ECO CRISIS – biodiversity – conservation – extinction

see also > 17-2-2023 Indigenous people are Earth’s greatest champions. Listen to us – and watch biodiversity thrive – When discussions take place about environmental protection, we are always ignored. That’s a huge mistake – by Minnie Degawan

…”…All too often, states simply do not recognise the right to ownership over lands and territories of Indigenous peoples – and this has a huge impact on the conservation of natural resources. Worse, if communities are not part of the design of conservation projects, they have no input on the what, when and how of things such as reforestation efforts. And there’s ample evidence that Indigenous peoples are, in fact, the best custodians of biodiversity….”… 12-2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) 7 – 19 December 2022 12-2022 Biodiversity: Can we set aside a third of our planet for nature? By Helen Briggs, Victoria Gill

It’s being called a last chance for nature – 100 countries backing calls to protect 30% of the planet. The aim is to reach this goal by 2030 and conserve forests and other vital ecosystems in order to restore the natural world. The “30×30” target is the key ambition of the UN biodiversity summit, COP 15 But as the talks in Montreal, Canada, move into their final days, there is division over this and many other targets. Biodiversity refers to all living things, from polar bears to plankton, and the way they fit together to sustain life on Earth. … 12-2022 biodiversity crisis in numbers – a visual guide 11-2022 Global summit is ‘last chance’ for nature

…”…Some of the key ambitions for the biodiversity summit include:

  • Turning 30% of the Earth’s lands and seas into protected areas by 2030
  • Ensuring that, by 2050, a “shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled”
  • Eliminating billions of dollars of environmentally-damaging government subsidies and restoring degraded ecosystems.

The summit comes in the wake of what is being seen as a disappointing outcome at the UN climate conference, COP27 in Egypt. … According to the Wildlife Trusts, little progress has been made to date, with just 3% of land and 8% of the sea effectively protected by 2022…”…

see also What is biodiversity and how are we protecting it?Biodiversity: Why the nature crisis matters, in five graphicsBiodiversity loss risks ‘ecological meltdown’Warning of ‘unsafe’ biodiversity loss

theguardian 11-2022 Humans v nature: our long and destructive journey to the age of extinction – The story of the damage done to the world’s biodiversity is a tale of decline spanning thousands of years. Can the world seize its chance to change the narrative? – by Phoebe Weston 24-10-2022 Business groups block action that could help tackle biodiversity crisis, report finds – Industry associations for sectors from oil to agriculture in the US and Europe found resisting wildlife-friendly laws, say researchers – by Phoebe Weston

…”…Researchers found that 89% of engagement by leading industry associations in Europe and the US is designed to delay, dilute and block progress on tackling the biodiversity crisis, which scientists say is as serious as the climate emergency. Just 5% of support was positive and the remaining 6% was mixed or neutral, according to the climate thinktank InfluenceMap...”… 9-2022 A Biodiversity Crisis: Food Webs Worldwide Are Collapsing 8-2022 When will the sixth mass extinction happen? A Japanese scientist may have an answer – But will still kill more species than before- by Ameya Paleja 8-2022 Climate change: More studies needed on possibility of human extinction 7-2022 We’ve overexploited the planet, now we need to change if we’re to survive
Patrick Vallance – Addressing the twin challenges of carbon emissions and biodiversity loss requires political will and leadership. Ambitious commitments must be made – Wild species support half of world’s population, report finds 5-2022 Just 10% of global land in natural state by 2050 without action, says biodiversity expert – First session of Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss sits at Dublin Castle

mongababy 4-2022 Global biodiversity is in crisis, but how bad is it? It’s complicated – by Elizabeth Claire Alberts 14-5-2022 Just 10% of global land in natural state by 2050 without action, says biodiversity expert – First session of Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss sits at Dublin Castle – by Kevin O’Sullivan  17/12/2021 The Biodiversity Crisis Needs Its Net Zero Moment
Climate change isn’t the only major crisis facing the world. We’re in the middle of a mass extinction, and we’re missing all of our biodiversity targets.  by Matt Reynolds   2/9/2021  Bats, butterflies and bumblebees threatened by an ‘extinction catastrophe waiting to happen in next decade’ – ‘Importance of preserving each species cannot be overestimated,’ says Jo Hatton, Horniman Museum’s principal curator of natural sciences  by Tom Batchelor

…”Some of the UK’s best-loved wildlife, from hedgehogs to bats and butterflies to bumblebees, could face extinction within a decade if action is not taken to halt their decline, research suggests.”…     6/2021 Quick fixes’ to the climate crisis risk harming nature  By Helen Briggs 4/2021 Introducing Down to Earth, our new project on the biodiversity crisis – Why a reporting initiative on the science, politics, and economics of an ecological catastrophe is so badly needed. By Eliza Barclay and Brian Anderson  

You can probably guess the three global threats that topped a recent list from the World Economic Forum.

