Arquivos de periódicos de setembro 2017

16 de setembro de 2017

Environmental Concerns

Hi everyone,

This will be my last message using my personal email. I am moving my commentary to the iNaturalist web site which you can access here:
You will see that for the LBJ National Historical Park, I have already identified 133 species in 222 observations on the iNat site. I am the ranking member for the area after little more than a month's participation on the web site (a California Academy of Sciences project). Take a tour of my observations and please send me feedback if you like what you see.

Anyway, the content and subject matter will be more subjective and with fewer links to other sources. In fact, I will be downright maudlin in some of my journal posts because I will be writing about Eva, my Australian Shepard who we had to put down recently, and such topics. Eva is important because she was a real companion on all our hikes in the Hill Country and led the way for us on many of our treks around Enchanted Rock, Pedernales Falls, the Pedernales River and Waco and beyond. She was a true nature dog who gave us years of support and guardianship we could never have bought. I will have links to photos to illustrate the topics on Flickr and even on my web pages. Nevertheless, underlying all these journal posts is the environmental issues we've all come to know being both informed (and learning) individuals which, despite our various ages, puts us pretty much on the same plain. In addition to these more personal posts, included of course, will be an occasional link to articles I think we would want to share.

At the end of this message is another note from Jim Blackburn about the book he authored on the topic of the future of the Texas coast. None too soon, as far as I can see taking into consideration the tremendous destruction and long term detrimental effects of Hurricane Harvey on the mid and upper Texas coast.

Let me add a few words about Monsanto and the use of herbicides and pesticides before you labor through the included links and articles below. There is an ongoing trial against Monsanto and Roundup in the courts as you'll see below. I am putting a link here to give you the latest, but let me summarize some of our thoughts about the use of these chemicals on private and public land especially in light of the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and the presidency of anti-global warming Donald J. Trump and his minions and department appointees. I aim to be brief.

Back when John Watson and I met with the National Park Service here in Johnson City post 'community' meeting at the Settlement, we were specifically asking about the use and application of herbicides because of the proximity of Johnson City's aquifer which here in town is just a few feet under out feet, charged in part, by Town Creek which flows through Johnson City on its way to the Pedernales at the LCRA Nature Park. Our concern and skepticism revolved around two thoughts: our water was being impacted and thus we knew our water was being contaminated, but we were told that the herbicide was safe and posed no threat to ecosystems or ourselves. We also knew from past experiences with claims about dangerous chemicals in our environment people would be told exposure would be safe and not to worry about short term or long term affects and then additional information surfaces which reverses the soothing words earlier uttered. Having seen the evidence of the level of danger of exposure for various chemicals change over time, we expected the same to emerge about Roundup. Our fears have been realized (and please feel free to believe this about whatever chemical is being intentionally introduced into our lives in the same manner) and as we continued to research the issue over time as expressed in these email messages, ultimately our understanding and suspicions have been borne out in the ongoing legal suit against Monsanto detailed in various media accounts below. Let me be blunt. The claims by Monsanto and other companies about the safety of their products on the environment should be held in suspense. Everyone should have by now by reading these messages and seen the evidence that points out the threat to our living world. In lieu of that, it is irresponsible, in my view to use any of these toxic chemicals in any public or private 'environmental' project, be it the NPS' Prairie Restoration Project at LBJ NHP or on our properties and waterways anywhere in the Texas Hill Country. Obviously, at the moment, we're a far cry from a No pesticide reality.

John and I were always doubtful that any amount of pesticide exposure is safe and now that the 'tolerances' for humans have been lowered (impacts occur at smaller exposures than previously tested), not raised, it is obvious that even the new level of protection is inadequate. Yet, I am still seeing agencies and private NGOs advocate the use of toxic chemicals to control invasive plant species. Illustrating that very fact, TPWD once again is using Roundup in an attempt to eradicate the River cane that is 'choking' the creek beds of Fredericksburg. In an article in the Fredericksburg Radio Standard a woman spraying the herbicide on the creek is featured. Curiously, she is widely spraying the herbicide yet is wearing no protective gear at all; no gloves, no respirator, no protective suit…nothing but her street clothes. In the meantime TPWD employees are 'monitoring' creek fish to check for any ill effects of the toxic chemicals. It this weren't so serious, this would be laughable. I'm not laughing, but I am passing this on to you all.

