Petition · Remove Ivory from the traditional Wedding Anniversary gifts list before its TOO LATE

GR:  Wildlife is dying out as our farms, forestry, cities, and industries remove and poison habitats. Ivory lovers and the poachers who represent them favor a more direct approach to extinction.

“Thank you so much for taking the time to read this short and simple petition, which has a very achievable and easy goal, which I will come onto shortly.

“As you will already know, this petition centres around the conservation of our magnificent gentle giants with whom we share this planet. The noble and majestic Elephant. A beautiful and intelligent creature which may very possibly be extinct in our lifetimes. This means our children may never know a real live Elephant.

“This is not hundreds of years in the future, this is now.

“The insatiable demand for ivory is causing a dramatic decline in the number of African elephants. Poachers are hunting the animal faster than it can reproduce, with deaths affecting more than half of elephant families in the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, a new study finds. In 2011, the worst African elephant poaching year on record since 1998, poachers killed an estimated 40,000 elephants, or about 8 percent of the elephant population in Africa. This is unsustainable.” Please sign:  Petition · Remove Ivory from the traditional Wedding Anniversary gifts list before its TOO LATE. ·

Mainstreaming Biodiversity: A Real Solution to the Devastation of Nature?

GR:  This article describes the biodiversity catastrophe that is unfolding, and it discusses the preventive strategies of the international Convention on Biological Diversity. The article has little positive to say about the probable success of the current strategy.  Again:  The strenuous efforts our leaders make to line their pockets deafens them to shouts of impending disaster.

“4 December marks the start of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP). While not as well-known as the climate COPs, this conference responds to a complex crisis that is both as threatening and urgent as the climate crisis. Globally, biodiversity is being depleted at an alarming rate. Animals are being wiped out as much as 100 times faster than their natural extinction rate. The last time the world experienced such a rate of decline was 65 million years ago, with the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

“Sadly, it doesn’t end there. Biodiversity is being contaminated with genetically modified species, while at the same time, invasive species are taking over in many parts of the world.

“In short, we have already destroyed more than the equilibrium of our natural environment can bear. We find ourselves on the threshold of a species and ecosystems destruction that is already being called the sixth global biodiversity mega-extinction. This is no small matter.”We have to exist within ecological and planetary boundaries. We need to inform democratic bodies so they fully understand the issue and ensure they can and do make decisions free from corporate influence.”

“In 1992 the Convention on Biological Diversity was born to tackle this biodiversity depletion crisis. Since then, plans and targets have come and gone, yet no real progress has been made. On the contrary, the situation has become progressively worse year on year.

“The latest idea to avert this trend is to “mainstream” biodiversity into other sectors and bodies. This means that biodiversity should become a cross-cutting element in all sectors, governmental and intergovernmental agencies. Achieving this is important, as so far, decisions adopted in the CBD are simply not a priority when national governments and business outline economic and development plans. Economic growth continues to be the main objective. However, every percentage increase of economic growth depletes natural areas further. Today few places remain unaltered by humankind.

“There is certainly no point in developing environmental regulations and policies if countries continue to operate as they currently do. So we need to ask, will mainstreaming have any real impact? How will it be implemented, and are there any potentially detrimental effects?” –Nele Marien. (Continue:  Mainstreaming Biodiversity: A Real Solution to the Devastation of Nature?)

Remembrance Day for Lost Species

GR:  Some people feel care and sympathy for wild animals. Many of us have grieved for the passing of a family pet. The subject here is the death of a species, not just one individual. How great would be our sorrow if we learned that the last dog on Earth had died? Though we have no personal experience with many of the species that are passing now, we can sense the loss that comes with extinction, a species’ disappearance from the Earth forever.  Here is Animalista Untamed‘s beautiful statement on mourning the losses.

Golden Toad (Incilius Perigrenes) Extinct Last seen 1989

“All over the world on November 30th 2016, people will be gathering in small groups for rituals of grief to mourn species lost to extinction, and to reinvigorate their love for the natural world.

