An Australia Day post on Australian wildlife conservation

Great discussion of European settlement’s terrible impact on nature.

Quoll

The eastern quoll is now extinct on the Australian mainland and declining in Tasmania. If we cannot save an animal as cute and charismatic as this, what hope is there for the “ugly” and “boring” species?

 

WildlifeSNPits

Today, 26th January, is Australia Day. This is Australia’s national holiday, marking the arrival on this day in 1788 of the British First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales. Of course one might wonder whether the anniversary of the proclamation of British sovereignty over eastern Australia is an appropriate date to celebrate Australian unity and culture. No one can deny that indigenous Australian communities have suffered – and are still suffering – extreme hardships following the establishment of British rule on this continent, and 26th January has other names: “Invasion Day”, “Survival Day”, “Day of Mourning”… This topic is not my field of expertise so I won’t expand further, but I encourage you to learn more about different perspectives here, here, herehereherehere and here.

What I do want to write about today is biodiversity and conservation in Australia, and the status of Australian wildlife in…

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We Are All Connected

“We are all connected. As human beings, we need to accept environmental stewardship of our home planet. We must address global warming now.”

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.” —  Albert Einstein

Source: www.ahhthesimplelife.com

GR:  Good discussion of today’s critical environmental issues.

China’s New Great Wall Threatens One Quarter of World’s Shorebirds

GR:  Human disregard for other species is disgusting.

The following by Richard Conniff.

Every spring, tens of thousands of plump, russet-breasted shorebirds drop down onto the wetlands of China’s Bohai Bay, ravenous after traveling 3,000 miles from Australia.

This Yellow Sea stopover point is crucial for the birds, called red knots, to rest and refuel for the second leg of their journey, which will take them another 2,000 miles up to the Arctic tundra.

Unfortunately for the red knots, the intertidal flats of Bohai Bay are rapidly disappearing, cut off from the ocean by new sea walls and filled in with silt and rock, to create buildable land for development.  In a society now relentlessly focused on short-term profit that seems like a wonderful bargain, and the collateral loss of vast areas of shorebird habitat merely an incidental detail. As a result, China’s seawall mileage has more than tripled over the past two decades, and now covers 60 percent of the mainland coastline. This “new Great Wall” is already longer than the celebrated Great Wall of China, according to an article published Thursday in Science, and it’s just getting bigger every year—with catastrophic consequences for wildlife and people.

Source: strangebehaviors.wordpress.com

Useless Creatures (and Why They Matter)

Here’s a quote from Aldo Leopold that relates to the article below: “One basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community [and ocean community] have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbirds are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 per cent can be sold, fed, eaten, or otherwise put to economic use. Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community, and if (as I believe) its stability depends on its integrity, they are entitled to continuance” (Leopold, A. 1949. A Sand County Almanac….

strange behaviors

(Illustration: Chloé Poizat) (Illustration: Chloé Poizat)

My latest forThe New York Times:

This article contains no useful information. Zero. Nada. Nothing. If usefulness is your criterion for reading, thank you very much for your time and goodbye, we have nothing more to say. The truth is that I am bored to tears by usefulness. I am bored, more precisely, of pretending usefulness is the thing that really matters.

I mostly write about wildlife. So here is how it typically happens for me: A study comes out indicating that species x, y and z are in imminent danger of extinction, or that some major bioregion of the planet is being sucked down into the abyss. And it’s my job to convince people that they should care, even as they are racing to catch the 7:10 train, or wondering if they’ll be able to pay this month’s (or last month’s) rent.

My usual…

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