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ecology 2

New translation, the Magna Carta
article archives at abelard's news and comment zoneecology archive: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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ecology archive 2

 

 


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presley lives … trapped in a small cage for 25 years

“… handed the blue Spix’s macaw to a Brazilian conservationist marking the conclusion of an extraordinary five-month effort by American bird enthusiasts, geneticists and government officials to bring the native Brazilian bird back from the brink of extinction.”

a lesson in human foolishness and future hope....

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology261202

26.12.2002

is the arctic ice on the way out?

“a NASA study released last week, which found that perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting three times faster than previously thought, at a rate of nine per cent per decade. If these melting rates continue for a few more decades, NASA said, the perennial sea ice will disappear entirely this century. ”

and with it the polar bear?

“Scientists suspect that systematic warming in the arctic, manifested by increasingly frequent bouts of warm weather, will lead to a higher incidence of collapsed [ice] caves and ultimately to a contraction in the area suitable for seal denning, and, indirectly, to declines in polar bear populations. With fewer seal prey, a decline in polar bear populations would be inevitable. ”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology231202

23.12.2002

fish stocks under threat

“The price (of cod) was 12 euro per kilo ($5.70 per pound) last year, 18 euro per kilo ($8.50 per pound) this year, and is likely to top 25 euro per kilo ($11.70 per pound) next year.”

The result of over fishing.

But.....

“farmed cod [is coming] from places like Estonia, Norway, and Denmark.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology221202

22.12.2002

soooo slow

“The European Union will ensure sulphur-free petrol and diesel are fully available by 2009 in a move to promote lower traffic emissions and improve vehicles’ fuel efficiency, the European Commission said yesterday.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology141202

14.12.2002

subsidies destroying fish stocks
Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland and Greece cling to subsidies.

“European Union subsidies totalling 1.4 billion euros (dollars) a year will doom the fishing industry unless halted soon, the conservation body WWF-International said.”

I’ve seen suggested somewhere that the fishermen should be paid not to fish, just as farmers are paid not to farm.

Meanwhile, icelandic whalers want to return to the killing

“Whale-watching operators estimate the direct value of their business in Iceland at $8 million a year, while whaling yielded only $3 million to $4 million a year before the ban in 1989.”

fishermen demonstrate against reduced quotas....

I have visions of the last remaining shivering fish hiding behind a rock while a dozen factory trawlers bear down on it. “I’m sure there’s still one in there somewhere!”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology121202-2

12.12.2002

mad deer disease on the plains in america

The disease, marked by emaciation and uncontrollable drooling in elk and deer, had seemed limited to the High Plains but this year, scores of cases have been detected in Wisconsin.

“A national sportsman’s group, Whitetails Unlimited, has posted billboards in Wisconsin urging hunters to kill deer in the eradication zone.”

The fear being that, left untended, the disease could wipe out the state’s deer population.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology121202-2

12.12.2002

pollution causes genetic damage”

“New research shows that some industrial air pollution causes gene damage that animals pass from one generation to the next.”

“Their research is the first in the world to show such a connection.”

Translation: await replication!

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology111202-2

11.12.2002

greenland ice retreating

“On the Greenland ice sheet, summer surface melting occurred over a region the size of Texas, breaking all records for the island.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology111202

11.12.2002
the food infrastructure

With increasing population, the interwoven web of support from the natural environment is coming under increasing pressure. It is my intention to trace some of this, and to present interesting articles relating to the problems.

A network of references and articles is now growing in the abelard.org news zone, directed to the steadily shrinking resources of mineral oil. Included in these references are complex reports that contain basic data on oil supply, poverty, environmental impact, freedom assessments etc, several of which may be found gathered together at recommended reading, with other references within news items.

The food production systems are widely dependent upon the provision of oil inputs at many levels: fertilisers, transport, ploughing, building dams and power facilities etc.

Here, for example, is a press release on the transport of food:

“The tonnage of food shipped between countries has grown fourfold over the last four decades. In the United Kingdom, for example, food travels 50 percent farther than it did two decades ago.”

“Rebuilding local food economies is the first genuine profit-making opportunity in farm country in years. In the United States, the number of registered farmers’ markets has jumped from 300 in the mid-1970s and 1,755 in 1994 to more than 3,100 today. Approximately three million people visit these markets each week and spend over $1 billion each year. Innovative restaurants, school cafeterias, caterers, hospitals, and even supermarkets are beginning to offer fresh, seasonal foods from local farmers and food businesses.”

Meanwhile, at the production end, both Australia and the United States are subject to increasing water shortages and are seeking means to cope.

Here is a short piece on the system of water distribution in California.

“Irrigation runoff from Imperial Valley farms drains into the Salton Sea and maintains it as a crucial resource for migratory waterfowl. Water transfers that reduce irrigation runoff will shrink the sea, exposing its bed and possibly leading to dangerous dust storms. Reduced inflow also will cause the sea's salinity — already 30 percent higher than the ocean — to rise so high that it can no longer sustain life.”

This comment indicates an ever present problem with irrigation control.

For a great deal more on the subject see A green history of the world, by C Ponting.

Related material
sydney under siege
tragedy of the commons, where you can find a link to an Ostrum document, which includes examples of attempts to solve water use distribution.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news.htm#ecology051202

08.12.2002

 

related material

sydney under siege

tragedy of the commons (archived news item)

sydney under siege

“Scores of bushfires erupted simultaneously in a ring around Sydney this afternoon. It took just an hour for 60 fires to grip the city, stretching resources to the limit, injuring at least four people and destroying up to 17 homes.”
[Sydney Morning Herald, 04.12.2002]

No definitive comment has been made on whether the fires are the result of lightening strikes, irresponsible slobs with cigarette butts, or acts of deliberate sabotage.

The following are dispatches from our yak local to Sydney:

26.11.2002
“There are many bush fires burning though nothing near us at present. Not so long ago the air was filled with smoke but being right in the city means we are spared the real dramas. Water restrictions are threatened if we don't make voluntary ones. It was over 40°C yesterday forecast to be 36° today which is unseasonally hot.”

23.11.2002
“We have had a little rain but not enough to make the ground really wet. The drought is predicted to end in our Autumn...everywhere is parched, snakes have been seen closer to, or in houses, looking for water etc. Not in our vicinity, of course, its far too urban to see anything that dramatic, but all parks are brown. And it is not officially summer yet.”

15.10.2002 [almost two months ago]
“Its warm here now, mid 20's; most days has been very dry. A lot of Australia is in the grip of a drought, a couple of weeks ago there was a bush fire in a Sydney suburb which destroyed several houses, so this does not bode well for the summer.”

side-effects of the australian drought

“The Bureau of Meteorology had predicted the drought would continue until at least March, effectively wiping out the usual summer crops that supply feed to many animal industries.”

Agri-business is starting to make noises about food prices rising by up to 20 per cent. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

related material
fresh water provision (archived news item)
water resources)
Freshwater (PDF 1.1 MB)
Coastal and marine areas (PDF 0.6 MB)

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecology051202

05.12.2002

 

related material

fresh water provision (archived news item)

drought and the usa (archived news item)

Freshwater (PDF 1.1 MB)

Coastal and marine areas (PDF 0.6 MB)

the work to protect and recover whales continues

“Experts from the United States, Denmark, and Brazil took part in the Whale Satellite Tracking Project, which in early November — spring time in the Southern Hemisphere — followed a pod of humpbacks off the Brazilian coast of Espirito Santo and Bahia states. They chose the humpback, known for its acrobatic leaps and mysterious singing, because they’re generally good natured and allow boats to get close.”

“Next year the team will return to tag more humpbacks, and in the future the project will expand to include other species such as the minke and the little-studied Bryde’s whale.”

“A former whaling power, Brazil has forbidden all whale hunting in its waters since 1987 and opposes efforts by whaling nations, notably Japan, to resume commercial whaling.”

related material
good news for right whales (archived news item)

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol-031202

03.12.2002

 

related material
good news for right whales (archived news item)

 

good news on southern right whales

“By the 1930s, uncontrolled whaling by American, British and French whalers had reduced the southern right population off South Africa’s coast to between 100 and 200.”

Right whales were thus because whalers regarded them as the “right” whale to kill because they moved slowly, and helped the whalers by floating to the surface when killed by harpoons.

“They have been protected since 1935 and are now believed to number in the thousands.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol-201102

20.11.2002

1997 indonesian fires and atmospheric carbon

During 1997, forest and peat burning in Indonesia added to the earth’s atmosphere about one third to one half the amount of carbon contributed by all human activities in one year. The fires also had the effect of reducing greatly the world population of endangered orangutans, who live mainly in Indonesia.
These effects were generated by a fire-struck area of around 60,000 sq. km (approximately 1/4 the area of the UK or 1/10th the size of Texas) .

Here is a slightly lighter spin on the same topic.

And this article describes how two different methods of assessing carbon dioxide emissions from fire – the ‘bottom-up’method from the UK and ‘the top-down’ method from Australia – have arrived at very similar conclusions regarding the fires in Indonesia.

related material
seeking simultaneous solutions to both pollution and poverty

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol-111102

11.11.2002

 

related material
seeking simultaneous solutions to both pollution and poverty

large earthquake closes alaska pipeline
With effects seen 5000 kms away, this quake hit 7.9 degrees on the Richter scale. It was the largest quake on the Denali fault since at least 1912.

