Friday, October 3, 2008

Nature Is Calling

Nature is calling. And researchers are listening. Here is a summary of recent conversations.

On Honeybees. Bees are decreasing at an alarming rate. Referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the cause remains unknown, although many suspect pesticides are the culprit. Bees are critical to pollinating crops and producing food supplies.

On Trees. Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have found that walnut trees release an aspirin compound during times of stress. The scientists were measuring the chemical emissions of plants (which affect pollution and local climate) when they made the discovery. The researchers believe the trees release the aspirin compound to begin something similar to an immune response system in order to help the tree resist and recover from the stress. The researchers also believe the release is a mechanism by which to communicate and alert other plants of the danger.

On Birds. Birdlife International has released a report stating that sharp declines in common birds worldwide are a sign of a biodiversity crisis. The report states that the declining bird population is a sign of our deteriorating global environment and that human-induced climate change may pose the greatest stress. As many as 1-in-8 of all the world's birds are threatened.

On Arctic Ice Caps. Ice caps in Greenland and elsewhere are melting faster than predicted. The Greenland 2007 rate was a new record and corresponded to 50% of the ice's total surface. NASA images show that the entire summer polar ice cap has decreased by more than 20% since 1979.

In addition, animals worldwide are changing their feeding and migration habits. Combined, these stories from nature tell us that something is amiss. Are you listening?

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