Finally, i want to give a shout out to John Watson and Hope Phillips. John has been the most vocal and outspoken environmental person in the Johnson City area. He has done more than anyone I know to try to make the state of Texas carry out its obligations to its citizens here in the Hill Country. No one has done more than John.

Hope has been a stalwart supporter of our efforts and contributed more of her own time and effort than anyone here on the Johnson City front. I think she has even attended every meeting John arranged to happen here on the issues of air and water quality matters vis a vis batching and gravel crushing plants. I cannot not possibly repay them both for their commitments to the Hill Country. Thanks, you two.


Bill Arbon

Fukushima's Legacy?

Wilderness Act of 1964

The Wilderness Act of 1964 was passed in October of that year during Lyndon Johnson's term of office as President of the United States. Since its passage, numerous law suits have been filed by both citizens and government in both attacking and defending the act and its requirements. This is an amazing register of those suits brought against the Federal Government and the Wilderness Act in either trying to negate the law or find ways around it.

Dead Zone

Last missive I mentioned Texas' new dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. Here is this year's outlook for Louisiana's dead zone. This report also gives an explanation of how agricultural chemicals cause the rise of these dead zones from the increasingly toxic run offs from agricultural activities well inland of the gulf"

Food and Wine

It's now official. Concern that the way we grow our food using GMO grains and toxic chemicals is not viable is growing and reaching a larger audience. Today even Food and Wine is getting into the debate. While Food & Wine won't take sides, claiming the science is confusing, this is a good indication that there is uneasiness in the food industry in general. Whether that translates into a change in the way we grow our food back to fundamental and less toxic ways remains to be seen. But we here on this list have been claiming this for years, because for us, the science and the evidence of environmental damage is clear.

More woes for Monsanto's Roundup. Are you still using this stuff on your garden plants and grass? On your environmental projects?

As John Watson and I have thought for years now, the amount of allowable exposure to toxic chemicals is far lower than the published claims by manufacturers and corporations. Time after time, levels of exposure have to be lowered even where companies involved supplied data that supported their claims. There is collateral damage happening here every day that these chemicals are used. We move ever closer to the Silent Spring Rachel Carson warned us about. Her book was the reason Lyndon Johnson convened the first ever White House conference on Natural Beauty. In his prepared remarks, he was ready to ask Congress to make sure that chemicals used in agriculture were safe and he asked the companies be required to show proof their products caused no harm. Sadly we have never reached this level of honesty and safety because for corporations it's about the bottom line: profit.


Every day, something new.

Monsanto suffers another set back to get back into the lives of Californians:

Corruption at the EPA:

More food and water issues (thanks, Barry), this time in California:

Lead in drinking water, juice, and exposure levels

Animals in the News

A bit of optimistic news until you consider the impact of Donald Trump's insane border wall.

And more wolves living in California:

The Bad News for Animals:

Misfit in the news: Trump wants to dump wild horses on the world market and take their pasturage.

Moving away from the brutal killing of wildlife to the brutal killing of ourselves:

And back to the brutal killing of wildlife. Another twist on twisted human behavior. Raising animals for trophy hunters to shoot is immoral.“farming”-not-conservation

Front Range Equine Rescue
"The 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act has been amended numerous times by "special interests" who do not have the horses' protection in mind. With politicians in the pockets of these rich industry groups (ag/livestock, oil & gas for example) the horses have not stood a chance. This should not be a partisan issue but it has become one. A national disgrace and only a massive public outcry, non-stop, is going to save these national treasures. Please contact your Congressional reps and clearly let them know slaughter cannot be an option, not now , now ever."


Grizzly Bears no longer protected by Endangered Species list.

Congress has jumped into animal cruelty with both feet lately. First, they passed a bill directing the Fish and Wildlife Service to change the rules and allow the killing, baiting and torture of bears, their cubs, wolves and their pups in refuges as well as in their dens. This is such a hypocritical and cruel act that really defies understanding. We are no longer leading the world showing how to protect species, but instead of following sound science facts we are allowing our basest instincts to dictate wildlife management. There is no place for compassion in today's Republican Party and I think Noam Chomsky got it right in declaring the Republican Party the most dangerous organization in the world today.

