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A Storm Gathers for North American Birds | The Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report

25 Sep

I love to watch and photograph birds – the more I watch and photograph the more fascinated I become. Last summer a family of five kestrels (2 adults and three babies) spent a few weeks in my backyard. I watched the adults teach the youngsters how to fly and forage for food. They grew accustomed to me with my camera as the days went by. ( see Kestrels Came to visit here)

 © 2013 afroditi katsikis

©2013 afroditi katsikis … Click the photo to see my gallery of the kestrels

Not all the photos were beautiful photographs but still the ones I did not publish taught me more about them. I watched the fledglings climb up the shed walls to reach the rooftop to eat the insects (mostly spiders) that they found. Watching the youngsters play and practice quick turns and dives, was fascinating!

One day I heard the parents chattering  in the cottonwood tree. They were hard to see even with my long lens since the tree was leafed out wand, leaves and branches were in the way.  I had no idea what they were doing until I was previewing images on my computer. They were mating and were interrupted by another kestrel that  they shooed away!

After reading this article by Audubon (link to full article below) I was upset and depressed at the same time.  Why is this happening? Why has our government turned a blind eye to the devastation by the oil industry? They are partially to blame but we, as consumers of petroleum products, are also at fault. Please tread lightly on mother earth, share rides, ride a bike to the store, stop buying throw away plastic products, and recycle everything are just a few of the things we can do.

It’s also very important to tell our elected officials how we feel. The two best actions we can take is write a handwritten letter and call their offices. These days handwritten letters stand out amongst the typed letters and emails and add a personal touch while emails and typed letters could be produced in mass and may be difficult to ascertain if they are sent by the signers or not, while handwriting is unique to all of us.

You can find contact information for federal, state, local, or tribal governments and elected officials at:

Government Agencies and Elected Officials. You can contact  federal government agencies here  (ie., Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Council of Environmental Quality, Environmental Management (Energy Department), Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.)

If you want to contact a Member of Congress Who Does Not Represent You,  you can:

  • Send a message to the Representative or Senator that represents you, and ask his or her office to forward it for you.
  • Go to the website for the member of Congress you wish to contact to find a postal address and mail a letter.
  • Call the United States Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121.  The switchboard operator will connect you with the office you request.


This is an excerpt of the article A Storm Gathers for North American Birds by Audubon:


“Western North Dakota is famous for its birds. The land here is checkered with neat squares of farm fields and native prairie overlying a scatter of pothole lakes, their curving shorelines shaped tens of thousands of years ago by chunks of melting glaciers. This rich landscape provides critical breeding grounds for millions of birds, from the that pour out of the so-called “duck factory” to the Bobolinks of the tallgrass prairie.


But the region is changing fast. Even as birds continue to flock here every summer, expanding agriculture has eaten away at their habitat, and since 2008 the area has witnessed an energy boom of global proportions. Today the fields, prairies, and badlands are punctuated with hundreds of rectangles of raw, orange dirt, each studded with its own set of trailers, storage tanks, and nodding pumpjacks. Every day, companies use hydraulic fracturing to extract nearly a million barrels of oil from the Bakken formation, a layer of shale that lies about two miles beneath the prairie. Roughly 8,000 wells are operating already, and an additional 40,000 could be drilled and fracked in the next 20 to 30 years. In line at one brand-new convenience store, a woman carrying a hardhat sums up the prevailing attitude: “Patience are for doctors.” In the Bakken, the time is now, and the future is a long way off.


Yet the Audubon Report, a groundbreaking new study by Audubon scientists, suggests that this place will become even more important for birds as the planet warms. For the 26 grassland bird species whose breeding ranges are projected to decrease dramatically by 2050, North Dakota will become an increasingly rare island of viable habitat and suitable climate conditions, one of their few remaining refuges. Protecting a portion of the region for birds could mean the difference between survival and extinction for some species.


That’s just one of the critical findings from Audubon’s seven-year investigation into the expected effects of climate change on North American bird populations. And taken together, the news is grim indeed. By 2080, the climate model projects, dozens of avian species across the country could be hurtling toward extinction—and not just birds that are already in trouble. Both the American Avocet and the Yellow-headed Blackbird, familiar sights in western North America, may be under threat before the end of the century. In the Great Plains, the Chestnut-collared Longspurs range could shrink by 70 percent, while suitable breeding grounds for the Baird’s Sparrow could disappear entirely. The Piping Plover, an icon of the Atlantic Flyway, may vanish from many eastern shores.”



Read the entire article here: A Storm Gathers for North American Birds | The Audubon Birds & Climate Change Report.


Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline via NYTimes

17 May
17- Nelson and Kleeb

17- Nelson and Kleeb (Photo credit: Fighting For Our Health)

Activists and advocates — take a lesson from Jane Kleeb! Her activities in building awareness and motivating people to take action against TransCanada pipelines are working! This article by Saul Elbeinmay reads like a ‘how-to guide’ for successful campaigning to protect the environment. 

Read about Jane Kleeb (aka Jane Fleming) and her efforts to motivate and educate ordinary folks into protecting their way of life and how she fights against TarSands pipeline in this article by Jane Kleeb vs. the Keystone Pipeline –




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People May Die of Thirst as Fossil Fuel Production Exhausts and Pollutes Our Fresh Water Supply

28 Mar
See Gasland: The Movie for more information

See Gasland: The Movie for more information (Photo credit: ltmayers)


All living beings drink water.  When fresh water is used for fracking it takes water permanently out of the TOTAL amount that is drinkable by people and animals. Hydraulic fracturing isn’t the only process that causing pollution – the transport via pipeline, rail cars and trains can also cause severe pollution considering that spills and leaks have happened and continue to happen often. How will farmers grow food if there is no unpolluted water available? 

Doesn’t make sense that frackers are producing a product in which the process will inevitably kill their customers and wildlife as well.

Who are they fracking this fuel for after they contaminate the water supply and kill their customers?


Read more about this: People May Die of Thirst as Fossil Fuel Production Exhausts and Pollutes Our Fresh Water Supply.



Related articles

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#Blackfish! What More Can You Do? | #CyberWhaleWarrior

19 Dec

#Blackfish! What More Can You Do? | #CyberWhaleWarrior.

December 19, 2013 by 

They should be free!

They should be free!

The documentary Blackfish is as big a phenomenon as The Cove movie ever was. Being aired on CNN, however, it has been broadcast to a much larger audience and it is taking the world by storm.  Both films are incredibly powerful in that they leave the viewer vowing to never visit a marine mammal attraction facility. With many of us, they also strike a chord deep inside causing us to wonder what more can we do to help these poor souls.

As with any cause, spreading awareness is the key to attaining a favorable outcome. This can be done in a number of ways.

TELL your family, friends and neighbors about BlackfishWhile you may be able to adequately convey the premise of the film, nothing could be more effective than having them watch it themselves. Tell them just enough to peak their curiosity so that they will be intrigued and want to learn more.

SHARE Blackfish with most everyone you come in contact with. Wherever you go, you will find yourself in a position to speak to someone. Whether it be at school, work or in line at a checkout, this is the perfect opportunity to spread awareness. Even at a convenience store, you can get the clerk wanting to watch the documentary. See “How to Share ‘The Cove’ Movie in 30 seconds.

You don’t always have to start the conversation. Wearing shirts, hats and jewelry that display orcas or dolphins will attract compliments from people. Even tattoos are a way to show your support for these incredible beings that are on death row. If you want, you can go all out and buy the official Blackfish shirt which looks really cool! Get yours here.

INVITE people over for dinner and a movie. You could treat your friends to a meal and educate them at the same time. You may even want to have a raffle for Blackfish poster. But whatever you do, don’t serve fish! I don’t think that would go over too well.

GET Blackfish on DVD or Blu-ray. I suggest you keep a copy on hand but you may also want to donate copies to anyone who would be likely to share the news of the movie to others or have a screening. Give a copy to your local school or library. Your hairdresser is a good candidate and so is a taxi driver. Whoever comes in contact with a lot of people and does a lot of talking needs to see Blackfish!

Have a stare-down. Imagine pulling up to a busy intersection and seeing people on every corner wearing the Blackfish t-shirt. They aren’t chanting or waving signs. They are just looking at you and making eye-contact. You wouldn’t be able to get it out of your head. All day you would be thinking of nothing but: “Blackfish. Blackfish!”

Blackfish T-shirt

During the winter months, you may want to have your stare-down indoors. A shopping mall is the perfect place. You and your friends could be standing at strategic intervals throughout the mall or you may just decide to walk laps. People will see your Blackfish shirts again and again as they do their shopping. You can even get a poster and lay it on the floor. You and your friends could stand in a circle looking down at the poster while wearing your shirts. Be ready for people to ask questions. This will be your opportunity to shine. Also, try to get photos and video of your events to share online. I, for one, would love to see them.

RIDE AND READ. You and your friends could ride the bus or the train wearing your Blackfish shirts while each reading a copy of Death At SeaWorld. Your destination could be a place like Starbucks or a park. There’s a lot you can do to spread awareness for this cause. Use your imagination! Once again, be sure to document it for the world-wide web.

