We are slowly losing our wildlife..but also the need to experience it…

All of us, whether we are hikers or just armchair travellers, we all know that the world’s wildlife is in danger.

The threats posed by constant pressures from farming, exploitation, mineral resources etc are erasing the world’s wild places at an alarming rate…I’m sure we have all heard that most famous phrase sometime in our lives that goes “an area the size a 10 football pitches disappears from our jungles every day…”?

But, hang on a minute…there is an even bigger threat to our wild places…it comes from the thing you are reading this article from…yes, your PC, laptop or smartphone.

Increasingly, naturalists, hikers, walkers, climbers are all concerned that wildlife is losing the battle not only with human intervention, but from the virtual world.

What does that mean? Well, people are basically so cut off from their environment by iPads, smartphones, computers and other technological gadgets which demand attention within, excluding that which is without, ie outside.

So much so that many now believe that the loss of ecosystems and environments is paralleled by the expansion of the digital ecosystem.

And the main reason for this can be partly blamed on the unavoidable consequence of a society liberated from laboring on the land like we used to. It is indeed a squeeze on time spent with nature.

One example of this change in our lives is a simple one which we fail to notice….there are no children running around in the woods, like we all used to during our childhood….I and my friends were continually outside, either in the local parks, patches of woodland, farms or other open spaces. Now, farms have suddenly become dangerous environments….even a farmer’s own children don’t play on their father’s farm, for fear of an accident happening and their father being castigated by the health and safety mob.

A fearfully high number of highly-strung people have taken over the local authorities the world over, brewing up a compelling broth that is fed to innocent citizens, feeding their minds with untrue propaganda that vehicular traffic, dangers-of-strangers, tree-climbing, netting of fish or tadpoles in little streams are pastimes all fraught with horrendous dangers.

In my opinion, wildlife will inevitably decline if we carry on becoming oblivious of it like we are…..why? Because when we are oblivious to wildlife, the other factors I mentioned, like exploitation, cut and burn of forests etc, is still going on, and so obviously, the wildlife in those areas will decline.

A very tough situation we are in at the moment, and as always, the citizens are virtually powerless to do anything about it.

 

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Hiking/camping cooking package…

I know myself how difficult it is deciding what kind of stuff you need to buy when planning a hike or camping trip.

Especially when it comes down to cooking utensils etc…..there’s such a huge variety available, that I normally come back home with nothing in hand and my mind spinning with choices!

So here’s a great, well-priced package of everything you need to cook and eat during your hiking.

It contains a very reliable stove, utensils and fire-starter.

FireSteel fire lighter
Weight: 29g
Originally developed for the Swedish military, it functions in the dark, in the wet, and when the wind is howling up the fjords.
Made of magnesium alloy and stainless steel.
Offers at least 3,000 strikes.
Built-in emergency whistle.
Dimensions are 77 x 24 x 14mm.
Price: C$12.50

Stainless steel cutlery set, on a handy O ring to hold everything together.
Price: C$7.50
Weight: 45g

Weight: 935g
This super-efficient woodstove recharges your phone, camera, and other small USB-compatible devices. Via a thermocouple, heat from the flames converts to electricity and loads an internal battery to top up your gadgets. It also powers a 2-speed fan, running a stove so lean and mean that less than 60 grams of dry wood boils 1L of water in under 5 minutes. The BioLite CampStove happily burns twigs, pinecones, wood pellets, and other biomass. Keep your gizmos charged without endless hand cranking or worrying about cloudy days. Campers and preppers rejoice.
Made of stainless steel, aluminum and plastic.
Maximum continuous power output for USB is 2W at 5V. Peak is 4W at 5V.
Charging times vary depending on the device and fire strength. For reference, 20 minutes of charge time typically powers an iPhone® 4S for 60 minutes of talk time.
Pot weight limit is 3.6kg.
Includes stove, fire-lighter, instructions, stuff sack, and USB cord for internal battery charging. USB cables for individual devices not included.
Battery requires intial charging via USB and recharging if the stove is not used for 6 months.
Price: C$130.00
MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set

Weight: 601g
Stainless steel is robust, and the pots can be scrubbed out with sand or pebbles, but this set is intended for ongoing hard use and expeditions rather than delicate haute cuisine.
Made of 0.5mm, 18-8 stainless steel.
Stepped bottom prevents warping.
Minimalist design employs a pot holder rather than attached handles.
Set includes one 1.5L pot, one 2L pot, a pot handle, a nylon stuff sack, and a lid that fits both pots that can also be used as a plate.
Price: C$48

There you go!

