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Environment

Rethinking National Parks (and other protected areas)

Harvour seals Did you know that we humans have a direct effect (I am generous and avoid the word “damage”) on 83% of the Earth’s surface? In the ocean, it is even worse and reached 100% (41% strongly affected). Although biodiversity contributes to human well-being in many ways, quantified in trillions of dollars, our appropriation of the planet has a perverse impact. The number of endangered species is enormous and, the critical point is that still grows.

An incredible journey

The stories about migrating animals are fascinating. However, today I only want to talk about one specific but extraordinary migration. I am referring to a journey over 4000 miles long, from Canada to Mexico. The traveler is a 4 inches wide and 0.01 ounces animal. Any guess? I’m talking about monarch butterflies.

Having breakfast with Hummingbirds

If you are from any part of the Americas or if you travel there, you are able to bond with nature in outstanding ways. Let me highlight in advance my bias towards the Americas. One of the most beautiful situations I have often is having breakfast with hummingbirds. Let me provide some context because there is a memory that I keep specially vibrant. Imagine you in a bar near the ocean with a coffee in one hand and flavoring the fresh start of a new day. Suddenly, with quick movements and sudden changes of its fly, a hummingbird approaches. He disappears rapidly, as he came. In a few seconds, the hummingbird became one of the most vivid memories I have. Fortunately, the next day he will stop by again. Hummingbirds live in a broad area and covering most of the Americas but my memory is Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Hummingbirds have some features that make them be our beloved birds. They are the the jewel in the crown of every garden. That’s why people hang hummingbird feeders. Doing so, people can create a hummingbird habitat in the garden and have them as a guest everyday. With so many feeders sparced along the americas, who can imagine the hammingbirds other but living happily ever after? The story does not end here.

Of course the hummingbird feeders are preventing the hummingbird population to not decrease. But the risk still exists. The hummingbirds habitats are indeed shrinking. Among the 356 species of hummingbird listed, 58 are endangered. Creating habitats helps. However, we are building traps and obstacles. Think in how happy will be your cat waiting to have the hammingbird within the range. The main risks are related to habitat loss and natural supplementation by artificial habitat in a garden full of obstacles and dangers (windows, walls, cars, electric fences …) and even predators (a cat is always ready to catch a hummingbird).

Mangroves

Mangroves are shrubs or small trees that grow in tropical or subtropical (within 30° north and south) coastal environments. Mangroves represent the transition between the freshwater and salty ocean water. In other latitudes, instead of mangroves, we can find tidal marshes.

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