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Tonight's editor: ellinorianne

Cetacean's Rights? It's a serious question that's being put forth by the scientific community.

Should Dolphins and Whales Have 'Human Rights'?

Research on everything from whale communication to “trans-species psychology” hints that the glowing portrayals of these fictional animal friends have some basis in reality. If cetaceans—marine mammals including whales, dolphins, and porpoises—can act like humans, even using tools and recognizing themselves in a mirror, shouldn’t they have the same basic rights as people?

That’s what attendees of a meeting organized by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) said yesterday, where a multidisciplinary panel agreed on a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins.”

And here is the declaration itself...

Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins

Based on the principle of the equal treatment of all persons;
Recognizing that scientific research gives us deeper insights into the complexities of cetacean minds, societies and cultures;
Noting that the progressive development of international law manifests a growing sense of entitlement by cetaceans;
We affirm that all cetaceans as persons have the right to life, liberty and wellbeing.

We believe that:

Every individual cetacean has the right to life.
No cetacean should be held in captivity or servitude; be subject to cruel treatment; or be removed from their natural environment.
All cetaceans have the right to freedom of movement and residence within their natural environment.
No cetacean is the property of any State, corporation, human group or individual.
Cetaceans have the right to the protection of their natural environment.
Cetaceans have the right not to be subject to the disruption of their cultures.
The rights, freedoms and norms set forth in this Declaration should be protected under international and domestic law.
Cetaceans are entitled to an international order in which these rights, freedoms and norms can be fully realized.
No State, corporation, human group or individual should engage in any activity that undermines these rights, freedoms and norms.
Nothing in this Declaration shall prevent a State from enacting stricter provisions for the protection of cetacean rights.
Agreed, 22nd May 2010, Helsinki, Finland

Dispatch from the Gulf Oil Spill: Philippe Cousteau Tours the Wetlands, Oil Refineries (Photos and Video)

I arrived this morning into New Orleans from Charleston, South Carolina, where I had been the night before at a gala event for the South Carolina Aquarium. They had honored my sister Alexandra and me with the Legacy Award last year and then invited me back this year to present the award to Al Gore. It was an honor and a perfect pre-cursor to my trip to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is my second trip down here (you can read about my first trip two weeks ago here.) Now I am down here again to cover the spill from a new angle...stay tuned, as you will learn more in the next day or so. This is the greatest environmental disaster of our lifetimes and it has only just begun.

Introducing the World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer for Climate Research

A supercomputer that will likely be able to perform around 1 million billion calculations in a second (a petaflop) will be solely dedicated to climate change research. This week supercomputer maker Cray said it won a $47 million contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide next-generation supercomputing power to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Cray says the supercomputer it will build — dubbed the Climate Modeling and Research System (CMRS) — will be the world’s most powerful high-performance computer dedicated to climate research.

For the close to $50 million, which will be funded through the stimulus package, the labs will receive one of Cray’s XT6 supercomputers in the second half of 2010, followed by an even more powerful supercomputer with the code name “Baker” in 2011, and more high-performance computing gear in 2012. Cray, which reported pretty weak first-quarter earnings results earlier this month, says its XT6 was the first to break the petaflop barrier. While Cray didn’t say how fast the CMRS would be, the Register predicts that for $47 million, the labs will be able to buy on the order of 1 petaflop.

Sadly, when reading this headline, the first thing I thought was, "TOO BIG TO FAIL?".  Chinese engineers propose world's biggest hydro-electric project in Tibet.  I can't imagine the obstacles or the environmental issues related to a project of this size.  I don't feel qualified to comment though.  

Chinese hydropower lobbyists are calling for construction of the world's biggest hydro-electric project on the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra river as part of a huge expansion of renewable power in the Himalayas.

Zhang Boting, the deputy general secretary of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering, told the Guardian that a massive dam on the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo - the Tibetan name for the river - would benefit the world, despite the likely concerns of downstream nations, India and Bangladesh, which access water and power from the river.

Zhang said research had been carried out on the project, but no plan has been drawn up. But documents on the website of a government agency suggest a 38 gigawatt hydropower plant is under consideration that would be more than half as big again as the Three Gorges dam, with a capacity nearly half as large as the UK's national grid.

"This dam could save 200m tonnes of carbon each year. We should not waste the opportunity of the biggest carbon emission reduction project. For the sake of the entire world, all the water resources than can be developed should be developed." That CO2 saving would be over a third of the UK's entire emissions.

Uglier the animal, the worst off their fate?  A New study says that's the case. Meerkats, chimps and pandas: the cute and the furry attract scientists' attention and conservation funding.

When it comes to a beauty contest, the African manatee, a bloated sea cow that grazes the coastal waters off west Africa, will never win any prizes. But should an unprepossessing mugshot condemn a species to extinction?

According to a new study, rampant bias exists among researchers towards "cuter and more interesting" animals. The meerkat has clocked up more than 100 published studies since 1994. The manatee has been the subject of just 14, and academic neglect may be a vital factor in its currently parlous position. "Scientists are people too," says Morgan Trimble, a conservation scientist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, who carried out the study. "And many of them want to work with the big and furry stuff."

