Living Planet Report 2016

GR:  The Living Planet Index, which measures abundance levels of 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species, continues to show a downward trend. On average, monitored species declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012.  The report ties the decline to humans and human population growth.  Authors of the report struggle to find optimism to share, but they do not directly deal with population. Unless we begin to cut our population, the continuing loss of wildlife is inevitable.

“The Living Planet Report documents the state of the planet—including biodiversity, ecosystems, and demand on natural resources—and what it means for humans and wildlife. Published by WWF every two years, the report brings together a variety of research to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the earth.

“What’s the status of some animal populations?

“Populations of vertebrate animals—such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. And we’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species: on average, there’s been a whopping 81% decline in that time period.

“- 38 % The terrestrial LPI shows that populations have declined by thirty-eight percent overall between 1970 and 2012.

“- 81 % The freshwater LPI shows that on average the abundance of populations monitored in the freshwater system has declined by eighty-one percent between 1970 and 2012.

“- 36 % The marine LPI shows a thirty-six percent overall decline between 1970 and 2012.

“This loss of wildlife is startling, and people are at risk, too. Without action, the Earth will become much less hospitable for all of us. We must consider our impact on nature as we make development, economic, business, and lifestyle choices. A shared understanding of the link between humanity and nature is essential to making profound changes that will allow all life to thrive for generations to come.” — Living Planet Report 2016 | Pages | WWF

Biodiversity Day – May 22

A Day for Biodiversity

Biodiversity Day - 2016The United Nations has declared that May 22 is Biodiversity Day.  The goal this year is to publicize biodiversity.  After studying the text of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, I believe that the UN is doing little or nothing for biodiversity.  I have studied plants and animals for many years.  What I’ve seen, and what others report, is that all of nature is in steep decline.  Humans are the cause.  I fear that people might be led to believe that the United Nations is taking effective action to protect biodiversity.  It is not.

The theme of the UN Convention on Biodiversity is sustainable development.  It’s text has lofty goals with vague strategies for their attainment.  The text makes clear the Convention’s desire for acceptance by even the most growth oriented government.  Each Article begins with phrases such as:  “Each Contracting Party shall, in accordance with its particular conditions and capabilities. . . .” and this:  “Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate. . . .”  Since human desires are the conditions that define what is appropriate, the phrases prohibit no “contractor” from full-bore growth and development if they say that these are needed to provide jobs and improved standards of living.

This is the UN’s definition of the Convention:

Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live (United Nations).

Biodiversity is definitely not about the needs of only one species.  It is a general term that gives equal importance to all species.  By placing humans ahead of all other species, the Convention’s definition replaces biological validity with the human bias that is destroying the Earth.

This year’s meeting focus is on promoting biodiversity. The meetings never do much more than report on small achievements.  They serve as an opportunity to search for funding for their development-friendly activities and they let governments reward their environmental managers with a two-week vacation in an international resort.

Homo sapiens’ unrelenting rape of the Earth and the rapid decline of biodiversity is taking us toward the greatest mass extinction of all time.  No one has found an effective means to stop this.  In 1992, the United Nations decided to formalize their support for continued devastation by sugar-coating human impacts with the term “sustainable.” A genuine Biodiversity Day would focus on curtailing human:

  • Population growth
  • Habitat destruction
  • Material aspirations

Over and over, our leading biologists call for emergency responses to our impacts on the Earth.  This blog has more than a thousand well-reasoned warnings and suggestions related to biodiversity.  However, biodiversity decline continues.  What do we do?  Even as our impacts grow beyond the hope of remediation, our environmental managers lay by the pool sipping rum punch, eying the pretty young servers, and discussing funding proposals and plans for more meetings.

What can we do for biodiversity?

I intend to look for ways to oppose development, call for population control, live a simpler life, and learn more about plants and animals.

Eye on the Ball– #ClimateChange, #Biodiversity, #NatureConservation, & #SarahPalin

Nature Conservation

GarryRogersThe excellent article introduced below is about nature conservation from the human viewpoint.  The argument is that the current mass extinction of wild plants and animals has harmful consequences for the future of the human species.  It most certainly has, but the author’s desire to inform his audience misses its target because it gives a biased view of the problem. The article does not consider the rights of other species. This “homocentric” view of nature assumes that disappearance of other creatures is only important if it endangers humans.

Aldo Leopold and other conservationists realized that this viewpoint is unsustainable. Unless we accept the equality of all Earth’s species, including our own, our conservation efforts will always fail.  With its runaway enthusiasm for untested proposals, our species will take chances with the lives of other species. Experiments aimed only at benefiting our species, experiments that do not respect the rights of other species, experiments that will sometimes have unforeseen consequences, will gradually nibble away at nature until our ecosystems collapse and wash into the sea (carrying us with it).

Unless we begin to respect the rights of all species, we will exert constant damage on the Earth and ourselves.

 

Our real Sarah Palin nightmare: We debate sideshows and phony problems — while this very real threat looms undiscussed

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“It’s an amazing fact that the contemporary world is marked by a growing number of problems that are genuinely global in scope. Some of these problems even have existential implications for the survival of human civilization — yet instead we spend too much time discussing smaller threats, including North Korea, ISIS, Oregon militias and even Sarah Palin. One such problem is anthropogenic climate change — a catastrophe whose effects are anticipated to be “severe,” “pervasive” and “irreversible.”

“But climate change isn’t the only problem of this sort. In fact, for many who spend their lives studying environmental issues, it can be frustrating to see climate change — a highly contentious issue among non-experts, despite a scientific consensus about its reality and causes — dominate the public discussion. The fact is that biodiversity loss constitutes an equally worrisome (albeit related) threat to the future of humanity.

“Consider some cold hard facts. According to the 3rd Global Biodiversity Report (GBO-3), the total population of vertebrates — a broad category that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, sharks, rays and amphibians — living within the tropics declined by a shocking 59% from 1970 to 2006. Take a moment to let this sink in. In only 36 years, more than half of the vertebrate population between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer disappeared.”— Read More: , Salon.

Links:

Population

Conservation

 

Meat-eaters are speeding worldwide species extinction

“To find out [how meat consumption impacted biodiversity], Brian Machovina and his colleagues looked at studies that identified the world’s biodiversity hotspots—those areas that contain the highest percentage of endemic plant and animal species. Most are located in tropical nations. Then, the researchers picked out countries that are most likely to expand their industrial livestock operations, and determined where and how much land will be lost to grazing and growing crops to feed livestock. Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization and other studies about the production of cattle, pigs, and chickens in these countries from 1985 to 2013 and the amount of land the livestock required, they extrapolated the likely future expansion of agricultural lands. Finally, they created maps of overlap.

“Many of the places expected to see the greatest shift in land use from forest to livestock are in 15 “megadiverse” countries, which harbor the largest number of species, Machovina says. “By 2050, given current trends, these countries will likely increase the lands used for livestock production by 30% to 50%”—some 3,000,000 square kilometers—the researchers estimate.

“The habitat loss is so great that it will cause more extinctions than any other factor, the study notes, particularly when coupled with other deleterious effects of livestock production, including climate change and pollution. “These changes will have major, negative impacts on biodiversity,” Machovina says. “Many, many species will be lost.”  Sourced through Scoop.it from: news.sciencemag.org

GR:  Eventually all human “eaters” speed extinction.  Soybeans, wheat, and cabbages all require land to grow.  As the number of hungry humans grows, the amount of farmed land will grow.  If the coming massive storms do not reverse our growth, the loss of nature will.