December 30 — Six Geese A-Laying

December 30 is the sixth day of Christmas.  In the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the sixth day is reserved for bird reproduction—six geese a-laying.  So, let’s talk today about the extremes that birds go to when they are a-laying.             Let’s start with the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba.  This is the world’s smallest […]

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December 29 — Convention on Biological Diversity Began (1993)

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spawned many developments in the journey for global sustainability.  One of those is the Convention on Biological Diversity, which came into force on December 29, 1993, ninety days after the 30th country ratified the treaty.             And that is what it is—a treaty.  The Convention on […]

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December 28 — Endangered Species Act Enacted (1973)

All our environmental and conservational laws are important, but one that would make the playoffs for the super bowl of greatest laws would be the one enacted on this day in 1973.  Two years after President Richard Nixon made his case to congress for stronger protection of endangered species, he was able to sign into […]

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December 27 — Second Voyage of the Beagle Began (1831)

It’s a few days after Christmas, and the lucky among us are escaping the winter for cruises to the Caribbean.  On this date—December 27—a different sort of cruise began in 1831.  That cruise lasted 1742 days, and the results changed the entire way civilization viewed the world.             The vessel conducting the cruise was the […]

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December 26 — UN Convention to Combat Desertification Began (1996)

On this date in 1996, the world’s nations began implementing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.  We all grew up learning about the southward spread of Africa’s Sahara Desert, but that “poster-child” representation of desertification is insufficient, at best, and misleading, at worst.             The world’s concern about desertification began long before 1996.  The […]

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December 25 — European Rabbits Introduced to Australia (1859)

Now here’s a Christmas present that we wish the Grinch would steal and never return—the bunny rabbit.  At least that’s the way Australia feels about rabbits.  The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is not native to Australia, but they are may be the most abundant mammal in the country today and certainly the most tragic.             […]

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December 24 — The Christmas Tree

Today there is a tree in our lives.  Not just any tree, but the Christmas tree.  That beautiful evergreen is standing in the corner, decorated with reminders of Christmases past , with a pile of presents under its lowest boughs. Ever wonder what how that tree got there?             Let’s start with a little—a very […]

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December 23 — Times Beach, Missouri, Declared Uninhabitable

Bad news is never welcome.  But at Christmastime, bad news is particularly dreadful.  On December 23, 1982, the town of Times Beach, Missouri, got the worst kind of bad news:  The entire city was contaminated by a highly toxic chemical—dioxin.  In a few years, the city was wiped off the map.             Times Beach, Missouri, […]

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December 22 — Lady Bird Johnson, Environmental First Lady, Born (1912)

History credits Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and, perhaps, Richard Nixon as America’s great conservation presidents.  But what about the other predominant member of a president’s team—his wife.  Without question, the most important conservation presidential wife was Lady Bird Johnson.  Known as the country’s “environmental first lady,” Mrs. Johnson (as her organization’s website refers to her) […]

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December 20 — Earliest Date for Winter Solstice

December 20 is the earliest date on which the winter solstice can occur (more commonly on December 21 or 22, but we need a topic for December 20).  It is the shortest day of the year, and consequently has had special meaning to humans throughout our history (people today celebrate the summer solstice at Stonehenge […]

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