  • No. 1? Infectious disease. (Nothing like a pandemic to remind us of this.)
  • No. 2? Inaction on climate change.
  • No. 3? Weapons of mass destruction.
  • But No. 4? That one might surprise you: biodiversity loss. The forum’s survey found that the irreversible impacts of ecosystem collapse and species extinction pose a greater global risk in 2021 than the debt crisis.

A number of recent events have helped spark this awakening — from the breathtaking 3 billion animals, many of them rare, killed or displaced in the 2020 Australia wildfires to the possible emergence of the coronavirus from wildlife farms in China. There’s also been a wave of groundbreaking studies in the past year — on the rapid rate at which mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, and plants are disappearing; on the economics of biodiversity; on Indigenous communities’ forest management expertise; and on the cost of invasive species — that have helped clarify this mounting ecological catastrophe underway and the necessary responses…”…   3/2021  Economic benefits of protecting nature now outweigh those of exploiting it   by Fred Lewsey   

““Even if you are only interested in dollars and cents, we can see that conserving and restoring nature is now very often the best bet for human prosperity” Professor Andrew Balmford  –

The economic benefits of conserving or restoring natural sites now “outweigh” the profit potential of converting them for intensive human use. This is according to researchers behind the largest-ever study comparing the value of protecting nature at particular locations with that of exploiting it. A team led by the University of Cambridge and RSPB as part of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative analysed dozens of sites – from Kenya to Fiji and China to the UK – across six continents. A previous breakthrough study in 2002 only had information for five sites.  The findings, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, come just weeks after a landmark review by Cambridge Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta called for the value of biodiversity to be placed at the heart of global economics. For the latest study, scientists calculated the monetary worth of each site’s “ecosystem services”, such as carbon storage and flood protection, as well as likely dividends from converting it for production of goods such as crops and timber…”…   3/2021  ‘Land is worth more when left to nature’ –  The economic benefits of conserving or restoring natural sites now ‘outweigh’ the profit potential of using the same areas for farming or timber, a landmark study has found – Conserving or restoring natural sites such as woodlands and wetlands would be more valuable than using the same sites for farming or timber, according to a major new study.  – by Nicola Slawson   3/2021 Climate change: ‘Forever plant’ seagrass faces uncertain future   By Matt McGrath   3/2021  Ancient Plants Buried a Mile Under Greenland’s Ice Are a Grim Warning From The Past – Michelle Starr  

The Greenland ice sheet has been there for a long time. As near as we can tell, it could have been extensive as early as 45 million years ago. Evidence, as well as our understanding, is patchy, but scientists have been pretty confident on one thing: It seems to have been in place for at least 1 million years.  New evidence has come to light that contradicts that, however. At the bottom of a 1.4-kilometer (0.87-mile) ice core drilled from northwestern Greenland, scientists have found remnants of ancient plant material.  This suggests that, at least once within the last million-year period, and multiple times in the few million years prior, Greenland’s ice sheet melted long enough during warm periods for significant vegetation – perhaps even a forest – to take root and thrive.  Warm periods like those we are currently experiencing due to climate change, according to an international team of scientists led by geologist Andrew Christ of the University of Vermont.  “Our study shows that Greenland is much more sensitive to natural climate warming than we used to think – and we already know that humanity’s out-of-control warming of the planet hugely exceeds the natural rate,” Christ said.  5/2021  Reviewing 15 years of research on neoliberal conservation: Towards a decolonial, interdisciplinary, intersectional and community-engaged research agenda Elia Apostolopoulo, Anastasia Chatzimentor,  Sara Maestre-Andrés, Marina Requena-i-Mora, AlejandraPizarro, Dimitrios Bormpoudakis

In this paper, we undertake an extensive review of the neoliberal conservation literature with the aim to explore and substantiate the principal ways in which conservation is neoliberalized in practice as well as who has studied these processes and through which collaborative patterns. Using descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis, we explore selected characteristics of the peer-reviewed scholarship, including most commonly used concepts, methods and topics, geographical and co-authorship patterns, critical readings of key processes of neoliberalization, including commodification, privatization, dispossession, governance rescaling, governmentalities, and its engagement with the economic crisis, austerity politics, and social struggles. Our analysis shows the breadth of the literature in unraveling the unequal social, spatial and environmental impacts of neoliberal conservation policies as well as a significant degree of novelty in terms of topics and theories. Nonetheless, it also unravels some key gaps, including a limited engagement with quantitative methods and community-engaged social sciences and humanities approaches, a lack of focus on urban areas and urbanization, some important gaps in the theorization of the commodification of nature, a domination of Global North scholarship that contradicts the clear empirical focus of the field on the Global South, a limited engagement with social movements and grassroots activism, and a conspicuous lack of attention to the dynamics of class, gender and race. We conclude by identifying key directions for future research to address current gaps in the literature, and initiate a shift towards a decolonial, interdisciplinary, intersectional, community-engaged approach and an in-depth encounter with everyday practices of resistance.