If you haven't seen the movie The Misfits in a while, check it out. It's well worth a repeat look as it's a classic now with multiple moral lessons.

And downright wrongheadedness, delisting Yellowstone's Grizzly Bears and Montana lowers the fees to kill wolves:

Down with Renewable Energy

Now Donald Trump has gotten into the fray over wind energy and it didn't end well for him. Just goes to show he is not totally in control of the country yet. There may be hope:

Clean Coal is dead:

And that has to be a good thing. That makes coal mining an enterprise designed for export, not domestic consumption. Now if we can make oil and gas go we could then move on to nuclear and all breath a bit safer. Why is clean air so important?

We can keep track on air and water pollution thanks to this web source. This organization was an important source of information during the BP DeepwaterHorizon Gulf of Mexico oil well blow out and response. Currently it shows data for Hurricane Harvey and will, I'm sure, aide in the response to the destruction caused by the storm. Hope all your loved ones who may have lived in the affected area are well.
Water Projects: How to improve national infrastructure for water

Jim Blackburn's new ebook

"Attached is notice about the availability of my new book, A Texan Plan for the Texas Coast. Thanks for reading this. Many of you did not receive the attachment the first time. Sorry about that. "

Jim Blackburn.

Jim Blackburn
BlackburnCarter Law Firm
Sustainable Planning and Design
4709 Austin St., Houston 77004
713-524-1012 (office) 713-501-9007 (cell)

Posted on 16 de setembro de 2017, 07:30 PM by billarbon billarbon | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário

29 de setembro de 2017

Monarch Butterflies: Is Mexico soley responsible for the regicide of the Monarch?

Update: March 14, 2020:


Published accounts have described the terrible loss of pine trees in Mexico as a cause of Monarch butterfly population declines. Because Monarch butterflies migrate between Mexico, Canada and the United States, what happens in the three countries affects the population levels of this species. Published information in this country concedes that pesticide use impacts this species on its migratory pathways and statistics on agricultural chemical use clearly show astronomical increases in the number of pounds of chemicals used in this country over the last twenty years.* The result is that much of this species' decline is undoubtedly connected to agricultural practices in this country, and therefore Mexico is not the only player involved in this wandering species' decline.

Here's the sad thing. Frostweed is an excellent butterfly food source. We used to see Monarchs and related species feasting here every year on their annual migration. Their numbers were mind boggling. Soon after the turn of the 21st century, butterfly numbers decreased slowly until less than five years ago the migration all but stopped. Three or four years ago there was a small burst of late fall migrants, but most of those Monarchs were killed by a hard freeze and there were scattered bodies covering the ground. In the last two years, these plants grow each year and bloom spectacularly, but few butterflies take advantage of this food source as this photo clearly shows. As you see, this photo was taken at the height of Monarch migration, but there are no butterflies feeding on these plants. It's been like that for the last few years, and it's obvious the Monarchs are missing. Other species of plants were fed upon by Monarchs, as you see in these 2008 to 2013 photos, but now these plants flower in the absence of Monarchs on the LBJ Settlement as well. Notably, since 2010, the number of Monarch butterfly photographic moments is spotty at best or missing altogether. Our skies used to be full of butterflies; now it is a rare sight to find one migrating butterfly, let alone hundreds as previously seen. If this is happening all across the Texas Hill County, or if you have seen a similar drop in Monarch numbers, please post a comment below, make a similar observation, and keep your own journal. Here's a good explanation of the decline:


2018 saw a return in numbers to a level of the population average in years past. For the latest projection for 2019, see this article:

Here is a more in-depth explanation of the plight of Monarch Butterflies. You can clearly see the decline of populations to today's numbers.

And an important Monarch Butterfly conservation organization:

There are a number of sockpuppets posting critical comments on various Monarch sites such as this one:

Take care when reading critical comments and look for additional sources about the topic. Of course, we all take those precautions every time we view articles we support, I'm sure. I've noticed internet trolls active on sites wherever environmental or scientific issues are discussed. Basically, these socks are attempting to make you believe their own fake news that everything is fine and there are no environmental problems caused by humans.

Posted on 29 de setembro de 2017, 04:55 PM by billarbon billarbon | 13 observações | 2 comentários | Deixar um comentário