But can we look at anything and see reflections of what’s to come…such as fishing?
Perhaps and thinking about fishing may have helped the performance of the Green Portfolio we created with Jyske Bank, which is up 163% in seven months.
This performance should not be surprising because everywhere we look, we see environmental concerns, even in things that seem good such as catching fish.
Take for example this treat. Every once in awhile the desire for some fresh fish hits us and our wonderful Little Horse Creek takes care of the job. This was a feast, the bigger trout being 20 inches, weighing over a pound and feeding three. Looks great. Right?
Here is the problem. These are all Rainbow Trout.
The encroachment of non-native Rainbow Trout into the cold water brook trout environment of small Appalachian streams is just one more warning about the havoc man is wreaking on the environment.
We have seen this over the years at our place. Each year the Rainbows come further up the stream and we see less Brookies.
Human planting of exotic rainbow trout is thought to be a leading cause for the decline of native brook trout since the 1930s in Appalachia .
Here is the Brook Trout, all golden and spots, quite different from its rainbow cousin.
So we love to see the Brookies do well here at little Horse Creek. Now here is a double twist that is odd. The encroachment seems to be turning around.
A report from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says: “It was encroachment by non-native rainbow trout and their apparent competitive superiority that caused the greatest concern with respect to the future survival of brook trout. But a recent study of Tennessee brook trout in 25 mixed populations (with rainbow trout) sustained no net loss in the amount of stream length they occupied between the 1970s and 1990s. Additionally, brook trout have recently “invaded” the abundant rainbow trout population in upper Sycamore Creek, established themselves, and continue to expand. The same thing happened in Briar Creek ( Washington County ) after brook trout were reintroduced without removing the rainbows nearly 17 years ago.”
What could cause such a turn around? I scratched my head on that one for awhile until I managed to scrape up a report from the American Fisheries Society.
This report outlined a study of the behavioral interactions between a type pf rainbow and brook trout at two water temperatures. The species were nearly equal competitors at 52°F, but brook trout showed a clear competitive dominance over cutthroat trout at 72°F.
The report said that at the warmer temperature, brook trout were more aggressive, consumed more food, and occupied the lead position in a dominance hierarchy more often.
The report also outlined that brook trout also maintained equilibrium longer during a thermal challenge test, suggesting they are more tolerant of heat stress.
So up here, where water temperatures are still cold the rainbows dominate. Yet as waters warm, the brookies come back. This could be a reflection of global warming.
One opportunity from this could be to farm brook instead of rainbow trout.
Overall it may be another sign of coming change.
Here is another odd thought.
No other factor in our society may be as important as our deteriorating environment. Yet almost no public universities (and few private colleges) require their students to study any environmental or sustainability issues as part of their overall curriculum. The result is that tens of thousands of students graduate each year effectively ecologically illiterate.
At one of America ‘s newest state universities – Florida Gulf Coast University environmental studies are mandatory for all. Students most places have to study some math, English, history and PE, but the one field of knowledge that could even be crucial to mankind’s survival? Nah?
This is why I am pleased that our son, Jake, is a Director on the Board of the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education.
Merri and I have been donators to the center since it began and have been impressed with the development and product of the Center in the last couple of years, which is one reason we continue to support it and Jake continues his support from afar (he is now reading Law and working for the UK Environment Agency in England ).
The center’s achievements in the last couple of years include:
A major international publication on the Earth Charter featuring writers including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Mathaaii, Stephen Rockefeller, Jane Goodall (of Gorillas in the Mist fame) and the Princess of Jordan.
The center brought Mikhail Gorbachev (President of Green Cross International) to South Florida ) to address 7,000 people about international security and the destabilizing effect of environmental degradation.
Numerous lectures by leading environmental writers; and perhaps most importantly:
Active personal practical advice to government ministries, Presidents and Prime Ministers of India, Norway and various African nations seeking to understand how to make education about the environment a mainstream subject for all young people in national higher education systems.
The center is in a fund raising mode right now with a target this year that if they can reach, they’ll receive a significant matching contribution from an anonymous donor.
They have a final push for SMALL donations and they will make a big impact.
Jake asked me to donate $100 (one hundred dollars) and promised us to show his appreciation he would write the following free report.
‘Investing in Environmental Philanthropy – How to Make Your Money Count’
He says that the report is for those increasingly interested in ethical investing and giving for the environment.
The international NGO industry set up to help people ‘make a difference’ can seem bewildering. How does someone know if their hard earned money will be well spent or wasted?
Jake’s report will reveal ten top tips for making your philanthropic investments & involvements count.
Tips will include a look at such questions as:
1) Which green charities are making a difference and which are just making a killing?
2) Top questions to ask when making a donation or investing time or money in a green project.
3) Pitfalls and opportunities in getting involved.
The report will be ready in August and as a Green investor I do not want to miss it.
I would like to see the center hit its target so Merri and I donated substantially more than what Jake asked.
Now I want to make this special offer to you. Donate any amount you feel comfortable with.
Make your donation payable and mail to Center for Environmental & Sustainability
Center Directorate c/o Dr. Peter Blaze Corcoran
Center for Environmental & Sustainability Education Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
Simply send me a note telling me that you donated. I do not need to know the amount or proof. I’ll take your word and I’ll send you a free copy of Jake’s report as soon as it’s ready.
Plus I am going to give you another tip worth $39.95 even if you never donate a thing.
