Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to make ethical travel choices

Home or away? Plane or train? How to make an ethical holiday choice, James Randerson

A Leguan on the Galapagos Islands observes tourists. Photograph: Andreas M. Gross/Alamy

Deciding how and where to travel are two of the most difficult problems for the ethical- and eco-conscious consumer. Is it best to stay close to home in order to avoid flying and minimise the carbon cost of your holiday? Or by doing so are you depriving needy people in less well-off countries of valuable income from tourism? Alternatively, spending your hard-earned holiday cash on an eco-tourism jaunt may help the local government preserve the rainforest rather than chopping it down for timber and cattle rearing.

Whatever you choose, it seems that UK holidaymakers find it very hard to compromise when it comes to flying. According to a survey by Loughborough University, fewer than one in five of us are trying to reduce the number of flights we take for environmental reasons. That compares with 88% of respondents who said they were willing or very willing to reduce how much energy they use in their homes.

At the moment, aviation is responsible for 2% to 3% of the world's carbon emissions (5.9% of the UK's). But that is not the whole story. Because aviation emissions happen at altitude, they have an extra impact on the climate. In part this is because other greenhouse gasses, such as nitrous oxide, are in the mix. Water vapour that makes contrails is also an important component, particularly at night as these contrails can act like shreds of blanket preventing heat being radiated into space and bouncing it back down to Earth. Altogether, the magnitude of these extra effects is controversial because the science is not fully understood, but it is estimated to magnify the carbon impact by around 2.5 times. So the true climate damage of taking a flight is more than double that implied by its CO2 emissions alone. But if it is such a relatively small component of the worldwide problem, why is flying often made the poster-child for environmental excess?

Consider the carbon footprint of a return flight to Sydney, Australia, via Singapore – 4.63 tonnes of CO2 per passenger. That is a decent chunk of the average total carbon footprint of a UK citizen – around 11 tonnes per year. What is most frightening, though, is the rate at which emissions from flights (which are exempt from fuel tax and not included in the Kyoto climate treaty) are rising. International CO2 emissions from aircraft are projected to increase from 610m tonnes now to between 1.2bn and 1.4bn tonnes in 2025.

"If you are carbon conscious in any way, as soon as you get on a plane you have pretty much driven a coach and horses through your carbon footprint," says Ed Gillespie, co-director of the communications agency Futerra. He is writing a book about a round-the-world trip he undertook without setting foot on a plane. "As an individual, flying is the single worse thing you can do. That is actually part of your footprint that is under your direct control."

Not flying doesn't have to mean damp holidays at the British seaside, though. With practically everywhere in Europe accessible by train, the really classy way to travel is to make the journey part of the holiday. Enjoy a chilled beer on the banks of the Seine in Paris as you change from the Eurostar to the TGV. Tuck into a three-course meal washed down with an oaky rioja as you zoom southwards on the sleeper to Madrid. And when you get there, step straight off the train into the city centre – not 70 miles or more from your destination as with some budget airlines.

Long-haul, short-haul and domestic flights work out at 0.11, 0.1 and 0.18 kg of CO2 per passenger km respectively, according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. That compares with 0.06 kg for UK rail and 0.02 kg for the Eurostar (because it is largely powered by French nuclear stations).

But what about the benefits to local people once you get to your destination? Tourism is immensely important to the global economy. One in 11 people worldwide work in tourism and it is the most important export industry in one-third of developing countries.

The impact you have on the local population depends very much on the kind of holiday you take. If you eat at local restaurants, use local guides, stay in independent hotels and buy local crafts, then you are likely to be helping the local economy. If you never leave the self-contained holiday compound staffed largely by minimum wage-earning maids and run by a multinational holiday corporation your impact will be less positive. Telling the difference before you go can be difficult, though, because there is no widespread independent rating system for ethical holidays.

"It has long been established that if done responsibly, tourism can contribute to livelihoods, local economic development and the conservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage," says Justin Francis, managing director of His company advocates minimising flying, but he says, "It's more important than ever that when we do fly, we ensure we make that trip count as much as possible by choosing a holiday that makes a real difference in the destination – one that seeks to reduce CO2 impacts and supports local community development programmes."

What about helping the local environment? The idea is that your holiday spending can contribute to the conservation of areas of natural beauty and important biodiversity. But very often these sorts of trips do more harm than good. For example, before 1968 there were no flights to the Galapagos islands. Today there are up to five flights per day bringing around 100,000 tourists each year. Those visitors and the services that support them are doing significant damage to the islands' unique, fragile ecosystem. They are now on Unesco's world heritage in-danger list.

