoske, from the January 27, 2017 Newsletter of The Archaeological Division of the American Anthropological Association: 

“For most people, the beginning of a new year offers a renewed sense of hope, happiness, and prosperity for the future. For me, as the Zuni Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and an archaeologist working in cultural resource management in the Southwest for 40 years, the dawning of 2017 brings anxiety born out of a feeling of foreboding that our future is in jeopardy. I am referring both to the future of careers in cultural resource management and the future of our environment. Normally, I’m a pretty optimistic fellow, but the results of the recent presidential election left me feeling more than pessimistic. My sense of foreboding is based, in part, on the campaign platform of the President-elect in which he promised to diminish or abolish regulations, underscored by anti-science, anti-climate change, and fact-denying rhetoric. Moreover, his recent appointments for key administrative positions heighten my apprehension. 

Once the President-elect is in office, I fully expect an executive and legislative branch assault on all environmental and historic preservation legislation and regulation that ‘industry’ currently views as unnecessary impediments to so-called 'development.’ The incoming administration most likely will move quickly to effectively promote and encourage gas, oil, and coal extraction on federal lands and couple this with a move toward seriously reducing compliance with environmental protection legislation and strong-arm tactics to any push back by environmental or professional organizations. 

Closer to home, I anticipate that the incoming administration will act to fundamentally undermine the preservation community’s commitment to protect, preserve, and interpret historical properties and cultural resources. Now more than ever, as the natural resource extraction industry is afforded unique privileges by the federal government, archaeological sites, sacred sites, traditional cultural properties and landscapes may be threatened with destruction without appropriate consideration or treatment. Any effort by the new administration to exempt categories of development projects from Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review—including reform of NEPA and the Section 106 process—will have a deleterious effect on cultural resource management. 

It is not just archaeological sites, historic properties, places, landscapes and the environment that will be threatened. A highly partisan Congress may entertain bills that seek to restrict the types of research funded under the National Science Foundation (NSF). This will cause negative reverberations throughout the academy. Even more importantly, such a change would damage historically and geographically marginalized communities that rely on the academy to make their voices, concerns, and struggles more public and to hold responsible entities more accountable. 

While the new Republican-held Congress is anticipated to work toward diminishing environmental and historic preservation regulations, they will concomitantly attempt to curtail federally required Tribal consultation by reversing previous Executive Orders on tribal consultation. Should this occur, it will have a profoundly negative effect on the ability of Tribal Nations to put forth meaningful and effective voices in the protection of their places of sacred and traditional cultural importance. One need only look at the Dakota Access Pipeline, the resistance by the Standing Rock Sioux, and the militarized response by the oil industry as an example of what may be in store for Native peoples. The othering of immigrant Mexicans and Muslims by the President-elect can be anticipated to be extended to Native Americans as a form of delegitimizing and dismissing their claims of primacy-of-association-to-landscape and to natural and cultural resources. If all of this occurs, not only will archaeological sites, traditional cultural properties and landscapes be threatened if not completely disregarded, but also it may result in the violation of basic human rights for Native Americans and their ability to secure the protection of their sacred places, cultural identities and living heritage. 

As anthropologists and archaeologists, we should be deeply troubled with the President-elect’s past and current turgidity toward dismantling or decreasing legislation that provides for the consideration and protection of clean air, clean water, and healthy ecosystems. We have a professional ethical responsibility to work collaboratively and effectively to advocate for and protect archaeological and cultural resources and to speak out and work against any and all efforts that threaten these important places. Moreover, as anthropologists we have a profound ethical responsibility to advocate on behalf of indigenous people when they are being disenfranchised from a regulatory process that has been altered to privilege oil, gas, and coal extraction efforts on their ancestral lands. 

