Archive for November 2009
“….nature is sick, which threatens the survival of the human species”
“Conservation of nature is the first order strategy for climate change and carbon capture sequestration”
The only way forward is that “we must learn to live a simple life that is spiritually based”
By Stephen Leahy
MÉRIDA, Mexico, Nov 12 (IPS)
Lawrence Amos travelled from the Arctic at the top of the world to the tropical middle to recite in a soft voice the ongoing destruction of his home by climate change.
The ice is rougher and not as thick, and melts in May instead of June. There is less snow, more coastal erosion, and permafrost is melting, threatening to swallow homes, said Amos, an Inuit who lives in Sachs Harbour in Canada’s High Arctic, one of the remotest communities on the planet.
Amos was speaking here on Memorial Day at the 9th World Wilderness Congress from Nov. 6-13, where many other indigenous peoples, scientists and conservationists from more than 50 countries documented the escalating impacts of climate change on the land and in the oceans.
Like the roll call of the names of those fallen at Memorial or Remembrance Day ceremonies, Amos’ list of impacts experienced by the people of the western Arctic was tragically long.
Insects, birds and fish never seen before are now appearing in the region. “Grizzly bears are mating with polar bears… Our traditional knowledge about the land is becoming worthless,” he told IPS.
“Mother Nature does not use language. We must be aware of the signs, the changes in species, the melting of glaciers to inform us that nature is sick, which threatens the survival of the human species,” said Bittu Sahgal, founder of Sanctuary Asia, India’s leading environmental conservation magazine and book publisher.
“Nature will not talk to us, it will give us consequences,” he told more than 1,500 participants at the WILD9 congress, a partnership between the WILD Foundation, an international, non-governmental non-profit based in the United States, and Unidos para la Conservación, a conservation organisation in Mexico. Read the rest of this entry »
Study: ‘Biotech Crops Bring Big Jump in Pesticide Use But Not Yields’ — hmm what would Monsanto say?
Report Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops reveals North America’s use of genetically engineered crops has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods. Despite the biotechnology’s loud and well advertised claims they are the only hope for feeding the world and protect the environment.
Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.
[Originally released April 2009 I did not get a chance to write about it then.]
It reviewed two dozen academic studies and is the first report to closely evaluate the overall effect genetic engineering has had on crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies.
The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS
My related articles:
Study concludes: governmental policy that supports mono-culture systems is outdated and support should be shifted to programs that promote crop rotations and organic farming practices.
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Aug 25 (IPS)
Save the living environment and the physical environment will automatically be saved, according to E.O. Wilson, the world’s leading biologist and father of the online Encyclopedia of Life, which plans to create a web page for every known species – all 1.8-plus million.
Climate and water are parts of the physical environment that rely on the living environment – trees, insects, animals – to keep them clean, healthy and in balance.
But that fundamental reality is not well understood by the public and little progress has been made in preventing the destruction of ecosystems and species, Wilson recently told the New Scientist magazine. That’s why Wilson came up with the idea in 2003 to create a publicly accessible, interactive Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).
Launched in 2008, the EOL is growing quickly with 170,000 entries, over 30,000 still images and video – with some provided by members of the public.
“We want to engage the public. With the EOL they can survey the species in their yard and neighbourhoods and report what they find,” said James Edwards, EOL’s executive director based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
“We’d love to see everyone become a ‘field biologist’ and submit what they’ve found,” he said.
Societal understanding and support is crucial to slow and reverse the loss of ecosystems and species, Edwards told IPS.
“If we can’t do that, we all will be in deep trouble,” he said.
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 9 (IPS)
Without action on climate change “The collapse of fisheries in much of the world would be a sideshow,” Daniel Pauly.
Fish catches are expected to decline dramatically in the world’s tropical regions because of climate change, but may increase in the north, said a new study published Thursday.
This mega-shift in ocean productivity from south to north over the next three to four decades will leave those most reliant on fish for both food and income high and dry.
“The shift is already happening, we’ve been measuring it for the last 20 years,” said Daniel Pauly, a renowned fisheries expert at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
“Major shifts in fish populations will create a host of changes in ocean ecosystems likely resulting in species loss and problems for the people who now catch them,” Pauly told IPS.
In the first major study to examine the effects of climate change on ocean fisheries, a team of researchers from UBC and Princeton University discovered that catch potential will fall 40 percent in the tropics and may increase 30 to 70 percent in high latitude regions, affecting ocean food supply throughout the world by 2055.
The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined the impacts of rising ocean temperatures, changes in salinity and currents resulting from a warming climate. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 9, 2009 (IPS)
The prospect of a four-degree Celsius rise in global average temperatures in 50 years is alarming – but not alarmist, climate scientists now believe.
Eighteen months ago, no one dared imagine humanity pushing the climate beyond an additional two degrees C of heating, but rising carbon emissions and inability to agree on cuts has meant science must now consider the previously unthinkable.
“Two degrees C is already gone as a target,” said Chris West of the University of Oxford’s UK Climate Impacts Programme.
“Four degrees C is definitely possible…This is the biggest challenge in our history,” West told participants at the “4 Degrees and Beyond, International Climate Science Conference” at the University of Oxford last week.
A four-degree C overall increase means a world where temperatures will be two degrees warmer in some places, 12 degrees and more in others, making them uninhabitable.
It is a world with a one- to two-metre sea level rise by 2100, leaving hundreds of millions homeless. This will head to 12 metres in the coming centuries as the Greenland and Western Antarctic ice sheets melt, according to papers presented at the conference in Oxford.
Four degrees of warming would be hotter than any time in the last 30 million years, and it could happen as soon as 2060 to 2070.
“Political reality must be grounded in physical reality or it’s completely useless,” John Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told the conference.
Schellnhuber recently briefed U.S. officials from the Barack Obama administration, but he says they chided him that his findings were “not grounded in political reality” and that “the [U.S.] Senate will never agree to this”.
He had told them that the U.S. must reduce its emissions from its current 20 tonnes of carbon per person average to zero tonnes per person by 2020 to have an even chance of stabilising the climate around two degrees C.
China’s emissions must peak by 2020 and then go to zero by 2035 based on the current science, he added.
“Policymakers who agreed to a two-degree C goal at the G20 summit easily fool themselves about what emission cuts are needed,” Schellnhuber said.
Even with a two-degree rise, most of the world’s coral reefs will be lost, large portions of the ocean will become dead zones, mountain glaciers will largely vanish and many other ecosystems will be at risk, Schellnhuber warned. And there is the risk of reaching a tipping point where the warming rapidly accelerates. Read the rest of this entry »