30 January 2012

The Immortal Rally Squirrel

According to this story, the St. Louis Cardinals' Rally Squirrel, which I've already blogged about, is going to be getting its own baseball card.

The funny thing is that the card is supposed to be the card for Skip Schumaker, the Cardinal batter who was up when the squirrel ran across home plate in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

I love how the whole squirrel story has taken on a life of its own. Congratulations, Rally Squirrel. You're further cemented in the history of baseball.

29 January 2012

A New Voice for the Trees

Last month, when I found out that a new movie version of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax was in the works, I wondered and worried how the story's original messages of consuming less and preserving nature would line up with the film industry's typical promotional campaign strategies, which tend to rely heavily on consumption (think Happy Meal toys).

It turns out that thanks to a fourth-grade class in Massachusetts, my worries weren't totally necessary. Initially, the film's distributor, Universal Pictures, developed a Web site that contained no information about what people can do to help the environment. When the children discovered this, they petitioned the studio to correct the problem. As this story shows, they were successful.

That's totally awesome. I tip my hat to the children. Dr. Seuss and the Lorax would be proud. Now, we'll have to see how many thneeds are produced in support of the film's marketing campaign.

26 January 2012

Watch and See

NASA just released findings that place 2011 as the ninth-hottest year on record, dating back to 1880. You can see from the graph the increase in temperature over the last 130 years. However, for a more eye-opening look at the warming trend, go to the NASA page and watch the video. It's really quite amazing.

25 January 2012

Not Enough Words

I found a great time-lapse video of Yosemite National Park. It includes a nighttime meteor shower.

Not much I could say would do it justice. Just enjoy:

20 January 2012

A Day for Going Nuts

Tomorrow is Squirrel Appreciation Day, so it's about time to get a little nutty.

The National Wildlife Federation has some tips for how to celebrate the big day, and I've decided to get a head start on the suggestion about sharing my squirrel stories.

Of course, I blogged about the St. Louis Cardinals' Rally Squirrel in the fall, but my connection with squirrels goes way beyond that.

I remember fishing amongst big spruce trees when I was a kid and seeing the remnants of Douglas squirrel cone feasts carpeting the ground around the trees. The endearing thing about Douglas squirrels is their crankiness. They can't stand to be intruded upon, and they aren't shy about letting you know it. Also, the Pacific Northwest is one of their main areas, so they have added importance for me.

Eastern gray squirrels are a source of mixed emotions for me. On one hand, they are not native to the Northwest, so it's troubling to see them take over areas here. On the other hand, I do like watching them scurry around and roll up their tails behind them as they eat.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy Squirrel Appreciation Day. I think I'll wear my Rally Squirrel T-shirt.

18 January 2012

Heat of Winter

Winter has finally arrived in earnest in the Pacific Northwest. While I welcome the winter weather, it does pose some challenges for our energy use.

With that in mind, I found an article with tips for renters who want more efficient energy use in winter. I think the ideas could also work for homeowners.

It has some great information about the use of thermostats. I particularly like the ideas about bundling up and cooking at home. Also, the suggestion about making small improvements to your home makes for an easy way of taking action and seeing the difference.

Now, I can enjoy winter even more because I'm wasting less energy.

15 January 2012

All Fired Up

At this year's Sundance Film Festival, the documentary A Fierce Green Fire will debut.

The film looks at the development of the modern environmental movement, highlighting past successes and exploring environmentalism's current and future challenges.

I'm eager to learn more about the roots of this movement to which I subscribe. Also, the film acknowledges that environmentalism continues to grow, which excites me about future directions of the movement.

Be on the lookout for the film in your area. In the meantime, check out the trailer below: 

11 January 2012

Love Seafood and the Sea

The ocean certainly provides some tasty treats, and I've enjoyed a lot of them in my life. I'd like to continue enjoying them, and I also want to make sure that I show my appreciation to the ocean by protecting it.

Unfortunately, the oceans are having some trouble now. They are becoming more acidic and more polluted, and many areas have become dead zones. That's not good for the health of the oceans, the well-being of the animals and plants in them, or those of us who love the ocean and what it provides.

Through our seafood choices, we can improve the health of the oceans and ensure we get clean food. The Natural Resources Defense Council has provided tips for how to do that.

I particularly like the suggestions for eating locally and supporting sustainable-harvest practices.

Growing up within an hour of the ocean gave me some great experiences and much wonderful cuisine. I am indebted to the ocean for those things, so it's great to know I can do my part to keep them coming.

08 January 2012

Citizen Science Goes to the Beach

If you're a regular beach-going type of person with an interest in birds and a desire to contribute to science, you might want to check out the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST).

The program enlists citizens to track the patterns of beached birds. Collected information builds our knowledge of ecosystems and their overall health.

Participants must undergo training, and a small deposit is needed to cover your copy of the field guide and other supplies.

Citizen science is really starting to build steam, and this particular option looks like a great way to make those trips to the beach even better.