Biodiversity, Society — by George Monbiot May 24, 2013
Are repeated sightings of non-existent big cats evidence of a yearning for a wilder life?
An extract from Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding, by George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 22nd May 2013.
The setting was unimprovable. Across the fields, Maiden Castle, a turretted fortress of living rock, clawed at the sky. Beyond it was the village of Wolf’s Castle – Casblaidd – distinguished as one of only twenty places in which Owain Glyndwr was born (he died in quite a few as well), and said to be the spot where the last wolf in Wales was killed. Below us a tangled willow carr smothered the valley.
“This gap in the hedge here: that could be where it came through. Then it came down the bank, sauntered across the road and disappeared into the scrub.”
I peered into the woods on the other side of the lane. The trees were hooded with ivy. Their mossy trunks sprawled over the ground, or leant on each other, dark-cowled, like drunken friars. Beneath them was an impenetrable thicket of brambles and ferns.
“You wouldn’t see him in there, would you?”
“You have no doubt about what it was?”
Michael Disney looked around and shrugged.
“It’s not an issue for me. I saw what I saw and that’s that. People can either believe it or not. I’m not trying to convince anyone.”Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Working Animals — by Catherine Sullivan May 15, 2013
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
It’s score one for the bees. Last week the European Union banned neonicotinoid pesticides for a two-year period beginning early next year.
Key findings cited evidence of the role neonics play in destroying bee populations. The ban is specifically for flowering crops as neonics penetrate plants from treated seed through to affecting flower nectar and pollen, which bees and other non-target insects feed on. Bees in particular have a high acute toxicity to the systemic pesticides. It impairs their nervous systems, resulting in disorientation, navigational problems and coupled with damaged memory, affects their ability to forage. Neonic pesticides can also be retained in the soil profile for lengthy periods.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Economics, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot May 2, 2013
Amazingly, the UK government has not defined the precautionary principle and appears to have no idea what it is.
Here’s something remarkable I stumbled across while researching my column on Monday, but did not have room to include. I hope you’ll agree that it is worth sharing.
I was trying to understand the context for the new chief scientist’s cavalier treatment of scientific evidence, in an article he wrote opposing a European ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. These are the toxins which, several studies suggest, could be partly responsible for the rapid decline in bees and other pollinators.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot April 30, 2013
How government science advisers misrepresent science.
What happens to people when they become government science advisers? Are their children taken hostage? Is a dossier of compromising photographs kept, ready to send to the Sun if they step out of line?Comments (4)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease — by Vandana Shiva April 25, 2013
Billionaires forgo iron-rich crops in push for GM bananas in India
Nature has given us a cornucopia of biodiversity rich in nutrients. Malnutrition and nutrient deficiency result from destroying biodiversity. The Green Revolution has spread monocultures of chemical rice and wheat, driving out biodiversity from our farms and diets. And what survived as spontaneous crops — like amaranth greens (chaulai) and chenopodium (bathua) that are rich in iron — were sprayed with poisons and herbicides. Instead of cherishing them as iron- and vitamin-rich gifts, these vegetables were treated as “weeds”.
The “monoculture of the mind” treats diversity as disease and creates coercive structures to remodel this biologically and culturally diverse world of ours on the concepts of one privileged class, one race and one gender of a single species. As “the monoculture of the mind” took over, biodiversity disappeared from our farms and food. It’s the destruction of biodiverse rich cultivation and diets that has led us to the malnutrition crisis.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 23, 2013
John D. Liu of the EEMP, who has partnered with us in spreading the permaculture message, has created yet another excellent documentary — this time focussing on drylands, their past function and their present dysfunction through a broadscale loss of forest cover, and its impact on soil loss and on the hydrological cycle.
In this video we travel vicariously with John as he takes us from Jordan to Africa to Asia and the Americas, showing us both degradation and restoration — and sharing the inspirational message we all need to hear: that we can undo the damage we’ve inflicted on planet earth, our home.Comments (3)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Marcin Gerwin April 18, 2013
The disappearing Amazon rainforest
Marcin Gerwin: You propose introducing a new international law of ecocide as an amendment to the Rome Statute. Ecocide is defined as “an extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.” Why do we need the new law to protect the planet? Aren’t current regulations enough?Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Rhamis Kent February 13, 2013
A student I had recently in my short course in California sent me a link to an award-winning NGO working in Haiti called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — a nonprofit working within the country performing truly beneficial work, utilizing compost toilets to deal with the perennial problem of waste management.
