Category Archives: Eco Issues

Ocean Passion

After publishing, ‘Earth’, the final book in The Akasha Series, I’ve had some great success with sales! Though I promised myself a short break, the sales are motivating me to begin my next series.  MERMAIDS AND WEREWOLVES Y’ALL!!!  I’m already several chapters in, and hope to have the first book published in/around September this year.  Until then, it will be my job to get you all excited about what goes on in the deep.  More importantly, I want you passionate about the health of our planet’s oceans. I’ve done a lot of research, and so far this video best portrays the dire situation. It is a documentary narrated by Sigourney Weaver, originally aired on Discovery Planet Green. Please take the time to watch this video (it’s 20 minutes – if you don’t have time now, bookmark it to watch later):

On a lighter note, if you aren’t already an email follower of my blog – sign up now!  Over the next few months, I’ll be posting snippets of my new series as I write it.  I have to know what you guys think!

Earth Day

earth cover hand bigger

Today is the day! ‘Earth, Book Four of The Akasha Series’ is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. $4.99 will get you through the exciting conclusion to the series. Join the already over 200 people who have added ‘Earth’ to their TBR list on Goodreads, now.  Plus, Goodreads already has 4 reviews and 5 ratings – I’d love if you could add yours! Did you know each book is available in print, too? You can find Water, Air, Fire, and Earth on Amazon (just make sure you are purchasing the print version, not the Kindle version).

emily picture2

 

I am also currently in the middle of creating audio books for the entire Akasha series. The ‘Water’ audio version should be out sometime late May, with the rest to follow. Check out the very talented narrator I chose for the series, Emily Lawrence.  I chose her out of 15+ auditions for her great voice, her knowledge about the business, and her reliability and professionalism. Plus – she is an author, herself. What a great match!

 

Akasha Cover bonus contentAlso, by the beginning of May, I will release ‘Akasha, The Complete Saga’. This is a boxed set of all four books (available in electronic formats only), for $9.99. The boxed set will include never before published bonus content; short stories for each of the main characters (including one for Bee – twenty years into the future). I certainly understand that many of you will have already purchased the entire series, and don’t want to spend ten bucks for a few short stories. You can still get them – without spending the money! All you have to do is send me a link to a review of each of the four books (preferably on Amazon or Goodreads), and I will send you the bonus content (just the bonus content – not the boxed set) – for free! Please remember, they have to be a review (one or two sentences is fine), not just a rating.

 

herbs2So – on to the important stuff. How are you celebrating Earth Day? This weekend, we kept our celebration small and planted an herb garden on our outdoor deck area. Thyme, dill, parsley, sage, mint, basil, and some lavender thrown in for scent. Herb gardens are great; they cut down on pollutants, save you money, and green your area. They can be done inside or outside, whether you live in a house or apartment. And trust me – those summer mojitos with fresh mint are totally worth it! We have about ten of these planters, and can’t wait to start cooking with fresh herbs!

Not sure what to do for Earth Day? Go to www.google.com, check out their interactive, animated doodle – then search for evens in your area!

Earth Hour 2013

earth hour

This Saturday, on March 23rd at 8:30 pm local time – turn out your lights! Earth Hour is a global movement uniting people to protect the planet. Towards the end of March every year, Earth Hour brings together communities from across the world celebrating a commitment to the planet by switching off lights for one designated hour.

The symbolism of the hour is incredibly important in bringing people and communities together across the globe. Earth Hour has also launched ‘I Will If You Will‘, a platform to inspire individuals to share their commitment to the planet with their friends, colleagues, leaders and networks. Watch this short, 3 minute video about both initiatives:

Bookish Christmas Trees

Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! I’ll leave you with several awesome ‘bookish’ Christmas trees found around the web.  Enjoy your day!

book christmas tree 7 book christmas tree 6 book christmas tree 5 book christmas tree 4 book christmas tree 3 book christmas tree 2 book christmas tree

The Power of We

It’s Blog Action Day – and this year’s theme is ‘The Power of We’. So, what does this mean to me? With election day fast approaching in America, we are inundated with commercials, flyers, debates, banners, and public conversation in general about who are the right candidates to represent us.

For me, politics – and politicians – are one of the most frustrating aspects of America. They come from money, and they follow the money. Those with the deepest pockets, corporations and the wealthy, are more likely to sway the course of government. So when it comes down to taking time out of my day on November 4th to vote – will it really matter? The answer is, I’m not really sure…but HELL YES I WILL VOTE! I will not squander what opportunity is offered to make a difference.

For each of us, one political issue may stand out more than the rest; the economy, healthcare, women’s rights, foreign affairs, education, etc. Each of these items are on surveys conducted occasionally in my neighborhood. To my great disappointment, I have yet to see the environment on any of these surveys. Why is this not a top button issue? Policies in how we treat the environment certainly affect the job market, not to mention the health and well-being of future generations.

But maybe, using ‘The Power of We’, we can make this a top priority for our politicians, no matter who wins the elections. For those of you who still remain undecided over our presidential candidates, here is a short list of their commitment to the environment;

Romney is criticized for flip-flopping on the environmental question. He was blamed for subjecting his will to the likes of big companies.

Obama said, “So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world’s leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stop it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity.”

Romney, at the Republican National Convention, declared: “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” pausing for the audience to laugh at the absurdity, “and to heal the planet. My promise … is to help you and your family.”

Obama believes that carbon pollution can be put at check through a market based cap. This is not only an environmentally friendly measure, but will address certain energy challenges too. The income that is generated in the process of closing the carbon loophole will be returned to the people, especially those families, communities and business which are vulnerable.

Romney ‘s detailed plans include stripping the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to regulate carbon dioxide, eliminate the production tax credit for wind projects, open all federal lands and waters for drilling, including the entire Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and keep tax incentives and tax breaks for oil and gas drilling.

Obama ‘s detailed plans include raising federal standards for fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks, maintain the EPA’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels because of climate change concerns, maintain incentives for renewable energy; wind and solar-powered generation has doubled in size during his administration, eliminate the $4 billion a year of oil and gas tax breaks.

You can probably tell who gets my vote simply by the blurbs I selected. Please keep in mind both candidates are open for more offshore drilling, and support drilling on existing leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska. Both also support the use of hydraulic fracturing in drilling, whether it is controlled by federal or state safety standards.
So how, specifically, can ‘The Power of We’ help make the environment a top priority with our politicians? Here are just a few ideas:

  • petition the private sector to do their part
  • write your representatives – tell them what is important to you and your community and why!
  • share this post
  • VOTE!

So tell me – what does ‘The Power of We’ mean to you?

The Beauty of Pollination

Do we take pollinators for granted?

As a whole – yes. Our use of systemic pesticides is killing them. We depend on pollinators for over 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables we eat. As filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg mentions in his TED introduction of this video, pollinators are like the canary in the coal mine; if they disappear, so do we.

Take four minutes to watch this video, and discover (or re-discover) the beauty of pollination:

What a wonderful job Schwarzberg did! Only he could make the common housefly and bats look so beautiful!

My favorite part, by far, has to be the slow motion butterflies. Although the bats are a close second. What’s yours?

 

April 22nd, 2012 is Earth Day

I am an eco-fantasy author, and today is Earth Day.  My immediate thought is – crap, I should really do a blog post about this.  But honestly, what can I tell you today that will make a difference tomorrow?  Probably not much.  We’re all mostly aware of the declining quality of our planet’s ecosystems.  A large part of that is due to the lifestyles to which we’ve become accustomed; and it is something we, as a whole, are unwilling to change.  As individuals – yes, lots of us can do something small here and there.  But the main shift needs to happen at a higher level; with politics.

What I can tell you to do is petition your government at the local, state, and national levels to center their campaigns around environmental issues. Then you need to vote accordingly.

Longer term change needs to be our focus.  In recent research for my books, I have come across another long term solution – permaculture. Permaculture is a philosophy of ecological design that develops sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. It draws from several disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology.

Farm and pasture land take up over 1/3 of the world’s ice-free land surfaces.  These are areas that have been cleared of natural vegetation.  This is why permaculture is so important.  Permaculture works with natural ecosystems to grow food and support life, instead of against it.  Many predictions, including those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), show that by 2040 Europe, the America’s, and China will not be able to sustain food growth.  This theory, along with others that predict we cannot change global warming, tells us we need to adapt the way we go about growing, processing, and distributing food.

Well, that was a mouthful. Some food for thought, so to speak, for Earth Day.  By this time next year, the final book of the Akasha Series will be released and I can hopefully focus on the larger message I hope to convey with the series.  Wish me luck with that!  In the meantime, Google ‘Permaculture’ and find out what you can do to help.  Here is a great clip on Actress Ellen Page’s experience with permaculture on the Ellen show (I love Ellen  – both of them):

March 22nd is World Water Day

This year, the focus is on the critical role water plays in food security. Some facts about the world’s fresh water supply:

From VOA

Water is scarce in some places because farmers are pumping it out of the ground faster than it can recharge, according to the head of water policy for the US State Department, Aaron Salzberg.

“The groundwater is getting depleted to the point where that will have an impact on food security,” he says. “If you look at India, for example, in the breadbasket up in the northwestern part of the country, over-extraction is a huge, huge issue and this is going to start to play a role in their ability to produce food and to meet their internal needs.”

