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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

Why Chimpanzee-Testing in Medicine Had to End

By: 
John J. Pippin, M.D., F.A.C.C.

A French man died last month and five others in the same clinical trial were hospitalized after they took an experimental drug. The drug had been deemed safe for humans after having been tested on chimpanzees in preclinical trials.

The National Institutes of Health’s recent decision to end federally supported chimpanzee experimentation could prevent future fatalities like this by promoting more human-relevant research methods.

Twenty of those government-owned chimpanzees currently housed at a testing laboratory in San Antonio, Texas, are next in line to be transferred to a sanctuary. As the use of chimpanzees in medical experiments draws to a close, it’s important to examine the superior, nonanimal research methods that will benefit patients.

The Role of Climate Change in the Syria Crisis

By: 
Alex Randall

Article reveals that Syrian civil society had its own response to the effects of the drought: to form strong cooperatives, which were actively suppressed by the Assad regime.   Offers an important counterpoint to the crude Hobbesian/Malthusian scenarios painted in more mainstream accounts. Links to a full multimedia report at https://climatemigration.atavist.com/syria-and-climate-change (which is not readily excerptable).
 

Professor Who Bought Two Parcels At Oil & Gas Auction Removed

By: 
Brian Maffly

Terry Tempest Williams is leaving her University of Utah teaching post and walking away from the Environmental Humanities program she founded rather than agree to administrators’ demands she move her teaching from the state’s desert landscapes onto campus.

How Climate Change and Failed Agricultural Policies Have Contributed to Conflict in Syria

By: 
Megan Perry

The government had been pursuing a policy of agricultural intensification and economic liberalisation based on the expansion of irrigated crops for export, such as wheat and cotton that were reliant on chemical fertilisers. The chemical inputs and monoculture cropping contributed to the degradation of Syria’s soils, while poor irrigation infrastructure led to salinisation, particularly in areas such as the Euphrates. Reliance on non-renewable resources such as chemical fertiliser and diesel makes agriculture vulnerable to price fluctuations on the global market. 

Organic Farmers Are Not Anti-Science, but Genetic Engineers Often Are

By: 
Elizabeth Henderson

Does power determine knowledge? Proponents of GMOs like to wrap themselves in the mantle of 'science,' but are we really being shown the way that powerful economic interests determine what is science? Could it be that independent science challenging GMOs is actually more scientific than the establishment is willing to recognize? A thought-provoking article.

Nuclear Radiation, Kierkegaard, and the Philosophy of Denial

By: 
Chris Busby

It used to be, and indeed children are still taught in schools, that the advances that have been made in the last five hundred years (antibiotics, electricity, computers etc) resulted from the application of Science and its overthrow of dogmatic belief.

All ideas are put to the question in the auto da fe of experiment: Galileo’s observations versus the Inquistion’s biblical earth-centric world view and so forth. But over the same period, the power of belief (in Jesus, Marxism, Allah, perhaps ‘Economics’) has continued to flourish alongside the supposedly observation- based, empirical philosophy that we call Science.

Belief is strictly about what we cannot know but I am not going down the Dawkins black hole on this one since there are certainly some very odd things that science cannot explain. But I want to apply the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s approach to something that Science can explain and has: the health effects of ionising radiation.

Canadian Capitalism and the Fort McMurray Wildfire

By: 
Roger Jordan

Millions of people across Canada and around the world have been moved by the images of destruction and harrowing tales of escape that have emerged from Fort McMurray, Alberta, over the past week. On short notice and with next to no forewarning, some 90,000 residents were evacuated May 3, as a huge wildfire began to consume large parts of the city that is the hub for Canada’s massive oil tar-sands industry.

As with other environmental disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the extensive damage wrought by the wildfire is the direct product of the capitalist system’s rapacious pursuit of profit. The lives of tens of thousands of workers and their families have been turned upside down by a calamity that at the very least could have been mitigated, if not entirely prevented.

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