Friday 21st of June 2019

as the wild goes and die...

bebee

The decline of wild bees and other pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields than the loss of honeybees, a worldwide study suggests, revealing the irreplaceable contribution of wild insects to global food production.

Scientists studied the pollination of more than 40 crops in 600 fields across every populated continent and found wild pollinators were twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops including oilseed rape, coffee, onions, almonds, tomatoes and strawberries. Furthermore, trucking in managed honeybee hives did not replace wild pollination when that was lost, but only added to the pollination that took place.

"It was astonishing; the result was so consistent and clear," said Lucas Garibaldi, at the National University in Río Negro, Argentina, who led the 46-strong scientific team. "We know wild insects are declining so we need to start focusing on them. Without such changes, the ongoing loss is destined to compromise agricultural yields worldwide."

Pollination is needed for about three-quarters of global food crops. The decline of honeybee colonies due to disease and pesticides has prompted serious concern. Jason Tylianakis, at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, described them as "the species charged with protecting global food security".

The new research shows for the first time the huge contribution of wild insects and shows honeybees cannot replace the wild insects lost as their habitat is destroyed. Garibaldi said relying on honeybees was a "highly risky strategy" because disease can sweep through single species, as has been seen with the varroa mite, and single species cannot adapt to environmental changes nearly as well as a group of wild pollinators.

"The studies show conclusively that biodiversity has a direct measurable value for food production and that a few managed species cannot compensate for the biodiversity on which we depend," said Tylianakis, who was not part of the research team.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/28/wild-bees-pollinators-crop-yields/print

the electric promise of sweet nectar...

A bumblebee visits a flower, drawn in by the bright colours, the patterns on the petals, and the aromatic promise of sweet nectar. But there’s more to pollination than sight and smell. There is also electricity in the air.

Dominic Clarke and Heather Whitney from the University of Bristol have shown that bumblebees can sense the electric field that surrounds a flower. They can even learn to distinguish between fields produced by different floral shapes, or use them to work out whether a flower has been recently visited by other bees. Flowers aren’t just visual spectacles and smelly beacons. They’re also electric billboards.

“This is a big finding,” says Daniel Robert, who led the study. “Nobody had postulated the idea that bees could be sensitive to the electric field of a flower.”

Scientists have, however, known about the electric side of pollination since the 1960s, although it is rarely discussed. As bees fly through the air, they bump into charged particles from dust to small molecules. The friction of these microscopic collisions strips electrons from the bee’s surface, and they typically end up with a positive charge.

Flowers, on the other hand, tend to have a negative charge, at least on clear days. The flowers themselves are electrically earthed, but the air around them carries a voltage of around 100 volts for every metre above the ground. The positive charge that accumulates around the flower induces a negative charge in its petals.

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/21/bees-can-sense-the-electric-fields-of-flowers/

feeding the growing masses with nitrogen...

 

Now that I have your attention, I will say simply here that nitrogen, like carbon, is necessary for life's building blocks... We know that. Nitrogen is a gas that is about 3/4 of the air we breathe and is inert, but its alkaline and acidic compounds are necessary to complicate and grow the basic carbon molecules... Without nitrogen, methane and other simple hydrocarbons would be no more than that...


Rain water is far superior to tap water or tank water...

 

It sounds ridiculous, but there is one major difference. Rain water, as it pours down becomes loaded with nitrogen from the air — nitrogen that goes into the soil... With modern technology and transport has nearly gone the rhythms of seasons in some areas, especially with our addition of water on our crops at most times — as well as our addition of nitrogen through fertilisers.

 

When water is lacking, this leads to dramatic failure of crops. The 1931 dust bowl of the midlands in the US, the central region from canada to below Oklahoma, was a warning of nature after two great seasons that had already unfortunately seen prices of wheat fall through the floor due to the 1929 financial crash. These years in a row were a disaster and nearly became ten. Of course there were a few other factors that compounded the problem, such as the way the earth was ploughed. A monocultured wheat has shallow roots compared to native grasses that have gone through rain and drought over millions of years. The decimation of natural grasses to grow wheat led to massive dust storms in the dry, in which the top soil was simply blown away — not being held back by roots... This is a common occurence in this country. I have gone through about 10 major dust storms in Australia, since the early 1970s. When the top soil goes, so goes a lot of nutrients as well. I have posted an article about it on this site. 

Last year saw a drought in the same region of the USA. Corn crops took a beating. Who knows what will happen next with global warming, as incidence of floods and drought will increase dramatically.

A few years ago, the price of rice around the world jumped through the roof as the Australian supply of this staple was affected by a major drought in southern Queensland.

As well as the weather, we are at the mercy of profiteers who either bet on the price of commodities or hoard the commodities until desperately needed. We are also at gun point of discount wars between the major retailers of food who will only buy produce at prices that send farmers broke... 

