Defenders of Wildlife, one of the non-profits supported through the donation of 5% of all sales of Blue Smoke, achieved the following wins for wildlife. Thanks to all you Blue Smokers, this wouldn't be possible without you:
Defeat of the "Extinction Rider" in Congress
This terrible provision would have gutted the landmark Endangered Species Act -- the lifeline for wildlife spiraling toward extinction.
Victories for Polar Bears
Upholding the federal ban on the importation of trophy-hunted polar bear parts into the U.S. and winning a court ruling against a rule that exempted regulation of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants that harm polar bears and their habitat.
Victory Barring Use of Toxic Rozol to Kill Prairie Dogs
In Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, helping to keep the American plains a safer place for prairie dogs -- and rare black-footed ferrets that depend on them so survive.
100 Million Fly South
Monarchs are the only butterflies that migrate between a summer and winter habitat. Scientists believe the changes in daylight and temperature at the end of summer signal to monarchs that it is time to begin their migration. 100 million monarchs begin their journey to their winter habitats starting in September through November.
Gliding & Rest Stops, You Can Help Them On Their Journey
Along the way, they seek out thermal columns of warm air, that give them a lift and help them glide using less energy. They stop frequently to feed on nectar and to drink water. You can help them along their journey by planting your garden with flowers they feed on. Monarchs drink nectar from milkweed, goldenrod, clover, thistle, purple coneflower, sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, and my personal favorite Pineapple Sage.
So, Where Are They Going?
Many people don't realize that even though of the exact same species, western and eastern monarchs over-winter in completely different areas.
Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to California to spend the winter, where they take shelter in eucalyptus, pine, and cypress trees. While monarchs east of the Rockies have a much further journey - these monarchs fly over 2,000 miles to get to their winter habitat in Michoacán, Mexico, where they take shelter in oyamel firs and cypress trees.
A single tree will shelter thousands of butterflies on it. These sites are under threat as they are being deforested at an alarming rate, putting the future of the monarch in jeopardy.
Staying Alive During The Winter - Harder Than You Think
During the winter the main job of the monarchs is to stay alive. Which isn't as easy as you might think, especially for the eastern monarchs. Considering they fly so far south, you'd think they'd be enjoying balmy, sunny winters. However, the spot they choose in Michoacán, Mexico happens to get pretty chilly at night (below freezing at night). The monarchs huddle together in thousands for protection from the weather. The cool temperatures slow down the monarchs’ body processes and help them use less water and energy. They live off the fat and water stored in their abdomens.
Plant a Monarch Garden - Get a Free Packet of Seeds
The number of Monarchs has declined sharply in the last 30 years due loss of habitat. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch's lay their eggs on (although adult butterflies feed on the nectar from a variety of plants). However, Milkweed is crucial to reproduction. The amount of Milkweed in the United States is in decline due too pesticides and herbicides used on corn & soybean fields. Scientist are encouraging people to plant Monarch gardens to help support the monarch and reduce their decline. You can get a FREE packet of seeds that support Monarchs via this link: http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm
Excellent Video on the Monarch's Migration:
After last months outbreak of tornadoes across the south - the largest number of tornadoes in a single outbreak in US history -- 304 according to NOAA -- many folks are talking about not replacing downed trees and/or cutting down the surviving trees as they see them as a danger. However, according to research, that would be a big mistake as it would actually give tornadoes a huge advantage and put human life at even greater risk.
Similar to wetlands' beneficial quality of absorbing a hurricanes energy and reducing it's impact on areas further inland, forests have a similar affect on absorbing the energy of tornadoes.
Also, an urban forest creates evaporative cooling which reduces the urban heat island affect - energy that feeds a supercell.
And if the increase & severity of tornadoes has anything to do with climate change, then forests ability to store carbon are beneficial from that perspective as well. A win, win, win.
A tornado is literally just the tail-end of a huge supercell, swirling monster of a storm that soars up to 50,000 feet into the sky -- what we see on the ground is the tip of the iceberg.
When a funnel cloud on the ground encounters a densely forested area, the energy of the funnel cloud is often actually dissipated by the forests, enough to break up the funnel.
Humans have an amazing ability to manipulate the environment to our benefit, however sometimes what we think is a good thing - in this case, cutting down 'dangerous' trees, we are actually creating an environment that feeds supercells storms even more energy, via increased urban heat islands -- and eliminating a natural wall of defense against the energy of tornadoes.
Therefore, we must not only be replacing the trees downed by the recent storms but we must also build up dense forests within and surrounding our communities to help blunt the energy impact of tornado outbreaks on us and on future generations.
Blue Smoke Coffee donates to American Forests to offset our carbon footprint -- American Forests plants a tree for every dollar donated. To date, an estimated 500 trees have been planted as a result of Blue Smoke's donations. And in when purchased in Atlanta, Blue Smoke's Canopy blend benefits Trees Atlanta, which has been working for 25 years to protect & restore Atlanta's forest Canopy -- Blue Smoke can be purchased in Atlanta at these fine, locally owned stores: Candler Park Market, Savi Urban Market, & Return to Eden.