The Galveston Bay Foundation will host its annual Marsh Mania event on Saturday, May 5 from 8 am to 1 pm. Last year, more than 800 volunteers braved bad weather to restore 36 acres of marsh habitat. The Marsh Mania planting is part of GBFs larger goal of catalyzing the restoration of 20,000 acres of marsh in the bay area by 2010. To register for the event, contact GBF at at 281-332-3381.
Scenic Galveston will also host a marsh planting event on May 5 as part of Marsh Mania. To work on their John M. OQuinn Estuarial Corridor habitat preserve site, contact 409-744-7431, 979-234-2096, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The video Affluenza will be shown on Friday, May 11 at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 5308 Buffalo Speedway. The PBS special explores the social and environmental costs of materialism and overconsumption. A reception will begin at 6:15 pm; the film will show at 7, followed by discussion. The program is sponsored by the Restoring Creation Educators of New Covenant Presbytery for the Houston region, the Houston Sierra Club Population/Sustainability Committee, and the Houston Simplicity Network. For more information, contact Nan Hildreth at 713-864-7108 or Nan.Hildreth@pdq.net.
Big Bend Endangered
Big Bend, a popular Texas destination for outdoor enthusiasts, is now considered one of the 10 most endangered national parks in the country. The National Parks Conservation Association, a parks advocacy group, has included the 802,000-acre West Texas park in its third annual list because of air pollution and reduced river flow.
Some of the suspected pollution sources include petrochemical plants along the Texas Gulf Coast, coal-burning plants in East and Central Texas, and industrial areas of northern Mexico. (Houston Chronicle 4/01)
Amphibian Decline linked to Climate Change
For the first time, scientists have directly linked declines in amphibian populations to global warming trends. In the late 1980s, naturalists began to observe a rapid drop in amphibian populations throughout the world. During the past 10 years, more than 200 species have declined, and about 20 species have become extinct. A new study published in the journal Nature implicates global warming as a major cause.
The research team found a direct link between the Southern Oscillation Index, which tracks temperature fluctuations and the amount of rain and snow in Oregons Cascade Mountains. Altered precipitation patterns resulted in lower levels of water in ponds and lakes, where amphibians lay their eggs. Shallow ponds are a stressful environment for the young embryos, and make them more susceptible to disease. (Nature 4/01)
Toxins in Your Blood
Toxic metals, pesticides, and plastics can be found in the blood and urine of most Americans, according to the first National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study tested for 27 chemicals including metals, pesticide metabolites, phthalate metabolites, and cotinine a chemical that indicates tobacco smoke exposure in 5,000 men, women, and children. Before this study, scientists had only been able to measure the levels of many of the chemicals in air, water, or food. (CDC 3/01)
Acid Rain Persists
Acid rain is still significantly damaging the environment in the Northeast, according to a report from the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation in New Hampshire. Acid rain forms when sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonium, and water vapor combine. Pools of acid have formed in forests, changing soil composition and depriving trees of essential nutrients, according to the research. Some lakes and streams have even become toxic to plants, fish, and other organisms. The report concludes that the federal limits on air emissions that were intended to alleviate acid rain are inadequate. (Washington Post, 3/01)
Solar for Developing Nations
The Global Environment Facility (GEF), a World Bank affiliate that invests public and private money in environmentally sound projects, recently launched Solar Development Capital (SDC). The $30 million private investment fund will pay for for-profit business projects using photovoltaic systems to deliver electricity to people in developing countries. The businesses, primarily in Africa, Asia, and South America, will be privately owned, and the customers, most currently receiving no electricity at all, will pay for the new service. (Earth Times News Service 4/01)