Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the category “News Connections”

NaBloPoM0 11: Eleven-year-old student in Hong Kong faces down the government

NaBloPoMo_November_smallYesterday, I posted a story about 10-year-old Liva Adelstrop of Bali who took on the challenge of cleaning up the pollution in our oceans: Can One 10-Year-Old Girl Save Our Oceans?

Today’s story features Nellie Shute, an 11-year-old Hong Kong International School (HKIS), Upper Primary School student (grade 6), who takes on illegal trade in ivory. (HKIS is an American international school.)

The South China Morning Post published this article about the situation: “Hong Kong International School removes ivory after pupil’s complaint,” by Danny Lee.

6th grade student, Nellie Shute, with Upper Primary School Principal, Bruce Kelsh. Phto: Michal Garcia

6th grade student, Nellie Shute, with HKIS Upper Primary School Principal, Bruce Kelsh. Phto: Michal Garcia

In an effort to educate children about illegal-hunting and trading in ivory and how this endangers elephants, the Hong Kong government loaned tusks and artifacts from its stockpile of confiscated ivory to schools to put on display.

But eleven-year-old Nellie Shute objected to the artifacts being on display in her school and asked her school’s administration to return the artifacts to the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department HKAFCD), contending that the artifacts in the schools did not serve their intended purpose.

Wisely, the school complied and returned the ivory pieces to the HKAFCD where they were placed back in the stockpile of confiscated, illegally hunted and imported ivory.

And look at how much attention has been given to this polite protest by Nellie Shute: an article has appeared in the South China Morning Post, news of this article has been tweeted numerous times on Twitter, the article link has been posted and reposted on Facebook, and blog posts have been written about it. No doubt other news services will pick up the story and repeat it.

Nellie’s protest is bringing world-wide attention to the animal poaching problem. Perhaps the Hong Kong’s government practice of loaning ivory artifacts to schools for education is having some positive effects after all, all thanks to an 11-year-old who wanted to make a difference and spoke up about something she thought was inappropriate.

How big is the trade in illegal ivory?
In this past year alone, Hong Kong customs officials have seized and stockpiled 26 tons of ivory.  But confiscating illegal ivory imports and stockpiling is not enough, according to critics, and evidently has not curtailed illegal hunting and importing of ivory. Many animal rights activists and conservationists believe that destroying the stockpiled ivory would deter further illegal killing of elephants.

Changing the World. One Student at A Time
Liva Adelstorp of Bali (yesterday’s post) reminded us of this Margaret Mead quote:

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Nellie Shute and Liva Adelstorp prove this saying to be true. Many thanks to them for speaking out boldly for their beliefs.

NaBloPoMo 9: Can One 10-Year Old Girl Save Our Oceans?

Yesterday I wrote a post about the Japanese tsunami of March, 2011 and the “trash island” that is floating in the Pacific towards the US. Although NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) authorities have refuted the existence of this so-called island, they do admit that a lot of trash from the tsunami is still floating or has already sunk in the Pacific.

But the tsunami trash is not the ocean’s biggest problem.  Trash in the ocean has been a problem long before the Japanese tsunami. The amount of plastic waste in all of our oceans has led to the term “plastic soup” as a description of the situation. Reports of a “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” have been circulating on Internet.  ocean plastic

One 10-year-old, Liva Adelstorp of Bali, took this problem to heart.  While snorkeling one day, she was dismayed by the amount of trash she saw. She researched the problem and discovered that 14 billions pounds of trash are dumped into the ocean each year. This trash does severe damage to the wildlife that lives in the ocean.

Her experience with trash in the ocean while snorkeling inspired her to take action. Here, in her own words, is her attempt to take on this huge ocean trash problem: Liva’s Greenvideo

Liva designed a mesh collection bag for ocean trash that divers could use. She pursued her idea through Project AWARE, and has convinced a diving school in bali to sponsor a “Dive Against Debris” to start cleaning up the oceans.

Can one 10-year-old help save our oceans? You bet she can. With her determination and great ideas, we can bet that we will see progress in this controlling this ocean trash problem. She quotes Margaret Mead:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Read the following for more information on this problem. A blog post from the Earth Institute, “Our Oceans: A Plastic Soup,” gives more detail about the plastic pollution problem.

Let’s help Liva by doing our part. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Follow your local guidelines for recycling. You can make a difference.

