National Parks Going Corporate

'North Rim Grand Canyon Cape Royal' [Shutterstock]

‘North Rim Grand Canyon Cape Royal’ [Shutterstock]

The National Park Service is opening the door to corporate sponsorship by expanding the definition of philanthropy.

Corporate sponsors won’t be able to place advertising or marketing slogans at the 411 national parks, but they will be allowed to prominently display their logos and gain naming rights for some features in return for their gifts, reported the Washington Post.

Proposed new rules — which are set to go into effect later this year — will allow corporations to design and build park buildings and operate them over the long term, and some donors will be granted naming rights to park programs, positions and endowments.


The new rules for park managers include a shift away from protecting environmental resources toward fundraising.

“Does that become a major part of the job?” said John Garder, budget and appropriations director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Can the park service say, ‘This person’s doing an awesome job protecting bison, but they’re not raising enough money?’”

Full Story Here. Every day, I get the feeling that a huge sign has been put out, ‘AmericaLand Park! A fine example of how to fuck up a country.’

Scarface shot dead in old age

Courtesy Yellowstone National Park Scarface, a famous, beloved and much-photographed grizzly bear living in Yellowstone National Park, was shot dead by a hunter in a killing that is being investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Courtesy Yellowstone National Park
Scarface, a famous, beloved and much-photographed grizzly bear living in Yellowstone National Park, was shot dead by a hunter in a killing that is being investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Another wild animal with a fan base among humans has met a violent end, when Grizzly Bear No. 211—known to his human friends as Scarface—was shot dead near Gardiner, Montana. Scarface was the best known of about 750 grizzlies who call Yellowstone National Park home but who, like the Yellowstone bison, sometimes stray across the invisible lines marking the park on a map.


This was the context of Scarface becoming a rock star among the grizzly population in Yellowstone National Park. Male grizzlies fight among themselves during mating season and Scarface had sustained injuries over the years that made him easy to pick out of a bear lineup, particularly his damaged right ear. In the ongoing research into the habits of the grizzlies in Yellowstone, Scarface had been captured, collared, and released 17 times.

Scarface did survive to a ripe old age for his species, 25. In his prime, he weighed 600 pounds. He was down to 338 pounds and biologists expected this last winter to be his last. They meant a death from old age, not from gunshots. Social media were full of outrage from biologists and wildlife photographers, for whom Scarface had become a symbol of the species struggling for survival against climate change and the invasion of bear habitat by humans.


Shooting a grizzly is unlawful except in self-defense, but Scarface had a long history with people that made him an unlikely candidate to attack a photographer or a hunter. Because of the Endangered Species Act violation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting. Several photographers, decrying the shooting, declared that Scarface was the most photographed bear in Yellowstone.

ICTMN has the story.

Tiospaye and Indigenous Environmentalism

First up, Thunder Valley CDC, working to build a community at Pine Ridge rez, one that fulfills the concept of community and tiospaye, which means extended family. This is a very important project, and one dear to my heart. If you can be tiospaye by helping out, there aren’t words enough for appreciation.



Thunder Valley CDCexplore, read, and if you can help, pilamayaye.


Indigenous Environmental Network. IEN is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination & exploitation, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws.  Have a look around, and get involved if you can.


Global Alliance Against REDD.


Have a look around, read, get involved if you can.

It’s all about tiospaye – we are all extended family, and it’s past time we act like it.

Elephant Art

If you find yourself in the market for something truly special, consider elephant art.  I’m in love with Aleena’s Garden Dance, and have been saving pennies, but I wouldn’t hold even the thought of a grudge if someone snapped it up. It all goes to help the artists, and to enable other artists to be rescued.

Garden Dance, © Aleena (May).

Garden Dance, © Aleena (May).

Aleena was born on May 6, 2004. Her father is Phra-may and her mother is Poomphaung, another Novica-featured elephant artist. Aleena’s nickname is May and she weighs 3,329 pounds. The young pachyderm is very friendly. She is practicing to play in the elephant orchestra, however she is already a skilled painter. To read more about Aleena, click the link and scroll down.

