Tag Archives: biodiversity

‘The cause is us': world on verge of sixth extinction

By Andrea Germanos, May 30, 2014. Source: Common Dreams

Photo: Jo Christian Oterhals/cc/flickr

Photo: Jo Christian Oterhals/cc/flickr

A new study showing that the human activity has driven current rates of species extinction to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate is “alarming” and “should be a clarion call” to work towards greater conservation efforts, an environmental group charges.

The study, published Thursday by the journal Science and led by conservation expert Stuart Pimm, also warns that without drastic action, the sixth mass extinction could be imminent.

From habitat loss to invasive species to climate change to overfishing, humans are contributing to the plummet in biodiversity.

“This important study confirms that species are going extinct at a pace not seen in tens of millions of years, and unlike past extinction events, the cause is us,” stated Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, who was not involved in the study. Continue reading

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Bolivia: UN Convention on Biodiversity has lost its track

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has watched the steady takeover of the UNCBD by business interests, which dominate its outcomes.  Now with the Green Economy, the CBD is busily creating schemes to advance the commodification of all life to allow business as usual to continue as long as possible.  The Convention on Biological Diversity has become the Convention on Buying Diversity…

–The GJEP Team

by M Suchitra, Oct 19, 2012.  Source: Down to Earth

Bolivia is one of the few countries that has consistently been opposing treating biodiversity as a commodity at the ongoing Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity at Hyderabad. It has raised its voice against pro-market approaches in implementing the Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets of CBD. Even during the high-level ministerial segment of CoP 11, Bolivia did not leave any room for guessing while expressing its views. Diego Pacheco, head of the Bolivian delegation, explained his country’s stand to M Suchitra. Some excerpts:

Diego Pacheco

Diego Pacheco (photo by M Suchitra)

On many occasions, Bolivia has expressed its apprehensions about the implementation of CBD objectives. How do you view the processes of CBD?

We are totally against mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystems with a profit-oriented, pro-market approach. Natural resources are the treasures of the poor. We are against taking biological resources out of the hands of local communities and indigenous people and making natural resources mere commodities. We believe it is not right to move biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use into plain economic terms to achieve the objectives of the CBD.

Are you saying that CBD has lost its track?

Yes. Why should we conceal the truth? When CBD was concluded for the first time in 1992, before the Earth Summit in Rio, it was considered as something very positive for developing countries. But somewhere along the line CBD has lost its track and now its approaches for implementation of its objectives favour market forces. Through the present mode of mainstreaming biodiversity, CBD gives leverage and power to the private sector and the market forces for utilising the natural resources only for their profits. Everything connected with nature is being commodified, putting at risk the livelihoods of indigenous and local people, and of the common goods. Continue reading

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

David Cook: On the revelations of one square meter of forest

Note: An interview on the wonders of the native forest, an an indirect warning of the dangers in losing the forests to biologically dead and poisoned industrial tree plantations.

–The GJEP Team and the Campaign to Stop Genetically Engineered Trees

by David Cook, Source Times Free Press 
Shakerag Hollow is an amazing place.

 To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower. — William Blake

SEWANEE, Tenn. — It was like going down the rabbit hole.

I was on the heels of David Haskell, professor of biology at the University of the South, as he hiked down through the old-growth forest on the edge of campus to an experience that would prove to be profoundly countercultural and radical.

We were going to sit still. In silence. And pay attention … to one square meter of forest.

“Just sit there for a year, and you’ll be all set,” Haskell said jokingly (I think).

Over the course of a year, Haskell hiked a half-mile every other day or so into the Shakerag Forest (named after the way townsfolk beckoned moonshiners by waving a rag) with the single purpose of paying attention to one square meter of forest.

It was an act of contemplative science. He calls the square meter his mandala — a form of sacred art in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. With his scientific mind, he studied the “drama” of the forest ecology. In his spirit, the floor was swept clean.

“Instead of trying to get up in some satellite and see the whole planet, I’m going the other approach,” he said. “Like a pinhole camera.”

As we reached the square meter, Haskell approached it with respect, like it was an old friend.

“In this one square meter, over 200 individual wildflower plants,” he said. “Phenomenal numbers of granddaddy longlegs.”

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Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Audio: The sound of a damaged habitat

By Bernie Krause, July 28, 2012. Source: Sunday New York Times

(For audio clips, see bottom of article)

YEARS ago, when selective logging was first introduced, a community near an old-growth forest in the Sierra Nevada was assured that the removal of a few trees here and there would have no impact on the area’s wildlife. Based on the logging company’s guarantees, the local residents agreed to the operation. I was skeptical, however, and requested permission to record the sounds of the habitat before and after the logging.

On June 21, 1988, I recorded a rich dawn chorus in California’s pristine Lincoln Meadow. It was a biome replete with the voices of Lincoln’s sparrows, MacGillivray’s warblers, Williamson’s sapsuckers, pileated woodpeckers, golden-crowned kinglets, robins and grosbeaks, as well as squirrels, spring peepers and numerous insects. I captured them all.

When I returned a year later, nothing appeared to have changed at first glance. No stumps or debris — just conifers and lush understory. But to the ear — and to the recorder — the difference was shocking. I’ve returned 15 times since then, and even years later, the density and diversity of voices are still lost. There is a muted hush, broken only by the sound of an occasional sparrow, raptor, raven or sapsucker. The numinous richness of the original biophony is gone.

Lesson: While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a soundscape is worth a thousand pictures.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Anti-fracking Blockade in Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest

Cross-Posted from Marcellus Earth First!, 8 July 2012

Tree-Sitters Halt Hydrofracking Operations

Blockade at EQT frack site in Moshannon State Forest, PA.

Activists from Marcellus Earth First! have erected a slash pile blockade and two tree sits blocking an access road to an EQT hydro-fracking site in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County, PA., halting drilling operations set to begin this week. The blockaders were joined by 40 supporters and concerned citizens, who turned around a Halliburton truck. The blockade is trying to stop the further destruction of Pennsylvania’s state forests—more than half of which have already been leased for drilling—and call attention to the devastating effects of hydrofracking on the state’s communities. The sitters’ anchor lines are blocking the road by crossing each other and the road, and if an anchor line is cut a sitter will fall. This action has been coordinated as the post-Rendezvous action. Each Summer Earth First!ers and allies come together to skill share, take part in discussion workshops, and keep it wild in our last remaining wilderness places in the US. Following a week in the woods, we take part in an action in support of the local organizers hosting the camp out, also know as the Round River Rendezvous, or Rondy.

Today’s blockade is the latest in a series of escalating actions of resistance to the destructive impacts of hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale. Last May, residents of Butler County occupied the office of State Representative Brian Ellis, demanding accountability for widespread contamination caused by horizontal drilling. In June, seven families, along with dozens of supporters, blocked the entrance to the Riverdale Mobile Home Community to prevent their imminent eviction at the hands of Aqua America PVR. Aqua sought to destroy their homes and construct a water withdrawal facility permitted to extract up to three million gallons of water from the Susquehanna River daily for use in fracking. Residents were able to maintain the blockade for 12 days. On June 17, 1,000 Ohioans stormed the statehouse in Columbus and passed a “people’s resolution” banning hydrofracking. Most recently, a 31-year-old landowner from Athens County, Ohio chained herself to concrete barrels and shut down operations at one of Ohio’s 170 injection wells, which contain about 95% of the toxic and radioactive fracking waste generated from Pennsylvania drilling.

Momentum in the anti-fracking battle will continue to build across the Marcellus and Utica shale regions throughout July. Next weekend, residents from Ohio and beyond will gather at an anti-fracking action camp in Youngstown and prepare to enforce the “people’s resolution” against fracking. The upcoming months show the beginnings of a national rebellion against extractive industry across the board. On July 28, anti-frackers from across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for “Stop the Frack Attack,” the largest mobilization against fracking ever. In West Virginia, Appalachians and allies will stand together at the “Mountain Mobilization” and shut down an active strip mine the last week of July. In Montana,the “Coal Export Action”, a ten-day campaign of civil disobedience at the beginning of August will target coal shipments from strip mines in the Powder River Basin, overseas. And later in the month, Texas residents have called for the “Tar Sands Blockade” to block the recently approved southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Where the government has failed to act to protect communities and the earth from the ravages of an out-of-control energy industry, the people are rising up to resist. No matter where you live, you have the opportunity to join the fight for our future. Find your place, stand your ground, and in the words of Mother Jones, “Boogie Chilluns.”

For updates go to Marcellus Earth First!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Pollution, Water

Brazil: Hundreds of Indigenous Peoples Occupy Belo Monte Dam Site

Note: At the same time that Rio+20 Earth Summit participants were wringing their hands over what to do about the destruction of the Earth’s life support systems, Indigenous Peoples in Brazil were taking direct action to stop the devastation of their homeland for a massive dam project being built to power aluminum smelting.

–The GJEP Team

By  Jun 28, 2012

Cross-Posted from Intercontinental Cry

Photo: www.xinguvivo.org.br

Hundreds of Indigenous Peoples from the Xingu River Basin have occupied a Belo Monte Dam construction site on Pimental Island in the Xingu River in Pará, Brazil.

The protest began on June 21st, just a few short days after the Xingu+23 anniversary gathering came to a close. The gathering, which ran parallel to the Rio+20 Summit, marked the first major victory against the Belo Monte Dam since 1989.

Initially the protest was led by a group of about 150 Xikrin Peoples; but after successfully managing to paralyze work at the construction site, the group was joined by representatives from the Juruna, Araweté, Assurini and Parakanã.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean

When, where and how wood is used impact carbon emissions from deforestation

Note: Guess what?  Cutting forests to pulp them into paper or burn them for energy is a bad idea for the climate.  Shocking, just shocking…

–The GJEP Team

May 14, 2012

Logged treesWhen wood is used for bioenergy or turned into pulp for paper, nearly all of its carbon is released into the atmosphere.

A new study from the University of California, Davis, provides a deeper understanding of the complex global impacts of deforestation on greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published May 13 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, reports that the volume of greenhouse gas released when a forest is cleared depends on how the trees will be used and in which part of the world the trees are grown.

When trees are felled to create solid wood products, such as lumber for housing, that wood retains much of its carbon for decades, the researchers found. In contrast, when wood is used for bioenergy or turned into pulp for paper, nearly all of its carbon is released into the atmosphere. Carbon is a major contributor to greenhouse gases.

“We found that 30 years after a forest clearing, between 0 percent and 62 percent of carbon from that forest might remain in storage,” said lead author J. Mason Earles, a doctoral student with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. “Previous models generally assumed that it was all released immediately.”

The researchers analyzed how 169 countries use harvested forests. They learned that the temperate forests found in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe are cleared primarily for use in solid wood products, while the tropical forests of the Southern Hemisphere are more often cleared for use in energy and paper production.

“Carbon stored in forests outside Europe, the USA and Canada, for example, in tropical climates such as Brazil and Indonesia, will be almost entirely lost shortly after clearance,” the study states.

The study’s findings have potential implications for biofuel incentives based on greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, if the United States decides to incentivize corn-based ethanol, less profitable crops, such as soybeans, may shift to other countries. And those countries might clear more forests to make way for the new crops. Where those countries are located and how the wood from those forests is used would affect how much carbon would be released into the atmosphere.

Earles said the study provides new information that could help inform climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.

“This is just one of the pieces that fit into this land-use issue,” said Earles. Land use is a driving factor of climate change. “We hope it will give climate models some concrete data on emissions factors they can use.”