The American Anthropological Association (AAA), the Society for American Archaeology, and the Register of Professional Archaeologists all have ethical principals or codes of conduct that define our responsibilities to the archaeological record. For example, the Society for American Archaeology’s ethical principle No. 1 calls upon all members of the Society to be “both caretakers of and advocates for the archaeological record for the benefit of all people,” and “to use the specialized knowledge they gain to promote public understanding and support for its long-term preservation.” Recently, the Society for American Archaeology’s Board of Directors issued direction to the membership (Our Ethical Principles, Our Actions: Member Responsibilities in a Time of Change) in response to what is viewed as a pending time of change. They added the following directions to the membership regarding ethical principle No. 1: 

As members, we will therefore oppose any initiatives to weaken the present legal protections of archaeological sites and materials, be these through legislative process, rewriting of agency regulations, or other means. Moreover, our stewardship responsibilities require that we support and defend initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts on cultural heritage of accelerating climate disruptions. 

The AAA’s code of ethics speaks to our professional responsibilities to support and defend the rights of indigenous peoples and this is important for us, as anthropologists, to never forget and to be compelled to action by embracing this code. The AAA represents all anthropologists and archaeologists working in the United States and our collective economic viability and our ability to secure federal funding for academic research and cultural resource management projects likely will be under assault. It seems to me that every archaeological, anthropological, historic preservation and environmental professional organization has a dog in this fight and must be willing to speak out and lobby against any efforts to abolish or decrease environmental protection and historic preservation legislation. 

As members of professional organizations, I urge you to encourage and support our organizations to establish strong lobbying coalitions with fellow environmental organizations in order to actively and effectively thwart any legislative or executive efforts to weaken current legal protections for the environment and historic properties, places, and landscapes. As individuals, I encourage each and every one of us to act locally, at the state level and nationally by contacting your congressional representatives and senators and expressing your concerns regarding the movement to rollback regulations, for those regulations not only help to protect our collective cultural heritage and a healthy environment for generations to come, but are the backbone of providing appropriate consideration for and attention to many places that are central to the identity and ongoing traditional practices and benefits of indigenous and traditional communities.” 

TL;DR: The Trump Administration’s actions to restrict regulations in order to allow the development of energy extraction on federal lands puts at risk both natural and heritage resources, many of them nonrenewable. In cutting off federal funding and curtailing public education, it also threatens the livelihoods and free speech of scientists in many fields. The Trump Administration also presents a threat to the civil rights of Tribal Nations in cases where economic interests ignore Tribal sovereignty over matters within their own lands. It is important that the scientific community, the Tribal community, and their allies stand up to these efforts of the Trump administration (see the final paragraph of the letter for concrete actions). 

The key to growing edibles in a time of drought is healthy soil. In the same way that our bodies depend on millions of microscopic organisms to stay functional and in balance, healthy soil is host to a microscopic world that gives it—and the plants that grow in it—the necessary building blocks for a healthy ecosystem. The organisms in the soil create and maintain the pathways through which water and nutrients travel. Without happy soil life, you don’t have soil—you just have dirt.

On VERSO, research horticulturist and Huntington Ranch Garden coordinator Kyra Saegusa talks soil health and sheet mulching.

caption: Just about six months of sheet mulching produces rich compost, teeming with soil life. Photo by Lisa Blackburn.

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Sea otters are a keystone species for kelp forests, meaning they have a disproportionate effect on this habitat. When sea otters are present, they keep the invertebrate grazers of kelp in check and balanced and the result is a healthy kelp forest ecosystem.

Fun fact:

Average hairs per square inch on a human head: 700

Average hairs per square inch on a sea otter: 170,000 to over 1 million. 

anonymous asked:

i agree. they're super easy to take care of, why do you think parents buy them for kids? and they lack color and basically look the same.

Again, I disagree with you. Freshwater fish are not as easy to take of as you are making it seem. I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re talking about some 8 year old kid that begs for a pet and all his parent’s are willing to get is a goldfish in a bowl - or something along those lines - which ultimately ends up dying in a couple weeks due to ammonia poisoning and other factors. For someone who is an enthusiast/hobbyist, such as myself, would like to keep much more complex setups that can be biotope specific, community, species, breeding tanks/pairs, aquascaping, etc.

