Posts Tagged ‘environmental degradation’

Environmental News : : Bloody Ivory and Extinct Polar Bears.

Elephants killed for religious craftsmen

Picture of mature African elephant bulls with long ivory tusks

In January of 2012, hundreds of armed men rode into Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. They murdered hundreds of elephants, entire families with AK-47’s. Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa for their ivory. Horrifically so, this ivory is then used as material in which to carve religious objects out of. Ivory smuggling is illegal and yet the Philippines still manage to have a huge ivory trade going on. A reporter from National Geographic found a street merchant selling iconic religious figure in ivory. I somehow doubt that any religion would condone the slaughtering of thousands of elephants for this purpose.
Ivory has turned into a drug. There has been a global ivory trade ban intact since 1989 but that seems not to have had an effect.
Do your part and adopt an elephant now.

Arctic Ice will be gone in 4 yearsArctic ocean warming, Arctic ice, Arctic ice sheet, Peter Wadhams, Global warming feedback, Methane permafrost

According to Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, the entire Arctic ice shelf will be gone in just 4 years. Just 5 years ago it was predicted that the ice would survive until 2060. Now it won’t just be the polar bears that are gone by 2016, but it will also initiate a negative feedback loop that would heat up our planet much quicker.
The loss of ice will cause the ocean water to warm up, which then warms the ocean floor. Much of the Arctic continental shelf is composed of offshore permafrost which contains methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. I don’t need to tell you how bad it would be if this gas was released.
What’s that? You don’t want to adopt an elephant because you like polar bears and penguins more? Just make sure you get your adoption money back in 4 years…

90,000 lbs of trash collected at Sierra Nevada

Over 2,500 volunteers collaborated to clean up thousands of pounds of garbage that clogs up this picturesque Californian landscape. Over two thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra Nevada. It’s truly amazing how 571 tonnes of trash has been cleaned in the last 4 years. That is, it’s amazing how it becomes so littered in the first place as well as the effort of the volunteers. I helped take part during an ocean clean up in California. Never have I picked up so many cigarette buts or 6 pack holders in my life. The beach is not a trashcan.

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Gary Neville turns from United-Red to Eco-green

No, he hasn’t signed with Celtic or Panathinaikos, don’t worry. Instead, Neville is building his own house, a house that meets the highest UK environmental standards. He built his first two homes when he was just 22 and 26. Both of these experiences have helped him realise what needs to be done in order to save the planet.

“So I have had a transitional period in my personal life, from car to home, to become as efficient as I could.”

Side view of the proposed development
                                                         Gary Neville’s new home.

Many people won’t just be surprised by his sudden intelligence as a football pundit. They also will be shocked by his plethora of knowledge towards the environment. He is fully aware of how loud his voice is:

“We believe in the power of sport to deliver a message. You have seen over the past 12-18 months, the way that the Olympics and football transcends all social issues. In fact, it brings social issues that are a problem in society to a head through football.”

 

I leave you with,

The deadliest air fight in the world.
The epic migration of hundreds of thousands of hermit crabs.
Dumpsters transformed into beautiful gardens.

Environmental News! 29th June 2012

Bon Iver designs ‘vegan’ sneakers

Justin Vernon, more commonly known as the lead dinger of Bon Iver, has just released his own shoes that benefit animals. They support the ‘Best Friends Animal Society’, who will receive all the proceeds from sales. A review from LA Times knocked his design, stating that it was a “novice’s mistake” and a design only a “mid-westerner” would produce. However, they seem to draw attention more for the cause they support, along with the fact that most of us love and adore Justin Vernon. Considering these shoes are so unique, the $75 price-tag does not seem to high, so go on! Make a statement!

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Designs Vegan Sneakers to Benefit Animals

Man plants 1360 acre forest, by himself

India suffers from intense drought, desertification and deforestation leaving mass ares of land barren. An Indian man, Jadav “Molai” Payeng, has decided to change all this by himself. He started the project 30 years ago when he was just a teenager. Witnessing dead reptiles due to a lack of forestry, he dedicated his life to growing bamboo in soil that was said impossible to grow in. He lived on the sandbar in a life of solitude, planting each tree by hand and watering them every day and night. After a few years, the sandbar transformed into a bamboo thicket. He then started planting proper trees once he learnt how red ants changed the properties of soil, making it more fertile. “I was stung many times” he said, as he explained how he hand carried red ants to his creation. The forest is now alive with the ecosystem as a food chain exists among it. Everything from fauna/ants to eagles/elephants have been spotted in the forest.
Some locals wanted to cut down his trees after it altered their way of life. He responded by threatening to kill them. I struggle to think of anyone who would not deem this man a modern hero for his herculean effort in saving the planet. Do the man a favour and stop using plastic cups.
Jadav Payeng, Jadav Payeng forest, Jadav Payeng nature reserve, Jadav Payeng assam, Jadav Payeng ecosystem, Jadav Payeng local hero, Jadav Payeng times of india, india desertification, india deforestation, india payeng

Sea-level rise occurring  4 times quicker on US east coast

Sea level rise is not uniform over the whole planet. Neither is global temperature rise. Some areas experience faster or slower changes. The US Geological Survey have stated “if global temperatures continue to rise, rates of sea level rise in this area are expected to continue increasing.” Since 1990, the 600 mile region has experienced a sea-level rise of 3.7mm per year. Compare this to the global average of 0.9mm per year and you will realise the cause for concern. This is caused  because a major Atlantic current that carries tropical water to the north is slowing down. This warmth expands seawater, which can lead to higher sea levels. More interestingly, North Carolina just passed a bill that encourages planning agencies to ignore sea-level rise. Please tell me why people are still too ignorant to wake up to this truth. What’s that? You love Cape Cod?! Then why don’t you try buying a more fuel efficient car than that Toyota Tundra you drive.