The Last Meow

Yes, a 10-year old girl can make a difference. She had an idea, and she put it into action. Now, here’s the thing. It might not be successful right away, but the point is to keep trying. Maru the cat can give us an example of that!

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

reduce, reuse, recycle

Recycling tips from Wikihow: Recycle

Our Dirty Ocean? Tsunami Trash. Rumors and Truth.

Report: Texas-sized floating trash heap floating to U.S.     

Since the Japanese tsunami on March 11, 2011, reports have surfaced periodically in the news and on Internet about massive trash islands headed to the United States. In fact, boats, barges, fishing nets,  soccer balls, wood, and plastic of all kinds have turned up on our beaches along the west coast and Hawaii.

Photo Credit: US Navy

Photo Credit: US Navy

Here are two reports:
* American Live Wire: Texas-Sized Island Tsunami Debris Headed to U.S.
* Daily Mail: Island of debris the size of Texas from 2011 Japanese tsunami is headed straight for the U.S.

But there’s more to it than the tsunami trash floating in the Pacific Ocean.
This tsunami trash is only a piece of the bigger problem: ocean and land pollution from a variety of sources. It is this larger issue that demands our attention. We can’t do much about the tsunami trash other than to report it and pick it up, but we can do something about the bigger problem.

Here’s more on this story..

Those rumors about a Texas-sized trash island are  rubbish

source: MSN.Com Tsunami trash island is a rumor confirms NOAA

For anyone frightened by those stories about a massive trash island hitting the U.S., it’s time to relax. That’s not what’s going on. The 2011 tsunami in Japan did wash loads of debris into the Pacific Ocean, and, yes, some of it is headed here. But it’s not a 5 million-ton, Texas-sized trash pile. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which released the map above, confirmed on Twitter that “some talk” was making the rounds about an “island of debris” and clarified that there’s no evidence of huge mass of trash. It’s a misreading of the data. Phew.

But what is out there? Seventy percent of the original 5 million tons has already sunk, but there are still 1.5 million tons of tsunami debris floating around. Due to currents, much of it is headed for the West Coast of North America — it’s just not all coming at once. And regardless of where and when it might make landfall, all that debris is a concern; it’s harmful to marine life, and it can transport invasive species across the ocean. So if you’re going to fret, concentrate on that.

ocean map..tsunami trash

No, a massive “island of debris” isn’t heading toward the U.S.   Salon.com news

It’s easy enough to see how the above map, released by the NOAA, may have confused people. Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami swept an estimated 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific Ocean. It sure looks like a massive heap of that trash is on course to hit California. And that’s how a number of news outlets — including Discover Magazine, Mail Online and RT — are reporting it. As Quartz put it:

“Where did that 5 million tons (4.5 tonnes) of debris go? Some of it formed a pile of debris the size of Texas. Just as that state once annexed itself to the US, this floating Texas-sized trash heap is about to join borders with the American West Coast. Nearly 32 months after the tsunami hit, it’s now around 1,700 miles off the Pacific coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”

But according to the NOAA’s Marine Debris program, we’re not about to get a 51st state. As they explain on their website, 70 percent of that original 5 million tons of debris sank off shore. While it’s impossible to estimate how much of the remaining 1.5 million tons is still floating, an NOAA spokesperson told Salon that “there is no mass ‘flotilla’ of debris headed toward U.S. coasts.” The part that looks like a Texas-sized island merely represents where there’s a higher concentration of it. And the map only shows data for one date in September — because wind, waves and ocean currents make it next to impossible to forecast where, precisely, the detritus might end up.

More reports to clarify the situation:
. . .
Hoax or not, the condition of the oceans of the world is a serious issue. Although I am not a flaming environmentalist myself, I do care about the health and cleanliness of our world lands and oceans. This tsunami trash is just a piece of a bigger problem: world air and water pollution. The Japanese tsunami certainly added to this pollution, but just as certainly did not start it.
National Geographic points out that “the oceans have suffered at the hands of mankind for millennia, as far back as Roman times.”  This is a global issue that must be treated at the local level everywhere: proper handling of trash and recycling can delay the destruction of this vital resource. 

And another report on our Ocean as “Plastic Soup” by National Geographic.
Plastic hits marine creatures with a double whammy, Moore said. Along with the toxic chemicals released from the breakdown of plastic, animals also take in other chemicals that the plastic has accumulated from outside sources in the water.

“The plastic soup we’ve made of the ocean is pretty universal—it’s just a matter of degree,” he said. “All these effects we’re worried about are happening throughout the ocean as a unity.”

See also: Can One 10-Year-Old Girl Save Our Oceans?   

Let’s all do our parts and use the formula: reduce, reuse, recycle. And use plastic and chemicals wisely in the first place.

reduce, reuse, recycle

Monday Matters: International Tiger Day, July 29, 2013

Simon’s Cat reminds us that today is International Tiger Day!
International Tiger Day-July 29, 2013

Did you know Tiger Day is held annually on July 29 to give worldwide attention to the preservation of tigers?

It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. At that time wild tigers were dangerously close to extinction. In the last 100 years there has been a 97% reduction in their numbers.
Today has been established to raise awareness of their vulnerable position and to celebrate these amazing animals.  You can find out more at TigerDay.org.
Thanks, Simon’s Cat for this information.
The Last Meow
Hey, Don’t forget about us. When is our day? Huh? C’mon. A tiger’s a tiger, and a cat’s a cat. We need our special day, too.
What? You mean there is a National Cat Day? Well, now we’re talking.
National Cat Day Oct 29
Two National Cat Days?  Wow. June 4th AND October 29th?
And World Cat Day is August 8, 2013? Hey, that’s coming up!
Woohoo. That gives us less than two weeks to plan a doozy of a party!
We is famous! We is famous. Let's party!

We is famous! We is famous. Let’s party!

And we can get our very own stamps at http://www.zazzle.com/cat+stamps
national_cat_day_october_29_postage_stamp-What? Russian cats have their own International Cat Day? March 1, 2013? Well, I think they’re gonna have to share that day!
But for now, I’ve gotta get ready for the big party on August 8th.
C’mon Grumpy Cat. It’ll be fun.
Grumpy Cat stamp
Meow for now.   =<^;^>=

Got Fish? Get Some on the Kenai River, Alaska-Style

It’s cold, wet, and messy, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Intrepid Alaskans go dipnetting at the mouth of the Kenai River, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, for their allocation of personal use sockeye salmon.

Loren Holmes photo

Loren Holmes photo www.alaskadispatch.com

A record-breaking sonar count of 246,396 on July, 2013, set the crowds in a frenzy. Eager to fill their freezers with enough sockeye salmon for the long winter, these slightly wacky ambitious fisherpersons (Alaska residents only) rise in the early hours of the day to get their share between the mandated hours of 6am and 11pm.

Photo: Loren Holmes www.alaskadispatch.com

Photo: Loren Holmes http://www.alaskadispatch.com

But its shoulder-to-shoulder, cooler-to-cooler, dipnet-to-dipnet, along the banks of the Kenai to catch the fish. With record counts of sockeye coming in, there’ s plenty for everyone. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game site reports that 526,992 sockeye salmon were caught in 2012 in the Kenai River as well as a few other sites, with plenty more left for the bears. The sockeye salmon season typically runs for a few weeks. This year the dates are July 10 through July 31.

Loren Holmes photo

Loren Holmes photo

Life for non-fishing locals gets a bit tougher though. Here’s a comment my friend, Trena, posted on Facebook.

This is July on the Kenai when the red salmon are running up river.  It is so crazy here –  every road, every store and parking lot, all the boat launches all full of people, boats, motorhomes, etc.  Good news is the golf courses are empty. Great time for golfing.  Just have to allow extra time to get there.

The following slide show gives a brief glimpse into the frenzy of the sockeye fishing season: Dipnetting Kenai River’s Red Salmon Rodeo.

I lived in Alaska for ten years a few miles from the Kenai River, and although I never got involved in dipnetting myself, I did enjoy the results of other people’s fishing success.

Here is a previous I wrote post on Alaska:

Two Oceans Meet in the Gulf of Alaska. Not!

The Last Meow

I just have one question:

Cartoon credit: www.telegraph.co.uk.

Meow for now.    =<^!^>=

Zoomorphism Returns: Lucy the Elephant Turns 132-Years-Old

I had fun finding buildings shaped like cats in an earlier post, now here’s a building shaped like an elephant just twenty miles away from my home.   (Zoomorphism: buildings shaped like animals.)

Lucy the Elephant, Margate, New Jersey


Here’s the party invitation complete with music.

Lucy even had her toes done for this special event, and so did the lucky Lucy staff.

Here’s a little Lucy history . . . with a surprise at the end!

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant has weathered some storms in her time, but the last one, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, was a stand-off. Lucy stood her ground, and although her toes got wet and some neighboring homes and businesses suffered damage, Lucy survived. Here’s a news report about Lucy and Sandy: Lucy the Elephant Survived Sandy.

Now you can buy a Lucy T-shirt that says:

Lucy the elephant t shirt

You can find Lucy the Elephant on Facebook at Lucy the Elephant. Go and “like” her.

See also www.LucytheElephant.org

cat birthday imageThe Last Meow.

Lucy is how old? Oh my. And where’s my t-shirt? And why can’t I have pretty painted toe nails like Lucy? And when is my birthday? And how are you going to celebrate it? Let’s get back to the important stuff!

Meow for now. =<^!^>=

Loyal Pets Soothe Sick and Grieving Owners

This might be a dog food commercial, but it has a very touching message: Animals can be our best friends when we work through painful issues in our lives.

Cesar Dog Food Commercial

Photo credit: David McElroy Cat comforts dying woman

Photo credit: David McElroy
Cat comforts dying woman.

The Last Meow

David McElroy writes “Her cat’s presence brings love and comfort to a dying woman.”

Read the article here.

And Bobby Emel, in the article below, describes how her blind cat, Daisy, helped her grieve the loss of her partner.

Cats offer comfort to those who grieve.

Three very touching stories.

Meow for now. =<^,^>=

Bonnaroo and AARP in The Same Breath? Really?

Would you put Woodstock and AARP in the same sentence?

Most of us AARPers would respond, “Not likely.”

Woodstock and Bonnaroo? Well, yes, that’s a better match.

Bonnaroo 2013

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

So how is it that Bonnaroo and AARP have come to be, um, best buddies in an old-timey’s rag?

In the June/July 2013 issue of AARP Magazine, David Brill (author of As Far As the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker) writes, “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll: Can a multigenerational family find peace, love, and understanding at a 21st-century Woodstock?”

Sounds all Woodstocky, doesn’t it?

Many of us remember the Woodstock days (at least those of us do who receive the AARP magazine in the mail every month or so) as a muddy, chaotic, musical marathon populated by hippies, druggies, nerdies, and naked free-lovers who joined a chaotic musical love fest and left an even more colossal mess afterwards.

But Bonnaroo?

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (“Roo” for those in the know) hits multiple performance stages every June on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, and provides an “amped up blast of what’s new in contemporary music (and mores)” among “a tribe of tattooed celebrants of the counterculture” (almost 80,000 of them) whose friends all seem to have the first name, “Dude” (Brill). Yet some oldies, but goodies, show up, David Brill being one of them. And 70-year-old Paul McCartney is there, too, representing us AARPers, for sure (in a suit and tie, no less.)

Photo by Wade Payne/Invision AP

Photo by Wade Payne/Invision AP

Brill’s ostensible purpose in tripping to Bonnaroo these past few years has been “to serve as a tour guide of the rock scene” to his two lovely, now twentyish daughters, Challen and Logan, and (more honestly) to be seen as one cool, middle-aged dad by the thronging Roo crowds (not you, AARP readers). The result of Brill’s multi-year experiment is an incredible bonding with his daughters. Not a bad outcome, actually.

Here’s teaser from David’s opening paragraph:

It’s 2 A.M. and I’m standing on weary legs caked in grime, swaying to String Cheese Incident, a jam band to rival the Grateful Dead. Liters of dried sweat have stiffened my shirt to cardboard, while four days under the Southern sun have baked my skin to carapace.

(Okay, I puzzled over carapace, too. It means “the horny, protective covering over all or part of the back of certain animals: turtle, armadillo, crab.)

Brill mentions some of these contemporary bands on the performance roster: String Cheese Incident, Gogol Bordello, Death Cab for Cutie, and Buffalo Springfield. Others listed on the 2013 schedule are ‘Deap Vally,’ The Vaccines, Houndmouth, Ariel Pink, Purity Ring, and many more.

Bonnaroo scenes comin’ up. (From Bonnaroo fans photo gallery)



Accommodations for those with only a few nickels in their pockets.

Accommodations for those with only a few nickels in their pockets.

Restrooms on the premises.

Restrooms on the premises.

Delicious food.

Delicious food.

