Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Irreversible Damage to the Earth

One on many articles, this one taken from Yahoo news.

UN fears 'irreversible' damage to natural environment

Mon May 10, 7:08 am ET
GENEVA (AFP) – The UN warned on Monday that "massive" loss in life-sustaining natural environments was likely to deepen to the point of being irreversible after global targets to cut the decline by this year were missed.
As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several "tipping points" beyond which some ecosystems that play a part in natural processes such as climate or the food chain may be permanently damaged, a United Nations report said.
The third "Global Biodiversity Outlook" found that deforestation, pollution or overexploitation were damaging the productive capacity of the most vulnerable environments, including the Amazon rainforest, lakes and coral reefs.
"This report is saying that we are reaching the tipping point where the irreversible damage to the planet is going to be done unless we act urgently," Ahmed Djoghlaf, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, told journalists.
Djoghlaf argued that extinction rates for some animal or plant species were at a historic high, up to 1,000 times those seen before, even affecting crops and livestock.
The UN report was partly based on 110 national reports on steps taken to meet a 2002 pledge to "significantly reduce" or reverse the loss in biodiversity.
Djoghlaf told journalists: "There is not a single country in the world that has achieved these targets, we continue to lose biodioversity at unprecedented rate."
Three potential tipping points were identified.
Global climate, regional rainfall and loss of plant and animal species were harmed by continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the report said.
Many freshwater lakes and rivers were becoming contaminated by algae, starving them of oxygen and killing off fish, affecting local livelihoods and recreation for local populations.
And coral reefs were collapsing due to the combined blow of more acid and warming oceans, as well as overfishing, the UN found.
UN Environment Programme (UNEP) director general Achim Steiner underlined the economic value and returns of "natural capital" and its role in ensuring the health of soil, oceans and the atmosphere.
"Humanity has fabricated the illusion that somehow we can get by without biodiversity or that it is somehow peripheral to the contemporary world," Steiner said.
"The truth is we need it more than ever on a planet of six billion heading to over nine billion people by 2050."
The report argued that biodiversity was a core concern for society that would help tackle poverty and improve health, meriting as much attention as the economic crisis for only a fraction of the cost of recent financial bailouts.
It advocated a new strategy to tackle the loss alongside more traditional steps such as the expansion of protected natural areas and pollution control.
They included attempts to regulate land consumption, fishing, increased trade and population growth or shifts, partly through a halt to "harmful" or "perverse" subsidies.
The issues raised by the report are due to be discussed at a UN biodiversity meeting in Japan in October.
UNEP report


Rebecca The Greeniac said...

In my darker moments I think that everything is just pointless... why bother to even try to change because when you read things like this it really makes you think that this planet isn't going to be able to sustain human life for more than a few more generations.

But something I read in Jarod Diamond's book "Collapse" really helps me in these moments. (Odd to find comfort in a book about how civilizations collapse, but I'll take it wherever I can get it.) It was the fact that even on Easter Island, where the inhabitants had pretty much completely destroyed their civilization, there were survivors.

So I guess that even if the darkest predictions come true, there is still a point... it's carving out a new way of life for those who make it through. Is that too fatalistic?

Anyhow, just found your blog and I am enjoying exploring it.

Yours in Frugal Green-ness,
Rebecca The Greeniac

WILDBLUESbysus said...

Glad to meet you Rebecca and so happy you chose to comment. No one who is watching and listening, or living now for that matter, can deny that serious changes hit us daily. Though some posts here are apocalytic, my belief is not doom and gloom alone but restoration and regeneration.