World wildlife plummets more than two-thirds in 50 years: index

 68CF5193-CC92-4A77-B5F2-ABD67D7141A4

Graphic outlining the environmental degredation of the oceans caused by human activity.

Global animal, bird and fish populations have plummeted more than two-thirds in less than 50 years due to rampant over-consumption, experts said Thursday in a stark warning to save nature in order to save ourselves.

Human activity has severely degraded three quarters of all land and 40 percent of Earth’s oceans, and our quickening destruction of nature is likely to have untold consequences on our health and livelihoods.

The Living Planet Index, which tracks more than 4,000 species of vertebrates, warned that increasing deforestation and agricultural expansion were the key drivers behind a 68 percent average decline in populations between 1970 and 2016.

It warned that continued natural habitat loss increased the risk of future pandemics as humans expand their presence into ever closer contact with wild animals.

Continue reading… “World wildlife plummets more than two-thirds in 50 years: index”

0

So you’re too ethical to eat meat; but should cows go extinct?

8ACB42C5-BA80-49D6-85A5-BDAC8B4CD648

Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more popular. Alternative sources of protein, including lab-grown meat, are becoming available. This trend away from farmed meat-eating looks set to continue. From an environmental perspective and a welfare perspective, that’s a good thing. But how far should we go? Would it be good if the last cow died?

Many people value species diversity. Very many feel the pull of the intuition that it’s a bad thing if a species becomes extinct. In fact, we sometimes seem to value the species more than we value the individual members. Think of insects, for example. The life of a fly might be of trivial value, but each fly species seems considerably more valuable (despite the lack of any direct instrumental value to us of flies). Do we – should we – value cattle? Should we be concerned if cows (or a subspecies of cows) is threatened with extinction? Should we take steps to preserve them, just as we take steps to conserve pandas and wolves?

Continue reading… “So you’re too ethical to eat meat; but should cows go extinct?”

0

Wild animals are adapting to city life and thriving

A coyote boarded a train in Portland, Oregon.

Cities are seen as the hardest place for the hardiest of animals to exist. They are seen as environmental wastelands. But more and more wild animals are adjusting to life in the city as scientists in the the urban ecology field are finding.

 

 

Continue reading… “Wild animals are adapting to city life and thriving”

0

‘Laughing’ cicadas among 75 new species discovered

laughing insect

Experts say a new species of ‘laughing’ cicada abounds in the mountains of Batangas.

Laughing cicadas and small “cat sharks” are among scores of species believed new to science discovered by US and Filipino researchers in waters and islands of the Philippines, the team said Wednesday.

Continue reading… “‘Laughing’ cicadas among 75 new species discovered”

0

New Explanation for the Origin of High Species Diversity in Amazon

New research shows that Amazonian diversity has evolved

An international team of scientists, including a leading evolutionary biologist from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, have reset the agenda for future research in the highly diverse Amazon region by showing that the extraordinary diversity found there is much older than generally thought.

Continue reading… “New Explanation for the Origin of High Species Diversity in Amazon”

0

City Bees Are Healthier and More Productive Than Their Country Cousins

urban-bees-rooftop-hive-paris

An urban beekeeper.

While their country cousins’ populations collapse, bees in Paris are thriving as having a rooftop hive becomes de rigueur for hotels and restaurants seeking an in-house source of home-grown artisanal honey. According to the BBC, the urban bees are healthier and more productive than ones in rural France and they seem to like the City of Light for the same reason many people do: lots of good food.

0

Show Your Support For An Endangered Seed Bank

seed4bank 32
Seed Banks are crucial to biodiversity

One of the world’s foremost seed banks is in deep trouble after a Russian court ruled yesterday that the Russian Housing Development Foundation can take the land the seed bank is on and sell it to private home developers.

Currently, Pavlovsk Experimental Station is home to 5,500 varieties of edible plants, mostly fruit. The collections survived World War II and many of the varieties can be found nowhere else on Earth. Losing a seed bank would represent more than just a loss of biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. Collections like this can be used as breeding stock, imparting useful traits like drought tolerance or weed resistance to more commonly grown varieties. As the effects of global climate change increase, such breeding could become crucial…

Continue reading… “Show Your Support For An Endangered Seed Bank”

0

Prussian Blue Salt Linked to Origin of Life

091214121451-large

This is Prussian blue. This salt could cause substances essential for life.

A team of researchers from the Astrobiology Centre (INTA-CSIC) has shown that hydrogen cyanide, urea and other substances considered essential to the formation of the most basic biological molecules can be obtained from the salt Prussian blue. In order to carry out this study, published in the journal Chemistry & Biodiversity, the scientists recreated the chemical conditions of the early Earth.

Continue reading… “Prussian Blue Salt Linked to Origin of Life”

0

More Than 800 Animal And Plant Species Now Extinct

jungle

An aerial view of a patch of deforested jungle

More than 800 animal and plant species have gone extinct in the past five centuries with nearly 17,000 now threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reported on Thursday.

 

 

Continue reading… “More Than 800 Animal And Plant Species Now Extinct”

0