Environment

Hyenas and humans coexist – A Heartwarming story

Large numbers of hyenas and humans coexist, study

finds

By Jeremy Coles

Reporter, BBC Nature

Large hyena populations are living alongside human communities in Africa without coming into conflict, a recent study has found.

An international team of scientists surveyed the population size and diet of spotted hyenas in northern Ethiopia.

The study found a large hyena population with a diet that consisted almost exclusively of domestic animals.

Humans and hyenas are able to coexist because the cost of livestock predation to the local people is relatively low.

The results are published in the journal of Mammalian Biology.

Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) are common large carnivores of sub-Saharan Africa, and are the most important large scavengers and hunters in many areas of Ethiopia.

According to lead author Gidey Yirga of Mekelle University, Ethiopia, these findings demonstrate a “remarkable case of co-existence between spotted hyena and local communities”.

The study, conducted in the Wukro district of northern Ethiopia, determined that this area has very little natural prey because agriculture has degraded and fragmented the habitat.

The consequence is that “spotted hyenas are almost entirely dependent on anthropogenic food,” Mr Yirga told BBC Nature.

“Based on regular sightings of hyenas we hypothesised that our study area will have moderately high densities, in spite of the absence of native prey,” he said.

To estimate the hyena population the team played continuous gnu-hyena distress sounds, as well as spotted hyena sounds, through a megaphone at randomly selected calling stations.

“Spotted hyenas benefit from waste disposal and human communities benefit from the waste-clearing service”   ~~~~~   Gidey YirgaMekelle University, Ethiopia

They found 52 hyenas per 100 square kilometres living alongside 98 people per square kilometre.

By analysing hairs in the hyenas’ droppings they found that 99% of their diet was made up of domestic animals – chiefly cattle, donkeys, goats and sheep.

Mr Yirga explained that it is likely that waste scavenging is one of the most important food sources for spotted hyenas and that the associated cost to people is both marginal and tolerable.

This peaceful coexistence is mutually beneficial – “spotted hyenas benefit from waste disposal and human communities benefit from the waste-clearing service,” Mr Yirga explained.

He also commented on the wider significance of these findings: “This also indicated that large carnivores could coexist with people at remarkably low costs.”

This article really shows how humans can coexist with animals. If we do not do any harm to them, such as over-logging (hence destroying their habitat at a rapid rate), or illegal poaching (which threatens animals’ survival and turn them towards extinction), we can live in harmony. Animals, on the other hand, would do their best to help us if we do not provoke them and want to maintain peace between the two parties. “Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you”, this quote encapsulates the essence of what this article is trying to bring across, and we as a huge community can live together harmoniously. 🙂

This article is adapted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20031460

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Scientists say billions required to meet conservation targets

By Matt McGrath

Science reporter, BBC World Service

Ethiopian bush crow

The most threatened species tend to be relatively cheap to save because of small range sizes

Reducing the risk of extinction for threatened species and establishing protected areas for nature will cost the world over $76bn dollars annually.

Researchers say it is needed to meet globally agreed conservation targets by 2020.

The scientists say the daunting number is just a fifth of what the world spends on soft drinks annually.

And it amounts to just 1% of the value of ecosystems being lost every year, they report in the journal Science.

“Start Quote

Nature just doesn’t do recessions, we’re talking about the irreversible loss of unique species and millions of years of evolutionary history”

Donal McCarthyRSPB

Back in 2002, governments around the world agreed that they would achieve a significant reduction in biodiversity loss by 2010. But the deadline came and went and the rate of loss increased.

Significant cost

At a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya that year governments re-committed to a series of targets to be achieved by 2020.

But there is a marked lack of data on how much it would cost to protect species and landed areas. And some experts believe that uncertainty about financial information helps governments who are reluctant to commit to funding the targets.

Now researchers from a number of conservation organisations and universities have set out in detail the likely costs of preserving all threatened species. They’ve also worked out the cost of establishing and expanding protected areas to cover seventeen percent of land and inland water areas.