This package costs a total of C$198.50…a very reasonable price indeed, for items which are designed to last many years.

Note also that as per my recent post here about the dangers of using aluminium cookware (leaching of aluminium residues into your food etc), I have chosen stainless steel utensils and cutlery, so you don’t need to worry about ingesting aluminium from your cooking pots!

All these items are available from my favorite hiking suppliers, MEC.

😉

A story to warm your hearts!

This story when I first came across it, really had me wondering what we humans think of ourselves.

We think we are the best thing in the universe since sliced bread…and more.

But if we were in the same position as the tigress I am going to tell you about, would we do the same?

I sincerely doubt it!

Apparently a tigress in a Californian zoo gave birth to 3 cubs, who died unfortunatelt due to being born prematurely.

Soon after, the mother went into a kind of a depression, the shock of losing all her cubs….she stopped eating and became increaisngly withdrawn.

The keepers noticed this and became very worried for her….

Read the rest of the story here…..

 

 

Cooking in the wilderness…where do we go from here…?

Like hikers and walkers the world over, all of us rely on lightweight cooking utensils that are easy to carry and easy to wash.

And unfortunately, these characteristics are only available, at present, with aluminium (or if you’re in the USA…aluminum!) cook ware.

All my pots, pans etc are made out of this stuff, aside of one or two stainless spoons I carry, out of habit more than anything else.

But what I noticed a few days ago when I was drying my pots gave me one hell of a fright….take a look at those photos below….it’s a paper tissue that I used to wipe dry my cooking pot.

 

Picture 779 Picture 778

 

And no, that isn’t dirt or anything else on that tissue….the pot was sparkling clean, with just a little water left on it’s surface……that is aluminium residue coming off with every wipe! So every time we cook in our pots, a little of that aluminium gets mixed into our food….

And you should know that aluminium residues coming off during cooking have been implicated in several problems, including Alzheimer’s disease.

So what do we do? In short, that’s a damn tough one to answer!

Throw away all our aluminium pots and pans, and what do we cook in then?

Unless we buy stainless steel stuff, but of course, that’s gonna make a change to how much we can carry, as I think I’m right in saying…correct me if I’m wrong somebody….that steel is heavier than aluminium, weight for weight.

Did someone mention Teflon? That’s been implicated with cancer recently…!

Anybody have any ideas?

:0

Following on from yesterday’s article about native peoples…

Not long ago, I was in a remote area of BC….the Queen Charlottes, sometimes known by their real name as Haida Gwaii.

I was alone, as I mostly always am when on hikes.

The Haida Gwaii area is almost pristine, even these days, and there are huge tracts of land that are still virgin, although rather difficult to get to.

I try to go there as often as I can…the isolation from the circus that is life is truly magical there, as it is in all such places elsewhere in the world.

It’s very difficult to put into words how one feels in such places….I can only describe it as recuperative, inspiring t be in a virgin place as that…..making you think that this is what the world must have been like before the multitudes and hordes invaded the lands and pillaged everything.

Inspiring and recuperative it may well be, but for me, and this is my personal feeling, not a crusade or anything I am on….the place cries out, reeks of….something missing.

And for me, I feel the missing link, that elusive feeling I get there, is the native peoples.

Somehow, don’t please ask me how or what…..it seems that their not being there….having been forced out….seems to have left a gaping void….an invisible, gaping chasm, which manifests itself into your mind, making you almost cry with sadness at the slashing of the ties the natives had to this area.

As ever, myself and my fellow-men, call us whites, north americans, whatever…..we are charged with depopulating the indigenous Haida peoples from their lands here. They say some 90% of the Haida died from something as simple as smallpox and the common flu bug, something the Haida never had any immunity to, and which our people brought into their lands when we decided to invade.

The survivors were removed forcibly from these happy, peaceful hunting grounds and placed in just 2 villages where they live to this day.

