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Tina Butler in the California Sierra Nevada mountains in 2007

Tina Butler

Tina Butler is a writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has traveled to more than 35 countries, mostly in the tropics. To date, her work has appeared on mongabay.com and in Zoe magazine and African Renaissance, a bimonthly journal based in London that covers economic development in the continent.

Tina started with mongabay in March 2005.

Tina Butler's articles can be found on the News index. All full list of her articles appears here. You can contact Tina at:




Recent articles by Tina Butler:

Forests under fire: Australia's imperiled south west
(03/05/2013) In the far southwestern corner of Western Australia, beyond the famed wineries in the shadow of the Margaret River, lies an ecosystem like no other, the South West ecoregion. This part of Australia has been identified as one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots, home to rare endemic flora and fauna like the Carnaby's black cockatoo, numbat (banded anteaters), woylie (brush-tailed bettong), mainland quokka and over 1500 plant species, most found nowhere else. Unfortunately, this unique habitat is being increasingly fragmented and its inhabitants threatened by a number of forces, including climate change, dieback, fires and logging. And, on the eve of the Western Australia's state elections, the future of the South West hangs in the balance.


Future cities will be more like ecosystems that enrich society and the environment
(05/28/2008) As The World Science Festival continues in New York this week, specialists in vastly diverse fields across scientific disciplines are coming together to talk about ideas, problems and solutions. From Astronomy to Bioacoustics, the dialogues about challenges and opportunities are rich and inspiring. At the front of this year's festival rests the issue of sustainability and how scientists, specialists and society will address the imminent environmental and economic trials we are sure to face in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.


World's only blue lizard heads toward extinction
(03/07/2007) High above the forest floor on the remote Colombian island of Gorgona lives a lizard with brilliant blue skin, rivaling the color of the sky. Anolis gorgonae, or the blue anole, is a species so elusive and rare, that scientists have been unable to give even an estimate of its population. Due to the lizard&spod;s isolated habitat and reclusive habits, researchers know little about the blue anole, but are captivated by its stunning coloration.


Traditional customs pit young versus old in Indonesia's Torajaland
(10/19/2006) Cultural Bankruptcy: Maintaining History at a Tremendous Cost in Sulawesi's Torajaland. The Torajanese people of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, have long been renown for their extravagant celebrations of the dead in their funerals, graves and effigies. Just outside of Rantepao, the regional capital of Torajaland, ostentatious, costly and increasingly generationally divisive funerals take place on a regular basis. Like other indigenous cultures around the world, a growing rift between the young and old generations is calling the foundations of tradition into question.


Shift from hard drives to flash may have environmental benefits
(08/29/2006) A leading technology research group says flash, or solid state memory drives may soon replace the standard hard drives in laptops. Over the past few years, flash memory technology has been claiming an increasingly sizeable share of the market, particularly in the form of USB drives. According to the Gartner Group, the NAND flash market has grown from 1.56 billion in 200 to 11.42 billion in 2005, with even higher projections for the next two years. This summer, Samsung set a new bar by releasing computers that utilize flash memory storage, negating the need for traditional magnetic disk media. The implications of a shift for laptops are significant for a number of reasons including changing performance demand, market trends and investment opportunities. Unconsidered at this point, but nonetheless compelling, is the possible environmental impact of such a transition.


Invasive purple flower impacts Iceland's biodiversity
(07/24/2006) A common sight throughout much of Iceland is large fields of vibrant purple nootka, or Alaskan lupine. The flower looks at home in this landscape, but was actually introduced in 1945 to lowland areas as a means to add nitrogen to the soil and also to function as an anchor for organic matter. Lupine has since flourished here, spreading like a wildfire, in almost effortless competition with the other species already in residence. Critics of this initiative view the flower as an invasive species that is threatening low-growing mosses and other native plants.


Taking Care of Business: Diapers Go Green
(04/02/2006) Every year some 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills throughout the United States, generating approximately 3.5 million tons of waste which can take 500 years to biodegrade. Besides creating huge amounts of trash, most disposables are made from materials whitened with chlorine in a process that produces dangerous toxins such as dioxin, furans and other organic chlorines. Cloth diapers--often touted as environmentally superior to disposables--have drawbacks as well, requiring large amounts of water and pesticides, in addition to going through a similar bleaching process. So what's the ecologically responsible alternative? Well, it may come from the land down under. An Australian couple has developed a diaper that is not only biodegradable but serves as a benchmark for green design in that it gives more to the environment than it takes. "gDiapers", as the product is known, was recently awarded the prestigious "Cradle to Cradle Design Certification Award" from MBDC, a design consulting organization that stresses green design. The diaper is the first packaged consumer product to be so honored.


