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Showing posts with label America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label America. Show all posts

Abandoned Shopping Malls - United States of America



When the sprawling Randall Park Mall opened near Cleveland in 1976, it was briefly the largest in the world.







Developers touted it as a symbol of the good life in suburbia. The small town where it was located added two shopping bags to its municipal seal in homage.













































Fast Company                                            Seph Lawless





10 Extraordinary Native American Cultural Sites

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico) preserves structures of Ancestral Puebloans. 
Credit: NPS.





In honour of Native American Heritage Month, we take a look at a few noteworthy Native American cultural sites on public lands.

Native American Heritage Month offers all Americans the opportunity to recognize and honour tribes who understood the value of wilderness long before European Americans ever laid eyes on bison or redwoods—or, indeed, decided to call certain places  “wilderness.”


A number of the national monuments, parks and other sites we cherish contain major historical and cultural resources connected to these tribes. In many cases, the land that surrounds them might not have remained in good condition without the Antiquities Act, a law passed in 1906 that allowed presidents to protect natural and cultural sites as national monuments. The Antiquities Act was first signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt and has been used on a bipartisan basis by 16 presidents since then (including President Barack Obama). It is likely that some of these special places would have been obscured by development—or demolished entirely—without this law and the strong movement to preserve public lands it exemplifies.


In addition to providing magnificent spots for outdoor recreation, that deserve a closer look in November. These places preserve traces of Native American culture that are hundreds (or even thousands) of years old.



Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)


Credit: Terry Feuerborn, flickr.


Mesa Verde was the first national park designated with the express purpose of preserving "the works of man"—in this case the remnants of 6th-12th century Ancestral Puebloans, as exemplified by more than 4,000 known archeological sites, including some of the most notable and well-preserved in the U.S. The park’s signature attractions are some 600 ancient dwellings carved into rock alcoves, stumbled upon by a pair of cowboys—who called it “Cliff Palace”—in the late 19th century. At that point, Mesa Verde had been vacant for hundreds of years. Experts think the last Puebloan residents of the area were forced out when a booming population eventually exhausted natural resources and was torn apart by internal strife. Since 1906, the park has been preserved for the enjoyment and education of all Americans (though oil and gas development in the area pose a threat to the landscape). Tours of the site offer details on these lives, and trails provide opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing. The 360-degree panoramic view at Park Point is one of the most breath-taking in the country.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (Arizona)


Credit: Rory D, flickr.


The 14th century “great house” around which this monument is centred was once part of a chain of settlements along the Gila River and is considered one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America. Prized as a trace of ancient Sonoran Desert dwellers who developed wide-scale irrigation farming and a large trade network before leaving the area around the year 1450, the Casa Grande was originally protected as our country’s first archaeological reserve, in 1892. The building, whose exact purpose remains unknown, gained national monument status from President Woodrow Wilson in 1918. Today, several Native American groups claim an ancestral link to the builders and occupants of the monument’s eponymous structure.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: Lisa Phillips (BLM New Mexico), flickr.


The campaign that led a stretch of picturesque land near Las Cruces, New Mexico, to be designated a national monument by President Obama in 2014 was a major initiative of The Wilderness Society—but it was led in part by local tribal leaders, a fitting testament to the significance of this place to Native Americans. The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribe asked that the area be protected in part to preserve an expanse of ancient petroglyphs, and the Fort Sill Apache tribe, considered modern-day successors to the Apache that originally inhabited parts of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region, requested that they be accepted as partners in managing the monument for future generations. The mountain ranges and rugged plains here contain traces of civilizations hundreds of years old (and in some cases much older); the Paleo-Indian peoples who once roamed the Potrillo grasslands hunted now-extinct game like giant ground sloths thousands of years before Christopher Columbus was born. Stretches of land protected by the monument contain some of the earliest known prehistoric habitation sites in southern New Mexico, among many significant historical and archaeological resources.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)


Credit: Damon Taylor, flickr.






