Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stop the Serengeti Highway!!

I've written about this issue previously of the proposed [disastrous] idea of a highway through one of the last strongholds of wildlife anywhere on earth: the amazing Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The campaign to Save the Serengeti is going strong and you can follow and support the efforts to preserve this World Heritage Site, natural treasure by going to the website listed below. In the meantime, it is satisfying to see that the issue is getting traction in the mainstream media. Here is Richard Engel of NBC Nightly News on the subject with some great video:

Please visit Serengeti Watch for information and ways you can help to save the precious Serengeti.

Related Posts:
Save the Serengeti from Death Highway
Tanzania: Serengeti National Park

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Say Goodbye to Caribbean Coral?

From NTD Television.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jamaica Blog Awards

Labrish Jamaica has been nominated in the Best Overseas Blog Category of the first annual Jamaica Blog Awards.  If you enjoy this blog, please consider voting for it.  Voting takes place until January 3, 2011 and you can vote once in each category every 24 hours.
Link to vote here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas wherever you are...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Wrap a Cat for Christmas

Love this:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Elephants Need Our Help Now

Across Africa and Asia, elephants are under great threat. The following alert and petition comes from the Wildlife Conservation Society:
Throughout Africa and Asia, elephants are being slaughtered and their homelands are being destroyed at alarming rates.

With their massive size, long lives and strong sense of community, elephants have captured our imagination and inspired us for centuries.

Slaughtered for their precious ivory tusks and confined to ever-shrinking habitats, these ancient symbols of wisdom and family bonds are facing severe threats today.

Nothing less than our biological heritage is at stake.

Congress will be voting soon on some extremely important pieces of funding legislation for international conservation. Now is the time to let your lawmakers know that you want the U.S. to help this magnificent species.

Agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) provide critical support to international monitoring and anti-poaching efforts, and help to range-state governments to establish new parklands and preserves to protect key habitats – exactly the kind of work we need to do and expand if we want to ensure a future for threatened species including elephants. While a miniscule part of the budget, this support provides a potentially lifesaving opportunity for these charismatic and magnificent giants.

Congress will be setting the budget for these agencies very soon – and before they vote they need to hear from you.

Already, conservation efforts overseas, backed by our government, have helped pave the way for significant progress in countries including:

• Myanmar – Through the continued deployment of Elephant Protection Units and increased monitoring and training of local personnel in the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, the USFWS Asian Elephant Conservation Fund backed efforts have been able to reduce the threat of illegal captures of wild elephants.

• Indonesia – As a result of negotiations between the Indonesian government and the U.S., Indonesia is freeing up $30 million to restore tropical forests that elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans call home.

• Gabon – A study in Central Africa showed that forest elephants avoid crossing roads at all costs, as these highly intelligent animals now associate roads with danger. The findings will allow development engineers to help plan future roads that are less disruptive to wildlife movement patterns.

Partnerships like these are key if we're going to save elephants – but they depend on adequate support from the United States as a leader in the conservation of elephants and so many other species.

With your help, we can send 60,000 letters to Congress and make sure the U.S. reaffirms its global leadership by expanding support for conservation efforts around the world.

The U.S. Is one of the world's largest consumers of ivory. Illegal ivory is brought in via souvenirs, smuggling operations and the internet. That makes the U.S. one of the major drivers of elephant poaching in Africa.

Protections under the Endangered Species Act are riddled with loopholes, allowing the ivory trade to flourish in America and threatening Asian and African elephants in the wild.

Help us end illegal ivory trade in the U.S. and save elephants. Tell President Obama to reform U.S. ivory trade regulations. Sign Petition Here.

A recommended book on elephants is The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Listening to the Silence

I became familiar this year with the work of Gordon Hempton, an audio ecologist who has written about the vanishing silent spaces and why we need to reclaim them. His book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet, tracks his search for those places where there is no man-made noise, only the sounds of the natural world - what Hempton refers to as "natural silence."

The following is a little response to my own love and appreciation for silence and natural silence:
I can feel the silence in my house mostly at night. Sometimes I’ll go and lie down on my bed to read, but I’ll take a moment- and listen. There is the soft whirr of the heat coming up from the vent; a knocking sound occasionally which sounds like someone closing a door is the basement door shifting with the movement of air in the house; and occasionally, the sounds off the icemaker in the fridge spitting out more ice in its bucket.

But beyond those regular noises, the house falls into its still state and rhythm, and I can slip into a peace with it. It’s not the blessed natural sounds of being in the African bush. It’s not the dry silent desert savannah of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania where the only sounds are the wind passing through the scraggly branches of the prickly acacia trees, and the clicking sound of goat hoofs stumbling over the rocks, or thee Maasai herders switching sticks to keep them in line as they pick their way over the dusty hillside foraging for the odd grass or edible bush.

It’s not the rustling sound of the dik diks, tiny antelopes scrounging in the hedges near the safari camp, or the mournful cooing of the ground doves that seems like the most common choral refrain all over Africa.

It’s not the frantic calling of the male weaver birds as they beckon the females, showing off their elaborate nests hanging like grassy Christmas ornaments from the trees.

It’s not the low groans of the lions calling in the middle of the night from across the river.

It's not the grunts and chewing of the gazelles as they graze on the Serengeti grasses, or the sound of the flicking of the cheetahs tails as they watch and wait for opportunity.

The sounds in my house don’t come near to these graceful natural sounds from the marvelous orchestra of the African bush. But on those nights when I lay in bed, with the lights on, and I’m about to pick up the book to read, cats snuggled by my side, and if I pause and notice the sounds of the house, and perhaps a light rain is softly falling outside, beyond the sounds, the silence is there, waiting, always waiting, to be enjoyed.

For more on Gordon Hempton, read Newsweek's article here and his website here.

Race to Nowhere Documentary on America's Education System

I was struck today by the write-up in the New York Times on this new documentary on America's education system. This documentary was made by a concerned parent because of the stress and anxiety that she saw in her kids. It looks like a must-see for anyone involved in the education system in this country.

From the film's website:
Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sugarbush Dog Groomers

Just two fun loving labs, River and Trout, rocking the winter wonderland. Background music by Jamaican Lee Scratch Perry.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Message to Mr. President - Geoffrey Philp

Jamaican born writer Geoffrey Philp delivers a compelling message in words and images to President Obama:

Happy Chanukah!