For the holidaymaker, choosing an eco-trip that has a beneficial impact can be confusing. In the UK there are more than 20 eco-labelling schemes for holiday accommodation and worldwide there are more than 100. Also, in many countries the term eco-tourism has no real conservation meaning – it would be more accurate to interpret it as a holiday that involves spotting wildlife.

To really make your holiday spending count, look for specialist operators that promote partnerships with local people or places that are locally run. Ideally, your destination should minimise its water and carbon footprint, too, as well as deal responsibly with waste. And the simplest choice of all? Steer clear of that no-frills flight.


My youngest son Joe is asleep, the armrest back, his head heavy in my lap, his warm small body curled up against my leg. My older boys are across the aisle from us: they've got earphones in and are laughing at the featured film Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The sign above the doorway flashes up our speed: 300kph.

I can hardly believe I'm on a train. We're being whisked the 550 miles from Barcelona to Cordoba in a little more than four hours, in one of the modern breed of high-speed trains. For many years, Spain's railway network was slow, clunky, and unreliable. But in 1992 the government built the first high-speed rail link, Madrid-Seville; since then it has built a cross-country web of rail links which has reduced the number of people flying within Spain by more than half.

Other countries are making the same investment. High-speed rail lines crisscross France (which led Europe on HSR, and now has more than 1,000 miles of track), Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. Germany is building its own network, and even Britain, slow on the uptake as always, is talking about a new Edinburgh-London line.

In the US, the new economic stimulus package brought in by President Obama includes $8bn for speeding up train travel, while the Chinese introduced in 2004 the truly futurist Maglev train – moved along by magnetic force instead of being propelled by an engine – and plan to build 35 high-speed routes by 2012. Everyone is aware of the double potential of train-network building to create jobs and – once the fairly carbon-heavy process of building the line is complete – to reduce carbon emissions. According to Eurostar figures, carbon emissions per passenger of a plane journey from London to Barcelona would be 277kg; for the same journey by train they would be 40kg. These figures are obviously dependent on many variables, but the basic trend is clear. Rail travel is better for the environment than air travel.

But the cost and complexity of travelling by train is a serious problem. If you want to travel by plane from London to Madrid in the next couple of days, all you have to do is go to the easyJet site and book a flight with prices that start at £46.99. To go by train you need to book a ticket to Paris and then a ticket to Madrid, with prices starting at £290.

Although the rail networks in Europe have made huge steps forward in simplifying the ticket-booking process, the price issue is not so easily resolved. But bargains can be found if you plan ahead properly, and it's worth remembering that children's fares are still cheaper on most railways, while airlines charge an adult fare for any child aged three.

And though some trains remain as rickety as ever, others – particularly the high-speed services – are glamorously luxurious. More interestingly, they are easy to travel on with kids. We arrive at Cordoba station – right in the city centre rather than miles out like the airport – rested and cheerful. "Are we here already?" asks my oldest son, regretfully. In an amazing turnaround on our usual journeys – irritable, restless, whingy (and that's just me) – none of us actually want to get off.



Just one long-haul flight could produce more emissions than the rest of the carbon footprint from everything else you do in a year. So if you really want to be a green traveller, avoid flying wherever possible.

  • Go by train. It is far classier and makes the journey part of the holiday
  • Despite some airlines' marketing claims there is no green carrier


A huge issue in many tourist destinations. Apart from your showers, baths and laundry, there's also the gallons of water needed to maintain golf courses, gardens and swimming pools.

  • Take quick showers rather than baths
  • Ask for towels and linen to be changed less
  • Use half-flush settings on toilets or flush less often
  • Avoid water-intensive attractions such as golf courses in water-stressed regions


According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, accommodation accounts for 20% of the travel industry's global CO2 emissions (flying for 40%). But your choices and behaviour have an impact.

  • Choose accommodation that uses renewable energy and energy-efficient appliances
  • Keep air conditioning and heating to a minimum, and turn it off when you are out
  • Choose accommodation with a local sourcing policy. Eating locally grown food is more energy efficient and it supports the local economy
  • Avoid high-energy amenities, for example indoor ski centres


The tourist industry can be extremely exploitative of local communities, but it does provide vital income in countries that desperately need it.

  • Stay in accommodation owned by or employing a high proportion of local people
  • Ask if staff are employed seasonally or year round
  • Leave tips in cash

To find out who scooped this year's Guardian ethical travel award

1 comment:

Zuri said...

The Galapagos Islands are the most incredible living museum of evolutionary changes, with a huge variety of exotic species (birds, land animals, plants) and landscapes not seen anywhere else.