MNS Langkawi's Blog

Persatuan Pencinta Alam Malaysia

Birding the Mountain Hawk Eagle

We are inviting our members to join us for some fun birding. We hope
to see the Mountain Hawk Eagle that is presently nesting there with
its chick. other bird we hope to see are the Great hornbill and many
other species that call Gunung Raya home.this event is free for MNS
members. pay for your own car and your own petrol cost.If you bring
non members perhaps they can contribute RM 20 for petrol money.

date: 30 nov 09
time: 5.00pm
place: meet at the base of the mountain were we will then car pool and
make our way up.
attire and equipment: bring your binoculars and field scope. If you do
not have we will try and share our limited numbers. Please wear dull
colored clothes do not wear bright colors eg red, white etc. To
confirm attendance please reply this email or sms Irshad at
0125846184. Just so we know how many people expected to join.

Irshad

28th November 2009

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Filed under: Uncategorized

The History Of Conservation

“Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and
man can only mar it.”

 
PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech,
Grand Canyon, 1903, quoted in William Schwarz,
ed., Voices for the Wilderness, 1967
 
Wilderness Preservation Begins With the Kings of England
 
The word wilderness originated in the old English
first conscious effort to protect nature in the World was
made by the kings of England in the Middle Ages. They were
motivated by a desire for private hunting preserves where
they could hunt wild animals recreationally . But they
learned very quickly that if they were to have animals to
hunt they needed to protect the wildlife from poachers and
the land from the villagers who would cut down the trees for
firewood.
 
The idea of nature being something special and beautiful
only really emerged in the 1800s when British artists such
as John Constable and JMW Turner first started to paint the
splendors of the natural world. Up until then almost all
paintings had been of religious scenes or of human beings,
so the idea of seeing the beauty in nature was something
new. Wordsworth, one of England’s premier poets, first
started talking about the wonder of the natural world
(before then, the natural world had been a scary,
intimidating place). Increasingly the valuing of nature
became an aspect of British culture.
 
But despite this, when British settlers came to North
America and discovered the vast pristine lands of this new
continent, they were completely overwhelmed. Their first
reaction was to try and subdue the wilds. But soon their
appreciation for the beauty and expansiveness of the land
showed up in their writings, gradually germinating into the
idea that the destiny of America was to carve itself out of
the wilderness. The ability to contend with and live within
wilderness became an integral part of the American identity.
By the 1870s, this concept had expanded to such an extent
that an awareness evolved of the importance of preserving
some of the country’s wilderness. Because without
wilderness, Americans would lose what it meant to be
American. That this idea should emerge into the American
consciousness had much to do with how fast settlement was
proceeding. For the first time the frontier no longer seemed
infinite. Indeed the expansion of railways
across the west, and the role they played in speeding the
settlement of the land, was so rapid that for the first time
wilderness was seen to be truly waning.
 
“The ability to contend with and live within wilderness
became an integral part of the American identity.”
The First National Park
 

As proof of this growing appreciation of wild nature, in
1872 Yellowstone, the world’s first National Park, was
created. At the time, the desire to protect this parkland
also reflected monetary interests in the area. The country’s
railways, including Union Pacific, reasoned that if people
heard about the beauty of Yellowstone, they would be
attracted to visiting as tourists. To ensure this would
occur, Union Pacific had several artists paint spectacular
pictures of wild Yellowstone, of its canyons and geysers, to
show to the wealthy populations of the Eastern United States
and Europe. Obviously the railways hoped that such visitors
would be inspired to ride their trains to Yellowstone and
stay in their hotels while there. To them, creating a park
made good economic sense.
 
From these beginnings a tradition evolved that nature
should in fact be preserved for its beauty’s sake. It was
the writings of people like Ralph Waldo Emerson and
especially John Muir, who in the 1890s formed the Sierra
Club and led the campaign to preserve Yosemite National
Park, that so inspired the public. Indeed, Muir’s campaign
to preserve Yosemite was the first citizen-led effort to
protect wilderness in the world.
 
The idea of conservation and of protecting wild lands began
to gain great favor when Teddy Roosevelt became president of
the United States. Roosevelt was a great outdoors man who
truly valued nature, wildlife, and wilderness. He moved
quickly to greatly enlarge the United States National Parks
system, and to establish the National Forest system.
 