For years, conservationists have wrestled with the problem that high-profile species draw the most attention, and therefore the most money. It is no accident that conservation group WWF is known by its distinctive panda logo.

It's led to an important debate on how conservationists focus their please for funding and how they think about endangered species.  Do we focus on a habitat?  An umbrella species, which in protecting a characteristic species you save a whole bunch of other lesser known species that are in the same area?  Or do we have to take a holistic approach, in that without the habitat, without biodiversity, all the cute fuzzy creatures don't matter very much in the end?

It's a paradox that I believe the conservation community has created in order to bring much needed attention to endangered species but now that things have become more dire, that a larger number of species are under threat, there needs to be a newer approach.

A fish with hands?  No seriously?

Nine Fish With Hands Are Newly Discovered, Almost Extinct.

These fish, pardon the pun, need a hand. There are 14 species of fish with hand-like fins. And nine are in danger of extinction. Don't you hate it when you discover something amazing, only to find out that it's almost gone?

Such is the case here. CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, says nine new species of handfish are described in research that says there's an urgent need to better understand and protect the diversity of life in our oceans.

"Handfishes are small, often strikingly patterned or colourful, sedentary fish that tend to 'walk' on the seabed on hand-like fins, rather than swim," according to Daniel Gledhill, a taxonomist with the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

And for some cute, here's an Otter teaching her babies to swim.  

And some manatees that were rescued just in April because of injury and illness.  Okay, I think they are cute.

Eco-series line-up:

(All times Eastern!)

Sunday Train by BruceMcFSundays @ 7-8PM
Wind Power Series by Jerome a ParisVarious
EcoAdvocatesWednesdays @ 8-9PM
EcoJusticeMondays @ 10PM
ECSTASYSundays @ 1PM Thursdays @ 10PM
Dawn Chorus Birdblog by lineatusSundays @ 9AM
Foraging Diaries by wide eyed libSundays @ 4PM
DK GreenRootsSundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 9PM
eKos EarthshipMondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays @ 10:30-11PM
This Week in Dirty Coal by DWGMondays @ 1-3PM
Climate Change News Roundup by Patriot Daily News ClearinghouseSundays @ 10PM
This Week in Climate ChangeWednesdays @ 4PM
Alternative Energy Round-Up by mark louisMondays and Thursdays @ 6PM
Macca's Meatless Mondays by beach babe in flMondays @ 6PM
Green Diary Rescue by Meteor BladesThursdays and Sundays @ Midnight

Today's eKos diaries:

Green BeanIt isn't news.05/24/10 12:19AM PacificThe News, The Gulf, Catastrophe, Exploitation, Media
wbramhBP - When Chaos Becomes Policy in Place of Solutions05/24/10 01:55AM PacificBP, oil spill, Gulf, solutions, President Obama
EyeOfSouthGwinnettMy message to whitehouse.gov05/24/10 02:35AM Pacificobama, deepwater, deepwater horizon, bp, oil
seesdifferentHow the top kill would (hopefully) work (with animation)05/24/10 06:01AM Pacificoil, BP oil leak, gulf oil leak, British Petroleum, Blowout preventer
PhotogHogUpdated 2 TIMES - Deepwater Horizon appears to be erupting from seabed05/24/10 08:10AM Pacificdeepwater horizon, BP, new leak, top kill, recommended
Frenchy LamourDid BP Oil Hit the MS Sound Yesterday? (With Video of Sea Turtle)05/24/10 08:22AM Pacificoil, BP, disaster, environment, Gulf Coast
Frank PalmerThe 4 consequences of rising atmospheric CO205/24/10 08:39AM PacificGlobal Warming, oceanic acidification, CO2, eKos
mwmwmGulf gusher: a sort of requiem05/24/10 08:45AM Pacificdk-greenroots, ekos, environment, green, oil
wade norris(video)The BP Oil Disaster and why this endorsement matters-DK Greenroots05/24/10 09:05AM Pacificdk greenroots, eKos, Andrew Romanoff, Colorado, Senate
rperksMusic Saves Mountains: Concert recap, photos and more!05/24/10 09:05AM Pacificappalachia, bigkenny, dave matthews, emmylou harris, mountaintop mining
Bev BellEnvironment and Food in Haiti: Two Crises, One Solution05/24/10 09:07AM PacificHaiti, Haiti Earthquake, Help Haiti, Haiti Aid, Agriculture
Sue SturgisSpecial investigation: Coal's dirty secret05/24/10 09:18AM Pacificcoal, coal ash, dirty coal, dirty energy, epa
Avenging AngelSarah Palin's Supposed Energy Expertise Backfires. Again.05/24/10 10:26AM PacificSarah Palin, Barack Obama, John McCain. Oil Spill, BP, Deepwater Horizon
possumScience Tidbits05/24/10 12:32PM PacificScience, Teaching, Learning, eKos
gchaucer2Oil and Gas Exemptions in NEPA05/24/10 01:28PM PacificNational Environmental Policy Act, NEPA, eKos
slinkerwinkThe Government Can Federalize The Oil Spill!05/24/10 02:31PM Pacificoil spill, government, BP, 2010, eKos
beach babe in flMacca's Meatless Monday...Tofu On The Hill05/24/10 03:02PM Pacificrecipes, .vegetarian, vegan, Meatless Monday, health
Andrew RomanoffCO-SEN Live Chat With Andrew Romanoff05/24/10 03:32PM PacificeKos, Andrew Romanoff, Michael Bennet, 2010, Senate
Francis ThickeIowa Ag Sec.--Who's Afraid of Francis Thicke?05/24/10 03:32PM PacificFrancis Thicke, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, 2010 election, peak oil, ammonia fuel
jamessWhat 'Legitimate Claims' look like -- It's time to Raise the 75M Cap05/24/10 03:33PM PacificBP, Legitimate Claim, Liability, Social Costs, Economic Impact

