Tag Archives | Conservation

Working Less for a Sustainable Future

sisyphus-1549Anders Hayden writes at Solutions:

Since the Industrial Revolution, two main motivations have driven the movement for work-time reduction. Free time away from the job improves individual well-being, while reducing work hours can cut unemployment by better distributing the available work. These historical motivations for work-time reduction have been joined by a new rationale: the need to reduce the impact of human societies on the environment.

The urgency of reducing humanity’s impacts on the earth is well documented. Estimates of our ecological footprint suggest that we need 1.5 planets to sustain current consumption practices, while studies of humanity’s “safe operating space” have concluded that we have already crossed some critical planetary boundaries, including safe levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Two dominant responses to this threat have emerged. One has been to carry on with business as usual, pursuing endless economic expansion while downplaying or denying the severity of environmental problems.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

A Sustainable Energy Future is Within Our Grasp

PIC: USDA (PD)

PIC: USDA (PD)

Susanne Wong and Peter Bosshard write about sustainable energy at International Rivers:

The staggering growth in renewable energy has the potential to fundamentally change the way we generate and use power. Previously dismissed as marginal technologies, renewables have become “increasingly mainstream and competitive with conventional energy sources.” This is the conclusion of a new report on the global status of renewable energies by the REN21 Network.

The new report finds that investment in renewable power (not including large hydropower projects) and fuels reached $244 billion last year. If only net investments (in projects which add rather than replace generating capacity) are considered, global investment in renewables surpassed investment in fossil fuels for the third year in a row.

Renewable energy technologies have also overtaken large hydropower projects as a source of new power generating capacity. In 2012, a whopping 45 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power plants came online.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Western Black Rhinoceros Officially Extinct

Picture: Vassil (PD)

Picture: Vassil (PD)

I shouted out, “Who killed the [Black Rhino]?”
When after all, It was you and me..

Chalk another one up to humanity…

Via CNN:

Africa’s western black rhino is now officially extinct according the latest review of animals and plants by the world’s largest conservation network.

The subspecies of the black rhino — which is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species — was last seen in western Africa in 2006.

The IUCN warns that other rhinos could follow saying Africa’s northern white rhino is “teetering on the brink of extinction” while Asia’s Javan rhino is “making its last stand” due to continued poaching and lack of conservation.

Keep reading.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Man-Eating Wolves Return to Berlin? Let’s Celebrate!

Picture: National Park Service (PD)

Timothy Treadwell: [petting a fox] You can see the bond that has developed between this very wild animal, and this very, fairly, wild person.

- “Grizzly Man

A furious debate between the memories of the past and the beliefs of the present revolves around wolves. It’s not hard to find accounts of people being eaten alive by the wild animals from the pre-Industrial era but, once they were no longer living near populated areas, these accounts dramatically reduce in frequency. There is even a theory that over the years they have learned not to f–k with us[1]. In other words, some people think we live in a world so dominated by humans wild animals are being domesticated by proxy.

Those on the side which maintaining the animals are just misunderstood can celebrate the news that this endangered species appears to have returned to the outskirts of Berlin.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Growing Silence Of The Natural World

The rich, complex musical symphonies produced by nature are now being irrevocably destroyed. The Guardian writes:

When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks. The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish.

But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.

Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary’s Baby and Apocalypse Now, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world’s pristine habitats.

But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

China’s Economic Boom Fueling Poaching In Africa

ElephantGreg Neale and James Burton writes in the Guardian:

Elephant poaching in Africa and Asia is being fuelled by China’s economic boom, according to a study of the ivory trade.

Authors of the new report found that the number of ivory items on sale in key centres in southern China has more than doubled since 2004, with most traded illegally. The survey comes amid reports of a dramatic rise in rhino poaching across Africa, and a spate of thefts of rhino horns from European museums and auction houses.

Based on the results of their survey, the ivory researchers are calling for China to tighten its enforcement of ivory trading regulations, saying that such a move is vital to reduce the number of elephants that are killed illegally. The report is published on the eve of a meeting in Geneva of the Cites organisation, which is responsible for controlling trade in endangered wildlife species.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

How A Human Virus Is Killing Endangered Gorillas

Mountain Gorilla

Photo: FlickreviewR (CC)

Alasdair Wilkins writes in io9:

There’s fewer than 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the entire world, and their survival depends in part on people willing to pay money to go see them. But all this human interaction is bringing gorillas into contact with dangerous diseases.

Although humans are most closely related to chimpanzees, gorillas rank a very respectable second, sharing about 98% of their DNA with us. The current zoological consensus is that there are two distinct species of gorillas, western and eastern, and these are further divided into two subspecies each.

While all the gorilla species are to some degree threatened, the population levels vary wildly. There are at least 100,000 Western Lowland Gorillas in the wild, and 4,000 in zoos, while fellow western subspecies, the rarely seen Cross River Gorilla, is thought to have a remaining population of just 280. As for the eastern subspecies, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla has a relatively healthy population of about 4,000.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Australian Town Becomes First to Ban Bottled Water

Earth Times:

Bundanoon on Saturday became the first town in Australia, and possibly the world, to ban the sale of bottled water. The 2,500 residents voted in July to stop shops from stocking single-use bottles and switch to retailing bottles that are refillable for free at taps around the town.

“As politicians grapple with the issue of climate change, we should never forget that each and every one of us can make a real difference at the very local level,” shopowner Huw Kingston told local paper the Southern Highland News.

“As was demonstrated by the intense media interest from all around the world, it’s extremely heartening that our small town has become an international role model for grassroots action.”

The tourist town of Bundanoon, 120 kilometres south of Sydney, showed it was fun to be green by putting on a parade and a party for the switchover.

It also demonstrated that environmentalism and entrepreneurship can coexist.

Read the rest

Continue Reading