Earth Day

by Eva Amsen

Earth Day, April 22nd, was invented in the ’60s by Senator Gaylord Nelson. The first official Earth day was in 1970 in the US, and the concept has since spread to various countries.

The week leading up to Earth Day brought lots of conservation related news:
Scientists urge Canada to act on climate change – Canada’s new prime minister, Stephen Harper, does not think his country can meet the Kyoto protocol, and wants to set up his own guidelines. A group of scientists has written Harper to urge him to take more action.

“The government says it wants a made-in-Canada approach to tackling climate change and last week scrapped 15 research programs related to the Kyoto protocol.”
“The scientists said Canada had warmed faster than almost any other region on the globe in the last 50 years, particularly in the Arctic, which could be ice free in summer before the end of the century.”

A scary prospect.

Wildlife in Chernobyl

There was some good news this week as well: Wildlife defies Chernobyl radiation
After the nuclear disaster in 1986, Chernobyl was completely evacuated, and has been left uninhabited for the past 20 years. Uninhabited by humans, that is. Other animals found the abandoned and unkempt city to be the perfect place to move to. The new inhabitants of the Chernobyl area have been monitored over the past years, and while in the first months after the accident many animals died from radiation-related causes, the current population appears relatively healthy.

“There may be plutonium in the zone, but there is no herbicide or pesticide, no industry, no traffic, and marshlands are no longer being drained.”
“Now it’s typical for animals to be radioactive – too radioactive for humans to eat safely – but otherwise healthy.”

The animals do have DNA mutations, but “nothing that affected the animals’ physiology or reproductive ability”. Of course, by definition the animals that survived in this area for 20 years are the ones without reproductive defects. This is evolution in action! No someone try explaining that to Kirk Cameron, who made a half-hour video arguing that evolution isn’t “real”, and apparently, creationism is. (KC video through Metafilter and She Blinded me with Science)


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