Urban population growth and demand for food could spark global unrest, study shows

A population explosion in urban center around the world is expected to fuel an unprecedented demand for food that – if not met — could trigger economic. . . . (From: www.latimes.com).

GR:  Joe Bish of the Population Media Center commented on the LA Times article:
“The following article was published by the L.A. Times late last week, and reports out on a new report titled “Growing Food for Growing Cities: Transforming Food Systems in an Urbanizing World.” This lengthy study was issued by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and weighs in at around 100 pages. The report continually cites population growth as a major factor in pressuring food supply chains. For example: “Explosive population growth, both rural and urban, will require 50 to 60 percent increases in global food production by 2050 in order to meet projected demand,” says the introduction. Overall, the word population is mentioned 67 times. Unsurprisingly, but nonetheless regrettably, the report fails to offer a shred of advice to policy makers regarding family planning information and services or universal, unrestricted access to modern contraception. The report’s priority recommendation is for the US government to “Pass legislation committing the United States to a long-term global food and nutrition security strategy.” This would have been a perfect spot to share and emphasize best-practice interventions on family planning. The key question about the failure to do so may be whether it was a failure of the report’s author — or the failure of population advocates and communicators to effectively and widely engage professional experts outside our silo?”

Discover how UNEP is setting the global environmental agenda in its annual report #UNEP2015

United Nations Environment Programme.  From: www.unep.org

GR:  The loftiest goals, the finest presentation, for the glossiest oxymoron: “sustainable development”. We must keep in mind that population control is the key issue. Population control is not mentioned in the UNEP Annual Report, and in fact, most of the sustainable development goals will increase population. It is an artful deception to praise development for its contributions to humans and nature. Development, the increasing overpopulation and overuse of the Earth, must make a U-turn now if we are to save the majority of wild plants and animals–nature. Moreover, without nature, our artificial lives will become tedious and tenuous.

Nonhuman Rights Project

Animal testingGR:  This page on the Nonhuman Rights Project website has an interactive map that gives you information about each U. S. state’s laws and regulations for animals.

“Each of the 50 states has different laws and regulations concerning how the common law can be used and how it’s been interpreted by judges over the years.

“Here at the Nonhuman Rights Project, our team of attorneys, legal experts and volunteer law students have been working their way through each of the states to see how our key arguments might fare.

At the same time, the science team has been researching the situation of nonhuman animals – especially chimpanzees, elephants and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) – being held in captivity, to help in the selection of our first plaintiffs.

“In this section of the website, we give a brief report on the legal situation in each state, along with a few examples of animals we might select as plaintiffs.”  From: states.nonhumanrights.org

#ClimateKids Win Again! 

In a surprise ruling from the bench, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Washington Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and, in consultation with the youth petitioners, to make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions during the 2017 legislative session.

Noting the extraordinary circumstances of the climate crisis, the judge said, “this is an urgent situation…these kids can’t wait,” and referenced catastrophic impacts of climate destabilization. Building on their earlier win in November where this court ruled that the youth have constitutional rights to their public trust resources and a safe climate, this decision takes another substantial step by setting specific dates in the near future for science-based action in the state of Washington.

From: us4.campaign-archive2.com

GR:  This second ruling in favor of the youths is great news.  However, the situation is indeed urgent. The state legislature needs to respond now rather than wait until next year to consider the issue.

NCAR: Global Temperature Increase Depletes Oxygen in Most Ocean Zones by the 2030s

robertscribbler

A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040. — The National Center for Atmospheric Research in a press release on April 27th.

*****

Loss of oxygen in the world’s oceans. It’s one of those really, really bad effects of a human-forced warming of our world. One of the those climate monsters in the closet that Steve Pacala talks about. The kind of thing we really don’t want to set loose on our world.

Deoxygenated Oceans as Major Killing Mechanism During Hothouse Extinctions

The damage caused by ocean oxygen loss is multi-variant and wide-ranging. The most obvious harm comes in the form of generating environments in which oxygen-dependent life in the oceans can no longer breathe. Any living creature that…

View original post 1,194 more words

Saving Life on Earth–Saving Biodiversity

Human Impact on Biodiversity

GarryRogersUnaware of the consequences of its behavior, the growing human population is erasing sixty-five million of years of biodiversity recovery since the massive extinction that eliminated dinosaurs and most other species.  This is without doubt the greatest issue of our time, perhaps of all time.  In the article below, points out that biodiversity is not even being mentioned by our current presidential candidates.

Saguaro cactus blooming in 2016 two months earlier than usual.

Saguaro, the iconic species of the Sonoran Desert, blooming in April, two months earlier than usual (Rogers, 2016).

Global warming, deforestation, desertification, environmental pollution, and ocean acidification are familiar labels for human-caused destruction of biodiversity and stability of Earth ecosystems.  They are all connected to the attempt by our billions of people to satisfy their desires for food, reproduction, safety, and convenience.  Allowed uncontrolled expansion, any one of them can achieve planet-wide destruction of biodiversity.  Consider that even if this year’s great climate-change treaty achieves a sudden shift to safe energy and stops global warming, it will not save life on Earth.  No single-issue approach can.

(The following article by Quentin Wheeler is reproduced with permission from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  I would like to add that our ‘moon-shot’ inventory should include ecosystems as well as species.)

 

Why We Need a ‘Moon Shot’ to catalogue the Earth’s Biodiversity

“It’s unlikely that presidential candidates will ever utter the word “biodiversity” while campaigning this year.

