Shooting stars and dying Rhinos

life in the Anthropocene
Vol. 05

On Thursday, November 20, 2014 the "intensive protection zone" project that´s slowly been building up in the southern part of Kruger National Park saw an uptick in the urgency of relocating the illegally hunted and endangered South African Rhino to more protected areas of the vast national park when South Africa, home to 80 percent of the world's rhinos, announced the bleak reality that 1,020 rhinos had already been illegally killed so far in 2014.

Setting a sad trend of illegal poaching always exceeding the previous year's record numbers. At the end of 2013, 1,004 rhino casualties was the new low, and for 2014 that stain on humanity has already been shattered leaving us with all of December to up the killing number even further.

music of the day while you are reading our article
Eyes of the dead by Machine Head

400 park rangers and the military provides inadequate safe keeping
If you think that no one ever does anything to keep the African Rhino safe from greed and stupidity, think again

The problem has never been that no one is doing anything to prevent the majestic Rhino from going extinct like so many other animal species. A lot of people are doing everything they can, but the problem is that not enough of us are doing at the very least something. The problem is that we are all living in the same corrupt world, a world made up of greedy merchants, criminal gangs and superstitious people that happily waste their money and health on things that will never work. The problem at it´s root is a better then gold and drugs economy that allows drug cartels, ruthless politicians and corrupt law enforcement officers, even terrorist groups, poor people, greedy merchants and influential people to continuously sidestep the efforts that are increasingly made to preserve the Rhino from extinction.

The problem is a world made up of you and me that for far to long looked the other way instead of facing reality head on.

It is one thing if a starving family father kills an animal to feed his family. That is not only a natural and perfectly normal thing, it is also perfectly understandable if no other means to eat exists. But the poaching in Africa is not about food, it is about a giant and illegal industry that provides an enormous illegal cash flow at the expense of various African animal species.

19bn US$ per year is what wildlife crime is worth

Yes. you read that headline correct.

Facts are that the market that makes up what we call illegal "wildlife crime" is estimated to be worth US $19bn a year, making it the fourth most lucrative illegal trade. Only being surpassed by drugs, counterfeit goods and human trafficking. Wildlife crime that once might have been carried out by a frisky hunter looking for some extra meat in the fridge is now increasingly linked to organised crime, terrorism and militias.

And when faced with that plain reality, not even the 400 park rangers and the African military, already present in the Kruger national park can keep it´s animals safe all on their own.

To secure the future of the African lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos, vultures and other animals, the world needs you all to step up. To see, to talk, to do instead of looking the other way.

Early December 2014 saw the death of one of the last northern white rhinos in the world. Leaving only 5 more of this sub species to roam the world. But just like the white rhino as a species almost 100 years ago, faced and resurged from the face of extinction so it can do again - with the help of us, the very ones that once again has put it up against the face of eternal sleep.

Eulogy the northern white Rhino Angalifu

"Angalifu's death is a tremendous loss to all of us," Randy Rieches, the safari park curator, said in a statement. "Not only because he was well beloved here at the park but also because his death brings this wonderful species one step closer to extinction."

The European Tiger

Ever wondered about the official Swedish Tiger? Well, Once Europe had a thriving population of fierce Tigers and giant Wolves and Rhinos too, and Tigers and Rhinos could be found in the middle east and other parts of the world as well.

But as you read this, that last bastion of these majestic and precious animals are under siege. Not due to naturally changing factors, but due to human stupidity, short sightedness, greed and lack of empathy. All less flattering traits of our species that allows this world to continue to spin around caught inside of it´s own madness, no matter if we are talking about the illogical hatred for crucial species such as the wolf, or the continued use of fossil fuels and unsustainable political decisions instead of taking every turn towards a more sustainable planet. Sad aspects of a minor part of humanity that goes hand in hand with the resilience of inequality in both income, health, education, life and gender, the dumbing down of education and science, in some countries and places, making it harder in those places to talk about actual science and the real ongoing situation of all of life here on Earth.

