Heard an interesting story on NPR this morning; there is a plan afoot to introduce the rare Florida panther into the Ozark forests of Arkansas. Only about a hundred panthers still exist, the victims of hunting and loss of habitat. The remaining panthers are currently kept in a protected refuge in southern Florida, but development pressures are encroaching on the preserve. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for large areas of undeveloped land to place the big cats, and Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest offers 1.2 million acres, just the right size for a few dozen panthers to wander around, pouncing on deer.
The idea of releasing large predators into the woods is obviously not too popular with some folks. Farmers are concerned about livestock, and others are concerned about mountain lion attacks on people. Arkansas officials vowed to fight any introduction of the panthers. Public comment on the decision is being accepted until April.
I know this is a growing problem; all these electronic gizmos littering our modern domestic landscape suck tremendous amounts of energy – even when they are not on. Televisions, stereos, VCR’s, DVD players, microwaves, all this stuff is never really off. They all just sit there, quietly sucking electricity during the 99% of the time they are not actually in use. Sure it’s just a trickle compared to when they are actually working, but magnify that trickle across the entire nation and it is an immense amount electricity – equivalent to the output of 18 typical power plants. The Economist has a good article about this problem: Pulling the plug on standby power. I’m as guilty as the next guy. When I turn off the light and night, my living room is aglow from all the LED’s signaling the electronic vigilance of my appliances.
I am intrigued by the idea of freighter travel; not because of concerns about the environment or carbon emissions, but because visions of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and his adventures on a tramp steamer dance through my head.
Anyway, here’s a couple links to freighter lines that offer berths for paying customers. Regrettably Guam does not appear to be on any of the destinations. I guess the only way I’m cruising off this island is on somebody’s sailboat.