“The age we are living in now is labelled by scientists the 6th Mass Extinction, or the Anthropocene. Anthropocene, because we humans are the ones responsible for wiping out animals, plants, their habitats, whole ecosystems, trashing the beautiful planet we share with them. Who knows how many species have been lost before they’ve even been discovered.

“So how does it make us feel when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature publishes the latest additions to the Red List of species at threat of extinction?

“Are those animals and plants meaningless names and numbers, easily swept to the furthest darkest recesses of the mind, and left there to gather dust? Are we living in denial?“

“So much of the information we receive about extinctions and biodiversity decline today comes from science, not from personal experience in the wild. And while science is necessary, it is often represented in press releases that are bloodless, cold, even inhuman – a recitation of facts rather than a proper elegy for the lost.” –Megan Hollingsworth

“Or maybe the news does strike home and we feel helpless and hopeless, filled with sorrow, pain and frustration. Do we find ourselves suppressing our grief for fear it may overwhelm us?

“Either way we are affected, the Remembrance Day for Lost Species on the 30th offers healing for ourselves, and a way to honour those earth-dwellers forever lost to the planet.

“Learn about past grief rituals here.”–Animalista Untamed. Continue reading:  Remembrance Day for Lost Species

Attention New Mexico: Urge Santa Fe County Commissioners to Restrict Trapping on Federal Public Lands

GR:  Here’s a chance to give some support to wildlife.

“On Tuesday, November 29, 2017, the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution pledging the County’s help in restricting cruel and indiscriminate trapping on federal public lands, including in the Santa Fe National Forest.

“The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been working with local advocates and the Board of Commissioners to make this possible, but we urge you to contact the Commissioners and let them know you support this effort!

“Local residents and the many visitors to tourist-friendly Santa Fe love the outdoors and use federal public lands for hiking, biking and other recreational pursuits. Santa Fe is indeed an outdoor mecca, but trapping tarnishes its reputation and endangers people, pets and wildlife.

“Commercial trappers set traps on public lands, creating a risk of injury to dogs, other animals and people. An increasing numbers of dogs have accidentally been caught in traps in Santa Fe County. Even if trappers caught only the wildlife for whom they set their traps, the practice is extremely cruel: trapped animals suffer inhumane levels of fear, pain, stress, starvation, dehydration and predation.

“Neither the U.S. Forest Service nor the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish can protect wildlife, pets and people from traps whose locations need not be reported. Only by prohibiting the use of animal traps can we protect the safety of individuals, families, companion animals, endangered species and wildlife.

“What can you do?” –Animal Legal Defense Fund (In New Mexico you can attend the meeting. Otherwise, make the call.  Please continue reading:   Attention New Mexico: Urge Santa Fe County Commissioners to Restrict Trapping on Federal Public Lands | Animal Legal Defense Fund)

Overpopulation Clouds India’s Future

GR:  You may find it interesting that Indians are calling for government intervention to slow population growth. They already tried that beginning in the 1960’s. They failed. Stephen Hawking believes that humanity will destroy life on this planet and must move to the stars or die. Notwithstanding the emigration imperative, I plan to refuse to enter the B Ark when exit time comes.

“India has made great economic strides in recent decades. During that time, the country’s middle class has grown considerably even as there is controversy as to how much. Nevertheless, a dark cloud hangs over India’s future, and that cloud is overpopulation.There may be as few as 2,200 wild tigers in India today. In 1900,there were an estimated 100,000 in multiple countries.

“As Indian commentator Rumani Saikia Phkan observed, “Every nook and corner of India is a clear display of increasing population. Whether you are in a metro station, airport, railway station, road, highway, bus stop, hospital, shopping mall, market, temple, or even in a social/religious gathering, we see all these places are overcrowded at any time of the day. This is a clear indication of overpopulation in the country.” Among the negative consequences of too many people, says Phkan, are unemployment, excessive pressure on infrastructure and natural resources depletion.”

“With a current population of 1.25 billion, India is a country with approximately four times the population of the United States with only one-third the land area. And the numbers continue rising. Within the next ten years, India will pass China to become the world’s most populous country. By 2050, if current trends hold, India will add 450 million more people – a figure considerably higher than the current U.S. population of 320 million.

