Born in 1769, Humboldt observed deforestation and its effects in the Amazon rainforests 200 years ago and wrote about them; he was possibly the first person to express concern for the negative effects of anthropogenic activity on the natural environment. He wrote of nature as a “living whole” and a web or tapestry – all life as connected – a new concept at that time.
Humboldt wrote about soil erosion as a result of deforestation, and of climate change. He describes concern for human destruction of the entire planet – even suggesting we would take that destruction to other, distant planets – and of human greed and violence.
Humboldt evidently influenced Charles Darwin himself. Was he the first ecologist? A fascinating listen.
Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change: NOAA and AMS Issue Annual Report | PLOS Ecology Community
“Without exception, all the heat-related events studied in this year’s report were found to have been made more intense or likely due to human-induced climate change, and this was discernible even for those events strongly influenced by the 2015 El Niño.” — from Explaining Extreme Events From A Climate Perspective 2015″
“The most ambitious of these scenarios proposed reducing animal-based protein consumption in all parts of the world where consumption (from any food source) exceeded 60 grams of protein and 2,500 calories daily — targeting 1.9 billion people worldwide in total. The proposed shift would bring these populations’ protein consumption down to exactly 60 grams daily by reducing only animal-based protein in the diet.”
“In a new report, published by the University of Queensland, researchers say the rat is officially history — the first documented mammal extinction due to climate change.”
Very sad news.
Austin Peck, PhD (Biology) and film director writes about the tragic decline of the African elephant at the hands of man, and how we have choices to make. Empathy and action are key to saving Africa’s wilderness.
“Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, for example, is an entire ecosystem the size of Michigan that is itself on the chopping block because it no longer earns money from tourism. Just out of sight from the empty lodge verandas, the bushland is already quickly and quietly becoming grazing land for tens of thousands of cattle owned by businessmen from the capital city. New railways and gas pipelines, funded primarily by China, block elephant migration routes. While unbridled development of the region gallops forward, elephants are increasingly pushed into oblivion, and it is still the black face of the impoverished poacher who is most commonly blamed for the wholesale annihilation of the wild. These are the kinds of choices we make, and the stories those choices require.”
“We knew of this group-digging behaviour, called social facilitation, for a long time, but the reasons for teamwork were unclear. Possible explanations included speeding up nest escape or helping the turtles emerge together to swamp awaiting predators on the beach.
But Mohd Uzair Rusli, a biologist at the University of Malaysia Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu wondered if it could also help individual hatchlings cut down on energy use while trying to leave their nest. This is a major undertaking for the tiny hatchlings, taking several days, with the only source of energy being the yolk that remains when they hatch.”
Frontiers | Quantification of Overnight Movement of Birch (Betula pendula) Branches and Foliage with Short Interval Terrestrial Laser Scanning | Plant Biophysics and Modeling
Interesting new research into circadian rhythms in trees which seems to confirm that trees sleep.
[However, they could have got the Latin name for Betula correct in the original paper.]