I have always tried to keep a positive outlook on life, but it seems it gets harder each year. There is always a sad note in out outdoor news. For years scientists have been concerned about the warming temperatures in the world’s oceans and how it will affect their aquatic life. Sad to say it has already begun. Researchers have checked fishing data from 1930 to 2010 and came up with some very interesting information.

In some places the fish population has increased, in other sites the news is not so good. Among the hard hit areas are the northeast Atlantic and Sea of Japan. Both of these regions saw a decline of up to 35%. Overall the total decline was about 4%.

Now overfishing and poor fish management are probably some of these losses, but in these regions increasing temperatures may be the main culprit as the water is warming faster than anticipated. Another problem that I am really concerned about is what is happening with our frogs and other amphibians. This is chytridiomycosis. Wow, what a name. In plain English this is a fungus that eats the skin off the amphibians and leaves them susceptible to a variety of diseases.

At least 500 amphibian species have suffered severe losses over the last 50 years, with at least 90 that are now believed to have become extinct. Chytri is caused by two fungal species that began in Asia. It soon started to spread, as most things do, to the rest of the world.

South and Central America, where there are many kinds of frogs and other amphibians, have been very hard hit. It is feared that many more species in the tropics will become extinct. Reports of it have even occurred in the U.S. and Australia. I have noticed some decline in the frog population around where I live, but I hope it is not from chytri, which has been called the most deadly pathogen known to science. It seems most people like frogs. There is something about them that attracts people. They also consume lots on insects that we find to be troublesome. It just would not be the same world without our amphibians.

Now some better news. Ireland and Northern Ireland have a place in the hearts of many Hoosiers. Many of us trace at least some of our ancestors back to the Emerald Isle. A churchyard in Northern Ireland has recently been in the news. It seems this church in the Boho Highlands has for years been regarded as both a holy site and a place where the soil has healing power. What makes dirt from this small site different from other nearby locations?

Scientists recently decided to take a look at the soil in the churchyard and what they found surprised them. What they discovered was an unknown bacterium that was in the alkaline soil of the churchyard. Upon testing the bacterium, it was learned that it could halt the growth of four of the top six superbugs that have already taken the lives of a number of people. These super bugs are resistant to most of our conventional antibiotics. Now the research has started to try and find out how this bacterium works. It was learned that the parishioner residents have used what they called “sacred clay” for over 200 years to treat a variety of maladies. They would collect the soil, place it in little packets, and put them under their pillows. This has often been called a fold remedy.

Now with new superbugs appearing all the time it’s time to take a new look at these old folk remedies and see how they did cure the ills of past generations. Just because it’s old and not produced in a lab doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

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