The following articles about our negative impact on the planet caught my eye this week:
The desire by outsiders to build hydro-electric projects in south-east Europe could be catastrophic, according to this article in the Guardian:
More is known about rivers in the Amazon than Europe’s last wild waterways in the Balkans. But these unique ecosystems in south-east Europe could soon be gone, along with endangered species such as the balkan lynx, if plans for over 2,000 dams go ahead, conservationists warn … On past trends, deforestation and soil erosion will follow, along with irrevocable changes to the course and character of untamed rivers, a quarter of which lie in pristine national parks and protected areas, according to new analysis by RiverWatch and Euronatur.
This series has mentioned several times the severe problems that plastics are causing the oceans. Now, scientists have discovered that some corals are actually ingesting plastic to their harm.
“Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater,” says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. “If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic,” Dr Hoogenboom says … “We found that the corals ate plastic at rates only slightly lower than their normal rate of feeding on marine plankton,” she says. The plastic was found deep inside the coral polyp wrapped in digestive tissue, raising concerns that it might impede the corals ability to digest its normal food.s the global climate warms
As the global climate warms, farmers are using ever greater amounts of agricultural pesticides. These in turn are affecting water resources across the planet, according to new reports.
“We know from earlier investigations for example that pesticides can reduce the biodiversity of invertebrates in freshwater ecosystems by up to 42 percent and that we can expect an increased application of pesticides as a result of climate change,” explains Prof. Dr. Matthias Liess … Liess warns of an increase in the application of pesticides in many developing countries as farmers increasingly switch from traditionally extensive agricultural practices to more intensive ones …
“The risks of insecticide exposure to water bodies increased significantly the further South one travelled on a North-South gradient in Europe, North America and Asia, mainly driven by a higher insecticide application rate as a result of higher average temperatures,” Dr. Mira Kattwinkel reports … At the moment it is water bodies in the Mediterranean, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia that are particularly vulnerable. In Southeast Asia, countries such as the Philippines or Vietnam are greatly affected.”
Finally this week, recent UN reports have suggested that the loss of tropical forests has been stopped. However, that conclusion is reversed in a new report that suggests forest depletion has soared in recent years.
The rate at which tropical forests were cut, burned or otherwise lost from the 1990s through the 2000s accelerated by 62 percent, according to a new study which dramatically reverses a previous estimate of a 25 percent slowdown over the same period. That previous estimate, from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Forest Resource Assessment, was based on a collection of reports from dozens of countries. The new estimate, in contrast, is based on vast amounts of Landsat image data which directly record the changes to forests over 20 years … They found that during the 1990-2000 period the annual net forest loss across all the countries was 4 million hectares (15,000 square miles) per year. During the 2000-2010 period, the net forest loss rose to 6.5 million hectares (25,000 square miles) per year – a 62 percent increase is the rate of deforestation.
Previous What Are We Doing posts
I found a story today in which the eastside of Vancouver was like the Wild West!
“A daring attempted holdup was made on a laundry driver Saturday night at 6 o’clock, when three men pointed three revolvers at S. Robinson and ordered him to hold up his hands. The driver’s presence of mind stood him in good stead, and whipping his horse, drove off at a furious gait amid a fusilade of revolver shots …
The theory advanced by the police is that a band of desperate characters are camping in the vicinity of the city in Hastings making nightly visits to the city while they spend the day in seclusion in the fastness of the forest somewhere in Hastings townsite.
This was our fair city in 1910. Catch the rest of the story of desperados and revolvers at the Grandview Heritage Group site.
As if we don’t have enough reasons not to use Facebook, they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Now they are not accepting Native American names as “authentic”, and making users go to the bother of sending documentation to prove their own names.
In October, a number of people — with names like Lance Browneyes and Shane Creepingbear — had had their accounts suspended because of their names … “They didn’t like the unusual capitalization,” said [Kimberley] TallBear, whose name appears as one word with a capital B on government issued identification …
TallBear says there are specific reasons that Facebook would flag aboriginal names as suspect. One of them, she says, is that the conversation about race in America generally doesn’t include indigenous people. “There’s this national narrative in the United States that we’re all dead and gone,” said TallBear.
This whole affair shows that FB has a very Euro-centric view of “normality” and that there is a distinct lack of diversity within the organization.
Previous Don’t Use Facebook posts.