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When nature says ‘Enough!’: the river that appeared overnight in Argentina

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/01/argentina-new-river-soya-beans

Until the early 1990s, the Morro basin was a patchwork of water-absorbing forests and grasslands, but they are mostly gone, replaced by maize and soya beans.

It may be a good move to cut down on cattle ranching worldwide (to prevent deforestation, to cut back on carbon and methane production, to limit the ongoing human health crisis caused by increasing meat consumption, to avoid further water pollution from farm runoff, to limit predator persecution, and to spare countless animals the endless cycle of slaughter), but an irony here is that soya beans, the hero of every vegan and vegetarian, come at a terrible price. Deforestation and clearing for cattle ranching has been replaced with deforestation in favour of this detrimental monoculture of soya bean farming.

If course, it is true that the humble soya bean is the new answer to reducing or cutting out meat consumption, but the majority of this soya and maize is being grown to become feed for the animal agriculture industry, something the attached article completely fails to mention. Animal agriculture is literally eating up our planet in countless ways.

Less than a third of Argentina’s rainforest remains. Losing that much established forest means losing deep networks of tree roots which naturally absorb large amounts of water from underground aquifers. The result is a huge new river appearing on land as has happened in Argentina. Why is this a surprise now? There are myriad experts in these fields worldwide who would have known this was a likely outcome as a result of mass deforestation. Why aren’t scientists involved in such massive economic and environmental processes and decisions?

Brazil has been in the grip of terrible deforestation for decades. With a changing climate, increased precipitation and otherwise poor substrate, deforestation in these countries inevitably means more landslides and more flooding, and perhaps more new rivers. We are drastically altering the landscape of the planet, destroying habitats and disrupting entire ecosystems.

Countless wildlife have lost their homes during this shift to soya bean plantations and deforestation, something that cannot ever be undone. When are governments of countries with such invaluable habitats going to quit putting profit before protecting and preserving their and the world’s most precious and vulnerable natural heritage? Rainforests are incredibly diverse, most are quite ancient, and they are so important to the world in terms of carbon sinks and wildlife biodiversity – they must be protected.

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Glacier shrinkage is past the point of no return : Research Highlights

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-03356-5

Today’s post is brought to you by, “What the hell are we doing?” And “Oh shit.”

Warming since the late nineteenth century has led to a marked retreat of most of the world’s glaciers. Ben Marzeion at the University of Bremen in Germany and his colleagues simulated the long-term response of thousands of glaciers to recent and projected climate change. The researchers found that glaciers are already committed to enough shrinkage to raise global sea levels by about 10 centimetres, even if global temperatures do not rise any further for centuries.

In 30 years asian-pacific fish will be gone and then we’re next

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2164774-in-30-years-asian-pacific-fish-will-be-gone-and-then-were-next/

Turns out there aren’t plenty of fish in the sea.

Recent evidence suggests humans evolved their big brains not on a diet of red meat after all, but on a diet of fish. Yes, fish is a great source of protein for all animals. Yes, unaffected by microplastics, pollutants and heavy metals, fish is good for us, ‘us’ being the ever-increasing human population of 7.6 billion and rising (and let’s face it, fish is no longer safe to eat).

Plenty of marine conservation organisations, such as Sea Shepherd, have been saying for decades that while we allow industrial trawlers and fleets of thousands of unregulated fishing boats to ravage the oceans with trawler nets and insidious ghost nets, fish stocks will collapse and there will be devastating implications for all marine life and human populations that rely on fish as a source of protein. Even some marine conservation orgs hadn’t fully understood the role that overfishing plays in the decimation of the oceans – and its impact on local human populations – and are still not condemning overfishing or advising their relatively affluent members to cut out fish from their diets as an effective way of ending their contribution to the terrifying problem of global overfishing.

Anyone can stop contributing to ending overfishing by not eating fish, wherever you are in the world, and by writing to relevant businesses and governmental departments (and your MP), and by boycotting companies which contribute to global (and local) overfishing.

Seal poo reveals plastic’s path in the sea : Research Highlights

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02649-z

Almost one-third of the fish and nearly half of the seal-faeces samples contained one to four plastic fibres and fragments. Among the most common was polyethylene, which is found in plastic bags and bottles.

Ocean acidification is deadly threat to marine life, finds eight-year study

I briefly researched acidification in a corals essays I wrote last year (for which I got a first class mark); this study looks in-depth at the impacts of acidification on marine life.

Ocean acidification is deadly threat to marine life, finds eight-year study

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/23/ocean-acidification-deadly-threat-to-marine-life-finds-eight-year-study

Some marine creatures may be more resilient to harsher ocean conditions than expected – Linkis.com

So I’m writing an essay about drivers of coral reef bleaching, and reading about acidification and its effects on marine mammals that secrete calcium carbonate, and this new research pops up. Interesting immediate adaptation to cope with lower pH levels in marine environments; although I’m not sure how long-term (and effective) an adaptation it might be. Similarly, some coral species and their symbionts are more tolerant of some drivers of bleaching than others. Again, in the short-term that helps those species, but it’s not clear how far beyond their normal thresholds for CO2, irradiance, thermal stress and acidification they can survive. And then there’s coral diseases… We are pushing the limits, changing environments and testing tolerance thresholds for so much of the world’s wildlife, and not in a good way. 

http://linkis.com/m.phys.org/news/u31W9

100s of dolphins tortured in Japan in alarming Facebook Live stream

And so the vile, arrogant brutal atrocities in the cove in Taiji, Japan continue, year after year, while the world remains blissfully ignorant of the evil these men do for six months of every year to migrating cetaceans unfortunate enough to swim past this little cove off the southern peninsula of Japan. Money is made, greed is satiated, murderous killing occurs and the world’s precious wildlife is decimated by Japan. When will this be called out and stopped as the heinous, greedy, short-sighted, violent, cruel and unacceptable activity that it is? 

http://www.ibtimes.co.in/100s-of-dolphins-tortured-in-japan-in-alarming-facebook-live-stream-713359

Humboldt – the greatest Ecologist we’ve never heard of?

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.

http://bbc.in/2gkKcrq

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″

http://blogs.plos.org/ecology/2016/12/23/extreme-weather-events-and-climate-change/