Unfortunately, oil and gas development currently threatens the beauty and tranquillity of this park and adjacent land—and it would be a true shame to lose it. Between 850 and 1250 CE, Chaco Canyon, in what is now northwest New Mexico, was a major center of Ancestral Puebloan culture. Today, the surrounding area is protected to preserve the history of those people, including majestic public and ceremonial buildings that are among America’s most significant intact examples of pre-Columbian culture. These multi-story “Great Houses” were truly monumental undertakings, sometimes involving decades of construction, and many were connected by a system of roads to other buildings in the region. It is thought that this area was once a unique gathering place for different clans to meet—a center for trade and cultural exchange that remains a hallowed landmark today.


In 2013, the park received International Dark Sky designation for being one of the best places in the United States to stargaze (due to its distance from artificial light pollution).

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Colorado)


Credit: Eszter Hargittai, flickr.


This sprawling, landscape-scale monument in southwest Colorado contains thousands of known archaeological sites that have yielded invaluable historical information on Ancestral Puebloan (sometimes referred to as “Anasazi”) and other indigenous cultures. A nearby museum contains millions of items chronicling those peoples as well as historic Ute and Navajo populations (the protected area is considered to have ancestral links to dozens of modern-day tribal nations). Three original villages within the monument have been prepared for visitors and outfitted with interpretive signage, making it an essential destination for anyone with an abiding interest in Native American culture (though a huge number of dwellings, shrines, petroglyphs and other artefacts remain unlabelled).

Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: Ellen Green, flickr.






Aztec Ruins National Monument was protected as a national monument in 1923 and named a World Heritage site in 1987 (as part of Chaco Culture National Historical Park) for its well-preserved examples of Pueblo architecture—the same features that still draw tourists from around the country. So why is it called “Aztec Ruins”? Early white explorers initially mistakenly identified the buildings on-site as traces of the Mexican Aztec culture, rather than the work of (even older) indigenous peoples, and it still bears the original, ill-gotten title. Despite this, the monument is an important place for Ancestral Puebloans, its ancient “great houses” and associated “kivas”—ceremonial chambers—serving testament to the legacy of its old inhabitants.


Artefacts discovered in the ruins have included food remnants, clothing, tools and jewellery, offering a glimpse at the way Ancestral Puebloans used natural resources and traded with other peoples.

Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)


The “Marching Bear” mounds, whose size and intricacy can only be fully appreciated from overhead. Credit: NPS.


The only national monument in Iowa, Effigy Mounds was protected by President Harry Truman in 1949 in order to preserve its namesake series of sacred hillocks, constructed by a culture that inhabited land along the upper Mississippi River, stretching east to Lake Michigan (what is now parts of Iowa, southeast Minnesota, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois). Numbering more than 200, the mounds were built over thousands of years in a variety of shapes ranging from simple cones to bison and birds. Though the exact function of the mounds as a whole remains unknown, some are burial sites, and experts think that others may have acted as territorial markers. Whatever the mounds’ purpose, more than 15 modern-day tribes, ranging from Minnesota to Oklahoma, are considered to be culturally associated with them. The largest and best-preserved chain of mounds, the evocatively-named “Marching Bears,” can only be fully appreciated from overhead.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (Ohio)


Credit: HOCU-NPS.


This park protects five different archaeological sites containing artefacts of the broadly-defined Hopewell culture, chiefly earthworks and ancient mounds. The people who flourished in this area practiced a wide array of spiritual, political and social customs, but are considered to be related precisely due to the elements this park preserves: their similar construction of earthen-walled enclosures and mounds, with the former often appearing as squares, circles and other geometrically-precise shapes. A variety of archaeological figures have devoted their careers to finding out more about the Hopewell culture.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (New Mexico)


Credit: NPS.


Surrounded by the Gila National Forest (and at the edge of the Gila Wilderness), this monument, protected by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, is named for its most striking feature—the ruins of interlinked cave dwellings built in five cliff alcoves by the Mogollon peoples who lived in the area in the late 13th- and early 14th century. While the monument covers comparatively little physical ground, it offers a wealth of things for visitors to do once they’ve finished exploring these rare traces of ancient Puebloan culture: activities in the broader area include hiking, bird-watching, camping, fishing and horseback riding.