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What we know is that intensive agriculture has been amazingly successful in providing better quality food, at lower cost, year on year. However, this has come at a price. We are losing soil structure and soil carbon, and these are associated with reduced yield. In addition, food production is a net energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter. However, we must find ways to reduce the net energy inputs and greenhouse gas emissions, and restore soil health if we are to produce enough food for everyone over many generations.

The solution pushed most fervently is to move to organic agriculture. There is certainly evidence this can improve soil carbon, but when lower yield and the associated greenhouse gas emissions of manure are taken into account it often has a higher carbon footprint.

We need much more informed discussion – rather than mere dogma – on output, energy use and environmental impact and whether technology can satisfy these needs best. This has proven difficult, as there is no satisfactory mechanism of global governance of agriculture, but there are some promising initiatives, including the World Economic Forum’s “New Vision for Agriculture” and the Keystone Alliance “field to market”.

Unhelpful polarization is also visible in the debate on biofuels, industrial biotechnology and the non-food uses of agriculture. It is not as if it is a new phenomenon. Over millennia people have used plant fibres as a source of clothing, burned plant material for cooking and heating, and used plants as building materials. The oldest example of industrial biotechnology must surely be brewing, using yeast to convert plant sugars.

http://forumblog.org/2013/03/will-biotechnology-provide-food-security/

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Very noteworthy thoughts, though I smell a rat... I am dumb at most times and forgive me if I get things wrong. But I cannot let this one go the the keeper, though I could be totally loopy on this... 

"... but when lower yield and the associated greenhouse gas emissions of manure are taken into account it often has a higher carbon footprint." 

That is a lot of codswallop.

When considering the higher yields producing industrial methods laced with fertilisers and poisons, the cost of harvesting-machinery and its fuel (often subsidised), one cannot escape as well the manufacture of fertilisers, the insecticides and the herbicides which are high carbon dioxide producing agents in manufacture — then followed by the problems of run-off often leading to pollution, reef and river degradation. 

The same goes with patented seeds and the poisons used to kill other plants. Eventually, the poison, like DDT did, will come and bite us in the bum if it has not done so already... while the patent pollens compromise natural plants.

The elegant solution of double cropping and that of bio-dynamic planting are a midway point between a fully industrialised cultivation that needs poisons like never before and organic farming that can provide smaller yields but without the use of poisons, and that can be managed in a natural environment. 

The carbon dioxide from manure is part of a semi-accelerated "natural carbon cycle" — using the carbon that has already been on the surface of the planet for the last million years — while the carbon dioxide from fertilisers and high yield "poison-surviving" monoculture is in a big part made of the "extra carbon cycle" added-to by fossil-fuel usage... The REAL problem is that 2050 is ONLY 37 years from now... Planning for 9 billions by then is already reasonably challenging... but what do we do after that? Put a bow on our procreative dicks for ten years after that?

We have to think beyond 2100 till about 2150 to really understand what we are doing to the planet, including the destruction of "natural seeds" (even if they have been modified by 10,000 years of farming) by using "patented" GM seeds in conjunction with poisons. We have to think how global warming is going to affect our crops, as temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius won't be uncommon.

We need to think outside the growth at any cost equation which states that as there is a problem, we fix it by creating a new problem we'll fix later and so on... as long as we grow profits

We need brighter smarter ideas in tune with nature rather than that of satisfying our wants at a faster rate.

My view...

And this is what humanity's ethics should be about.

 

Gus Leonisky

 

the rights of living things as one of our major ethics...

 

 

 

 

11.Potential conflicts of interest in the Animals and Plants Committees (Denmark*)

12.CITES Strategic Vision

13.Cooperation with organizations and multilateral environmental agreements

14.Draft resolution and decision on the cooperation of CITES with other biodiversity-related conventions (Switzerland)

15.International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime

16.Resolution on Cooperation with the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the CBD (Decision 15.19)

17.Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

18.Cooperation between Parties and promotion of multilateral measures

19.CITES and livelihoods

20.Wildlife trade policy reviews

21.Capacity building

22.Proposal concerning a needs assessment for strengthening the implementation of CITES in developing countries (Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone)

23.Capacity-building programme for science-based establishment and implementation of voluntary national export quotas for Appendix-II species – Report of the Animals and Plants Committees

24.World Wildlife Day (Thailand)

Interpretation and implementation of the ConventionReview of Resolutions  25.Proposals of the Secretariat

Annex 1: Conf. 4.6 (Rev. CoP15) – Submission of draft resolutions and other documents for meetings of the Conference of the Parties
 Annex 2: Conf. 9.5 (Rev. CoP15) – Trade with States not party to the Convention
 Annex 3: Conf. 9.6 (Rev.) – Trade in readily recognizable parts and derivatives
 Annex 4: Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP15) – Criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II

Annex 5: Conf. 11.1 (Rev. CoP15) – Establishment of Committees
 Annex 6: Conf. 11.17 (Rev. CoP14) – National reports