But that vocal minority that is holding back life on Earth is also a losing minority in it´s quest to promote all those and other dying out acts of stupidity.

And for that at least we should all be grateful. Because they are dying out acts of stupidity.

There is an end to the tunnel of madness. And that better life, for all of us, is waiting on the other side of it, and for every healthy choice we take as individuals and species, this planet and all it´s various societies and individuals slowly gets a better life both today and tomorrow. People and Rhinos alike. Girls and boys. Rich and poor

And, to not ruin your day with nothing but depressing mental images. Projects like the one currently under way in Kruger National Park in South Africa is, as dire as the situation seems right now, a beacon of hope and a clear signal that at the edge of ruin, dragons do fly. And that perhaps, the long term situation for the great White rhino in South Africa might not have looked this good ever before. Well, that is of course, if we, the entire world continues to push ahead with the positive changes we are seeing. from climate change, and sustainable energy, to healthier food production and sufficient protection for our endangered wildlife. Because if we stumble and fall in our intentions and will to make the changes needed, then the Rhino, and many others, will soon be nothing more then a faded memory.

American philanthropist Howard Buffett stepped up

The "intensive protection zone" in Kruger will focus their new protective measures on aircraft and ranger teams in combination with last few years advancements in high-tech surveillance to make sure the new safety zone is kept poaching free.

The initiative is partly funded by American philanthropist Howard Buffett, a son of investor Warren Buffett who has pledged nearly $24 million to Kruger's anti-poaching efforts. The park will apply some of the same methods that is being used by the United States to monitor its border with Mexico. Including aerostats - which are large, tethered balloons equipped with infrared cameras that scan the landscape 24/7.

According to Dr. Sam Ferreira, who works as a large mammal ecologist at Kruger, the relocated Rhinos have all adapted very nicely to their new and much safer, surroundings, "It's like they're coming to a Saturday afternoon party.".

And yes, you can step it up too. If you have actual money then use it wisely. Donate to WWF or other organizations, commercial or not that do work towards making this planet a healthier and more equal place. Better yet, build a better and healthier and more equal world by your own. And if you lack a financial surplus, then Invest your minor daily spendings in buying healthier, organic and sustainably grown food. And if possible, locally grown food. And in your daily choices, make sure to skip shrimp and fish for the time being since the large scale fishing industry have a proven track record of not catering to keeping sustainable fishing quotas or practices and even being dishonest about where their fish and shrimp is being caught or grown. Not to mention, that big parts of the food industry (including the fishing industry) have a really hard time coming clean about how healthy vs unhealthy it is to even eat the products they produce.

Invest in your own health by making daily smart choices, investing in your health is also making the health of the planet better. Beyond that, if you can, invest in solar power or ground heat at home or your office, or similar relatively clean and sustainable energy and heat resources. Get rid of your fossil fuel driven car when you pick up your next car, and instead go all out on a "tesla" (or similar). Drink healthier things, such as tap water and milk, skip the sodas and bottled water, skip the liquor and beer. Surprisingly often, what is good for your own health, long and short term is also better choices for life on Earth at large

If you have time and resources and the will. Go healthy, eat healthy, train and stay active, healthy active people actually consume far less resources from our society and planet then less healthy people do. And yes, healthy people are generally speaking happier people, not just from an individual point of view, but you actually make the people in your surroundings happier and healthier too - relatively speaking to going all out unhealthy.

And so forth. Every little choice matters because, from the rhino to you. We are all living on the same tiny little marble and as such, we are all connected, not free floating islands separated from everybody else.

With that said, never feel even the slightest bit of guilt for the things you absolutely can not do. Instead, do what you can and be proud of that and enjoy your life full on. Just like with training and keeping fit, something is always better then nothing, making a change, be it for all of life, the planet, the rhino, or your own future health and body composition, it´s always about baby steps, perpetual baby steps in the right direction.

