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The Silent Spring prophecy that pesticides could “still the leaping of fish” has been confirmed PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 02 November 2019 11:14

The Silent Spring prophecy that pesticides could “still the leaping of fish” has been confirmed, according to scientists investigating the collapse of fisheries in Japan. They say similar impacts are likely to have occurred around the world.

The long-term study showed an immediate plunge in insect and plankton numbers in a large lake after the introduction of neonicotinoid pesticides to rice paddies. This was rapidly followed by the collapse of smelt and eel populations, which had been stable for decades but rely on the tiny creatures for food.

The analysis shows a strong correlation but cannot prove a causal link between the insecticides and the collapse. However, independent scientists said other possibilities had been ruled out and that the work provided “compelling evidence”.

The research is the first to reveal the knock-on effects of insecticides on fish. Harm to bees is well known, but previous studies in Europe have linked neonicotinoids to die-offs in other freshwater species including mayflies, dragonflies and snails and also to falling populations of farmland bird that feed on insects, including starlings and swallows. The insecticide has also been shown to make migrating songbirds lose their way.

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, her seminal book on the dangers of pesticidesin 1962. In their report, the Japanese researchers said: “She wrote: ‘These sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes – nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams.’ The ecological and economic impact of neonicotinoids on the inland waters of Japan confirms Carson’s prophecy.”

“This disruption likely also occurs elsewhere, as neonicotinoids are currently the most widely used class of insecticides globally,” worth more than $3bn year, they said.

Prof Olaf Jensen, at Rutgers University in the US and not part of the research team, said: “This study, although observational, presents compelling evidence. A fishery that was sustainable for decades collapsed within a year after farmers began using neonicotinoids. This is a large and astoundingly fast response.”

The research, published in the journal Science, looked at data from Lake Shinji spanning the decade before and the period after the introduction of neonicotinoids in 1993, from which point the pesticides started running off into the lake. They found neonicotinoid concentrations in the water frequently exceeded levels that are toxic to aquatic invertebrates.

The midge Chironomus plumosus, an important food source for smelt, was one of the worst affected. It vanished completely from all 39 locations sampled in 2016, despite being abundant in 1982. Another important food source, an abundant zooplankton species, Sinocalanus tenellus, fell by 83%.

The researchers found annual catches of smelt fell 90% in the decade after neonicotinoids were introduced, compared with the decade before. Catches of eels dropped by 74% over the same time period.

“Several alternative explanations for the collapse were evaluated and rejected: invasive species, hypoxia, or changes in fish stocking cannot plausibly explain the observations,” said Jensen. Furthermore, catches of icefish, which do not rely on the affected invertebrates for food, remained unchanged.

The research shows neonicotinoid pesticides can affect entire food webs, he said. On the lack of other reports of similar collapses, Jensen said: “There is the issue of not seeing a problem if we don’t look for it.”

Matt Shardlow, from the charity Buglife, said: “Japan has had a tragic experience with nerve-agent insecticides. In the paddy fields, where the air once thrummed with the clatter of billions of dragonfly wings, these insecticides have imposed near silence.”

“The annihilation of humble flies and the knock on effects on fish serve as further testament to the dreadful folly of neonicotinoids,” he said. “Let’s hope this is a wake-up call for Asian countries and they move to quickly ban the chemicals from paddyfields.”

“It is also extremely worrying that the levels of neonicotinoids in rivers in eastern England, as recently reported by Buglife, are very similar to the levels reported in this research,” Shardlow said. “Unfortunately, while it is clear that harm must have been done to UK river health, the exact impact of neonicotinoids has yet to be quantified.”


Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 07 August 2019 13:05




Global Compliance Research Project


Shell action

The activists confronting Shell at the COP24: Three Nigerians – Nnimmo Bassey, Gowin Ojo and Rita Uwaka are part of the action


The activists confronting Shell at the COP: Three Nigerians – Nnimmo Bassey, Gowin Ojo and Rita Uwaka are part of the action


RECALLING THAT In 1988, at the Climate Change Conference in Toronto, three hundred global scientists, along with other participants concluded:

Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war.  the Earth’s atmosphere is changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from depositions of hazardous, toxic and atomic wastes and from wasteful fossil fuel use. These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now.  

In the Conference statement, Changing Atmosphere Conference in 1988 and they called for the global community, to Reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20% of 1988 levels by the year 2005 as an initial global goal. Clearly the industrialized nations have a responsibility to lead the way boththrough their national energy policies and their bilateral multilateral assistance arrangement.


AWARE THAT In 1992, under article 4 of UNFCCC developed states made a commitment to return to 1990 levels by the end of the decade (i.e. 2000) (Article 4, UNFCCC);


RECALLING THAT in September 2007, at the UN, the Chair of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri supported,"moving from a meat-based diet to a plant based diet." 


RECALLING THAT In 2009 at an IPCC press conference at COP15, it was proclaimed that at a 2 degree rise in temperature, the poor, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised would not survive, at 1.5, they might


AWARE THAT in 2013, all member states adopted Sustainable Development Goal 13- “Climate change presents the single biggest threat to development, and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable. Urgent  action to combat climate change is needed.


APPRECIATING THAT in 2015. at COP 21, Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, in Paris, urged states to negotiate with a global vision NOT with vested national interests


WELCOMING ON August 4 2019 Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ statement:  We are facing a grave climate emergency. We need urgently to accelerate with Climate Action for the transformation the world needs. This is the battle of our lives. It is a battle we can win. It is a battle we must win.




Last Updated on Monday, 20 January 2020 17:08
We Must do More to Speed up Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 11:43

By Niklas Hagelberg iklas Hagelberg is Coordinator, Climate Change Programme, UN Environment


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 2019 (IPS) - Fossil fuels—oil, gas, coal and their derivatives—pollute the atmosphere and emit the greenhouse gases that are ramping up global heating to dangerous levels. But did you know that governments around the world are subsidizing this pollution?

Historically, governments around the world have used fossil fuel subsidies for a variety of reasons, including to promote energy independence, encourage industry and cushion the poorest in society.

But they never took sufficient account of what economists call “externalities” such as air pollution and the resulting impacts on our health.

There is a special kind of madness in a system that funds the healthcare burden from asthma, respiratory diseases and lung cancer, and at the same time funds companies that pollute the air and contribute towards these health issues in the first place.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 09:10
Taking the Lead in Fight Against Climate Change PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 22 February 2019 12:03

Posts by A. D. McKenzie"

Monique Taffe, a 22-year-old London-based fashion designer, makes clothing from recycled textiles and objects. Credit: A.D. McKenzie/IPS

PARIS, Feb 22 2019 (IPS) - As the grandchild of Jamaican citizens who moved to Great Britain, Monique Taffe says she inherited a tradition of recycling and learned not to be part of the “throwaway culture”, as some environmentalists have labelled consumerist societies.

“I saw how my grandmother re-used things, and that was passed down to my mother who inspired me to do the same,” said Taffe, who wants to use waste materials and recycled fabrics in fashion design.

The 22-year-old London-based designer is a recent graduate of a British fashion school and she participated the 3rd Women4Climate conference that took place Feb. 21 in Paris. She joined other young women from around the world, including from several Latin American countries, who have launched sustainability projects and are being mentored by member cities of C40, a network of 94 “megacities” committed to addressing climate change – and which co-organised the conference titled “Take the Lead”.

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 March 2019 19:53
Wake Up and Smell the Organic Coffee PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 09:43



Dorianne Rowan-Campbell is an organic coffee farmer in Jamaica. Taking over her father’s farm in 1992 and turning it into an organic one was a huge risk at the time. However, she sustainably grows 1,800 coffee trees and harnesses nature to deal with pests, rather than using pesticides. Courtesy: Dorienne Rowan-Campbell

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 20 2019 (IPS) - In 1992, the idea of replanting her father’s ruined coffee farm seemed foolhardy at the time. But in retrospect it was the best business decision that Dorienne Rowan-Campbell, an international development consultant and broadcast journalist, could have made.

Nearly three decades later, Rowan-Campbell grows organic coffee on her two hectare, Rowan’s Royale farm. The nearly 60-year-old farm is situated on a steep slope western Portland, a parish northeast of Jamaica overlooking the famous Blue Mountains, known for their coffee plantations.

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