China Faces Water Crisis -- 300 million drink unsafe water
(12/30/2005) About 300 million Chinese drink unsafe water tainted by chemicals and other contaminants according to a new report from the Chinese government.


Tsunami relief risks rainforest destruction
(12/19/2005) Today WWF warned that donor countries must include sustainably sourced building materials in their long-term aid packages to avoid a second ecological disaster stemming from deforestation. According to WWF, Indonesia's Aceh province will require at least 860,000 cubic meters of sawn timber for the construction of 200,000 homes over the next five years. The conservation organization says that only a small fraction of this additional demand can be met locally without resorting to illegal logging that would be damaging to Sumatra's biologically important rain forests.


Demise of passenger pigeon linked to Lyme disease
(11/14/2005) Traditionally, the passenger pigeon has been held as one of the more beloved animal species to fall prey to humankind's often relentless expansion into and disregard for the natural world and its creatures. Once abundant, the bird experienced a rapid decline in the late 1800s, due almost entirely to rampant hunting, and the last passenger pigeon died in 1914. In light of new findings however, this image of a naturally plentiful species laid to waste by man is now being tested. Evidence collected over the past few years from a significant number of Native American archeological sites is beginning to upset long-accepted beliefs about one of the most famous extinct species in modern history.


Africa Heats Up -- climate change threatens future of the continent
(10/11/2005) A series of recent studies have revealed a sobering future for the majority of Africa, a future predicated by undeniable and significant climate change. The threat traverses all levels of the environmental, social, political and economic spheres, from heightened socio-economic disparity to dwindling fish populations, from civil strife to desperate hunger. The greatest and saddest irony of this dark fate projected for the continent is that while Africa has the world's lowest levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, contributing the least to global climate change, it has been forced to bear the brunt of the phenomenon.


Fires in peat lands cost climate
(09/06/2005) The tropical rainforests of Kalimantan have long been threatened and increasingly endangered by deforestation and other invasive types of human activity. However, a lesser known ecosystem in the region that is literally coming under fire, is the tropical peat lands, particularly in the central area of the province of Indonesian Borneo.


Dubai's artificial islands have high environmental cost
(08/23/2005) Dubai, a city-state in the United Arab Emirates with a population of around one million, has lately embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its international standing in the eyes of the world's rich by building a number of artificial islands. These islands, which will house luxury residences, villas, and hotels, are a growing concern for environmentalists due to their impact on the local marine ecology.


Brazil's grasslands could replace food production of American heartland
(08/01/2005) Today when people mention Brazil and agriculture, people often first envision the Amazon rainforest giving way to soybean plantations and cattle farms. While the Amazon is being converted for such purposes, the cerrado, a vast area of savanna-like grasslands covering more than 20% of the country's surface area, is increasingly under threat as farmers from the United States and Europe are setting their sights on the country's sizeable agricultural potential.


Africa seeks bioengineered solutions to food crisis
(07/18/2005) African scientists, in conjunction with research facilities in the United States, are working toward developing super strains of traditional nutritional staples in Africa.


'Noodling' or catching giant catfish with your hands now legal in Georgia
(07/01/2005) 'Noodling' becomes legal in Georgia today.


UN Atlas highlights changing environment in Latin America
(06/05/2005) UN Atlas highlights changing environment in Latin America


Saving the Amazonian Rainforest Through Agricultural Certification
(06/03/2005) John Cain Carter is a Texan rancher who believes that landowners, despite being held in low regard by environmentalists, may be the potential saviors of the rainforest. Carter, among other somewhat environmentally-conscious, yet profit-oriented landowners, wants to promote responsible agricultural practices by encouraging consumers to provide incentives to growers and producers.


The Great Noodling Experiment: Hand-fishing for giant catfish now legal
(06/01/2005) In the deep South and parts of the Midwest, there exists an extreme type of fishing that has nurtured devotees and opponents alike. Noodling involves the catching of massive catfish -- creatures that can weigh up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms) -- with the fisherman's bare hands.


China's Imminent Water Crisis
(05/30/2005) China has long suffered from alternating periods of severe flooding and drought. Combined with high pollution levels and a history of heedless and haphazard policies, the country is witnessing a precipitous drop in this most essential supply.