Annex 7: Conf. 11.18 – Trade in Appendix-II and -III species

Annex 8: Conf. 12.3 (Rev. CoP15) – Permits and certificates
 Annex 9 : Conf. 12.10 (Rev. CoP15) – Registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species for commercial purposes

Annex 10: Conf. 13.6 – Implementation of Article VII, paragraph 2, concerning ‘pre-Convention’ specimens

Annex 11: Conf. 13.8 – Participation of observers at meetings of the Conference of the Parties

26.Draft revision of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP15) on Trade in elephant specimens

27.Climate change
Compliance and enforcement  28.National laws for implementation of the Convention
 Annex 2: Status of legislative progress for implementing CITES (updated on 1 march 2013)

29.Enforcement matters

30.National reports

31.Disposal of illegally-traded and confiscated specimens of Appendix-I, -II and -III species (Indonesia)

Trade control and marking  32.Introduction from the sea

33.Non-detriment findings

34.Electronic permittingImproving the efficiency of international cooperation on permit and certificate verification (China)

36.Decision-making mechanism for a process of trade in ivory

37.Proposal to amend Decision 14.77 on a Decision-making mechanism for a future trade in elephant ivory (Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria)

38.Purpose codes on CITES permits and certificates

39.Transport of live specimens

40.Cross-border movement of musical instruments (United States of America)

41.Use of taxonomic serial numbers

42.Physical inspection of timber shipments

43.Standard nomenclature  43.1Report of the Animals and Plants Committees

Annex 1: Taxonomic Checklist of CITES listed AmphibiansAnnex 1 
Annex 2: Taxonomic Checklist of all CITES listed Shark and Fish speciesAnnex 2

Annex 3: Impact of Nomenclature Recommendations by the AC 26Annex 3

Annex 4: New taxonomic changes not recommended for adoptionAnnex 4

Annex 5.1: Taxonomic Checklist of all CITES listed Coral speciesAnnex 5.1

Annex 5.2: Taxonomic Checklist of CITES listed Coral SpeciesAnnex 5.2

Annex 6: List of standard references adopted by the Conference of the PartiesAnnex 6 (Rev. 1) 
43.2Standard nomenclature for Hippocampus species (Switzerland)

44.Identification Manual 
44.1Report of the Secretariat
 44.2Report of the Plants Committee

45.E-commerce of specimens of CITES-listed species

Exemptions and special trade provisions  46.Personal and household effects

47.Proposed revision of Resolution Conf. 13.7 (Rev. CoP14) on Control of trade in personal and household effects (Indonesia and Kuwait)

48.Implementation of the Convention relating to captive-bred and ranched specimens

Species trade and conservation  49.Great apes

Annex 2: Technical missions to gorilla range states to assess current enforcement activities and initiativesAnnex 2

50.Asian big cats
(Annex reference changed in paragraph 6 and reference to SC63 deleted in par. 16.) Reports received from range States after completion of the document 
 Report from China (English only)
 Report from India (English only)

51.Illegal trade in cheetahs (Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda)

52.Leopard quotas (Botswana, South Africa and United States of America)

53.Elephants 
53.1Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants
 53.2Monitoring of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens  53.2.1Report of the Secretariat
 53.2.2ETIS report of TRAFFIC
 53.3Proposed new resolution concerning the African Elephant Action Plan and African Elephant Fund (Nigeria and Rwanda)

54.Rhinoceroses  54.1Report of the Working Group 
54.2Report of the Secretariat

55.Tibetan antelope

56.Saiga antelope

57.Snake trade and conservation management

58.Tortoises and freshwater turtles  58.1Report of the Standing Committee

58.2Report of the Animals Committee

59.Hawksbill turtle (Change to the draft decision in the Annex)

60.Sturgeons and paddlefish  60.1Report of the Animals Committee
 60.2Report of the Secretariat

61.Sharks and stingrays

62.Humphead wrasse

63.Toothfish: report of CCAMLR

64.Sea cucumbers

65.Regional cooperation on the management of and trade in the queen conch (Strombus gigas) (Colombia)
Annex: Report of the Queen Conch Expert Workshop

66.Madagascar

67.Agarwood-producing taxa  67.1Report of the Plants Committee
 67.2Draft resolution on Implementation of the Convention for agarwood-producing taxa (China, Indonesia, Kuwait and Thailand)

68.Bigleaf mahogany

69.Cedrela odorata, Dalbergia retusa, Dalbergia granadillo and Dalbergia stevensonii

70.Report of the Central Africa Bushmeat Working Group
Amendment of the Appendices  71.Criteria for the inclusion of species in Appendices I and II

72.Criteria related to ranched populations

73.Proposed revision of Resolution Conf. 10.9 on Consideration of proposals for the transfer of African elephant populations from Appendix I to Appendix II (Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone)

74.Periodic review of the Appendices  74.1Revision of Resolution Conf. 14.8 on Periodic Review of the Appendices
 74.2Review of the Appendices: Felidae

