Tag Archives: Ecosystems

Four ways to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously

A landmark report by the world’s most senior climate and biodiversity scientists argues that the world will have to tackle the climate crisis and the species extinction crisis simultaneously, or not at all.

That’s because Earth’s land and ocean already absorbs about half of the greenhouse gases that people emit. Wild animals, plants, fungi and microbes help maintain this carbon sink by keeping soils, forests and other ecosystems healthy.

Failing to tackle climate change meanwhile will accelerate biodiversity loss, as higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns make survival for many species more difficult. Both problems are intertwined, and so solutions to one which exacerbate the other are doomed to fail.

Luckily, there are options for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss together, called nature-based solutions. If implemented properly, these measures can enhance the richness and diversity of life on Earth, help habitats store more carbon and even reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, making ecosystems more resilient while slowing the rate at which the planet warms.

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

Everyone is familiar with the need to preserve tropical rainforests, but there are other pristine habitats, on land and in the ocean, which are in dire need of protection.

Mangrove swamps occupy less than 1% of Earth’s surface, but store the equivalent of 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s around two-thirds of total emissions from burning fossil fuels each year. These coastal habitats act as a home, nursery, and feeding ground for numerous species. More than 40 bird, ten reptile and six mammal species are only found in mangroves.

Under the canopy in a tropical mangrove forest.
Mangroves are particularly good at storing carbon. Velavan K/Shutterstock

Peatlands – those soggy ecosystems which include bogs, marshes and fens – store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. The top 15cm stores more carbon below ground than tropical rainforests do above ground. In the UK, peatlands store the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and host precious plant and animals such as red grouse, mountain hares and marsh earwort.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of the UK’s peatlands are degraded in some way. A single hectare of damaged peatland can emit more than 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – equivalent to the yearly emissions of seven family cars.

Protecting these ecosystems can prevent carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring them where they’ve been damaged can suck carbon dioxide from the air and guarantee shelter for rare wildlife. Diverse natural systems also bounce back better from climate extremes than do species-poor, highly degraded systems, and will keep helping biodiversity and people even as Earth continues to warm.

2. Manage farmland and fisheries sustainably

Not all of the world’s land and ocean can be left to nature, but the land and ocean people use to produce food and other resources can be managed better.

People currently use about 25% of the planet’s land surface for growing food, extracting resources and living. The global food system contributes one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Methods of farming – such as agroecology, which involves incorporating trees and habitats within farm fields – and sustainable fishing practices can protect and regenerate topsoil and seabed habitats, boosting biodiversity and improving how resilient these ecosystems are to climate change.

Rows of vegetable beds with lines of young trees.
Reforestation in tandem with food growing: lettuce, cauliflowers and tomatoes grow among saplings in Brazil. Luisaazara/Shutterstock

3. Create new forests – with care

People have already cut down three trillion trees – half of all the trees which once grew on Earth.

Creating new woodlands and forests can draw down atmospheric carbon and provide diverse habitats for a range of species, but great care must be taken to plant the right mix of trees in the right place. Vast plantations of non-native trees, particularly when they’re a single species, offer less useful habitat for wildlife, but a mix of native trees can benefit biodiversity and store more carbon in the long run.

A study in south-east China showed that forests containing several tree species stored twice as much carbon as the average single-species plantation.

We can do the same thing in the ocean by restoring seagrass meadows.

4. Shift to more plant-based diets

Globally, animal agriculture is a major contributor to biodiversity loss. Millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest, African Savanna and Central Asian grassland have been ploughed up to create pasture and plant feed crops for the cows, pigs and chickens that we eat. Nearly 60% of all planet-warming emissions from food production originate in livestock rearing.

Reducing demand for meat and dairy, through diet changes and cutting waste, would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which itself benefits biodiversity by limiting climate change – it would also lower pressure for farmland and so reduce deforestation and habitat destruction, freeing more land for the wider use of nature-based solutions.

A vegan burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
A vegan diet is better for wildlife and the climate than a high-meat one. Rolande PG/Unsplash, CC BY-SA

Meat, especially highly processed meat, has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and bowel and stomach cancer. Plant-based diets are healthier, reduce healthcare costs and reduce carbon emissions.

A note of caution

It’s important to remember that nature-based solutions aren’t a substitute for the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. They should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just forests. Wherever they’re implemented, nature-based solutions must proceed with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultural and ecological rights. And nature-based solutions should be explicitly designed to provide measurable benefits for biodiversity – not just carbon sequestration.

With all this in mind, the world can design robust and resilient solutions for the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, sustaining nature and people together, now and into the future.

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About the authors:

Pete Smith currently receives research funding from UKRI, EU, Wellcome Trust and Scottish Government. He is on the science advisory team for Carbon Direct (https://carbon-direct.com/).

Mark Maslin is a Founding Director of Rezatec Ltd, Co-Director of The London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board and Sheep Included Ltd Advisory Board. He has received grant funding in the past from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding in the past from The Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP, and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Camille Parmesan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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A dangerous turning point – Earth facing the collapse of everything

Despite so much evidence to the contrary, “experts” deny there is any threat to the world’s ecology.
Study Disputes That Earth is in a ‘Climate Emergency’

Brietbart 07-Feb-21 by Delingpole

“There is no “climate emergency”, according to a study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by independent scientist Dr Indur Goklany.
Dr Goklany concludes:

“While climate may have changed for the warmer:  Most extreme weather phenomena have not become extreme, more deadly, or more destructive.  Empirical evidence directly contradicts claims that increased carbon dioxide has reduced human wellbeing. In fact, human wellbeing has never been higher.

Whatever detrimental effects warming and higher carbon dioxide may have had on terrestrial species and ecosystems, they have been swamped by the contribution of fossil fuels to increased biological activity. This has halted, and turned around, reductions in habitat loss”.

The report would make hugely depressing reading for all environmental activists — even the Pope – if it was
infallibly accurate – which it is not!
Dr Goklany says there is little to scare us:

Yes, there will be more hot days, but fewer cold days. Oh? Where?

In the Arctic and the Antarctic of course – silly!

*There will be less tornados – #in Great Britain?
* There will be less floods, less frequent and smaller!
# Perhaps Goklany slept through last year, but there were half a dozen cyclones causing death by floods, drowning, landslides and inundation from January to December 2020 throughout the Southern Hemisphere!
*There will be less droughts and less wildfires.

# When does this begin? So far so bad in California and many parts of Australia. In October 1917 intense, deadly fires killed 41 people in Spain and Portugal, and in 2020 fires affected Sweden and Northern France as well as Italy and Spain where wildfires are not indigenous!

In 2020 for months, Siberia has been experiencing extreme heat due to a combination of persistent sunny weather and human-caused climate change. In addition to producing Arctic temperatures that cracked 100 degrees in June, the heat has fueled an enormous outbreak of wildfires, including fires on Siberia’s tundra……

Breitbart News Desk February 16, 2021:

The deep freeze that knocked out power in Texas spread across the country this week. The agency that manages power in fourteen states from Texas through Oklahoma and all the way up to North Dakota declared a state of emergency and ordered utilities to initiate rolling blackouts to cut electrical demand and stabilize the grid.
Meanwhile, a lot of fracking for oil has been brought to a halt by the freeze. Twenty percent of the U.S. oil production has gone offline, and some of the biggest refineries have been shuttered. The big problem is that the Texas oil kits are not set up for arctic weather. Up in North Dakota the extraction process is winterized, but that’s not the case farther south. Even something as simple as picking up oil in a truck to move to a refinery can become impossible when your roads are iced over, there are no snow ploughs or road salt, and no one has snow tires.
Crude oil production is down by more than four million barrels a day, twice what was reported a day earlier. Prior to the cold crisis, the U.S. was producing around 11 million barrels a day.
The Permian Basin, America’s largest oil field, has been hard hit. Production in the area that straddles western Texas and
New Mexico is down between 65 percent and 80 percent.

The melting Arctic has been watched closely by countries like China and Russia who are looking to take advantage of the increasingly available shipping lanes. But scientists have lamented the latest milestone, and are sounding the alarm about further environmental degradation due to increased shipping activity.

It is a very dangerous turning point

says Associate Professor Nengye Liu, an expert in international polar law at Macquarie University.

In Revelation 6:8-9 we can see that “Global Warming” is the result of the 4th Vial of God’s Wrath

   8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

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‘Too late’:

David Attenborough warns Earth faces ‘total collapse’

Nick Whigham ·Assistant News Editor | Yahoo News| 24.2.20-21

The world’s most famous naturalist has issued a dire proclamation about the state of the planet, warning Earth is facing “the collapse of everything” if we continue on our current path.

94-year-old Sir David Attenborough warned overnight that climate change is the biggest security threat modern humans have ever faced while addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on climate, saying it was “already too late” to stem the diabolical impacts of global warming.

   “There is no going back, no matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security, are now certain to suffer,”

he said.

“And if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilisation will quickly break down.”

Arthur Wright, Kallangur, Brisbane

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  16. 60,000 Belgians take government to court over alleged climate inaction

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Africa’s human existence and development under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change

– “Africa’s human existence and development is under threat from the adverse impacts of climate change – its population, ecosystems and unique biodiversity will all be the major victims of global climate change.”

The continent of 54 countries with a combined population of over 1,200 billion inhabitants will be struck more severely by the mpacts of climate change as any other continent.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, extreme weather will cause dry areas to become drier and wet areas wetter; agriculture yields will suffer from crop failures; and diseases will spread to new altitudes, say the World Bank experts, while alerting that by 2030 it is expected that 90 million more people in Africa will be exposed to malaria, “already the biggest killer in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

These and other dramatic conclusions are not new to the World Bank specialists. In fact, they alerted five years ago that the African continent has warmed about half a degree over the last century and the average annual temperature is likely to rise an average of 1.5-4°C by 2099, according to the most recent estimates from the IPCC.

— By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.

— By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%.

— Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition.

— Towards the end of the 21st century, projected sea level rise will affect low-lying coastal areas with large populations.

— By 2080, an increase of 5 to 8 per cent of arid and semi-arid land in Africa is projected under a range of climate scenarios,

— The cost of adaptation could amount to at least 5 to 10% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It is estimated that, by the 2080s, the proportion of arid and semi-arid lands in Africa is likely to increase by 5-8 per cent. Ecosystems are critical in Africa, contributing significantly to biodiversity and human well-being.

A Zimbabwean subsistence farmer holds a stunted maize cob in his field outside Harare. Credit: FAO

A Zimbabwean subsistence farmer holds a stunted maize cob in his field outside Harare. Credit: FAO

By 2080, an increase of 5 to 8 per cent of arid and semi-arid land in Africa is projected under a range of climate scenarios. Droughts have become more common, especially in the tropics and subtropics, since the 1970s.

Human health, already compromised by a range of factors, could be further negatively impacted by climate change and climate variability, e.g., malaria in southern Africa and the East African highlands.

By 2020, a population of between 75 and 250 million and 350-600 million by 2050, are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. Climate change and variability are likely to impose additional pressures on water availability, water accessibility and water demand in Africa.

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The natural beauties of life

When we look around us we should be able to see all the beauty of nature. But many of us live in cities where we are surrounded by buildings and not much green.

The beautiful nature is given to us freely, but not many people do respect that free gift as such. We, as human beings are also not so keen to use it properly and to take into account that many after us still have to be able to enjoy as much as we did or even more. Often terrible things have to happen before we as human being want to think about what is going on or what our responsibility should be for making sure lots of people can enjoy those treasures of earth.

In many Asian countries several people are already seriously feeling the effects of the industrial revolution and the technical progress of the last two centuries. People may be happy the world advanced so much and that we do have a lot of gadgets which make life so much easier. But in many poor countries, those people do not enjoy such modern domestication? Several families by powerful storms found their riverside home destroyed already more than once. Millions have already lost more than the modest roof over their head. Millions spend their days collecting cow dung for fuel and struggling to grow vegetables in soil poisoned by saltwater. They live on borrowed time in a vast landscape of river islands, bamboo huts, heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes.

Government representatives and scientists on Tuesday March the 25th opened a five-day meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to finalize a report assessing the impacts of climate change on human and natural systems, options for adaptation, and the interactions among climate changes, other stresses on societies, and opportunities for the future.

The meeting, the culmination of four years’ work by hundreds of experts who have volunteered their time and expertise to produce a comprehensive assessment, was to approve the Summary for Policymakers of the second part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, checking the text line by line.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) wants to achieve a stabilization of green-house gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
All of us should be aware that limiting the effects of climate change is necessary to achieve sustainable development and equity, including poverty eradication. At the same time, some mitigation efforts could undermine action on the right to promote sustainable development, and on the achievement of poverty eradication and equity. Consequently, a comprehensive assessment of climate policies involves going beyond a focus on mitigation and adaptation policies alone to examine development pathways more broadly, along with their determinants.

We all should also know that we have to take a collective action because we are speaking of problem at the global scale, because most greenhouse gases (GHGs) accumulate over time and mix globally, and emissions by any agent (e.g., individual, community, company, country) affect other agents. International cooperation is therefore required to effectively mitigate GHG emissions and address other climate change issues.

Social, economic and ethical analyses may be used to inform value judgements and may take into account values of various sorts, including human well-being, cultural values and non-human values. But all people should be informed how much they themselves also can contribute to the global effect, even when their personal impact may be very small it is important that everybody does his or her own bit for the protection of the earth.
Awareness and appreciation for the environment is very important, so we should help to get others to be more conscious of the importance to safeguard the earth’s future and the future of our children their children.
We would like to present a website where the beauties of nature are nicely presented, but where one is not afraid to see behind all that beauty the danger of vanishing worlds. We have evolved far away from the snapshots that have served as surrogates, except perhaps for one surrogate which continues to grow, namely the extended reach of the body’s comprehension of the world.
Doing so more insistently than did other forms of mimetic representation, photography seemed to stand in for the direct, bodily experience of the individual, its lens becoming the roving eye of the beholder. Most obviously one sees this in travel and expeditionary photographs of the nineteenth century, for which skilled professionals travelled forth from Western Europe and the eastern USA to record and bring back views of sites as various as India, the American West and the Middle East. {Oxford Companion to the Body }
Photography, you could say, is the visual medium of this modern world, where events can be captured for the future, but were stories of the past can be a witness of the things human beings did or because they did not want to see, refusing to hear the signs have been lost for the next generations.
As a means of recording, and as an art form in its own, photography pervades our lives and shapes our perceptions…

A private photobook collector and trader, living in the Netherlands, who has sold many photobooks online (Ebay.nl, Marktplaats.nl & Boekwinkeltjes.nl/Bint) and therefore has also set up a devoted website (see http://bintphotobooks.googlepages.com/)& his Blog (see http://bintphotobooks.blogspot.com/) brings us a variety of artists worth viewing.

We do know that:

“Perception is relative and selective”…If the presenter does not clarify a message, then the receiver imposes his own meaning drawing from his/her experience, needs and expectations.

On his website we can find many beautiful photographs which clearly tell a story which has to be heard by many. Therefore we also like to introduce you to it. Our world is much to important to have it been destroyed by the greed of our consumerism.

The one looking through the lens may capture a whole story in one click and make it easy for others to see that what is behind the picture. Every photographer may put his own statement in the way he looks at things. Behind the pictures may be told also a whole story and the writer of Bint photobooks may carry us away along the threads of reality that often stay hidden for those who live in the cities of the Western world.

In Kadir van Lohuizen: Putting stories into perspective for example we can learn that the celebrated Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen feels that there are many big stories around the world that need to be told and that it is his responsibility to tell them in the right way. He brings us with his camera from the North to the South, from Greenland to Kiribati and Fiji, close to Australia, passing by Panama but also showing us the problems of cities in the United States, like Boston, all places where they feel the rising seas. On the net we also can find some other interesting photographs of professional photographers, like Mitch Zeissler, and non-professional photographers, who do have a very good eye, like Cindy Barton Knoke who is willing to share that what she encounters on her many travels. Having such people willing to share the beauties they managed to see others are allowed to enjoy them too, which is great. This way people who are not in good health or do not have the money or no means to make such trips to faraway places can receive their dreams by such bloggers.

Having lots of people living between the structures of living quarters and offices, often confronted with the fumes, dust and pollution, they may value such beautiful countrysides, animals and by Cindy Barton Knoke also beautiful art, which give richness to the world. Those living in countries with wide fields, like in the United States perhaps do not see any sign of pollution in their region, and do think perhaps everything is exaggerated, but when they can see and hear the witnesses of those who can move around, come in different places or do scientific work, they perhaps come to believe that it is really time we do something to protect what we still have. In Belgium we are confronted with pollution and climate change nearly every day, so perhaps the Belgians do feel the urge to look for solutions more than some other citizens.

Climate-Greenland-slide-BJBO-superJumbo.jpgClimate-Greenland-slide-YDQV-superJumbo.jpg
Icebergs in a channel between Greenland’s Eqip Sermia glacier and Ilulissat Icefjord, the most active glacier in the Northern Hemisphere and so many other pictures Bint presents with his article on Kadir van Lohuizen is only showing us the figurative and literal top of the ice sheet melting as a result of climate change.

In 2012 van Lohuizen started project looking into consequences of sea-level rise in the world. Therefore he went to different regions that have been or will be affected quite soon by the rise and researched where people will have to relocate.

The 50-year-old photographer said he started the project after visiting a delta area in Bangladesh around three years ago, where he was struck by the apparent impact of rising sea levels and noticed that Bangladesh expects to evacuate 30 million people by 2050 due to rising sea levels.

He is also aware that the issue is more urgent than most people assume

“it’s very much knocking on our doors.”

The world has waited already too long before taking the matter seriously. Like in most places, there has to happen something serious before people do something.

“Too often we start to think about the problem when it has happened, but not before.”

Bint writes

Aiming to raise awareness in the general audience, Kadir hoped that the message would also reach politicians and policymakers.

and gives the word to van Lohuizen who says:

“It’s going to be the biggest problem of the century. It’s not just islands disappearing but also sea water seeping into the mainland, causing soil to become saline, rendering people unable to grow crops and having more difficulty accessing clean water.”

We better make sure others get to know the beauties of nature, but also show how endangered the species and our own environment is. We clearly have to share the message of the importance to keep our world in good health.

The "burning embers" diagram above w...

The “burning embers” diagram above was produced by the IPCC in 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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