Over-extracting groundwater for irrigation is also a huge issue in major farming regions of China, the United States and elsewhere.

From UNWater.org:

There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.

 When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’.

 

So what can you do about it? Here is a start:

  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet
  • consume less water-intensive products
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • do your part to empower and support farmers around the world
  • encourage your community to take the lead in securing their own water future
  • petition the private sector to do their part – many companies have core business interests that are related to water issues, but even in industries that seem disconnected from water can have a significant impact

 

The water that we use today has been circulating through the earth since time began, and it must sustain humanity for as long as we live on this earth. A sustainable supply of water is a priority for everyone on the planet. See the video below for more information, and please share this post and spread the word!

 

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

They’re dead. Well, not all of them – but give it ten years. Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to turn my blog into a consistent rant about environmental issues. I will only do that occasionally. This is one of those occasions.

In researching for the third book of the Akasha Series, ‘Fire’, I came across the plight of bees and will of course, highlight this in the book. So of course, I turned to Claudia Christian, author of the Alex the Fey Series, organizer of Twitter bookmarket chats, resident of my home state of Colorado, and beekeeper. Soooo many reasons to love this lady!

Anyway, on to the bees:

Question 1 – What is the cause of the disappearance of bees?

Claudia: It’s the pesticide. Period. The pesticide weakens the bees’ immune system so they are susceptible to all kinds of disease. People can’t say it’s the pesticide because the creator (Bayer) is protected by their employees (Congress). It’s a very frustrating situation especially when they banned the pesticide in France and the “mysterious” disease disappeared.

Question 2 – Is the problem growing or decreasing?

Claudia: The problem is growing. It’s hard to conceptualize but it’s not just bees. It’s all pollinators – wasps, hummingbirds, and bats are also ‘mysteriously disappearing.’ For example, there used to be many thousands of varieties of wasps in the US. These wasps have died out. Now there’s only a handful of the most aggressive forms of wasps live in the US. Another example is that the Bumblebee is expected to be extinct in the next 10 years. Further, the bat populations have declined at alarming rates. We hear about bees because they have ‘keepers’, but every pollinator on the continent is at risk.

Question 3 – Have you experienced these issues with your bees?

Claudia: Yes, we’ve been beekeepers for more than 10 years. The first 3-4 years were easy years. We had hives at 3 or 4 locations including my in-laws house in Durango, CO. Then it started, slowly at first, we saw some aggressive changes in our bees. We brought them back to our house and hive after hive died. We did everything we could think of, talked to everyone we knew, but fumbled over and over again. For the last 3-4 years, we’ve replaced hives almost every year. We lost all of our hives last year. Our healthiest hive was attacked by an aggressive feral hive (think about the wasp situation) and decimated. This is new behavior for honeybees, but not unheard of. I found beekeepers all over the country talking about this new aggressive robbing behavior.

Question 4 – Why are bees so important to the Earth’s ecosystem?

Claudia: Ok, think of it this way. Once upon a very, very long time ago, there were coniferous trees. They were fertilized by the wind. In somehow, some way, the ancestral bee was created. This bee and those who came, long before the alligator or the roach, created every single flowering plant in the world. Every. Single. Flowering. Plant. was created by the bee. Bats, hummingbirds, and the rest of the pollinators came after the humble bee created flowering plants to sustain them.

So, are honey bees important? Only if flowers are important, only if vegetables and seeds are important.

Question 5 – What would be your suggestions to helping Earth’s ecosystem by way of ‘bee’?

Claudia: Fix campaign finance. Seriously. I don’t mean to get all political, but Bayer owns Congress to the extent that at the Congressional hearings on CCD, researchers are not ALLOWED to mention the possibility that the pesticide is responsible for the death of pollinators in the US. And the first hear was AFTER the pesticide was banned in France and other European countries – and the bees had returned!

So… what do you do with that? The FDA and USDA are owned by Bayer. Congress is owned by Bayer.

And we continue to talk about it as if it’s a ‘bee’ problem.

So there you have it! The bee, *ahem*, pesticide problem. As with many other environmental issues, politicians and large corporations block the solutions. So what can we do about it? Make it an important topic with your local government representatives and in this year’s elections. Write congress, spread the word, buy organic. Get out there and save the bees! I need them for my stories…

A few extra websites that offer solutions are:

http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/act-today-2/act-today/
http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/
http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/save-the-bees.html
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Save-Bees/104550740016?sk=wall

About Claudia:

Claudia Hall Christian is the author of the romantic serial fiction Denver Cereal, Ft. Worth’s hottest mystery, The Queen of Cool, and the fast paced Alex the Fey thriller series. She is the founder of the Open Grove and the Twitter chat #bookmarket.

She writes books and keeps bees in Denver, Colorado.

Connect with Claudia at her website, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

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