It’s far from comprehensive, but here’s a link to some New Year’s tips for lightening our footprint on our precious planet:
Tips for a Green New Year | Easy Ideas for Organizing and Cleaning Your Home | HGTV.
Once hunted to near extinction, the humpback whales of Canada’s Pacific are back in larger numbers and their status has been downgraded from “threatened” to one “of special concern”.
However, this BBC report shows how there are now concerns that the whales face new risks from increased oil and natural gas exploration.
BBC News – New threat to Canadas Pacific humpback whales?.
Global wildlife populations have halved in just 40 years, according to new research by scientists at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014 found.
The key findings are:
- Populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52% since the 1970s.
- Freshwater species populations have suffered a 76% decline, an average loss almost double that of land and marine species.
- The worst declines have been observed in the Tropics.
The report draws upon the Living Planet Index, a database maintained by the Zoological Society of London, which monitors trends in over 10,000 populations of 3038 species since the 1970s. It also looks at how human consumption levels have increased in the same time period. It shows that the biggest recorded threat to biodiversity comes from the combined impacts of habitat loss and degradation, driven by unsustainable human consumption.
“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.
“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.
Campaigners marched through central London on Sunday to demand global action on climate change, in one of thousands of events worldwide ahead of a UN climate summit.
Some 2,000 events took place in 150 countries, with more than 100,000 people taking to the streets of New York – where the summit is being held – to demand leaders take action to tackle rising temperatures. The summit has been convened by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, in a bid to drive action and momentum towards talks in Paris in 2015, where it is hoped a new global climate treaty can be agreed.
In London, campaigners were joined by celebrities, including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel, and church bells rang to mark the march through Westminster to Parliament, where speeches and a rally were held.
Thompson said: “There is little time left to prevent the worst excesses of climate change, yet our world leaders continue to stall. I’ve witnessed the impact climate change is already having on the melting Arctic and on poverty-stricken communities in the developing world. We can’t go on pretending nothing’s happening.”
In a statement on his website, Peter Gabriel said: “This big blue ball is the only possible home for humanity in the near future. If our family home was being destroyed and poisoned in the same way, we would do something immediately.
“This is not just a campaign for activists, but for everyone who wants to live on a planet capable of sustaining us. We will only achieve a sustainable future if global citizens demand global action.”
PLANET EARTH NEWSLETTER blog
A must see video about our PLANET EARTH.
The Arctic ice we all depend on is disappearing. Fast.
In the last 30 years, we’ve lost as much as three-quarters of the floating sea ice cover at the top of the world. The volume of that sea ice measured by satellites in the summer, when it reaches its smallest, has shrunk so fast that scientists say it’s now in a ‘death spiral’.
For over 800,000 years, ice has been a permanent feature of the Arctic ocean. It’s melting because of our use of dirty fossil fuel energy, and in the near future it could be ice free for the first time since humans walked the Earth. This would be not only devastating for the people, polar bears, narwhals, walruses and other species that live there – but for the rest of us too.
The ice at the top of the world…
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A national survey to assess the population of one of the UK’s rarest birds, the chough, is being launched by conservationists.
The study aims to give a picture of how the birds are faring across the UK after years of decline. In Scotland, choughs are only found in a small area of the south-west, with 90% concentrated on Islay, where numbers have struggled.
A team of surveyors has now begun work to chart the fortunes of the “acrobatic” birds, known for their striking red bill and legs and flamboyant flying style.
Researchers are particularly concerned about the survival rates of young birds in their first year. It is thought that variations in weather and food abundance could be having an impact on the survival rates. Information gathered will help target conservation efforts for the recovery of the species in areas where it is in decline.
The survey is a joint initiative between RSPB, SNH and the Scottish Chough Study Group, which has been monitoring the birds on Islay since the early 1980s.
A still from The Last Catch. Pic: UK Green Film Festival
The UK Green Film Festival 2014 celebrates seven powerful environmental films that will tour the country from 1-8 June.
This year’s line-up includes international award-winning films, and explores some of today’s big environmental issues. The films will be screened in 17 venues in 15 cities across the UK, including Clapham, Greenwich and Hackney Picturehouses.
Seven feature length documentaries – including several UK premieres – from all over the world will be presented at the festival, all of which will be preceded by an accompanying short film. These include:
- The Last Catch. A study of the tuna industry’s impact on both the fish and those who catch them.
- Lost Rivers. An exploration of the subterranean network of rivers beneath London, Montreal, Toronto and Brescia that house the secrets of each city’s past.
- A River Changes Course. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance 2013, chronicles the influence of rapid urbanisation on three families in Cambodia.
“Our aim is simple,” said the festival’s co-founder, John Long. “We want to help people understand their impact on the environment, and what they can do to reduce it. Film has the power to do that; to provoke thought, to inspire, and to entertain. That’s what the UK Green Film Festival is all about.”