Westerns Whales and Oceans blog

From Toilet to Tap – Are you Ready?

 

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Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash

Large portions of this country experienced severe flooding this past year, while other parts remained bone dry. Regardless of the drenching rains in some areas, however, America’s aquifers are in serious trouble. It takes literally decades to refill an aquifer.

The United Nations predicts at least 30 nations will have water shortages by 2025. And by 2030, “47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress.” That is nearly half of the world’s population. Why? Aquifers are failing world-wide, including those in the United States.

Rapid population growth, increased industrial demand, and water withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years. Water wars could well be the future. Mark Twain once commented, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” If not water war skirmishes, then mass migration of millions of people from drought stricken countries will likely ensue which will cause total political and social upheaval.

Agriculture in general uses about 70 per cent of water withdrawn from aquifers. The Ogallala aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers located in the mid-west, lost a third of its water in just 30 years due to farmers withdrawing water at an unsustainable rate. California’s Central Valley aquifer is showing signs of depletion and could drop below reach by 2050. Because of the overuse of groundwater by farmers, many resident’s wells are going dry.

Of the 37 major aquifers on the planet, 21 are on the verge of collapse. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City are sinking. Indeed, sections of California’s Central Valley have dropped a foot, and in some areas 28 feet. The facts regarding water shortage are dismal, but action can be taken.

Water catchment systems are one of the simplest solutions to water scarcity in any given area. Many dry areas, like Texas and Arizona, are now allowing rainwater-catchment installations on homes and other buildings. In addition, desalination has become well known in recent times. Desalination can work not just for salt water, but for water considered “brackish,” which is water that is too salty for human consumption. There is up to 10 times more brackish water than freshwater in any aquifer. And changing from highly thirsty, water intensive crops, like corn , cotton, rice, and wheat to less water consuming products might also be a consideration.

But the most extreme measure, in most people’s minds, is the concept of “Toilet to Tap.” Namibia, a very arid country has been purifying wastewater into drinking water for almost 50 years. No one has ever become ill from this “reused water.” In 2003 Singapore began treating sewage water to drinking-water standards, and now El Paso, Texas, is preparing to provide potable reuse water for drinking. This is because El Paso’s Hueco Bolson aquifer that has supplied El Paso with water for decades could run dry which, at its rate of drop, could happen by 2025.

Unfortunately, much of the water currently available for consumption is contaminated. nrdc.orgThe drinking water of 233 million Americans is dangerously compromised.

As deadly serious as the prospect of water shortage and contamination is, it’s surprising that this issue is not front and center. There’s much more to this story, however, and it’s covered in Saving Our Oceans by R.L. Coffield.

Saving Our Oceans is available from Amazon and from the publisher at Moonlight Mesa Associates. Material for this particular blog is from Saving Our Oceans, chapters 5 and 6.

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Net proceeds from the sale of this book are earmarked for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coaltion and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum.

 

Publisher Has Good News!

Muley cover    It’s always a pleasure to have some good news! Here it is:

Moonlight Mesa Associates received notification today that A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule  is a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards! The book was entered in the Pets/Animals Division. The title was Moonlight Mesa’s overall best-selling nonfiction book in 2018.

Awards will be announced November 9 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

MEANWHILE, work has begun on Lee Anderson’s The View From My Saddle.  “This book is absolutely amazing,” editor Renee Witty commented. “I learned so much from Lee’s first book (Developing the Art of Equine Communication), but this new book is even more incredible. It’s extremely reader-friendly but also extremely informative.”

The View From My Saddle  discusses training techniques as well as the ins and outs of horse equipment with a lot of emphasis on bridle bits. “People will think twice before they stick a bit in a horse’s mouth and jerk on those reins,” Witty said. Anderson also covers the various disciplines as well as the competitive show ring/racing/trail parts of the horse world.

                                Lee and his rescued horse Concho checking things out

“Lee has been there, done that, and studied these things for decades. Having been an engineer, he is very attuned to how and why things work. This book is a must-read for every equestrian out there!” Renee said.

