Who's Online

We have 357 guests online

Popular

International Categories
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.”

 

 
COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT Burning Forests for Rain, and Other Climate Catastrophes PDF Print E-mail
PEJ Events
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 09 August 2019 12:40

COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Burning Forests for Rain, and Other Climate Catastrophes

alt

Communities living on the foothills of Mount Kenya believe that burning forests will result in rain. A new United Nations report states that deforestation is one of the major drivers of climate change. Credit: CC By 2.0/Regina Hart

NAIROBI, Aug 9 2019 (IPS) - The villagers living on the foothills of Mount Kenya have a belief: If they burn the forest, the rains will come.

“Generally, we believe that the sky is covered by a thick layer of ice and only a forest fire can rise high enough to melt this ice and give us rainfall,” Njoroge Mungai, a resident from Kiamungo village, Kirinyaga County, which is located on the foothills of Mount Kenya, tells IPS.

 

It is little wonder then that Kirinyaga is one of the counties most affected by wild fires, according to the Kenya Forest Services (KFS).

During the first two months of this year, at least 114 forest fires were recorded across Kenya with at least five major forests being adversely affected, according to KFS. In just a matter of days in February, a wild fire ravaged an estimated 80,000 acres of Mount Kenya’s forest moorlands. Forest and wildlife experts are adamant that communities living around these forested areas are responsible for the fires.

Such significant loss of forest cover is not a unique occurrence across Africa. And yet deforestation is one of the major drivers of climate change, according to a new report.

Scientists on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have noted that the world is staring at a climate catastrophe.

These warnings are contained in a new IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) released yesterday, Aug. 8, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Co-authored by 107 scientists, almost half of whom are from developing nations and 40 percent of whom are female, the report resoundingly places land management at the very centre of the raging war to combat climate change, stating that effective strategies to address global warming must place sustainable land use systems at their core.

alt

The Mijikenda community in southern Kenya carefully tends to the outskirts of kaya forests, which also serve as the ancient burial grounds of their ancestors, nurturing a diverse ecosystem that is home to rare plant and bird species. A new United Nations report states that effective strategies to address global warming must place sustainable land use systems at their core. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS

“IPCC’s newly released report focuses on the link between global warming and land use. At the core of this report is the nexus between climate change and unsustainable land use, including unsustainable global food systems,” Richard Munang, the sub-programme coordinator on climate change at U.N. Environment’s Africa Office, tells IPS.

Munang says that this nexus “is already coming to the fore in Africa especially now that the continent is losing forest cover at a rate that is much higher than the global average.”

He further explains that globally, Africa bears the second-highest cost of land degradation—estimated at 65 billion dollars per year—and that this has put a strain on economic growth.

“While average losses resulting from land degradation in most countries are estimated at nine percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), some of the worst afflicted countries are in Africa and lose a staggering 40 percent of their GDP,” he says.

The IPCC report emphasises that while climate change itself can increase land degradation through increases in rainfall intensity, flooding, drought intensity, heat stress and dry spells, it is land management practices that has tipped the balance of increased land degradation. The report noted that agriculture, food production, and deforestation are the major drivers of climate change.

According to the report, land is a critical resource and also part of the solution to climate change. However, as more land becomes degraded, it becomes less productive and at the same time reducing the soil’s ability to absorb carbon. This in turn exacerbates climate change.

As a result of significant land use changes, grazing pressures and substantial reduction in soil fertility, U.N. researchers now say that one-third of total carbon emissions come from land.

Dr. Wilfred Subbo, a lecturer in natural resources at the University of Nairobi, notes the findings with concerns: “Land is under a huge amount of pressure and we are increasingly witnessing how human-induced environmental changes contribute to catastrophic carbon emissions.”

“We are indeed heading straight into a climate disaster and this report has highlighted how damaged land is no longer serving as that large sink that absorbs harmful carbon dioxide emissions,” he tells IPS.

alt

Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a statement. Credit: Miriam Gathigah/IPS

The report also noted “global warming and urbanisation can enhance warming in cities and their surroundings, especially during heat related events, including heat waves”.

“Last year the United Nations Development Programme indicated that Africa’s urban transition is unprecedented in terms of scale and speed and that the continent is 40 percent urban today,” Subbo says.

Coordinated action to address climate change can simultaneously improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger, the IPCC said in a statement. The report highlights that climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security: availability (yield and production), access (prices and ability to obtain food), utilisation (nutrition and cooking), and stability (disruptions to availability).

“Food security will be increasingly affected by future climate change through yield declines – especially in the tropics – increased prices, reduced nutrient quality, and supply chain disruptions,” said Priyadarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III, in the statement.

“We will see different effects in different countries, but there will be more drastic impacts on low-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

Munang nonetheless points out that all is not lost: “Over 90 percent of countries in Africa have ratified their commitments to accelerate climate action towards achieving the 2015 Paris agreement.”

This agreement seeks to achieve a sustainable low carbon future. Munang emphasises that such climate goals calls for countries to embrace ambitious eco-friendly practices such as agro-forestry, the use of organic fertiliser and clean energy, among others.

He says that a number of African countries are on track. “Ethiopia has done very well and set a new unofficial world record of planting over 350 million trees in just 12 hours.”

Kenya aims to run entirely on green energy by 2020 and is on record as having the largest wind farm in Africa, as is Morocco with the largest solar farm in the world.

“The key going forward is to change perspective and to look at these actions within the broader goal of building globally competitive enterprises with climate action co-benefits,” Munang says.

Meanwhile, back on the foothills of Mount Kenya, Mungai says that there are efforts to educate the community about forest fires and the effect it has on both the land and climate.

“This belief will take time to change because it was passed down from our grandfathers. But the County government is focused on addressing these problems so future generations will learn to do things directly.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
A GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY STATEMENT FOR COP26 PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 07 August 2019 13:05

A GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY STATEMENT FOR CLIMATE ACTION AND FOR COP26

by Global Compliance Research Project

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 securityand 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 both through 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.

 

IMPLEMENTING SDG13, ACHIEVING A GLOBAL VISION, ADDRESSING THE CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY, AND KEEPING THE RISE IN TEMPERATURE BELOW 1.5 C WOULD INVOLVE:

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 June 2021 22:29
Read more...
 
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

alt

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
Read more...
 
1997 INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC TRUST AGREEMENTS AS INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE SUBMISSION TO ECO-SOLUTIONS CONFERENCE PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 01 June 2019 14:37

 

 

By Dr. Joan Russow

 

Presented at the eco- solutions conference in Australia by Dr Vanda Rounsefell

 

Joan Russow is the president of the Global Compliance Research project, and National leader of the Green Party of Canada

 

Dr. Joan Russow has taught a course in global issues at the University of Victoria. She initiated the Global Compliance Research project and compiled the Charter of obligationsÑ350 pages of international obligations incurred, commitments made and expectations created. This charter was officially distributed to all state delegations at the UN conference on Women. She prepared a similar document for Habitat II and participated at the NGO forum as the chair of the Urbanization caucus. She has been circulating several documents and petitions internationally such as the "UN Proclamation for Translating Rhetoric into Action: A petition for a Citizen's Treaty for Corporate and state Compliance: the Nemesis of MAI, and a petition for an International Court of Compliance where citizens could take evidence of state non-compliance. She was recently elected as National leader of the Green party of Canada, and continues to use international law as an instrument of change in the local, national and international field.

Read more...
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 9 of 1370

Latest News