75.Development and application of annotations

76.Annotations – Report of the Plants Committee

77.Proposals to amend Appendices I and II
 Annex 1: List of proposals to amend Appendices I and II and CITES Secretariat’s Recommendations
 Annex 2A: Comments from the Parties and comments and recommendations from the Secretariat
 Annex 2B: Comments from the Parties and comments and recommendations from the Secretariat

Annex 3: Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) 
Annex 4: Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)

Annex 5: Commission for Inland Fisheries and Agriculture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Annex 6: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Annex 7: General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)

Annex 8: International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

Annex 9: International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)

Annex 10: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 
Annex 11: Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NEAFC)

Annex 12: North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NAFO) 
Annex 13: South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO)

Conclusion of the meeting

78.Determination of the time and venue of the next regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties
 79.Closing remarks

 

 

 

See also: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/02/201322810388315373.html

illegal trade plus loss of habitats...

 

mamaotis  18 hours ago

 

Illegal trading is unquestionably one cause of the dwindling numbers of some animal species and fauna. But the bigger cause is their habitats being destroyed by mining, oil drilling, forests and open-areas converted to vast swathes of mono-crops, and other transnational corporate-induced destruction of the eco system....all 'legal' depending on which gov't officials are in which corporation's pocket. In good ole' USA there has been a plague of cross-pollution between government and corporations and in many thousands of places the ecological damage is apparent. (Not to mention aquifers and other water resources being poisoned by runoff toxins, which often isn't so apparent.)

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/02/201322810388315373.html

 

the bees and the bees...

neonicotinoids …..

BAKERSFIELD, California. - A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

Soaring Bee Deaths In 2012 Sound Alarm On Malady

one for the bees...

Environmentalists hailed a "victory for bees" today after the European Union voted for a ban on the nerve-agent pesticides blamed for the dramatic decline global bee populations.

Despite fierce lobbying by the chemicals industry and opposition by countries including Britain, 15 of the 27 member states voted for a two-year restriction on neonicotinoid insecticides. That gave the European Commission the support it needed to push through an EU-wide ban on using three neonicotinoids on crops attractive to bees.

Tonio Borg, the EC's top health official, said they planned to implement the landmark ban from December. "I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22bn annually to European agriculture, are protected," he said.

Britain was among eight nations which voted against the motion, despite a petition signed by 300,000 people presented to Downing Street last week by fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett. The Independent has also campaigned to save Britain's bee population

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/victory-for-bees-as-europe-bans-neonicotinoid-pesticides-blamed-for-destroying-global-bee-populations-8595408.html

of tilapias and tomatoes

 

Tomatoes and fish are being farmed together in the same environment. Dirty water from the fish tanks is used for providing mineral nutrients that are essential for plant growth.

The fish are very hungry. When Hendrik Monsees - a biologist at the Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin - throws dry food into the aquarium, the tilapia (a type of fish) immediately swim to the surface to snap it up. They fight for the food. Water is sprayed out of the chest-high aquarium. Monsees ducks for cover.

"When tilapia are hungry, there's a lot of spray," he says with a smile.

A few hundred tilapia are held in a dozen fish tanks at the institute. They are kept in a greenhouse where numerous tomato plants are grown. Air-conditioning keeps the temperature of the greenhouse constant at 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) - making the environment conducive for tomatoes and tilapia. The aim of the project is to grow vegetables and farm fish in zero emission conditions.

Food production in a highly technical environment

Tomatoes and fish thrive in an artificial environment that uses technology to ensure optimal results.

The fish are kept humanely, says Werner Kloas who also happens to be the founder of the greenhouse. The tanks do not contain more fish than are normally found in their natural habitat - no more than a school of fish.

 

And the tomatoes grow in an artificially enhanced environment. Instead of soil, they are planted in mineral wool.

"The cultivation of plants without soil is called hydroponics" Monsees explains. He moves a few leaves to one side and points to the small tomatoes. Growing tilapia and the vegetables has been successful as the researchers have demonstrated several times in the greenhouse.

This type of cultivation and farming is nothing new. Vegetables are grown in greenhouses around the world. And farming fish in tanks is nothing revolutionary. What is new is that water from the fish tanks is being used to grow the tomatoes. Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms, and hydroponics - growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil - have been separate domains, Kloas explains.

 

Read more: http://www.dw.de/sustainable-farming-project-combines-aquaculture-and-hydroponics/a-16927582

 

Read articles from top...

 

genetic and pesticide factors...

Following a study that showed that the banned chemical DDT was linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research out this week shows that pesticides are associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease.

It’s not the first time the chemicals have been linked to the brain disease, but the latest study from UCLA researchers shows that the effect is exacerbated by genetics. Since Parkinson’s is known to be determined by a variety of factors, including family genetics, this new study shows how the two factors could be intimately involved.

In the study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers looked at 360 people with Parkinson’s from three California farming communities that used pesticides. They compared these people to 816 from the same regions who did not have the disease.

(MORE: Study Links DDT to Development of Alzheimer’s Disease)

Prior research has shown that the pesticide benomyl (which has been banned in the U.S.) interferes with processes in the brain and contributes to the development of Parkinson’s. In this new study, the scientists developed a test targeting other chemicals that could contribute to Parkinson’s, and found that 11 other pesticides contribute to the disease in the same way as benomyl.



Read more: Study Links Pesticides to Parkinson's Disease | TIME.com http://healthland.time.com/2014/02/03/the-pesticide-on-your-fruit-may-lead-to-parkinsons/#ixzz2sJVUqncH

 

Read from image at top down, please.

dead birds...

Tests have confirmed that hundreds of native birds around Dubbo in western New South Wales died from exposure to a pesticide.

The state's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has been investigating the mass deaths of species including sulphur-crested cockatoos, galahs and corellas.

The number of dead birds has jumped from 300 last week to almost 700.

EPA spokesman Garry Davies says initial testing has been completed.

"We've collected samples of the dead birds; we've sent those samples away to our laboratories in Sydney, they've analysed the material," he said.

"The results of those tests have indicated it's an insecticide."

The agency is expecting results from further testing this week, and it is hoped the inquiries will identify the source of the contamination.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-11/pesticide-caused-mass-bird-deaths-near-dubbo/5312092

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I knew a lawn that used to be teeming with bird life, then one weekend there was NOT A SINGLE BIRD to be seen within a mile... The lawn had been sprayed with insecticide... All the grubs that use to live in the lawn had surfaced and had died... Birds don't eat dead grubs... 

See article at top...

 

save the bees petition!...

Dear friend,

The timing is critical for the survival of bees and wild pollinators in Europe :

Will the next European Parliament be again infiltrated by lobbies representing the interests of large agrochemical companies as was the previous one ?

About a month ago, MEPs almost voted the rehabilitation of neonicotinoid pesticides without even realizing it – which are partially banned in Europe because of their proven lethal effect on bees.

Of course it was a plan built by agrochemical lobbies, with the complicity of some members within the Parliament.

The best way and perhaps the only one, to ensure that the next parliament will not defend the interests of agrochemists at the expense of health, food and the future of hundreds of millions of citizens, is to put a massive and immediate pressure on future members - while they are still candidates.

This is why Pollinis launched a major European petition to force candidates to commit themselves, in writing form, to permanently ban neonicotinoid bee killer pesticides once they are elected.

If you have not already done so, you can sign the petition by clicking here, and transfer it to your friends in other European countries to help us to create a mass of people and put pressure on candidates from as many countries as possible !

Nearly one fifty candidates have already responded from Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands ...(see list here)

And the pace is accelerating, as the election date approaches.

They only have a few more days to get our votes, so it is NOW that we must force them to commit themselves firmly and permanently for the future of pollination, the agriculture, and our food.

And most importantly, to close the door to the agrochemical lobbies and prevent them from making the law in Europe !

To multiply this campaign before the elections of this weekend and get as many commitments from future MPs, Pollinis needs you.

If you have not already done so, thank you to sign the petition to your candidates now : click here.

And do not forget to transfer the petition to all your contacts.

To send them the petition in English, you can copy/paste the following link :

http://actions.pollinis.org/actions/europe_and_bee_killer_pesticides/

we have no choice, despite our turd-in-chief position...

 

As the painful United Nations climate negotiations inch along the road to Paris 2015, we are faced with two options: ethical action or a descent into self-interest, writes Peter D Burdon.

I doubt I will ever forget the emotional footage that I observed from the 2013 global Climate Change Conference (COP) in Warsaw, Poland. The Warsaw COP was a critical step in the road map for implementing the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expired in 2012, and obtaining financial commitments from industrialised countries for the 'loss and damage' that global warming has already caused to poor nations (also known as 'climate debt' or 'climate reparations').

The gathering took place just days after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing approximately 10,000 people and displacing more than 600,000. Dr Jeff Masters, director of the Weather Underground, was one of the few meteorologists to link Typhoon Haiyan with climate change:

Since hurricanes are heat engines that take heat energy from the oceans and convert it to the energy of their winds, rising ocean temperatures due to global warming should make the strongest storms stronger ... Hurricane scientists expect to see a 2 per cent to 11 per cent increase in the intensity of hurricanes and typhoons (aka tropical cyclones) by 2100.

Against this backdrop, Naderev "Yeb" Saño, leader of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, rose to give his opening statement. What followed was a cry, not only from the Philippines, but also on behalf of all developing countries that have been the hardest hit by climate change. Unable to hold back tears, Saño pleaded:

If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here in Warsaw, where? What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.

In that speech, Saño announced something quite extraordinary. He announced to COP delegates that he would fast until talks yield progress. For the next two weeks, Saño did not break his fast. He was also joined by over 200 people and received substantial support from international NGO's and civil society.

My initial reaction to Saño's act was deep admiration. This was the first time that a lead country representative had the integrity and ethical courage to take a stand inside the COP itself. Saño showed that delegates are more than cogs inside a machine. They are individuals with agency and the freedom to make ethical decisions.

In an age where instrumental rationality or 'means-to-end' thinking dominates, Saño's action highlights an alternative way of being and helps us to rethink our own agency within complex systems. Understanding both how power operates in multilateral negotiations and our own ability to make ethical judgements is of critical importance as we approach the 2015 Paris climate negotiations.

The Paris COP represents the most important climate conference since the failed Copenhagen COP in 2009. Indeed, environmental lawyer Vernon Rive argues that Paris represents the "defining moment for the future of climate negotiations and therefore the planet". If the international community fails again, we throw ourselves to the vagaries of the Security Council or to the higher arbiter, Mother Nature herself.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has expressed strong confidence that a binding international treaty will be signed in 2015. To push negotiations along, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon will convene a one-day 'Climate Summit' in New York on September 23, 2014. Ban has urged world leaders to "announce bold actions and bold commitments" at the summit.

Alongside the uncertainty about whether 194 countries can sign an agreement to mitigate global warming, there are other pressing questions. Will such an agreement be ethical? Will it concentrate existing power or spread it horizontally? Whose voices will be heard in the multilateral negotiations? Who will benefit and who will suffer?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-22/burdon-climate-barbarism-or-ethical-action/5470202

 

Our turd-in-chief is to deny deny deny or fart in a bathtub. Have we got any hope?...

I have from good authority that Tony Abbott won't get through winter. But "how do we travel with the rest of the lying turds?" I was asked. We have to either change the mindset of the Liberals (CONservatives) which is an impossible task or throw them out en masse.

Unfortunately the only options left to us are a) an election after a double dissolution: Palmer, Labor and the Greens reject this horrid budget disguised as a robbery of the blind or b) a revolution....

With labor being wishy-washy about some of the imposts, it looks like revolution is the only way to go.

Or apathy... Yes Tony is banking on apathy... Aussies are good at apathy. Apathy and lying in the sun like lizards is occupation numero uno for many Orstralyans.

As the news bulletin was delivered on the ABC at 12: noon today, not a single item was dedicated to this rapacious budget nor to Tony's antics and winks (is there a Freudian slip waiting to happen?), nor to his daughter preferential treatment in the age of "heavy lifting"...

Yes the poor will do 20 per cent of the "lifting" and the rich about 0.2 per cent ON PAPER. But fear not you the rich dudes... As in a few months from now, barely after you first deduction of $28.45 for your contribution to the debt tax, The Liberals will readjust the duty on SUV and luxury cars... You will be able to buy your latest Merceded Coupé for about $12,593 less than now. Is not life beautiful?:

may 22 weather Sydney

May 22 weather Sydney

slaughter of the elephants...

The death of Kenya's biggest elephant, Satao, one of the last iconic great tuskers, is not just a local tragedy, but indeed a global one. As a creature of phenomenal size with tusks which scraped the ground, his death at the hands of poachers does not come as a surprise. Satao's death is part of a wave of elephant slaughter which wildlife experts agree is much more serious than official figures report.

listen at: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/kenya27s-biggest-elephant-killed-by-poachers/5536884

saving the bees from a double-cross and from a double whammy...

It is difficult to know what's what on this subject, as Pollinis is "nearly" accused by some websites of being a front for embezzlement of funds... But this could be a counter-bluff by some people who are subterraneanly attached to the "poison industry"... I have no idea.

Though Paul Willis tells us of being aware of unsubstantiated campaigns to vilify chemicals, we all know that this is a complex issue. We have to accept that smoking tobacco can induce cancer, but we have to know that while some people (possibly the majority) will be affected, a proportion won't be. The main problem with this issue is always the mitigation of risks, effects on non-participants and costs upon the health system. Plain packaging is thus an important management tool on this issue.

 

We know that some chemicals are lethal. But we also know that a combination of factors, including "poisons" can be fatally harmful rather than the "poisons" (or the other factors) on their own. Thus we always need to be aware of that, no matter what is or is not poisonous to bees, the bee population in Europe and many other parts of the world has declined dramatically and still declining — and the "poisons" are playing a big part in this decline. Another issue is the pollination of GM material, which can affects the entire crop harvests on this planet. HUGE ISSUE.

 

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Dear friends,

 

The months to come will be decisive to save bees. And today Pollinis needs you, your commitment, and your financial  support to finish this struggle that is  vital for the environment and the future of ALL OF US.

In one year exactly, the big agro-chemical firms will be able to  start marketing again  hundreds of thousands of tons of their bee-killing pesticides every year, with no obstacles in their way, and over the whole European territory, unless there is a massive, organised mobilisation on the part of European citizens to oppose it.

How is this possible? Here is a reminder that is undoubtedly necessary :

On 29 April 2013, after years of struggle by bee-keepers and the mobilisation  of hundreds of thousands of citizens in Europe, at last the European Commission  announced a ban on three bee-killing neonicotinoid  pesticides.

In reality, this is an extraordinary manipulation :

it is a disastrous plan imagined by the agro-chemical firms to clear their products and secure  annual  profits of hundreds of millions of euros- to  the detriment of bees and biodiversity…  It shows contempt for all those who have fought for years to REALLY have these ultra-dangerous products banned! (1)

Bayer, Syngenta and others are carrying out an intensive lobbying campaign in Brussels to get what they want.

They are about to succeed, which is why we call on you today : help us to organise as soon as possible a massive counter force to the influence of  the  agro-chemical lobbies in Europe - to obtain a ban on neonicotinoid  pesticides completely and once and for all!

All together, we can succeed :

 Since the beginning of this affair, Pollinis has sounded the alarm and tried to remobilise citizens. In successive waves, we have managed to issue warnings and gather together more than 850,000 petitioners throughout Europe to oppose the anti-bee plan of the agro-chemical firms.

We have besieged  candidates for the European elections so that they undertake to  have bee-killing pesticides banned once they are elected. :

More than one hundred candidates answered our appeal. And we are not going to take the heat off as long as  they haven't kept  their promises and respected the wishes of citizens.

The battle is underway.

 

As a reaction to the tidal wave caused by our action, the chemical firms Bayer and Syngenta - who manufacture and market most of the pesticides under examination by the Commission - announced, with powerful press communiqués and threatening declarations, that they were attacking the pseudo-ban on their products at the European Union's Court of Justice…

In April 2013, with the support of  some over-obliging representaives, they tried to sneak an amendment asking for quite simply the re-instatement of their bee-killing pesticides throughout Europe, into the European Parliament .

Senators and Members of Parliament from several European countries questioned the European Commission directly, and the Commission had to defend itself against accusations of being influenced by lobbies. It announced it would study all information supplied to it - to decide or not  on a total ban.(2)

This is exactly what the agro-chemical firms are working on today :

they will carry out a fierce lobbying campaign in Brussels in the months to come to have their products re-instated definitively, through pressure on the Commission and the elected representatives, and threats about jobs and relocations…

…and they will have their own laboratories produce new 'proof' that their pesticides - which are however 700 times more toxic than the DDT used 20 years ago - have no impact on pollinators and the environment, and cannot be replaced.

 

We will not let them impose their law in Brussels.

The battle plan we have put in place with Pollinis volunteers in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and England has only one aim - to stand up to the lobbies of the agrochemists, by bringing together a maximum number of citizens throughout Europe to carry weight as a group when we deal with the Commission and the European Parliament representatives.

We will bring together experts, gather and broadcast hundreds of studies describing the devastating effects of neonicotinoids on bees, the environment and biodiversity. Supported by evidence from studies and figures, we will prove to European decision-makers that these products are easily replaceable… and that they do not protect crops better, but instead cost more for the farmers using them!

In order to succeed, we have no financial means to counter the mountains of money of the agrochemical firms - and that is why we desperately need your support today!

But we have the overwhelming advantage of numbers. And it is an argument that we intend to voice to the European decision-makers.

The enormous success of the Pollinis campaigns in the last few months leads us to hope that we are going to win all together - if we do the job well in Brussels and in every European country.

More than 850,000 citizens have already joined us, and this is only the beginning. In the months to come, thanks to your help, we will issue warnings,  and convince many more citizens all over Europe that we must fight now - to put a stop to agro-chemical firms  controlling our institutions, and to save bees !

We have spent a large part of these last few months in Brussels trying to form a small team responsible for fighting close to the seat of European power - in a way, it is our own counter-lobby to defend bees and pollinators!

 Our main limit for the moment is the lack of funding : even if we have met many people who are full of energy and very willing, it is hard to find people who have both the experience and the legal skills to successfully complete this combat mission as advocates for the bees…as volunteers and full-time workers!

That is to say that all contributions, even the smallest, are welcome!

If you have the possibility  to help fund Pollinis to put together  this team and support the vital work for the future of biodiversity in Europe, thank you for doing so today by clicking here.

Our aim in one year from now is crystal-clear :

1. to prevent Bayer, Syngenta and their ilk from clearing their products and sacrificing our health, our food and our environment,  so that they can save their immediate profits

2. to obtain a total ban on these highly toxic substances that poison bees and the environment and endanger tomorrow's agriculture.

Also, if you can help us to carry this battle plan to victory, all of us at Pollinis  will be most grateful to you. Whatever the amount you can give (10, 20, 50, or 100 euros, or even more if you have the means!) it will be a precious help.

The stakes are colossal.

If we do not stand up together to oppose the agro-chemical lobbies - and their mountains of dollars! - the bee-killing pesticides will be completely cleared in one year's time, and fully authorised all over the European Union… And they will destroy what remains of bee colonies and pollinators in a few years!

Thank you for your commitment and your support in this combat for life.

 

Nicolas Laarman

Principal Representative

 

To know more :

1. For more information on the subject, see this page : http://actions.pollinis.org/block-the-bee-killing-scheme-of-the-agrochimical-firms

2. See the list of candidates committed to supporting Pollinis : http://actions.pollinis.org/actions/europe_and_bee_killer_pesticides/

 

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The inapplicable coexistence of GMO’s and beekeeping is now confirmed by justice

 

From the arrival of the first GMO crops in Europe few years ago, beekeepers never stopped warning the public decision-makers it is absurd to pretend those crops could coexist with beekeeping. Under the influence of the GMO and seeds lobby, the European Commission as well as the national authorities remained death about this this claim and evidence.

A German beekeeper demonstrated his honey was contaminated by some MON810 GMO corn pollen and lead his case to court. September 6, 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declared such honey could not go on the market.

Our decision-makers cannot pretend anymore ignoring this evidence : the GMO crops authorization in field would be devastating for beekeeping products (honey, pollen, propolis) and the honeybees as a whole.

Little schemes…

European consumers do not want GMOs in honey. The environmental awareness reached such a level that the European Commission cannot risk to knowingly sacrify the bee in exchange of some multinational companies interests. Already opaque negociations are starting since the ECJ statement.



The ECJ decision is based on the fact that the pollen from MON810 corn is not authorized for the human consumption. Juridic manipulations that would allow some get round from this ban for honey are currently being studied, regardless the transparency required by the consumers.


Only one solution : the moratorium

The coexistence between GMO crops in fields and beekeeping is unworkable. Nobody can ignore this reality today. The bee is a key element for the environment and the biodiversity, yet an important asset to pollination of numerous crops. The bee is already threatened due to pesticides, and it could simply disappear from our landscapes due to a hazardous political decision. Even, beekeeping could be accused of dispersing GMOs pollens !

 

http://www.ogm-abeille.org/?lang=en

 

pesticides reduce the sperm count....

A preliminary study into semen quality has found that men who were likely to have eaten higher levels of pesticides had a lower sperm count.

HIGHER LEVELS OF pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables are associated with lower quality of semen, according to a study (pdf) published today in the journal Human Reproduction.

Its authors said the research was only an early step in what should be a much wider investigation.

The researchers urged men not to stop eating fruit and vegetables, and pointed to organically-grown food, or food that is low in pesticides, as options for lowering any apparent risk.

The US team analysed 338 semen samples from 155 men attending a fertility centre between 2007 and 2012.

The volunteers were aged between 18 and 55, had not had a vasectomy, and were part of a couple planning to use their own eggs and sperm for fertility treatment.

The men were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their diet, asking them how often, on average, they consumed portions of fruit and vegetables.

These portions were then placed into categories of being low, moderate or high in pesticide residues, on the basis of US Department of Agriculture data.

Peas, beans, grapefruit and onions, for instance, fell into the low category, whereas peppers, spinach, strawberries, apples and pears were in the high category.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/03/31/4208085.htm

vale cooper...

Renowned wildlife illustrator William T. Cooper was once described by Sir David Attenborough as the best ornithological illustrator alive.

The artist, known to his friends as Bill, was even the subject of one of Sir David's films, Portrait Painter to the Birds.

Mr Cooper, 81, died at his home at Malanda, south-west of Cairns, in far north Queensland on Sunday afternoon.

In a career stretching back to the early 1960s, Mr Cooper illustrated numerous books, including Portfolio of Australian Birds, Parrots of the World, Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds.

All the books were authored by Canberra ornithologist Joseph Forshaw, with whom Mr Cooper partnered for more than 40 years.

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-12/queensland-bird-illustrator-william-cooper-dies-at-home/6462116

Great observation of bird beauty and excellence in detailing the fine exterior of feathered life. Vale Bill. 

neonicotinoids and the death of bees...

A new study published Tuesday shows that pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, are likely linked to the decline of wild bee populations.

Published in the Nature Communications journal, the study examines the wild bee population relative to the use of the controversial neonicotinoids in the 18-year span of 1994-2011. Researchers discovered that extinction rates for bees parallel the use of the pesticide on plants, which are found throughout the country.

One of the co-authors, Dr. Nick Isaac, remarked, "The negative effects that have been reported previously do scale up to long-term, large-scale multi-species impacts that are harmful. Neonicotinoids are harmful, we can be very confident about that and our mean correlation is three times more negative for foragers than for non-foragers."

The 34 species analyzed in the study saw a 10 percent population drop across the board, with five of the species seeing a decrease of 20 percent or more, and the most-impacted group seeing a 30 percent drop. Researchers say this indicates that half of the population decline could be attributed to the use of neonics. 

"Historically, if you just have oilseed rape, many bees tend to benefit from that because it is this enormous foraging resource all over the countryside," said Dr. Ben Woodcock, lead author of the study. "But this correlation study suggests that once it’s treated with neonicotinoids up to 85 percent, then they are starting to be exposed and it's starting to have these detrimental impacts on them." 
read more: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160819/1044416926/study-links-bees-to-pesticide.html