"Water for All and Other Poems" by G Venkatesh PhD
Senior Lecturer, Energy and Environmental Systems- A book of illustrated poems (English) about water issues world-wide and their impact on each and every one of us. (paperback).
The royalties from book sales go directly to the US-based NGO Water for People for their charitable work in India’s villages.
Thank you to James for this submission via Insinkerator. To view the below infographic in detail, together with commentary regarding the world's dire food wastage problems, please click here.
Australia is kicking off the wave. This weekend, there are 55 People’s Climate Marches in towns and cities right across Australia, setting the tone for more than 2000 events in 150 countries. That's 2000 events! 4. This is massive. In Australia 345 organisations are working together day and night to make this march happen. Unions, faith, Indigenous, health, environment and community groups. Wow! When children ask what you did to stop climate change, you can say you didn’t sit at home. You were there, you marched, you were part of the movement that changed the world.
• Melbourne: 5.30pm, Friday 27 November 2015, State Library
• Brisbane: 9.30am, Saturday 28 November, Queen's Park
• Darwin: 4.30pm, Saturday 28 November, Stokes Hill Wharf
• Adelaide: 11am, Sunday 29 November 2015, Ester Lipman Gardens, beside Torrens Parade Ground
• Canberra: 12pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Parliament Lawns
• Sydney: 12.30pm for a 1pm start, Sunday 29 November 2015, The Domain
• Hobart: 1pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Parliament Lawns
• Perth: 1pm, Sunday 29 November 2015, Wellington Square
• Other cities: Join People’s Climate Marches in 47 regional towns and cities!
More here - http://www.peoplesclimate.org.au/brisbane/…
Apart from the risk of devastating oil spills, we must slow climate change, by getting off humanity's addiction to carbon fuels. The oil of the Arctic must not be used.
Shell should put its resources into developing and marketing alternatives. It is being left behind. Either change, or die.
I refuse to buy petrol and other products from Shell until it reverses its decision to drill in the Arctic. Please pledge to join me, Dr Bob Rich.
Sign and share this petition to declare you will boycott Shell until they stop drilling in the Arctic, trashing one of the world's most pristine and important environmental areas and risking the magnificent wild-life that inhabits it.
When we allow oil drilling in sensitive areas like the Arctic, this is what we risk happening again! See pictures below.
The following information is courtesy of The Guardian:
Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF
Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats
The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. 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 research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.
“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.
The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.
“We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.
If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.
The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.
As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.
The complete article including photographs and graphs can be viewed here.
Video narration by renowned scientist Carl Sagan
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
"The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
We are not helpless. We, humanity, have created these problems the world now faces. It is up to US to fix them, or let the problems we have generated destroy us and every other living thing. Speak up, act on the principles of compassion, vote for those who have policies of welfare, kindness and ecological responsibility, live a lifestyle that helps not hurts the planet and each other, make a small difference, and together we will make a BIG difference. If we act now, if we act together, we can turn this around. Are you ready to make a positive difference?
More information about this video - The Sagan Series is an educational project working in the hopes of promoting scientific literacy in the general population. Created by @ReidGower http://twitter.com/reidgower - Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use. All copyrighted materials contained herein belong to their respective copyright holders, I do not claim ownership over any of these materials. I realize no profit, monetary or otherwise, from the exhibition of these videos.
How a grass roots community effort is showing the world how we can beat climate change...
Recent scientific studies have shown what is causing mass bee deaths. (Bees are crucial to the propagation of our food crops, and therefore our very survival!) As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.
When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.
Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.
“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.
Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.
Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.
In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”
The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.
“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.
Above story courtesy of http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/
Photo :AP Photo/Ben Margot