Monday, October 20, 2014

WWF: World has lost more than half its wildlife in 40 years

London (CNN) -- The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.

The South China tiger is considered "functionally extinct,"
as it has not been sighted in the wild for more than
25 years.

The World Wide Fund for Nature's Living Planet Index, released Tuesday, revealed the dramatic decline in animal species, and said the trend could cost the world billions in economic losses.
Humans need one and a half Earths to sustain their current demands, it said.


The index, which draws on research around WWF's database of 3,000 animal species, is released every two years. This year's has the starkest warning yet of the risks associated with the decline of wildlife.
The population of Yangtze finless porpoises is declining rapidly. The freshwater dolphins are suffering due to pollution and hunting.
The fund notes that it's relying on a never-before-used methodology in this year's report, "which aims to be more representative of global biodiversity."
The index showed shows a 52% decline in wildlife between 1970 and 2010, far more than earlier estimates of 30%. It is due to people killing too many animals for food and destroying their habitats.
"We are eating into our natural capital, making it more difficult to sustain the needs of future generations," the report said.
Researchers from the Zoological Society of London looked at changes in populations of more than 3,000 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, tracking over 10,000 different populations.
The decline in animals living in rivers, lakes and wetlands is the worst -- 76% of freshwater wildlife disappeared in just 40 years. Marine species and animals living on land suffered 39% decline in their populations.
Animals living in tropics are the worst hit by what WWF calls "the biggest recorded threats to our planet's wildlife" as 63% of wildlife living in tropics has vanished. Central and South America shows the most dramatic regional decline, with a fall of 83%.
And while the animals are suffering now, the long-term impact will be on people, the report said.
Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said "protecting nature is not a is quite the opposite. For many of the world's poorest people, it is a lifeline."
According to Lambertini, the threat to oceans could create economic losses of up to $428 billion by 2050. The global fishing sector employs more than 660 million people, and fish provide more than 15% of protein in people's diet.
Global food security is under threat as the demands of growing population drain the resources. Forests provide water, fuel and food for more than billion people, including 350 million of the world's poorest people.


FELLOW HUMANS:  This is dire!  A recommendation:

FOR ONE DAY (per week, per month?), each individual, each company can STOP! 


 WWF Species Directory
Common name Scientific name Conservation status
Amur LeopardPanthera pardus orientalisCritically Endangered
Black RhinoDiceros bicornisCritically Endangered
Cross River GorillaGorilla gorilla diehliCritically Endangered
Hawksbill TurtleEretmochelys imbricataCritically Endangered
Javan RhinoRhinoceros sondaicusCritically Endangered
Leatherback TurtleDermochelys coriaceaCritically Endangered
Mountain GorillaGorilla beringei beringeiCritically Endangered
SaolaPseudoryx nghetinhensisCritically Endangered
South China TigerPanthera tigris amoyensisCritically Endangered
Sumatran Elephant Elephas maximus sumatranusCritically Endangered
Sumatran OrangutanPongo abeliiCritically Endangered
Sumatran RhinoDicerorhinus sumatrensisCritically Endangered
Sumatran TigerPanthera tigris sumatraeCritically Endangered
VaquitaPhocoena sinusCritically Endangered
Western Lowland GorillaGorilla gorilla gorillaCritically Endangered
Yangtze Finless PorpoiseNeophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalisCritically Endangered
African Wild DogLycaon pictusEndangered
Amur TigerPanthera tigris altaicaEndangered
Asian ElephantElephas maximus indicusEndangered
Bengal TigerPanthera tigris tigrisEndangered
Black Spider MonkeyAteles paniscusEndangered
Black-footed FerretMustela nigripesEndangered
Blue WhaleBalaenoptera musculusEndangered
Bluefin TunaThunnus sppEndangered
BonoboPan paniscusEndangered
Bornean OrangutanPongo pygmaeusEndangered
Borneo Pygmy ElephantElephas maximus borneensisEndangered
ChimpanzeePan troglodytesEndangered
Eastern Lowland GorillaGorilla beringei graueriEndangered
Fin WhaleBalaenoptera physalusEndangered
Galápagos PenguinSpheniscus mendiculusEndangered
Ganges River DolphinPlatanista gangetica gangeticaEndangered
Giant PandaAiluropoda melanoleucaEndangered
Green TurtleChelonia mydasEndangered
Hector's DolphinCephalorhynchus hectoriEndangered
Humphead WrasseCheilinus undulatusEndangered
Indian ElephantElephas maximus indicusEndangered
Indochinese TigerPanthera tigris corbettiEndangered
Indus River DolphinPlatanista minorEndangered
Loggerhead TurtleCaretta carettaEndangered
Malayan TigerPanthera tigris jacksoniEndangered
North Atlantic Right WhaleEubalaena glacialisEndangered
OrangutanPongo abelii, Pongo pygmaeusEndangered
Sea LionsZalophus wollebaekiEndangered
Sei WhaleBalaenoptera borealisEndangered
Snow LeopardPanthera unciaEndangered
Sri Lankan ElephantElephas maximus maximusEndangered
WhaleBalaenoptera, Balaena, Eschrichtius, and EubalaenEndangered
African ElephantLoxodonta africanaVulnerable
Bigeye TunaThunnus obesus                               Vulnerable
DugongDugong dugon                               Vulnerable
Forest Elephant
Giant Tortoise
Great White SharkCarcharodon carcharias                                Vulnerable
Greater One-Horned RhinoRhinoceros unicornis                                 Vulnerable
Irrawaddy DolphinOrcaella brevirostris                                 Vulnerable
Marine IguanaAmblyrhynchus cristatus                                 Vulnerable
Olive Ridley TurtleLepidochelys olivacea                                  Vulnerable
Polar BearUrsus maritimus                                   Vulnerable
Red PandaAilurus fulgens                                  Vulnerable
Savanna ElephantLoxodonta africana Africana                                  Vulnerable
Southern rockhopper penguinEudyptes chrysocome                                  Vulnerable
Whale SharkRhincodon typus                                  Vulnerable
Albacore TunaThunnus alalunga                                   Near Threatened
BelugaDelphinapterus leucas                                   Near Threatened
Greater Sage-GrouseCentrocercus urophasianus                                   Near Threatened
JaguarPanthera onca                                   Near Threatened
Monarch ButterflyDanaus plexippus                                   Near Threatened
Mountain PloverCharadrius montanus                                   Near Threatened
NarwhalMonodon monoceros                                   Near Threatened
Plains BisonBison bison bison                                   Near Threatened
White RhinoCeratotherium simum                                   Near Threatened
Yellowfin TunaThunnus albacares                                   Near Threatened

