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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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:01 am

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How Climate Migration Will Reshape America

August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones

By midmonth, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky. From Santa Cruz to Lake Tahoe, thousands of bolts of electricity exploded down onto withered grasslands and forests, some of them already hollowed out by climate-driven infestations of beetles and kiln-dried by the worst five-year drought on record. Soon, California was on fire.

Over the next two weeks, 900 blazes incinerated six times as much land as all the state’s 2019 wildfires combined, forcing 100,000 people from their homes. Three of the largest fires in history burned simultaneously in a ring around the San Francisco Bay Area. Another fire burned just 12 miles from my home in Marin County.

I watched as towering plumes of smoke billowed from distant hills in all directions and air tankers crisscrossed the skies. Like many Californians, I spent those weeks worrying about what might happen next, wondering how long it would be before an inferno of 60-foot flames swept up the steep, grassy hillside on its way toward my own house, rehearsing in my mind what my family would do to escape.

But I also had a longer-term question, about what would happen once this unprecedented fire season ended. Was it finally time to leave for good?

I had an unusual perspective on the matter. For two years, I have been studying how climate change will influence global migration. My sense was that of all the devastating consequences of a warming planet — changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planet stands to be among the most important. I traveled across four countries to witness how rising temperatures were driving climate refugees away from some of the poorest and hottest parts of the world. I had also helped create an enormous computer simulation to analyze how global demographics might shift, and now I was working on a data-mapping project about migration here in the United States.

So it was with some sense of recognition that I faced the fires these last few weeks. In recent years, summer has brought a season of fear to California, with ever-worsening wildfires closing in. But this year felt different. The hopelessness of the pattern was now clear, and the pandemic had already uprooted so many Americans. Relocation no longer seemed like such a distant prospect. Like the subjects of my reporting, climate change had found me, its indiscriminate forces erasing all semblance of normalcy. Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I’d been asking others: Was it time to move?

I am far from the only American facing such questions. This summer has seen more fires, more heat, more storms — all of it making life increasingly untenable in larger areas of the nation. Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable.

As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record.

For years, Americans have avoided confronting these changes in their own backyards. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. In much of the developing world, vulnerable people will attempt to flee the emerging perils of global warming, seeking cooler temperatures, more fresh water and safety. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest.

I wanted to know if this was beginning to change. Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? To answer these questions, I interviewed more than four dozen experts: economists and demographers, climate scientists and insurance executives, architects and urban planners, and I mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years.

The maps for the first time combined exclusive climate data from the Rhodium Group, an independent data-analytics firm; wildfire projections modeled by United States Forest Service researchers and others; and data about America’s shifting climate niches, an evolution of work first published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last spring.

What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life.

The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo.

By 2070, some 28 million people across the country could face Manhattan-size megafires. In Northern California, they could become an annual event.

A megafire on average every …

1-2 years
2-5 years
5+ years
No data

*High Emissions scenario

Then what? One influential 2018 study, published in The Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, suggests that one in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor. It will accelerate rapid, perhaps chaotic, urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, testing their capacity to provide basic services and amplifying existing inequities. It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia, where low-income and Black and Indigenous communities face environmental change on top of poor health and extreme poverty. Mobility itself, global-migration experts point out, is often a reflection of relative wealth, and as some move, many others will be left behind. Those who stay risk becoming trapped as the land and the society around them ceases to offer any more support.

There are signs that the message is breaking through. Half of Americans now rank climate as a top political priority, up from roughly one-third in 2016, and three out of four now describe climate change as either “a crisis” or “a major problem.” This year, Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, where tens of thousands of acres of farmland flooded in 2019, ranked climate second only to health care as an issue. A poll by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities found that even Republicans’ views are shifting: One in three now think climate change should be declared a national emergency.

