April 21, 2009

Tonight our topic is Endangered Species, and we have three guests. First we talk with Dr. Mark Rockwell of the Endangered Species Coalition about the Endangered Species act and its implications.

Then we talk with Mary Muchowski, who is coordinator of the Endangered Species Faire sponsored by the Butte Environmental Council; that’s coming up on Saturday, May 2 at Bidwell Park, a wonderful Ecotopian event.

Finally, we chat with Rosamond Crowder, who will be bringing the One Heart Ceremony to the Faire; it’s a a fantastically choreographed and colorful ceremony of dancers, musicians and giant puppets representing Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Listen to Ecotopia #29 Online Now!
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Our Discussion with Mark Rockwell

Before we talk with Mark, we want to give you a few facts about endangered species from Endangeredspecie.com, the National Wildlife Federation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

  • According to scientists, more than one and one-half million species exist on the earth today. However, recent estimates state that at least 20 times that many species inhabit the planet.
  • In the United States, 735 species of plants and 496 species of animals are listed as threatened or endangered.
  • In California, 309 plants and animals are on the threatened or endangered species list, including Abalone, the Grizzly Bear, the Humpbacked Whale, numerous butterflies, several species of foxes, and the Northern Spotted Owl.
  • In the past several decades, a number of species have gone extinct despite being listed, including the Santa Barbara Song Sparrow and several species of Pupfish.
  • And some species have recovered sufficiently to make it off the list, including some Wolves, Falcons, and Eagles.

Our questions for Mark:.

  • Please tell us a little about the work of the Endangered Species Coalition. How does your work relate to that of the federal government?
  • How does the California office of ESC fit in with the national program?
  • The Endangered Species Act was first created under the Nixon administration (and modified over time). What have been its successes and failures so far?
  • How did the Bush administration weaken the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act?
  • Many people feel that under the Obama administration —Secretary Salazar of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Director Lubchenco of NOAA—that some of the changes created by the Bush administration can be reversed. Do you share that optimism?
  • What are the most important endangered species in California (and more narrowly in the Northstate and Sacramento Valley)? What projects are under way—either from the coalition or from government and other NGOS—to save those species?
  • Over the years, we’ve seen logging trucks with signs telling us what we can do with the Spotted Owl and claiming that endangered species laws put jobs and the economy at risk. Please comment on the “balance” between species protection and the economic needs of the community?
  • If you were the Endangered Species Czar, what additional changes would you make in the laws and their implementation?
  • Our listeners are actively interested in environmental issues. What can they do as individuals or collectively to stop the loss of species diversity?

Check out the Endangered Species Coalition website: http://www.stopextinction.org/cgi-bin/giga.cgi?c=1704

Talking with Mary Muchowski about the Endangered Species Faire

Mary Muchowski of the Butte Environmental Council is coordinating efforts for the 30th annual Endangered Species Faire, to be held Saturday May 2, 2009, 10:00am to 5:00pm, Cedar Grove in Bidwell Park, Chico.

  • What’s the history of the event and how has it grown?
  • Please tell us what is planned for the day.
  • Who will be exhibiting?
  • What’s the program?
  • What’s there for kids?
  • How can people best participate?

For full details, check out the Butte Environmental Council site www.becnet.org


Our discussion with Rosamond Crowder about the One Heart Ceremony

A special feature of this year’s Faire is the One-Heart Ceremony, created by our guest, Rosamond Crowder.

  • Please tell us about the Ceremony—what it includes, and how it runs.
  • We hear of giant puppets, music, dance, all focused around the Greek partition of the elements into Air, Earth, Water, and Fire. How do you integrate all these into the ceremony?
  • When did you first start working on this project? How has it changed over the years?
  • How can people participate in the Ceremony as part of the Endangered Species Faire?



10 Easy things you can do at home to protect
endangered species from the Endangered Species Coalition

1) Learn about endangered species in your area
Teach your friends and family about the wonderful wildlife, fish and plants that live near you. The first step to protecting endangered species is learning about how interesting and important they are. Our natural world provides us with many indispensable services including food and medicinal sources, clean air and water, commercial, aesthetic and recreational benefits.
Check out our endangered species pages at www.stopextinction.org/endangeredspecies
For more information about endangered species, visit endangered.fws.gov

