Sunday, 30 March 2014


Osa Peninsula - The most biologically intense place on earth
Scarlet Macaw

The most biologically intense place on earth
By Nick St Clair for the
      Costa Rica has long been renowned for its incredible biodiversity; a small, yet environmentally rich country that is home to over 5% of the entire world's animal and plant species.

      Lying along its south-western coast is the Osa Peninsula, a tiny strip of land measuring just 35 miles long and 20 miles wide and covered in magnificent, unspoiled rainforest. The Osa Peninsula is itself home to half of all the species in Costa Rica, that's a staggering 2.5% of the entire biodiversity of the planet, living on a mere 0.00000085% of the earth's total surface area.

      Formed geologically by the same faulting system that extends to California, this patch of Costa Rica's last remaining tropical humid rainforest embraces a complex system of freshwater and marine systems; there are 13 major ecosystems, ranging from sea level to 745 metres and encompassing mangroves, sandy beaches and elevated primary forests.

      As a result, the Osa Peninsula is home to over 700 species of trees, which is more than all the North temperate regions of the world combined. Trees that are comparable in grandeur to the best that the Amazon Basin and the South East Asian forests have to offer, with 80 endemic species and the largest tree in Central America, a giant Silk Cotton tree some 77 metres tall.

      There are 117 species of reptiles and amphibians, 365 species of birds and over 120 species of mammals, (all with varying degrees of endemism). Its forests are home to endangered species such as Baird's tapir, the white-lipped peccary, the American crocodile, the harpy eagle and the Central American squirrel monkey.

harpy eagle
Endangered Central American harpy eagle
      It's a place where jaguars still roam the jungles, scarlet macaws fly freely about the town and the enormous humpbacked whales swim close to its shores. The Osa Peninsula holds possibly the highest natural diversity on the planet, inspiring The National Geographic magazine to describe it as "the most biologically intense place on earth"...

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Friday, 28 March 2014


Cuba! Revolutionary recyclers.

Cuba! Revolutionary recyclers

by Nick St Clair for

      Whether the blame lies with America's 60 year old trade embargo or just bad government, the fact is that for decades the people of Cuba have had to learn how to cope with limited resources. The current economic situation is so bad that even essential items such as soap and toothpaste have been erased from the already meagre ration books.

      But out of this bleak scenario has emerged some remarkable ingenuity. Cuba is renowned for the adaptability of its people; and no where is it shown more poignantly than when it comes to recycling. In a country where the average monthly wage is just £10, it's often a question of survival and as a result, necessity has become the mother of all invention.

      Just about everything in Cuba is collected and recycled. Rum bottles cut down to size to serve as drinking glasses, CD cases make picture frames, iconic Cuban cigar labels make coasters and bookmarks, even plastic bags are washed, hung out to dry and reused.

      But if you really want in to experience at first hand the Cuban's ingenuity for improvisation, just take a taxi. It's a ride which will take you on a journey of recycled materials and energy saving that is stretched to the very limits...

To read the rest of this article please go to:

Hey! why can't I read the full text here?
Duplication of a site’s content has a negative effect on its popularity with Search Engines. So in the drive to provide my clients with unique, original (and entertaining) content, even though I wrote this I don't even reproduce it fully myself.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


President Obama unveils Climate Action Plan for the US

 By Nick St Clair for

         President Barack Obama has just unveiled a series of measures designed to combat this growing threat, which include: introducing limits on emissions from power plants, encouraging renewable energy projects, improving flood resilience and a call for an international agreement on climate action.
         It's by far his boldest statement of intent yet on the subject of climate change and follows on from his inaugural address to mark his second term as President; when he pledged to act, stating for the record that climate change was an immediate threat as last 15 years have been the 12 hottest years on record.

        Speaking at Georgetown University in Washington DC, President Obama said: "As a president, as a father and as an American, I am here to say we need to act." He then mocked climate change sceptics. "I don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real," he said. "We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. While we may not live to see the full realisation of our ambition, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the world we leave to our children will be better off for what we did."
         The plans may be aiming to cut CO2 by just 4 per cent (less than a fifth of the amount achieved in the EU), but at least it’s a step forward and many US environmental think-tanks are simply happy to be moving in the right direction.

Hey! why can't I read the full text here?
Duplication of a site’s content has a negative effect on its popularity with Search Engines. So in the drive to provide my clients with unique, original (and entertaining) content, even though I wrote this I don't even reproduce it fully myself.

Climate Action Programme 

In partnership with UNEP

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


      Strange though it may seem, one of my worst fears about living in a cloud forest hasn't been treading on a snake or being bitten on the neck by a mountain lion, it's always been getting stung in a sensitive and intimate place by a scorpion.
      The other day my worst fears were realized.
      It happened after an early morning shower, I grabbed a towel and began to dry myself vigorously around my nether region, which apparently the scorpion didn't appreciate - and it hit its intended target. Luckily it was only a small one, (the scorpion that is) but it didn't half make me hop around, long enough for the scorpion to make its exit. 
      Shortly after my neighbour came round and I told her I had been stung.
      "Donde? (Where?)"
      "Aqui (Here)" I said pointing downwards.
      She laughed so hard I thought she was going to have a fit.

Saturday, 1 March 2014


Teacher:  "What are you drawing?"""
Child:  "A picture of god."
Teacher: "But no-one knows what god looks like."
Child: "They will in a minute!"

This priceless exchange is an excerpt from a TED talk called "Do schools kill creativity," where Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

If you haven't come across the TED talks yet, you're in for a treat. TEDTalks shares the best ideas from the TED Conference with the world, for free: trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses, all giving the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.

Friday, 28 February 2014



      The emperor loved to go hunting. Worried for his safety, his advisors insisted that he take his personal doctor with him at all times in case of an accident.
      One day the emperor cut his finger and summoned his doctor and asked if he thought it would be alright.
     The doctor replied,
     "Good, bad, who knows?
     The Emperor was a little put out, but he trusted his physician and carried on hunting. 
     The next day his finger was getting worse and had become infected, so again he called for his doctor. As the he was cleaning the wound, again the emperor asked him if he thought it was going to be alright, and again the doctor answered,
      "Good, bad, who knows?
      The emperor was a little put out, but he said nothing and dismissed the doctor.
      A few days later the finger had become badly infected and the doctor had to amputate it. The emperor was furious and had the doctor thrown into the palace dungeon.
      When his hand had healed, the emperor set off hunting again. Unfortunately he lost his way and was captured by a forest tribe who believed in human sacrifice, so they took him back to their village and called their high priest to make the sacrifice. But the priest noticed the emperor had a finger missing so he wasn't perfect and therefore unworthy of sacrifice to their gods, so they set him free.
     The emperor rode straight back to the palace and went down into the dungeons where the doctor was incarcerated. He released him from his cell, apologising profusely,
      "If it hadn't been for my missing finger I would be dead now. I did a very bad thing in having you locked up, please will you forgive me?"
      The doctor smiled at the emperor and replied
      "Good, bad, who knows? If you hadn't locked me up in the dungeon I would have been with you out hunting, I too would have been captured and I have all my fingers so I would have been sacrificed instead of you.

Adapted from a Youtube dhaama talk by Ajahn Brahm 'F' is for Forgiveness