Image: Earth at Night, NASA
Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: The Planet's Oceans and Forests -- Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
By Richard Power
The planet's oceans and forests are in dire peril:
Major world commercial fish stocks could collapse within decades as global warming compounds damage from pollution and overfishing, U.N. officials said ... (Associated Press, 2-23-08)
The destruction of Sumatra's natural forests is accelerating global climate change and pushing endangered species closer to extinction, a new report warned ... (Guardian UK, 2-27-08)
As vast and far-reaching as the world's oceans are, every square kilometer is affected by human activities ... rising ocean temperatures are the most pervasive threat, and almost half of all the world's coral reefs have recently experienced medium- to high-level impacts. (Terra Daily, 2-15-07)
Never before have Latin America and the Caribbean fought so hard against deforestation, say experts and government officials, but logging in the region has increased to the point that it has the highest rate in the world. (Inter Press Service, 2-16-08)
As you pull out of your spot in the mall parking lot, remember.
Hurrying along among the throngs on the streets of the financial district, remember.
Catching your image in the mirror under artificial light in the corridor of a skyscraper, remember.
This struggle is not just an effort to move humanity beyond the burning of fossil fuels.
All life is interdependent.
If the oceans die, and the forests are disappeared, human life, as we know and love it, will follow them into oblivion.
Here are brief excerpts with links to the full texts of these important stories:
Major world commercial fish stocks could collapse within decades as global warming compounds damage from pollution and overfishing, U.N. officials said ... A U.N. Environment Program report details new research on how rising ocean surface temperature and other climate changes are affecting the fishing industry. It says that more than 2.6 billion people get most of their protein from fish. ... The research sheds new light on an undersea flushing mechanism that helps renew fish stocks in three-quarters of the world's primary commercial fishing grounds. Report author Christian Nellemann said global warming is disrupting this circulation. Angela Charlton, Associated Press, 20=-23-08
The destruction of Sumatra's natural forests is accelerating global climate change and pushing endangered species closer to extinction, a new report warned ... A study from WWF claims that converting the forests and peat swamps of just one Sumatran province into plantations for pulpwood and palm oil is generating more annual greenhouse gas emissions than the Netherlands, and is endangering local elephant and tiger populations.
The fastest rate of deforestation in Indonesia is occurring in central Sumatra's Riau province, where some 4.2m hectares (65%) of its tropical forests and peat swamps have been cleared for industrial plantations in the past 25 years, the study shows. ...
About 20% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come from global annual deforestation, which often takes place in the most biodiverse regions of the world, such as Brazil and Indonesia. Jessica Aldred, Guardian UK, 2-27-08
As vast and far-reaching as the world's oceans are, every square kilometer is affected by human activities, according to a study in the journal Science by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and others.
The international team of scientists integrated global data from 17 aspects of global change - from overfishing to global warming - that threaten 20 different marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs and continental shelves. ... The Science study showed that rising ocean temperatures are the most pervasive threat, and almost half of all the world's coral reefs have recently experienced medium- to high-level impacts. Terra Daily, 2-15-07
Never before have Latin America and the Caribbean fought so hard against deforestation, say experts and government officials, but logging in the region has increased to the point that it has the highest rate in the world.
Of every 100 hectares of forest lost worldwide between the years 2000 and 2005, nearly 65 were in Latin America and the Caribbean. In that period, the average annual rate was 4.7 million hectares lost -- 249,000 hectares more than the entire decade of the 1990s.
Deforestation remains difficult to deal with because there are many economic interests in play, according to Ricardo Sánchez, director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Diego Cevallos, Inter Press Service, 2-16-08
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Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.
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