At least 15 killed after major mudslide in Santa Barbara, California

At least 15 killed after major mudslide in Santa Barbara, California

Jan 10, 2018

At least 15 people were killed and homes were swept from their foundations on Tuesday as heavy rain sent mud and boulders sliding down hills stripped of vegetation by southern California’s recent wildfires. Rescue crews used helicopters to lift people to safety because of blocked roads, and firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a muck-covered 14-year-old girl out of the ruins of a home in Montecito, north-west of Los Angeles, where she had been trapped for hours. She was taken away on a stretcher. Most deaths were believed to have occurred in Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people north-west of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, said Santa Barbara County spokesman David Villalobos. Winfrey’s home survived the storm and slides. At least 25 people were injured. Those numbers could increase when the search is deepened and expanded, with a major search-and-rescue team arriving from nearby Los Angeles County and help from the coastguard and national guard along with law enforcement. They will focus first on finding survivors. “Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged,” Sheriff Bill Brown of Santa Barbara County said. The sheriff said “at least several dozen homes that have been either destroyed or severely damaged, and likely many other ones are in areas that are as-yet inaccessible.”   Click here for full article on The Guardian Source: The...

Earthquake of 4.2 causes no damage in Valle de la Trinidad, Ensenada

Earthquake of 4.2 causes no damage in Valle de la Trinidad, Ensenada

Jan 9, 2018

The City Council of the port of Ensenada, through their Municipal Civil Protection Department, announced that an earthquake was recorded on Sunday January 7, at 11:30 am without any damage being reported. The director of Civil Protection of the municipal government, Jaime Nieto de Maria y Campos stated that the earthquake was recorded northwest of the town of Valle de la Trinidad. The Seismic Network of Northwest Mexico in its web portal indicated that in the last three days there have been a total of three earthquakes associated with the main geological faults of the region. He added that the largest event occurred on January 7, 2018, and reports that it occurred at 12:30 PM, local time. He added that the magnitude of the earthquake was 4.2 and the epicenter was located 27.9 kilometers northwest of the town of Valle de la Trinidad, Baja California. Source: Protección Civil Municipal de...

Rare “Blue Moon” lunar eclipse will happen this month

Rare “Blue Moon” lunar eclipse will happen this month

Jan 3, 2018

One of the more exciting events of 2017 was the total solar eclipse that was viewable across the US. And if you enjoyed it as much as I did, I have some good news for you. While the US won’t be getting another look at a total solar eclipse until 2024, parts of the US will get to see another rare eclipse in 2018 and they’ll get to check it out this month. On January 31st, there will be a total lunar eclipse. What makes this one so special is that it’s happening during a Blue Moon, or the second full moon of the month (depending on which definition you go by). These two events haven’t coincided since 1866, making this one the first in over 150 years. The next one won’t be until 2028. As Space.com reports, not everyone in the US will get to see it in full. Central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and parts of Australia will have a good view of the event. Alaska, Hawaii and northwest Canada will see the whole thing as well, but more eastern parts of North and Central America will have a shorter show. For example in US Mountain time (MST), the eclipse will begin at 4:48 AM, but as the full eclipse winds down, the moon will already be dipping below the horizon. For Eastern time (EST) in the US, residents in that region will see the eclipse begin at 6:48 AM and the moon will dip out of view shortly thereafter. In other moon news, there’s a supermoon tonight. The full moon will be the closest it gets to Earth in its orbit making it appear a little bit bigger and a little bit brighter than a typical full moon. Though you probably won’t notice the difference with your bare eyes, you should still check it out. The sky is beautiful and looking up is a great way to start 2018....

I grow pot in California for a living. I’m worried about legalization

I grow pot in California for a living. I’m worried about legalization

Dec 30, 2017

As the daughter of a back-to-the-land homesteader and pot farmer, I learned never to speak of what my father did. We lived a simple life in times when only growing a few plants could sustain us. “Say I am a retired schoolteacher,” he lectured. “You don’t want to have to come visit your daddy in jail, do you?” It’s only recently that I can publicly tell stories from my childhood, of when my dad would pull me into the shade to hide from low-flying helicopters searching for cannabis patches across the hills of Mendocino County, California. In 1976, he began supporting our family as a black-market grower, planting blackberry bushes and building platforms in the trees to shield his plants from the local marijuana eradication team. When my husband and I began growing, we used the same techniques, tunneling through the blackberries to keep our plants hidden. We now support our two kids, ages 17 and 10, in the market that took shape when California legalized medical marijuana two decades ago. On Jan. 1, we can come into the sunlight as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act takes effect across California, legalizing recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older. Yet after waiting so long for the trophy of legalization, to finally be free in our lifestyle choice to live off the land, I can’t help but wonder: Will small farmers like me be wiped out by big business? Yes, New Year’s will be a day of celebration for many, including tech billionaire Sean Parker, who helped bankroll the Proposition 64 campaign to end cannabis prohibition in the sixth-largest economy in the world. Recreational use is now legal in every state along the West Coast. With California poised to earn up to $1 billion in tax revenue, other states likely will follow our lead, which could spur calls for a change in federal law. After Vietnam, many forward-thinking college graduates like my father, who’d had enough of the government and its wars, moved out to the mountains here. This was the baby-boomer generation – hippies, Deadheads and flower children who decided the mainstream way wasn’t working for them. They wanted freedom, peace and quiet. My father...