If you say that freshwater fish lack color and look the same, you sir, are silly.

Here’s a Ram:

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This is a dwarf gourami

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This is a discus:

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This is a show betta:

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Clown loach:

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Neon Tetra:

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Red Terror:

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Green Terror:

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Might as well show you some complex aquascapes while I’m at it:

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(See the discus?)


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Anyways. This is a legit hobby that is mostly popularized by adults; it is very rare that I come across other people my age - so no it’s not “just for kids”. There are entire clubs, conventions, and forum communities all dedicated to the freshwater-keeping hobby. It’s a lifelong passion for creating a healthy, beautiful ecosystem all the while keeping up with the water chemistry and dealing with decomposing organic matter. Freshwater is little known about, I suppose, by the average person because everyone is so caught up with the ocean and saltwater. To me, it is just as beautiful and complex as saltwater and to others who can appreciate it. Besides, I particularly like Amazonian fish, and I think they’re way less researched than marine life. How cool is that?

Here’s an arowana (ancient species still alive today from the Amazon) for pete sake. Do you think keeping one of these is easy? Because, yes indeed, some hobbyists do in fact keep them.  

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I can see how it can be seen as “boring”. You know what’s boring to me? Economics. So, whatever floats your boat, anon.

Re: Godspouses.

This blog is kin friendly. This blog is vamp friendly. This blog is therian friendly. This blog is godspouse firendly. This blog is pop culture pagan friendly. This blog is even friendly toward the intersection of one or all of these. There are other things this blog is friendly toward that the blog’s author has yet to need to specify a friendliness toward. This blog is, in general, pretty chill about however the reader identifies and relates to the substance of mind, body and spirit… as long as the reader does not require that I change myself to suit them.

This is my formal response to everything I’ve read and discussed with others since I asked for educational resources on “Godspouses”. It’s been pretty fascinating, actually.I have not seen anything within the godspouse sphere that I haven’t seen outside of it. Only a specificity of focus - working in a specific style of relationship with a specific deity.

Here is what has been obvious to me: There is some fuckin’ nasty, targeted, behavior toward godspouses that I just don’t get.

There is fertile soil for really, really, cool dialogue. “Married to”/”mated to”/”consorting with” gods and spirits is a concept that’s old as hell, and appears in numerous religions. The implications are really interesting and potentially powerful, too. These different spiritual roles are, to me, indications of a diversifying ecosystem of belief and interaction. Diverse ecosystems are healthy ecosystems.

Instead of THAT - that cool shit up there - the talk I see is basically: ”Lol godspouses loki fangirls tom hiddleston hormones need to get laid. Little girls. Gross fat women. Soccer moms of the occult. Manipulating people into uh… - THEY ARE SO LONELY AND SAD.” and that fuckin’ attitude is some toxic, nasty, misogynistic, bullshit. It so dominated the “critique” of the topic that I didn’t find any other critique.

Here’s my critique: Even if someone claims to be a godspouse to any deity I work with it doesn’t affect or damage my relationship with that deity. I don’t have to do what someone else tells me no matter how hard they crow, and that goes both ways. I don’t need to come to the defense of myself or my god in the face of someone being a dickweed. If they act like a dick, then they’re a dick… Being a dick on the internet that is certainly nothing new under the vasty umbrella of Pagandom.

anonymous asked:

can you not release toads that you breed but dont get sold? it doesnt seem like ~10 toads would disrupt the ecosystem at all but im not sure if theyd actually survive in the wild

In theory it doesn’t sound like a big deal but the problem is a healthy ecosystem is self regulating and will already be at toad capacity. I think people forget that toads are predators and having ten extra ones appear will suddenly put the other toads and insect eaters in extra competition for resources. So it might not be instantaneous but eventually someone in this equation will go hungry and die, and it would have never happened if I hadn’t [hypothetically] bred 10 more toads than I could handle and let them loose. And that’s not even considering what sort of bacteria the two separate populations would introduce to each other and what the consequences would be. 