It is, for me, a feeling of incompleteness, if there is such a word….a land barren of an essential part of it’s ecosystem shall we say….and I feel the land itself, somehow manifesting a terrible sadness at this loss….a bit like how a parent, myself being one, would feel if, for some reason or other…..I were to return home one day and find all my family gone…just disappeared into thin air, never to return…..a sick, deep grief and sadness….I don’t know…maybe it’s just me.

But let’s talk about happier things….in places like the Haida Gwaii, we can come closer than we ever will be on tis planet, to being what creation has deigned us to be…..untrammaled spirits made to enjoy the timeless stillness of that same creation itself…..as if that creative force wants to tell us…wants to show us, through places like these, that that is where it comes from, where it resides..and ultimately where it wants us to be.

Could it possibly be the reason why we so love the wilderness, the deserted coasts, where we can be and just look out towards the nothingness, the nowhere where creation itself resides? And could it be why native legends and so-called folklore is full of tales imploring us not to destroy that wilderness? Because to destroy it, like we have done already, is to destroy the abode of the force that created it and all of us, too.

There too, I had one of the most profound experiences of coincidence, synchronicity…call it what you will.

I had always looked up into the sky and many times seen a solitary eagle or perhaps a number of them, circling or soaring on the thermals from below….I had often wondered if it could be possible to catch an eagle feather in it’s fall from it’s owner, before it touched the ground….could that be possible? I asked a Haida friend of mine about this, and he in turn put the question to an elder he knew.

My friend came back many days later, with a big smile on his face, and when I asked him what he was so happy about, he told me that if I were to get hold of even a single feather from an eagle, a feather that hadn’t fallen and touched the Earth, caught in mid-air in other words, that it would a very, very fortuitous thing indeed to happen, and such a gift is classed as priceless by the Haida. This he was told by the elder.

And that is exactly what happened a few months later, when I was in the Haida Gwaii again, having forgotten all about the feathers and the eagles.

I just happened to be walking on the beach, when by pure chance perhaps, or pure synchronicity…take your pick….I looked up into the sky, and saw not one, not two, but more than 7 or 8 eagles circling around very low…I’d say not more than 150 to 200 feet in the air, and for some odd reason, there were eagle feathers falling from them!

Of course, I wasted no time in running underneath them as fast as I could, with my shirt ripped off my back and held out like a basket, catching as many feathers as possible. That night I called my Haida friend and told him what had happened, and he said we would both take those feathers to the elder and ask him what this all meant.

A few days later, we were with the Haida elder…to just be with such a person is to experience peace and quiet….a result of the peace itself that emanated from him.

He told me that I was indeed very fortunate….that this was a very great occurrence, which meant that the gods were pleased with what I had been thinking, and that great experiences would envelop me, great happiness would follow me wherever I went. And the feathers were a tangible proof from the gods…a kind of confirmation of this.

Well, being a western-minded agnostic, it was a little hard to swallow, but I respected what the elder told us, and anyway, his words of wisdom both calmed me and made me feel happier anyway!

🙂

Is this the very last plea from a dying people, possibly?

 

In 2003, the US government’s men came for the horses.

They used a helicopter to stampede them, to frighten them….some were trampled, some gave birth prematurely, some just ran and ran till they died of exhaustion.

The government people were armed, so resistance was futile.

At the end of the day, 500 horses were sold off to a local American farmer. Later, 50  carcasses were found dumped…these had died of starvation.

 

 

The horses belonged to Carrie Dann, a Shoshone grandmother. She doesn’t like talking about it, aside of saying that Indians love horses. That is all she says.

That last round up of the horses was just one of four military style operations set up by the longest running land disputes in the history of America.

 

 

For more than 30 years, Carrie and her late sister Mary, have fought the USA government for Shoshone rights to 60m acres of land, around Nevada and neighboring states.

Unfortunately, the dispute has hardly scratched the American conscience.

 

However, at one point, the United Nations demanded that the US government halt all actions against the Shoshone and find a solution acceptable to them and in accordance with their rights.

To date, nothing has been done that can be seen as a move in the right direction.

A very, very sad period for the Shoshone…and perhaps other indigenous peoples of America. When will these peoples, the real Americans, see justice? It doesn’t look likely…..

Read more about it here