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The conservation industry’s ‘New Deal for Nature’ is a disaster for people and planet

Stephen Corry writes: The latest idea to be heavily promoted by big conservation NGOs is doubling the world’s “Protected-Areas” so that they cover 30% of the globe’s lands and oceans. What better answer to climate change and biodiversity loss? But it’s actually dangerous nonsense which would have exactly the reverse effect to what we’re told.

Ethno-ornithology: What the birds have to tell us

From The Conversation: People around the world and throughout history have used birds to think about and predict the future. This new research project that compared reports from six continents found that people from diverse communities pay attention to particular birds and what they reveal about the world around us, from approaching weather to illness.

Combustible Australia, combustible world: Lessons for India

Aseem Shrivastava writes: There are several lessons for India in the Australian catastrophe. For starters, it must restrain its own fossil barons: both within our shores, and beyond. Adani’s mammoth Queensland coal venture, for example, will significantly boost carbon emissions (both within Australia and to countries like India to which the coal will be exported).

Arsonist-in-chief: How Rupert Murdoch helped set Australia on fire

Murdoch has said: “We can be the low-cost energy country in the world. We shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish. Climate change has been going on as long as the planet’s here.” Since 2007, the largely Murdoch-controlled Australian press has helped topple four Australian PMs who dared to try to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions.

As animals and plants go extinct, languages die off too

From Vice.com: Just like an animal species, our languages evolved in the context of the environments that surrounded them. When we change those environments, we threaten much more than just the physical living things that thrive there. In the parts of the world where biodiversity is most at risk, words and phrases also face extinction.

What America lost when it lost the bison

From The Atlantic: In the 18th century, European colonizers virtually eliminated the American bison. When we lose animals, we also lose everything those animals do. When insects decline, plants go unpollinated. When birds disappear, pests go uncontrolled and seeds stay put. When bison are exterminated, springtime changes in ways that we still don’t fully understand.

The scientists who predicted Australia’s bushfire emergency decades ago

From The Guardian: Now, as more dangerous fire weather is forecast, they’re being asked: why did the science not lead to action? “I would blame most of that on the lobbying”,” says Pearman, now 78. “That lobbying has been extremely powerful in a country driven by the resource sector that includes uranium, coal and gas.

This is not the Sixth Extinction. It’s the first Mass Extermination Event.

Justin McBrien writes: The planetary atrocity of ecocide has no geological analogue. To call it the “sixth extinction event” is to make an active, organized eradication sound like some kind of passive accident. We’re in the midst of the First Extermination Event, wherein capital has pushed all life on Earth to the brink of extinction — extermination by capitalism.

How the land cured my daughter’s eczema

We’re mindful of what we provide for her. She has a relationship to the Land in a way that most Indigenous children do. She’s untangling the idea of growing food, of what it means to eat the food that we grow, and how to give thanks to the Land for growing the foods she eats.

Forest rights: The arrogance of the ignorant

From The Hindu: That those forests inhabited by Adivasis are some of the best conserved in the subcontinent is a long-standing fact contrary to the understanding of supposedly educated Indians. Sadly, the articulate arrogance of ‘New India’ prevents them from seeing any virtue in those communities who have lived in and by the forests since times immemorial.

How conservation became colonialism

From Foreign Policy: Conservationism often conflicts with indigenous traditions of stewardship that have kept the rainforests in balance for thousands of years. The tension has its roots in the founding worldview of modern conservationism, which was conceived not during today’s battle to save the rainforests, but during the genocidal Indian wars in the American West.

What’s the truth behind the Botswana elephant deaths?

The news is awash with reports of 87 elephants having been “killed by poachers” in Botswana, supposedly a result of wildlife guards no longer carrying firearms. The story originates with “Elephants Without Borders,” an NGO which is getting massive publicity, and presumably donations, as a result. Survival International’s Stephen Corry digs up the real story.

Let Malibu burn: A political history of California’s Fire Coast

From Los Angeles Times: As yet another mega-fire rages through California, we present the powerhouse 1996 essay by Mike Davis, covering history, science, Marxist analysis— and a certain amount of trolling. Its main point is that Californians will never accept that fire is not only common there, but part of its ecology going back centuries.

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals, by Sy Montgomery

From The Millions: When human leaders fail us as role models, we should look to animals, says Sy Montgomery. “I can tell you that teachers are all around to help you: with four legs or two or even eight. All you have to do is recognize them as teachers and be ready to hear their truths.”

Extinction is now outpacing evolution; humans are ‘cutting down the tree of life’, warn scientists

From The Guardian: Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, according to a stark new analysis. More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5 billion years.

Classic in Focus: The Natural History of Selborne, by Gilbert White

From The Guardian: White’s Natural History, a founding classic of its genre, is deemed the fourth most-published book in the English language, after the Bible, Shakespeare and Bunyan, and has certainly been in print since first publication, while the benign White himself is now recognised equally as a great stylist and pioneer ecologist. A tribute.

There is nowhere left to run

Ratheesh Pisharody writes: There’s really nowhere to run whether we are mammals, trees, insects or even indigenous tribes. What chances do we see for the planet’s revival? When humans take away both “space” and “time” from our co-passengers on this planet, we’re leaving no “leverage” for the others to “somehow” adjust and make it through.

Half-Earth: A biologist’s manifesto for preserving life on Earth

Here is the ambitious (and controversial) proposal by E.O. Wilson —arguably the world’s most lauded living evolutionary biologist— to save life on Earth by setting aside around half the planet in various types of nature reserves. Also included is a research paper exploring the viability of Wilson’s proposal, along with a sharp critique of it.

A tribute to Romulus Whitaker, the ‘Snake man of India’

A tribute to Romulus Whitaker, recently awarded the Padma Shri, among India’s highest civilian honours. Here, the acclaimed herpetologist talks about his decades of work with reptiles which led to setting up of six pioneering institutions including the famous Madras Crocodile Bank, apart from giving snakes and reptiles a positive place in the Indian public’s mind.

The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising Observations of a Hidden World

Peter Wohlleben, author of the best-selling ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’, explores the emotions and intelligence of animals in his new book. New scientific discoveries in this field have big moral implications, he says. A review and an excerpt, plus the video of an eye-opening talk by animal ethologist Jonathan Balcombe on the inner life of animals.

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