Tag Archives: biodiversity

Tipping Point: UN Biodiversity Chief Warns Burning of Amazon Could Lead to ‘Cascading Collapse of Natural Systems’

“If we don’t work together, we are going to die together.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2019

The fires engulfing the Amazon rain forest are a sign that the Earth is approaching an environmental and ecological “tipping point” that all of humanity must work together to avoid, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday. (Photo: ©Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace)

Unless world governments, consumers, and businesses all work together to address the root causes of the current burning of the Amazon rain forest, the Arctic, and forests in the Congo and Angola, the planet will continue careening toward a point of no return, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday.

Cristiana Paşca Palmer, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, called the fires that have torn through more than 1,300 square miles of the Amazon this year “extraordinarily concerning.” Continue reading

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As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert ‘Astronomical’ Impacts to ‘Life on Earth’

Pope Francis urges protection of “that lung of forests” and French President Macron says G7 nations pledged help at summit

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-25-2019

The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. Photo: @capnfrenchie/Twitter

Brazil’s army on Sunday deployed aircraft to battle the raging fires in the Amazon as global concern and outrage over the potential consequences—and the destructive causes—of the disaster grow.

The military operations involving C-130 aircraft to put out fires came after Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro triggered global protests over his government’s policies and failure to take swift action to combat the flames. Continue reading

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Retired oil rigs off the California coast could find new lives as artificial reefs

A school of juvenile bocaccio in the midwaters of Platform Gilda, Santa Barbara Channel, Calif. Scott Gietler, CC BY-ND

Ann Scarborough Bull, University of California, Santa Barbara and Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara

Offshore oil and gas drilling has been a contentious issue in California for 50 years, ever since a rig ruptured and spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off Santa Barbara in 1969. Today it’s spurring a new debate: whether to completely dismantle 27 oil and gas platforms scattered along the southern California coast as they end their working lives, or convert the underwater sections into permanent artificial reefs for marine life.

We know that here and elsewhere, many thousands of fishes and millions of invertebrates use offshore rigs as marine habitat. Working with state fisheries agencies, energy companies have converted decommissioned oil and gas platforms into manmade reefs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia. Continue reading

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Proposal to ‘Pave Paradise’ in Galapagos Islands for US Military Airstrip Met With Criticism in Ecuador and Beyond

“Galapagos is NOT an ‘aircraft carrier’ for gringo use.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2019

A Galapagos fur seal. he seal will share its environment with the Pentagon per a new plan from the Ecuadorian government that would extend a landing strip at the region’s airport to accommodate U.S. military aircraft. Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson [CC]

The Galapagos Islands archipelago in Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse regions in the entire world, home to a number of species found nowhere else on the planet, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

So, naturally, the U.S. military wants to use one of its islands as an airstrip Continue reading

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‘What Could Be More Important?’: World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass Extinction Event Now Underway

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2019

Scientists at the UN’s Intergovernmental Science‑Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction earlier this month—but the report was largely ignored by the corporate news media. (Photo: Danny Perez Photography/flickr/cc)

Scientists at the United Nations’ intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species—but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Deutsche Welle reported Thursday that partially because the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its report on what it called nature’s “unprecedented” decline on the same day that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child, news reports on the study’s grave implications were few and far between. Continue reading

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Citing ‘Common Good,’ Nearly 1,500 Scientists Demand Congress Shield Endangered Species Act From GOP Attacks

Their call comes on Endangered Species Day and as the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers continuously work to roll back environmental regulations

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-18-2018

“Despite significant recovery successes,” according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the black-footed ferret “remains one of the most endangered mammals in North America.” (Photo: Kimberly Fraser/USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr/cc)

In honor of Endangered Species Day on Friday, 1,452 American scientists sent a letter to Congress demanding that they “protect the scientific foundation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and reject any attempts to weaken or compromise the role of science in protecting species.”

The letter (pdf) comes amid the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers‘ war on science, and particularly in response to their attempts—including through the “disastrous” GOP Farm Bill that was defeated on Friday—to undercut or strip away key elements of the ESA, landmark legislation enacted in 1973 that aims “to conserve to the extent practicable the various species of fish or wildlife and plants facing extinction.” Continue reading

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