Opinion | Your Kids Could Save Our Warming World – By Gracy Olmstead – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Olmstead is a writer.

CreditCreditJames Porter/Stone, via Getty Images Plus

“Many would-be parents in the millennial generation worry that bringing a child into this world might, in its effects, serve as a choice for more consumption, waste and damage to the planet. Others wonder whether the children conceived now might face a fate somehow worse than nonexistence in future years — a fate involving planetary apocalypse or catastrophe — and they don’t want to bring children into that future.

These fears have developed into an argument that suggests it is morally irresponsible to have kids (or at least to have too many). Indeed, at the Democratic presidential candidates’ climate change town hall, Bernie Sanders was asked about “the need to curb population growth,” suggesting that dissuading mothers around the world from having more children is a necessity for dealing with climate change.

I understand that, since the humans we bring into this world will also consume resources, there can be some fear among millennials that having children will make the problem of climate change worse. Still, I have made the choice to procreate — I have two daughters — even though I am concerned about climate change. And it’s important to argue for children and their parents and for the essential role they can both play in this urgent work of planetwide stewardship going forward.

The act of creation is opposed to the act of consumption: The latter suggests that everything exists to serve our needs and appetites, but the other reminds us of the value and goodness inherent in things themselves, and how creation encourages stewardship and responsibility.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
Thank you Gracy Olmstead for a lovely piece of writing and set of points. I too became a better person because of my children, and the challenge of parenting. The commenters are pretty critical, and I understand their frustration. I find your points well written and thought out, but the overall presentation leaves out that with 7.6 billion people on the planet and increasing rates of species extinction, so severe that the topic is now refered to as the Sixth Extinction, that you do not seem willing to admit that there needs to be severe limits to human procreation. Maternity is a wonderful event, but each woman should have the right to chose whether to or not to procreate, and to prevent unwanted births to make for a healthier family, community, and environment.

Under Brazil’s Far Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall – The New York Times

By Letícia Casado and 

“BRASÍLIA — The destruction of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.

Protecting the Amazon was at the heart of Brazil’s environmental policy for much of the past two decades. At one point, Brazil’s success in slowing the deforestation rate made it an international example of conservation and the effort to fight climate change.

But with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, a populist who has been fined personally for violating environmental regulations, Brazil has changed course substantially, retreating from the efforts it once made to slow global warming by preserving the world’s largest rain forest.

While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.

Seven months into his term, that is already happening.

Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.

In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment
This is a depressing but important story, thank you Casado and Londono. The United States should be organizing NATO to pressure Brazil, and if necessary, invade Brazil, and conduct regime change, to protect the Amazon rain forest, since most scientist are in agreement, that we can not survive without it. Since Trump won’t be interested, what is a concerned citizen of the world and environmentalist to do. We can start with a boycott of all things Brazilian, by willing countries, and in the US, by willing citizens. I’ve never liked boycotts, because they are slow and clumsy, and I do no know how to go about it with Brazil. But a boyocott of everything Brazillian, and especially their beef and soy bean producst, would be better than silence and despair.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” (of 18th centuryVietnam) and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Asylum Seekers Face New Restraints Under Latest Trump Orders – By Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the Mexican border — including application fees and work permit restraints — and directed that cases in the already clogged immigration courts be settled within 180 days.

In a memo sent to Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, and Attorney General William P. Barr, the president took another step to reshape asylum law, which is determined by Congress, from the White House.

The restrictions do not take effect immediately. Mr. Trump gave administration officials 90 days to draw up regulations that would carry out his orders. They would be among the first significant changes to asylum policy since Mr. McAleenan replaced Kirstjen Nielsen as head of homeland security and the president signaled he would take a tougher stance on the asylum seekers swamping the border.

The administration has already tried to restrict the number of migrants who can apply for asylum per day, who qualifies for asylum and where they must wait for a resolution — immigration policies that have been the subject of multiple federal court cases.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
This asylum deluge of illegal immigrants is a mess, and it will not be easy to get right. Some on the left and humanists are right that we should try to take care of these poor people as humanely as possible, with food, shelter and basic care. But some on the right and environmentalists are right that we have to get control of our borders, and that we can not take in all the asylum seeking refugees in the world that would like to come here. I reference Thomas Friedman’s thoughtful pieces, where he says that the people in the countries of chaos are going to try to get into the countries of order. So we need a giant effort to address root causes. We should consider legalizing all addictive drugs, to cut down the markets that support the cartels, and we should consider helping Honduras close its northern border, so the giant refugee camps of the future are in Honduras, and not in the United States. Through family planning or war or neglect, we need to reduce the population numbers. The tragedy is that there are multiple problems, over population, illegal drug money, climate change related droughts and blights, disintegrating societies. I fear and tremble that we are not up to the task of dealing effectively with all these inter-related problems. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs a folk concert of songs and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

In a Poor Kenyan Community Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

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By Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel
April 7, 2019,  11


NAIROBI, Kenya — Four days after her toddler’s health took a turn for the worse, his tiny body wracked by fever, diarrhea and vomiting, Sharon Mbone decided it was time to try yet another medicine.

With no money to see a doctor, she carried him to the local pharmacy stall, a corrugated shack near her home in Kibera, a sprawling impoverished community here in Nairobi. The shop’s owner, John Otieno, listened as she described her 22-month-old son’s symptoms and rattled off the pharmacological buffet of medicines he had dispensed to her over the previous two weeks. None of them, including four types of antibiotics, were working, she said in despair.

Like most of the small shopkeepers who provide on-the-spot diagnosis and treatment here and across Africa and Asia, Mr. Otieno does not have a pharmacist’s degree or any medical training at all. Still, he confidently reached for two antibiotics that he had yet to sell to Ms. Mbone.

“See if these work,” he said as she handed him 1,500 shillings for both, about $15.

via In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Thank you Andrew Jacobs and Matt Richtel for a disturbing look at drug abuse. There is a temptation to give in to despair. One can take comfort from the fact that our descendents probably will not die from climate change and rapid species extinction, since long before we get to that gloomy future, we will all die from the super bugs we are carelessly creating. The saddest part is that we probably could fix these problems with a Marshall plan for family planning and basic medical and educational services. The superbugs are here, and more are coming. One could look at this looming disaster as a solution, rather than a problem. The biosphere is fighting back to save the world’s species from human over population. If humans don’t come to their senses, we will die off like an algae bloom in a lake, that kills itself by a dumb overpopulaiton that takes away all the oxygen. x David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs folk music and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

 

Is There Hope for These Great Apes? – By James Gorman – The New York Times

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By James Gorman
Nov. 19, 2018,    5
Last Thursday there was a bit of good news relating to the impending extinction and destruction of everything.

The mountain gorilla, a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla, was upgraded from critically endangered to endangered. There still are only about 1,000 of them, up from a low point of a few hundred, so it’s not like they were declared vulnerable (better than endangered), or just fine (not a real category). And the Eastern gorilla as a species overall is still critically endangered.

But the mountain gorillas are in fact doing better, according to the announcement from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It bases its decisions on information gathered from scientists and conservation experts.

The gorillas’ population has been increasing for about 30 years. And it has taken a tremendous amount of struggle and work to get this far.

That raises a question: If things have improved so much for an animal in such a dire situation as the mountain gorilla, should we then give in to hope?

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I know this isn’t the accepted way of speaking about the planet and its creatures. In public discourse, hope is the one thing you should never give up. But in our minds (well, in my mind, anyway, and I can’t be the only one), the reasoning behind that often expressed sentiment is not so clear.

What if a rational look at the facts points in the other direction? What if, for instance, the planet were getting warmer every year, and there was a lack of political will to try to stop the trend? What if we were in the middle of a mass extinction caused by humans?

Imagine, just for a moment, that the planet had 7.7 billion people, who had already used up a lot of the space for bears and wolves and lions and — oh, I don’t know — gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Suppose that all of the great apes were either endangered or critically endangered.”

David Lindsay:  Yes, and thank you. Here is a comment I fully support:

GaryK
Near NYC

There may be hope, but it will be short lived. The 800 lb gorilla in the room isn’t being addressed, and that is the ever growing world population of human beings. At some point, leaders of nations and prominent scientists need to have a joint session to discuss about the necessity of slowing the population boom of human beings. Just because we perceive success with the present growth rate doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. The real major problem here is that we CANNOT be reactive to this problem. If we do, it’ll be too late… and then we’ll have an overpopulated planet that has to enforce what China did not so long ago–a 1 child limit. Or… the environmental collapse will force this, along with the culling of people due to mass starvation and disease. This is no way to perpetuate life on Earth.

via Is There Hope for These Great Apes? – The New York Times

Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown

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The gravity of the world’s current extinction rate becomes clearer upon knowing what it was before people came along. A new estimate finds that species die off as much as 1,000 times more frequently nowadays than they used to. That’s 10 times worse than the old estimate of 100 times.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It’s hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse.

Extinctions are about 1,000 times more frequent now than in the 60 million years before people came along. The explanation from lead author Jurriaan de Vos, a Brown University postdoctoral researcher, senior author Stuart Pimm, a Duke University professor, and their team appears online in the journal Conservation Biology.

“This reinforces the urgency to conserve what is left and to try to reduce our impacts,” said de Vos, who began the work while at the University of Zurich. “It was very, very different before humans entered the scene.”

In absolute, albeit rough, terms the paper calculates a “normal background rate” of extinction of 0.1 extinctions per million species per year. That revises the figure of 1 extinction per million species per year that Pimm estimated in prior work in the 1990s. By contrast, the current extinction rate is more on the order of 100 extinctions per million species per year.

Orders of magnitude, rather than precise numbers are about the best any method can do for a global extinction rate, de Vos said. “That’s just being honest about the uncertainty there is in these type of analyses.”

Jurriaan de Vos
“This reinforces the urgency to conserve what is left and to try to reduce our impacts. It was very, very different before humans entered the scene.”  Photo: David Orenstein/Brown University

via Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown

Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown

Quote

The gravity of the world’s current extinction rate becomes clearer upon knowing what it was before people came along. A new estimate finds that species die off as much as 1,000 times more frequently nowadays than they used to. That’s 10 times worse than the old estimate of 100 times.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It’s hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was 10 times lower than scientists had thought, which means that the current level is 10 times worse.

Extinctions are about 1,000 times more frequent now than in the 60 million years before people came along. The explanation from lead author Jurriaan de Vos, a Brown University postdoctoral researcher, senior author Stuart Pimm, a Duke University professor, and their team appears online in the journal Conservation Biology.

via Extinctions during human era worse than thought | News from Brown

Opinion | One Billion Dollars for the Planet – By Hansjörg Wyss – NYT

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By Hansjörg Wyss
Mr. Wyss is a philanthropist and conservationist.

Oct. 31, 2018    152 comments

Tourists watching the Perito Moreno Glacier, at Los Glaciares National Park, near El Calafate in the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, last March.CreditCreditWalter Diaz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
WILSON, Wyo. — Plant and animal species are estimated to be disappearing at a rate 1,000 times faster than they were before humans arrived on the scene. Climate change is upending natural systems across the planet. Forests, fisheries and drinking water supplies are imperiled as extractive industries chew further into the wild.

But there is another, encouraging side to this depressing story: how a simple idea, born in the United States in the 19th century and now racing around the globe, may yet preserve a substantial portion of our planet in a natural state.

It is the idea that wild lands and waters are best conserved not in private hands, locked behind gates, but as public national parks, wildlife refuges and marine reserves, forever open for everyone to experience and explore. The notion of holding these places in public trust was one I became deeply influenced by as a young man, when I first climbed and hiked on public lands in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

via Opinion | One Billion Dollars for the Planet – The New York Times

Opinion | We Need to Offer More Than Asylum – by Roberto Suro – NYT

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Enforcement alone won’t stop them, certainly not enforcement consistent with our laws. So the root causes must be addressed. In the meantime, the families will keep coming. As we’re seeing yet again, our asylum system is dysfunctional. What we need is a new visa program designed for the number and characteristics of the people arriving at the American border.

Getting to a solution starts with acknowledging that the absolute best outcome for them — and for us — is for them not to be forced out of their homes in the first place.

Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget seeks $26 billion for immigration enforcement and detention, plus $18 billion more for the border wall. That’s almost the combined gross domestic product of El Salvador and Honduras ($48 billion). A fraction of the enforcement budget well spent on economic development would reduce migration pressure. It would be a better use of taxpayer dollars than trying to intercept people in flight at a militarized border and then criminalizing them.

Aside from the utility, it is the right thing to do. American interventions, political, military and economic, helped create the conditions prompting many migrations, including this one.

Solving this problem, so close to home, is in our national interest. But even if we made an all-out effort to address the ills forcing people to emigrate from the Northern Triangle, we would need to manage the flow for years to come. We do not have the means to do that now.

The first problem is that our criteria for humanitarian admissions were conceived more than 60 years ago and no longer match reality. The original 1951 United Nations convention on refugees envisioned people fleeing “a well-founded fear” of persecution. Easily recognized characteristics like religion, race or political beliefs determined eligibility, and governments were the usual culprits. The Cold War drew stark distinctions between the free and the oppressed.

Today, criminal gangs, armed insurgents and other nonstate actors routinely wreak havoc. Whether their victims get protection depends on individual governments and the policies of the moment.

. . . .

Uncontrolled violence combines with environmental degradation and economic collapse to produce what Alexander Betts, a professor at Oxford, has termed “survival migration.” The term, he writes, describes “people who have left their country of origin because of an existential threat for which they have no domestic remedy.”

The 1951 standards can be stretched to cover those who flee under such conditions. However, Mr. Sessions and European restrictionists deploy the letter of the law, no matter how outdated, as grounds for rejection. And at the same time, they abrogate the migrants’ right, enshrined in those same international agreements, to seek protection even if it means violating immigration rules.

via Opinion | We Need to Offer More Than Asylum – The New York Times

Helping the Rohingya – The New York Times

By Tiffany May
Sept. 29, 2017

Here are some of the organizations responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis. Some are trying to gain access to restricted areas of the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar, where many ethnic Rohingya Muslims remain. Most of the aid has been focused on camps in Bangladesh where hundreds of thousands have fled over the past month.

More information can be found through services that track and rate charity groups, including GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

BRAC, a group founded in Bangladesh, was ranked the No. 1 nongovernmental organization in the world by NGO Advisor. Of the 1,300 staff members directly serving the refugee population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, many are locals who speak a dialect similar to that of the Rohingya in Rakhine State. BRAC has also trained 800 Rohingya refugees as volunteers. The group is now focused on health, education and the protection of women and girls.

IOM, the United Nation’s migration agency, manages camps and shelters in Cox’s Bazar. In addition to providing healthcare and sanitation, the group is scaling up programs to protect girls, women and others vulnerable to trafficking. IOM employs Rohingya refugees on a casual basis, and most of the 500 employees in Cox’s Bazar are Bangladeshi.

via Helping the Rohingya – The New York Times

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