Opinion | Captain Chain Saw’s Delusion – By Chris Feliciano Arnold – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Arnold is the author of “The Third Bank of the River: Power and Survival in the Twenty-First-Century Amazon.”

This article is part of the Opinion series The Amazon Has Seen Our Future, about how the people of the region are living through the most extreme versions of our planet’s problems.

“Amid political strife and smoke visible from space, the future of the Amazon has rarely been so hazy. Environmentalists see a vanishing rainforest of global consequence. Indigenous leaders see an ancestral home still being exploited by settlers after 500 years of genocidal violence. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, sees valuable acreage wasted by “cave men” and Marxists.

Sixty percent of the world’s largest tropical forest lies within Brazil’s borders, and since 2006 I’ve traveled thousands of miles in the Amazon, witnessing how the river and its people have experienced a century’s worth of ecological and cultural change in a generation. For a few weeks last year, record-setting fires in the region focused the world’s attention with an intensity reminiscent of the Save the Rainforest campaigns of the 1980s, but this year, the land is burning during a pandemic that has interrupted travel, stymied environmental protection efforts, and emboldened miners, loggers and ranchers to encroach on Indigenous land with impunity.”

Opinion | Amazon 4.0. How to Reinvent the Rainforest – By Bruno Carvalho and Carlos Nobre -The New York Times

By Bruno Carvalho and 

Bruno Carvalho is a scholar of urbanization. Carlos Nobre is a climate scientist.

This article is part of the Opinion series The Amazon Has Seen Our Future, about how the people of the region are living through the most extreme versions of our planet’s problems.

Rainforests are unique ecosystems of immense complexity that nurture an incredible diversity of plants, animals and micro-organisms. Bulldozers and chain saws don’t care about that.

Some people think of rainforests as faraway places that have little to do with their day-to-day existence. But millions of people live in cities and settlements throughout the Amazon. Many endure precarious conditions and become sources of cheap labor. The forest is sometimes destroyed in their name, with the justification that it develops and improves the economy. In Brazil, deforestation rates are breaking records. And if we continue to destroy the forest, we can expect dire consequences — not just for the region, but for the planet.

Over the past 50 years, human intervention has been increasingly disrupting the ecological balance of the Amazon. Climate change has led to an increase in temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius across the basin, and to more frequent severe droughts. The droughts of 2005, 2010 and 2015-16 were among the worst in more than 100 years. Since 1980, there’s been an increase in the duration of dry seasons by three to four weeks in the more degraded areas of the Amazon.

These 3 supertrees can protect us from climate collapse But can we protect them? – Vox.com

By Eliza BarclayUmair Irfan, and Tristan McConnell
Photographs by Victor Moriyama, Ardiles Rante, and Sarah Waiswa

We traveled to protected areas deep inside these countries to learn the superpowers of three tree species that play an unusually important part in staving off environmental disaster, not just locally, but globally. These trees play many ecological roles, but most impressive is how they produce rainfall, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and support hundreds of other species.

If these ecosystems collapse, the climate effects are likely to be irreversible. And so what happens to these forests truly affects all life on Earth.

This is the story of three trees at the center of our climate crisis that provide big benefits to you, me, and the world. Meet the trees, get to know their superpowers, and learn how scientists are trying to protect them.

This project was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Meet the Amazon’sRAINMAKER

https://www.vox.com/a/supertrees?emci=402d9d87-b61d-ea11-a601-2818784d6d68&emdi=a18960b5-4e22-ea11-a601-2818784d6d68&ceid=1543337

As Amazon Fires Become Global Crisis, Brazil’s President Reverses Course – The New York Times

By Ernesto LondoñoManuela Andreoni and 

“RIO DE JANEIRO — As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilizing the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade.

The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rain forest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media.

As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering after a brutal recession and the country’s far-right populist president faced a withering reckoning.

On Friday, he said that he was planning to send the military to enforce environmental laws and to help contain the fires starting Saturday.”