...and HUMANS!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our spirits are such they can never be contained,
wherever, whenever they travel...
Bursting forth with love, art, music, verse, beauty; harmonious with others and nature...
beginning with a dream, embraced by our souls, brought to fertilize...
So that life will not perish. 
**written by petra michelle**


Wildflowers, Tom Petty

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SUNDAY IS FOR POETRY: We Say Thank You to the Earth

by Joanne Shenandoah/Lawrence Laughing
(this poem is Lawrence Laughing's usage of English, verbatim)
In respect to our home the earth, we say thank you to the earth.
For everything that she gives to us; nourishing us every day.
We give thanks to all the water in the world; everything within that water.
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land. We give thanks to all the berries,

the fruits, the medicines.

We give thanks to the animals that keep the forests clean.
We give thanks to all the trees for their different uses that they give to us,
For shelters, for fires that we make in the winter time keeping us warm.
We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs.
We give thanks to the four winds.
We give thanks to the grandfathers; The ones that bring the rain.
We give thanks to our oldest brother, the sun, Who shines his light everyday.

We give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the moon,
For she is the one that has been charged with the duty
 To make sure that light has a continuance.
She is the one that watches over all the movements
Of the water and also the water within us.
We give thanks to the stars, her helper.
 And we give a special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings that watch over the human family.
Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places.
They are the ones that come to our minds.
And say go around, don't go any further.
To protect us and steer us away from danger.

 So that's what we do.
We start right from the earth and we climb the ladder right to the special place beyond the heavens.
Where there's a special spirit that lives there.
The spirit that made it possible for us to be here.
And everything that we have mentioned.
And so with the collectiveness of our minds and hearts,
We send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the great spirit of us all.

Prayer for Peace, Lawrence Laughing

The Indian Road-Eagle, Come Pray for Me, Lawrence Laughing

Mother Earth, Joanne Shenandoah

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Stories Behind Several Greatest Songs of Autumn; And a Happy Rosh Hashanah and an easy Yom Kippur

An easy Yom Kippur!

Happy Rosh Hashanah!


Autumn in Central Park

by Mary Dawson The Internet Writing Journal

"It has already started! The air is getting colder and crisper. Time for candlelight and popcorn -- falling leaves and soon, falling snow. It's "that time of year" once again. It's not quite Christmas, but the emotions are ramping up. We start thinking about family gatherings, parties, romantic evenings snuggled up by the fire with the ones we love. And under it all, is the magical music of the season.