Recordings of coral reef sounds attract fish
(05/24/2005) Using recordings of reef sounds may increase reef fish stocks depleted by shipping traffic, underwater drilling and overfishing. Scientists have discovered that some species of young coral reef fish are lured back to home reefs by sounds they hear while still developing in the egg.


Tsunami relief, rainforest attack; aid groups conflict over deforestation and reconstruction
(05/22/2005) Tsunami reconstruction efforts result in deforestation.


Vampire Fish discovered in the Amazon
(05/19/2005) A new species, dubbed the 'vampire fish,' was recently discovered in the Araguaia River of the Amazon Basin.


Somewhere Out There, Millions of Species Await Discovery
(05/17/2005) While Planet Earth is becoming an increasingly smaller and more familiar world as every corner is explored and colonized, there remain millions of species undiscovered and undocumented. A number of significant species have been discovered in recent months, revealing humans' huge gaps in knowledge of the world around them.


Genetically modified agriculture and bioengineered food gains ground
(05/15/2005) A new milestone was reached and surpassed this week as the one billionth acre of genetically enhanced crops was planted. Even though biotech crops became available for the first time only ten years ago, they have been rapidly adopted, as indicated by this massive amount of land now planted. The first US commercial acres were planted in 1996 and now an area larger than the state of California is under cultivation with bioengineered crops. Close to 85 percent of soybeans, 75 percent of cotton and half of the corn in the United States is genetically enhanced; these crops are veritable super varieties whose genes have been manipulated in the lab. These, among nearly a dozen other genetically modified crops, have been altered by scientists for the purposes of producing higher yields or for increased resistance to herbicides, pests and drought


indigenous people oppose National Geographic, IBM project
(05/09/2005) The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism (IPCB), an organization that provides educational and technical support to indigenous peoples in the protection of their biological resources, cultural integrity, knowledge and collective rights, is distressed at the news of this new endeavor.


Project seeks to understand human origins and migration
(05/09/2005) Ted Waitt, founder of the Waitt Family Foundation, believes the Genographic Project will promote harmonious living across national boundaries and cultural lines by improving and expanding understanding and awareness about shared origins and journeys.


Genographic Project stirs controversy
(05/09/2005) National Geographic's Genographic Project: Whose Blood, Whose History, Whose Gain?


For What It's Worth: Ecological Services and conservation
(05/04/2005) For a long time, preserving natural spaces was considered to be a favor to the environment without a true, measurable benefit to businesses, industrial production and productivity. In recent years however, scientists are increasingly producing substantial evidence to support the notion that the natural environment supplies a diverse range of renewable economic benefits beyond timber and fish. These benefits are termed “ecological services” and provide such valuable functions as water treatment, pollination and sediment capture, simply by remaining intact.


Circumventing Washington: Corporate America and activists bypass the White House
(04/27/2005) Corporate America, Activists & Circumventing Washington: A New Approach to Environmental Lobbying. Green groups partner with corporate interests to bring changes in business practices.


Surfing in Paradise: Surf Trip to Bahia, Brazil
(04/27/2005) Surfing in Bahia is great even with the aguaviva jellyfish.


Madagascar Larger Than Life, New Life for Madagascar's Tourist Industry?
(04/26/2005) One of the most anticipated films of the spring is Dreamworks's Madagascar. Scheduled for release over the often profitable Memorial Day weekend, this new feature is generating lots of buzz for the studio as well as the actors voicing the animated creatures featured in the movie. Madagascar, the country, hopes the film will stimulate its tourist industry in a way similar to Kenya's after the 1985 film Out of Africa was released.


Shamans and Robots: Bridging the Past and Future of Ethnobotany and Bioprospecting
(04/25/2005) A look at trends in ethnobotany and bioprospecting in seeking new ways to address human health conditions.


Honduran priest recognized as environmental hero with $125,000 award
(04/22/2005) On April 18th, 2005, Father José Andrés Tamayo Cortez was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to preserve and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $125,000, the largest of its kind.


