Indian Elephants Electrocuted

Dudhwa national park

Three elephants were tragically electrocuted at a wildlife sanctuary in northern India, after they uprooted a utility pole and became entangled in its wires. The wild elephant population of India is estimated at about 26,000.

Dudhwa national parkThe charred remains of the elephants caught in the wires were discovered on Friday at the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh state. The elephants seemed to be part of a herd moving through the park in the Himalayan foothills. Relatives of the elephants did not give any statement. Local veterinarians will be conducting autopsies on the elephants before they are buried in the park.

The park is about 155 miles (250 kilometers) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. While the threat to elephants in India is not as dramatic as that facing tigers, the decline of their population worries wildlife activists.

Hanging Out in Hang Son Doong

Vietnam, the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, is home to some of the world’s most impressive caves. Most of them unexplored, geologists have for decades, sued for grants to investigate them.

Last week, husband and wife caving enthusiasts, Howard and Deb Limbert of England, along with a team of six other cavers documented what could be the earth’s largest. Immense enough, in certain places, to contain a block of New York City skyscrapers, Hang Son Doong, (Mountain River Cave) in Vietnam’s Annamite Mountains is more than 650 ft high and nearly 500 ft wide – that is twice the size of the current record holder. It contains a jungle, river and its own clouds. Part of a network of 150 caves in central Vietnam, near Laos, the end of Hang Son Doong remains out of sight.

The entrance to the cave was originally found in 1991 by a local man, Ho Khanh. Howard Limbert said:

“Khanh has been a guide for the team in many expeditions to the jungle to explore caves and this year he took a team to the cave which had never been entered before by anyone including local jungle men… This was because the entrance which is small by Vietnamese cave standards and emitted a frightful wind and noise which was due to a large underground river.”

The Limberts led the first expedition to enter Hang Son Doong back in 2009, but were stopped a couple of miles in by an enormous calcite wall. Recently, the team returned to climb the wall, take measurements and searching for the end of the cavern.

Green and White: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Winter Sports

Skiing and snowboarding are fun, beautiful, healthy, exciting and sexy – really all that and a bag of chips. However it is obvious that these hipster pastimes, cause somewhat of an environmental threat – though fret not extreme sports folk, there is a way to be environmentally safe when you hit the slopes this winter.

pamporovo skiingWhere there’s a will, there’s a way. Thanks to creators of ski and snowboard gear and resort owners, there are multitudinous ways to make your carbon footprint, look more like a barely discernible snowshoe imprint.

Because of artificial snow, ski resorts become big time emission generators – with all of the climate changes, what with global warming and all, it is a big Catch 22. So it seems obvious that resorts are interested in going green. And skiers and snowboarders should be on board as well. Here are a few tips:

Find Sustainable Skis and Snowboards – for instance, skis made from Paulownia and snowboards made out of bamboo.

Car Pool or Find inner-city shuttles to ski resorts
Go Cross Country – it’s the greenest way to ski
Only pay at Green resorts – Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts has installed a brand new wind turbine which generates just a third of its electricity demands.
Join the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition
Recycle/Donate Used Equipment
Buy SkiGreen Tags
Do Not Ski in Dubai – famous for their environmentally offensive resorts.

Want a Discounted Vacation? Volunteer on an Organic Farm with WWOOF

Backpackers are known to have short budgets on road trips, but this is something new. It’s actually becoming trendy for European backpackers to visit farms on their journey, shovel manure, feed animals, and make butter thanks to Worldwird Opportunities on Organic Farms, a site that networks travelers with organic farms that need volunteers, is a great way for tourists to get some free services while providing free services to the industry.

WWOOFThis year, WWOOF has connected 15,700 volunteers to organic farms across the globe, compared with 6,400 last year. There are 2,240 farms just waiting for people to help them out.

How it works – For a few hours of work a day, which usually includes milking goats, collecting honey and making compost, volunteers get a place to stay and fresh food to eat.

“I didn’t have enough money to stay on any other way,” said Alex Mansfield, 21, a philosophy student from Massachusetts. “It gets expensive, having to eat and sleep under roofs.”

