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How a Global Ocean Treaty Could Protect Biodiversity in the High Seas PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 08 June 2020 09:54

A trawler in Johnstone Strait, BC, Canada. Human activities such as pollution, overfishing, mining, geo-engineering and climate change have made an international agreement to protect the high seas more critical than ever. Credit: Winky/cc by 2.0

Jun 8 2020 (IPS) - Oceans cover 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. But, because many of us spend most of our lives on land, the 362 million square kilometres of blue out there aren’t always top of mind.

While vast, oceans are not empty. They are teeming with life and connected to society through history and culture, shipping and economic activity, geopolitics and recreation.

But oceans — along with coastal people and marine species — are vulnerable, and good ocean governance is critical to protect these expanses from pollution, overfishing and climate change, to name just some of the threats.

The laws, institutions and regulations in place for the oceans are a multi-layered patchwork and always a work in progress.

 

Common heritage of humankind

Some characterize oceans as the “common heritage of humankind.” As such, the United Nations plays a critical role in ocean governance, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a key international agreement. The agreement grants coastal and island states authority over swaths of ocean extending 200 nautical miles (360 kilometres) from the shore. These are called exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

EEZs are domestic spaces. Countries enshrine law and delegate authority to state agencies that lead monitoring, management and enforcement in these zones.

Indigenous peoples also assert jurisdictional authority and coastal peoples hold critical insight about coastal and marine ecosystems. Governance is improved when state agencies share power and collaborate.

For example, during the Newfoundland cod collapse, inshore fishermen had local ecological knowledge about changing cod stock dynamics that might have helped avoid the disaster.

 

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A turtle swims in a Marine Protected Area. Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

 

Areas beyond national jurisdiction

A vast portion of the ocean lies beyond EEZs: 64 per cent by area and 95 per cent by volume. These regions are often referred to as the high seas. The high seas are important for international tradefishing fleetsundersea telecommunications cables and are of commercial interest to mining companies. The high seas also host a wide array of ecosystems and species. Many of these are understudied or altogether unrecorded.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 19:21
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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.”

 

 
A GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY STATEMENT FOR CLIMATE ACTION AND 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

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

https://www.environewsnigeria.com/images-nigeria-faces-functions-at-cop24/

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 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 Tuesday, 12 May 2020 20:35
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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

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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
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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
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Wake Up and Smell the Organic Coffee PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 09:43

 

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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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Wake Up and Smell the Organic Coffee PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 09:43

 

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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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Solar Energy Provides Hope for Poor Neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:29

 

Valeria Barrientos stands in the recreational area of La Containera, the modern complex of 120 social dwellings that was inaugurated in 2017 inside Villa 31, a shantytown embedded in a central area of Buenos Aires. The rooftops of the buildings are covered by solar panels, which guarantee electricity for the residents. Credit: Daniel Gutman/IPS

Valeria Barrientos stands in the recreational area of La Containera, the modern complex of 120 social dwellings that was inaugurated in 2017 inside Villa 31, a shantytown embedded in a central area of Buenos Aires. The rooftops of the buildings are covered by solar panels, which guarantee electricity for the residents. Credit: Daniel Gutman/IPS

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 12 2019 (IPS) - Solar panels shine on the rooftop terraces of 10 neat buildings with perfectly straight lines and of uniform height, an image of modernity that contrasts with the precariously-built dwellings with unplastered concrete block walls just a few metres away, with rooms added in a disorderly manner, surrounded by a tangle of electric cables.

Villa 31, the most famous shantytown in the capital of Argentina, due to its location in a central area of Buenos Aires, is undergoing a transformation process, not without controversy, in which clean energies play an important role.

The State is building hundreds of new homes with rooftops covered by solar panels, which bring energy to a neighborhood where access to basic services has always depended on informal and unsafe connections.

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Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:15
 
Environmental and social problems could interact in global breakdown, report says
 
Jonathan Watts the Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/12/climate-and-economic-risks-threaten-2008-style-systemic-collapse
 
 
 
 @jonathanwatts
 
Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in 2018. The report fears relentless floods and fires in the US could threaten financial institutions.
 
 
Tue 12 Feb 2019 06.00 GMT Last modified on Tue 12 Feb 2019 16.55 GMT
 
 Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in 2018. The report fears relentless floods and fires in the US could threaten financial institutions.
 Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in 2018. The report fears relentless floods and fires in the US could threaten financial institutions. Photograph: Jason Miczek/Reuters
The gathering storm of human-caused threats to climate, nature and economy pose a danger of systemic collapse comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report that calls for urgent and radical reform to protect political and social systems.
 
The study says the combination of global warming, soil infertility, pollinator loss, chemical leaching and ocean acidification is creating a “new domain of risk”, which is hugely underestimated by policymakers even though it may pose the greatest threat in human history.
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Deported Salvadoran Women Pin Their Hopes on Poultry Production PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 10 February 2019 17:23

 

Poultry production is giving hope for deported migrants who make up the Association of Active Women Working Together for a Better Future, in the village of Los Talpetates, Berlin municipality in the eastern Salvadoran department of Usulután. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Poultry production is giving hope for deported migrants who make up the Association of Active Women Working Together for a Better Future, in the village of Los Talpetates, Berlin municipality in the eastern Salvadoran department of Usulután. Credit: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

BERLÍN, El Salvador, Feb 8 2019 (IPS) - Salvadoran farmer Lorena Mejía opens an incubator and monitors the temperature of the eggs, which will soon provide her with more birds and eggs as the chickens hatch and grow up.

Mejía is one of the beneficiaries of a project that seeks to offer productive ventures to women who, like her, have been deported from Mexico or the United States while they were attempting to achieve “the American dream.”

“I left because I worked in a factory in San Salvador, but the money wasn’t enough,” the 43-year-old woman told IPS in the yard of her home in the village of Talpetate, Berlin municipality in the eastern Salvadoran department of Usulután.

"Rural women are the motors of the economy, and at FAO we support returnees through inclusive and equitable processes." – Emilia González

 

In 1998, after a dangerous journey of several weeks, Mejia managed to settle in Dallas, Texas in the U.S.

She worked there in cleaning services at a school and in a hotel, but she returned to her country in 2001, with many broken dreams.

“Now I’m focused, together with my colleagues, on making this project grow,” she said.

Mejía and other local women farmers founded the Association of Active Women Working Together for a Better Future in 2010, and came up with an initiative that would offer productive opportunities to other returning migrants.

Currently, some 40 women make up this organisation, 15 of whom are involved in poultry production, who have received technical support from the state-run National Centre for Agricultural and Forestry Technology (Centa), as well as from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) office in El Salvador.

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