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Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day by Highlighting Six Unique Species
The doodle presents illustrations and facts about six unique species that represent a variety of different life forms.
"The last thing I wanted to do was feature animals based on their cuteness or how they might appeal in some way to my mammalian sensibilities," lead artist Kevin Laughlin said. "We tried to focus on having a good range of organisms from around the globe that all had an extra special unique quality or earthly superlative."
The featured species are:
- The wandering albatross, which has the widest wingspan of any bird.
- The coastal redwood, which is the tallest tree in the world.
- Paedophryne amauensis, which is both the smallest frog and the smallest vertebrate in the world.
- The Amazon water lily, which is one of the world's largest aquatic plants.
- The coelacanth, a rare type of fish that is one of the oldest living creatures in the world, dating back to 407-million years ago.
- The deep cave springtail, a hexapod that is one of the deepest-living animals on earth.
Laughlin said he learned a lot about earth's amazing species while researching the doodle.
"Apparently scientists were able to coax deep cave springtails with a bit of cheese," Laughlin said. "So we're not so different from these little hexapods, after all!"
Laughlin said he hoped his work would inspire a sense of wonder about the earth and its creatures.
"How often does one take a moment to contemplate a tiny critter that lives in the bowels of a cave in Georgia? All life is incredible and worth celebrating," he said.
The reason for this year's Earth Day theme, however, is that so much of that incredible life is disappearing.
"Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago," the Earth Day Network wrote. "But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity."
Since Earth Day 2018, some alarming studies have revealed the extent of human destruction. Scientists calculated in October, 2018 that 60 percent of bird, reptile, mammal and fish populations had been killed offt by human activity since 1970. Another study released in February of this year warned that more than 40 percent of insects could go extinct within a few decades and 100 percent could be lost within a century.
"The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action," the group said.
Here are the actions they recommended:
- Educate yourself and others about the rate and causes of extinction.
- Work towards policies that protect species.
- Organize a global movement to protect nature.
- Promote individual actions that protect wildlife like going vegan or gardening and farming without pesticides and herbicides.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.