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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

Human wellbeing threatened by ‘unprecedented’ rate of biodiversity loss

By: 
Mike Shanahan

Nature loss is accelerating worldwide at an unprecedented rate, with grave impacts for human wellbeing, according to a major report approved by more than 130 of the world’s governments.

The report, launched in Paris, France on Monday, says fundamental changes are needed to everything from farming and fishing to private investment and governance to ensure the benefits continue to flow.

While such warnings have been heard before, this is the most comprehensive assessment to date, and the first that governments have come together to endorse. The findings are set to influence world leaders who are meeting in China next year, aiming to reach a new global agreement on biodiversity.

How indigenous genocide contributed to climate change

By: 
Gerardo Honty

Those who deny climate change caused by mankind tend to cite the so-called “Little Ice Age” as one of their arguments to defend the hypothesis of the natural origin of climate changes. The Little Ice Age, as it is known, to distinguish it from the great ice ages, covers a period from 1350 to 1850 approximately, when there was a significant lowering of the global average temperature with respect to the five previous centuries. ... Nevertheless, a few days ago, an investigation was published by the University College of London[1] that explains that the Little Ice Age was also the result of human activity. And one more ruthless than the combustion of fossils or deforestation.

The GE American Chestnut – Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?

By: 
Rachel Smolker and Anne Petermann

The GE American chestnut is meant to launch us down the slippery slope of tree biotechnology. In the wings, and waiting to follow in that newly forged path are a host of other GE forest tree species, engineered for commercial industrial purposes. Natural forests meanwhile are rapidly declining, even as climate science dictates that protecting and restoring forests is a crucial part of regaining carbon balance. Yet logging, even of the precious remaining old growth forests, continues largely unabated, often subsidized with public funding.

One million species face extinction, world is on notice, says major UN report

By: 
Countercurrents Team

Nearly one million species risk becoming extinct within decades while current efforts to conserve the earth’s resources will likely fail if radical action is not taken, says a major UN report on the impact of humans on nature.

Speaking in Paris at the launch of the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – the first such report since 2005 – UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that its findings put the world “on notice”.

We've Created a Civilization Hell Bent on Destroying Itself

By: 
James Dyke

[Editors Note: While GST finds much to agree with in this article, we disagree with the author's assertion that "curbing growth within environmental limits is central to the idea of a Green New Deal." On the contrary, the Green New Deals of the US Congress and the Green Party would increase growth.]

It may seem nonsense that humans are unable to make important changes to the system they have built. But just how free are we? Rather than being masters of our own destiny, we may be very constrained in how we can act.

If you jump in your car to get to a particular destination, you can’t travel in a straight line “as the crow flies”. You will use roads that in some instances are older than your car, you, or even your nation. A significant fraction of human effort and endeavour is devoted to maintaining this fabric of the technosphere: fixing roads, railways, and buildings, for example.

An Even More Inconvenient Truth: Why Carbon Credits for Forest Preservation May Be Worse Than Nothing

By: 
Lisa Song

The appetite is global. For the airline industry and industrialized nations in the Paris climate accord, offsets could be a cheap alternative to actually reducing fossil fuel use.

But the desperate hunger for these carbon credit plans appears to have blinded many of their advocates to the mounting pile of evidence that they haven’t — and won’t — deliver the climate benefit they promise.

I looked at projects going back two decades and spanning the globe and pulled together findings from academic researchers in far-flung forest villages, studies published in obscure journals, foreign government reports and dense technical documents. I enlisted a satellite imagery analysis firm to see how much of the forest remained in a preservation project that started selling credits in 2013. Four years later, only half the project areas were forested.

The Failures of Farming and the Necessity of Wildtending

By: 
Nick Pemberton

Kollibri makes a convincing argument against farming and agriculture (and for wildtending). Kollibri effectively debunks myths about what he calls gatherer-hunters (he explains the reason for the reversal of the name). He points to not only their technical knowledge of plants, but argues that the all-knowing Western subject simply cannot grasp the feeling of what it was like to live in that time—either mentally or materially. A remarkably humble Western scholar Kollibri must be! He also brings into question whether our lives now—which have above all just expanded the field of work and the distancing from nature—really make us happier.

A Lethal Industrial Farm Fungus Is Spreading Among Us

By: 
Alex Liebman and Rob Wallace

Eighty percent of U.S. antibiotics are used to promote livestock and poultry growth and protect the animals from the bacterial consequences of the manure-laden environments in which they are grown. That’s 34 million pounds a year of antibiotics as of 2015.

Fungicide and pesticide production at Sapec Crop Protection, Portugal

The agricultural applications help generate drug resistance across multiple human bacterial infections, killing 23,000-100,000 Americans a year and, with an increasing amount of antibiotics applied abroad, 700,000 people worldwide.

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