Personally, Bonnaroo is not my cup of tea. In my younger days, I was never in the in-crowd or even the out-crowd, so much as somewhere in the anonymous middle.  I was more a mellow member of the Simon & Garfunkel crowd, you know, “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme” and Peter, Paul, and Mary in such hot music as “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

However, I must admit that I see talent hiding behind the artsy accoutrements and notable nomenclatures of these noise producers contemporary musical groups that would freak out my parents’ generation and even mine. We AARPers might call these musical groups outlandish and maybe even irresponsible, but still there is weird wacky wild noisy talent there, talent nonetheless.

Here’s a bit of Bonnaroo for you: Bonnaroo 2013: The Top 7 Onstage (video and photos)

Congrats to AARP for stepping out of the comfort zone and publishing this type of article. We 55+ groupies like variety.

The Last Meow: The Cats Demand the Final Say

Hey we can make a racket joyful noise, too. Check us out in this post: Y is for Yowling on Any And Every Occasion. (2012/04/28)

cats muscial

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Two Oceans Meet in Gulf of Alaska? Not!

I recently came across this picture in my Facebook stream:

"The place where two OCEANS meet! LIKE if you think it's cool!"

Gulf of Alaska “The place where two OCEANS meet! LIKE if you think it’s cool!” (Facebook) Original photo credit: Kent Smith. See below for link.

The caption claims that two oceans meet in the Gulf of Alaska, but that is incorrect. Take a look at this map of the Gulf of Alaska: the Pacific Ocean is the only ocean that touches the Gulf of Alaska.

map Gulf of Alasaka

What’s the true story about this picture? You can find the answer in this article, “Mythbusting: Place Where Two Oceans Meet Gulf of Alaska.”

Ben Anderson, the writer of this article says this:

This is a strange and natural phenomenon where heavy, sediment-laden water from glacial valleys and rivers [of Alaska] pours into the open ocean. There in the gulf the two types of water run into each other.

Anderson further states that the iron-rich river water eventually does mix with the ocean water, and then the ocean water further carries these valuable mineral nutrients to iron-deprived waters of the mid-gulf, feeding the base of the food chain, plankton.

Just like George Washington said, “You have to check your facts on Internet.” Oh, maybe it was Abraham Lincoln who said that. Let me check Internet.

The Last Meow

Photo credit: www.egriz.com

Photo credit: http://www.egriz.com

Wait a minute. That doesn’t make sense. George Washington lived from 1732 to 1799, and Internet wasn’t invented until the late 1950s. And Lincoln couldn’t have made that statement either.

Let me check with Al Gore on that. Oh wait, did he really say he invented the Internet?

Or is that another myth? Perhaps he just overstated his case. You think?

Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

Of course, Al Gore’s supporters see it differently.

We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he “invented” the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening.  We feel it is timely to offer our perspective. Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf , and Alan M. Gaines of the National Science Foundation.

Kent Smith, the photographer who captured this shot, sent this link to the original photo. He lists additional resources explaining the phenomenon in the picture. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kentsmith9/4955772693/in/set-72157622762300631/

See also:
News Report: Our Dirty Ocean-Tsunami Trash. Rumors and Truth. Janice Heck, 2013/11/07
News Connection: Can One 10-Year-Old Girl Save Our Oceans?
Book Review: The Light Between Oceans, a novel by M. L. Stedman

Whatever. Now can I take my nap?

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Cat Heaven Island in Japan–Photos

In the April 2013 A to Z Challenge, I wrote a post “Z is for Zoomorphic Architecture: Cats Immortalized.” I mentioned this island and its zoomorphic (animal-shaped) camping structures. In case you missed that post, you can read that it above or here.

Cat lovers visit Tashimojima, Japan, a tiny island accessible only by boat off the coast of Fukuoka, Northern Japan, and have the opportunity to camp out in these zoomorphic facilities and observe the islands’ cats.

Today, Buzzfeed displays photographs of these feline inhabitants taken by Japanese photographer Fubirai over a period of five years:   “50 Amazing Photos from Cat Heaven Island in Japan.”

Kittens on Japan Cat Island


The Last Meow.

Oh, my gosh. I never knew I had so many cousins. With all those fishing boats and fish around, these furry felines will never go hungry.


Meow for now.  =<^:^>=

Here’s an update on these kitties. 11/15/13 So there’s a tiny island in Japan and your’re gonna want to see what’s there!

and here: Cat Island Japan 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: