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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:24 am

Don’t Trash our Future

Daily Express launches campaign to clean up Britain

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Today we are standing up to it, and urging you to do the same, with our new campaign Don’t Trash Our Future. The Daily Express, together with local community and information platform InYourArea.co.uk and our nationwide network of sister newspapers and websites, have teamed up with Clean Up Britain to push for changes we believe will leave no choice but for both irresponsible litter louts and the authorities who have the power to enforce the law but so often don’t to take long-lasting action.

Our campaign has two aims:

    To increase the maximum punishment for littering to a £1,000 fine or 100 hours of supervised community litter picking

    To make it compulsory for local authorities to enforce the law on littering
We are urging you to sign our petition to see it – with the aim of reaching 100,000 signatures so we can lobby the Government to change the legislation and shed the country of its long-held reputation as a litter-plagued nation.

We’re also calling on councils to flex their muscles in the fight against rubbish and make far better use of the powers they already have available.

A Freedom of Information request sent by Clean Up Britain to 169 councils in England and Wales found the majority (56 percent) were issuing less than one fine per week for littering and more than two dozen (16 percent) don’t issue fines at all.

In a recent survey conducted by InYourArea.co.uk, more than 7,500 respondents overwhelmingly said littering has a negative effect on them and their neighbourhoods and classed it as a big problem.

JB Gill, a former member of superstar pop group JLS who is now a passionate advocate for education and the countryside, has signed up as an ambassador for Don’t Trash Our Future.

He said: “It’s great to see that people recognise that litter is a public health concern and a major problem. The only way to stop the damage being done to our health, nature and wildlife is to sign the Don’t Trash our Future petition, object to local councils not enforcing fines and demand a higher penalty for those dropping litter.”

John Read, the founder of Clean Up Britain, said: "Clean Up Britain is very excited to be running the Don't Trash Our Future campaign with InYourArea.co.uk

“We know from the countless people who contact us that there is a huge desire – from people all over the country – to try to solve the litter epidemic.

“We are all so fortunate to live in a beautiful country, but equally, it's so depressing to see so many people littering it.

“This has to stop, as it shames Britain.

“There has to be zero tolerance towards littering.

“Littering is symptomatic of a lack of pride in our local communities, and a lack of respect for other people and the environment generally.

“This campaign is about challenging and reversing these negative sentiments, and saying enough is enough.

“Let's be grateful for what we have, take care of our country and, above all, 'Don't Trash Our Future'.”

Mr Read added: “The Government needs to start getting serious about confronting people who litter.

“It's a criminal offence to litter and it needs to be treated that way.

“Fines need to be increased to a level which shows the Government – and society generally – will no longer tolerate this antisocial and selfish behaviour.

“In addition, we also need to ensure fines are a credible deterrent, by making it compulsory

for councils to enforce the law, which currently it's not."

Journalist and television presenter Jeremy Paxman is Clean Up Britain’s patron.

Jeremy Paxman is Clean Up Britain’s patron

He said: “There is only one sustainable and effective solution to littering: changing the behaviour of people who do it. Nothing else will work.

“It pollutes the environment. It's dangerous to humans and animals.

“It depresses people because mucky surroundings make them feel worthless. It's expensive – councils across the UK spend over a billion pounds a year trying to clean it up.”

The campaign has also received the backing of broadcaster and animal rights campaigner Clare Balding and journalist Alice Arnold.

They said: "It's very sad to see so much litter in this country, both in the countryside and in urban areas.

“It has a demoralising effect on all of us and, also, has a very negative impact on animals.

“A shocking reflection of this is that RSPCA vets, last year, treated over 5,000 cases of animals who've been injured by, ingested or become trapped by litter.

“We hope the Clean Up Britain and InYourArea national campaign, Don't Trash Our Future, will change the attitudes and behaviour of people who do litter, and make us all take more care of the naturally beautiful country we are fortunate to share together."

Further support has come from television host Gabby Logan and her husband Kenny, a former Scotland international rugby player turned broadcaster.

They said: “We’re urging everyone to get behind the Don’t Trash Our Future national anti-litter campaign, and show how much we care about our naturally beautiful country. Littering is senseless, selfish and costly to us all.

“It’s only a minority of people who do it, but it negatively affects the quality of life for absolutely everyone.

Why do people do this? Take your litter home

“To use the sporting analogy... it’s a self-inflicted, needless, own goal. It doesn’t cost a penny to do the socially responsible right thing, and put your litter in a bin. Just do it! Please.”

Ed Walker, the Editor-in-Chief of InYourArea.co.uk, said that it is time for littering to stop.

“InYourArea are proud to be working with Clean Up Britain to tackle the country’s litter and waste epidemic.

“Our users are sick of seeing their neighbourhoods being treated like rubbish dumps. Don’t Trash Our Future will hopefully make councils and members of the public think harder about the littering issue.”

