UN Report warns of catastrophic biodiversity crisis.

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.

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GMO potatoes: The risks to health

Dr Caius Rommens developed GMO potatoes, but subsequently renounced his work. He explains why we should be wary of the products he created

Dr Caius Rommens developed GMO potatoes for the Idaho-based agbiotech company Simplot. The chief genetic modification he introduced was to silence the potatoes’ melanin (PPO) gene. This gene, when operative, causes potatoes to discolour when bruised. The GMO potatoes do not discolour when bruised. They have therefore been marketed as bruise-resistant and are being sold without GMO labels in the US under innocuous-sounding names like Innate, Hibernate, and White Russet. They’ve also been approved in Canada but are not yet being sold there, according to research by CBAN.

After finding that “most GMO varieties were stunted, chlorotic, mutated, or sterile, and many of them died quickly, like prematurely-born babies”, Dr Rommens renounced his genetic engineering career and wrote a book about his experiences, Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs, which is available from Amazon.

In an interview with GMWatch, Dr Rommens discussed the risks to health posed by the GMO potatoes he created.

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WWW report: wildlife in freefall

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.

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Three high impact policies to protect and improve our natural environment

Photo: Konstandin Minga

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.

There are vast numbers of environmental policies that it would be good to see a future Labour government pledged to adopt, but if our manifesto is to inspire people to vote for us we need to persuade people that we can really make a difference. To do this I think that our manifesto needs to focus on a few key policy pledges, with maximum potential to make a difference. These pledges also need to be specific and clearly deliverable.

In the area of bio-diversity and the natural environment I would like to suggest 3 policy pledges that I think would fit this bill. Continue reading “Three high impact policies to protect and improve our natural environment”

The extinction of species

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.

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