USE the #Blackfish tag. Whether you are on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ or Twitter you can use the tag when sharing pictures, videos or information about dolphins and/or orcas. After you use the tag, click on it to see who else is using it. If you are on Twitter, for example, you will want to ReTweet other people’s comments. By doing this, you are helping to trend the tag and you will be joining the ranks of other cyber whale warriors worldwide. Click here now to see who’s using the tag on Twitter. For more on this subject, read #Blackfish and the #CyberWhaleWarrior Cry and Why Tweet? Why ReTweet?

HOOK-UP with other Blackfish supporters. One of the best places to do this is on Facebook. Organizations and people like yourself are fighting to see dolphins and orcas free from captivity. I recommend you start connecting via Save Japan Dolphins and Fins and Fluke. Save Japan Dolphins is the official page for the organisation that was the focus of the academy award-winning documentary The Cove. With more than eighty-thousand supporters, you are bound to make some friends at Save Japan DolphinsFins and Fluke, on the other hand, has a dedicated crew that will be happy to address your needs and answer your questions. They are also a hub of information for events and rallies, both online and in your neck of the woods.

Organize a protest near you. You don’t have to be near a marine mammal theme park to have a rally. There are businesses that support SeaWorld and other dolphin prisons that you can target. For example, Georgia Aquarium proudly displays a list of its supporters. Click here to see who likes dolphins in captivity. Just do a little research to find out who supports SeaWorld, Marineland or any other dolphin hell hole.

START your own blog, website or vlog. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and you don’t have to be a skilled writer. We simply need as many anti-captivity websites as possible so that people can’t go online without hearing of Blackfish or The Cove. Be sure to link back to organizations like Save Japan DolphinsSea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Animal Welfare Institute.

JOIN SEA SHEPHERD. If you are serious about doing something epic, here is your chance! There are Sea Shepherd chapters throughout the globe. You can start off as an onshore volunteer and eventually you may be able to actually serve in a local campaign or on one of their ships at sea. To learn more about SSCS, visit their site at

Watch The Cove PSA below!


Blackfish (Photo credit: howardignatius)


▶ EXPOSED – USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife

4 Dec

Predator Defense has just released a new film where three former federal agents and a Congressman blow the whistle on the USDA’s barbaric and wasteful Wildlife Services program and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife.


Photo of whistle-blower Gary Strader

GARY STRADER Former police officer & Wildlife Services trapper

Dec. 1, 2013 – An agency within the USDA called Wildlife Services—a misnamed entity if there ever was one—has been having their way for almost a century, killing over 100,000 native predators and millions of birds each year, as well as maiming, poisoning, and brutalizing countless pets. They have also seriously harmed more than a few humans. And they apparently think they are going to continue getting away with it.

But in our new documentary, EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, whistle-blowers go on the record showing Wildlife Services for what it really is—an unaccountable, out-of-control, wildlife killing machine that acts at the bidding of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby, all with taxpayer dollars.

Our call for reforming this rogue agency is getting serious attention. A teaser of EXPOSED was just featured on CNN Headline News and is slated for an upcoming special segment. We’re also working to get a CBS “60 Minutes” exposé.

Photo of whistle-blower Rex Shaddox

REX SHADDOX Former Wildlife Services trapper
& special investigator for Wyoming Sting operation

In January 2014 we’ll kick off a nationwide film screening tour. Whistleblower Rex Shaddox will attend some of our screenings, including one planned for members of Congress at the Capital building in D.C. We hope to have other speakers tour with us if we can raise enough funds.

Learn more and support efforts to end America’s war on wildlife at


TWEETSTORMS for Orcas in Captivity

4 Dec
Type C killer whales in the Ross Sea. The eye ...

Type C killer whales in the Ross Sea. The eye patch slants forward. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Orca, also referred to as orca whale, killer whale and less commonly blackfish belong to the oceanic dolphin family and are found in all of the world’s oceans and most seas. Orcas are a highly social, emotional and intelligent species with some of their populations composed of matrilineal family groups, or in other words a system by which all descendants’ can be traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Orcas have unique hunting techniques directly related to their diet, unique vocal behaviours, such as different dialects in different populations and wild orcas are not considered a threat to humans.

Many orca (killer whales or blackfish), have been taken from the wild, ripped from their families, to live in conditions not true to their nature.

