Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As Indonesia’s Forests Burned, No End in Sight to Infernos

Seventy percent of 1,908 companies under the Forest Ministry’s supervision are said to be committed to complying with state environmental standards


Environmentalists have attributed most of the haze cases in Sumatra this year to
 the slash-and-burn clearing of peatlands to make way for plantations, especially for
 oil palms. President Joko Widodo has signaled a tougher stance against the practice.
(Antara Photo/Untung Setiawan)

Jakarta. Slash-and-burn clearing of forests to make way for plantations topped Indonesia’s list of environmental problems in 2014, with several major forest and land fires in Sumatra once again undermining the country’s fight against deforestation, while generating choking clouds of smoke that left local residents ill and prompt the ire of neighboring countries.

The Indonesian office of international environmental group Greenpeace says the number of fire incidents over the past few years have continued to increase in Riau, a Sumatran province at the center of major forest and land fire incidents in Indonesia in recent years.

Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Muhammad Teguh Surya says a total of 6,644 fire hot spots were detected across Riau in 2011, and this figure has continued to rise: 8,107 hot spots in 2012 and 15,112 hot spots in 2013.

“As of October this year, we recorded more than 21,000 fire hot spots,” Teguh told Indonesian news portal Tempo.co earlier this month.

The Riau administration declared a state of emergency in the province in late February after it failed to tackle fires and haze that spread to surrounding provinces, forcing airports to shut down and disrupting flights, as well as threatening the health of residents.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency, or BNPB, said during the emergency period that ran from Feb. 26 to April 4 that potential economic losses from the fires and haze were estimated at Rp 20 trillion ($1.61 billion). Nearly 22,000 hectares of land were torched, including 2,400 hectares located in biosphere reserves.

Nearly 6 million people were exposed to the haze, and 58,000 people suffered respiratory problems as a result.

Riau was forced to declare another state of emergency in July. Although local firefighters, with the help of the military and police, eventually managed to extinguish most of the fires, they kept coming back throughout the year.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho has highlighted the need for better law enforcement. In the wake of the peak of the fire and haze incidents in the first quarter of the year, police have arrested dozens of people for allegedly starting the blazes, but law enforcement in the sector has generally been considered toothless, with security officers criticized for only nabbing small-scale farmers and barely going after the large plantation companies in whose concessions many of the hot spots are located.

“The key is law enforcement. Peatlands burn easily, and once they burn, it’s difficult to extinguish the fire. Prevention is more effective than putting out the fires,” Sutopo said.

Environmentalists have attributed most of the haze cases to the clearing of peatlands to make way for plantations, especially for oil palms.

Local farmers and big plantation companies been blame each other for starting the fires, but President Joko Widodo, during a visit to Riau last month, won activists’ praises when he threw his weight behind the smallholders.

“The best thing to do is to give the land to people so they can use it to plant sago. What’s made by people is usually environmentally friendly. They won’t do any harm to nature,” he said. “However, if we give the land to corporations, they will only switch it to monoculture plantations.”

Joko’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, won plaudits from the international community for parading as an environmental champion — pledging Indonesia’s commitment to cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2020 using its own resources, and by 41 percent with international support. He enacted a moratorium on deforestation in 2011 to achieve those goals, and the ban will be in place until next year.

Yudhoyono’s administration, however, came under fire after Nature Climate Change journal published in June a report of a study that found Indonesia had overtaken Brazil as the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter by deforestation, despite the much-ballyhooed moratorium.

The report said Indonesia’s primary forest loss totaled more than six million hectares from 2000 to 2012, with an average increase of 47,600 hectares per year.

“By 2012, annual primary forest loss in Indonesia was estimated to be higher than in Brazil; 0.84 million hectares and 0.46 million hectares, respectively,” it added.

Zenzi Suhaidi, a campaigner manager with the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi, criticized a presidential regulation on peatland protection issued by Yudhoyono earlier this year because it changed the status of Benoa Bay in the south of Bali from a conservation area into a so-called buffer zone.

The change in status allows a controversial commercial development project in the area to proceed, despite an outcry from local fishermen and environmental activists.

“In spite of its name, the regulation jeopardizes the sustainability of peatlands because it compromises certain stakeholders’ interests, and the regulation provides no deterrent effects,” Zenzi said.

He also pointed to a clause in the regulation that rules on environmental restoration requirements for forestry and mining firms, saying it offered a lot of room for backroom deals.

“That was a setback by Yudhoyono this year. The regulation ‘inadvertently’ provides room for gratuities,” Zenzi said.

“This year we’ve seen the effects of forest destruction, yet the previous administration still issued that regulation to exploit [forests].”

Zenzi, though, like other environmental activists, is encouraged by Joko’s take on green issues, following his visit to Sungai Tohor village in Riau’s Meranti Islands district in late November.

They believe the president’s siding with local farmers and his particular attention to the management of peatlands are positive signs of his commitment to the environment. Joko, during that visit, introduced a canal system to manage the water level in peatlands to make them more resistant to fires. He said he wanted the system to be part of the government’s permanent policies on Indonesia’s peatland management.

Joko also has ordered reviews of logging permits and concessions of plantation and mining firms, in an effort to crack down on slash-and-burn clearing of forests.

“Those commitments may be part of a concrete agenda that will have significant effects. And implementations of all of them must start in 2015,” Zenzi said.

He said the government must set up a body to ensure implementation of those commitments, suggesting a name like “the Anti-Forestry Mafia Committee,” or “the Agrarian Conflict Resolution Board.”

“Mechanisms [for resolutions] have to be built because the number of cases of [land] conflict and environmental degradation are very high already, and the incidents are widespread,” Zenzi said.

He added Joko’s administration also faced a challenge in the form of regulations issued during Yudhoyono’s term.

“Although Joko’s administration has signaled its good intentions to fix our country’s environmental problems, we cannot forget that there are many policies on the environment arbitrarily issued by the previous administration,” he said.

Rasio Ridho Sani, a deputy to the environment and forestry minister, however, argued that Indonesia had made significant improvements in the environmental sector, citing growing environmental awareness among logging, plantation and mining firms operating in forests.

He said 70 percent of the total 1,908 companies under the ministry’s supervision were committed to complying with the government’s environmental standards. The figure is an increase from 49 percent in 2004.

“Seventy percent of those corporations have refined their commitments to managing their activities and the effects toward the environment,” Rasio said.

“This means the environmental awareness of the business community has increased. And we hope that the number will stay that high and increase even further,” he said.

He added that the public’s awareness about environmental issues was also improving, citing how more people were starting to cycle to work and were committed to recycling their waste as part of a greener lifestyle.

“This is a very good sign for our nation,” Rasio said.

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