This US concept of national parks was copied by other
countries around the world, especially Canada. Canada’s
first national park was created in the 1880s at Sulfur
Springs, in what is now Banff, when the transcontinental
Canadian Pacific Railway was being built. A few people
building the railway discovered the area’s hot springs and
intended to make themselves rich. The Canadian government
however, also recognized the tourism potential of the area
and decided to move pre-emptively to create a small park
there. Over the years, the idea of enlarging Banff National
Park gained more favor as the CPR (like their US counterpart
had earlier at Yellowstone) saw the value they could reap
from tourism, by enticing people to come across the ocean
and see the great wild spaces of Canada.
 
By the 1920s, more and more wealthy visitors were traveling
by train across Canada and the United States to experience
what it meant to be in the wilderness. At the time, the
preferred version of “wilderness” was to stay in fine hotels
and look out at nature through big windows. This mentality
led to the commercialization of many of Canada’s National
Parks through the building of great hotels such as The Banff
Springs and Chateau Lake Louise.
 
Soon however, the idea of protecting nature for nature’s
sake was furthered by American writers like Aldo Leopold,
who in the 1930s talked about the need for a land ethic and
the need to protect wilderness quickly. By then it was
becoming clear that wild spaces were very much in retreat
and unless rapid action was taken the wild country would be
lost.
 
“By the 1920s, more and more wealthy visitors were
traveling by train across Canada and the United States to
experience what it meant to be in the wilderness.”
 
British Game Preserves
 
In the late 1940s, global conservation took a major step
forward with the beginning of the end of the British Empire
in Africa. The British elite had became used to hunting ‘big
game’ here, and became concerned that once the African
colonies were turned over to the local people, the wildlife
would be slaughtered and the wild spaces that they valued
would be lost.
 
As a result, one of the last things the colonial power of
Britain did was to establish great wildlife preserves there.
This spawned the idea in the 1950s and the early 1960s of
the need to protect large spaces for wildlife worldwide. It
was at this time that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was
founded. Eventually WWF was to become one of the largest
conservation organizations in the world.
 
Meanwhile in America, concern over the rapid disappearance
of wilderness was resulting in strong pressure being placed
on government to preserve nature. This pressure was focused
on great fights, such as the one to stop the proposed
damming of the Grand Canyon. It also led to the passage of a
truly historic piece of legislation in 1964: the Wilderness
Act. This Act’s magnificent preamble states “Wilderness is a
place where the land remains untrammeled, where man is a
visitor who does not remain.” It was this vision of saving
wilderness, not just individual parks, but the whole system
of wilderness, that really inspired conservationists. Indeed
the passage of this Act in the United States was the
catalyst to the modern age of wilderness protection.
 
The Wilderness Act instructed the US Government to create a
vast system of wilderness preserves nation-wide, not just in
National Parks, but in all categories of nationally> administered and. This included those lands managed by the
US Forest Service, the US Wildlife Service, and the Bureau
of Land Management, as well as the National Parks service.
It was a magnificent accomplishment that eventually resulted
in the retention of 110 million ha (270 million acres) of
wilderness.
 
Given such success, in the early 1970s major national
environmental organizations, such as the Sierra Club, the
Audobon Society, and the Wilderness Society, boomed in
membership, particularly as the youthful baby boom
generation started to reach an age where they could spend
their recreation time in the wilderness.
“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of
intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of
wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural
resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that
future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we
know it today.”
 
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY (1917-1963), speech,
First World Conference on National Parks, Seattle, 23 June
1962
 
The Beginning Of Modern Conservation
 
There was another crucial reason for the fast rising
concern for the wild earth. Just before 1970, humanity saw
the first pictures of earth from space, the images beamed
back by the Apollo astronauts. For the first time, as the
spacecraft traveled in the black abyss of space, the
finiteness of our planet became starkly evident. Earth was
seen for what it was, a lonely jewel of life. It became
unmistakably clear that if we destroyed Earth, we would
destroy ourselves. From this image the environmental
consciousness we know today was born. As people began to see
and understand for the first time how precious and rare
Earth was, they also began to understand why it was
necessary to protect nature. This new view point generated
many lineages of environmental awareness, from concern about
pollution, to the need to protect fresh water sources. As
well, it served to intensify the tradition of protecting
wild spaces, of protecting the land.
 
“Earth was seen for what it was, a lonely jewel of life. It
became unmistakably clear that if we destroyed Earth, we
destroyed ourselves.”
 
Become Involved!

selvakumaran rajamanickam

23rd November 2009

Filed under: Education, , , ,

Perils of Polystyrene

Thank goodness this isn’t Langkawi!

There are two kinds of Polystyrene Foams:

  1. Expandable Polystyrene – EPS usually use as packaging for many kind of products such as television, electrical appliances, helmets, ice boxes, sheet foam and block foam for road construction.
  2. Extruded Polystyrene – XPS which use to produce food tray and food boxes.