Ocmulgee National Monument (Georgia)


Credit: J. Stephen Conn, flickr.


Ocmulgee National Monument contains North America’s only intact “spiral mound,” a 20-foot-tall hillock built by indigenous tribes for purposes that remain unclear. This is just one of the monument’s pieces of major earthwork traced back to South Appalachian Mississippian settlements. The monument, containing seven mounds in all and a collection of more than one million artefacts, was protected along the Ocmulgee River by act of Congress in 1934.

- See more at: Wilderness.org

Slideshow - Climate Change is Real - The Inconvenient Truth

In 2009, Al Gore followed up with the publication of Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, a book that "gathers in one place all of the most effective solutions that are available now and that, together, will solve this crisis". "It is now abundantly clear that we have at our fingertips all of the tools we need to solve the climate crisis. The only missing ingredient is collective will."








One thousand years of temperature history obtained from isotope analysis of ice cores.


Measured since 1958, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has been increasing steadily.






One thousand years of CO2 and temperature data -- the curves have similar shape.







650,000 years of CO2 and temperature history, from Antarctic ice cores. Dips record ice ages. CO2 concentration and temperature are related. CO2 has spiked upward in recent years.







If no changes are made, CO2 concentration is predicted to climb much higher (to 600 ppm) in 45 years.







Ocean temperatures since 1940. Blue indicates normal range, green indicates range predicted by climate models due to human causes.







Ocean temperatures (see previous chart). Red line indicates actual ocean temperature history (outside and above normal range -- climate models were right).







As ocean temperatures rise, storms intensify, causing increased insurance pay-outs.







Incidents of major flooding have increased in recent decades.







37 inches (94 cm) of rain in 24 hours flooded Mumbai, India in July 2005.






Global precipitation has increased in last century by 20% but not evenly; some areas have received less. Sub-Sahara Africa is severely affected.







Arctic sea ice extent and thickness has diminished precipitously since the 1970's.







The 'Global Ocean Conveyor Belt' carries heat around the globe, in particular, to Europe. However, disruption due to ice melt has stopped heat flow to Europe in the past.











Global warming shifts the seasons, disrupting ecological relationships. The time of Black Tern bird arrival (blue) and bird hatching (yellow); hatching no longer coincides with insect peak (orange), starving chicks in the Netherlands.







Antarctic ice shelf break-up predicted by models has occurred. Larsen ice shelf (green) broke up from 1995 to 2002. Sea levels are rising. A 20 ft (6m) rise in sea level would create over 100 million refugees.







Population has exploded in the last 200 years. In 1945 there were 2.3 billion people, in 2006 there are 6.5 billion, and in 2050 there may be 9.1 billion.



Much of the population growth is occurring in developing countries.



Population growth and rising living standards drive demand for food.



... and demand for water.



Lights from fishing fleets (blue), fires (red), gas flares (yellow), and cities (white).



Relative contribution to global warming, by country. "USA is responsible for more greenhouse gas pollution than South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Japan, and Asia -- all put together."



Carbon emissions per person, for selected countries.



Carbon emissions per country, for selected countries.







"We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Without a planet, we won't enjoy gold bars, and if we do the right things, we'll have both."



Comparison of vehicle fuel economy and emission standards around the world.



California proposes standards that exceed US national standards. US car manufacturers suing California, saying targets are unreachable in 10 years -- despite manufacturers in other countries already doing it now.



Companies building more efficient cars are doing well; US car manufacturers are losing market capitalization.



USA can reduce its emissions by 2050 to pre-1970 levels by a combination of approaches...



... more efficient use of electrical energy (blue), more efficient buildings (purple), improved vehicle efficiency (green), more efficient transport network (light green), increased reliance on bio and wind energy (tan), CO2 sequestering (white).



"Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves, What were our parents thinking? Why didn't they wake up when they had the chance? We have to hear that question, from them, now."


The Inconvenient Truth - www.web.ncf.ca                                @algore