Lawmakers- Lobbyists and the Administration Join Forces to Overhaul the Endangered Species Act – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Endangered Species Act, which for 45 years has safeguarded fragile wildlife while blocking ranching, logging and oil drilling on protected habitats, is coming under attack from lawmakers, the White House and industry on a scale not seen in decades, driven partly by fears that the Republicans will lose ground in November’s midterm elections.

In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken the law have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Trump administration.

The actions included a bill to strip protections from the gray wolf in Wyoming and along the western Great Lakes; a plan to keep the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that inhabits millions of oil-rich acres in the West, from being listed as endangered for the next decade; and a measure to remove from the endangered list the American burying beetle, an orange-flecked insect that has long been the bane of oil companies that would like to drill on the land where it lives.

“It’s probably the best chance that we have had in 25 years to actually make any substantial changes,” said Richard Pombo, a former congressman from California who more than a decade ago led an attempt to rethink the act and is now a lobbyist whose clients include mining and water management companies.”

 

David Lindsay:
Ouch. It all sounds so good, but it is rotten. Here is a comment I strongly endorse:
et.al.nyc
great neck new york5h ago
Times Pick
This “anti-science” Republican administration does not understand how species are inter-related. If one species is being polluted to extinction, it follows this will also affect humans, especially infants and children. We may choose to compensate landowners and industries, but there is no way to compensate a child sickened by changes to our ecosystem. These species are simply the “canaries in the coal mine”.

Reply446 Recommended

Orcas of the Pacific Northwest Are Starving and Disappearing – The New York Times

By Jim Robbins
July 9, 2018
“SEATTLE — For the last three years, not one calf has been born to the dwindling pods of black-and-white killer whales spouting geysers of mist off the coast in the Pacific Northwest.

Normally four or five calves would be born each year among this fairly unique urban population of whales — pods named J, K and L. But most recently, the number of orcas here has dwindled to just 75, a 30-year-low in what seems to be an inexorable, perplexing decline.

Listed as endangered since 2005, the orcas are essentially starving, as their primary prey, the Chinook, or king salmon, are dying off. Just last month, another one of the Southern Resident killer whales — one nicknamed “Crewser” that hadn’t been seen since last November — was presumed dead by the Center for Whale Research.”

Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway- Scientists Warn – The New York Times

“From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a “global epidemic” and part of the “ongoing sixth mass extinction” caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena.

Gerardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City, acknowledged that the study is written in unusually alarming tones for an academic research paper. “It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” he said.

Dr. Ceballos emphasized that he and his co-authors, Paul R. Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo, both professors at Stanford University, are not alarmists, but are using scientific data to back up their assertions that significant population decline and possible mass extinction of species all over the world may be imminent, and that both have been underestimated by many other scientists.”

Are Your Sperm in Trouble? – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“Let’s begin with sex.As a couple finishes its business, millions of sperm begin theirs: rushing toward an egg to fertilize it. But these days, scientists say, an increasing proportion of sperm — now about 90 percent in a typical young man — are misshapen, sometimes with two heads or two tails.

Even when properly shaped, today’s sperm are often pathetic swimmers, veering like drunks or paddling crazily in circles. Sperm counts also appear to have dropped sharply in the last 75 years, in ways that affect our ability to reproduce.

“There’s been a decrease not only in sperm numbers, but also in their quality and swimming capacity, their ability to deliver the goods,” said Shanna Swan, an epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who notes that researchers have also linked semen problems to shorter life expectancy.”

“Human and animal studies suggest that a crucial culprit is a common class of chemical called endocrine disruptors, found in plastics, cosmetics, couches, pesticides and countless other products. Because of the environmental links, The New Yorker once elegantly referred to the crisis as “silent sperm,” and innumerable studies over 25 years add to the concern that the world’s sperm are in trouble.”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Very troubling. Thank you Nicholas Kristof.
As an environmentalist, deeply concerned with overpopulation, climate change and the sixth extinction, this new information adds fuel to the fire. I recommend Dan Brown’s new novel, “Inferno,” for a fun introduction into the serious issues of overpopulation. Edward O Wilson, the Harvard entomologist, has written that in the next 80 years we will likely lose 80% of the world’s species. I wonder why this isn’t front page news everyday.

