Plastics are found in the products we use every day: the toys we give our children, the clothing we wear, the disposable cups we drink from, the automobiles we make, the straws we use, the list goes on. Cheap and easy to make, plastic goods and plastic production have exploded in recent years. Yet the junked cars, the used straws and cups, they all end up somewhere, perhaps in a landfill, or perhaps drifting in the wind. 91% of plastic goods are not recycled. Most have found their way to rivers, lakes, and oceans, and over time break down into tiny microscopic particles of plastic. Microplastics are everywhere, even in the deepest sea floor sediments and in the Arctic. They can originate in small form from toothpaste or makeup, or can be derived from larger pieces of plastic, which over time break down into small particles.
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Biodiversity / Biodevastation
Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.
Maps below show the temperature anomaly for the past three months and the seasonal mean (Northern Hemisphere Summer). We draw attention to the cool region southeast of Greenland and warmth in the middle of the North Atlantic.
The underlying cause here is “technological fundamentalism,” the belief that the increasing use of evermore sophisticated, high-energy, advanced technology can solve any problem, including those caused by the unintended consequences of earlier technologies. This Panglossian approach allows modelers to state the climate problem can be contained without giving up a social and political system that is founded on continued and endless economic growth.
This belief also allows for the idea that the business-as-usual approach can continue, and the solution is replacing coal, gas, and nuclear plants with solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries or other storage technologies. As supporters of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries like to point out, even these technologies have environmental and social impacts. To live sustainably on this planet—and despite what folks such as Elon Musk might promise, this is the only planet available for the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants—even these more benign technologies have to be limited in scale.
On October 31st a select group of UK scientists launched a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government at the Houses of Parliament: “For criminal inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse.”
According to the scientists, now is the time to act as a planetary emergency is already upon us.
Nearly 100 British scientists, academics, and writers are willing to go to jail to make their point that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is a surefire provocateur that’s already starting to decimate ecosystems.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently issued a report on the status of arthropods in rainforests (Bradford C. Lister and Andres Garcia, Climate-Driven Declines in Arthropod Abundance Restructure a Rainforest Food Web, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1722477115).
The report’s shocking analysis discovered a collapsing food web in tropical rainforests. Oh please! Can ecological news get any worse than this?
This Communication is also our Monthly Temperature Update for August 2018 . M onthly temperature update s are available from either web page ( Hansen or Sato ) or directly here . Maps below show the temperature anomaly for the past three months and the seasonal mean (Northern Hemisphere Summer). We draw attention to the cool region southeast of Greenland and warmth in the middle of the North Atlantic .
An unexpected High Court ruling in the German state of North Rhein Westphalia (NRW) has blocked energy giant RWE from further destruction of the Hambacher Forest for the next couple of years. The decision has been hailed as a major victory by the newly-revitalised German environmental and climate justice movement.
East Antarctica is a big-time global warming player. Nothing is comparable. It is the world heavyweight, and nothing can impact the world with so much calamitous clout. As such, it would be a huge mistake to discount its capability to turn mean-spirited, striking all of a sudden, catching scientists and humanity unawares. In fact, it’s already turning heads, and it alone is equivalent to 170 feet of water.
Disturbingly, early signals of destabilization have been detected at Totten Glacier/ East Antarctica, where, according to accepted science for years and years, we are not supposed to worry until the next century. Scientists have always said East Antarctica’s a “not to worry region,” nearly impervious to the impact of climate change.
India celebrates its independence from Britain on 15 August. However, the system of British colonial dominance has been replaced by a new hegemony based on the systemic rule of transnational capital, enforced by global institutions like the World Bank and WTO. At the same time, global agribusiness corporations are stepping into the boots of the former East India Company.
The long-term goal of US capitalism has been to restructure indigenous agriculture across the world and tie it to an international system of trade underpinned by export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the global market and debt. The result has been food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on agricultural imports and strings-attached aid.
Like many countries, India’s food system was essentially clean just a generation or two ago but is now being comprehensively contaminated with sugar, bad fats, synthetic additives, GMOs and pesticides under the country’s neoliberal ‘great leap forward’. The result has been a surge in obesity, diabetes and cancer incidence, while there has been no let-up in the under-nutrition of those too poor to join in the over-consumption.