“It feels so good to be right near the food you’re about to cook,” said former New York schoolteacher Talia Kahn-Kravis, 23, as she squirted milk from a goat’s udder into a plastic bucket.

“WWOOF is the perfect anti-discrimination device,” said the Dutchman born in Germany, who has lived on the Spanish farm for 11 years. “We have Germans and Israelis sitting at a table together without problems. It’s a really great way of getting to know more of a country than only the national prejudices.”

Germans and Israelis, eh? I didn’t know there were problems between those two these days. Would have been nice if they could do that, say, 60-70 years ago.

Julie Bateman, a mother of two took her two kids from Charleston, S.C. for some volunteer farming in Italy this summer. There’s a term for it now. It’s called “WWOOFing.”

“WWOOFing with the two children is certainly a twist on the normal travel and WWOOFing in general,” said Bateman.
This really sounds tempting.

Summer Solstice Draws Crowds of Druids to Stonehenge

More than 30,000 Druids and curious spectators attended this year’s annual Summer Solstice ritual at the ancient Stonehenge monument in southern England.

The event, which ushers in the summer solstice (when the longest day of year is marked) is said to have magical as well as healing properties to all who gather to see the sun’s beams piercing between the geometrical positions of the monument. A few couples were on hand to “tie the knot” in traditional Druid fashion, and were dressed in what are said to be authentic Druid costumes.

The Druids are said to be an ancient animistic pagan cult who lived in the British Isles as long as 2,000 years ago – during Roman times. Originally, they worshiped trees and practiced human sacrifice, usually with unfortunate captives from the many wars these people were involved in with other groups who lived in what the Romans referred to as Britannia. Their religious beliefs were banned by the Catholic Church and Church of England for centuries, until contemporary groups began to present the religion in milder forms, during the 17th Century.

“It’s the most magical place on the plant. When you touch the stones from inside the ‘circle’ you feel warmth like you’re touching a tree and not stone – you’re absolutely drawn to its love” said a Druid participant, who owns and antique and New Age objects shop.

The party began the night before and went on into the wee hours, until the sun was first noticed peeking though the clouds and touching Heel Stone, the central focus point of the monument. A number of vendors were offering al kinds of “magical” Druid charms and amulets, which added something special to the occasion.

Even non pagans were impressed, which was helped this year by good weather. Many came because they said that the mystical qualities of the event were good for “healing of the soul” as well as the body. One person, a yoga instructor from Lithuania, said that “this place gives us so much energy and hope that we can forget about the problems of our everyday lives and believe that all our wishes will come true”.

And if they believe it, their wishes most certainly will come true – for a day anyway.

Natural health personalities hold Longevity Conference in Vilcabamba Ecuador

Many of you will recall our article about a region in the South American country Ecuador known as Vilcabamba or the Valley of Longevity. This modern day Shangri-la is once again being featured in natural and environmental news sources due to a recent conference on longevity held there by the Natural News health website, under the organization by their editor Mike Adams. The conference included 25 health and fitness advocates who met in Vilcabamba’s beautiful settings and experienced for themselves the truly abundant and fresh fruits and vegetables that this place had already become world famous for the amazing longevity of it’s inhabitants, with ages past 100 being very common.

There must be something magical about this place to induce people such as Edwin Veelo, founder of, makers of one of the most potent anti-viral extracts on the market today, and Steve Sinclair, co-founder of the super food supplements company Enerfood to go all the way to this remote place, located in a mountainous region of southern Equador, bordering with Peru. Historically, Vilcabamba was a favorite resort location for Incan royal families, who must have known about the benefits of this region as early as 600 years ago.

Not everyone agrees that Vilcabamba is a modern version of Shangri-la however, and many scientists who have gone there to study the place, and it’s people, have come back saying that older people who claim to be well over age 100 may be exaggerating their age (and due to a lack of official birth certificates). Other scientists have confirmed that a combination of a year-round non-variable climate and a diet of healthy naturally grown organic fruits and vegetables; and eye tissue of 100 year old residents have been compared to those of persons living cities who are less than half their age.

