firstfallenpanda: (redridingpand)
It's that time of year again when sane people bow down to commercialism in the name of some Middle Eastern legend about a baby and some livestock.

If, like me, you can't bear the thought of more toiletries/chocolates/other small not very useful items given in the "spirit of Xmas" or because "it's the thought that counts", take this opportunity to make Xmas matter by giving a Gift 4 Good. If it was the thought that really counted, people would put more thought into it instead of buying something arb that fitted into a price range. I don't plan to get gifts this year (other than for immediate family), instead I'll give a donation to a charity and you can all share in the karma points :).

Here are some awesome tips to green your Xmas from urbansprout. I especially like the one about buying an indigenous tree instead of a plastic tree and planting it in a pot. Also, make homemade decorations instead of buying more tinsel and other crappy plastic junk every year. Jesse has some lovely little chocolate things in her Etsy shop. Here's her tutorial for making your own decorations. You could use any cute fabric or doilies. How about getting kids to print things with potatoes and fabric paint? I remember doing that in art class in school :). You could also make them and give them as gifts. The lovely bamboo scarf I have is available from Gifts with a Conscience, as well as other locally-made gifts. Her policy is to only sell things that benefit someone directly. Check out the cute little African angels.

I'm totally thinking of getting one of these DIY vege gardens. I think that will be the next plan after the chickens. Here's some delicious fair trade coffee (Ethiopian Sidamo ftw).


In other news, holiday planning progresses. I've booked my appointment for a Visa, I just hope my unabridged marriage certificate arrives before then. My marriage officer assures me he's on it but I think going into Home Affairs with a loaded shotgun might help to speed things along. I can't believe it's just over 2 weeks until we leave, it seemed so unreal and far away when we started planning it. Things I still need to get: Visa, gloves, parkajacketthing, International Drivers Permits. Things I still need to make: my scarf (nearly finished), scarf and hat for Phleep, hat for Mark. I have other Xmas knitting to do but that can be done in Germany (I hope to get some knitting done on the flight). So excited!
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
The not-so-serious bit:

The San Diego Zoo is made of win. They have a polar bear cam! You can watch nanuks, all day and all of the night. Check out the Nanukcam. Also, they have a Pandacam! They offer a bear breakfast, where you can visit the polar bears and pandas* and have pancakes. That sounds like the most me thing evar. If it were presented by a naked Jared Leto I'd totally be there (like a bear) even if I have to stow away on a plane. I need to be in San Diego in July. Sigh.

If animal voyeurism is your thing, check out the Apecam and the Elephantcam as well.

Is it bad of me that I only had a fleeting "oh, shame" thought for the Chinese people who died in the earthquake, while my heart wrenched when I thought of the pandas that had suffered? Too many people, not enough pandas.

The serious bit:

Polar bears have been listed as a "threatened" species now. Too much C02, not enough pack ice :(. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the US Interior Department agency that evaluates endangered species, has declared them threatened. They are the first species to be listed due to global warming. The FWS, however, delayed this decision by more than a year in order for the Minerals Management Service (MMS), also part of the Interior Department, to complete the auction of land in the Chukchi Sea for oil exploration (despite lawsuits by environmental groups), and only made its decision at all because a court forced them to. The listing poses some interesting questions as under the Endangered Species Act anything that threatens a listed species is questionable. From a February article in Time:

...If the species is declared threatened, FWS will have responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act to protect the bears from their main danger — in this case, climate change. That means the government could be challenged legally for anything that increases carbon dioxide emissions — like a new coal power plant — on the grounds that further climate change would further endanger the polar bear. "It would be the first time that the Bush Administration would recognize that global warming had a significant and specific impact on a living being," says Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesperson for Markey. "This could have a wide-ranging effect on the energy and environmental policies of this country."...

Unfortunately, Big Oil's politicians have seen through this. The maintain that oil exploration and production will go on in the Arctic as they are sure it won't harm the polar bears or the other inhabitants. From the (this really good) LA Times article:

...But the department also issued special rules designed to exempt from the law offshore oil and gas drilling in prime polar bear habitat off Alaska's north coast. Moreover, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced he was taking a series of steps to short-circuit legal plans by conservation groups to use the polar bear's protected status to block new power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. He said listing the polar bear as threatened "should not open the door to use the ESA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants and other sources. That would be a wholly inappropriate use of the Endangered Species Act. The ESA is not the right tool to set U.S. climate policy."...

