Farmers and government in Argentina are battling an emerging plague of locusts. Like something out of a horror movie, locusts are set to devastate vast swaths of Argentinian cropland.
Last year a major outbreak of the insects had farmers fighting a losing battle against these voracious vegetarians. A locust can eat its weight in greenery each day. The swarms can contain millions of these critters and when they settle down to eat they will strip the area bare in a few hours.
While many of us have seen grasshoppers and know the damage they can do to your flower or vegetable garden if left unchecked, locusts are far more damaging. After emerging from their eggs laid the previous summer it takes only about 10 days for them to achieve flight.
The hungry insects can fly considerable distances before settling down for another binge. In a day an average sized swarm(about 40 million insects) will consume as much as 2500 people.
The Argentinians are fighting the threat of ruined crops by engaging swarm spotters who attempt to discern where the swarm will land for the night. Then the spray equipment descends on the area and sprays pesticides on the insects, hoping to kill the majority of them.
Some of the farmers are saying too little too late. Last year saw sporadic outbreaks of swarms. Efforts to engage the government in helping eliminate the few swarms before they could lay eggs went unrewarded. There is a new president in Argentina now.
Many areas around the world are subject to sporadic outbreaks of this plague. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Sudan, Madagascar have all had outbreaks in recent years. The explosive population growth occurs after a mild, wet winter which allows the eggs of the locusts to remain viable.
A warming climate is predicted to cause many more serious insect infestations that were previously held in check by early, hard frosts. In N. America for instance, much of the northern pine forests have fallen victim to the pine beetle.Their explosive growth is partly blamed on climate warming.
But when rainfall drops, Titicaca is no longer able to counteract the evaporation rate which has increased. An average of one degree Celsius increase over temperatures in 1995 has hastened evaporation.
Bolivia’s largest lake is also fighting for survival. A combination of sewage from over two million people and industrial wastes has turned Titicaca into a virtual cesspool.
The problem of water body survival is not limited to Bolivia. Many areas around the world have seen fresh water polluted by careless disposal of sewage and laissez faire attitudes towards resource extraction.
Those tiny pieces of plastic make their way down the drains of the cities and from there to the water treatment plants. Like many of our modern constructs, our sewage treatment plants cannot deal with them and they pass through to eventually land in the ocean or the lakes.
Fish and invertebrates are increasingly showing up with microbeads in their guts.
Biologists are starting to wonder how these plastic balls are affecting the health of the animals. There is the potential that fish ingesting enough microballs of plastic may plug their digestive system. Poisoning may result if the plastic contains or has absorbed toxic substances.
Rubbing plastic which is basically another form of petroleum, on your body doesn’t sound nearly as glamourous as microbeads. Try to do what you can to educate yourself about this previously unseen form of pollution and eliminate it from your grooming routine. There are many more nature friendly ways to exfoliate and polish. Sugar scrubs, sea salt rubs, jojoba beads, ground apricot pits all offer a plastic free way to maintain smooth skin."
Greenpeace are running a report titled "5 Small Things That Explain The Big Problem with Microbeads" along with some self-explanatory images; a few of those images are shown below.
A Greenpeace petition to UK PM David Cameron says "Harmful plastic "microbeads" are unnecessarily put in the face scrubs and toothpastes we use every day. They are too small to be filtered, so end up in our oceans - and the creatures swimming in them. David Cameron must follow other world leaders like President Obama and the Canadian Prime Minister who’ve banned companies from using these wholly unnecessary bits of plastic."
Sign the petition by following this link
Beat the Microbead
They are required to wear helmets, but spandex provides little protection in a crash. Sometimes it is rider miscalculation as when a rider takes a wet corner too fast, but often it is the course itself that provides unexpected hazards. The outcome can be a career ending injury or too often, a life ending one.
For those of you who save their enthusiasm for the Tour de France the big race starts July 2nd. This year’s start will be in France at Mont St. Michel/Utah Beach.
It is expected that under the DPP government that the indigenous people of the island will be represented in greater proportion than ever before.
The island, formerly called Formosa, has had various colonizers and conquerors since the 17th century.
China(PRC) maintains that Taiwan is a renegade province of theirs. They have tried to woo the people by holding out the idea of close but privileged status within the whole, much like Hong Kong. That model is under close scrutiny right now as many of the privileges/rights that the HK citizens are supposed to have is being eroded.
Street demonstrations protesting the creep of central power have been held. Even more chilling to the HK people is the recent disappearance of five HK book publishers. They specialized in ensuring that books banned by the PRC government were published and available in HK. Free speech is one of the guarantees that HK was granted. At least one publisher is known to be in the PRC. He phoned his wife to tell her to not make a fuss. His identification papers were still in HK and he could not have travelled to the mainland without them. That is, unless he was smuggled in.
Definitely interesting times for the two Chinas.
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada