Tag Archives: ecology

Micronesia Climate Change Alliance seeking 9 weavers for fellowship for a year | Guam News | Instant News


The Micronesia Climate Change Alliance is seeking nine weavers from the US-affiliated Pacific islands to help find ways to reduce costs and pollution.

Members will come from Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae, Hawaii, American Samoa, and the Marshall Islands. The group will receive a monthly salary for their involvement in online meetings and training throughout the year, according to a press release.

“This is a unique one-year opportunity for the 9 US-affiliated communities of weavers from across the Pacific islands to learn more about the Just Transition, build networks, develop skills and link climate justice efforts across our waters,” said the release.

MCCA is a member of the Climate Justice Alliance national network, which aims to enhance the efforts of front-line grassroots organizations by creating a regional community, Our Power Communities.

The goal of the OPC is to create real-world examples of how communities can put people to work changing their locality, while reducing costs and pollution burdens for present and future generations, said the release. It brings people together within the framework of a “Just Transition” which gives life to strategies for building a more regenerative way of life.

Among his duties and responsibilities are attending monthly meetings; help develop a narrative strategy process and build consensus on an environmental justice story for Pacific islands; organizing projects focused on capacity building; and creating educational resources for Pacific islands.

Applications are due on 21 December. Selected applicants will be interviewed in mid-January and short-listed applicants will start their positions on February 4, 2021, for a one-year scholarship.

Who should apply: People who have been employed by or are active members of organizations working for cultural preservation, climate justice, equality, indigenous sovereignty, food sovereignty, energy democracy, native media creation, environmental conservation, and youth work. Preference will be given to applicants with existing campaigns or projects.

Qualifications required:

• Current residents of one of the islands listed

• Reliable access to technology at least twice a month

• High school graduate

• Strong English skills

• PayPal or Bank of Guam account

• Must be employed by or an active member of an established grassroots organization.

Preferred but not required qualifications:

• Experience in community organizing

• Bilingual or multilingual

• Strong interest in climate change or equity issues

• Storytelling skills

• Cultural and environmental knowledge of their island home

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From disease to wildfires, Australia’s iconic koala faces a bleak future | Wider Image | Instant News


At work, Morgan Philpott (pictured below) looks after sick children. During her recess hours, the Australian pediatrician turns her attention to an equally defenseless group: the unhealthy koalas.

. Kurrajong, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Philpott collects leaves to give to koalas in rehabilitation.

“They are really at risk of extinction in our lifetime,” Philpott said of the New South Wales koala population at a veterinary hospital on the outskirts of Sydney while helping vets treat rescued koalas infected with the bacterial chlamydia disease.

. Sydney, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

A sick koala named Wally, rescued by WIRES, is being treated at the University of Sydney Animal Education Hospital.

Widespread infection among koalas, raging forest fires, drought, deforestation and encroachment of urban habitats are some of the many destructive forces that continue to threaten their survival. This power, a government report warned in June, could make Australia’s symbolic animal extinct in New South Wales – the country’s most populous state – by 2050.

“If the areas that did not burn last year burnt this year, it will be catastrophic,” said Philpott, who joins the country’s largest animal rescue agency, Information Services, Rescue and Wildlife Education, or WIRES, at his urging. her daughter.

“Future fires could mean the end of them.”

. Jenolan, AUSTRALIA. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Burnt tree bark is seen in forested areas, in habitat for koalas damaged in forest fires, in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The country’s worst summer wildfires in a generation scorched more than 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), nearly half the size of Great Britain, pushing a tree-hugging gray marsupial into the center of national conversation and political issues. a warm one.

In New South Wales, at least 5,000 koalas died in fires that burned 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and 24% of koala habitat on public land, said a June government report.

As the summer comes, koalas face the threat of more wildfires, although forecasters expect months to be wetter and cooler than the previous year.

. Jenolan, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Research scientist Dr. Victoria Inman and Dr. Kellie Leigh, releasing the koalas named Pele and Joey back into their natural habitat, after a team from Science for Wildlife, caught them briefly to do Pele’s radio collar maintenance and assess him and Joey’s health.

A new state law seeks to limit farmers’ ability to clear land deemed important for koala habitat, sparking political clashes between urban conservationists and forest people who want to manage their own property.

“The rate of tree cutting and habitat loss is behind all the other factors threatening them in developing areas which includes domestic dog attacks and vehicle attacks,” said Kellie Leigh, head of Science for Wildlife, a non-profit conservation organization, before releasing mother koalas and joey. to a charred tree growing in a green ditch in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, about 200 km (124 miles) west of Sydney.

The release is part of his research, the Blue Mountains Koala Project, on koala recovery in areas ravaged by forest fires.

. Kurrajong Heights, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

The houses stand near the foothills of the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, an area where koalas are threatened by land clearing and urban expansion, visible from Kurrajong Heights.

Koala conservationists, who blame climate change for the majority of wildfires, are also focusing on cities as population growth in a metropolitan city like Sydney drives demand to clear forests and make way for homes. Traffic safety signs have appeared now on the outskirts of the developed city warning of the risk of koalas crossing the road.

. Wedderburn, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Tracey cares for koala twins Joey, who have been diagnosed with underweight, and their mother, Gladys, who was rescued from an area where urban development is disturbing koala habitat, in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.

“There needs to be a balance to ensure that these species survive,” said Tracey, a WIRES volunteer, who asked not to give her last name, as she fed mother and twins joeys eucalyptus leaves in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.

MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI PHOTO EDITING; WRITING BY BYRON KAYE; SHRI NAVARATNAM EDITING TEXT; JULIA DALRYMPLE LAYOUT

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Swine & U: Increase the sustainability of animal production by recycling food waste – Part I | News | Instant News


Crises often bring about change. For too long, food waste has been a major contributor to inefficient use of resources and our inability to achieve greater global food security and sustainability.

More than 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food are wasted every year worldwide, which represents about one-third of total food produced and is enough to feed more than one billion people.

The amount and type of food waste varies from country to country. Forty-four percent of global food waste occurs in least developed countries during the post-harvest and processing stages of the food supply chain. The remaining 56 percent of this loss (of which 40 percent occurred in the pre- and post-consumer stage) was attributed to developed countries in Europe, North America, Oceania, Japan, South Korea and China. As a result, the United Nations has considered reducing food waste a global priority and included it on its list of sustainability goals. In particular, the reduction of food waste has significant implications for several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including zero hunger; responsible consumption and production; Climate action; life under water; and life on land.

Crisis often accelerates existing trends and the Covid-19 pandemic changes the concept of sustainability. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in the food supply chain and caused major shifts in food access, food security and food loss due to changes in food flow and distribution patterns.

Food supply chains are complex and most operate in a “just in time” fashion where minor disruptions can have dramatic consequences. When employees are asked to stay at home, and all businesses except those deemed essential are closed, consumer demand for food shifts from food services (for example, restaurants, hotels, schools, and institutions) to retail grocery stores. Although a sufficient supply of food is available, the existing food distribution network cannot respond quickly to these changes, resulting in increased food waste.

For example, short-term disruption in eating habits during the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in Spain resulted in a 12 percent increase in food loss and waste. In addition, an increasing shortage of agricultural and food processing workers caused by illness or fear of illness is causing fruit and vegetable crops to be destroyed, along with the closure or reduction of the processing capacity of animal slaughter plants. Very limited access to ready-to-market livestock and poultry results in an unfortunate need for humane euthanasia and dumping of millions of animals that were originally destined to enter the food chain.

The economic loss from the Covid-19 disruption is estimated to be at least $ 13.6 billion (US dollars) for US cattle producers and $ 5 billion for US pork producers – with 30 percent less meat available to consumers with a projected 20 percent price increase.

In addition to these economic disadvantages, the lack of adequate provisioning capacity for marketable animal disposal necessitates the use of other, less desirable disposal methods which damage the environment and lead to inefficiencies in resource use (i.e., soil, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, labor) while increasing biosecurity risk.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers have proposed to rethink and redefine sustainability as the intersection of economy, environment, society and human health. In addition, a more holistic approach that includes climate, economy and nutrition is needed to increase the efficiency of the food supply chain by reducing food loss and improving the management of food supply chain waste affected by changes in consumption patterns caused by the pandemic.

In fact, the European Union has indicated plans to revise the Farm to Fork subsection of the Green Deal reforms. Now, more than ever, it is time for food sector researchers and experts to accelerate efforts to develop more sustainable and modern food systems by reducing the costs of food waste recovery and reuse in the food chain. However, a very important component of food loss that has not been considered in all of these proposals, which also has a dramatic effect on food security and sustainability, is mortality caused by outbreaks of animal disease.

The African swine fever epidemic in China caused an estimated loss of 220 to 300 million pigs originally destined for the food chain in 2019. This enormous number of pigs represents 25–35 percent of the world’s total swine population.

Due to a lack of infrastructure to manage the disposal of millions of pigs, the ability to recover nutrients from carcasses is impossible, and burial and disposal of carcasses in landfills are used at great environmental costs and biosecurity risks.

In addition, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian flu in many countries of the world have caused millions of chickens to lose their lives due to death and depopulation. Unfortunately, the likelihood of future disruptions in global food animal production caused by animal disease epidemics is increasing – due to increased global trade and travel, urbanization, exploitation of natural resources, and changes in land use.

The unprecedented loss of food due to disruptions in global food supply chains has created an urgent need to reevaluate the intertwining of resource recovery, environmental impact, and biosafety of multiple food waste streams and animal carcasses to achieve the greatest value. This is important because animal foods provide about one-third of total human protein consumption; but their production requires about 75 percent arable land and 35 percent of grain sources, while contributing about 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Reorganizing the restoration of nutrients from leftovers and animal carcasses, and recycling these valuable nutrients into animal feed, could provide great opportunities to use less fertile land and rely less on global grain supplies, while reducing the contribution of livestock to greenhouse gas emissions .

Although Japan and South Korea have been at the forefront of recycling food waste into animal feed, countries that produce much greater amounts of food waste (such as the United States and the European Union) have lagged far behind. Concerns about the risk of transmitting bacteria, prions, parasites and viruses are a major obstacle limiting the recycling of food waste streams containing animal-derived tissues into animal feed. This concern has led government regulations to limit this practice in the US and EU.

Adequate thermal processing is effective in deactivating all biological agents of concern – perhaps except for prions from infected ruminant tissue. The great opportunity for the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus resources from recycled food waste streams and animal byproducts into animal feed has not been fully appreciated.

Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize current knowledge about the benefits and limitations of recycling various pre-harvest to post-harvest animal food waste sources, as well as retail to post-consumer food waste sources, into animal feed. to achieve better food security and sustainability.

In Swine & U next month, we will further examine options to maximize resource recovery and the value of waste streams when addressing food waste disposal.

Dr. Jerry Shurson is Professor of swine nutrition at the University of Minnesota Department of Animal Science and can be reached at [email protected].

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Wildlife Suffer as Brazil’s Pantanal Wetlands Burn | Smart News | Instant News


The Pantanal – the world’s largest tropical wetland, spanning Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay – is home to indigenous peoples and a wide variety of wildlife including jaguars, tapirs and giant armadillos. But for months, the region caught fire.

Starting around the end of 2019 and intensifying in June and July this year, the fires have burned an estimated 8.1 million acres – 22 percent of the fertile and diverse region, reports Elizabeth Claire Alberts of Mongabay. To put that number in perspective, the unprecedented and destructive fires in California have burned less than half, at just under 4 million acres, reports Alex Wigglesworth for Los Angeles Times.

With more than 17,000 fires so far in Brazil’s Pantanal, this year has exceeded the record annual total for each year, which began in 1998, and has doubled the annual average, report Tatiana Pollastri and David Biller of Associated Press. Many of the fires were likely caused by farmers clearing land, reports Jill Langlois National geographic. Some of the flames were also the result of lightning strikes, igniting a dry landscape in the grip of the worst drought in nearly 50 years, reports Emiliano Rodriguez Mega for Natural.

The fires have destroyed the area’s wildlife. Natural to quote a 2019 study detailing more than 580 bird species, 271 fish species, 174 mammal species, 131 reptile species and 57 amphibian species known to inhabit the Pantanal.

“My lasting memories of being on the Pantanal are the hustle and bustle of life,” said Douglas Morton, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who uses remote sensing to study fires and deforestation in Brazil, said Natural. “To me, that is what is so heartbreaking about seeing the extent of the fire.”

As the vast expanse of the usually green floodplain landscape has turned to ash, some of the area’s animal inhabitants have been left roaming the scorched landscape in confusion and despair. Per National Geographical, volunteers have rescued hundreds of animals and distributed food and cached water across the Pantanal.

The team has evacuated jaguars, tapirs and other injured species to receive medical care and rehabilitation before they are expected to be released back into the wild, according to National Geographical. Aquatic reptiles such as caimans have also been heavily attacked as their aquatic habitat has dried up.

Scientists studying ecosystems fear that the fires are so severe that they could permanently change the Pantanal, according to Natural. Climate change is projected to make the region hotter and drier, making it more susceptible to fires and possibly no longer able to support the diversity of flora and fauna that put it on the map as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Natural to quote a 2015 study which projects an increase in temperature of up to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

Meanwhile, volunteers are still trying to save injured wildlife and provide food and water to those in need.

Carla Sássi, a veterinarian and firefighter with the non-profit Animal Disaster Rescue Group which is one of the groups working in the Pantanal, said National geographic, “In my life, I never thought we should bring water to the Pantanal.”

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The oldest evidence of moving tectonic plates is found in Australia | Instant News


In remote landscapes in western Australia, rocky outcrops formed more than three billion years ago gave geologists an unprecedented view on the initial stirring of our planet. These rocks – among the most ancient in the world – contain what is possible the oldest direct evidence of tectonic plate movement.

Rocks form when magma flows from beneath the earth’s surface to the ocean which has now disappeared, cooled and hardened into a round mass. As explained in new learn in Progress of Science, Magnetic signatures stored in rocks show that the region edged across the planet 3.2 billion years ago at the same speed as today’s tectonic plates – nearly half a billion years earlier than previous evidence about the movement.

“It’s a kind of smoking gun,” said the geochemist Annie Bauer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is not part of the new study. “This is the most important evidence we can get [of early plate motion]. “

Today, Earth’s tectonic plates continue to shift and migrate – the processes that build mountains, carve basins, and drive volcanic eruptions. This movement sculpts various ecological niches, including hydrothermal vent on the sea floor and pool of boiling water on the surface—The kind of environment in which life is believed to have formed.

“While bringing together the story of tectonic plates, we help bring together our own original story,” said the study’s lead author. Alec Brenner, a doctorate degree at Harvard University.

Hunting for ancient stone

Our planet is united from a cloud of gas and dust that swirled around 4.5 billion years ago, and it was initially very hot. A sea of ​​molten rock glows on the surface, and volcanoes are likely to spit lava into the air. But the Earth soon began to cool, and for tens of millions of years, its surface hardened to crust.

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Scientists believe this early crust was a single hat that enveloped the planet, like the surface of Mars today. At some point – estimates vary from about four billion to one billion many years ago – this hat broke into a global crust, with debris colliding with each other and pushing rocks into coats or ascending into the sky. The tectonic plate is born.

But very little is known about how and when this transition occurred. Plate tectonics constantly recycle Earth’s rocks, melt crust and dredge fresh lava, which erases evidence of the distant past. “Basically, the first half of Earth’s history is represented today by only about 5 percent of surface rock,” Brenner said.

Many early plate tectonic studies concluded motion by identify chemical clues, as ancient mineral composition the point of formation in the subduction zone – where one tectonic plate falls below another. But to map plate movements, scientists must use other steps such as the magnetic signature of a preserved stone.

In 2016, Brenner’s future advisor at Harvard, paleomagnetist Roger Fu, began researching maps of Australia to look for ancient rocks where he might have used these magnetic fingerprints to directly measure the initial shift in the Earth’s crust. Fu and a colleague ended up living on a site: The Western Australia basalt Honeyeater. In the summer of 2017, Brenner and Fu traveled to the interior of Australia to hunt for 3.2 billion years old rocks.

They drilled about a hundred rock cores from various outcrop sections, noting the position and orientation of each and combining them with more than one hundred samples collected previously. Back in the laboratory, they analyzed the magnetic signatures of each sample, encoded in iron-rich minerals that orient themselves like small compass needles when crystallizing.

After accounting for changes in the position of the stone since it was formed – a process known as a folding test – the compass needles are all aligned, showing that the needle represents the ancient magnetic signature of the stone. “Maybe we have something here,” Fu recalled thinking.

Early tectonic

The team compared the positions calculated from the Honeycomb basalt with rock outcrops previously analyzed nearby, which are slightly older and contain previous magnetic signatures. Analysis revealed that the earth’s crust shifted about 2.5 centimeters each year when these rocks formed.

That level “would be really the usual run-of-the-mill for tectonic plate regulation like what we have on modern Earth,” Brenner said.

That movement may occur when the Earth is still covered by a layer of the earth’s crust, even though the speed is faster than expected if that’s the case. The findings suggest that even more than one billion years after our planet was formed, tectonic plates could have increased.

However, evidence from this location does not always mean that the plates move around the world, Brenner said. Tectonic plates tend to start in the right state and begin, with crust breaking and moving in some areas earlier than others.

“This might be some kind of uneven process,” Bauer, who said recently published a study indicates the uneven start of the initial plate movement.

The mechanism driving this initial movement was also unclear, said paleomagnetist John Geissman from the University of Texas at Dallas, who was not involved in the new research. One of the main forces behind modern plate movements is the pull of rocky plates as they plunge into the mantle in the subduction zone. But other processes could have played billions of years ago, such as the rise of magma that forced the stones apart on the surface.

If this initial stirring of 3.2 billion years ago was indeed the beginning of the tectonic plate, they indicate a very early start to the Earth’s geological churn, which is an important point for the evolution of life as we know it. Plate tectonics act like planetary thermostats, cycled greenhouse gases from Earth to the atmosphere. This encourages volcanic eruptions, which dredge fresh nutrients from underground. It might even play a role in delivering oxygen to the sky.

By understanding the origin of plate tectonics, “you can try to determine the timing of events that are very important for the development of life on this planet,” said geochemists Val Finlayson from the University of Maryland, which is not part of the research.

To do that, scientists continue to explore the earth in search of more signs of ancient movements. Brenner said: “We actually, as we speak, carry out data analysis for other people [rock] unit.”

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