With the destruction of many natural environments and many species driven close to extinction, conservation biologists used to think that the answer to saving at least some of this precious land and endangered species was to create National Parks and Protected Areas. In many cases this believe has worked, but it does not necessarily apply to all cases around the world.
This model has been in place for a few decades now but has been unable to stop illegal poaching and many species are still at risk because of the vast territories that are hard to police. In addition, other problems have been identified such as the clustering of marked territories preventing wild life to roam in a natural way.
One of the most evident problems is the unbalance of the ecosystems as the individual populations of species are altered because of the artificial creation of borders or boundaries in these reserves. After millions of years of evolution, nature has adjusted itself so that all species are interdependent on each other for their survival, as cruel as it sometimes seems to be when killing another specie for survival, is just how each individual species rely on each other and in some cases even partner to obtain food or protection. If one specie is affected, the rest will suffer and the ecosystem becomes unbalanced and deteriorates.
Wildlife has been in migration mode for millennia. You just can’t set a boundary and expect animals within these boundaries to thrive and flourish because their populations begin to inbreed and slowly decline in numbers and health.
With the implementation or better said, with the reinstatement of natural corridors around the globe, animals are able to continue their migration patterns and maintain healthy populations and thrive the way they are supposed to. Here in North America, the Yellowstone to Yukon Y2Y is a great example of how the grizzly bears, caribou, lynx, golden eagles and native cutthroat trout populations are rebounding. The same happens with the Florida Wildlife Corridor protecting the panthers and bears. Around the world the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative in Australia, The Jaguar Corridor from Mexico to Argentina, and the Kenyan and Tanzanian Corridors are just a few examples of how we should protect wildlife.
Because of human population explosion in the last fifty years, the pressure on natural resources, the environment and natural fauna, the planet has suffered tremendously. After all these years, some communities around the world are turning around this trend. They have realized that this destruction cannot continue if we are to survive as a specie and as a planet, and now are protecting the environment and learning to co-exist with the animal world. One example of this is in India, despite having the second largest population on earth and having exterminated most of its fauna, in the Gujarat region where only twenty or so individuals of Asian Lions existed a few years ago, they now number over 400 thanks to the community’s ability to coexist next to this magnificent creatures. The community tracks lion movement around towns while protecting their crops with the lions help. At night time when the deer come to eat and destroy the crops in the town’s fields, the locals know where the deer are and sound a bell indicating the lions that dinner is served and where to go. The lions move in and hunt a few dear for dinner, the rest of the deer depart while the locals watch the spectacle assisted with some bonfires just a few meters away from the lions-partners in crime. For the most part lions stay away from town, even if they come in, people know to stay away from them and ignored them, even if someone is hurt or killed, which is very rare, they are just left alone. A unique relationship has developed between lions and people, revealing a story not of continual conflict as we might expect, but one of survival and tolerance, this is because of a change of attitude of these communities. Examples like this can be seen around the world and are an encouraging sign that we can change for the better.
Not only people have this attitude of coexistence, but animals seem to have evolved in the same way. What a better example of this, when a mama bear and her two cubs decided to take a dip in Lake Tahoe last week much to the delight of tourists around them.
“Let’s just hope it’s not too little too late”
I knew that Peru and California had a common history that went back to the Gold Rush era of the 1840’s. But recently thanks to the General Consulate of Peru in San Francisco and especially of Guillermo Toro-Lira which directed a play at the Alcazar Theater in downtown San Francisco about the history of the introduction of Pisco -brandy of Peru of ubiquitous grape- to Alta California, that I was exposed to a much earlier relation between my native Peru and my current residence of California. I was surprised that it went back for that long and that merchant ships that sailed up and down the coast transported among other things, Peru’s native distilled drink.
Not only did Pisco made its way during the Gold Rush to the Bay Area, but it was already enjoyed in the shores of Alta California since the late 1700’s when Limean navigator and explorer Don Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, explored Bodega and Tomales Bay just north of the Golden Gate and co-discovered the entrance to San Francisco Bay in 1775. During his maiden voyage and other ships that followed from the Spanish Armada, Pisco was among the goods that were transported. If you consider that the first distillery in the Americas was established in 1684 at the Hacienda La Caravedo-currently producer of Pisco Porton in Ica, Peru- one has to ponder that shipments of the distilled grape and wines were being shipped from the Port of Pisco and Port of Callao in Lima since these times.
Way before the Panama Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad, most intercontinental commerce was done via shipping lanes up and down the coast that came primarily from South America. At the time, Lima the capital of Peru and its port, Callao, was the epicenter of the Americas for the Spanish Colony in the Pacific Coast because of its geographical position. Ships that came from the Tierra del Fuego passage at the bottom of South America travelled north stopping along the way at different ports and the first Spanish ships to make it to North America introduced foreign goods to this part of the world. Initially the Spaniards did not find enough riches in metals in North America compared to what they found in South America and Mexico and did not colonize but after the British and Russians started showing up, the Spaniards started colonizing with what we now know as Presidios and Misiones which are all over California today.
San Franciscans have long enjoyed Pisco and shipment arrivals were quick news in downtown San Francisco after the Gold Rush of 1849. After the Gold Rush, San Francisco established itself as a legit urban area and its cosmopolitan style quickly grew and many establishments took root in the Downtown we now know. Well almost, in fact the bay front used to go all the way to where the Transamerica building stands today, todays bay front is landfill where ships used to dock. Just next to the Transamerica building area in the Montgomery block is where the Bank Exchange bar was established in the 1850’s and where its owner and sole proprietor Duncan Nicol sold its famous Pisco Punch.
Pisco Punch was a sensation in this new world and a recipe that only its owner knew. This bar quickly became a gathering location and one of a very active night life, where rowdy parties were the norm fueling Can Can dancing and raided by police in more than one occasion. The punch was so potent that one writer of the day wrote “it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Others said “it makes a gnat fight an elephant.” Harold Ross, founder of The New Yorker magazine wrote in 1937: “In the old days in San Francisco there was a famous drink called Pisco Punch, made from Pisco, a Peruvian brandy… Pisco punch used to taste like lemonade but had a kick like vodka, or worse.” *More to come on this journey of Pisco and San Francisco.
Not for nothing was called Pisco Punch, it had its kick
“Wings of Cherubs” The Saga of the Rediscovery of Pisco Punch, Old San Francisco Mystery Drink By: Guillermo Toro-Lira
It seems to me that the world powers have double agendas and speeches because nothing seems to be improving in the last few years in world relations. We are witnessing total chaos and selfish diplomatic relations where no one wants to give and are more focused on the gains- and the ones making the most of it is Daesh and other radical groups amongst all this turmoil.
I have always thought that most humans are greedy and selfish by nature and it runs in our DNA. Since the day of the cave man we always needed more food and shelter for our families than our neighbor and more recently more territory and resources for our countries. Nothing has changed, and as a consequence, what is going on with the terror attacks and threats is really alarming and frightening. I grew up in Peru in the 80’s and early 90’s and know the feeling of constant terror and intimidation as we had with the Shining Path and the MRTA.
As in many science fiction movies about our future in planet Earth, human kind might end up destroying each other for a few oil wells and in the near future for water and food. Human population growth is unsustainable unless there is adequate resource management between countries and a fierce determination to work towards planet unity and sustainability above all.
Events are escalating daily and all of this has already impacted the world as we knew it. Financial markets, travel, distrust, pandemics, fear, and instability looms our near future. We better be prepared and hope that rationale prevails over greed and control, for our own sake.
Let’s pray for peace and unity
Grexit has been averted for now. Greece has accepted the terms of the EU and are harsher than the previous ones in the referendum of last week. The situation did backfire for them. After further consideration and outweighing consequences, both sides adapted their proposals and a deal was reached last Sunday. On Greece’s side, the situation is grim, with massive reforms coming their way to restructure the country’s finances and as always the poor and senior citizens will take the burden of the situation. Goods will cost more because of sales tax hikes, all underperforming public companies will be privatized, pensions will be lowered, and many other indicators will be adjusted to meet the terms of the bailout.
This is the third bailout in recent years. The EU and its main leader Germany, was not about to continue financing the good life of the Greeks. Since the introduction of the EU Commonwealth, the smaller economies-such as the Greek- took advantage of the riches that came their way with the creation of this economic block and did pretty much nothing to live within their means and just lived of the tourist industry-which is the main source of income alongside with some olive production- and not diversified to other productive activities. There is really no other big contributor for the economy and it is hurting them.
Germany and France which lead the block were fed up with the situation and particularly Germany said enough. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen as the bad girl in the movie but she had a double obligation, to its people and to the EU. The German people that are extremely austere and that live very much within their means-recently in a survey most Germans said that if they’ve win the Lotto they would save the money compared to other nationalities were would go on a shopping spree, that is how austere they are- said, do not bail any more.
After further consideration from both sides and after Putin’s expression that he would take care of the Greeks, an ultimatum was agreed for now. Putin was probably drooling like a wild beast before making a kill, because of what this opportunity represented for the Russian Federation to annex Greece, in addition of the recent annexation of Crimea by force. It would have been a midfield goal for him, but this was averted for now. Anything can happen really, Greece could receive more money and after not delivering the terms of this ultimatum they could turn to Russia in a couple of years, yet to be seen.
Greece probably also considered the immediate consequences of leaving the Eurozone, sure in the midterm they would’ve been able to somehow stabilize the situation, but in the short term it would’ve been chaos. Huge monetary depreciation- were money is worth less and less by the hour- rampant unemployment, suicides galore, bankruptcies, crime- you name it- and finally, if choosing the Russian option, becoming a 21st century colony of Russia.
The days of “La vida Facil” are over. It is not the Greeks peoples fault but of their leaders and public policies that have led them to this situation. This way of life has been going on for a while and people just went along for the ride and being good tourists hosts and having a good life in the Mediterranean. It is not Germany and France’s fault either. The EU cannot afford this type of economies anymore. The world’s economy cannot afford this type of monetary behaviors either, the easy days are over and volatility is immense now that all markets are interconnected.
* Athens is burning right now, looks like it is going to be a long and hard recovery.
“Greece fell asleep in their Olympic laurels, it is time to rise again like the Phoenix”