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Enjoying the Backyard Environment During COVID-19 Pandemic
The deadly Covid-19 virus has most everyone staying home for social distancing to flatten the curve. Many national and state parks are closed, beaches are closed, and some states have stay-at-home orders.
The situation is stressful for the healthy--even more so for those who are sick, or have loved ones who are sick. And especially for those who have lost someone.
If you have a yard or a patio, try watching the backyard birds, lizards, squirrels, and other neighborhood critters. (Just be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from the neighbors). Enjoy the fresh air. Look up at the clouds.
Since I live in Florida, where there's active Zika Virus transmission, I've tried to pay attention to the news on this disease. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of Zika, but being a cautious Virgo, I want to know what I'm up against. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a special Zika Virus section on their website. Yes, the active transmission area, in Miami-Dade County, is 6 hours south of my home. But somehow the virus ended up there--so how can I be certain the mosquitoes that carry it won't migrate this way? How dangerous is Zika? The news makes it sound like Zika is no big deal unless your pregnant or wanting to become pregnant. For pregnant women , Zika's effects are tragic, resulting in microcephaly and other severe brain defects. With microcephaly , a baby's head is much smaller than normal because the brain stopped growing before or after birth. These children may endure a lifetime of problems including seizures, develo
I've let this blog languish with the usual excuses--too busy, too distracted, too many other priorities. But a recent 60 Minutes segment on Joel Sartore inspired me to bring Environment Discovery back to life. Egret at Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL Photo by Donna Kaluzniak Sartore is a National Geographic photographer, though I'm most familiar with him through several online photography courses I took. (He's a great instructor, too, and just a very nice guy). He's also the founder of the Photo Ark , a 25-year project to document every species in captivity. The Photo Ark's goal is to get people to care that half of all the species in the world could vanish by the turn of the next century. The portraits are made with clean black or white backgrounds, allowing us to look into the animals' eyes, to see their intelligence and beauty. Over 12,000 animals are in captivity, and Sartore has taken portraits of over 8,000 during the last 12 years. In the p
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay I've talked about The Ocean Cleanup before on this blog. The Ocean Cleanup is the most ambitious project of its kind. The goal is to clean up 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. Located between California and Hawaii, it's one of five gyres (circular systems of ocean currents) that accumulate plastic garbage. Once the plastic is retrieved, it's hoped that most of it can be recycled. The GPGP is twice the size of Texas and contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic with a total weight of about 80,000 tons. The Ocean Cleanup technology includes passive floating barriers to concentrate and capture the debris. Natural ocean forces are used to capture the debris. Electronics used for monitoring and controlling the system are all solar powered. The system is modular, allowing improvements to be made based on experience and funding. What's Been Comp