The book “The Earth Charter in Action – Toward a Sustainable World” is edited by Peter
Blaze Corcoran with a foreword by Wangari Maathai and preface by Mikhail Gorbachev, Maurice F. Strong. This is a must read and sells for $39.95.
You can download this free at http://earthcharterinaction.org/eci_book.shtml
Change and the future can only be seen in as blurred reflections on the window panes of life. We cannot see the exact future but we can see parts of it here and now. One evolution of which we can be pretty sure is that there will be plenty of environmental problems.
We can help solve them in many ways. We can invest in solutions. Our recent 163% profit in seven months shows that this is not a bad idea. We can support education in this field.
Or we can ignore the environment and go fishing instead. Just know that even then change is catching what you catch!
Until next message, good fishing to you!
P.S. this is not just an Appalachian problem either. Weather change is affecting fish everywhere.
A January 2007 article in The Scotsman by RAYMOND HAINEY says: “Call for start of Tay salmon fishing season to be delayed.” SALMON fishing should be postponed to preserve fish stocks because climate change has changed breeding patterns, according to ghillies on the River Tay.
“Hundreds of anglers are due to gather next week in pursuit of the prized spring salmon.
But John Monteith, ghillie on the Newtyle beat on the Tay , said starting the open season would endanger fish which are spawning later because of climate change.
Mr Monteith said warmer winter weather over the past few years had resulted in fish spawning well into the start of the traditional fishing season in January.
He said: “It is not just the last few years, either. The early 1980s was the last time substantial catches of spring salmon were recorded.
“There is definitely a long-term change in the weather and the opening season is now out of sync. Mr Monteith added: “To disturb fish when they’re trying to reproduce is wrong. The reason the season was set up in the first place was to protect spawning fish.”
Here is the preface to “The Earth Charter in Action – Toward a Sustainable World” by Mikhail Gorbachev.
The current millennium started with a recognition by the international community of the many critical situations it faces, the most appalling of which are addressed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration: hunger, poverty, gender inequality, child mortality, water crisis, and environmental decline. In more general terms, I believe that the world is confronted today with three major challenges which encompass all other problems: the challenge of security, including the risks associated with weapons of mass destruction and terrorism; the challenge of poverty and underdeveloped economies; and the challenge of environmental sustainability.
No national government, even that of a super power, no group of countries, even the richest ones, can meet these challenges alone. The deadly terrorist attacks in London in July 2005, came as the latest tragic reminder of this reality. We must and will fight terrorism, but one should not forget that we might lose this war if we do not eradicate its roots. The only answer is a universal coalition of informed, responsible, and active citizens.
Hence the importance of initiatives like the Earth Charter which, from an idea shared by a handful of like-minded individuals, has developed into a mass movement supported by millions of people worldwide.
The book in front of you is not simply another activity report that any organization regularly compiles – far more than five years of work lie behind it. Movements like the Earth Charter Initiative do not come to life spontaneously or out of the blue.
The fact of their creation is preceded by a long prenatal period during which the people concerned come to understand their needs, formulate their demands, organize themselves, and get ready for action. In this sense, the book The Earth Charter in Action: Toward a Sustainable World is a testimony to the process of all humanity becoming mature, aware of the dangers it faces, and of the responsibilities it will inevitably have to assume vis-à-vis future generations if it continues to treat the environment as “business as usual.”
The subjects dealt with and opinions expressed in the book are as varied and complex as our reality itself, and range from more global concepts like democracy, nonviolence, and peace to very practical issues of youth employment and gender equality.
Another very impressive feature revealed by the book is the multitude of purposes for which Earth Charter can be used: promotion of equitable employment, citizen participation in environmental and educational programs, creating global dialogue on sustainable development, working with ex-combatants from war-torn regions, and even local campaigns against genetically modified organisms. This list can be continued.
One of the main themes of the Earth Charter, and of the book, the theme particularly dear to me as Founding President of Green Cross International, is ecological integrity and our common responsibility for its preservation. I was not born an ecologist, but the environment has always meant a lot to me. I grew up in a village and perceived the dying of rivers and land erosion as personal pain. Right after coming to power in the Soviet Union , I had to deal with a huge project of reversing the flow of the rivers from North to South. If not stopped, it would have resulted in a tremendous ecological disaster. I thought this was a tough school. Yet, I still had Chernobyl to face.… This catastrophe of planetary scale shook the world and showed, in the most harsh form, that nature does not forgive human mistakes.
The Earth Charter is an unusual document since it reflects a new, universally-shared level of understanding of the interdependence between humans and nature. It also corresponds to the stage of globalization at which we find ourselves.
Coming back to the three challenges I mentioned earlier, two global documents are called to help the human community to cope with them. The first pillar is the Charter of the United Nations, which regulates the relations among states and thus sets the rules for their behavior in order to secure peace and stability. The second pillar is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which regulates the relations between states and individuals, and guarantees to all citizens a set of rights which their respective governments should provide. The importance of these two documents cannot be overestimated. But it has become obvious that another document is missing, one which would regulate the relations among states, individuals, and nature by defining the human duties towards the environment.
In my opinion, the Earth Charter should fill this void, acquire equal status, and become the third pillar supporting the peaceful development of the modern world. The process of its endorsement has already begun – it is endorsed by a growing number of local and national governments, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and many non governmental organizations. However, we founders and supporters should consider our mission accomplished only when the Earth Charter is universally adopted by the international community.