In addition to Earles, the study, “Timing of carbon emissions from global forest clearance,” was co-authored by Sonia Yeh, a research scientist with the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Kenneth E. Skog of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

The study was funded by the California Air Resources Board and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Energy, Forests and Climate Change, Pollution

Germany Considers Extraditing Whale Defender to Costa Rica

Received from ECOTERRA Intl.

Yesterday, 16. 05. 2012, in Frankfurt, Germany the general Public Prosecutor to the Higher Regional Court requested a preliminary extradition arrest warrant against Captain Paul Watson, on the basis of the local arrest warrant and request for extradition from Costa Rica.  In a highly unusual move, the Public Prosecutor stated that the German Ministry of Justice and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs have the power to stop the extradition procedures on political grounds.

If the German Ministry of Justice and/or the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs give notice that they would not grant an extradition of Paul Watson to Costa Rica the case would be over, and CaptainWatson would be set free immediately.  We ask our supporters to continue to appeal the German Ministry of Justice for help.

Sea Shepherd representatives were able to visit Captain Watson in the Frankfurt prison this morning and they were able to record the following statement from Captain Watson:

In our efforts to defend the lives of whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, and fish we have made some powerful enemies, most notably the government of Japan. It is no coincidence that the extradition request by Costa Rica was issued the same month (October 2011) as the Japanese whaling (ICR) lawsuit against Sea Shepherd was initiated. The extradition request was in reference to a complaint from Costa Rican fishermen who I caught poaching in Guatemalan waters. The fishermen were not injured and their boat was not damaged. The incident was fully documented for the film Sharkwater. Interpol originally denied this extradition order and deemed it as politically motivated. Therefore the question must be asked why Germany is now taking into account accusations made by illegal poachers.”- Captain Paul Watson

Captain Watson has travelled extensively throughout the world since the Costa Rican government issued this arrest warrant in October of 2011.  He has been to Australia, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, etc. None of these countries have sought to arrest Captain Watson as Germany has.

Should Captain Watson be extradited to Costa Rica, he will certainly not receive a fair trial and his safety cannot be guaranteed. Sea Shepherd is doing everything it can to provide Captain Watson the best legal defense team possible.  Between the illegal Japanese whalers and the shark finning mafia in Costa Rica, Captain Watson has formidable enemies who seek to stop his efforts to defend marine life.

Your generous donation will help keep Captain Watson out of harm’s way, and will allow him to fulfill his mission: to protect marine creatures while there is still hope.

Statement from Captain Watson’s Attorney Oliver Wallasch:
Sea Shepherd press conference, Germany Frankfurt airport, May 16, 2012

Dear all,

Today I received the request from the general public prosecutor in Frankfurt to the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt to issue a preliminary extradition arrest warrant against Paul WATSON on the basis of the local arrest warrant and the request for extradition from Costa Rica. The general public prosecutor gives notice, that the Costa Rican authorities have asked for extradition on a charge which is also a criminal act under the German law (dual criminality rule); the general public prosecutor is concerned that the preliminary arrest is necessary because of the likelihood of an escape of the client.

At this stage of the procedure we do not have all the evidence and we do not have any extradition papers from the Costa Rican authorities Therefore the public prosecutor only asks for a preliminary extradition warrant; he does not ask for a decision of the court concerning the extradition itself. Absolutely unusual – I never had this experience in all my practice in cross border cases – is the fact, that the public prosecutor stated, that the German Ministry of justice and the German Ministry of foreign affairs have the power to stop the extradition procedure on political reasons.

If the German Ministry of justice and/or the German Ministry of foreign affairs give notice, that they would not grant an extradition from Paul Watson to Costa Rica the case will be over, and Paul Watson will be set free immediately. For an independent public prosecutor this statement is absolutely unusual, and gives a hint, that is not an ordinary extradition case, but to be handled also on the political level.

Please click here to donate to Captain Watson’s legal defense fund

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Political Repression, Water