We human beings — homo sapiens – have only been on this planet for 200,000 years, which is a blip in its 4.5-billion-year history. Yet we have had a far greater impact on its ecology and ecosystems systems than any other species. Moreover, this continues apace. Around the globe, we continue to cut down the forests, use too much water from rivers, pollute the land, choke our oceans with plastic, destroy habitats, and push other species into to extinction at an ever-increasing rate.
It is this disastrous situation that is addressed by a new Report published in Paris on May 6 2019 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), entitled Nature’s Dangerous Decline; ‘unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates Accelerating.
Continue reading “UN Report warns of catastrophic biodiversity crisis.”
Alan Thornett reviews Farming, Food and Nature: Respecting Animals, People and the Environment, edited by Joyce D’Silva and Carol McKenna (Routledge 2018)
This book brings together 35 individual contributions that were made, or planned, at a conference entitled Extinction and Livestock organised by Compassion in World Farming (CWF) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in London in 2017 in order to discuss farming and food production and its impact on the biodiversity on the planet.
It is a book that should be strongly welcomed. It looks not just at the problem of feeding the planet’s current 7.5 billion people but on the disastrous impact this is having on the biodiversity of the planet. It reflects an emerging wider debate on how to feed the population of the planet without destroying its biosphere in the process
The 2018 edition of the highly respected World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report – and its associated Living Planet Index – have just been published, writes Alan Thornett. The Report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity.
The Living Planet Index (LPI) is produced for WWF by the Zoological Society of London. It uses data compiled on the basis of 16,704 individual populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, representing more than 4,000 species.
Continue reading “WWW report: wildlife in freefall”
Alan Thornett offers an initial assessment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special ‘1.5°C’ report published on October 8 on the deepening crisis around climate change.
The timescale available to do something about global warming and climate change just shrank dramatically. Just this year the planet reached a temperature increase of 1°C in the global average surface temperature over pre-industrial levels. This report concludes that, at the current rate of increase, a 1.5°C limit could be reached as soon as 2030 – in just 12 years’ time. This takes the climate struggle to a new level of urgency.
Continue reading “IPCC climate report: a global wakeup call”
There are many reasons for supporting the anti-Trump protests this week, writes Alan Thornett. It has become increasingly clear that Trump can do immeasurable damage not only to politics across the planet but to its life support systems.
During Blair’s premiership, when he was moving rapidly to the right, he was accused of doing this in order to win right-wing and middle England votes. His reply was: no, it is worse that than that, ‘I really believe in all this’.
Continue reading “March against Trump – and for the Planet”
Tory Transport Minister Chris Grayling announced to Parliament on June 5th, after endless prevarication, what he called the government’s ‘final proposal’ on airport expansion in the shape of what he called an Airports National Policy Statement (NPS), writes Alan Thornett. Heathrow, he said, is already full and the other London airports won’t be far behind. The proposal, therefore, is for a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow—to the north west of the existing runways.
The aim is to make Heathrow into a major European hub which would take the passenger capacity of Heathrow to around 120 million a year.
If this plan is allowed to go ahead it would further pollute what is already one of the most polluted parts of London, where air quality is already at illegal levels. Around 4,000 homes will be demolished and hundreds of thousands of people will be exposed to additional aircraft noise. This will suck economic activity even more into London and the South East away from the rest of Britain. It will further congest roads in West London that are already bursting at the seams. Continue reading “Heathrow: step up the campaign against expansion now”
The Labour Party’s consultation document, A Greener Britain, seeks proposals about different aspects of environmental policy. In this series of articles, Redgreenlabour supporters offer their thoughts. Please comment on these contributions which the authors may well revise and submit to the consultation in due course. We also urge you to submit your own responses to the Party – whether as individuals or through your branches, CLPs, unions, SERA or other environmental groups. The deadline is 24th June.
Q: What action should be taken to address poor air quality?
Labour’s 2017 election manifesto pledged to introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with today’s plummeting air quality in particular in the big cities, writes Alan Thornett. Such an Act, however, needs to be radical if it is to be effective in getting large numbers of cars off the road.
Continue reading “Free public transport”
Photo: Barta 1V
The mass extinction of species, currently taking place before our eyes, is arguably the most damaging aspect of the whole global environmental crisis, writes Alan Thornett. The Earth is losing species 1000 times faster than the normal background rate, resulting in what is known as the ‘sixth extinction’ the greatest extinction of species since the demise of the dinosaurs.
Continue reading “The extinction of species”