The publisher, Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. hopes to have the book in print and available by January  of 2020. Vin Libassi will again do the cover design even though he’s now living in Ecuador. Happily they have internet!

FINALLY,  after a lot of delay, procrastination, and postponement, Memoir Writing  is now available on Amazon as an ebook;  priced at $4.95.  Looking to write a memoir? You’ll appreciate the many tips and ideas in this short book.

Rights of Nature Gaining Ground

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     It appears that the Rights of Nature movement is finally, ever-so-slowly making progress in this country. There are a number of countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, India, and some European countries who embrace the concept of the Rights of Nature and have enacted laws establishing those rights. Ecuador went so far as to add the Rights of Nature to their constitution. Not the U.S.

 

Periodically one can find an article (usually well hidden) about the success of communities enforcing the Rights of Nature, often with the help of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Now before signing off, CELDF simply believes that nature should not be polluted, despoiled or ransacked, and that people have the right to clean air, water and a healthy environment. Is this too much to ask? Citizens should have more say about their communities than corporations.

 

 Lincoln County, Oregon, successfully adopted the first-in-nation ban on aerial pesticides, elevating “community rights” over “corporate rights.” The community’s win took place “despite campaign contributions from timber and chemical corporations who spent nearly $300,000 to defeat the measure.” Residents fought back with $16,000. CELDF is preparing for a lawsuit expecting that industry will want to overturn the will of the citizens.

 

Five counties in Florida have filed to preserve nature and drinking water by granting legal rights to their rivers. Florida is following the lead of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed in February 2019.

 

The Rights of Nature movement is slowly growing in this country even though this idea is well established elsewhere. For example, “Bangladesh became the first country to grant all of its rivers the same legal status as humans.” The Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that the rule is meant “to protect the world’s largest delta from further degradation from pollution, illegal dredging and human intrusion.”

 

oiled bird   The Rights of Nature basically asks that we (all nations) treat our environment and its inhabitants (which includes mammals, fish, fowl and any other kind of critters) respectfully and stop raping, pillaging and destroying the environment. A growing number of people are fed up with a “corporate-run American that focuses on profiteering at the expense of the environment and its citizens.

 

To learn more about the Rights of Nature, I urge you to read The Rights of Nature by David R. Boyd.

 

Slaughtering whales is a “cultural” activity the Faroe Islanders claim. (Photo by Blue Planet Society)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piracy – Every Author’s Nightmare

SGA CoverEvery author’s nightmare (one of the nightmares anyway) is to discover that his/her book has been pirated. This is far more common than people realize. And it’s not just authors who feel the pain – publishers also share in the “victimhood” of piracy.

Some countries are quite blatant about the theft of someone’s work – and I think we all have a good idea who these countries are (think India for one). And increasingly it seems that pirated books are appearing on Amazon.

When it comes to a foreign country doing the thievery, there’s really not much anyone can do about it. And when it comes to piracy on Amazon, one often feels like one is dealing with a foreign country, and not just because most of people on the other end of the line sound very “Indian”. Maybe Amazon doesn’t care because they’re too big to have to care. I doubt it’s because the company is inept – but perhaps it’s grown so unwieldy that there’s no accountability.

Case in point – many months ago J.R. Sanders, author of the outstanding Some Gave All, Forgotten Old West Lawmen Who Died With Their Boots On,  contacted me about his book being sold by an Amazon seller who marketed the book as a Mass Market paperback. This book was never issued as a Mass Market paperback – it was only issued as a Trade Paperback. I ought to know – my company (Moonlight Mesa Associates) published it.

The seller (Bless R) also failed to include the book’s REGISTERED ISBN number when they advertised it on Amazon. Instead, Amazon issued the company its own ASIN number for the book. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Every book that is published and wants to be sold commercially receives its very own ISBN that identifies only that book. The publisher pays for the ISBNs. An ASIN number is Amazon’s identification number. Put it this way, an ISBN allows the book to be sold in any bookstore throughout the world. An ASIN is good only for Amazon sales.

So the seller, this Bless R, failed to post the book’s registered ISBN number. They posted the book’s cover that the author designed, advertised it incorrectly as a mass market publication, and jacked the price to $26.95 instead of the printed price of $19.95. They also listed the “paperback” as $26.95. This inability to know the difference between a trade paperback and a mass market paperback highly suggests piracy by a sham company.

Did the smarty-smurfs at Amazon notice this? Hmm? Not at all. And now that it’s been called to their attention TWICE, they said they will “look into it.”

Statistically only 35% of the population in this country reads books. Since self-publishing raised its head, there are likely millions, if not billions, of books on the market. Traditionally published authors are suffering enough already from the plethora of tripe being sold. To have their hard-earned work pirated is too much. Publishers lose money – and authors lose any royalties they might otherwise have earned from the “legitimate” sale of their work.

This is thievery, and it’s no different than any other kind of theft – stealing people’s writings, songs, artwork, photos, and ideas is as painful as having your house broken into and everything you treasure stolen. What good is it to be gifted with talent and creativity if your work is misrepresented and even ripped-off?

Beware.

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What’s Wrong with These People?

There are many Japanese citizens who disapprove of Japan’s whaling industry and the brutal slaying and sale of dolphins that is sanctioned by their government, but when it comes to oceanic mammal slaughter and abuse, few countries can outdo Japan. Their inhumane, barbaric slaughtering and treatment of whales and dolphins is a stunning, murderous orgy. It’s bad enough that this nation continued whale hunts for years after signing the International Whaling Commission’s agreement not to do so. They killed thousands of whales under the guise of “scientific research.” Australians frequently accused the Japanese of hunting in whale preserves in Antarctica. Of course, the “scientifically researched” slaughtered whales appeared on restaurant menus in Japan.

In December of 2018, the Japanese announced they would no longer remain members of the IWC (were they ever?) and would resume commercial whaling in July 2019. The London based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) estimates that the Japanese have killed over 1,000,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises in the last 70 years. One million.

The dolphin hunts in Taigi Bay are equally as disgraceful, cruel, and vicious as harpooning whales. The Japanese fishermen conduct huge roundups of schools of dolphin, driving them into Taigi Bay where they are brutally and painfully slaughtered or set aside for sale to aquariums. The bay literally turns red with blood. This behavior is simply aberrant and abnormal. According to the EIA, “The hunts in Japan’s coastal waters specifically target nine small cetacean species, eight of them with government-set catch limits which are clearly unsustainable.”

Most ocean advocates know that dolphins (and likely orcas) are the most intelligent mammals in the world – second only to humans, but obviously well beyond the intelligence of the people who hunt, murder, and sell them.

Despite international disapproval, I suspect that Japanese pride and ego keep them from bowing to world condemnation and pressure to desist in these moribund activities.

They slaughter whales because it’s a “cultural heritage” activity, so they say.                                     (Photo by Blue Planet Society)

The Japanese are not the only ones with a penchant for murdering non-aggressive mammals. This year the Faroe Islanders have also been on a rampage. 2019 is proving to be a bloody year. The Faroe Islanders have killed over 688 whales, with 50 whales being slaughtered yesterday alone. The reason? They claim it’s part of their history and culture. When will this madness end?

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So what can be done about this? Boycotting products from those countries is a good start. Support the efforts of groups working to combat these atrocities. Stop visiting and supporting aquariums, especially those (like SeaWorld) who hold orcas and dolphins in swimming pools for people’s entertainment and owners’ profit. Their abusive training methods have finally been exposed, so they should absolutely not be allowed to keep ANY whale or dolphin in captivity. Yet they do. Demand that orcas, dolphins and porpoises be set free. Swimming pools are not an appropriate place for these ocean traveling mammals.

Saving Our Oceans covers in detail the topic discussed here. Get free shipping with your order, and know that the proceeds from the sale of Saving Our Oceans is earmarked for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum. Click here to contact us to place your order.