The Richter scale, used to measure the strength (magnitude) of the quake, was devised by Charles Richter in 1935. It is based on the extent of earth movements as detected by appropriate measuring instruments. The greatest magnitude believed to be possible is 9° on the Richter scale. Quakes of less than 3° are not perceptible by humans, while those reaching about 5° can damage weak structures. Destructuive quakes have readings of 6° or more.

Other scales for measuring earthquakes measure their intensity, by observing their effects – an essentially subjective measure. One such scale is the Mercalli scale, now developed into the MSK scale. The MSK scale had its origins in 1902 with an Italian seismologist, Mecalli; and was developed futher by by Medvedev, Sponheur and Karnik, from whence this scale derives its name. The scale number, generally written in Roman numerals, estimates the effects of an earthquake: from I (vibrations not felt by humans) to XII (total destruction).

Here is a clear picture showing the line of the Dinali fault.

The US Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards site gives earthquakes information.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol041102

05.11.2002

japan still wants to kill more whales
The latest round of CITES talks start Sunday 3rd November 2002.

“The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Santiago, Chile, has the task of balancing the protection of rare species with the promotion of sustainable development.”
This article outlines the main issues and species to be discussed.
[BBC News, 02.11.02]

For more about endangered plants:
The number of plants on the standard Red List of threatened plant species is claimed to be a massive underestimate – nearly half of the world’s plants could be close to extinction. The forecasts triples previous estimates.
[Nature, 01.11.02]

related material
seeking simultaneous solutions to both pollution and poverty

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol031102

03.11.2002

 

related material
seeking simultaneous solutions to both pollution and poverty

remember me—from etna

Great satellite pics of the current Etna eruption, from NASA.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news.htm#ecol011102-2

01.11.2002

our tiny friends

antibiotics....
Although antibiotics are released naturally into the soil by bacteria and fungi, they did not come into worldwide prominence until the introduction of penicillin in 1941. Since then they have revolutionized the treatment of bacterial infections in humans and other animals.

In 1928 Alexander Fleming noticed that colonies of bacteria growing on a germ culture medium had been unfavourably affected by a mold, Penicillium notatum, which had contaminated the culture. A decade later Ernst Chain, Howard Florey, and others isolated the ingredient responsible, penicillin, and showed that it was highly effective against many serious bacterial infections. Toward the end of the 1950s scientists then added various chemical groupings to the core of the penicillin molecule to generate semisynthetic versions. A range of penicillins is thus now available to treat diseases caused by such bacteria as staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci, gonococci, and the spirochaetes of syphilis.
enc brit....

now our small relations are becoming useful in tackling other nuisances
Bacteria that consume other toxins have been discovered previously, but the search for one that goes after Trichloroethane had been fruitless. Now a suitable bug has been found in New York’s Hudson River and in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

Trichloroethane contaminates ground water and also erodes the ozone layer when released into the atmosphere.
[Reuters, 31.10.02]

related material
another important step forward
genitalium oilum

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol011102

01.11.2002

 

related material
another important step forward

genitalium oilum

ah diddums—hold back reality, we want ‘our’ jobs

Spoilt brats squeal....
Read it—it’s more likely to stick that way.

[Independent, 24.10.02]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol261002

26.10.2002

there is no global warming

The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro are melting at such a rate that they are forecast to disappear within two decades. [Independent, 18.10.02]

Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain at 19,330 feet; it is in Tanzania.

related material
global warming

 

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol241002

24.10.2002

 

related material
global warming

seeking simultaneous solutions to both pollution and poverty

An interesting proposal being touted for the Kyoto process—for a short summary.
“Big businesses can mitigate their contribution to global warming, and help to lift developing countries out of poverty, by funding forest planting in collaboration with local people.” [Nature, 21.10.02]

2.47 acres = 1 hectare
area of UK: 245,000 sq. km. = 24,500,000 hectares = 60,000,000 acres
The report refers to 311,000,000 acres or approximately 5 times the area of the UK. Texas is around 690,000 sq. km, thus the area under discussion is around twice that of Texas.

The report suggests a figure of 5 to 50 tonnes of carbon uptake per hectare per annum for these projects. The current human activity carbon output per annum is estimated at around 7 billion tonnes, and expected to rise. For more discussion, see also WWF report linked in this related article.
Let us assume an average for these projects of 25 tonnes per hectare per annum. That would mean around 3 billion tonnes uptake per year, and thus would have a sizeable impact on any carbon emission problem.

for a more detailed summary;
for the (56 page) report (pdf)—recommended, at least for scanning.


The Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Climate Change Convention takes place from 23 October through 1 November in New Delhi.

The Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Treaty on Climate Changes legally commits countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent relative to 1990 levels. It is expected to be ratified soon.
The most recent countries to commit to the treaty are Japan and Russia.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/archive-ecology2.htm#ecol231002

23.10.2002

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