Policymakers, having left America unprepared for what’s next, now face brutal choices about which communities to save — often at exorbitant costs — and which to sacrifice. Their decisions will almost inevitably make the nation more divided, with those worst off relegated to a nightmare future in which they are left to fend for themselves. Nor will these disruptions wait for the worst environmental changes to occur. The wave begins when individual perception of risk starts to shift, when the environmental threat reaches past the least fortunate and rattles the physical and financial security of broader, wealthier parts of the population. It begins when even places like California’s suburbs are no longer safe.

It has already begun.

LAKE CHARLES, LA. A woman lost consciousness in a parking lot after Hurricane Laura left her without electricity or air-conditioning for several days.

CHARLES LAKE, LA. A woman lost consciousness in a parking lot after Hurricane Laura left her without electricity or air-conditioning for several days.

Let’s start with some basics. Across the country, it’s going to get hot. Buffalo may feel in a few decades like Tempe, Ariz., does today, and Tempe itself will sustain 100-degree average summer temperatures by the end of the century. Extreme humidity from New Orleans to northern Wisconsin will make summers increasingly unbearable, turning otherwise seemingly survivable heat waves into debilitating health threats. Fresh water will also be in short supply, not only in the West but also in places like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where droughts now regularly wither cotton fields. By 2040, according to federal government projections, extreme water shortages will be nearly ubiquitous west of Missouri. The Memphis Sands Aquifer, a crucial water supply for Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, is already overdrawn by hundreds of millions of gallons a day. Much of the Ogallala Aquifer — which supplies nearly a third of the nation’s irrigation groundwater — could be gone by the end of the century.

It can be difficult to see the challenges clearly because so many factors are in play. At least 28 million Americans are likely to face megafires like the ones we are now seeing in California, in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia. At the same time, 100 million Americans — largely in the Mississippi River Basin from Louisiana to Wisconsin — will increasingly face humidity so extreme that working outside or playing school sports could cause heatstroke. Crop yields will be decimated from Texas to Alabama and all the way north through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska.

By 2060 in Missouri and throughout the Midwest, people will experience weeks of “wet-bulb” temperatures above 82 degrees, a humidity threshold that makes outdoor labor dangerous.

Wet-bulb temperature above 82 degrees …

15-18 days
5–15 days
0–5 days

*High Emissions scenario

The challenges are so widespread and so interrelated that Americans seeking to flee one could well run into another. I live on a hilltop, 400 feet above sea level, and my home will never be touched by rising waters. But by the end of this century, if the more extreme projections of eight to 10 feet of sea-level rise come to fruition, the shoreline of San Francisco Bay will move three miles closer to my house, as it subsumes some 166 square miles of land, including a high school, a new county hospital and the store where I buy groceries. The freeway to San Francisco will need to be raised, and to the east, a new bridge will be required to connect the community of Point Richmond to the city of Berkeley. The Latino, Asian and Black communities who live in the most-vulnerable low-lying districts will be displaced first, but research from Mathew Hauer, a sociologist at Florida State University who published some of the first modeling of American climate migration in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2017, suggests that the toll will eventually be far more widespread: Nearly one in three people here in Marin County will leave, part of the roughly 700,000 who his models suggest may abandon the broader Bay Area as a result of sea-level rise alone.

From Maine to North Carolina to Texas, rising sea levels are not just chewing up shorelines but also raising rivers and swamping the subterranean infrastructure of coastal communities, making a stable life there all but impossible. Coastal high points will be cut off from roadways, amenities and escape routes, and even far inland, saltwater will seep into underground drinking-water supplies. Eight of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas — Miami, New York and Boston among them — will be profoundly altered, indirectly affecting some 50 million people. Imagine large concrete walls separating Fort Lauderdale condominiums from a beachless waterfront, or dozens of new bridges connecting the islands of Philadelphia. Not every city can spend $100 billion on a sea wall, as New York most likely will. Barrier islands? Rural areas along the coast without a strong tax base? They are likely, in the long term, unsalvageable.

