Popular Pesticides Linked to Drops in Bird Populations

Neonicotinoid manufacturers should be too ashamed to continue to support use of these poisons.

Between Thorn Bushes and Claws

By Helen Thompson

Let me tell you about the birds and the bees: A family of pesticides called neonicotinoids has been linked with pollinator declines. While their involvement in bee colony collapse is hotly debated, ecologists are wondering: could neonicotinoids impact something further up the food chain?

A study published yesterday in Nature suggests that birds and bees may share a common enemy. Dutch researchers have found a correlation between bird population declines in the Netherlands and higher concentrations of the common neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid in surface water.

“There is an alarming trend between declines of local bird populations and imidacloprid in the environment, which needs serious attention to see what we want to do with this pesticide in the future,” says Hans de Kroon, a co-author and plant ecologist at Radboud University in the Netherlands. The researchers posit that the pesticide affects these birds by killing off…

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UN sends team to clean up Sunderbans oil spill in Bangladesh

Thick tar clogging 350 sq km of delicate mangrove forest and river delta, home to endangered Bengal tigers and rare dolphins The United Nations said on Thursday it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the world’s…

Source: www.theguardian.com

GR:  In many instances, we can’t rely on local governments to clean up environmental impacts.  Perhaps the UN could play a larger role, become more of an emergency environmental disaster relief organization.

Squirrels and beavers contributing to global warming more than previously thought

Arctic ground squirrels churn up and warm soil in the Tundra, releasing carbon dioxide, while beavers contributes 200 times more methane than they did 100 years ago

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

GR:  Lot’s of worthwhile comments for this one.  Here’s mine:  “Squirrels improve soils, beaver reduce flooding, and both species feed predators.  Dynamic balance occurs.  What can balance humans?”

The new climate denialism: More carbon dioxide is a good thing

The industry now says we need more CO2 in our lives, not less.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

GR:  The energy consultant who said this was trying to make a joke, wasn’t he?  . . . If he wasn’t, his presentation to the U. S. Energy Association in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., may reveal frightening stupidity amongst influential energy industry personnel.

Groups want public lands bills pulled from defense act

A coalition of 47 environmental organizations called on U.S. senators Monday to remove public lands riders from the Defense Authorization Act

Source: www.greatfallstribune.com

GR:  In a typical anti-nature move, the House is trying to benefit corporate sponsors with this bill.  Deforestation, mining, and weakened public lands protection–everything a greedy politician could hope for.

Ninety Companies Produced Two-Thirds of Global Warming Emissions

Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuter.

Suzanne Goldenberg: “Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show

“The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

“The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

“The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a “crucial step forward” found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been published in the journal Climatic Change.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

GR:  They’re not going to stop are they?

World governments failing Earth’s ecosystems, says top conservationist


“Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director general of the IUCN, says political leaders have not properly embraced conservation.

“In its last update in 2012, the IUCN said the world’s protected areas have increased in number by 58% and in extent by 48%. However, only one in four of these protected areas are managed properly and half the world’s most important sites for biodiversity still have no protection.

“An IUCN report released this month says it would cost between US$45bn and US$76bn each year to adequately manage these protected areas. This figure equates to about 2.5% of global annual military expenditure.”

Source: , www.theguardian.com

GR:  No news here, but the Guardian’s wide reach might catch the attention of a few more people and help us edge closer to popular consensus.  Of course, some might say that the only edge here is the one we are sending our fellow creatures over.

Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues

Pesticide use and safety is the focus of the online forum, Pesticides-L. To subscribe, email ‘pesticides-l-owner@lists.uct.ac.za’.

Butterfly Indicators of Ecosystem Change

Butterfly Canaries in the Earth Ecosystem Coalmine

Two-tailed Swallowtail

Two-tailed Swallowtail

Guest post by Leslie Olsen

Predicting the effects of climate change and other human impacts on Earth ecosystems is a critical goal for policy makers, scientists, and environmentalists. Some effects, such as weather extremes and biodiversity decline are becoming clear to everyone. One group of species, the butterflies, is especially sensitive to environmental change, and scientists are using the group to gauge the effects of the changes on other species.

Like canaries in a coalmine, butterflies can serve as valuable indicators of significant changes. Butterflies are easy to see. Moreover, their metabolism and short life span make their numbers an especially sensitive gauge of environmental changes. When a butterfly population falls, other species may follow. Fluctuations in temperature patterns, temperature extremes, droughts, floods, and severe storms affect butterfly populations throughout North America. Studies on the impact of climate changes on insects and butterflies are particularly rare, but recent data and observations are spurring research.

Changes in butterfly emergence, range, life cycle, feeding habits and diversity can indicate harmful environmental changes are occurring. For example, butterfly life cycle stages are tied to the availability of certain plants; even subtle changes in plant species abundance is reflected in butterfly health, color, and number. The animals and birds dependent on butterfly populations are directly affected.

Monarch (Danaus Plexippus)

Monarch (Danaus Plexippus)

A familiar butterfly, the Monarch, migrates almost three thousand miles every year and has suddenly declined because of pesticides (first two references below) and forest thinning in its winter home territory in Mexico.

Another butterfly, the Poweshiek skipperling, once plentiful across the Canadian prairies had declined to fewer than 200 individuals, most of them in Manitoba (Toronto Star).
Last year, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced the extinction of two butterfly species, the Zestos skipper and the Rockland grass skipper.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, the Université de Sherbrooke and the University of Ottawa, in a study of more than 200 species of butterflies and weather data from 130 years “found butterflies possess widespread temperature sensitivity, with flight season occurring an average of 2.4 days earlier per degree Celsius of temperature increase” (UBC. 2013).

Heather Kharouba, lead author noted that butterflies “provide an early warning signal for how other wildlife may respond to climate change” (UBC). The impact of warmer temperatures causes butterflies “to emerge and start their active flight season earlier in the year, and if they emerge too early, they could encounter frost and die. Or they might emerge before the food plants they rely on appear and starve” (Ibid).

As more researchers begin studying butterflies, the links to other species and whole ecosystems will become clearer and will help guide nature conservation plans and policies.  Thus, our floating jewels not only add grace and beauty to our lands, they are on the front line of our battle to save Earth’s wildlife and ecosystems.

Butterfly References

The Second American Revolution Is Brewing in Oregon

Materialism Dominating World Governments

GR:  The materialism that is dominating world governments is destroying the health of Earth ecosystems.  I believe this is because Human limitations make it impossible for members of our species to see beyond our fears and appetites. A close inspection of all the political candidates for whom I can vote in the next election shows that they will all continue the same blind materialism.  Of personal concern to me, none of them is interested in protecting natural landscapes and wildlife.  Others are reaching the same conclusion.  Why vote we ask when no group we can elect will improve our government.  Even those who are not yet concerned about wild plants and animals are feeling the loss of the natural world, and they are realizing that the quality of their and their children’s lives is fading. It is gratifying and evokes a glimmer of hope to learn about responses such as the one described in this post.

The following is from truth-out.org.

In Oregon, the capture of local government by the timber industry results in the destruction of the natural world and the poisoning of the populace, but a Josephine County ballot initiative would ban tree spraying by corporations and government entities.

Source: www.truth-out.org