Saturday, May 22, 2010

UN - Biodiversity Loss Worse Than Global Warming

One of the most dangerous aspects of the 21st century, one we may pay dearly for, is our stubborn dependence on 19th century politics and economics. This isn't your great, great grandfather's world, so why would you choose to sail the 21st century's stormy seas in his leaky old boat?

We've got a whole mess of things to fix up if we're going to see mankind through into the 22nd century in some viable form. There's the obvious one, global warming, and the spinoff impacts we collectively call "climate change." Then there's overpopulation; desertification from soil exhaustion; air, water and land contamination; resource depletion; species extinction; disease and species migration; deforestation; protracted drought, floods and severe storm events, on and on and on. That's some pressure cooker of grief that we're going to have to sort out and, as we've seen from the Kyoto experience, our existing political and economic structures can't cope with it.

As these problems pile up on our doorstep, we're either going to have to shut down - batten the hatches and await what's coming - or we'll have to change.

The United Nations will release a major report on biodiversity this summer calling for just that - radical change. From The Guardian:

"The Stern Report on climate change, which was prepared for the UK Treasury and published in 2007, famously claimed that the cost of limiting climate change would be around 1%-2% of annual global wealth, but the longer-term economic benefits would be 5-20 times that figure.

The UN's
biodiversity report – dubbed the Stern for Nature – is expected to say that the value of saving "natural goods and services", such as pollination, medicines, fertile soils, clean air and water, will be even higher – between 10 and 100 times the cost of saving the habitats and species which provide them.

...The UN report's authors go further with their warning on biodiversity, by saying if the goods and services provided by the natural world are not valued and factored into the global economic system, the environment will become more fragile and less resilient to shocks, risking human lives, livelihoods and the global economy.

"We need a sea-change in human thinking and attitudes towards nature: not as something to be vanquished, conquered, but rather something to be cherished and lived within," said the report's author, the economist Pavan Sukhdev.

The changes will involve a wholesale revolution in the way humans do business, consume, and think about their lives, Sukhdev, told The Guardian. He referred to the damage currently being inflicted on the natural world as "a landscape of market failures".

...The report follows a series of recent studies showing that the world is in the grip of a mass extinction event as pollution, climate change, development and hunting destroys habitats of all types, from rainforests and wetlands to coastal mangroves and open heathland. However, only two of the world's 100 biggest companies believe reducing biodiversity is a strategic threat to their business, according to another report released tomorrow by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is advising the team compiling the UN report.

"Sometimes people describe Earth's economy as a spaceship economy because we are basically isolated, we do have limits to how much we can extract, and why and where," said Sukhdev..."

The fatal limitations in our traditional but obsolete economic and political structures is evident in how the world community has struggled with global warming. There is no sustaining community of interest on which to found effective action. Instead, we're divided into camps that are eerily Dickensian. That we're stuck on global warming as an isolated problem, rather than as an integral component in a much broader environmental threat, reveals the inadequacy of our atrophied institutions and those who lead them without ever looking ahead.

For Canada, it is beyond idiocy to assume that our country will coast through the 21st century on the tarry wealth of Athabasca. That sort of thinking reflects a political and social complacency that, if anything, will ensure that our country, our people, are overtaken by events possibly in a manner akin to being run over by a bus.


Okie said...

Something interrelated, have you seen the documentary called Food Inc.?

It's about 90 minutes long and talks a great deal about Monsanto and GMO. Their tactics too. People who scoff at those who hold out Orwell's 1984 should have a look at this movie. Monsanto's special investigator and surveillance teams might give them cause to rethink their positions.

The movie touches a lot of subjects including things like global warming, use of illegal workers, the new strain of e coli that is rampant in US meat processing and extraordinary growth of type 2 diabetes in the US. I was commenting recently on how many people we know that suffer from diabetes now in comparison to 30 years ago.

Heres a youtube link to pt 1 of 10. The movie can also be found complete elsewhere on the net.

This one is related;

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the link Okie. I'll check it out. I have read a fair bit about Monsanto and its GM mafia tactics.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Okie, me again. All 10 parts are now on youtube. When I began watching it I realized I'd seen the entire documentary on TV, I think it was PBS. And, yes, it is a must watch.


Okie said...

A must watch for sure. They cover a lot of ground and sooo many people have no idea what goes on.

I read some figures on the number of food poisoning cases annually in the US, and I had to look twice to be sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. They are getting old like me, so I often double check these days. heh..

Too bad that the veil of secrecy referred to in the movie is being so effective. So much of what they do is by stealth like that trade deal with Europe the CPC wants to slide through. I wrote to my local MP (Con) about that and bill C 474 which is an NDP private members bill related to this, and the answer I got was that the government was siding with science. There's a giggle for you.

Which leads me to the bees, and something closer to the gist of your post.

The science I have read says things like this;

"The genetic modification of the plant leads to the concurrent genetic modification of the flower pollen. When the flower pollen becomes genetically modified or sterile, the bees will potentially go malnourished and die of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process. "

This is apparently where we are presently headed;

"“leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialization of “Terminator” crop varieties. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds, which farmers cannot replant, also to mention that the bees that are trying to collect pollen, found to have their digestive tract diseases, such as amoeba and nosema disease”12. These diseases are mainly located in the digestive tract system. After studies of the autopsy, the most alarming trait is that the lower intestine and stinger have discolored to black vs. the normal opaque color, Synominus with colon cancer in humans."

If we lose the bees, we are euchered. Some science.

Anonymous said...

Watched the movie and saw a discussion regarding this movie overseas. The discussion that followed was much more lively than could possibly happen here as Monsanto would sue your pants off and what's in them if that kind of open discussion condeming Monsanto had happened here. It only goes to show, man thinks he is above reproach and can do just as he pleases. Anyong