Shoutout to Frankie "the answer" Edgar

Wonderful display of martial arts this saturday (nov 22), that was a pure beauty of a fight and an awesome performance on your part. A flawless and so dominant victory it painted my face with a big smile watching it unfold, and perhaps your best fight yet in the UFC, now, go and grab that world champion title, it´s yours for the taking man.

Rhino facts
a short look at the African Rhino

500 000 African Rhinos still existed in the early twentieth century, but as of now, fewer then 29 000 Rhinos are still alive. There are actually five different Rhino species still roaming this world, and amongst them, the Java Rhino which is believed to be made up of less then 40 rhinos.
In 2006 only 10 rhinos where poached, a number that increased to 122 in 2009. And in 2011 had reached 448. That number then grew to 1004 in 2013 and has now been beaten once again even tho 2014 still isnt over.

Rhino horns are made of keratin, similar to a horse hoof, and yes, keratin is also the key component in human hair and fingernails. The Rhinoceros horn is also rich on calcium and melanin.

Some of the current Rhino species have two horns, like the black and white rhino. While others, like the great one horned rhino only have one horn.
The black rhino can actually grow a horn more then 51 inches long (130cm +), but as majestic a feat and sight as that is, i strongly prefer to see that in person, on a live and wild, freely roaming about rhino and not wined and dined on in some form of non functional prostate curing soup.

Rhinos poop a lot, so much so i am not even going to write the number here :). But if you have ever had or been around horses or cows, i am pretty sure you already imagined that an animal as big as a rhino can poop crazy much, especially so when you take in to account that the Rhino actually dont sleep much, and that they spend most of their time awake walking around doing nothing but munching on grass - well, pooping too, food and poop, just like a giant toddler in other words :).

And when the solitary rhino join up in groups it´s called a crash - and yes, i think it´s safe to say where that name came from :).

These groups are made up of a female and her own offspring. And a dominant male is needed to rule over the solitary or crash living rhinos area of land. The dominant male usually allows some less dominate males to live on his territory while females roam freely around several different territories.

Size and weight

The largest rhino species is the white rhino, which can grow to around 12 to 13 feet (3.7 to 4 meters) long and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) at it´s shoulders. The white rhino can weigh around 5,000 lbs. (2,300 kilograms). And on the other end of the scale, there is the Sumatran rhino which is the currently smallest rhino species.Sumatran rhinos grows to roughly 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 m) long and up to 4.8 feet (1.5 m) high, and it weighs around 1,765 lbs. (800 kg).

Did you know however, that Europe used to have a colossus of a rhino. far bigger then todays biggest specimen, just as we had giant Wolves that where actually the size of todays big, white african rhino, and Elephants that dwarfed the African elephant, well once upon a time that was the wildlife in Europe, but they are now, all gone.

All casualties of the human race.


Outside the sun and the moon are both painting a very vivid and clear blue sky, sharing and moving across the very same canvas in broad daylight.
The light from the rising sun is sharp and beautiful today, perhaps not so much for a classically schooled portrait photographer, but the way it illuminates the branches and leafs, all the frosty still life caught in the breath of approaching winter.
There is only one simple word crafted to properly describe the natural scenery that lay unfolded before my eyes this morning.

Michael A Koontz

Writer and photography

Michael A Koontz
Rhino Photography by AP Photo, Dennis Farell
and Johan Swanepoel
To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

   Author page, Michael A Koontz
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Last Few Published Books and Articles

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    Health is shaped and molded through your daily choices.
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    Question number 49 in our School here at 'a Norse View'.
    Physical activity & fitness exercise of various levels, intensity, and volume improve many aspects of our human health. Including a highly beneficial effect on musculoskeletal health no matter gender or age.
    Other factors include improving our metabolic and cognitive health & functions.

