GR: As the human population and impact grows, wildlife is declining worldwide just as in the U.K. The National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat program covers basic ideas. Start there. Then, look for opportunities to recommend other sites. As Attenborough says, many other places that we modify and use can be habitat.
“Broadcaster calls for radical new approach to conservation, urging people to use all spaces from gardens to roadside verges to help wildlife.
“Speaking at the RSPB’s Conference for Nature in London, Attenborough said it was now understood that British wildlife was in grave peril of disappearing. “50% of the hedgehog population has gone in 25 years, 90% of the wildlife meadows have disappeared in 100 years; 60% of all wildlife is diminishing and in danger, with 10% doomed to disappear in the next decades. Nowhere in Britain is unsullied, is unaffected by human action. We now have a huge population living cheek by jowl with nature.” Source: www.theguardian.com
Earlier this month, Pope Francis made news when he said that not only was climate change real, but it was mostly man-made. Then, last week, he said that couples do not need to breed “like rabbits” but rather should plan their families responsibly — albeit without the use of modern contraception. Source: www.latimes.com
GR: Good. We need more public discussions of population. We need to delete the political third-rail image from population and call on our public servants to help slow our growth before nature does it for us. The article mentions family planning steps taken in Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Malawi. China and India have well-known national program. Are there others?
Population Growth Devastates Ecosystems
One of Issac Asimov’s best known stories includes Trantor, a planet totally encased in steel and concrete. In Asimov’s story, people could freely move between Trantor and other, nicer, planets. They could send back food and water. In our story, we have only one planet, Earth, and not a glimmer of hope for reaching others. And yet, we are destroying the land, sea, and air of our planet as if we had options. We do not. For me, this raises two concerns. First, I care about and wish to preserve the wild species of animals and plants that still survive outside our homes. Second, I want my descendents to have good air, water, and food amidst abundant wildlife and natural ecosystems. To alleviate my concerns, I belive that conservation efforts to preserve nature must include leadership and incentives for human population reduction.
This following article by Stephan Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund is about leadership.
“In the past 50 years, my own lifetime, the human population has more than doubled from about 3.2 billion to more than 7 billion. There will likely be more than 10 billion by mid-century. This raises some pressing questions. How many people can our small planet sustain? How many can it sustain while leaving room for the other species that call Earth home? These questions are at the heart of a new speaking tour, which began this week, by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity, entitled “Breaking the Taboo: Leading Animal and Environmental Groups to Discuss Population, Human, and Animal Rights” Read more.
Year in Review: Top Five EERE Blog Posts of 2014. Source: energy.gov
GR: Yes, we do have a federal government department that promotes alternative energy sources. It’s the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Now we need public funds devoted to negative population growth (NPG). You can go here for NPG ideas.
GR: Excellent discussions of human impacts, conservation strategies, and conservation efforts.
Top Predators and Population Regulation
“Scientists warn that removal from ecosystem of large carnivores like the dingo could be as detrimental as climate change Dingoes keep kangaroo and fox numbers down, which means less overgrazing and more small native animals.
“A study by researchers from Australia, the US and Europe found that removing large carnivores, which has happened worldwide in the past 200 years, causes a raft of harmful reactions to cascade through food chains and landscapes. Small animals are picked off by feral pests, land is denuded of vegetation as herbivore numbers increase and streams and rivers are even diverted as a result of this loss of carnivores, the ecologists found. “There is now a substantial body of research demonstrating that, alongside climate change, eliminating large carnivores is one of the most significant anthropogenic impacts on nature,” the study states.” Source: 4thenaturesake.wordpress.com
GR: Recent stories about predator recovery in Europe point out that going into the woods is becoming dangerous. Just a few centuries ago we knew how to guard against large predators, but we gradually eradicated them and lost our cautious habits. I expect that eradication will be our response to the tiniest losses to predators.
Our population continues to grow and destroy the habitats and prey required by lions and tigers and bears. Eradication won’t require killing, it will simply occur as we remove habitat. For top predators to survive, we must reverse human population growth and resource use.
I don’t think the much-needed regulator of human population growth will be large carnivores. Microbes perhaps, but not bears and tigers. We need to use our brains. There are population control programs in the world today. They aren’t talked about very much, but we need them to be. We need them to become popular. My challenge is to assemble information on current programs and post on this website. If you have suggestions, please add them in a comment. Thank you.
‘Ecosystem services’ is a phrase readily used when discussing conservation measures. It refers to the benefits that we receive from the natural world such as carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling,…
GR: This article argues that declining wildlife diversity favors disease prone species and more frequent contact of these species with humans. There is some supporting evidence, but we need much more work on the issue.
In central Africa, one of the world’s richest biological hotspots, an international group of scientists is working to preserve biodiversity as the climate warms.
GR: Africa’s growing human population makes preservation of diversity a daunting problem even without global warming.
“E.O. Wilson is a scientist and author who’s concerned with everything from insect society to the consciousness of humans. Over the past 60 years, he’s uncovered fascinating facts about the altruism of ants, won two Pulitzer Prizes for non-fiction, and created the field of sociobiology — the study of how evolution affects our behavior today.
“His latest book, The Meaning of Human Existence, features his scientifically driven musings about the nature of humanity and the biggest challenges we face as a species. I recently spoke to him about what scientific disciplines he thinks are key to solving them — and why he believes we need to set aside half the Earth for other species as soon as possible.”
GR: In this interview, Wilson also talks about his next book, the one that argues for half the planet for wildlife.
GR: Good. This is long overdue. Reducing the human population by encouraging birth control will take generations. In the short term (like in the next five years), we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we must gain control over land use practices.
By Niina Heikkinen and ClimateWire: “This week, a group of researchers promoted a different kind of global approach to addressing climate change: voluntary family planning.
“Though their proposal may raise eyebrows, researchers at the Population Reference Bureau and Worldwatch Institute say what they are advocating will both empower women and preserve the environment. They recently formed a joint working group of health, climate and population experts from around the world. They are drafting a report on how family planning could be incorporated into governments’ environmental policy.”