In my never-to-be-humble opinion, some of the greatest songs ever written were inspired by the Season of Autumn. If you can't name at least a few songs about this season and the songwriters who created them, it's time to join us as we explore the stories behind the wonderful melodies and lyrics that mark this time of year.

The first song that comes to mind is the haunting, "Autumn in New York" written by Vernon Duke back in 1934. Never heard of him? Stay tuned.

You may be familiar with Billie Holiday's amazing rendition of this song, but then it has also been recorded by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Diane Schuur, Ray Charles, Mantovani, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Charlie Parker and dozens of other major artists. Year after year this song keeps reappearing with new arrangements and different artists, but definitely the same words and melody written by this guy, Vernon Duke. This song is what's known as a standard -- the goal of every songwriter. Now do you want to know a little more about Mr. Duke?

Vernon Duke was born Vladimir Alexandrovich Dukelsky in a train station in Prafianovo, Russia, on October 10, 1903 as his mother was traveling to another Russian town. Growing up in an aristocratic family, Vladimir showed amazing talent for music at a very early age. When he was eleven, he had already been admitted to the distinguished Kiev Conservatory to study under the famed composer, Reinhold Gilere.

After the Russian Revolution, the Dukelsky family made its way to the United States where Vladimir's classical compositions began receiving rave reviews. In America, Vladimir became friends with the famous George Gershwin, who encouraged him to begin writing popular music. Gershwin also suggested that he consider changing his name to something more "American" -- like Vernon Duke. From that point onward, the composer began his double life -- using the name, Vladimir Dukelsky, for his classical works and Vernon Duke for his pop songs.

In the 1920's Vernon/Vladimir moved to Paris where he wrote oratorios and music for ballet and symphony, becoming friends with Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev and artist, Pablo Picasso. When he would travel to Britain or the United States, like Superman, he would step into a phone booth and come out as Vernon Duke, writer of popular songs for theater and the Ziegfeld Follies. Collaborating with other great songwriters of the era, Duke wrote such classics as "April in Paris. Taking a Chance on Love," and "I Like the Likes of You."

With that as a backdrop, take some time to enjoy "Autumn in New York." You can download the song easily from iTunes or another online song store, and you can study the magical lyrics here. Consider that this Russian-born songwriter wrote these words in his second language and the stunning melody as the result of his ability to communicate musically to the ordinary listener as well as to the classical connoisseur.

Autumn in New York, Billie Holiday

If that story doesn't challenge your creativity, let's examine the scoop behind another Autumn Hit -- the beautiful "Autumn Leaves" by Joseph Kozma, Jacques Prevert and Johnny Mercer.

The lovely minor melody of this song conveys the bittersweet emotions of Autumn, and the very few, but well-chosen words, use the metaphor of Autumn's fading beauty to describe the melancholy of lost love. Originally, this song was a French composition written by composer Joseph Kosma and French poet, Jacques Prevert, and was originally entitled, "Les Feuilles Morte." The song was introduced by Yves Montand in the French film Les Portes de la Nuit in 1946.

But that's not the end of the story. Enter...American songwriter, Johnny Mercer!

Johnny Mercer was one of the most prolific songwriters of all times with more than 1000 songs to his credit. While he was primarily a lyricist, he also often wrote his own music. He said that usually the title or idea would come first and then "the rest of the lyrics just fell into place." When he wrote both words and music, he would write a few words and pound out a melody for them with one finger on the piano. Then he would go on to the next group of words. Several times in his life, Johnny tried to really learn the piano by taking lessons, but he always seemed to revert to his one-finger method. Hey, if it ain't broke...don't fix it, right?

In the songwriting of the 1930's and 40's, the music was usually composed first. Then the lyricist would set words to the completed melody. Because of his ability to set lyrics to music, Mercer was often asked to create English words for foreign music. Such was the case with "Autumn Leaves." Although not an exact translation, Johnny was able to capture the dreamy and pensive mood of the song in just 60 words!

Friends and neighbors...that's great lyric writing. Check out these lovely lyrics with their technicolor images here.

And be sure to listen carefully to this exquisite song again this fall. The melody will transport you simply and elegantly into the emotions of the season. You will certainly have your choice of artists for this song too! Everyone has recorded it -- from Edith Lou Rawls…Willie Nelson…Frank Sinatra...Barbra Streisand and many others! My personal favorite is by Eva Cassidy from her stunning CD, Songbird.

