Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’
The analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, says intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors.
“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.
He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.
Our Children are protesting for a better future
‘Strike 4 Climate Action’ brings thousands of students together in defiance of prime minister’s warning.
Thousands of schoolchildren across Australia walked out of class on Friday to demand action by the federal government on climate change.
The “Strike 4 Climate Action”, inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, brought together children in capital cities and 20 regional centres such as Ballarat, Newcastle, Townsville and Cairns. A large protest was also held in Hobart on Thursday.
More than a thousand primary and secondary students filled Sydney’s Martin Place and students in Melbourne marched through the streets, bringing traffic to a standstill.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, had earlier this week urged students this week not to take part and told them to be “less activist”.
Our Resources Minister tells the kids –
“Best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue.”
On Friday, the resources minister Matt Canavan said he would prefer students to learn about mining and science. “These are the type of things that excite young children and we should be great at it as a nation,” he told 2GB radio. “The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue.”
In Sydney, student Jean Hinchliffe, 14, took to the stage and told her fellow students the protest was just getting started. “This is our first strike,” she said. “Our first action. And it is just the beginning. And we’ll keep doing it until something is done.”
Lucie Atkin-Bolton, 11, the school captain of Forest Lodge public school, said she had been let down by politicians.
“I wish I didn’t have to be here today,” she said. “I’m the school captain at my primary school. We’ve been taught what it means to be a leader. You have to think about other people.
“When kids make a mess, adults tell us to clean it up and that’s fair. But when our leaders make a mess, they’re leaving it to us to clean up.”
SEC allows Musk to resume plotting end of fossil fuel era
“It is important we accelerate the transition to sustainable energy,” Musk said. “We are playing a crazy game with the atmosphere and the oceans.”
He plans to do that by using renewables, and particularly solar, to power the world, balanced and stored in batteries, like his Tesla Powerwalls and the Tesla big battery in South Australia, along with other forms of storage, and electric vehicles replacing the internal combustion engine for cars, buses and trucks.
Shell and Exxon’s secret 1980s climate change warnings
They kept it a secret! – They knew 30 years ago that their products destroy our climate!
In the 1980s, oil companies like Exxon and Shell carried out internal assessments of the carbon dioxide released by fossil fuels, and forecast the planetary consequences of these emissions. In 1982, for example, Exxon predicted that by about 2060, CO2 levels would reach around 560 parts per million – double the pre-industrial level – and that this would push the planet’s average temperatures up by about 2°C over then-current levels (and even more compared to pre-industrial levels).
Later that decade, in 1988, an internal report by Shell projected similar effects but also found that CO2 could double even earlier, by 2030. Privately, these companies did not dispute the links between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. On the contrary, their research confirmed the connections.
Shell’s assessment foresaw a one-meter sea-level rise, and noted that warming could also fuel disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in a worldwide rise in sea level of “five to six meters.” That would be enough to inundate entire low-lying countries.
Shell’s analysts also warned of the “disappearance of specific ecosystems or habitat destruction,” predicted an increase in “runoff, destructive floods, and inundation of low-lying farmland,” and said that “new sources of freshwater would be required” to compensate for changes in precipitation. Global changes in air temperature would also “drastically change the way people live and work.” All told, Shell concluded, “the changes may be the greatest in recorded history.”
Source: The Guardian Australian Edition
The reality is –
New coal power is NOT the answer for cheaper electricity bills
In a recent report, the highest authority states that based on deep, sophisticated modelling which looked at the most economical way to replace our ageing coal plants as they retire, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), who is responsible for operating Australia’s gas and electricity markets and power systems, said, “The lowest cost replacement for this retiring capacity and energy will be a portfolio of resources, including solar (28 gigawatts), wind (10.5 GW) and storage (17 GW and 90 GWh), complemented by 500 megawatts of flexible gas plant and transmission investment.”
New coal power didn’t rate a mention! And no wonder. Prices of electricity from new renewable energy projects are already far cheaper than the likely price from the new-generation coal plants some Coalition MPs want to see built.
Renewable power prices going down
Last year, Origin Energy stunned the market by signing a long-term deal to buy electricity from the Stockyard Hill windfarm being developed west of Ballarat in Victoria, reportedly at less than $55 a megawatt hour.
That set a new benchmark. AGL swiftly followed suit at its Coopers Gap windfarm project in south-east Queensland, which is set to be the largest wind farm in Australia.
SAVE EARTH NOW says, That’s Good News for the planet!
Download the AEMO study and read the truth about renewable vs coal
This may sound absurd
We know that this may sound absurd in today’s view of economics, but we just got back from Tenterfield, birthplace of the nation and home to Australia’s biggest rock, where we noticed that to camp next to The Rock would cost $68 a night for a family of five with children over five years. That’s $12 a head, plus another $8 for the car, bring your own camping gear.
Is that Expensive –
For only three days of camping to let your children explore the magic of Nature would cost a family of five more than two-hundred dollars in fees. That got us wondering just how many families actually camp at the rock and climb it for the marvellous views to far forested horizons holding pockets of bold granite sculptured by Nature. Having done this ourselves many times, we then wondered if schools bring classes to Nature or did the Scouts have excursions to our Parks for learning outdoor skills with wholesome exercise as a bonus.