2) Visit a national wildlife refuge, park or other open space
These protected lands provide habitat to many native wildlife, fish and plants. Scientists tell us the best way to protect endangered species is to protect the places where they live.  Get involved by volunteering at your local nature center or wildlife refuge.
Go wildlife or bird watching in nearby parks. Wildlife related recreation creates millions of jobs and supports local businesses.
To find a wildlife refuge near you, visit www.fws.gov/refuges/
To find a park near you, visit www.nps.gov
To find a zoo near you, visit www.aza.org

3) Make your home wildlife friendly

Secure garbage in shelters or cans with locking lids, feed pets indoors and lock pet doors at night to avoid attracting wild animals into your home.
Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival.
Disinfect bird baths often to avoid disease transmission.
Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions. Millions of birds die every year because of collisions with windows. You can help reduce the number of collisions simply by placing decals on the windows in your home and office.
For more information on what you can do, check out these tips from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

4) Provide habitat for wildlife by planting native vegetation in your yard
Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Attracting native insects like bees and butterflies can help pollinate your plants. The spread of non-native species has greatly impacted native populations around the world. Invasive species compete with native species for resources and habitat. They can even prey on native species directly, forcing native species towards extinction.
For more information about native plants, visit http://www.plantsocieties.org

5) Minimize use of herbicides and pesticides
Herbicides and pesticides may keep yards looking nice but they are in fact hazardous pollutants that affect wildlife at many levels. Many herbicides and pesticides take a long time to degrade and build up in the soils or throughout the food chain. Predators such as hawks, owls and coyotes can be harmed if they eat poisoned animals.Some groups of animals such as amphibians are particularly vulnerable to these chemical pollutants and suffer greatly as a result of the high levels of herbicides and pesticides in their habitat.
For alternatives to pesticides, visit http://www.beyondpesticides.org

6) Slow down when driving
Many animals live in developed areas and this means they must navigate a landscape full of human hazards. One of the biggest obstacles to wildlife living in developed areas is that created by roads. Roads divide habitat and present a constant hazard to any animal attempting to cross from one side to the other. So when you’re out and about, slow down and keep an eye out for wildlife.

7) Recycle and buy sustainable products
Buy recycled paper, sustainable products like bamboo and Forest Stewardship Council wood products to protect forest species. Never buy furniture made from wood from rainforests.
Recycle your cell phones, because a mineral used in cell phones and other electronics is mined in gorilla habitat.
Minimize your use of palm oil because forests where tigers live are being cut down to plant palm plantations.

8) Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species
Overseas trips can be exciting and fun, and everyone wants a souvenir. But sometimes the souvenirs are made from species nearing extinction. Avoid supporting the market in illegal wildlife including: tortoise-shell, ivory, coral. Also, be careful of products including fur from tigers, polar bears, sea otters and other endangered wildlife, crocodile skin, live monkeys or apes, most live birds including parrots, macaws, cockatoos and finches, some live snakes, turtles and lizards, some orchids, cacti and cycads, medicinal products made from rhinos, tiger or Asiatic black bear.

9) Report any harassment or shooting of threatened and endangered species
Harassing wildlife is cruel and illegal. Shooting, trapping, or forcing a threatened or endangered animal into captivity is also illegal and can lead to their extinction. Don’t participate in this activity, and report it as soon as you see it to your local state or federal wildlife enforcement office.
You can find a list of state wildlife departments at http://www.fws.gov/offices/statelinks.html

10) Protect wildlife habitat

Perhaps the greatest threat that faces many species is the widespread destruction of habitat. Scientists tell us the best way to protect endangered species is to protect the special places where they live. Wildlife must have places to find food, shelter and raise their young. Logging, oil and gas drilling, over-grazing and development all result habitat destruction. Endangered species habitat should be protected and these impacts minimized.

By protecting habitat, entire communities of animals and plants can be protected together. Parks, wildlife refuges, and other open space should be protected near your community. Open space also provides us with great places to visit and enjoy. Support wildlife habitat and open space protection in your community. When you are buying a house, consider your impact on wildlife habitat.


Playlist for Ecotopia #29
1. Feathers Fur or Fins        2:25        Helen Goodwin        
        24 Kiddies Favourites        
2. Supernova        4:42        Liquid Blue        
        Supernova        I
3. Trophic Cascade        4:12        Ronn Fryer        
        Endangered Animals (Environmental Jenga)        
4. Break Up The Concrete        2:39        The Pretenders        
        Break Up The Concrete        
5. Weave Me the Sunshine        4:28        Peter, Paul And Mary        
        The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary        
6. Pigs, Sheep, And Wolves        3:58        Paul Simon        
        You're The One