Yesterday's eKos diaries:

BruceMcFSunday Train: Getting Ohio's 3C Line Into Cincinnati05/23/10 04:11PM Pacificekos, learning, Brawny Recovery, Living Energy Independence, passenger rail
slinkerwinkBP Won't Change Dispersants In Oil Spill Despite EPA05/23/10 04:13PM PacificBP, dispersants, EPA, 2010, oil spill
gchaucer2EPA, British Petroleum and Debarment05/23/10 04:17PM PacificRecommended, EPA, British Petroleum, Deepwater Horizon, debarment
Laurence LewisVampire Blues05/23/10 05:00PM PacificKen Saro-Wiwa, Ogoni Nine, Shell Oil, Exxon, Valdez
Patriot Daily News ClearinghouseCheney's BP Energy Extremes Must End05/23/10 07:00PM Pacificclimate change news roundup, BP, Gulf oil disaster, environment, ekos
dpwksSolar linear clothes dryer technology (Updated #4)05/23/10 07:04PM PacificRecommended, energy conservation, clothes drying, restrictive covenants, energy
A SiegelDo we have a new 9/11 and Katrina in terms of an opportunity for national transformation?05/23/10 08:44PM Pacificfive percent solution, deepwater horizon, eKos, Recommended
8ackgr0und N015eBP numbers suggests 111,000,000 gallons and counting.05/23/10 09:03PM Pacificbp, british petroleum, deceptive business practices, business as usual, mything the point
Interceptor7Overnight News Digest: Dirty Laundry05/23/10 09:10PM PacificOvernight News Digest, OND, group diary, eKos
Meteor BladesGreen diary rescue & open thread05/23/10 09:22PM Pacificgreen diary rescue & open thread, eKos
James Paton WalshNew Orleans, canary in a coal mine05/23/10 10:04PM PacificBP, oil, global warming, New Orleans, Katrina
jamessIt's Deja vu all over again, from the Timor Sea05/23/10 04:58AM PacificRachel Siewert, Australia, Green Party, Corexit, Dispersants
lineatusDawn Chorus Birdblog05/23/10 06:08AM Pacificbirds, birding, dawn chorus, hiatus, eKos
Crashing VorThe Difference05/23/10 06:41AM PacificNew Orleans, Louisiana, oil spill, eKos, Deepwater Horizon
gravlaxAvoiding Deforestation There Helps Farmers Here05/23/10 07:20AM PacificDeforestation, Agriculture, Ohio Corn Growers Association, Avoided Deforestation Partners, Biofuels
Kristina40Sorry Sarah, money can't fix this. Updated: Sarah and WH trade jabs05/23/10 09:12AM PacificBP, Sarah Palin, oilpocalypse, eKos
lipowgBetty Boop and John Prine help explain why Kerry-Lieberman won't and shouldn't pass05/23/10 09:21AM PacificKerry-Lieberman, Climate, Global Warming, 1957 Civl Rights Act, Social Security
EdgerThe End Of The Beginning?05/23/10 09:40AM PacificeKos, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming, Pollution
Horace Boothroyd IIIWildlife Wind and Oil05/23/10 11:53AM Pacificekos, Windpower, Birds, Oil
wide eyed libFree Food: Foraging Sometimes Means Waiting05/23/10 01:00PM PacificForaging, Botany, Survival Skills, Teaching, Spring
Hayate YagamiDeepwater Horizon: The first 30 days [minor updates#1]05/23/10 01:23PM PacificeKos, Deepwater Horizon, Gulf Oil Spill, BP, Oil
wade norrisThe Next Dem. Primary Senate Candidate You Should Know About (DK Greenroots)05/23/10 02:56PM PacificeKos, Bill Halter, Primary, 2010, senate
BenintnWhat Obama is doing about the BP oil spill05/23/10 03:00PM PacificRecommended, open government, new media, BP oil spill, Deepwater Horizon response
DWGRumors of debarment for BP05/23/10 03:27PM PacificRecommended, oil, dirty energy, BP, Deepwater Horizon
FishOutofWater9 Scariest Words "I'm From BP and I'm Here to Help"05/23/10 03:47PM PacificRecommended, eKos, environment, oil, BP oil spill

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Originally posted to eKos on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:32 PM PDT.

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