Having raised our children predominately surrounded by Nature, we know that exposing our youth to more Nature will make it better for all of us, and Earth, and the other creatures.
Parks should be FREE
So, maybe Parks should be free, with educators telling stories of what’s surrounding us. That always worked when we were kids, and we think it still works for today’s children. Instead of giving Parks the minimum budget to look after the Nation’s Estate and have minimal activities and restricted access, maybe we should be giving Parks a much higher priority so that we create good healthy kids with an appetite to Save Earth Now.
It has been our experience that children really turn on to little critters in the realness of the natural world and if someone inspirational told them about the creation, and how it works, it would make sense to them and they’d want to restore balance. And for the rest of their happy long lives, they would think about doing just that. Think about it.
The first step – Get the kids outside and connected to Nature and less in front of the screens.
by Earthvalues Institute
Putting the Capital Back in Nature
The word Nature was first used in the 12th century and has come to represent all of the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and all the other features, forces, and processes that happen or exist independently of people, such as the weather, the sea, mountains.
Before the Scientific Revolution, Nature was considered in a spiritual context, deserving of respect and admiration. But now that we have come to use Nature’s animals, freshwater, minerals, forests in a non-sustainable way and destroyed some of the balance, we have replaced the capital letter “N” in Nature with a lower case one.
A coincidence? Perhaps.
Skip a meal instead of spoiling a good story
Japan set to propose resuming commercial whaling at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission
A Japanese MP claims banning whale meat is like banning pork. Do you agree? We do fish the wild kingdom, supposedly managing a food resource, why not harvest whales as well?
A Good Story
To help solve this quandary, we would say that not long ago mankind nearly hunted many whale species to extinction, with the effect that when Jack and Jude began sailing the world in ’74, there were very few whales seen in our travels. But now as we all know there are large pods of them up and down the coasts of many continents. In fact, they are in such numbers, everyone wants to get on a boat to mingle with the giants of the seas. Isn’t that a good heartwarming story? One where man has learnt compassion for the wild creatures and received much more than the animals’ thanks. We also gained a huge tourist attraction, and in doing so, may have found an affinity with the wild ones that is showing us that Earth and her creatures just might be the main feature of life.
Having wandered the wild regions of Earth for much of our lives, Jack and Jude question if mankind is going in the right direction. Ever since the industrial revolution brought the people from the land to mass-produce goods intended to enrich our lives, we became shackled by its demands. Yes, life maybe longer, and there is indeed labour-saving devices, but have we not forsaken our bond with Earth and given away the satisfaction and pleasure of being a part of other life. Sure we live longer but we work so hard under immense pressure that there is little inclination to connect with the wild kingdom. And the future? What’s in it for our children, our specie, the Earth and her creatures?
Japanese whalers killed 333 Minke whales in the Southern Ocean last summer – 122 pregnant with calves.
- Japan has proposed a restructure of the IWC that would make it easier to pass decisions — a move it hopes would make it easier to resume commercial whaling.
- Australia’s Environment Minister says he will oppose any moves to weaken the decision-making process
- A Japanese MP says opposition to the consumption of whale meat is not based on science
The Human Touch
Humans are now responsible for causing changes in the environment that hurt animals and plant species. We take up more space on Earth for our homes and cities. We pollute habitats. We illegally hunt and kill animals. We bring exotic species into habitats. All of these activities take resources and habitats away from plants and the other creatures, and because the human population is growing so fast, animals and plants are disappearing 1000 times faster than they have in the past 65 million years.
It is more than unfortunate that the habitats of large numbers of plant and animal species are under threat due to human impact. Habitat loss is contributing to the permanent loss of species, and the weakening of ecosystems is impacting on both the overall health of the planet and the quality of human life.
There has always been some more clever than the rest of us and many others more powerful because of birth. Modern ways have not change these truths. But maybe a change in our thinking will eliminate the greed that has led us to this dangerous point by having us take on an achievable new direction. Put Earth First in all our decisions would let us end the destruction of Earth’s resources and return balance by reducing our effect on Mother Earth.
Until proven otherwise, we could also choose to believe that we are the only creatures in all we know and that Earth is the creation with mankind struggling to become a worthy head of all life. It will take time, but like losing weight we could shed the unwanted to achieve the dream of better health with a more fulfilling life by teaching our young that Earth and her creatures are the main event in our lives. Get them out to discover it’s wonder and beauty, it’s harshness, it’s a reality that injury or death awaits the foolish while fulfilment and a more meaningful life goes to the caring.
Stop the spread of dangerous marine pests
Reprinted from Deckee.com by Jessica Watson
Five things you can do to stop the spread of dangerous marine pests
Commercial shipping and the water ballast systems aboard large ships have long been identified as responsible for the spread of marine pests that can wreak havoc on our marine ecosystems. As home to the port of Melbourne – Australia’s busiest container port – and to the Port of Geelong, it’s, therefore, no surprise that Port Phillip Bay is riddled with marine pests.
