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The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics comes to America on Sept. 22 with a message: It’s time to confront global warming and climate change crisis – it’s time to act. Critics, both inside and outside the church, are dismissing the pope’s message and mandate on the need to be more responsible stewards of the Earth. “I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists,” said Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. That sentiment about the pope was echoed by Jeb Bush, who said he will get his science elsewhere. What do you think?

 

For more information on this topic, see Don Corrigan’s column in the Aug. 14 issue of the Webster-Kirkwood Times.   Please offer a Comment:

Americans seem to be more skeptical about climate change than other world citizens, according to a report covered in the New York Times. Only about 40 percent of Americans believed that climate change was a major threat compared to more than 50 percent of Canadians, Australians, French and Germans. The Japanese came in with the highest total of concerned citizens with more than 70 percent believing that climate change is an issue that must be addressed.

 

Squirrels are not just a nuisance, they can cause real problems with damage for homeowners,for car owners and for electric utilities. Squirrel populations have been increasing throughout the Midwest and the nation generally, because of the loss of natural predators and a decline in squirrel hunting.

If you have a squirrel tale to tell, could you please post in in the Comment section (below the poll that follows). And please do take our poll.

Sinkholes, large depressions in the earth, are opening up in the St. Louis area, throughout America and across the world. British Parliament members note that climate change is having a dramatic effect above and below the Earth’s surface and British geologists say more sinkholes are coming as a result of droughts and floods.

Amazing blow holes are opening up in Siberia an releasing methane, due to underground ice blocks melting away and forming cavities below Earth’s surface.

What do you think? Could there be a link between sinkholes and climate change?

Our major national park in Missouri, the Ozark Scenic Riverways, has suffered from “too much love” and excessive use in recent years. The federal park includes long stretches of the Jacks Fork and Current rivers. Now the National Park Service (NPS) has plans to address some of the problems in the area. The NPS Management Plan A would close illegal roads and restore to natural conditions 50 miles of these roads; would close undesignated horse trails and restrict stream crossings; would bar vehicles such as ATVs from access to gravel bars; would provide wilderness status for Big Spring.

Where do you stand on all of this? Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Jason Smith, R-Salem say the feds are doing it all wrong, and they should cede the rivers and river lands back to local control. They say the NPS plans are unenforceable and unfair to “those most affected, the people who live, work and play along the rivers.”

So here’s the Big Question: Should we support the NPS plan to protect the rivers from too many ATVs, motorboats, horse trail rides and access roads?

Feel free to comment if you have more to say on this issue.

St. Louis area landfills continue to grow. Families that switch from disposable to cloth baby diapers could make a big difference in the growth of our landfill mountains. That’s because right now, disposable diapers rank as the third largest consumer item in our  growing landfills.

Sustainable lifestyles can also cut down on refuse and make for a healthier planet. To learn more about sustainable living, you might want to attend the Webster University 2013 Sustainable Living Conference on April 12-13. For more information, go to: www.webster.edu/sustainability2013/

Question of the Day: Landfills have become major landmarks in the St. Louis area. Do you have a favorite landfill in Metro St. Louis.

Feel free to comment if we have missed a landfill that is your favorite. Or, if you want to campaign for the landfill that you think is the best one in the Bi-State.

Environmental degradation in Missouri and across the country is taking a toll on wildlife. Plastics in the environment have been especially tough on local creatures. “Peanut The Turtle” from St. Charles has become famous after a plastic six-pack ring got stuck around her body and caused her shell to grow into a contorted hour-glass figure. Peanut was rescued by the Missouri Department of Conservation and has become a mascot for the “No More Trash Campaign.”

The Ozark Hellbender is endangered because of the pollution that has entered streams in the southern Missouri area. This awesome salamander was once in abundance in the rocky bottoms of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. And why are bats having such a hard time now in our state’s many caves? Why are bee populations in decline due to what is called “Colony Collapse Disorder?”

Please answer the poll below and leave a comment:

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