In the following clip SOIL’s Co-Founder & Executive Director, Dr. Sasha Kramer, provides an excellent, well-contextualized explanation of her organization’s work as well as the legacy of ecological & environmental degradation (and its corresponding effects on impacted human populations) often missing from discussions about colonial history:
Further Reading:Comments (1)
How the government betrayed its promises to protect our seas.
If the European Union decides to ban fishing boats from discarding the edible fish they catch, it’ll land the British government in a spot of bother. It’s been using the discards issue as its excuse for justifying overfishing.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Plant Systems, Trees — by Angelo Eliades February 12, 2013
Hearing Geoff Lawton speak about the effectiveness of natural pest control in food forests during my PDC studies is what originally prompted me to design and build a backyard food forest garden. Nature taking care of pests in the garden? It sounded too good to believe, and coming from a science background, I just had to test the concept out. After all, any good science can be replicated!
Four years later, after working out how to scale down a food forest into an urban backyard, and going through the designing, building, documenting and weighing of all produce, I inadvertently had created Melbourne’s first demonstration urban food forest and a proof of concept experiment that had more far-reaching outcomes than I first envisaged. Hundreds of people visit the garden each year to see it first hand and learn how it all works. Even our local government has taken a liking to the concept of permaculture and I’m often hired by them to present on the topics of permaculture and sustainable gardening to an equally interested general public. I put it down to a good teacher!
The garden productivity has been fantastic, and has been increasing steadily from year to year, but what has been even more impressive is how the garden I first designed has become a living ecosystem that has taken on a life of its own. Geoff warned us that would happen! With passing time, the system has increased in stability and resilience and the pests have clearly reduced. I would like to share some observations in this article which clearly demonstrate the proof of concept of natural pest control in food forests.Comments (17)
Biodiversity, Insects, Plant Systems — by Elspeth Brock February 11, 2013
Bee Friendly Planting Guide (8mb PDF)
I just came across an excellent new resource for beekeepers. It is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and entitled Bee Friendly — a planting guide for European honey bees and Australian native pollinators.
It contains over 300 pages of information on bee forage plants for Australia, for urban open space, private gardens and farms with a climate specific plant selection. The sections on street scapes is an excellent resource for people in urban areas who want to improve local biodiversity and not just plant street trees for aesthetics. It gives specific recommendations on species of eucalypt, tea tree, hakea and grevillea for bees — great if you only have room for one tree or want to plant out a native section of a farm.
There are a few plant surprises for me, such as Pig Face, a succulent native ground cover that will grow on tough slopes and verges, and gives you an excuse to include flowers in your permaculture garden — daisies, Zinnia, Coreopsis and Californian lilac are named as excellent bee fodders. Oregano, peppermint, lemon balm and rosemary are amongst other herbs listed as most beneficial to bees.
What’s best is it’s downloadable for free.
- How to Revive the Honeybee
- How to Attract Beneficial Predators & Pollinators
- Colony Collapse Disorder – a Moment for Reflection
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Fish, Food Shortages — by Earth Policy Institute February 4, 2013
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
The fish near the bottom of the aquatic food chain are often overlooked, but they are vital to healthy oceans and estuaries. Collectively known as forage fish, these species—including sardines, anchovies, herrings, and shrimp-like crustaceans called krill—feed on plankton and become food themselves for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Historically, people have eaten many of these fish, too, of course. But as demand for animal protein has soared over the last half-century, more and more forage fish have been caught to feed livestock and farmed fish instead of being eaten by people directly. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that current fishing levels are dangerously high—both for the forage fish themselves and for the predators and industries that depend on them.Comments (1)
Ladbroke’s is offering odds on fish populations collapsing; the government is shortening them.
I’ve come across some odd ways to make a living, but few as strange as this. The gambling company Ladbrokes has been offering odds on the conservation status of various fish species. Until last night it was taking bets on mackerel; recently it has encouraged people to punt on the survival prospects of stocks of yellow fin tuna, swordfish and haddock. You can, if you wish, gamble on extinction.
It’ll be a while before I put my money on the recovery of any species in British waters.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease — by Gerald Anderson January 25, 2013
This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share.
Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of food justice. — YouTube
Further watching:Comments (3)
Biodiversity — by George Monbiot January 22, 2013
In both Russia and Canada a bloodbath of wolves is now taking place.
If, as she has threatened, Brigitte Bardot moves to Russia in protest at the treatment of animals in France, she’s in for a major shock.Comments (2)