Not everyone may go for the simple life styles and vegetarian diets (including juices from raw foods), but many people from modern Western societies have given up a life of electronic gadgetry and prepared food products to live the simple life. And if it means living to the ripe old age of 120, there might something to eating mani butter pudding (from a plant related to the peanut) and exotic cocktails of organic herbs fresh from the garden – all year round.

Ecuador’s Vilcabamba Valley of Longevity: A true modern Shangri-La

VilcabambaEver since the book Lost Horizon by James Hilton was published in 1933, and the subsequent film which came out in 1937, people have been searching for a peaceful, utopian place on our beleaguered planet where people live to very ripe old age in perfect health, peace, and harmony. You may not have search for such a place any only as more and more people are discovering that such a place does indeed exist; and it isn’t in some hidden and inaccessible valley in the Himalayans, but much closer in what is known as Vilcabamba, or Valley of Longevity, in the South American country of Ecuador.

Vilcabamba is a truly unique environment with a combination of year-round spring-like weather, fantastically pure water, and organic fruits and vegetables that make what you buy at your local whole foods store seem poor in comparison. Nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the southernmost part of the country, the valley in which this paradise community is located does somewhat resemble Hilton’s legendary place. People who inhabit this region have been found to be extraordinary healthy and live very long lives, with ages up to 100 and even beyond. Besides a wonderful, pollution free climate, the diet of the inhabitants of miraculously fresh fruits and vegetables; help to contribute to their long lives. Due to this fact, many people from the USA and other countries are coming here for extended visits; and many are even purchasing properties and moving to Vilcabamba permanently.

Because of the very low cost housing available (for those lucky enough to be accepted there) one can live in Vilbabamba for much less than other so-called paradise communities, including Mexico and Panama. And those wishing to live a vegan vegetarian lifestyle, especially those who love a “raw food” diet.

Like other places in South America, one has to have a lot of patience and be prepared to live in a “manana” (tomorrow) type of environment, including with the local government bureaucracy. But despite these inconveniences the pure and simple lifestyle more than makes up for this and those who do choose to go there will not regret their decision, especially considering what is going in their former communities.

Rations for Desert Trees

A new Dutch breakthrough invention makes it possible to reforest large desert and rocky areas on the planet in the coming years. Experiments in the Sahara desert have shown that the WaterBoxx allows trees to grow under harsh conditions and can provide them with sufficient water.

The WaterBoxx looks like a plastic, rectangular bucket, with a hole in the centre, allowing the tree to be planted in the soil. The sophistically designed top catches water from condensation at night. Together with the rainwater from rare showers, it is distributed in small doses to the tree inside. Additionally the WaterBoxx prevents water in the top soil layers from evaporating and protects the roots against sun, wind, weeds or rodents. After a year the tree is strong enough to grow by itself and the WaterBoxx can be removed.

Natural Photos has a beautiful gallery section which features dazzling photos of natural landscapes. I took a bit of time to explore their photo sets, and I recommend you do the same as well. It’s inspiring.

Is there such a thing as good radiation?

Well, we should always be careful when exposing ourselves to radiation! However, there are several spots on Earth where exposing ourselves to the sun’s radiation has become a healthy practice.

One such spot is the Dead Sea (actually a lake), which lies in the desert between Israel and Jordan in the Middle East. The Dead Sea Valley is the lowest place on Earth, standing 300 meters below sea level. Yes, much lower than the Netherlands. In Hebrew, the Dead Sea is known as the Salty Sea, because the ground in the valley is rich with salts. As a result, the lake itself is very salty, making the water relatively heavier, and thus allowing people to easily float above them in a lying position.

The salty atmosphere also filters a large percentage of the sun’s hazardous radiation, making it more difficult for people bathing in the lake to suffer sunburns. This is why people with Psoriasis from all across the world come to the Dead Sea to enjoy its unique properties. Sun exposure is a proven remedy for Psoriasis, and it’s safer to “get some sun” down in that valley.