And a contender for Stupidest Politician Statement of the Year:

"Interior secretary said he saw no reason to hold up the offshore leases because Fish and Wildlife Service scientists said the projected decline of the polar bear was due to vanishing sea ice, not oil and gas development."

But "conservation groups, however, have been gearing up to test that premise in court":

...A Supreme Court ruling last year that defined carbon dioxide as a pollutant undermines the Interior Department's position, said Andrew Wetzler, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Under Massachusetts vs. EPA, he said, "you don't need to show that you can solve an entire problem by going after a specific source."...

This should be an interesting battle. I'm sad that all the local news had about it was a small line on Etv's scrolling bottom-of-screen news reel.

In other news, the small Alaskan village of Kivalina is suing various companies because their island is crumbling and will be uninhabitable by 2012. Depending on how it goes, it might open the way for more suits in that vein.

* yes yes, I know they're not really bears
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
More and more, I feel that I should be doing this with my life:

Activists threaten to ram whalers

One day soon I will run away to join Sea Shepherd and eat lentils and tofu all day and ram those Japanese whale-killing bastards. Greenpeace is cool, but they're wusses. As fond as I am of Gandhi and his teachings, sometimes you need to open a can of whoopass before environmental criminals will listen. Australia may suck in other areas, but they're on the right track leading the international diplomatic anti-whaling protests.

Also, if you're not doing anything on Saturday the 26th, there's an anti-fur protest at Constantia Village. I plan to be there, red paint and all.
firstfallenpanda: (rollpanda)
Check out the SA Social Investment Exchange. It's so cool, you can buy "shares" in charities and all the projects are rated on various criteria, just like companies on the Stock Exchange. I love things that make it easier for people to donate to worthy causes! Also, Gifts 4 Good.

Both of these make excellent Christmas presents. Give something more meaningful than soaps or chocolates this Festive season. As an animal lover, I would far more appreciate a cat sterilisation kit than a book voucher.

What I did today to save the planet a little: washed my colleagues' fast food containers to take home for recycling. What did _you_ do today?


Nov. 6th, 2007 11:24 am
firstfallenpanda: (redridingpand)
Random stuffs:

Link to eco-friendly yarns. Also, I might start a needlework blog, seeing as it's the thing to do, apparently. I never keep pics of the things I've made, though, so this might force me to start keeping a gallery. I want to knit a patchwork aran jacket from bamboo DK. I think it will be lovely but I'm not sure if it will be snuggly enough. I think the fact that I'll have a jersey made from bamboo is winning.

It's nearly Christmas! Omg. I love Christmas, I don't know why. Maybe it's the only time my family pretends to get along. Also, there's the presents and the tree and the general feeling of happiness. Christmas is also a time for charity and to think about those less fortunate. So, instead of giving material things this year, how about making Christmas matter with a Gift 4 Good? I think Greater Good's gift ideas are the best thing ever. Now, instead of thinking "urgh, what am I going to buy for this person, R50 doesn't go as far as it used to", you can get them something that will make them feel that they are doing something for someone else who appreciates that R50 much more than they do. Like Arrested Development said "2 dollars means a snack to me, but it means a big deal to you". I think we could all give up a movie and popcorn to feed a cat in a shelter for a month.

Here's a challenge to all bloggers (and others!) who read this: every time you post, include a ps on what you did today that made the world a better place, be it recycling or giving a meal voucher to a beggar (eg Loaves and Fishes, available at Obs Spar) or buying a Big Issue or putting a brick in your cistern or choosing environmentally-friendly products at the shop or taking your own bag to the shop or replacing a normal light bulb with an energy-saving bulb or carrying a plastic bottle to refill with water instead of buying a new one every time.

Check out for awesome tips on how to go green in just about every part of your life. Especially useful is the "Green your pets" section.

I'm not trying to be preachy here, just trying a little gentle encouragement :). It's not that hard to be green, despite what Kermit says.


firstfallenpanda: (Default)

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