Music Lover, by Nammoey.

Music Lover, © Nammoey.

Born in 2009, Nammoey is a young female who survived elephant traffickers thanks to the forest officers who work to enforce the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Law. They found her near the Salween River in Sobmoey, Mae Hong Son, and placed her in the care of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center-TECC. To read more about Nammoey, click the link and scroll down.

Autumn Flower, by Bai-Tong.

Autumn Flower, © Bai-Tong.

Bai-tong enjoys painting so much that she sometimes takes a firm grip on the paintbrush and refuses to return it to the trainer. She is much loved by the TECC staff and every tourist who has seen her. To read more about Bai-Tong, click the link and scroll down.

Earth Day

Makȟá. Earth. Makočé. Land. Kinship. Family. The interdependence and connectedness of all things. That there was a need to name a day Earth Day makes me hauntingly sad. Every day, life goes on, and people walk over thicknesses of concrete, asphalt, spend days inside more concrete, lock themselves in steel when they are outside. It can be easy to forget how much you are a part of the earth. It can be easy to want more, always more. More to make your life easier, convenient, what you think is better. Poverty can grind people down so much they see nothing but blackness and pain. And in it all, we are both the driving force and blind eyes that allow those who are powerful to destroy the earth which gives us life. To destroy all life which is not that of humans, and if some humans get caught up in that destruction, so what? This is a day of terrible sadness, all the more so because it’s just one of “those days” to most people. It doesn’t mean anything, just as the earth doesn’t mean anything.

Duane Yazzie, photo by Robert Esposito.

Duane Yazzie, photo by Robert Esposito.

“The life of the earth is waning,” warns Duane Yazzie, president of the Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Yes, it is. One piece at a time.

Algae-Based Water Bottle Biodegrades When It’s Empty.

Very cool, this. More people need to work on the plastic problem. It seems as much as I try to eliminate plastic products from my life, I end up surrounded anyway.

Photo credit: Ari Jónsson

Photo credit: Ari Jónsson

Plastic bottles can lay around in landfill sites or the ocean for centuries. While our planet struggles to cope with our ever-increasing appetite for plastic, an Icelandic product design student was inspired to create a little something to address the issue.

Ari Jónsson, from the Iceland Academy of the Arts, has harnessed the properties of red algae to create a biodegradable bottle for drinking water. He unveiled his invention at Reykjavik design festival DesignMarch last month. The bottles are made out of agar powder, which derives from the supporting structure in the cell walls of certain species of algae. If this is added to water and allowed to cool, it will eventually set and mould into a jelly-like substance.

The bottle retains its shape when it’s full of fluid but will start to decompose as soon as it’s empty it.

Full Story at IFLSCIENCE!

Cool Stuff Friday

First up, absolutely stunning macro shots of some awesome insect architecture: Macro Photographs of Nature’s Tiniest Architects by Nicky Bay. Be sure to click the link so you can see all of the photos. All I have is “Wow!”

Arctiine moth pupa (Cyana sp.)

Arctiine moth pupa (Cyana sp.)

Bagworm Moth

Bagworm Moth

Next, a lake of mirrors. This left me speechless. A Photographer’s Digital Journey to Produce a Lake of Shattered Mirrors.

“Impact” by Erik Johansson, image provided by artist.

“Impact” by Erik Johansson, image provided by artist.

Swedish photographer Erik Johansson had a vision for a digital photograph of a lake shattering like a mirror, an image he wanted to produce as accurately as possible. To achieve this effect for Impact, Johansson bought 17 square meters of mirrors, found a boat and a model, and posed all three in a stone pit until he got the best shot for the final image. Several months of planning, shooting, and editing later and he has an entire video that documents the tasks that lie far beyond the many hours he spent in Photoshop.

Get A Life


Dame Vivienne Westood DBE RDI has just blown out her 75 candles, but she’s already back at work with the announcement of a new book. The “godmother of punk” is compiling her best journal entries in Get a Life: The Diaries of Vivienne Westwood.