In all, Hauer projects that 13 million Americans will be forced to move away from submerged coastlines. Add to that the people contending with wildfires and other risks, and the number of Americans who might move — though difficult to predict precisely — could easily be tens of millions larger. Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history. The Great Migration — of six million Black Americans out of the South from 1916 to 1970 — transformed almost everything we know about America, from the fate of its labor movement to the shape of its cities to the sound of its music. What would it look like when twice that many people moved? What might change?

COOLIDGE, ARIZ. Marisela Felix set up a pool to keep her daughters and niece cool during 108-degree heat.

Americans have been conditioned not to respond to geographical climate threats as people in the rest of the world do. It is natural that rural Guatemalans or subsistence farmers in Kenya, facing drought or scorching heat, would seek out someplace more stable and resilient. Even a subtle environmental change — a dry well, say — can mean life or death, and without money to address the problem, migration is often simply a question of survival.

By comparison, Americans are richer, often much richer, and more insulated from the shocks of climate change. They are distanced from the food and water sources they depend on, and they are part of a culture that sees every problem as capable of being solved by money. So even as the average flow of the Colorado River — the water supply for 40 million Western Americans and the backbone of the nation’s vegetable and cattle farming — has declined for most of the last 33 years, the population of Nevada has doubled. At the same time, more than 1.5 million people have moved to the Phoenix metro area, despite its dependence on that same river (and the fact that temperatures there now regularly hit 115 degrees). Since Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992 — and even as that state has become a global example of the threat of sea-level rise — more than five million people have moved to Florida’s shorelines, driving a historic boom in building and real estate.

Sea-level rise could displace as many as 13 million coastal residents by 2060, including 290,000 people in North Carolina.

Percent of properties below high tide …

5–25%
1-5%
Under 1%
0

*High Emissions scenario

Similar patterns are evident across the country. Census data show us how Americans move: toward heat, toward coastlines, toward drought, regardless of evidence of increasing storms and flooding and other disasters.

The sense that money and technology can overcome nature has emboldened Americans. Where money and technology fail, though, it inevitably falls to government policies — and government subsidies — to pick up the slack. Thanks to federally subsidized canals, for example, water in part of the Desert Southwest costs less than it does in Philadelphia. The federal National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild houses that have flooded six times over in the same spot. And federal agriculture aid withholds subsidies from farmers who switch to drought-resistant crops, while paying growers to replant the same ones that failed. Farmers, seed manufacturers, real estate developers and a few homeowners benefit, at least momentarily, but the gap between what the climate can destroy and what money can replace is growing.

Perhaps no market force has proved more influential — and more misguided — than the nation’s property-insurance system. From state to state, readily available and affordable policies have made it attractive to buy or replace homes even where they are at high risk of disasters, systematically obscuring the reality of the climate threat and fooling many Americans into thinking that their decisions are safer than they actually are. Part of the problem is that most policies look only 12 months into the future, ignoring long-term trends even as insurance availability influences development and drives people’s long-term decision-making.

Even where insurers have tried to withdraw policies or raise rates to reduce climate-related liabilities, state regulators have forced them to provide affordable coverage anyway, simply subsidizing the cost of underwriting such a risky policy or, in some cases, offering it themselves. The regulations — called Fair Access to Insurance Requirements — are justified by developers and local politicians alike as economic lifeboats “of last resort” in regions where climate change threatens to interrupt economic growth. While they do protect some entrenched and vulnerable communities, the laws also satisfy the demand of wealthier homeowners who still want to be able to buy insurance.

LAKE CHARLES, LA. Cassidy Plaisance surveying what was left of her friend’s home after Hurricane Laura.

At least 30 states, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas, have developed so-called FAIR plans, and today they serve as a market backstop in the places facing the highest risks of climate-driven disasters, including coastal flooding, hurricanes and wildfires.

In an era of climate change, though, such policies amount to a sort of shell game, meant to keep growth going even when other obvious signs and scientific research suggest that it should stop.

That’s what happened in Florida. Hurricane Andrew reduced parts of cities to landfill and cost insurers nearly $16 billion in payouts. Many insurance companies, recognizing the likelihood that it would happen again, declined to renew policies and left the state. So the Florida Legislature created a state-run company to insure properties itself, preventing both an exodus and an economic collapse by essentially pretending that the climate vulnerabilities didn’t exist.

As a result, Florida’s taxpayers by 2012 had assumed liabilities worth some $511 billion — more than seven times the state’s total budget — as the value of coastal property topped $2.8 trillion. Another direct hurricane risked bankrupting the state. Florida, concerned that it had taken on too much risk, has since scaled back its self-insurance plan. But the development that resulted is still in place.

On a sweltering afternoon last October, with the skies above me full of wildfire smoke, I called Jesse Keenan, an urban-planning and climate-change specialist then at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, who advises the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission on market hazards from climate change. Keenan, who is now an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, had been in the news last year for projecting where people might move to — suggesting that Duluth, Minn., for instance, should brace for a coming real estate boom as climate migrants move north. But like other scientists I’d spoken with, Keenan had been reluctant to draw conclusions about where these migrants would be driven from.

Last fall, though, as the previous round of fires ravaged California, his phone began to ring, with private-equity investors and bankers all looking for his read on the state’s future. Their interest suggested a growing investor-grade nervousness about swiftly mounting environmental risk in the hottest real estate markets in the country. It’s an early sign, he told me, that the momentum is about to switch directions. “And once this flips,” he added, “it’s likely to flip very quickly.”

AZUSA, CALIF. Residents watching the Ranch 2 Fire.

In fact, the correction — a newfound respect for the destructive power of nature, coupled with a sudden disavowal of Americans’ appetite for reckless development — had begun two years earlier, when a frightening surge in disasters offered a jolting preview of how the climate crisis was changing the rules.

On October 9, 2017, a wildfire blazed through the suburban blue-collar neighborhood of Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Calif., virtually in my own backyard. I awoke to learn that more than 1,800 buildings were reduced to ashes, less than 35 miles from where I slept. Inchlong cinders had piled on my windowsills like falling snow.

The Tubbs Fire, as it was called, shouldn’t have been possible. Coffey Park is surrounded not by vegetation but by concrete and malls and freeways. So insurers had rated it as “basically zero risk,” according to Kevin Van Leer, then a risk modeler from the global insurance liability firm Risk Management Solutions. (He now does similar work for Cape Analytics.) But Van Leer, who had spent seven years picking through the debris left by disasters to understand how insurers could anticipate — and price — the risk of their happening again, had begun to see other “impossible” fires. After a 2016 fire tornado ripped through northern Canada and a firestorm consumed Gatlinburg, Tenn., he said, “alarm bells started going off” for the insurance industry.

What Van Leer saw when he walked through Coffey Park a week after the Tubbs Fire changed the way he would model and project fire risk forever. Typically, fire would spread along the ground, burning maybe 50 percent of structures. In Santa Rosa, more than 90 percent had been leveled. “The destruction was complete,” he told me. Van Leer determined that the fire had jumped through the forest canopy, spawning 70-mile-per-hour winds that kicked a storm of embers into the modest homes of Coffey Park, which burned at an acre a second as homes ignited spontaneously from the radiant heat. It was the kind of thing that might never have been possible if California’s autumn winds weren’t getting fiercer and drier every year, colliding with intensifying, climate-driven heat and ever-expanding development. “It’s hard to forecast something you’ve never seen before,” he said.

SANTA ROSA, CALIF. Homes are being rebuilt in Coffey Park, a community destroyed by the Tubbs Fire.

SANTA ROSA, CALIF. Homes are being rebuilt in Coffey Park, a community destroyed by the Tubbs Fire.

For me, the awakening to imminent climate risk came with California’s rolling power blackouts last fall — an effort to pre-emptively avoid the risk of a live wire sparking a fire — which showed me that all my notional perspective about climate risk and my own life choices were on a collision course. After the first one, all the food in our refrigerator was lost. When power was interrupted six more times in three weeks, we stopped trying to keep it stocked. All around us, small fires burned. Thick smoke produced fits of coughing. Then, as now, I packed an ax and a go-bag in my car, ready to evacuate. As former Gov. Jerry Brown said, it was beginning to feel like the “new abnormal.”

It was no surprise, then, that California’s property insurers — having watched 26 years’ worth of profits dissolve over 24 months — began dropping policies, or that California’s insurance commissioner, trying to slow the slide, placed a moratorium on insurance cancellations for parts of the state in 2020. In February, the Legislature introduced a bill compelling California to, in the words of one consumer advocacy group, “follow the lead of Florida” by mandating that insurance remain available, in this case with a requirement that homeowners first harden their properties against fire. At the same time, participation in California’s FAIR plan for catastrophic fires has grown by at least 180 percent since 2015, and in Santa Rosa, houses are being rebuilt in the very same wildfire-vulnerable zones that proved so deadly in 2017. Given that a new study projects a 20 percent increase in extreme-fire-weather days by 2035, such practices suggest a special form of climate negligence.

It’s only a matter of time before homeowners begin to recognize the unsustainability of this approach. Market shock, when driven by the sort of cultural awakening to risk that Keenan observes, can strike a neighborhood like an infectious disease, with fear spreading doubt — and devaluation — from door to door. It happened that way in the foreclosure crisis.

By 2060 in Florida and elsewhere, the costs of sea-level rise and hurricanes will be compounded by knock-on economic challenges, from growing crime to falling productivity.

Economic damages as a proportion of G.D.P. …

10%–55%
5–10%
1–5%
0–1%
Economic benefits

*High Emissions scenario

Keenan calls the practice of drawing arbitrary lending boundaries around areas of perceived environmental risk “bluelining,” and indeed many of the neighborhoods that banks are bluelining are the same as the ones that were hit by the racist redlining practice in days past. This summer, climate-data analysts at the First Street Foundation released maps showing that 70 percent more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought; most of the underestimated risk was in low-income neighborhoods.

Such neighborhoods see little in the way of flood-prevention investment. My Bay Area neighborhood, on the other hand, has benefited from consistent investment in efforts to defend it against the ravages of climate change. That questions of livability had reached me, here, were testament to Keenan’s belief that the bluelining phenomenon will eventually affect large majorities of equity-holding middle-class Americans too, with broad implications for the overall economy, starting in the nation’s largest state.

Under the radar, a new class of dangerous debt — climate-distressed mortgage loans — might already be threatening the financial system. Lending data analyzed by Keenan and his co-author, Jacob Bradt, for a study published in the journal Climatic Change in June shows that small banks are liberally making loans on environmentally threatened homes, but then quickly passing them along to federal mortgage backers. At the same time, they have all but stopped lending money for the higher-end properties worth too much for the government to accept, suggesting that the banks are knowingly passing climate liabilities along to taxpayers as stranded assets.

Once home values begin a one-way plummet, it’s easy for economists to see how entire communities spin out of control. The tax base declines and the school system and civic services falter, creating a negative feedback loop that pushes more people to leave. Rising insurance costs and the perception of risk force credit-rating agencies to downgrade towns, making it more difficult for them to issue bonds and plug the springing financial leaks. Local banks, meanwhile, keep securitizing their mortgage debt, sloughing off their own liabilities.

Keenan, though, had a bigger point: All the structural disincentives that had built Americans’ irrational response to the climate risk were now reaching their logical endpoint. A pandemic-induced economic collapse will only heighten the vulnerabilities and speed the transition, reducing to nothing whatever thin margin of financial protection has kept people in place. Until now, the market mechanisms had essentially socialized the consequences of high-risk development. But as the costs rise — and the insurers quit, and the bankers divest, and the farm subsidies prove too wasteful, and so on — the full weight of responsibility will fall on individual people.

And that’s when the real migration might begin.

As I spoke with Keenan last year, I looked out my own kitchen window onto hillsides of parkland, singed brown by months of dry summer heat. This was precisely the land that my utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, had three times identified as such an imperiled tinderbox that it had to shut off power to avoid fire. It was precisely the kind of wildland-urban interface that all the studies I read blamed for heightening Californians’ exposure to climate risks. I mentioned this on the phone and then asked Keenan, “Should I be selling my house and getting — ”

He cut me off: “Yes.”

PINAL COUNTY, ARIZ. Pedro Delgado harvesting a cob of blue corn that grew without kernels at Ramona Farms last month.

Americans have dealt with climate disaster before. The Dust Bowl started after the federal government expanded the Homestead Act to offer more land to settlers willing to work the marginal soil of the Great Plains. Millions took up the invitation, replacing hardy prairie grass with thirsty crops like corn, wheat and cotton. Then, entirely predictably, came the drought. From 1929 to 1934, crop yields across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri plunged by 60 percent, leaving farmers destitute and exposing the now-barren topsoil to dry winds and soaring temperatures. The resulting dust storms, some of them taller than skyscrapers, buried homes whole and blew as far east as Washington. The disaster propelled an exodus of some 2.5 million people, mostly to the West, where newcomers — “Okies” not just from Oklahoma but also Texas, Arkansas and Missouri — unsettled communities and competed for jobs. Colorado tried to seal its border from the climate refugees; in California, they were funneled into squalid shanty towns. Only after the migrants settled and had years to claw back a decent life did some towns bounce back stronger.

The places migrants left behind never fully recovered. Eighty years later, Dust Bowl towns still have slower economic growth and lower per capita income than the rest of the country. Dust Bowl survivors and their children are less likely to go to college and more likely to live in poverty. Climatic change made them poor, and it has kept them poor ever since.

A Dust Bowl event will most likely happen again. The Great Plains states today provide nearly half of the nation’s wheat, sorghum and cattle and much of its corn; the farmers and ranchers there export that food to Africa, South America and Asia. Crop yields, though, will drop sharply with every degree of warming. By 2050, researchers at the University of Chicago and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found, Dust Bowl-era yields will be the norm, even as demand for scarce water jumps by as much as 20 percent. Another extreme drought would drive near-total crop losses worse than the Dust Bowl, kneecapping the broader economy. At that point, the authors write, “abandonment is one option.”

Corn and soy production will decrease with every degree of warming. By 2060, parts of Texas may experience a drop in yields of more than 92 percent.

Crop yield decline by:

60–92%
30–60%
0–30%
Yield increases
No data

*High Emissions scenario

Projections are inherently imprecise, but the gradual changes to America’s cropland — plus the steady baking and burning and flooding — suggest that we are already witnessing a slower-forming but much larger replay of the Dust Bowl that will destroy more than just crops. In 2017, Solomon Hsiang, a climate economist at the University of California, Berkeley, led an analysis of the economic impact of climate-driven changes like rising mortality and rising energy costs, finding that the poorest counties in the United States — mostly across the South and the Southwest — will in some extreme cases face damages equal to more than a third of their gross domestic products. The 2018 National Climate Assessment also warns that the U.S. economy over all could contract by 10 percent.

That kind of loss typically drives people toward cities, and researchers expect that trend to continue after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. In 1950, less than 65 percent of Americans lived in cities. By 2050, only 10 percent will live outside them, in part because of climatic change. By 2100, Hauer estimates, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston and Austin could each receive more than a quarter million new residents as a result of sea-level displacement alone, meaning it may be those cities — not the places that empty out — that wind up bearing the brunt of America’s reshuffling. The World Bank warns that fast-moving climate urbanization leads to rising unemployment, competition for services and deepening poverty.

So what will happen to Atlanta — a metro area of 5.8 million people that may lose its water supply to drought and that our data also shows will face an increase in heat-driven wildfires? Hauer estimates that hundreds of thousands of climate refugees will move into the city by 2100, swelling its population and stressing its infrastructure. Atlanta — where poor transportation and water systems contributed to the state’s C+ infrastructure grade last year — already suffers greater income inequality than any other large American city, making it a virtual tinderbox for social conflict. One in 10 households earns less than $10,000 a year, and rings of extreme poverty are growing on its outskirts even as the city center grows wealthier.

Atlanta has started bolstering its defenses against climate change, but in some cases this has only exacerbated divisions. When the city converted an old Westside rock quarry into a reservoir, part of a larger greenbelt to expand parkland, clean the air and protect against drought, the project also fueled rapid upscale growth, driving the poorest Black communities further into impoverished suburbs. That Atlanta hasn’t “fully grappled with” such challenges now, says Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, chair of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, means that with more people and higher temperatures, “the city might be pushed to what’s manageable.”

So might Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston and other cities with long-neglected systems suddenly pressed to expand under increasingly adverse conditions.

PHOENIX. People at a cooling center during Arizona’s record-setting heat wave.

PHOENIX. Bobby Avent at a cooling center for senior citizens last month.

Once you accept that climate change is fast making large parts of the United States nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous and hot. Something like a tenth of the people who live in the South and the Southwest — from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Southern California — decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment. Those who stay behind are disproportionately poor and elderly.

In these places, heat alone will cause as many as 80 additional deaths per 100,000 people — the nation’s opioid crisis, by comparison, produces 15 additional deaths per 100,000. The most affected people, meanwhile, will pay 20 percent more for energy, and their crops will yield half as much food or in some cases virtually none at all. That collective burden will drag down regional incomes by roughly 10 percent, amounting to one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, as people who live farther north will benefit from that change and see their fortunes rise.

The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest, which will see their populations grow by roughly 10 percent, according to one model. Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang’s research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use. One day, it’s possible that a high-speed rail line could race across the Dakotas, through Idaho’s up-and-coming wine country and the country’s new breadbasket along the Canadian border, to the megalopolis of Seattle, which by then has nearly merged with Vancouver to its north.

Sitting in my own backyard one afternoon this summer, my wife and I talked through the implications of this looming American future. The facts were clear and increasingly foreboding. Yet there were so many intangibles — a love of nature, the busy pace of life, the high cost of moving — that conspired to keep us from leaving. Nobody wants to migrate away from home, even when an inexorable danger is inching ever closer. They do it when there is no longer any other choice.

SONOMA COUNTY, CALIF. Erika González and her son, Kevin, evacuating their home as the L.N.U. Lightning Complex fire approached in August.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:38 pm

Sri Lanka returns waste to UK

Sri Lanka says it is sending 21 containers of recycled waste back to the UK after they were found to contain hazardous material

Customs officials said hospital waste was discovered in many of the 263 containers imported by a private firm.

The shipment was meant to be made up of used mattresses, carpets and rugs for potential recycling.

Most of the containers have been stored in warehouses, with only a small amount of material having been re-exported.

Legal action was taken after the Sri Lanka authorities impounded the material in 2018.

Officials said the 21 containers had left Sri Lanka on Saturday.

Customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said the original importation breached international and EU rules and regulations on hazardous waste and its disposal.

England's Environment Agency said it was committed to tackling illegal waste exports.

An EA spokesperson said: "We are in contact with the Sri Lankan authorities and have requested more information which would allow us to launch a formal investigation."

Several other countries in the region have recently begun to return waste imported from foreign countries.

In January, Malaysia returned 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste to the UK.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54314778
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