Borneo's peat lands going up in smoke
(04/21/2005) The tropical rainforests of Kalimantan have long been threatened and increasingly endangered by deforestation and other invasive types of human activity. However, a lesser known ecosystem in the region that is literally coming under fire, is the tropical peat lands, particularly in the central area of the province of Indonesian Borneo


Studying the rainforest canopy
(04/21/2005) The Global Canopy Programme, a groundbreaking new project dedicated to studying rainforest canopies, is about to enter the implementation stage in five tropical forests across the globe. Headed by Dr. Andrew Mitchell of Oxford University, the project will place giant cranes in Brazil, Ghana, India, Madagascar and Malaysia


Bioprospecting in Panama
(04/20/2005) Coiba, an island 12 miles off the coast of Panama and once a notorious penal colony, may be hiding big secrets in its reefs, among them, a possible cure for malaria.


Timber hungry China moves into Africa
(04/20/2005) With its projected growth rates, China will soon surpass the United States in wood consumption. This voracious appetite for timber is threatening tropical forests around the globe but nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa where China is increasingly focusing its development efforts and adding fuel to a booming trade in illegally harvested timber.


The Next Costa Rica? Environmental activism takes root in Honduras
(04/18/2005) With its biodiversity, rich history, beautiful beaches, and stunning reefs, some believe Honduras could be the ecotourism hotspot in Central America. However, between growing gang violence linked to the drug trade in the United States and conflicts between developers and local communities, the country still faces many challenges in becoming the next Costa Rica. Special correspondent Tina Butler takes a look at changing attitudes about the environment in one of Central America's poorest countries.


Chinese economy drives road-building and deforestation in the Amazon
(04/17/2005) Chinese economy drives road-building and deforestation in the Amazon


Cane toads increasingly a problem in Australia
(04/17/2005) Cane toads increasingly a problem in Australia


Kalimantan at the Crossroads: Dipterocarp Forests and the Future of Indonesian Borneo
(04/17/2005) Kalimantan at the Crossroads: Dipterocarp Forests and the Future of Indonesian Borneo


Deforestation in Borneo
(04/13/2005) Deforestation in Borneo


The Age of Sex: Bad Boys and the Sexualized Body in 1960s Fashion Photography
(04/02/2005) The Age of Sex: Bad Boys and the Sexualized Body in 1960s Fashion Photography


Thomas and Verushka: Sexualized Elements of Swinging 60s London
(04/02/2005) Thomas and Verushka: Sexualized Elements of Swinging 60s London


Brutality in Sexuality: The Newtonization of Fashion Photography in the 1970s
(04/02/2005) Brutality in Sexuality: The Newtonization of Fashion Photography in the 1970s


Souvenirs and the Museum Store: Icons of Culture and Status to Go
(04/02/2005) Souvenirs and the Museum Store: Icons of Culture and Status to Go.


The Counterfeit Body: Fashion Photography and the Deceptions of Femininity, Sexuality, Authenticity and Self in the 1950s, 60s and 70s
(04/02/2005) The Counterfeit Body: Fashion Photography and the Deceptions of Femininity, Sexuality, Authenticity and Self in the 1950s, 60s and 70s


America's Cinematic Deadly Obsession
(04/02/2005) In Sickness and in Health: America's Cinematic Deadly Obsession.


Bridging the Great Divide: Hollywood Versus the Avant-garde
(04/02/2005) Fritz Lang's films M and Scarlet Street illuminate the gaping, yet often blurred division between high avant-garde art and low, appropriated imitation by mass culture. Lang's two films, when juxtaposed, begin to engage in a dialogue about the cultural position of each of the two forms--one, a typical European art film, and the other, an production of the Hollywood school.


Seven's Failure to Surmount Mass Culture
(04/02/2005) Non-place is Still Someplace: Seven's Failure to Surmount Mass Culture.


The Methods of Madness: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Awakenings
(04/02/2005) The Methods of Madness: Representations of Inmates, Authorities and the Asylum in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Awakenings .


For Whose Eyes?: The Politics, Persuasions and Perversions of the Gendered Gaze
(04/02/2005) For Whose Eyes?: The Politics, Persuasions and Perversions of the Gendered Gaze


Fashion Photography as Semiotics: Barthes and the Limitations of Classification
(04/02/2005) Fashion Photography as Semiotics: Barthes and the Limitations of Classification


Interrupting the Age of Innocence: Fashion Photography in the 1950s
(04/02/2005) Interrupting the Age of Innocence: Fashion Photography in the 1950s


The Teacher and the Student: Innocence, Exploration, and Redefinition in the 1950s World of Fashion
(04/02/2005) The Teacher and the Student: Innocence, Exploration, and Redefinition in the 1950s World of Fashion





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