Friday, May 01, 2009

Top 10 Environmental Posts

Here is the Random Man on Planet Earth top 10 posts (based on hits).

Number 10.

Ecosystem Change and Human Well-being

"The MA has involved the work of more than 1360 experts woldwide. Their findings, contained in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state of the art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world's ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.

The bottom line of the MA findings was that human actions are depleting Earth's natural capital, putting such strain on the environment that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.

At the same time, the assessment shows that with appropriate actions it is possible to reverse the degradation of many ecosystem services over the next 50 years, but the changes in policy and practice required are substantial and not currently underway."

Number 9.

Two climate futures - new study published in the journal Nature


Number 8.

Splitting: 'jobs' versus 'the environment'

The debate in terms of ‘jobs’ that are obviously very close to people’s hearts (especially in these difficult economic times) versus ‘the environment’ (which is a term that is often psychologically remote for many urban city dwellers) forces people to choose between something that is perceived as close and valuable to them against something that is often perceived as distant/remote from their lives and therefore of low value (even though they are a part of the Earth’s ecosystem and we all need food, air and water to survive). Given this narrow choice, many people might only think of themselves, but we are all in this together and a more community based global solution is required. Rather than either/or type thinking we need a more holistic approach (i.e. sustainable development).

Number 7.

Gambling with climate change: MIT updates its climate gamble wheels

The odds are based on estimates from the latest research (see: Sokolov 2009) and therefore the wheels need to updated to indicate the latest information on the predicted odds and the chance of avoiding the possible effects of a greater than 2 degrees C increase in temperature. The latest wheel suggests a change of temperature less than 2 degees C has odds of 1 in 5 (or 20% chance).


Figure 1: shows the updated wheel odds (with-policy designed to limit GHG emissions in place).

Number 6.


Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions

The paper explains how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. Hmmm, this does not sound good at all.

Number 5.

"Emission reductions by the USA in 2020 and the risk of exceeding 2°C warming"
Higher emissions in 2020 resulting from delayed action by Annex I countries, degrades the ability to meet the 2°C warming limit. If global emissions were to return to the level of 1990 by the year 2020, the chance that 2°C warming is exceeded is estimated as roughly 1 in 6, which rises to 1 in 4, if global emissions are still 40% above 1990 in 2020. Delaying emission reductions by the Annex I group by 10 years, from 2020 to 2030, results in significantly higher cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and increases the rate of emission reduction in future decades. The probability of exceeding 2°C warming is increased by about 15% for such a delay, from a base probability for the two non-delay scenarios of 14% (6% to 32%) and 27% (14% to 48%), respectively. A delay thus results in an increased risk that is not compensated for by steeper reductions in later years.

Number 4.

Slums of Lagos, Nigeria


Number 3.

New Environmental Paradigm Scale

Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) note that "ecological problems stem in large part from the traditional values, attitudes and beliefs prevalent within our society" and suggests that the Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP) includes "our belief in abundance and progress, our devotion to growth and prosperity, our faith in science and technology, and our commitment to a laissez-faire economy, limited governmental planning and private property rights". The DSP is "anti-ecological" and therefore damaging to the environment.

An alternative to this DSP is the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) which includes the ideas of "the inevitability of "limits to growth", the necessity of achieving a "steady-state" economy, the importance of preserving the "balance of nature", and the need to reject the anthropocentric notion that nature exists solely for human use . . . a world view - perhaps best captured by the "spaceship earth" metaphor."

"The purpose of this paper is to report a preliminary effort to determine the extent to which the public accepts the content of the NEP and, in doing so, to develop an instrument to measure the New Environmental Paradigm."

Number 2.

Remembering Arne Naess (1912-2009)

Arne Naess was a Norwegian philosopher, writer and mountaineer and some say the 'father of Deep Ecology'. Although he coined the phrase in 1973 and provided the philosophical framework for Deep Ecology, he believed that it was Rachel Carson’s book "Silent Spring" (1962) that was the beginning of the international deep ecology movement. He uses the term Deep Ecology in the paper "The Shallow and the Deep, Long Range Ecology Movements: A Summary".
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In it, he suggests that the ecological movement has two strands: the shallow, concerned with pollution and resource depletion; and the deep, which rejects the idea of humans as being separate from their environment and highlights the complex relatedness of all that is and supports biocentric equality and the equal right of all living organisms to blossom and flourish.

Number 1.

United Nations Year of the Gorilla 2009

Three of the four gorilla species are listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, putting them at risk of extinction. Mountain gorillas in DRC, Rwanda and Uganda and the Cross River gorilla in Cameroon and Nigeria number only 700 and 300 respectively. The eastern lowland gorilla in the DRC has plummeted dramatically over the last 10 years with probably only about 5,000 of the formerly 17,000 animals remaining.



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3 comments:

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Knowledge is Power said...

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