    As a result, regular life long fitness.....
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    Greatly reduced osteoporosis as well as depression and improved volume and capacity of our physical gray matter mass, are other areas of our life long health that benefit substantially from daily physical activity and regular fitness.
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  • Fitness school, question 48.. Smoking kills millions of people every year, and harm hundreds of millions more.. But can the body recover from damaged lungs if you stop smoking?..

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    Health is shaped and molded through your daily choices.
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    Question number 48 in School of Fitness here at 'a Norse View'.
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    Health is made from your daily choices.
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    Question number 47 in our School of Fitness.
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    A healthy life is a daily process created by making healthy science based choices.
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    Question number 44 in our School of Fitness.
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    a Norse View &
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    Question number 43 in our School of Fitness.
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    Fitness is built upon the science of you.
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  • Fitness school, question 41: The science of our human fitness anatomy. Scalenus Anterior, medius and posterior.

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    Fitness is built upon your own anatomy.
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    Question number 41 in our School of Fitness.
    Beneath the tasty, delicious joy and sexiness of a life built on plant-based food and fitness, the weights you lift, the miles you walk and run. The mountains you climb, and the sandbags you punch and kick there is not just a burning passion and increased life quality. Nor is it just a question of the enhanced health and joy you can touch and feel deep inside both body & mind.
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  • Fitness school, question 40: The science of sugar and intestine tumors... In both mice & men.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Yet another study on food & health.

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  • Fitness school, question 39: Telomeres, the fancy sounding tail that connects healthy fit aging with fitness activities. Dive right in as we take a look at recent studies.

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    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 39 in our School of Fitness.
    I have talked about telomeres in years past, and fitness too obviously :).
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    My Question:.
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  • Anthropocene & the survival of our brilliant but simpleminded species. Just another morning.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Breakfast stuff and morning thoughts.

    climate inaction is an existential threat.

    Nothing fancy or big worded to say today, I am just drinking some tasty fresh black coffee while various death metal songs keep pumping through my livingroom gear.
    Yes, what a glorious morning :).
    But while I am enjoying my morning routine, getting ready for the gym and my own workouts as well as the health and fitness regimes of today's PT clients I am also reading up on science and sustainability from around the world. And one of the pieces that stand out is a tonally laid-back piece by Swedish outlet DN. They spent the better part of a month or so following Swedish sustainability advocate Greta as she continues her quest to bring much-needed awareness to the sad state of the world and the essential, deep-rooted changes we as a species and global civilization urgently need to undertake.

  • Fitness school, question 38. Is obesity itself tied to diabetes type 2 and coronary artery disease?. Yes or no?.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 38 in our School of Fitness.
    Time for a short one.
    Obesity is no friend of the bettering of our health and longevity.
    Just as how the old school act of serious bulking never did anyone's health and fitness levels any favors. And pointing this scientific reality out is not about fat shaming. It´s about helping the world and its individuals turn the tide toward better health, and better fitness. And doing so does not remove peoples individual right to pick whatever body size and fat percentage that they so prefer.
    My Question:.
    We already know that obesity ( and a fat powered high BMI ) increases unhealthy factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And it often increases depression, drowsiness and general sedentary choices. Which indirectly leads to worse health in numerous ways. But if a person with a high fat powered BMI is deemed healthy as far as those traditional markers are concerned is excess fat itself still bad?
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  • Fitness school, question 37: Can something as simple as a reduction of daily walking decrease our lean muscle mass in a noticeable way in just 2 weeks time?

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 37 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, it is once again time for you to put your thinking cap on before you proceed without hesitation through the hallway of healthy fit wonders and science :).
    You already know that keeping fit and lifting your weekly weights and doing your daily cardio is nothing but a rejuvenating choice. It's good for your strength, duh.. It is wondrously good for your harty heart health, and it aids your cognitive and creative processes. It scientifically speaking lowers depression and tardy drowsiness. And if you have been keeping up with me over the years, you also know that keeping fit on a regular weekly basis also lowers your physical age by quite a noticeable margin too.
    But even small ordinary things like taking a daily walk carries with it a huge life long health and fitness impact.

    My Question:.
    What happens with our skeletal lean muscle mass for people above 70 years of age if they take a few thousand steps more or less per day for 2 weeks time?.
    Read on to reveal just how big the impact of that tiny change can be below the break.

  • Fitness School, Question 36, Will lifting weights 1-3 days per week be enough to lower cardiovascular related mortality?.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes

    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.

    Question number 36 in our School of Fitness.
    All forms of fitness activity is a tiny little pill of good health no matter who you are.
    But is the simple act of lifting weights one to three days per week enough to substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular related mortality?.
    Yup, that is how easy and straightforward question number 36 turned out to be. And why? Because we have a brand new study to lean back on when it comes down to the (obvious) answer.
    Read on to reveal the complete Q and A below the break.

  • Going beyond 1.5C. Our world and daily life behind the IPCC report.

    Quality time needed: 27 minutes

    Cause & Consequence.

    Life on Earth laid bare by the IPCC report.

    But before we head on over to the meaty real life data of our reckless modern day life, which the 2018 IPCC report painfully laid bare, walk with me as I step out on frosty cold northern shores for my morning walk.

    Just a Thursday, spent on northern shores.
    And this is the way I started this gorgeous little Autumn day.

  • Roundabouts in the milky way galaxy. The duality of a sustainable earth, and interplanetary living.

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    We see a brand new dawn.

    Life itself is this majestic mirror world of brilliance and incompetence. Eternally merging and reflected, individually disengaged yet perfectly synchronized and attached to each other and everything else.

    Like the leaf that finds itself stranded on the wayward peaks of a stormy ocean. They are each others counterpart, yet entirely different. Individual objects, entwined and interconnected. Disengaged and perfectly unique.

  • Into Autumn, the spider´s lullaby. Random thoughts on life from another gorgeous day.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    Together with a tiny little spider.

    And today, there´s officially a full-blown Autumn song playing out there in nature. Gorgeous and sunny, on a Sunday =). Wind free, except for the tiniest of breeze that you can almost not see or feel as it slowly makes it way through the crown of leaves that towers above.

    But it is, none the less, Autumn.
    The colors of the trees reveal it. The pale blue September moon that hangs high up in the middle of the day is another telltale.

  • The anatomy and fitness function of our gorgeous human ass ( The mighty three we call the Gluteus ).

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes

    The gorgeous strength of Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your lifelong guide.

    Fitness is as wonderful for your health as it is for landing you a more sculpted and capable body over time.
    But that will never change that even fit people (quite a lot of them) are doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Case in point the fit and good looking girl you can see in the IG video I am linking to, she obviously trains hard and regular while being in great shape, and she does know quite a few things about the body and the science of staying healthy and fit.
    Which is wonderful on all counts.
    But like so many other gym goers she is seemingly misinformed about a few things too ( on the other hand, so are we all :P ). Allowing wrongful information and knowledge to shape her choices and the choices of other people that gulps up everything we fit people believe to be true. However, if you are willing to listen to it the beautiful science of health and fitness will guide you towards a better body and better health and better workouts if you pay attention to real fitness science instead of personal opinions. You see, there is nothing wrong with the exercises she is doing. But outside of the wonderful world of human anatomy, there is no such thing as an upper or lower butt muscle as far as your exterior appearance goes, nor is there a meaningful difference as far as your practical fitness capacity and workout goes.

    Click through and let us talk about Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

  • Earth over shoot day is one of many events and situations during the year that signals the mindless gluttony of our evolving hybrid species.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes

    Planet Earth - studies & life in the Anthropocene.

    A new way of life is needed.

    But what is it exactly? And why is something that sounds so cute something truly terrible that we need to take seriously as a global whole.
    To most people, it is more than likely just another ridiculous phrase keyboard warriors throw around once a year while they too waste this world to the point of no return.
    But this ever-moving yearly event day is anything but deadly essential.