“Feeding this bourgeoning population will be a challenge. In the 1960s, a number of analysts predicted that India would suffer a major famine, with her population at that time of 500 million exceeding her ability to feed them. Fortunately, India dodged the famine bullet, largely through the work of an American agronomist named Norman Borlaug. His research played a key role in creating the “Green Revolution,” an application of science to agriculture which greatly increased crop yields.–John Vinson (continue:  Overpopulation Clouds India’s Future)

Why don’t we grieve for extinct species?

GR:  The book, “Lost Animals” by Errol Fuller brings out a tear or two.  The sixth Remembrance Day for Lost Species is November 30th.

“In early 2010, artist, activist and mother, Persephone Pearl, headed to the Bristol Museum. Like many concerned about the fate of the planet, she was in despair over the failed climate talks in Copenhagen that winter. She sat on a bench and looked at a stuffed animal behind glass: a thylacine. Before then, she’d never heard of the marsupial carnivore that went extinct in 1936.

“Here was this beautiful mysterious lost creature locked in a glass case,” she said. “It struck me suddenly as unbearably undignified. And I had this sudden vision of smashing the glass, lifting the body out, carrying the thylacine out into the fields, stroking its body, speaking to it, washing it with my tears, and burying it by a river so that it could return to the earth.”

Pearl felt grief, deep grief, over the loss of a creature she’d never once seen in life, a species that had been shot to extinction because European settlers had deemed it vermin. Yet, how do we grieve for extinct species when there are no set rituals, no extinction funerals, no catharsis for the pain caused by a loss that in many ways is simply beyond human comprehension? We have been obliterating species for over ten thousand years – beginning with the megafauna of the Pleistocene like woolly rhinos, short-faced bears and giant sloths – yet we have no way of mourning them.

Photo:  Martha flies again. Martha was the world’s last passenger pigeon, who perished on September 1, 1914. Once the most populous bird on the planet, passenger pigeons vanished remarkably quickly due to overhunting and habitat destruction. In 2014, mourners carried this model up Mount Caburn and burned it in a pyre.

“Still, Pearl didn’t push the grief under or ignore it. Instead, she sought to share it. In 2011 Pearl, who is the co-director of the arts group, ONCA, and the theatre group Feral in Brighton, helped organise the first ever Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Held every November 30th, it’s since become a day for activists, artists and mourners to find creative ways to share their grief for extinct species – and reinvigorate their love for the natural world.” –Jeremy Hance (continue reading:  Why don’t we grieve for extinct species? | Environment | The Guardian)

Stop Wildlife Trafficking | ForceChange

GR:  Here’s a petition with a tight focus on a high-volume wildlife-crime center.

Target: Nguyễn Phú Trọng, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam

Goal: Act to end the illegal trade in endangered species by shutting down the trade in Nhi Khe.

“Investigators with the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) have alleged that tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in illegal wildlife is being trafficked through the Vietnamese village of Nhi Khe. Over the investigation, the WJC linked $53.1 million in illegal wildlife products to 51 traders based in the village of Nhi Khe. Over an 18-month investigation, these traders allegedly sold products made from an estimated 225 tigers, 579 rhinos, and 907 elephants. Deals were reportedly completed in person and through social media platforms such as Facebook and WeChat. If the tiger products allegedly sold in Nhi Khe over the investigations were exclusively wild tigers, this represents about six percent of the wild population.

“Vietnam is a hub for wildlife trafficking and the final stop for ivory before it enters Chinese markets. The WJC handed the results of its investigations to the Vietnamese government, however, the response has not been sufficient. Sign our petition and demand that the Vietnamese government act immediately and effectively to end wildlife trafficking in Nhi Khe.”

PETITION LETTER:  (Read and sign at:  Stop Wildlife Trafficking | ForceChange)

Big oil v orcas: Canadians fight pipeline that threatens killer whales on the brink

GR:  Over the brink of climate and biodiversity tragedy, we don’t need any booster jets on the way down.  Let’s end these dangerous projects and encourage developers and investors to concentrate on renewable energy. (Follow the link below to see the map for this project.)