The most common of these is the highly invasive and predatory Northern Pacific Seastar, Asterias amurensis. Parks Victoria’s State-wide Leader – Marine and Coasts Mark Rodrigue describes the seastars as ‘voracious’. ‘They will eat essentially anything that’s not bolted down,’ say’s Mark. And, horrifyingly, at their peak there was a greater mass of the seastars than fish in the bay. Other invasive species, such as Wakame, Undaria pinnatifida, are also thriving and competing with native algae for habitat.
Wakame growing on a boat in Port Phillip Bay.
Roellen Gillmore, Marine Communications Officer for Parks Victoria and a keen sailor, only recently realised the extent of the problem, and what she describes an ‘opportunity to contain the marine pests’. ‘As sailors, we just aren’t aware,’ says Roe. ‘We don’t really think about what’s going on below, but there’s a whole new world under our keels.’
She explains that Wakame, Northern Pacific Seastars and their microscopic offspring can easily become attached to boats and marine equipment and spread to new waterways. While Roe jokes that she now has an environmental incentive for washing her boat down, she’s deadly serious when she says that she wouldn’t want to be the person who causes the spread. ‘Once they become established, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them,’ say’s Roe. ‘The best management option is to prevent the spread, and it’s the human factor that we all can control.’
A Northern Pacific Seastar found by Marine Ranger Chris Hayward in Tidal River in late 2017.
Thankfully these marine pests have, to date, been largely contained to Port Phillip. While some natural dispersal is unavoidable as it occurs with the tidal movements, in Victoria, New Zealand, and across the world, there is an increasing recognition that there is a danger of all vessels, including travelling boaties, unintentionally spreading pests. Past outbreaks of pests at Apollo Bay and Wilsons Promontory indicate we’re only just keeping a grip on the issue.
So while there’s already plenty on our minds as we prepare to set off through Port Phillip Heads or travel to another waterway or coastline, we also need to ensure we’re not taking dangerous stowaways with us. Here are the key things we need to do to avoid spreading marine pests;
1. Use fresh water to wash all equipment. Everything from kayaks, fishing equipment, diving gear, fenders, and anchor chain.
2. Ensure that all equipment, including sails and lines are dried as microscopic offspring can survive for long periods in the damp.
3. Yacht owners should ensure that their antifoul is kept up to date and that hulls are checked for attached marine life.
4. Sewage and bilge water should be emptied at an approved facility, and any saltwater systems on board should be flushed out or treated regularly.
5. Keep your eyes out for these pests beyond Port Phillip Bay and report sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks Victoria divers removing Wakame at Popes Eye, Port Phillip Bay.
While any opinions expressed by the author are absolutely her own, this article has been produced in collaboration with Parks Victoria. For more information on how boaties can prevent the spread of marine pests and report any sightings, please see Parks Victoria website.
On the next windless day not long after that outing, we shifted our ship to the shores we’d cleaned during April 2017 Community Harbour Clean-up. Bloody Fish Farms! It was their idea to ‘spur on’ and get the community to clean up their mess. Well, it backfired because on that day, we and many of the community saw just how much trash ‘fish farms’ are heaping onto our shores. But, more than that, we also saw a huge amount of what Jude and I now call, GUNGE. We’ve been told it’s an endemic weed; but that it’s gone berserk with the high nutrient levels created by 5 million fish pooping in what are essentially dead waters. Ever seen what we mean? Green or red blooms on quiet waters created by high nutrient levels. Well, down here it’s a hairy GUNGE that gets blown up onto the shore vegetation and swamps it. Having seen great patches of it during last April’s Clean-up we thought we should investigate how ten months has affected the shoreline’s ecology.
So we loaded our camera gear into the Green Machine and paddled to the shores we’d cleaned of trash. We’re very pleased to report that there were only nuisance bits of ropes found, along with those little individual strands that will take days, weeks, or months to clean up. Nevertheless, all the big stuff had been whisked away in the preceding couple of weeks. But the GUNGE had hardened over the reeds and grasses, and over the rocks. To the touch, it was hard and crunchy, a bit like papier-mâché, and pulling it away revealed a real sadness. The ecology had been changed! How many times have we seen this happen before when jobs and growth cloud our legislator’s minds, and we get mumbo jumbo from them that all will be right, when they really don’t know. You can’t rule if you do not get re-elected. And you may have noticed that none of them talk about human population. That’s a real no-no. But frankly, it’s we humans swamping the entire Earth with us, and our trash, and us denuding everything, be it the forests, the oceans, the wildlife, marching us swiftly to a very boring future. It’s work, work, work, till you’re too old to enjoy life or just drop dead.
We made a video clip of what we found there, starring Mr. Harry Wombat.
by Earthvalues Institute
Putting the Capital Back in Nature
The word Nature was first used in the 12th century. It has come to represent, in its many definitions, all of the universe and the living and nonliving things within it. Before the Scientific Revolution, Nature was considered in a spiritual context, deserving of respect and admiration.
But now that we have come to use Nature’s capital (animals, freshwater, minerals, forests) in a non-sustainable way, we have replaced the capital letter “N” in Nature with a lower case one.
A coincidence? Perhaps.