    Every year this day signals the point in that year where we have used up all the naturally replenishing resources of this planet.
    And beyond this point, the planet is losing its inventory for the next year(s) ahead and it's capacity to restock.

    Which if we are talking about corporations and business leaders is something that would cause pretty much every corporate leader out there to die from a heart attack if it persistently happened to their business. But when its Earth, people just shrug their mindless shoulders and look the other way as if the greenhouse we are subsisting in isn't the singular thing that feeds and house us all.

  • Fitness facts: How and why does the range of motion in any given strength exercise matter?.

    Quality time needed: 10 minutes

    Diving down into a range of motion and squat study.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your gym guide.

    Right now, if you enter any given gym, the wonderful world of barbells will conjure up as many opinions as there are fitness girls on Instagram, no matter the subject.
    And plenty of opinions are exactly that, personal opinions, formed by peer pressure in the gym, on social media, or by fit vixens looking to make a bigger following by posting daily stuff which may or may not be factually correct.

    There are out of date school gym coaches still living in the past, badly informed parents, friends, big brothers, big sisters, commercial interests only looking out for the next conference call, as well as uninformed writers working for big tabloids which just happened to draw the assignment to make a puff piece on fitness.

    So let us instead look at science and what it actually has to teach us about the range of motion for any particular exercise. And for the purpose of this article, let us focus on a Squat centric use case since legs and ass are thankfully all the rage anyway :).

  • Moments from the Anthropocene, the fox and my morning coffee.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes

    The scent of black coffee.

    And wild breakfast companions.

    'Today' (another today ) while enjoying my first cup of coffee standing outside on my sun-drenched porch, I could hear something sneakily make its way through the underbrush and thick tall grass and florals that intermix with the deep dark, and thankfully, untouched old forest at the edge of my property.

    Fast forward just a little bit and I could start to see the movement in the thin youngling trees and the tall flowers. Something was out there, touching here and there making the wild plants and florals sway as it drew nearer me.

  • The savagery that is the carnivore dietary plan vs the science of health and fitness.

    Quality time needed: 15 minutes

    The error of your way.

    Could be spelled 'the carnivore diet'..

    A growing number of people in the world adopt healthy, fit living by going increasingly more vegetarian for a long range of personal reasons and or due to scientific reasons. Some of those reasons often include the substantial increase in cancer and diabetes risk that eating red meat and highly processed foods causes, or the impossible mathematics behind an entire world eating ever higher amounts of meat, or the incredible amount of pollution that animal food production causes.

    And facts are, that all those reasons are equally good, sound and true, so it does not even matter why you do it. It is a good and healthy choice to eat less red meat, and by doing so you will contribute towards a healthier you, and a healthier world.

  • Anthropocene: 12 vaquitas left in the world before they too face the ultimate end of line which is called extinction.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes

    The vaquitas are sadly not alone.

    This is the Lost World of Planet Earth.

    Around the world, the vaquitas are sadly not alone, there are countless of animal species, plants and all that´s facing the threat of extinction in ever greater numbers. And the pace is accelerating, so it´s not business as usual.
    Worse, this is all down to man-made issues.
    It got nothing to do with prey and predatory fluctuations. And it got nothing to do with natural events and Earths naturally changing cycles.

  • Let us talk about the concept of 'Half Earth' and why both Dr Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN and I share the opinion that it is all about 'Whole Earth'.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes

    People & Planet is just a mutual ecosystem.

    The Lost World.

    A long and well established connective tissue in the way I talk and write, and think about health & fitness is that we are all connected through this global ecosystem we all share.
    Which is why I have over the years pointed out that living in a sustainable way is ultimately all about health. Individual health & planetary health. People that are opting to eat shit just isn't healthy.
    Neither from a planetary or individual perspective.

    Just as how healthy fit people that´s living unsustainable, just isn't healthy living people either.

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