Wednesday 16 November 2016 06.00 EST

Big Oil and Extinction of Orcas

“On one shore there are snow-capped mountains. On the other side loom towering skyscrapers. These churning waters off the coast of Vancouver are marked by a constant flow of ferries and containers ships – but they are also home to 80 or so orcas.

“Known as the southern resident killer whales the group has long had a fraught relationship with the urban sprawl they live alongside, leaving them on the knife’s edge of extinction.

“In the late 1960s and early 70s, dozens were captured and sold to aquariums and theme parks around the world. Those who remained were exposed to runoff chemicals used in local industry, making them some of the world’s most contaminated marine mammals.

“But now the orcas of the Salish sea face what conservationists say is their biggest threat to date: an expansion proposal for a pipeline that would snake from Alberta to the Pacific coast.

“Spearheaded by Texas-based energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan, the C$6.8bn ($5bn) Trans Mountain Expansion project is designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets.”–Ashifa Kassam in Vancouver (Continue: Big oil v orcas: Canadians fight pipeline that threatens killer whales on the brink | World news | The Guardian)

From the Bering to Maine, Hot Oceans Are Killing the Puffin | robertscribbler

“The Bering Sea has been off-the-charts warm. We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re in uncharted territory. We’re in the midst of an extraordinary time.” Nate Mantua, an ecologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California in this National Geographic article.

“Some have claimed that the effects of global warming are only gradual and mild. That the impacts to the Earth’s weather systems, its oceans, its lands, its web of life do not now represent a crisis that risks global catastrophe and mass human tragedy. That, somehow, the growing die-offs now inflicted on key species amounts to some kind of pleasantly quiet background noise that we should rationally, coldly, consider, but that should not increase our level of concern or, perish the thought, alarm. And when the very real harms that are now escalating as a result of climate change are realized more fully by human civilization, the fact that these voices did not warn us more strongly, that some of these voices attacked those of us who were rationally concerned, will stand in history as stark evidence to the harms of pandering to the false comfort of an unwarranted reticence.

(Today, sea surfaces in regions surrounding the Arctic are between 2 and 10.5 degrees Celsius above average. These waters are so warm now that they are less able to support a vital food chain. And the impact to Puffins has been considerable. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

“If they could speak, a lovable breed of northern bird would tell us their own tale of tragedy and loss at the hand of global heat. And if we could hear the sad tale of their own great plight, our hearts and minds might not be so hard or so cold. For in and near the Arctic there is every indication that winter is dying and along with it, the Puffins.” From the Bering to Maine, Hot Oceans Are Killing the Puffin | robertscribbler

NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead

GR:  I have often lamented the lack of ecological knowledge among our leaders and news media.  Here’s a story by Joe Bish that illustrates the problem of ignorance among reporters.

“If you are like me, you may often wonder why such a great percentage of your fellow citizens do not fully appreciate the ecological crisis. But then, you read a report such as published by NPR below: this odious gem was printed in the wake of the recent World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report.

“I initially guffawed at the temerity of the reporter to sow doubt about the massive publication’s authenticity, mangle Stuart Pimm’s sentiments, and finally force-feed the reader a good dose of artificial happy pills. However, the more I read the article, the more insidious it became — for the simple reason it just does not convey the dire nature of what WWF published. It’s simply terrible reporting — and therein, perhaps, is one reason so few truly grasp the predicament we face. Recall this is an NPR story that probably reached multiple millions of people.

“The reporter, Rebecca Hersher, seems to have plenty of experience — see below — just hardly any that pertains to ecology. Therefore, she is left with the standard artifice of modern journalism: to manufacture controversy and look for “another point of view.”

“NOTE: Hersher came to NPR from Nature Medicine, where she wrote about biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, and started her career in science, with a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard University in 2011. She has been a staff member of NPR’s All Things Considered. She was one of the producers of NPR’s Peabody-winning coverage of the 2014 Liberia Ebola epidemic (work that won her the Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound.) During her time at NPR, she also embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan on an assignment with NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.”–Joe Bish, Population Media Center (NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead).