Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action

January 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action

The Earth911 Reader collects and comments on useful news about … The post Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action appeared first on Earth 911.

Continued here:
Earth911 Reader: The Biden Era Arrives With Dramatic Climate Action

Earth911 Reader: $150 Billion in Wildfire Damage, Pantanal Wetlands Burn, & Top Plastic Polluters

December 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on Earth911 Reader: $150 Billion in Wildfire Damage, Pantanal Wetlands Burn, & Top Plastic Polluters

We keep an eye on the news for useful information … The post Earth911 Reader: $150 Billion in Wildfire Damage, Pantanal Wetlands Burn, & Top Plastic Polluters appeared first on Earth 911.

See the rest here:
Earth911 Reader: $150 Billion in Wildfire Damage, Pantanal Wetlands Burn, & Top Plastic Polluters

Whats causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations?

March 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Whats causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations?

Monarch butterflies  are amongst North America’s majestic wildlife. They fascinate with their vibrant allure and migratory prowess. Yet these beauties are under serious threat, as evidenced by drastic population reduction throughout North America. What factors are causing monarch butterfly numbers to dwindle? Habitat loss For monarchs,  habitat  entails food, water and shelter, says the  National Wildlife Federation (NWF)  and the  World Wildlife Fund (WWF) . Specific to monarchs is their habitat corridor, a trek of thousands of miles from Central America’s warm regions, where they overwinter, to areas across the United States and southern Canada, where they stay for spring and summer.  In recent decades, population surveys reveal monarchs declining because of  deforestation  in Mexico, loss of grasslands in the Great Plains’ Corn Belt — which the  Center for Biological Diversity  calls “the heart of the monarch’s range” — and loss of native milkweed plants in the U.S. Such habitat losses negatively impact monarch populations as they breed, migrate and overwinter.   Habitat loss  stems mainly from the deforestation of overwintering areas,  climate change ‘s fluctuating weather patterns, developmental sprawl, plus the conversion of U.S. grasslands into ranches and farmlands. This conversion to farmland for corn and soy has spurred the Center for Biological Diversity’s admonishment against the overuse of  herbicides . These harmful chemicals poison a key player in monarch habitats, their host plant, the milkweed.  Problems with milkweed Milkweed is vital to monarchs. They are host plants, upon which females lay eggs. Once hatched, caterpillars enjoy milkweed as a food source while they grow and develop into adulthood, a process that happens in the first month of a monarch’s lifespan. And, as adults, the  butterflies  feed on milkweed nectar. Several generations of offspring spawn on milkweed during spring and summer months before migration to overwintering sites even begins. According to the NWF, “Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed, the only host plant for this iconic butterfly species. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. Without it, they cannot complete their life cycle and their  populations  decline.” Interestingly, milkweed has the toxin cardenolide, which accumulates in caterpillars feeding on milkweed . When these caterpillars become adults, the cardenolides remain, protecting them from predation. Birds and predators veer away, signaled off by the toxin’s presence in the monarchs’ bright wings. Unfortunately, milkweed loss is increasing in the destabilized landscape. Milkweed has lost considerable ground to urbanization, shifting land management practices, climate change and even herbicide misuse, like that of Roundup.  Alarming still are reports by  Science  magazine and  Entomology Today  that well-meaning gardeners have been planting the wrong species of milkweed. There are over 100 milkweed species, and not all are good for monarchs. Sadly, the tropical milkweed species  Asclepias curassavica  is heavily marketed because it is easier to obtain. But this invasive species is not well-suited for monarchs, yet remains the species good-intentioned gardeners are planting rather than the native milkweed species the monarchs are better adapted to. This invasive milkweed is now recognized by the  Ecological Society of America  as an ecological trap for monarch butterflies.     What dangers do these “wrong” species of milkweed pose for monarchs? For one, they harbor parasites, such as the protozoan parasite  Ophryocystis elektroscirrha  (OE), that are harmful to the monarch butterfly. These parasites debilitate monarchs, weakening them via “wing deformities, smaller body size, reduced flight performance, and shorter adult lifespans,” Entomology Today explained. Should these issues with milkweed persist unmitigated, their repercussions would continue to exacerbate the monarch butterfly population crisis.    Pesticide, insecticide and fungicide misuse While media attention has spotlighted herbicides as a culprit, equally important is the fact that monarch butterflies are also vulnerable to  pesticides ,  neonicotinoid  insecticides and fungicides. For instance, a Purdue University Department of Entomology  study , published last summer 2019 in  Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution , revealed that non-target pesticides, insecticides and fungicides have wreaked havoc on monarch butterflies, even at their larval stage. As the study elucidated, “agricultural intensification and a corresponding rise in pesticide use has been an  environmental  concern” that adversely affects beneficial  pollinators , like the monarch butterfly. Exposure to these pesticides, insecticides and fungicides, can be from “direct contact with contaminated surfaces or spray droplets, residues remaining on the soil, and consumption via food resources such as leaves, nectar or pollen.” Just as vexing are pesticides, insecticides and fungicides “applied by aircraft.” The study emphasized the “evidence of lower abundance and/or diversity of butterflies.” Climate change The  WWF  affirms that “monarchs are highly sensitive to  weather  and climate. They depend on environmental cues (temperature in particular) to trigger reproduction, migration, and hibernation.” Their decline is also attributed to “the effects of an increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as drought and severe storms, and extremes in hot and cold temperatures.” No wonder then that the  Environmental Defense Fund ‘s Director of Conservation Studies, David Wolfe, has lamented that “The iconic and beloved North American monarch butterfly is one of the species that has difficulty adjusting to our new climate-stressed world. Its population has declined 95 percent in the last 20 years Yet another way  climate  change adversely affects monarch butterflies is by disrupting their migration. These butterflies can travel between 50 and 100 miles a day, but when extreme weather sets in during  migration , the entire cluster or roost is vulnerable.  “Every year, a new generation of these butterflies follows the same path forged by generations before them. The only thing guiding them on this migration is temperature telling them when they need to travel – like a biological trigger setting them in flight,” Wolfe explained. “But in recent years, the monarch’s fall south migration from Canada has been delayed by as much as six weeks due to warmer-than-normal temperatures that failed to trigger the butterflies’ instincts to move south. By the time the temperature cooled enough to trigger the migration, it’s been too cold in the Midwest and many monarchs died on their trip south.” Even more worrisome, the  Xerces Society , a nonprofit environmental group focused on invertebrates, has reported that warmer temperatures from climate change increase the toxicity of tropical milkweed by increasing cardenolide concentrations. Monarch caterpillars are only tolerant up to a threshold.  EcoWatch  explained, “warmer temperatures increase the cardenolides in  A. curassavica  [the tropical milkweed species] to the point where they poison monarch larvae, delaying larval growth and stunting adult forewings. Native milkweed is not similarly impacted.” Hence, as  invasive  milkweed persists, they further harm monarch populations as temperatures rise in our current  climate crisis .  Diseases, parasites and fungal pathogens Emory University  emphasizes that climate change affects pathogen development, parasite survival rates, disease transmission processes. What would monarch populations be susceptible to? Bacterial and viral infections — like bacillus thuringiensis (BT), pseudomonas, the nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) — are not unheard of, often turning an infected caterpillar or chrysalis into a darkened or black hue. Parasite attacks can come from tachinid flies or wasps (chalcid, trichogramma). Plus, fungal pathogens in the genus  Cordyceps  also attack. Each of these factors cause harm to monarch butterfly populations.