Lagunas de Montebello, once multicolored, today polluted and endangered

Lagunas de Montebello, once multicolored, today polluted and endangered

Dec 27, 2017

Lagunas de Montebello National Park is a national park in Chiapas, southern Mexico, close to the border with Guatemala, comprising 59 multicolored lakes that extend over a 6,000-hectare expanse of land and two Maya ruins. It was created in 1959, being the first national park in Chiapas and by 2009 it was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The multicolored lakes are famous for their outstanding colors, yet those mesmerizing tone variations ranging from emerald to turquoise are being slowly replaced by muddy polluted waters. Thus, it is imperative to stop the pollution of the Lagunas de Montebello National Park, since pollution is affecting the environment in the region, the wellness of the surrounding communities and it is having a negative economic impact in the entity. “The conservation of the Lagunas de Montebello National Park is an urgent issue because Chiapas is the poorest state of Mexico and it needs to protect its natural resources. Without natural resources, tourism stops resulting in more poverty,” said senator Luis Armando Melgar Bravo. Roberto Bonifaz Alfonzo, researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), reported that from 2003 to date a sudden change in coloration was detected in some of the lakes, due to a surplus of nutrient income from the system of black waters of the municipality of Comitán, along with the use of chemicals in agriculture and deforestation. “Chiapas lives off its natural resources and those resources translate into tourism and tourism feeds the people of the entity. It is necessary to generate awareness,” assured Melgar Bravo. Melgar Bravo recalled that in July 2016, Mexico’s National Water Commission (Conagua) announced an investment of MXN$ 200 million to protect the area, yet the senator said “we have not seen any specific nature conservation project, yet what we do see is that pollution prevails, groundwater levels are contaminated, agricultural practices are not respecting environmental standards. There are facts and results,” calling on the authorities to protect the Lagunas de Montebello National Park and hopefully stop pollution before it is too late. Fuente: El...

Demand soars in Mexico for natural Christmas trees

Demand soars in Mexico for natural Christmas trees

Dec 9, 2017

A total of 295 domestic producers will sell their natural trees this season, including almost 10 thousand in Merida… MEXICO – For Christmas 2017 there are 900 thousand trees in Mexico’s commercial plantations, representing an approximate income of $360 million pesos that activates the economy in rural areas with the generation of employment with qualified labor. In Merida, just in one chain of stores alone, customers demand five thousand natural trees during this season. (Photo: womansday.com) Based on data from the National Forestry Commission (Conafor), 848 Christmas tree producers are registered, of which 295 already have their pines between 5 and 8 years-old, which means that they are ready to harvest. Mexico has 11 thousand 335 hectares of commercial Christmas tree plantations in which species such as Mexican white pine (Pinus ayacahuite), Douglas tree (Pseudotsuga), Gregg’s pine (Pinus greggii), pinyon pine (Pinuscembroides), sacred fir (Abies religiosa), spruce (Picea sp.) and Mexican white cedar (Cupressus lindleyii). The State of Mexico is the main producer of Christmas trees, with 500 thousand trees in 4 thousand 715 hectares, followed by Mexico City with 178 thousand trees distributed in 131 hectares and Puebla, in third place, with 94 thousand 600 trees in an area of ​​4.6 hectares. (Photo: La Verdad) Other tree-producing states are Guanajuato, Michoacán, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Coahuila, Hidalgo, Queretaro, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes and Morelos. With the national production, the clandestine extraction of small trees is discouraged and deforested lands are recovered. In addition, when the season ends they are recycled to produce organic fertilizer or substrate to produce more trees. The cost of each unit ranges between $350 ($19 dollars) and $600 pesos ($32 dollars), which makes Mexican trees a competitive product compared to those imported from the United States, whose cost is between $500 ($27 dollars) and $1,100 pesos ($60 dollars). From 2013 to date, Conafor has invested $7.8 million pesos for the establishment of new Christmas tree plantations, representing 781 hectares with a density of 2 thousand 200 to 4 thousand trees per hectare....