Monday, May 21, 2007

Book Review: Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Western United States

I raved last month about Janine Benyus' best selling book called 'Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature'. I'm preparing for my trip to Montana on Wednesday, and as part of my pre-course homework for BaDT, another book by her was recommended to me.
This earlier work explores the systems of the wild places in the western states, and is told in a fashion that made me read it like I haven't read since picking up a juicy piece of fiction. The book appears to no longer be in print, but it's a gem worth finding. It gives a perspective on wildlife gleaned from her 9 years with the US Forest Service. She leads her readers to crawl around at the height of the mouse, to sit quietly to view river otters, to think like animals. She points out pivotal species in a habitat, such as the prairie dog and its critical role in maintaining the soils of the Great Plains. As an ecologist, I pride myself on knowing the local habitats here in this part of California. But there's always room for more info to bounce around in my noggin, I've learned so much from reading her book.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Software to Track Cities' Carbon Emissions

Carbon from cars and factories has been lumped into a category of pollution groups called non-point source pollution. Basically, it's easy to point to the fabric manufacturer up the river when the waters turn purple, but it's much harder to pinpoint the source when the power plant emits carbon into the air. The Clinton Foundation has teamed up with Microsoft to develop software that lets cities track their carbon outputs so they can work to reduce levels. The software is set to be released this year, and will be given to cities for free.
For the Article with Reuters, click here