Maybe chemically caused sick male sperm is the magic disease the earth needs, to save the world, and its thousands of species, from the Anthropocene. To drag the sick comedy further, perhaps we should support more endocrine disrupting chemicals, since as the crazed scientist in “Inferno” argues effectively, we have to get rid of about 4 billion humans, if we want to save life on this planet as we have know it. Real scientists are saying similar things.

Australia’s Death by Numbers – by Roger Cohen – The New York Times

“……………..The next day, Faisal Ishak Ahmed was pronounced dead in Brisbane. Earlier this year Omid Masoumali, an Iranian held on Nauru, burned himself to death. Other deaths include Reza Barati, an Iranian Kurd, killed in the Manus detention center in 2014. Australia has blood on its hands. This is where numbering human beings ends.

But, Australia insists, it has “stopped the boats” and the nameless “boat people” in them.

I recently finished Viet Thanh Nguyen’s fine novel “The Sympathizer.” In its last pages, as his hero flees from Vietnam, Nguyen writes: “Now that we are to be counted among these boat people, their name disturbs us. It smacks of anthropological condescension, evoking some forgotten branch of the human family, some lost tribe of amphibians emerging from ocean mist, crowned with seaweed. But we are not primitives, and we are not to be pitied.””

 

The problem, is that there will possibly be in the next 100 years or less, a billion climate change refugees,assuming just a two meter rise in sea level.
What I think we need, is to offer care to refugees, preferably in their own counties, in exchange for vasectomization or monitored, one child per couple family planning, followed by vasectomization. As ugly as it sounds, the rest of the world will also need a one or two children per couple policy as well, essentially now, to get our numbers down to a sustainable level with regards to reducing CO2 emissions and species extinctions. Or not. As in history, we can let civil war, ethnic cleansing and plagues do the dirty work, we do not have the stomach for, but reduce our numbers, we will.

Here is a comment, most recommended, that I approve:
Al Ketchum December 30, 2016

“The real problem the nyts and mr Cohen have with Australia’s immigration policies is that they work. Australia,unlike many western countries, is going to control its borders and who comes in. The vast majority of the migrants are passing thru several safe nations to get to western countries because of social welfare and economic factors. Australia has rightly concluded that they do not want to be the pressure relief valve for the tidal wave of people who are looking for better economic situations. Africa alone, now produces a minimum net gain of at least 30 million extra people a year. The continent cannot support anywhere near its present population. Should the west be required to take all these people in? When will it end? When the rest of the world has sunk to a level of poverty, hopelessness and despair that typifies these incredibly over populated counties? We must help these people solve their problems at home. It’s starts with birth control, a rejection of tribalism and the ignorance of fundamental religion and realizing that the west will not, and cannot take all of them in. Anything else just dooms the west to the same conditions that have made the Home Countries of the migrants so unlivable.”

268 Recommended

America’s Gray Ghosts: The Disappearing Caribou – The New York Times

“BONNERS FERRY, Idaho — The only caribou left in the contiguous United States are here in northern Idaho where they number about a dozen and live deep in the forests of the jagged Selkirk Mountains, near the Canadian border. Because they are so rarely seen, the caribou — America’s version of reindeer — are known as gray ghosts.They may very soon become real ghosts: These animals are among the most endangered species in the lower 48 states.

“Right now, predation is the biggest problem, primarily wolves and cougars,” said Norm Merz, a wildlife biologist with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, which has contracted with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to create a plan to revive the population. Not that long ago, hundreds of the animals lived in the United States.

Source: America’s Gray Ghosts: The Disappearing Caribou – The New York Times