Plus toads get really used to handouts when they’re in captivity so a captive bred one would absolutely not do well in the woods. Also I would feel bad. But TL;DR, no, you can’t release captive bred animals into the wild, even if they’re just 1 generation removed. If anyone else wants to expand on this go for it.

Woah, it’s been a really long time since I’ve updated this blog. Sorry tumblr! I’ve sort of neglected social media all together this summer.

So here’s a big update for all of you!

I finished my BFA thesis, successfully defended, and graduated! Yay! After months of worry and imagining the worst possible outcome, my thesis exhibit and defense were actually very well received and I was SO happy! I was even selected as one of the school’s top 20 graduating seniors! Woohoo! That award qualified me for a group of travel scholarships, which I did not end up winning, (sad face) but I was still super happy to get top 20.

Here is my whole exhibit! Yay! The center had a giant Photoshop painting of a healthy ecosystem on the left fading into an ecosystem overtaken by invasive plants on the right.

The left side of my exhibit had big printouts of all the spreads from the book.

The right side of my exhibit displayed all of the original drawings included in the book. Drawings on green backgrounds are invasive plants, and drawings on blue backgrounds are native plants. The book is color-coded in the same way.

This table had a few prints of the book for people to look through and some prints of the plants as a free take-away.

I made the top 20! Yeah! As a side note, you can see I have a pretty crappy little name plate for my exhibit as a last minute solution to a certain vinyl lettering debacle. I said my exhibit was well received, not that it was perfect. Lol.

As you can see in the pictures above, for my thesis, I wrote and illustrated a short field guide to invasive aquatic plants, which is now being used locally. I’d been consulting my local park system, the Cleveland Metroparks, on my thesis project, and two days after I defended my thesis, my contact there called to say they found funding for my project! Because of this funding, my summer has been filled with work to expand my aquatic plant field guide and designing a website about general invasive plant control. The project is funded by the National Park Service, and my book will soon be published and distributed to help invasive plant control everywhere! Woohoo! Additionally, this job has been a huge help in paying for my graduate school expenses, as I’ll be starting that new chapter of my life quite soon.

Here are a few spreads from the book:

Another big part of my summer has been getting ready and getting excited for grad school! I start my graduate education for Science Illustration at Cal State Monterey Bay in just a little under two months, and I am pumped! I’m also getting more nervous by the day… I’ll be moving across the country all by myself to a whole new place surrounded by all new people. I have no doubt that my Science Illustration classmates will be amazing! I just hope that I can measure up in such a talented bunch and that I fit in and am liked and all that jazz… I worry too much.

I guess that’s about it for now. To all of my followers: thanks for sticking with me in my absence. I hope you’ve all had an amazing summer!

Photograph by @paulnicklen
A young Ringed Seal peers cautiously through the glassy water surface for polar bears before taking a breath. All species in the polar regions, one way or another depend on a healthy icy ecosystem. To see other images of my favorite polar species please follow me on @paulnicklen. This week, we will be focussing on pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walruses) With @sea_legacy @cristinamittermeier @thephotosociety @natgeocreative @elplanetaphoto #seal #climatechange by natgeo

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My friend just bought a house with her sister. They are basically giving me free reign to do whatever I want with the back yard. It needs a lot of work, and I have little experience, but I have plans to turn it into a thriving habitat for native flora and fauna. One day, probably years from now, I hope that this little square of Portland will be filled with native trees, shrubs, and herbs, spiders, ladybugs, bees, and butterflies, and be a sanctuary for the native birds that need habitat the most. I want to do this all with as little disturbance to the soil as possible with the goal of having a low maintenance, healthy, and self-sustaining ecosystem with lots of edible production. It’s a little overwhelming at the moment, but I’m also really excited to get started. Does anyone have tips or advice?