The December 2017 Natural Shore Technologies newsletter has great photos of some prairie forbs and grasses in winter which would be helpful in identifying these plants. Instead of trying to duplicate the photos in this post, I thought I would just share the link.
Archives for December 2017
We went to see the latest Star Wars episode “The Last Jedi” over the Christmas holiday and it brought to mind an article I had read recently about the discovery of the fossil of a horseshoe crab which became extinct 245 million years ago. The fossil, discovered in Idaho, has been named Vaderlimulus after Star Wars’ Darth Vader — because its head shield has a shape similar to Darth Vader’s helmet.
“…There are only four species of horseshoe crabs alive today, and their populations are decreasing. They are not true crabs but are more closely related to scorpions and spiders. Modern horseshoe crabs are often considered ‘living fossils’ due to having shown little apparent change in physical appearance over a vast period of geologic time.” (New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)
Extinction on a Fast Track
A study released by the Zoological Society of London and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this past fall stated that “the number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall two-thirds by 2020. Animal populations plummeted by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67 per cent over the next three years.” (The Telegraph) WWF further states that experts expect between 0.01 and 0.1% of all species to become extinct each year. (WWF)
Plants are boring in comparison to most animals, so I wasn’t able to find a current study on plants extinction. I did find several The Guardian articles which stated that we are in jeopardy of loosing a fifth of our plant species, but they also said that over 2,000 new species of plants are discovered every year. We know plants are an integral part of the food chain, so common sense tells us loss of plants has to play a part in the the extinction of animals also.
Why is this happening?
Why is this happening — because of the disruption of plant and animal ecosystems caused by the use of pesticides, urban sprawl, greenhouse gases and greed, and because of global warming and its affect on climate change, landscape alteration, species invasions and carbon dioxide build-up. (The Guardian)
What can we do about it?
If you haven’t already, join the natural landscaping movement. It won’t help with all the Earth’s problems, but it’ll help with some. If you’re not already, become a conscientious landscaper, use native plants, limit the use of pesticides, don’t waste potable water, plant native trees to help reduce carbon dioxide, stop using greenhouse gas emitting equipment, eradicate invasive species, and use common sense and a prudent approach to the way you live on this Earth. And while you’re at it, talk to friends and family about doing the same.
See also Green Landscaping: Greenacres
Thank you Eleanor Irnster of EarthSky for making me aware of the discovery of this new fossil.
Today is Monday, December 25, 2017. It’s Christmas Day. A day for giving gifts and sharing our happiness with family and friends. Enjoy! But, take care and be safe as you travel from one destination to another.
My wish for you this holiday season is a blessed Christmas celebration and a bright future in the New Year!
Thursday, December 21st was the first day of winter. It was the winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year (for those of us who live north of the equator), but also the promise of longer days in the future.
It was also four days before Christmas 2017. I love winter. I love the clean look of new fallen snow. I love the way the branches of the trees stand out so sharply against the crystal whiteness. I love that it is the time for Christmas. I love the celebration of the New Year and the promise of better things to come in 2018. I love the joy it brings me.
May this winter season bring you joy as well.
See also Brian B’s Climate Blog