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A Bit Disappointed, and I Missed My Mule

Whale-postcard.jpg         My summer travels and book-selling attempts for Saving Our Oceans were  slightly worse than pathetic. Although I did sell all the books I had with me, it was a LOT OF WORK. Partially this is due to my reluctance to approach conventional bookstores. The Independent stores are far more gracious and willing to take small publisher titles. Happily I picked up orders for a few of our other titles and I just sent 25 copies of Saving Our Oceans to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum yesterday. So, it’s all good.

Well, I have to confess that the Marine Naturalist Training Program I was so gung-ho about was a little bit of a let down. The presenters absolutely knew their subject matter and were very passionate about it, but too many really needed training in public speaking. (Mumble mumble) Some were okay. A few were good, but too many were inaudible.

I also wasn’t sure why some of the topics were included, to be honest. Other topics, like plastic pollution, weren’t even mentioned.

The entire program, though, was staffed by extremely nice, knowledgeable, caring people.

As of now, I seriously doubt that I’ll do the required practicum to obtain a Marine Naturalist certification. I’m feeling more and more certain to remain in Arizona and not relocate north. More about that later.

But, all that being said,  due to the program I attended I armed myself with several Marine guides and had an absolutely great time finding cool creatures and plants on my own. I will admit the training program added a lot of interesting exploring to our travels.

Orange Ribbon Worm
Orange Ribbon Worm I discovered in a tide pool

BACK TO BUSINESS

Happily I came back to a bunch of orders for books sitting in our post office box…not so happy for those waiting for their purchases, I suppose. I’ll definitely have someone deal with mail and orders next summer.

My to-do list is so long I almost feel paralyzed.  No one else will be back until the middle of September, if then, so I have time to get myself and the business organized and ready to roll at a nice, leisurely pace.

This fall we’re looking at possibly a new cover for The Littlest Wrangler,  and getting Lee Anderson’s book, My View from the Saddle, into print asap. Also a small ebook is in the works, and due to the slowdown after a fabulous full year of sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule will likely go to ebook also…maybe. Gotta think about that one. No…I just changed my mind. Not going to do that yet.

I’m glad to be home. My bed here is way more comfortable than the bed on the boat!! And I missed my mule!

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Too Many Predators

Between net fisheries, sports fishermen, and seals and sea lions, the

dwindling number of Southern Resident Pod of orcas wavers on the brink of extinction.

There are simply too many Chinook salmon predators for the orcas to compete with, and the Chinook is the primary food source for the Southern Resident pod. Add ship strikes, whale watching intrusiveness and toxins and the odds against another two decades of survival for the pod is a safe bet.

Net fisheries need to be abolished for the benefit and sustainability of all ocean species. These nets can be up to two miles long and collect every life form in the net’s path as it’s towed along. Most of the by-catch is thrown away – it’s already dead.

Even gill netting is catastrophic. The Columbia River, a massive river between Oregon and Washington, is a prime example. This river used to have a magnificent salmon run until a crowd of gill netters and a series of dams along with a booming population of seals has all but decimated the runs.

40 years ago seals were deemed an endangered species due to fishermen shooting them for stealing salmon. In the past 40 years the population of seals has greatly expanded. Seals can now be seen snagging salmon with insolent ease as the salmon struggle to climb the stupid fish ladders at the dam to return to their spawning grounds. If they manage to make it up the Bonneville dam ladder, they have four Snake River dams still to go.

Sports fishermen have taken their fair share of Chinook also, although both Washington State and Canada curtailed the salmon sport fishing season this year (2019). It should have been suspended for several years.

This year San Juan Islanders were bemoaning the fact that the orcas had only showed up twice. News came that the whales were staying on the outside of Vancouver Island where it was reported that there were more salmon and a lot less boat traffic to contend with.

The orcas need to stay there. If they return to Puget Sound and the Salish Sea they will only be starved and pestered to death.

Governor Inslee has apparently given up his quest for the White House. He needs to get back to his job. If the orcas die off on his watch it will be the end of his political life for certain. A sad, inexcusable legacy.