Go here to read the rest:
Whats causing the decline in monarch butterfly populations?

8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies

April 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies are easily recognized worldwide for their gorgeous black and orange wings, but these beauties are in danger of disappearing completely . Their numbers have dropped by 90 percent over the last couple of decades, and if we don’t smarten up, they’ll all die off. Greenpeace has shared eight ways that each and every one of us can help save these vital pollinators from extinction at our own hands, so please read on, and spread the word. Read the rest of 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ban pesticides , Butterflies , endangered butterflies , fsc certified wood , Glyphosate , GMO foods , Greenpeace , habitat loss , milkweed , milkweed flowers , MONARCH , Monarch Butterflies , monarch butterfly extinction , monarch butterfly larvae , monarch habitat , monarchs , native flowers , pesticide use , pesticides , plant milkweed , pollinators

See the rest here:
8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies

Modular net-zero net-energy SEED Classroom to debut in Pittsburg

April 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Modular net-zero net-energy SEED Classroom to debut in Pittsburg

Read the rest of Modular net-zero net-energy SEED Classroom to debut in Pittsburg Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: greywater reuse , learning spaces , modular classroom , net-energy architecture , net-zero classroom , Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens , photovoltaics , Prefab , prefab architecture , rainwater harvesting , SEED classroom , SEED Collaborative

Here is the original:
Modular net-zero net-energy SEED Classroom to debut in Pittsburg

GMOs and Illegal Logging Halved Mexican Monarch Butterfly Population

March 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on GMOs and Illegal Logging Halved Mexican Monarch Butterfly Population

Photo via Shutterstock Just about anyone in the eastern United States will recall from their youth the beautiful black and brown Monarch butterflies that migrate en masse from Mexico to breed and feed here and in Canada, before returning to slumber in a central Mexican forest. But this year their numbers have dropped by 59 percent, according to the latest WWF-led annual census of the insects . In part this has to do with the loss of milkweed that butterflies require for food and to breed, which has declined in parts of the United States where genetically modified soybean and corn crops are grown . But that’s not the only reason, according to the experts. Read the rest of GMOs and Illegal Logging Halved Mexican Monarch Butterfly Population Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: canada , Central Mexican forest , environmental destruction , GMOs , illegal logging , Mexican Monarch Butterflies , mexico , Monarch Butterflies , News , transboundary conservation , US , winged migration , wwf

More:
GMOs and Illegal Logging Halved Mexican Monarch Butterfly Population

Bad Behavior has blocked 1588 access attempts in the last 7 days.