The campaign has also received the backing of behavioural science expert Merle Van Der Akker, the President of Behavioural Insights at Warwick Business School.

He said, “It is not about the absolute value of the fine, it's about the message it sends.

“This level of fine tells you that this behaviour is deemed costly, and quite frankly unacceptable.

“Sometimes it does take drastic measures to get this message across. From a behavioural science perspective, presenting people with such a message triggers a response of shock, because of the sheer size of the fine.

“People then reason that if the fine is so big, the issue at hand must be of great importance or urgency. This is how you get people to pay attention and take action. No one wants to be fined £1,000 for throwing away a £1 can of drink.”

Our survey says

More than 7,500 people responded to a nationwide survey on InYourArea.co.uk about littering and its effects.

The results showed people are really angry and sad about litter in their area, which they say is a big problem and getting worse during the pandemic.

They want more to be done.

Half of respondents (50 percent) perceived litter to be a big problem in their area, with a further 35 percent saying it was a major problem.

Just 14 percent said litter was a small problem, and only 1 percent said it was no problem.

Litter has increased since lockdown has eased according to almost two-thirds of people (64 percent)

A quarter (27 percent) said it had stayed the same, while just 5 percent said it had decreased

Respondents aren't the people causing the problem – 79 percent said they had never dropped litter

Fifteen percent said they may have dropped small wrappers, cigarette butts or gum on occasions, while 3 percent said they did litter

People are very split on whether or not they'd confront litterers

Forty-two percent said they were very or somewhat likely to confront them, while 40 percent said they were very or somewhat unlikely to do so

Four in five people (80 percent) said they would not confront someone dropping litter because they'd worry about their reaction

Just 2 percent said they wouldn't do it because of it was none of their business and 1 percent said they would notice the litterer

Respondents were likely to report people for dropping litter

Twenty-five percent said they were very likely to, while 39 percent said they were somewhat likely, with 36 percent saying they wouldn't

Most (71 percent) would report the person dropping litter to the council, while 11 percent said police, and 11 percent said they'd post on social media

Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they had never been fined for dropping litter (probably not surprising as most said they didn't drop it), with 1 percent saying they had been fined

Ninety percent also said they didn't know anyone else who had been fined, with 9 percent saying they did know someone.

Most people (86 percent) said they knew littering was a criminal offence

Most people thought the fine for littering should be higher than the current maximum of £150

A third (33 percent) said it should be between £250 to £500, 16 percent said it should be £501 to £1,000, while 18 percent said it should be more than £1,000

A quarter (26 percent) said there shouldn't be a change and 7 percent think the maximum should be less than £150

The vast majority of people (97 percent) think their council should enforce the law against littering

Most people don't think the council is doing an a great job of dealing with litter – on a scale of one to 10, the average was four

Twenty-one percent gave a score of 1, 10 percent a score of 2, 13 percent a score of 3, 11 percent a score of 4, 17 percent a score of 5, 10 percent a score of 6, 9 percent a score of 7, 5 percent a score of 8, 1 percent a score of 9 and 2 percent a score of 10

Four in five people (81 percent) think there are too few public bins in their area

Sixteen percent said the number was about right, while 1 percent said there were too many

Despite all this, half (52 percent) of respondents said the cleanliness of their neighbourhood was excellent

But 42 percent said it was dreadful

People largely agree that litter is a problem (and it's got worse)

Ninety-six percent agreed that litter is a public health concern

Ninety-five percent agreed that litter is a threat to animals and wildlife

Ninety-seven percent agreed that litter is unattractive

Fifty-eight percent agreed that littering is worse since COVID-19 (17 percent disagreed)

When asked to rank these in order:

Should the council enforce the law?

Forty-four percent put litter is a public health concern top

Forty-five percent put litter is a threat to animals and wildlife top

Forty-two percent put litter is unattractive top

Twenty-seven percent put littering is worse since COVID-19

More than half (55 percent) of people said seeing litter makes them angry

A fifth (20 percent) said it makes them feel sad or depressed, while a further fifth just said they hate it

One percent said it keeps someone in a job, 1 percent that there are more important problems in the world, and 1 percent that there's nothing that they can do about it

Organise your own clean-up

As well as fighting for long-lasting change, we’re encouraging people to take up the fight in their streets too by organising community litter picks.

Register your interest through this form and we will support and publicise your efforts.

JB Gill, 32, rose to fame as a member of one of the UK’s biggest boybands – JLS. They dominated the charts for five years, boasting 5 number 1 singles, over 10 million record sales worldwide and a multitude of awards.

Four years ago, JB set up a farm in the Kent countryside, where he lives with his wife, Chloe, four-year-old son, Ace and 7-month-old daughter, Chiara.

Their smallholding successfully produces award winning KellyBronze turkeys and free-range Tamworth pork.

Now an established member of the farming community, JB has used his success within the entertainment industry to highlight his passion to educate children about the origins of their food and he is the lead presenter on CBeebies’ Bafta-nominated television series, Down On The Farm (created for children aged 0-6 years, teaching them about life on the farm and in the outdoors).

JB’s enthusiasm for farming life and knowledge of countryside issues has seen him regularly contribute to BBC’s Countryfile and Springwatch.

It’s not hard – don’t drop litter, says ED WALKER

Everyone hates litter.

And for more than 50 years, countries, cities and communities have waged war on the filthy litterbugs who shame our streets and parks.

Who can forget Keep Britain Tidy? Then came Don’t be a Litterbug, Be a Binner Not a Sinner and Let's get Bitter about Litter.

And The Golden Skip prize goes to Australia for the crude-but-cracking Don’t be a Tosser campaign that went worldwide.

So much effort. So much creativity.

Yet still so much filth and debris making lives miserable.

But now, more than ever before, we can consign litter louts to the rubbish bin of history.

In Your Area has nearly 4m users across the UK.

We operate in, and have users in, every single UK postcode district.

Which means we have a huge army of people who care and can make things happen.

So today, on behalf of 4m people, we say: DON’T TRASH OUR FUTURE and we demand the punishment for littering is raised to a £1,000 fine or 100 hours of supervised community litter picking.

And we insist that it’s compulsory for local authorities to enforce the law.

How do we make this reality?

Simply sign our petition and at 100,000 signatures we will call for it be considered for a debate in Parliament.

And with 4m voices behind us we will lobby MPs and ministers to drive through real change that makes things cleaner, healthier, and more beautiful In Your Area.

Together we can win – and ensure those who don’t have respect for our streets, fields and pathways Don’t Trash our Future.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/13149 ... up-Britain
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:20 pm

Beaver families win right to remain

Fifteen families of beavers have been given the permanent "right to remain" on the River Otter in East Devon

Image

The decision was made by the government following a five-year study by the Devon Wildlife Trust into beavers' impact on the local environment.

The Trust called it "the most ground-breaking government decision for England's wildlife for a generation".

It's the first time an extinct native mammal has been given government backing to be reintroduced in England.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said that in the future they could be considered a "public good" and farmers and landowners would pay to have them on their land.

Beavers have the power to change entire landscapes. They feel safer in deep water, so have become master makers of dams and pools.

They build complex homes - known as lodges or burrows - with underwater entrances.

The River Otter beaver trial showed that the animals' skill replenished and enhanced the ecology of the river catchment in East Devon.

They increased the "fish biomass", and improved the water quality. This meant more food for otters - beavers are herbivores - and clearer and cleaner water in which kingfishers could flourish.

Their dams worked as natural flood-defences, helping to reduce the risk of homes flooding downstream.

The evidence gathered by researchers during the trial helped the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to make what it called its "pioneering" decision to give the beavers the right to live, roam, and reproduce on the river.

Beavers were hunted to extinction 400 years ago for their meat, furry water-resistant pelts, and a substance they secrete called castoreum, used in food, medicine and perfume.

In 2013 video evidence emerged of a beaver with young on the River Otter, near Ottery St Mary. It was the conclusive proof of the first wild breeding beaver population in England.

It was a mystery how they came to be there. Some suspect that the creatures were illegally released by wildlife activists who, on social media, are called "beaver bombers".

The beavers faced being removed. However, the Devon Wildlife Trust, working with the University of Exeter, Clinton Devon Estates, and the Derek Gow Consultancy, won a five-year licence to study it.

Now there are at least 50 adults and kits on the river - and they are there to stay.

Peter Burgess, director of conservation at DWT, said: "This is the most ground-breaking government decision for England's wildlife for a generation. Beavers are nature's engineers and have the unrivalled ability to breathe new life into our rivers.

Image

Environment minister Rebecca Pow visited one of the stretches of river where the beavers are active. She said that the project, "was so important because it is informing how we think in the future."

She described beavers as a "natural management tool", and said that having them on land could be seen as providing a public benefit for which farmers and landowners could get paid, under the new subsidy system once the UK leaves the EU.

She said: "In our new system of environmental land management, those with land will be paid for delivering services, such as flood management and increased biodiversity.

"Using beavers in a wider catchment sense, farmers could be paid to have them on their land."

While the future of the River Otter beavers is now secure, it's not clear what will happen to other wild populations across England.

There is evidence that beavers are active on the River Wye, the River Tamar, and perhaps also in the Somerset levels.

Beavers were reintroduced to Scotland a decade ago, and last year they were made a protected species. However, farming leaders raised concerns about the dams flooding valuable agricultural land.

Last year, Scottish Natural Heritage granted licences to cull around a fifth of the beaver population.

Mark Owen, head of freshwater at the Angling Trust, said: "There remain serious concerns around the impact the release of beavers could have on protected migratory fish species, such as salmon and sea trout."

He said that the trust was "saddened that the minister has decided to favour an introduced species over species already present and in desperate need of more protection".

Those involved in the beaver trial believe that any wider reintroduction project needs careful management. Prof Richard Brazier, from the University of Exeter, said the activities of beavers help to lock up carbon, along with increasing biodiversity.

The rodents are also encouraging "wildlife tourism" with people wanting to spot them bring in welcome revenue to the local economy.

He said: "The benefits of beavers far outweigh any costs associated with their management."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53658375
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:36 pm

Biggest Disaster In Years

Thousands of volunteers in Mauritius are racing to contain a catastrophic oil spill swamping its pristine ocean and beaches on Sunday

Image

The bulk carrier MV Wakashio ran aground two weeks ago and has been seeping fuel into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species, prompting the government to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency.

Attempts to stabilise the stricken vessel, which ran aground on July 25 but only started leaking oil this week, and attempts to pump 4,000 tonnes of fuel from its hold have failed, and local authorities fear rough seas could further rupture the tanker.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said response crews had managed to stymie the leak for now, but were bracing for the worst. The cracks have grown. The situation is even worse,' he told reporters late Sunday. 'The risk of the boat breaking in half still exists.'

Japan said Sunday it would send a six-member expert team to assist, joining France which dispatched a naval vessel and military aircraft from nearby Reunion Island after Mauritius issued an appeal for international help.

Hell in paradise: Oil from the stricken and crumbling tanker MV Wakashio drifts towards Mauritius's pristine coastline

Thousands of volunteers in Mauritius are racing to contain a catastrophic oil spill swamping its pristine ocean and beaches

A cleanup crew working at the site of an oil spill after the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 8, 2020

Volunteers line the beaches, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide

The aerial view above was taken on August 6, 2020 and shows a large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius

Thick muck has spilled into unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage

The French Defence Ministry leaked this photo showing oil leaking leaking from the carrier ship. There is mounting pressure on the government to explain why did not do more when the ship first ran aground

The oil tanker was sailing from China to Brazil when it hit coral reefs near Pointe d'Esny, an ecological jewel surrounded by idyllic beaches, colourful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife

Thousands of volunteers, many smeared head-to-toe in black sludge, are marshalling along the coastline, stringing together miles of improvised floating barriers made of straw in a desperate attempt to hold back the oily tide.

Mitsui OSK Lines, which operates the vessel owned by another Japanese company, said Sunday that 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil had escaped so far.

'We are terribly sorry,' the shipping firm's vice president, Akihiko Ono, told reporters in Tokyo, promising to 'make all-out efforts to resolve the case'.

But conservationists say the damage could already be done.

Aerial images show the enormous scale of the disaster, with huge stretches of azure seas around the marooned cargo ship stained a deep inky black, and the region's fabled lagoons and inlets clouded over.

Around 1,000 tons of oil have already been spilt into the Indian Ocean prompting the government in Mauritius to declare an unprecedented environmental emergency

Volunteers clean up oil washing up on the beach as they try to contain the oil slick. Anxious residents are making floating barriers of straw in an attempt to contain and absorb the oil

People scooping up leaked oil. Environment and fisheries ministers have been called on to resign and volunteers have ignored orders to leave the clean-up to local authorities

A French military transport aircraft carrying pollution control equipment after landing on the Indian Ocean island on Sunday

Thick muck has inundated unspoiled marine habitats and white-sand beaches, causing what experts say is irreparable damage to the fragile coastal ecosystem upon which Mauritius and its economy relies.

'People by the thousands are coming together. No one is listening to the government anymore,' said Ashok Subron, an environmental activist at Mahebourg, one of the worst-hit areas.

'People have realised that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora.'

The oil slick is drifting to the northwest around the Ile aux Aigrettes island and towards Mahebourg as frustration mounts over why more wasn't done to prevent the ecological disaster

Police said Sunday they would execute a search warrant granted by a Mauritius court to board the Wakashio and seize items of interest, including the ship's log book and communication as part of its investigation into the accident.

The ship's captain, a 58-year-old Indian, will accompany officers on the search, police said. Twenty crew members evacuated safely from the Japanese-owned but Panamanian-flagged ship when it ran aground are under surveillance.

Prime Minister Jugnauth has convened a crisis meeting later Sunday, after expressing concern that forecast bad weather could further complicate efforts to stymie the spill, and cause more structural damage to the hull.

Conservationists fear the damage could already be done to the region's fabled lagoons and inlets as images show black oil washed up on the coastline

Police boarded the Japanese-owned but Panamanian-flagged Wakashio on Sunday and seized the ship's log book and black box as part of investigations into the disaster.

But it also relies on its natural bounty for food and income. Seafarers in Mahebourg, where the once-spotless seas have turned a sickly brown, worried about the future.

'Fishing is our only activity. We don't know how we will be able to feed our families,' one fishermen, who gave his name only as Michael, told AFP.

Link to Full Article - Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... reefs.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Aug 25, 2020 10:32 am

New UK law to curb supply
chain deforestation


UK businesses will have to show that their products and supply lines are free from illegal deforestation, under government plans

A proposed law would require larger companies operating in the UK to show where commodities such as cocoa, soy, rubber and palm oil originated from.

It would be illegal to use products that fail to comply with laws to protect nature in those origin nations.

Critics though say the plan is flawed and lacks detail on penalties.

There has been growing dissatisfaction among consumers about products that are connected to illegal deforestation, especially in the Amazon.

According to a new survey from environmental group, WWF, 67% of British consumers want the government to do more to tackle the issue.

Some 81% of respondents in the survey said there should be greater transparency about the origins of products that are imported into the UK.

Fuelling these concerns are reports showing that deforestation in the Amazon has increased sharply this year.

The felling of trees and the clearing of land, usually for agriculture, is responsible for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The vast majority of it is illegal.

The UK government now says it wants to address this issue by introducing a law to ensure that the supply chains of larger companies and the products they sell are free from illegal deforestation.

Companies would have to ensure that commodities such as palm and soy were produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems.

Businesses would have to publish information showing the origins of products or face fines.

"There is a hugely important connection between the products we buy and their wider environmental footprint, which is why the government is consulting today on new measures that would make it illegal for businesses in the UK to use commodities that are not grown in accordance with local laws," said international environment minister Lord Goldsmith.

"Ahead of hosting the UN climate change conference next year, the UK has a duty to lead the way in combating the biodiversity and nature crisis now upon us."

The plans for a new law were given a cautious welcome by some environmental campaigners.

"This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet's irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation," said Ruth Chambers, from the Greener UK coalition.

"The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.

But others argued that the proposal was flawed and did nothing tackle demand.

"Companies including supermarkets and fast food retailers must make full transparency of supply chains a condition of trade," said Greenpeace UK.

"That will mean reducing the amount of high risk commodities like meat, dairy, animal feed soya and palm oil they're buying."

"Proactively, the UK government and industry needs to support a just transition at home and in forest regions to food systems that work with nature, including the restoration of natural ecosystems."

As the host of the delayed climate conference, COP26, the UK is under pressure to show international leadership on climate issues.

Deforestation is one of the key issues where the government hopes to see progress made on the international stage.

In June, ministers committed an £16m in funding to help scale up environmentally friendly farming and forest conservation in the Amazon.

Details of the consultation on the proposed new law can be found here. It will run for six weeks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53891421
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:30 am

Earth's lost species
only tip of the iceberg


Scientists have calculated how many mammals might be lost this century, based on fossil evidence of past extinctions

Their predictions suggest at least 550 species will follow in the footsteps of the mammoth and sabre-toothed cat.

With every "lost species" we lose part of the Earth's natural history, they say.

Yet, despite these "grim" projections, we can save hundreds of species by stepping up conservation efforts.

The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that humans are almost entirely responsible for extinctions of mammals in past decades.

And rates will escalate in the future if we don't take action now.

Despite this "alarming" scenario, we could save hundreds if not thousands of species with more targeted and efficient conservation strategies, said Tobias Andermann of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and the University of Gothenburg.

In order to achieve this, we must increase our collective awareness about the "looming escalation of the biodiversity crisis, and take action in combatting this global emergency".

"Time is pressing," he said. "With every lost species, we irreversibly lose a unique portion of Earth's natural history."

The scientists compiled a large dataset of fossils, which provided evidence for the timing and scale of recent extinctions.

Their computer-based simulations predict large increases in extinction rates by the year 2100, based on the current threat status of species.

According to these models, the extinctions that have occurred in past centuries only represent the tip of the iceberg, compared with the looming extinctions of the next decades.

"Reconstructing our past impacts on biodiversity is essential to understand why some species and ecosystems have been particularly vulnerable to human activities - which can hopefully allow us to develop more effective conservation actions to combat extinction," said Prof Samuel Turvey of ZSL (Zoological Society of London).

Last year an intergovernmental panel of scientists said one million animal and plant species were now threatened with extinction.

Scientists have warned that we are entering the sixth mass extinction, with whatever we do now likely to define the future of humanity.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54034134
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:59 am

Wildlife in catastrophic decline

Wildlife populations have fallen by more than two-thirds in less than 50 years, according to a major report by the conservation group WWF.

Image

The report says this "catastrophic decline" shows no sign of slowing.

And it warns that nature is being destroyed by humans at a rate never seen before.

Wildlife is "in freefall" as we burn forests, over-fish our seas and destroy wild areas, says Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF.

"We are wrecking our world - the one place we call home - risking our health, security and survival here on Earth. Now nature is sending us a desperate SOS and time is running out."

What do the numbers mean?

The report looked at thousands of different wildlife species monitored by conservation scientists in habitats across the world.

They recorded an average 68% fall in more than 20,000 populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish since 1970.

Click to enlarge:
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The decline was clear evidence of the damage human activity is doing to the natural world, said Dr Andrew Terry, director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which provides the data.

"If nothing changes, populations will undoubtedly continue to fall, driving wildlife to extinction and threatening the integrity of the ecosystems on which we depend," he added.

The report says the Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of how nature and humans are intertwined.

Factors believed to lead to the emergence of pandemics - including habitat loss and the use and trade of wildlife - are also some of the drivers behind the decline in wildlife.

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New modelling evidence suggests we can halt and even reverse habitat loss and deforestation if we take urgent conservation action and change the way we produce and consume food.

The British TV presenter and naturalist Sir David Attenborough said the Anthropocene, the geological age during which human activity has come to the fore, could be the moment we achieve a balance with the natural world and become stewards of our planet.

"Doing so will require systemic shifts in how we produce food, create energy, manage our oceans and use materials," he said.

"But above all it will require a change in perspective. A change from viewing nature as something that's optional or 'nice to have' to the single greatest ally we have in restoring balance to our world."

Sir David presents a new documentary on extinction to be aired on BBC One in the UK on Sunday 13 September at 20:00 BST.

Image

How do we measure the loss of nature?

Measuring the variety of all life on Earth is complex, with a number of different measures.

Taken together, they provide evidence that biodiversity is being destroyed at a rate unprecedented in human history.

This particular report uses an index of whether populations of wildlife are going up or down. It does not tell us the number of species lost, or extinctions.

The largest declines are in tropical areas. The drop of 94% for Latin America and the Caribbean is the largest anywhere in the world, driven by a cocktail of threats to reptiles, amphibians and birds.

"This report is looking at the global picture and the need to act soon in order to start reversing these trends," said Louise McRae of ZSL.

The data has been used for modelling work to look at what might be needed to reverse the decline.

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Research published in the journal Naturesuggests that to turn the tide we must transform the way we produce and consume food, including reducing food waste and eating food with a lower environmental impact.

Prof Dame Georgina Mace of UCL said conservation actions alone wouldn't be sufficient to "bend the curve on biodiversity loss".

"It will require actions from other sectors, and here we show that the food system will be particularly important, both from the agricultural sector on the supply side, and consumers on the demand side," she said.

What do other measures tell us about the loss of nature?

Extinction data is compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which has evaluated more than 100,000 species of plants and animals, with more than 32,000 species threatened with extinction.

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In 2019, an intergovernmental panel of scientists concluded that one million species (500,000 animals and plants, and 500,000 insects) are threatened with extinction, some within decades.

The WWF report is one of many assessments of the state of nature being published in the coming weeks and months in the build-up to a major summit next year.

The UN will reveal next Tuesday its latest assessment of the state of nature worldwide.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54091048
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:44 pm

Penjwen villagers upset after
century-old trees chopped down


A man is facing criminal charges after he damaged and chopped down trees believed to be over 100 years old in Sulaimani’s Penjwin area, near the border with Iran. His actions sparked outcry by villagers in a region that struggles to protect its environment

Residents of Chawtan village accused a person from the neighbouring village of Kolitan of chopping down a group of trees.

“About 20 old trees, aged over 100 years, have been cut in the last month,” Omer Ahmed, a resident of Chawtan, told Rudaw TV’s Berpisyar programme on Thursday. The area is not a protected zone, but is open to the public “like a resort,” he added.

Hemin Ismail, mayor of Nalparez subdistrict in Penjwin, said the alleged culprit made a request to his office to prune 16 trees.

“He submitted a request to make improvements to some 16 trees on the grounds that their branches were very thick. We have a special committee that checked the place and told him that the people of the village should agree, then he can do this. We do not support cutting trees and we have fined those who have cut trees in the past,” said the mayor.

Trees are not the only thing disputed between the two villages, added the mayor. They also have issues over water and land.

Rudaw’s Horvan Rafaat, reporting from the area, found several trees that had been chopped down in an area between the two villages. Chawtan villagers also claimed to have found a shack they say the same man used to turn the wood into charcoal and told Rudaw they have filed complaints about the man with the mayor’s office many times.

Mayor Ismail denied receiving complaints, but said the man “has harmed some trees and if he has violated the law, there will be punishment.”

Local forestry police said the man in question had submitted a request to prune trees, but under another name. “He has cut four trees but the remaining 16 trees are unharmed,” said Ismail Ibrahim, head of Penjwin forestry police. “We will take legal action against him for badly pruning the trees.”

The man will be in court on Sunday and, if found guilty, could be fined or jailed, Ibrahim added.

Deforestation is a serious problem in the Kurdistan Region. Forest fires frequently break out during hot, dry summers, often caused by picnickers or military activity by Turkey and Iran. In winter, people chop down trees to use as firewood.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/lifestyle/10092020
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:01 am

Stark warning on extinction

Sir David Attenborough returns to our screens this weekend and for once Britain's favourite naturalist is not here to celebrate the incredible diversity of life on Earth but to issue us all with a stark warning

Image

The one-hour film, Extinction: The Facts, will be broadcast on BBC One in the UK on Sunday 13 September at 20:00 BST.

"We are facing a crisis", he warns at the start, "and one that has consequences for us all."

What follows is a shocking reckoning of the damage our species has wrought on the natural world.

Scenes of destruction

There are the stunning images of animals and plants you would expect from an Attenborough production, but also horrific scenes of destruction.

In one sequence monkeys leap from trees into a river to escape a huge fire.

In another a koala bear limps across a road in its vain search for shelter as flames consume the forest around it.

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Pangolins are trafficked in great numbers for their scales

There is a small army of experts on hand to quantify the scale of the damage to the ecosystems of the world.

Of the estimated eight million species on Earth, a million are now threated with extinction, one expert warns.

Since 1970, vertebrate animals - birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians - have declined by 60%, another tells us.

We meet the world's last two northern white rhinos.

These great beasts used to be found in their thousands in Central Africa but have been pushed to the brink of extinction by habitat loss and hunting.

"Many people think of extinction being this imaginary tale told by conservationists," says James Mwenda, the keeper who looks after them, "but I have lived it, I know what it is."

Image

Many people think of extinction being this imaginary tale'

James strokes and pets the giant animals but it becomes clear they represent the last of their kind when he tells us that Najin and Fatu are mother and daughter.

Species have always come and gone, that's how evolution works. But, says Sir David, the rate of extinction has been rising dramatically.

It is reckoned to be now happening at one hundred times the natural evolutionary rate - and is accelerating.

"Over the course of my life I've encountered some of the world's most remarkable species of animals," says Sir David, in one of the most moving sequences in the film.

"Only now do I realise just how lucky I've been - many of these wonders seem set to disappear forever."

Crisis in the natural world

Sir David is at pains to explain that this isn't just about losing the magnificent creatures he has featured in the hundreds of programmes he has made in his six decades as a natural history film-maker.

The loss of pollinating insects could threaten the food crops we depend on. Plants and trees regulate water flow and produce the oxygen we breathe. Meanwhile, the seas are being emptied of fish.

There is now about 5% of trawler-caught fish left compared with before the turn of the 20th century, one expert says.

Image

Two female rhinos are the last of their kind

But the pandemic provides perhaps the most immediate example of the risks of our ever-increasing encroachment into the natural world, as we have all been learning in the most brutal fashion over the last six months.

The programme tracks the suspected origins of coronavirus to populations of bats living in cave systems in Yunnan province in China.

We see the Chinese "wet market" in Wuhan which specialises in the sale of wild animals for human consumption and is thought to have been linked with many of the early infections.

Cause for hope

The programme is uncompromising in its depiction of the crisis in the natural world, admits Serena Davies, who directed the programme.

"Our job is to report the reality the evidence presents," she explains.

But the programme does not leave the audience feeling that all is lost. Sir David makes clear there is still cause for hope.

"His aim is not to try and drag the audience into the depths of despair," says Ms Davies, "but to take people on a journey that makes them realise what is driving these issues we can also solve them."

The programme ends in iconic style.

We see one of the most celebrated moments in all the films Sir David has made in his long career, the moment he met a band of gorillas in the mountains on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Image

Gorillas face many threats but there is hope for their recovery

A young gorilla called Poppy tries to take off his shoes as he speaks to the camera.

"It was an experience that stayed with me," says Sir David, "but it was tinged with sadness, as I thought I might be seeing some of the last of their kind."

The programme makers have been back to Rwanda and, after a long trek, spot Poppy's daughter and granddaughter in the deep forest scrub.

We learn that the Rwandan government has worked with local people to protect the animal and that the gorillas are thriving.

There were 250 when Sir David visited in the 1970s, now there are more than 1,000.

It shows, says Sir David, what we can achieve when we put our minds to it.

"I may not be here to see it," he concludes, "but if we make the right decisions at this critical moment, we can safeguard our planet's ecosystems, its extraordinary biodiversity and all its inhabitants."

His final line packs a powerful punch: "What happens next", says Sir David, "is up to every one of us."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54118769
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:11 pm

A world without Koalas

If the people of NSW keep electing koala hating monsters they will all be gone by 2050

All that koala habitat that burned during the bushfires - should we let it grow back?

Hell no


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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:04 pm

Urgent change' needed to save nature

Many primates, including the endangered gold snub-nosed monkey, are in decline due to loss of habitat

Image

Humanity is at a crossroads and we have to take action now to make space for nature to recover and slow its "accelerating decline".

This is according to a report by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

It sets out a bullet point list of eight major transitions that could help stop the ongoing decline in nature.

"Things have to change," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the convention's executive secretary.

"If we take action, the right action - as the report proposes - we can transition to a sustainable planet."

Image

What's the link between exploiting nature and human health?

New diseases emerge in the human population probably three or four times every year. It is only when they are easily transmitted from human to human - like the coronavirus - that they have the potential to kick-start a pandemic. But increasing the chances of a new disease emerging increases the chances of that disease becoming the "next Covid".

And these are not truly new diseases - they are just new to our species. The vast majority of outbreaks are the result of an animal disease spilling over into the human population. Ebola and HIV came from primates; scientists have linked cases of Ebola to consuming meat from infected animals. A bite from a rabies-infected animal is a very effective mode of disease transmission. And in the 20 years before Covid-19, SARs, MERs, swine flu, and avian flu all spilled over from animals.

As we reengineer the natural world, we encroach on reservoirs of animal disease and put ourselves at risk.

"More and more we are affecting wildlife populations, deforesting and causing animals to move and enter our environment," explained Prof Matthew Baylis, a veterinary epidemiologist from the University of Liverpool.

"That causes [disease-causing] pathogens to be passed from one species to another. So our behaviours on a global scale are facilitating the spread of a pathogen from animals into humans."

How are humans doing when it comes to protecting nature?

The convention (CBD) has called this the "final report card" on progress against the 20 global biodiversity targets that were agreed in 2010 with a 2020 deadline.

"Progress has been made, but none of [those] targets will be fully met," Ms Maruma Mrema told BBC News. "So a lot still needs to be done to bend the curve on biodiversity loss."

As well as a stark warning, this report sets out an instruction manual about how to bend that curve.

"It can be done," said David Cooper, deputy executive secretary of the CBD. "Next year in China we'll have the UN biodiversity conference, where countries are expected to adopt a new framework that will represent global commitments to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030."

Image

How can the impact of humans on nature be limited?

That framework - which has been dubbed a "Paris climate agreement for nature", will encompass eight major transitions that all 196 nations will be expected to commit to:

    Land and forests: Protecting habitats and reducing the degradation of soil;

    Sustainable agriculture: redesigning the way we farm to minimise the negative impact on nature through things like forest clearance and intensive use of fertilisers and pesticides;

    Food: Eating a more sustainable diet with, primarily, more moderate consumption of meat and fish and "dramatic cuts" in waste;

    Oceans and fisheries: Protecting and restoring marine ecosystems and fishing sustainably - allowing stocks to recover and important marine habitats to be protected

    Urban greening: Making more space for nature in towns and cities, where almost three-quarters of us live;

    Freshwater: Protecting lake and river habitats, reducing pollution and improving water quality;

    Urgent climate action: Taking action on climate change with a "rapid phasing out" of fossil fuels;
A 'One Health' approach: This encompasses all of the above. It essentially means managing our whole environment - whether it is urban, agricultural, forests or fisheries - with a view to promoting "a healthy environment and healthy people".

"Covid-19 has been a stark reminder of the relationship between human action and nature," said Ms Maruma Mrema. "Now we have the opportunity to do better post-Covid.

The pandemic itself has been linked to wildlife trade and human encroachment into forests, which scientists say increases the risk of a "spillover" of diseases from wildlife into humans.

Has there been any progress over the past decade?

The report does highlight some successes: deforestation rates are continuing to fall, eradication of invasive alien species from islands is increasing, and awareness of biodiversity appears to be increasing.

Image

"Many good things are happening around the world and these should be celebrated and encouraged," said Ms Maruma Mrema. Nevertheless, she added, the rate of biodiversity loss was unprecedented in human history and pressures were intensifying.

"We have to act now. It is not too late. Otherwise, our children and grandchildren will curse us because we will leave behind a polluted, degraded and unhealthy planet."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54120111
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:43 am

Mayor frees illegally captured
birds in Binare Qandil


In some areas of the town of Qandil in Kurdistan, bird-catching is still persistent, despite a ban and severe penalties

Image

They use set and impact nets, but also other traps are still widespread. In some regions, illegal bird hunting is still considered a traditional popular sport. Animal protection organizations attribute this among other things to the fact that the patriarchal society in some regions of Southern Kurdistan is shaped by an occupation mentality.

Especially migratory birds are caught or shot down, but also protected species and birds of prey, which are then sold to so-called "bird lovers". The animal protection committee of Binare Qandil regularly collects bird traps and frees captured animals. Although the number of traps found continues to decrease, the ban on trapping is regularly disregarded.

"Nature in our region is being destroyed a little more every day. Turkey is largely responsible for this destruction. But it is not only bombings or the resulting wildfires that destroy our environment. It is also fires that are ignited by careless people. And it is people who are engaged in wild capture and poaching,” says Mihemed Hesen, the co-mayor of Binare Qandil.

Together with co-mayor Awaz Ismail, many captured birds were released into the wild and thus into freedom again this weekend.

"We try as best we can to keep the bird population stable. Our options are limited, but we do our best," says Hesen. Since bird hunting is nevertheless conducted in complete openness in some areas, the community is now considering tightening sanctions for violations. But it also requires a change in society. "The sensitization of the public is the the nuts and bolts for animal protection, according to Hesen.
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