“Yet among emerging environmental challenges, none has fewer facts or more enduring threats than the large-scale loss of biodiversity. That’s why we need a visionary investment in fundamental exploration to create knowledge and options.

“And our elected representatives should lead vigorous discussions about what we can and should do about it. From Jefferson to Kennedy, from the Northwest Territory to the depths of space, presidents of vision have opened new frontiers to exploration.

“Serious environmental problems are a bipartisan challenge that deserves to be in every presidential platform. While scientific questions should be firewalled from politics, what we do with scientific knowledge should not. The best solutions should emerge from the rough and tumble of public debate.

“Biodiversity belongs in our public discussion because we have so much to learn from the Earth’s species – both what it means to be human and the knowledge encapsulated in nature – as we plot our future in a time of great change.”

How little we know

“At the estimated current rate of species extinction, it is projected that 70 percent of all the kinds of animals and plants will disappear in about 300 years.

“This is not the first time that earth has weathered such a mass extinction event. There have been five previously, the most recent occurring 65 million years ago, marked by the disappearance of the great dinosaurs.

“In each case, evolutionary processes have restored high levels of species diversity, but this should give us little comfort. Biodiversity recovery takes place over tens of millions of years. And in the meanwhile, there can be enormously chaotic consequences for ecosystems.

“It’s estimated that 10 million more species could be described or redescribed in greater detail. andreaskay/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA”

“Our knowledge of the species with which we share planet Earth is dangerously limited, meaning that we make decisions and policies in near complete ignorance of basic facts. Our best guess is that there are 10 million living species, more or less, excluding the single-celled bacteria and Archaea.

“Of these, fewer than two million are known to science. And of documented species, most are known by little more than a few diagnostic features and a name. While the rate of species extinction has greatly increased, the pace at which we are exploring species has not.

“In one of the original “big science” ideas, the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus set out in the mid-18th century to complete a global inventory of all the kinds of animals and plants. That inventory continues today, but at an unacceptably slow pace. We discover about 18,000 species each year, a rate unchanged since the 1940s in spite of technological advances.

“This need not be so. Given appropriate technical support and coordinated teamwork, it has been estimated that 10 million species could be described or redescribed in greater detail in no more than 50 years.

“As global environments are stressed, we need reliable knowledge of species diversity upon which to detect and measure changes. Ironically, we have mapped the rocky surface of Mars in greater detail than the living biosphere of our own planet.

“Unless we know what species exist and where, how are we to recognize invasive species, measure rates of extinction or even know whether our conservation strategies are working or not? How are we to understand or restore complex ecosystems when we are ignorant of the majority of their functioning parts? And how much are we willing to risk losing by not undertaking a comprehensive biodiversity moon shot?”

Half the Earth?

“Three major benefits would accrue from a NASA-scale mission to explore the biosphere.

“First would be baseline documentation of the species that exist early in the 21st century, including how they assemble into complex networks in ecosystems. Such baseline data would be transformative for ecology, conservation biology, and resource management, and establish a detailed point of comparison for whatever changes come in the future.

“Second is unleashing the full potential of biomimicry. For 3.8 billion years natural selection has maintained favorable adaptations and weeded out unworkable ones. Among the millions of such adaptations, engineers and innovators can find inspiration for entirely new designs, materials, products and processes.

“The extent to which we succeed creating a truly sustainable future – from renewable energy to degradable materials to cities that function like efficient ecosystems – may well depend on how much knowledge we gather from other species, including those about to go extinct.

“Last, but not least, is knowledge of our origins. Anthropologists continue to fill gaps in our knowledge of the emergence of modern humans, but that is only the most recent chapter in our story. Every attribute that we think of as uniquely human was modified from characteristics of earlier mammals. And features supposedly unique to mammals were similarly modified from even earlier ancestors and so forth, all the way back to the first single-celled species from which the diversity of life around us evolved.

“We can no more understand what it is to be human without exploring this whole history than we could account for why Earth is as it is in the absence of knowledge of the universe.

A bold idea espoused by famed biologist E. O. Wilson. W. W. Norton and company

“We stand a much better chance of slowing the rate of extinction and reducing the percentage of species ultimately lost if we complete a planetary species inventory. And by preserving evidence and knowledge of those species that are lost, we can continue to learn from them.

“New tools, such as those from information science and molecular genetics, can help speed species exploration, but are most powerful when used in combination with detailed descriptive studies of species that reveal their evolutionary novelties.

“E.O. Wilson’s new book, “Half Earth,” proposes that half our planet be reserved for all the other species. His suggestion has unassailable common sense and is perhaps the most workable solution holding promise for millions of other species.

“If we accelerate species exploration, we can add value to “their” half of the world by better understanding and appreciating its residents while finding nature-inspired solutions to sustainably meet our needs in the confines of our half.

“The sooner we act, the greater our chances to avoid a sixth extinction event and preserve nature’s vast library of clues to better ways to meet human needs in an era of rapid global environmental change.”

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In The Fall

A short hand-drawn animation created in Adobe Flash and After Effects about one mans reflection on his life. Music by Guided by Voices.  From: www.youtube.com

GR:  I missed this. In the end, Man gets his just reward from visiting aliens. Nice, but it’s more likely that toxic wastes (including CO2) and all their combined effects on Earth systems will simply choke us to death.  Thanks to Peter (pdeppisch, http://entangledreality.blogspot.ca/) for pointing it out.