Penguins threatened by climate change

Emperor Penguins are now under threat due to changes in climate. Discovery News estimates that only 500-600 breeding pairs will be around by the year 2100. This is some drop from the current 3,000. The study was conducted in Terre Adélie in Antarctica, where French scientists have been observing penguin population for 50 years. The “melting of ice affects the fish, squid and krill that grow on the ice.” If the ice goes, so will the plankton which the penguins feed off. This causes a ripple effect through the food chain that could starve the various species of penguins.
Whilst the climate change seems minor to humans at the moment, the change seems much more deadly for certain species. To learn more about this and how you can help, visit Oceanites.

Climate Change Threatens Antarctic Penguin Population


I leave you by bringing your attention the people making our ‘green effort’ useless. This article writes of how the RIO+ Summit was a success simply because it brought attention to the environment. “Sure”, he says, “the document that government officials produced after months of negotiation doesn’t contain much that will make the planet a better place”. At least they were talking about it. At least there was some “energy”. At least they were thinking of what could be done.

WRONG.

There are things we can all be doing today. Please don’t let atricles like this lull you into a sense that everything is ok. The RIO+ Summit failed and so have our leaders. Start going green today. The world depends on it.

The importance of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

The environment has gained much political attention over the last 30 years; no longer can 1st world countries like America, Japan and China ignore this fact. Environmental benefits still come after economic and social ones in developed countries. Unfortunately, these developed countries are the ones that effect the environment the most, both negatively and positively. The 5th Earth Summit is coming up in 10 days and provides a chance for certain 1st world countries to finally step up to the problem of environmental degradation and exploitation.

       The whole environmental movement began with John Muir in 1892 who started the Sierra Club and used to it express environmental opinions towards the government. The National Trust was then formed 3 years later in 1895. England and America still viewed the environment as something to be feared. The majority wanted control of the environment. Art and literature were used to promote the inherent “goodness” of the environment. People like William Wordsworth dedicated their careers to convincing people that the environment was something magical to be enjoyed. This period was known as the “enlightenment” – Something America still has to go through.

        The real turning point of the movement came in 1962 when Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’. It was a book that outlined a lot of the environmental problems that were occurring at the time. One example was how Rachel outlined the use of the pesticide DTT in agriculture. Not only did this leech into rivers and harm habitats and animals, it was also a cause for human cancer. Upon reading this, President John F Kennedy banned the use of DTT after many agricultural companies trued to ban the publishing of the book. The book was monumental because for the first time, information like this was available to the public. This had never happened before.

         The book prompted the first ever Earth Day to take place in 1970. This was after 150,000 people died in 3 days during the Industrial Revolution because of the smog build up. There was also an oil spill off the coast of Santa Monica in 1969. People were finally becoming aware of the damage that was taking place due to the exploitation and misuse of the environment. This culminated in the first Earth Summit in 1972 which took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

          Whilst this was a monumental occasion and milestone for environmentalists, the meeting did nothing but highlight how 1st world countries were exploiting 3rd world countries. In fact, the first time that any progress was made was 20 years later in 1992 at the third Earth Summit in Rio. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ was introduced. This stated that by 2012, any participating country had to decrease their carbon emissions by 5%. Over 37 countries signed the document. Collectively it would make a huge difference since the limits it proposed for each country were relatively small.

      Unfortunately, 3 key countries refused to sign the document claiming that signing the document would be economic suicide. These three countries were Russia, China and America. If all of Europe was to lower their emissions by 5% it probably would be less than if America lowered their emissions by 5%. With these 3 countries out of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol seemed almost useless.
10 years later in 2002 at Johannesburg, Japan and America refused to limit their offshore oil drilling. Again they were putting their own economic benefits ahead of the world’s environmental benefits. Finally, in 2010, Barack Obama said that “it is pointless to sign the Kyoto Protocol since it is almost over”. Whilst I understand why he said this, he neglected to go further and talk about what America was doing to counter their un-involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

          With the Earth Summit returning to Rio in 9 days where the first positive step was taken, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards the environment have changed from 1st world countries. In the last decade there has been a large impact on “acting as a community” and doing what you can. Recycle this, turn off that light, be “energy efficient”.

       My father recently told me how one of his friends had helped save thousands of trees in the Amazon. My first thought wasn’t how brilliant this was. Instead I thought of how pointless single actions like this will be until we can get the entire world to think the same way. Yes, we can save thousands of trees but until companies lower their emissions then we are just conserving what is left of the environment. We should be protecting and re-building it. 1st world countries desperately need to find a balance between socio-economic and environmental needs. Until this happens, the environmental will continue to deteriorate.