Dame Viv is pictured on the cover wearing a portrait of transgender WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning, currently imprisoned for sharing classified information on the Iraq war.

“My diaries are about the things I care about,” Westwood said. “Not just fashion but art and writing, human rights, climate change, freedom. I call the diaries Get a Life as that’s how I feel: You’ve got to get involved, speak out and take action.”

Get a Life will be released on October 6, 2016. This will definitely be on my stack of fall books, and I’m looking forward to it. The 75 candles link is NSFW.

Standing On Sacred Ground

Eight Cultures, One Fight.

Around the world, indigenous people stand up for their traditional sacred lands in defense of cultural survival, human rights and the environment.

Watch them stand against industrial mega-projects, consumer culture, resource extraction, competing religions, tourists and climate change.


As part of a four-part documentary series on indigenous struggles over sacred sites that was over seven years in the making, Standing on Sacred Ground, will be broadcast on PBS’s First Nations Experience channel (FNX) as well as other stations to include KQED through April and May, nationally on WorldChannel and the San Francisco Bay Area station KCSM beginning Sunday, April 17 through Friday, April 22 (Earth Day.) … The project airs over the course of four episodes and includes stories on the indigenous shamans of the Altai Republic of Russia, a northern California tribe, the Papua New Guinea people, the First Nations near the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, the Gamo Highland peoples of Ethiopia to the indigenous communities near the Andes of Peru, as well as Aboriginal Australians and Native Hawaiians.

Standing On Sacred Ground Home. Broadcast Schedule. ICTMN article.

Oceti Sakowin and Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po

The protest against the Dakota access pipeline continues.


The spirit riders at Standing Rock show support for keeping the Missouri River waters clean.

The spirit riders at Standing Rock show support for keeping the Missouri River waters clean.

In the coming weeks or maybe even days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will issue a decision as to whether or not they will allow the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the Bakken Pipeline, to be constructed.

Until then, citizens and allies of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation) will continue to protest the pipeline, urging stakeholders to recognize the devastation that would ensue should the pipeline be built.

“The DAPL poses a threat to our people, cultural and historically significant areas,” said Paula Antonie, Chair of Shielding the People and a Rosebud Sioux tribal citizen. “We will stand by our Hunkpapa relatives in defending against any major environmental, public health and safety hazards within our treaty territory.”

The proposed pipeline would stretch for thousands miles across four states beginning in western North Dakota and ending in Indiana. It would cross the Missouri River mere feet away from the northern border of the Standing Rock Reservation, threatening to contaminate and destroy the waters.

Full Story Here.

Cool Stuff Friday

The Creator’s Project on Instagram. Some fabulous work there, have a browse.



Turning thousands of discarded plastic bottles into art


Serge Attukwei Clottey uses his art installations to educate local communities about pollution and waste. Photograph: Serge Attukwei Clottey

Serge Attukwei Clottey uses his art installations to educate local communities about pollution and waste. Photograph: Serge Attukwei Clottey

The brightly coloured plastic jugs once played a vital role transporting water during Ghana’s droughts. Now, they’re creating a new environmental catastrophe of their own.

Seas of discarded yellow, blue and white containers – referred to locally as “Kufuor gallons” after the water crises endured under president John Kufuor in the early 2000s – have become a troubling part of Ghana’s landscape.

No longer used by local communities, vast quantities of jerry cans have built up on city streets, dumps and beaches, contributing to worsening pollution levels. In response to the growing crisis and government inaction, local artist Serge Attukwei Clottey has started using large-scale plastic art installations as a way to draw attention to the issue.

The artist says his aim is to galvanise the local community to combat the large quantities of plastic waste now blocking sewers in cities and endangering wildlife habitats along the coastline.

Clottey, who has been gathering the containers for more than 15 years, cuts them into small tiles and shapes them over an open flame, later moulding sections together and binding them with copper.

The process results in what he refers to as “paint-less paintings” – large plastic tapestries that also incorporate other salvaged waste items, such as discarded electrical goods or wood, bones and shells gathered from the coastal neighbourhood where he lives and works in the capital, Accra.

The full article is here.