A little history lesson!

McDonald’s used to snuggle its Big Macs and other burgers in these foam clam shells as if they were fine cut-glass vases. With fast food’s far reach, McDonald’s became the largest single user of polystyrene foam, selling to 22 million customers each day.

At the end of the 1980s, a decade when excess was celebrated, four cities in the U.S. banned McDonald’s from using polystyrene foam in their cities. There was resistance and redirection by McDonald’s, but by late in 1990, Mickey D’s buckled under the pressure of the masses and changed its ways.

At the time, because there was pending legislation in 49 of 50 states, all the fast food chains followed suit, banning polystyrene and switching to paper packaging. Even the U.S. Park Service and the Coast Guard had banned foam containers.

That was the end, right?

Unfortunately, no. Less than 20 years later, we have forgotten the lessons learned from the efforts that led to an almost total elimination of polystyrene from touching our foods.

Polystyrene, as we most commonly see it, is expanded polystyrene, or EPS. A blowing agent is added to polystyrene pellets to make it moldable. Unfortunately, EPS is manufactured from refined petroleum and derived from styrene, which is a known neurotoxin. The manufacturing process produces several wastes, such as ethylene and benzene, which are known to the EPA to cause cancer. EPS foam reacts and leaches chemicals when it comes in contact with; hot foods (like take-out, hot chocolate and coffee), acid foods (like lemon and orange), those with Vitamin A and anything that is microwaved. Do I need to go on?!

And yet, we continue to see EPS foam cups, EPS foam meat trays and EPS foam take-out boxes. Malaysia alone produces more than 400,000 tons of it. Even our children, in Langkawi’s schools, are exposed to this toxic material when they eat school lunches on EPS foam food trays.

If you can get past the chemicals leaching into our food, many in the industry will say that EPS can be recycled. In fact, if you see a Number 6 on the bottom, it can recycled. However, most don’t, because of the cost. EPS has a negative scrap value, at about RM10,000 a ton, compared with glass, which is about RM300 a ton.

Chemists are looking at adding microbes to polystyrene to make it more bio-degradable, but it’s a very bad deal right now. The simple fact is, if you are using EPS foam and not recycling it, it will end up in the landfill.

In fact, sadly, those 22 million containers a day thrown out by McDonald’s consumers are still in the landfills. Most experts say it will take hundreds or a thousand years for EPS foam to break down — long past the lives of our children’s great-grandchildren.

Longterm or Delayed Health Effects

  • Neurotoxin Can harm the brain and central nervous system.
  • Suspected Endocrine Disruptor May interfere with, mimic or block hormones.
  • If inhaled at high concentrations, it can cause nervous system effects such as depression, concentration problems, muscle weakness, fatigue, and nausea.
  • Chronic occupational exposures have caused eye problems.
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation if inhaled.
  • In test animals, it has caused damage to the liver, kidneys, brain, and lungs when ingested.

If you haven’t already guessed it, I avoid EPS foam at all costs. In our house, the ubiquitous polystyrene is called “bad styrofoam.”

For a change: Recycle your foam meat trays, foam egg cartons and foam coffee cups.

To make a difference: Don’t buy foam cups or plates for your events. Buy eggs that are in cardboard containers.

To make a stand: Avoid polystyrene at all costs, for your health and that of the planet. If you refuse to use it, businesses will get the hint!

Apart from recycling by melting and compacting, there are many ways to manage the EPS waste as detailed below:

  • Crush in to small particles and mix with soil. Foam waste will improve ventilation in the soil, organic substances in the soil will become humus more readily.
  • Mixing the crushed beads with cement to reduce the weight and increase insulation properties in construction.
  • Burning EPS requires no additional fuel, in fact EPS can replace the fuel normally required for combustion, l kg of EPS saves 1 kg = 1.2 – 1.4 Litre of fuel oil.

Baskaran Kosthi
23rd November 2009

Filed under: Pollution

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Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi

Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi

MNS Manifesto

MNS mission is to promote the study, appreciation, conservation and protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage, focusing on biological diversity and sustainable developments.

MNS Langkawi Committee 2013-2014

Chairman: Mr.Eric Sinnaya
Vice Chairman: Mr.Vijayndran Muniandy
Secretary: Ms.Daisy Samuel
Treasurer: Mr.M.Suresh Kumar Ratnani
Committee Member: Mr Irshad Mobarak, Dato Alexander Issac, Tun Sarimah Mohd Sharif, Mr Leong Ah Min,
Mr Teoh Cheng Kung, Mr Borhan Hamid.

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