Autumn Leaves, Eva Cassidy

If you write words only, get up off your "comfort zone couch" and challenge yourself to become a lyricist like Johnny Mercer, capable of capturing the mystery of music with lyrics. The more you learn about genius writers like Mercer, the more you will aspire to greatness.

OK! Time for one more quick story. The song is "September in the Rain" by Harry Warren (composer) and Al Dubin (lyricist). Only 75 words in this song, but every one of them counts. Every one of them is perfectly matched to the melody like an artist's paintbrush touching the canvas, creating images that stay in the heart.

Harry Warren was born Salvatore Guaragna, the son of Italian immigrants in the late 19th Century. The eleventh of twelve children, he taught himself to play the piano and tried to supplement his family's income by playing for carnivals and in vaudeville shows. After serving in World War I, he found a job at a music publishing company in Tin Pan Alley, New York.

Al Dubin, the lyricist, was born in 1891 to a Jewish family in Switzerland. When he was two years old, his family immigrated to the United States where Al began to show an early love for music. Often he would cut his school classes to sneak into the back of a theater for a matinee musical. After a series of attempts at other careers, Al began writing music for silent films, which he did for most of the 20's.

Both Dubin and Warren were "surviving" as songwriters, but then in the early 1930's they met each other. The spark met the kindling and the resulting relationship resulted in a "co-writer's marriage made in heaven." In the decade that the two men wrote together, they turned out more than sixty hit songs including such classics as: "I Only Have Eyes for You, We're In the Money" and "Lullaby of Broadway," which earned them the Academy Award in 1935.

"September in the Rain" was one of the last songs the two writers created together. Dubin, who had long struggled with drug, alcohol and food addictions, had become less and less reliable in his work ethic. Warren had often had to resort to other lyricists -- including Johnny Mercer -- to complete his projects. After a particularly difficult period, Dubin agreed to undergo treatment at the Mayo Clinic for his addictions. When he returned from rehab, he produced the exquisite lyrics for "September in the Rain" which became one of the duo's most enduring standards. Could it be that these lyrics were a metaphor for Dubin's own failing struggle with his personal demons? It is well worth the 99 cents it will cost you to listen to this lovely song. Again, you will have a host of major artists and arrangements to choose from, from Dinah Washington to Norah Jones. You can study the amazingly concise and picturesque lyrics here.

September in the Rain, Marian McPartland, Norah Jones

The Songs of Autumn only become more striking and lovely when you learn the stories behind them. Just as "every life has a story," so does every hit song. For me as a writer, getting to know the behind-the-scenes craftsmen who penned our favorite songs only makes them more compelling. I hope you have been challenged, as I have been, by the Stories Behind the Hit Songs of Autumn. Now let's go have a cup of spiced cider by the fire and get lost in their magic."

p.s. I found Mary Dawson's piece thoroughly inspiring and invigorating...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Gloria" is a free-spirited divorcee looking for love. And, "Words and Pictures", writing or art, which is most effective?

Plot:  Gloria is a 58-year-old divorcée. Her grown son and daughter have their own lives. She meets Rodolfo (Hernández), seven years her senior who, like her, is seeking companionship.
A story set in Santiago, Chile, and centered on Gloria, a free-spirited older woman, and the realities of her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets at a dance club. Passionate and authentic!  Beautifully done! 

Gloria, Laura Branigan

Dina and Jack are school teachers in an advanced public school. Dina teaches art but her ability to paint is severely diminished by rheumatoid arthritis. Jack teaches English but his job is at risk because he is an alcoholic. The two argue about whether words or pictures are more effective at conveying ideas and make this the focus of an upcoming school performance. Meanwhile, despite themselves, they are falling in love.

Although the debate over which art form is most effective is somewhat predictable in its ending, the journey between Dina and Jack is believable and fun.  A sweet and endearing film.

Waiting For My Real Life To Begin, Colin Hay

You Bring the Sun Out, Randy Crawford

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dolce and Gabbana Fashion...poesia in movimento (poetry in motion)

It's fashion runway season around the world, and if I could, Italy's D&G is for me.  The 2014 and 2015 winter runways are poetry in motion with sequins and brocades in reds and golds, in beautiful prints and lace, in all lengths, with practical tweeds and coat dresses to fanciful dresses and billowing gowns.  Below are the full runway shows between my "escape" choices. ;))



Winter 2015

Winter 2014

Poetry in Motion, Bobby Vee

Fashion, David Bowie