Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rockefeller Foundation Quitting Crude Oil Due To Climate Change?

Some might see it as a cheap publicity ploy taking advantage in the wake of the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit but do we all benefit from the Rockefeller Foundation quitting crude oil?

By: Ringo Bones

As someone who experienced the hardships that resulted from both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm first hand, it seems that the Rockefeller Foundation suddenly deciding to quit their hedge-fund funding from crude oil and other non-renewable fossil fuels almost cold turkey 23 years after Operation Desert Storm seems like a cheap publicity ploy taking advantage of the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit this September 23, 2014 and in the wake of the very recent Climate Change action demonstrations in New York City back in Sunday, September 21, 2014 that also took place almost simultaneously in other 160 countries like the UK, Afghanistan to Australia over world governments’ lack of action on tackling the root cause of climate change – i.e. excessive fossil fuel usage. If the Rockefeller Foundation – a charitable foundation largely funded by the big crude oil boom of the 20th Century – quits crude oil and other non-renewable fossil fuels and switch to greener renewable energy sources, will it benefit the rest of us, the lowly 99-percent?

Given that the United States is now the world’s leading producer of crude oil – and it has been since the middle of January 2013 – America’s Big Oil heir, the Rockefeller Foundation - suddenly quitting crude oil almost cold turkey could send anyone beholden to Capitol Hill’s “Crude Oil Lobby” in a suicidal panic. Fortunately, it hasn’t, but to those in the know and who have no control whatsoever on how their pension funds are invested are now doubtful of the future of their pension funds now that the Rockefeller Foundation has quit crude oil, coal and other fossil fuel based hedge-fund funding almost cold turkey.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

100th Anniversary of the Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon

The last surviving bird may have died 100 years ago, but did you know that the passenger pigeon used to be the most abundant bird in North America?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though this poor bird's extinction happened 100 years ago and the reason why it became extinct is an indictment on how we inadvertently and tacitly support the globalized corporate world's callous disregard to our planet's fragile ecology, one could be labeled as a "crazy alarmist" if he or she told the mid-Victorian era ornithological community that the passenger pigeon will eventually be driven into extinction. In hindsight, it is now quite ironic that what was then the most abundant wild bird - not just in the North American continent - but the whole world has ever known at the time should have become the very symbol of wildlife extinction.

The passenger pigeon, estimated to number perhaps 5-billion individual birds in the heyday of famed ornithologists Audubon and Wilson, had a population as great as that of all other breeding land birds in the United States at that time combined. Although the last wild bird was shot in March 1900, a few lived on in captivity until the passenger pigeon named Martha - the then lone survivor - died in the Cincinnati Zoo back on September 1, 1914, at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.

As we reflect on the 100th anniversary of the extinction of this once abundant North American bird species, the passenger pigeon were once esteemed for their delicate flavor; their crowded nesting grounds and communal flights made them very east prey to wholesale shooting and netting. Some passenger pigeon meat supply companies ever resorted to dynamiting flocks just to meet the demands of rising restaurant demands in the New York hotel and restaurant boom of the 1850s that were hooked to the "tasty" passenger pigeon meat. By 1880, it was already too late to save them as the last wild passenger pigeon was shot in 1900 and the last individual bird - named Martha - was the last one to die in the Cincinnati Zoo, thus marking the passenger pigeon's exact time of extinction almost to the exact second back in September 1, 1914.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Is The Recent Ebola Outbreak Caused By Endangered Wildlife Poachers?

Though the CDC’s Atlanta main headquarters’ Special Pathogens Branch has yet to trace the 2014 Ebola outbreak’s “Patient Zero”, is there a possibility that the recent outbreak came from an illegal wildlife poacher?  

By: Ringo Bones 

During the 1995 Ebola outbreak, Anthony Sanchez, the then head epidemiologist of the Centers for Disease Control’s Special Pathogens Branch had managed to trace the 1995 Zaire Ebola outbreak back past the unfortunate lab technician to an earlier patient at Kikwit’s hospital – an illegal charcoal maker who probably picked up the disease in the jungle where he worked. Yet, at the time, Sanchez concedes that this still leaves a wide range of crannies where the Ebola virus might be hiding. A typical illegal charcoal maker in Africa would typically head into the deepest recesses of a government protected jungle wildlife preserve to lessen the chances of being caught by the preserve’s park rangers while cutting down a tall tree to then burn it in a pit he’d dug, making the original source of the Ebola virus anywhere from the top of the forest canopy down to some subterranean animal. Given the various suspected source of the infection, is it possible that the 2014 Ebola outbreak might have started in some “unfortunate” wildlife poacher? 

Given the increased demand of illegal African-sourced endangered species products like rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory, etc. in the increasingly affluent middle-class of Mainland China, there’s a good chance that a poacher who frequents into the deepest recesses of Africa’s protected natural wildlife preserves to poach protected species could become infected with Ebola – or a recent unknown strain – and inadvertently spread it once the poacher visits a frontier town to secretly sell his illegally poached wares to some middleman who will later export it to Mainland China and other East Asian markets with a high demand for endangered wildlife products. Health authorities in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast had recently advised their citizens to stay away from bush mean in order to avoid catching Ebola. And given that the recent global economic slowdown probably resulted in the cutbacks of the number of personnel guarding Africa’s various wildlife preserves, it is very likely that the “Patient Zero” of the 2014 Ebola outbreak could be an illegal wildlife poacher?