In the wild, orca females can live an average of 50 years but can live as long as 80-90 years while male orcas live and average of 30 years but can live as long as 50-60 years. Captive orcas have a much shorter life span, in spite of what SeaWorld claims, living an average of 20 years. In the wild, orcas natural behaviours include foraging for food, travelling up to 160kms a day, acrobatics such as breaching, spy-hopping and tail slapping. Captivity for orcas on the other hand is a vast change to their natural environment with force-feeding to learn ‘tricks’ and ‘performances’ to entertain loud, noisy audiences, an assault on their intelligence, their natural born ways and their senses., not to mention forced family groupings with different populations.

These highly intelligent animals soon become bored and frustrated at their lessened quality of life. They attack their trainers’ which has resulted in three recorded deaths and numerous injuries. SeaWorld denies the intent of the orcas to cause injury and routinely blames the incidents on the trainers. The trainers themselves (via blackfish) have told you that orca are not happy in captivity and as a result, horrific injuries to both the cetaceans themselves and humans that interact with them have occurred and will continue to occur until we can end their captivity.

TAKE ACTION: We will be holding/sharing various tweet storms relating to various orca in captivity with a vision to encourage future trainers, the general public and cetacean advocates to shed light on the TRUE facts about orca in captivity and the heartache it brings. It is vital that people DO NOT go to see a show, so the more people aware the better. EDUCATION IS KEY.

….until all orca are released from their life prison sentence.


Smoldering fire on the Sacramento River Levee

16 Nov
Break in the Storm © 2011 afroditi katsikis

‘Break in the Storm’  Sacramento River view from Sherman Island © 2011 afroditi katsikis

Smoldering fire on Sherman Island levee of the Sacramento River © 2013 afroditi katsikisAfter returning from an appointment I had today, I decided to take my dogs for a walk along the Sacramento River levee and saw a smoldering fire on the levee, unattended, at a place windsurfers call ‘The Sign’! Pissed me off so I took a photo with my phone and called the Rio Vista Fire Dept! I told them it was not an emergency and that I could put it out myself but they said it was their job to do it so they were there in about 15 minutes. The fire department is about 10 miles away.

This is not the first time I’ve come upon an unattended fire on the levee. The first time it happened was shortly after I moved here. I was on my way home late in the evening and saw flames on the levee at a popular fishing spot along the Sacramento River. The wind was blowing from the north which meant the smoke and embers were headed towards the island – not towards the river so I could not ignore this fire. I would never ignore a fire especially an unattended one!

I grabbed my dog’s water bowl from my van but knew it was not going to be enough water in it to put out the fire. Luckily my small folding shovel that I took on camping trips was still in the van. I was able to find enough loose sand and dirt to put out the flames but it was still smoldering. I was hoping if I sprinkled the water from the bowl it might be enough to put out the fire. It wasn’t.

The next thing I did was make my way down to the water’s edge about 12-15 feet down over rip-rap, tree logs and  small shrubs with the empty water bowl. Did this a couple more times before I had put enough water on the fire. When I was satisfied it was out, I  used the shovel to stir it up and spread it out to be assured it would not re-ignite.

I am disgusted by the fishermen who fish from the levees, leave lots of tangled fishing line, fishhooks, and tackle behind because they are much to lazy to pick it up and take it home with them. They start fires and leave their trash behind – beer and soda cans, plastic water bottles, fast food containers, and dirty diapers too!

Over the next few days I plan on documenting all the fishing spots along a 6 mile stretch of the levee on Sherman Island along the Sacramento River. I plan on taking photos of all the litter and places where there have been open fires.

Above photo may be purchased here.

“It’s time to stop this madness” – Philippines plea at UN climate talks

14 Nov

“It’s time to stop this madness” – Philippines plea at UN climate talks

Yeb Sano tells UN summit in Warsaw “colossal devastation” from Typhoon Haiyan should serve as warning to planet


For the past several days I’ve been dumbfounded by the “Super Typhoon Haiyan”. When I read this speech by Yeb Sano I knew I had to share it. Haiyan makes me wonder what will happen next — where will the next super storm hit? How much worse will it be than this?  What more can I do?

But most of all I want to know why my government does not recognize that climate change is a major issue, an issue that affects the whole planet that should be addressed immediately. This is a world problem and America is still sitting on our hands. I have been against fracking, drilling for oil and the Keystone pipeline; I conserve everything and try to avoid buying items made with petroleum (plastic) and reuse every bit of plastic I consume. I try to avoid buying or using any plastic if if I can. I realize that what I do is worth less than a drop in a bucket but if we all avoided buying plastic it would have a bigger effect. I’ve contacted my elected officials repeatedly about fracking, drilling for oil, tarsands and the keystone pipeline and the responses I get via email are the usual canned responses. I’m stepping up my efforts to phone calls and try to get meetings with my elected officials. 

Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Sano has just addressed the opening session of the UN climate summit in Warsaw – calling for urgent action to prevent a repeat of the devastating storm that hit parts of his country at the weekend. A copy of the speech sent to RTCC by Sano is below.

Mr. President, I have the honor to speak on behalf of the resilient people of the Republic of the Philippines.

At the onset, allow me to fully associate my delegation with the statement made by the distinguished Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji, on behalf of G77 and China as well as the statement made by Nicaragua on behalf of the Like-Minded Developing Countries.

First and foremost, the people of the Philippines, and our delegation here for the United Nations Climate Change Convention’s 19th Conference of the Parties here in Warsaw, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your expression of sympathy to my country in the face of this national difficulty.

In the midst of this tragedy, the delegation of the Philippines is comforted by the warm hospitality of Poland, with your people offering us warm smiles everywhere we go. Hotel staff and people on the streets, volunteers and personnel within the National Stadium have warmly offered us kind words of sympathy. So, thank you Poland.

The arrangements you have made for this COP is also most excellent and we highly appreciate the tremendous effort you have put into the preparations for this important gathering.

We also thank all of you, friends and colleagues in this hall and from all corners of the world as you stand beside us in this difficult time. I thank all countries and governments who have extended your solidarity and for offering assistance to the Philippines. I thank the youth present here and the billions of young people around the world who stand steadfast behind my delegation and who are watching us shape their future. I thank civil society, both who are working on the ground as we race against time in the hardest hit areas, and those who are here in Warsaw prodding us to have a sense of urgency and ambition. We are deeply moved by this manifestation of human solidarity. This outpouring of support proves to us that as a human race, we can unite; that as a species, we care.

It was barely 11 months ago in Doha when my delegation appealed to the world… to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face… as then we confronted a catastrophic storm that resulted in the costliest disaster in Philippine history. Less than a year hence, we cannot imagine that a disaster much bigger would come. With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made landfall in the course of recorded human history. It was so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box. Up to this hour, we remain uncertain as to the full extent of the devastation, as information trickles in in an agonizingly slow manner because electricity lines and communication lines have been cut off and may take a while before these are restored. The initial assessment show that Haiyan left a wake of massive devastation that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific, affecting 2/3 of the Philippines, with about half a million people now rendered homeless, and with scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of a tsunami, with a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies. According to satellite estimates, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also estimated that Haiyan achieved a minimum pressure between around 860 mbar (hPa; 25.34 inHg) and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated Haiyan to have attained one-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph) and gusts up to 378 km/h (235 mph) making it the strongest typhoon in modern recorded history. Despite the massive efforts that my country had exerted in preparing for the onslaught of this monster of a storm, it was just a force too powerful and even as a nation familiar with storms, Super Typhoon Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country has every experienced before.

The picture in the aftermath is ever so slowly coming into clearer focus. The devastation is colossal. And as if this is not enough, another storm is brewing again in the warm waters of the western Pacific. I shudder at the thought of another typhoon hitting the same places where people have not yet even managed to begin standing up. Continue reading

14,000 Hiroshima Bombs PLUS Weapons Grade Plutonium Coming to City Near You.

19 Sep

I only have questions and no answers: Why isn’t the major media covering this story? What is the USA doing about this? What is the UN doing about this? What is it going to take to get some attention to the ongoing disaster at Fukushima?






For More Information, Contact | Valerie Price.


  • Call The White House ~ Be Polite, Volunteers Answer the Phones 202-456-1111
  • Fax The White House – 202-456-2461
  • Click HEREto send 5 FREE Faxes Per Day from your Computer ~ You do not need a Fax Machine or Credit Card.
  • Click HEREto Submit Comments On-Line to The White House.
  • Click HERE to find Fax, Phone, and Email Contacts for your Federal Representatives and Senators

On your nightly news, you hear little about the Japanese ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. A triple nuclear meltdown with fully molten cores in reactors 1 through 3, a core explosion in reactor 4 that blew the massive core all over Fukushima Prefecture and out into the Pacific ocean. Multiple hydrogen explosions were barely reported and after two and a half years, most people believe the reactor is “stable”. The phrase “clean up”…

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TAKE ACTION: Call of the Cove

2 Sep

 TAKE ACTION: Call of the Cove

The 2013-2014 drive hunt season has started as of September 1, 2013. This website aims to provide a how-to guide of action items for those who want to speak out on behalf of the dolphins and whales in Taiji through various means of communication — online and offline.
See more here:

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