Phillippine eagle
The Philippine Eagle needs relatively large tracts of pristine forest to survive

Environmental economist Donal McCarthy from the RSPB lead the study. He told BBC News that the amounts involved are significant.

“Reducing the extinction threat for all species would cost $5bn a year, but establishing and maintaining a comprehensive global network of protected areas would cost substantially more,” said Mr McCarthy.

“It could be up to $76bn annually to meet both targets.”

The researchers used the threat to birds as a model for working out the costs of extinction to all species. They asked experts around the world to estimate the costs of conservation actions required to move them down the IUCNlist of those at greatest threat.

“A key finding of our analysis was that the most highly threatened species tend to relatively cheap to save on account of their small range sizes, such as the Razo lark, which lives on the island of Razo in the Cape Verde islands,” said Mr McCarthy.

“Experts say conserving the species would cost less than one hundred thousand a year over the next ten years.”

The costs for protecting land areas were worked out by including estimates of what would be needed to protect sites from threats including deforestation, poaching and over harvesting as well as improving existing conservation zones.

Donal McCarthy says that when compared to some global expenditures the $76bn price tag is a small price to pay.

“These are just a fraction of what we as consumers spend on soft drinks each year which is almost half a trillion dollars – the total required for species and sites is less than half of what is paid out in bonuses to bankers on Wall street’s biggest investment banks,” he explained.

Tough choices needed

Some scientists though are uncertain as to whether the world can afford such large sums in a time of economic crisis.

Prof Tim Benton from the University of Leeds says that tough choices may have to be made.

White shouldered Ibis
Cambodia’s white shouldered ibis receives just 10% of the annual investment needed to save it.

“Some species in some places are absolutely crucial to the way the ecosystem works, but that may not the case in other places.” he told BBC News.

“So rather than trying to save everything everywhere, I think we need to be more strategic, in a very money-limited world, to optimise conservation targets rather than to maximise all biodiversity everywhere.”

Dr Andy Jarvis is with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. He feels the targets and the finance will be hard to realise. He says that the growing global population and shifting consumption patterns are putting additional pressures on the food system, and so the pressure on land is only going to increase from that side.

“Whilst it would be fantastic if this money were to become available, and ensure that we do maintain critical ecosystem services, this is unlikely to happen,” he said.

But Donal McCarthy argues that at the very least knowing the cost of the targets that governments have agreed to will bring some realism to the discussions.

“Nature just doesn’t do recessions, we’re talking about the irreversible loss of unique species and millions of years of evolutionary history that does need to be borne in mind.”

“These total sums are essentially investments in natural capital. They are not bills.”

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Summer ice in the Arctic Ocean is vanishing rapidly

 

IN 2007 climate scientists were shocked when the regular summer retreat of the Arctic’s sea ice went far farther than they had ever seen before. In the spring of that year ice covered just under 15m km2 (5.8m square miles) of ocean—an area 90% as big as Russia. By mid-September, when it reached its minimum, there were just 4.17m km2 left. That is about the area of the European Union minus Greece. Since 1979, when satellites made such measurements possible, there had been no melt like it.

Until now. Though the extent of the September sea ice did bounce back a little from 2007’s nadir, in every year since then the minimum has been lower than it was in every year before 2007. And this year 2007’s record has not been merely broken, it has been smashed. Coverage fell below 4.17m km2 as early as August 26th. By September 16th, which America’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) thinks marked the low point, it was down to 3.41m km2 (see map). That is the European Union minus Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Britain and Germany.

This is all the more surprising because 2012 has in other ways been a pretty ordinary year in the Arctic. In 2007 the summer weather was particularly inimical to the persistence of ice, with lots of warm southerly winds and clear skies that allowed the sunshine to do its worst. This year has seen far less in the way of special circumstances. It is true that a powerful cyclone chewed up a lot of ice in the East Siberian and Chukchi seas in early August—but the rate of ice loss outstripped that seen in 2007 both before the storm and after it.

The summer sea ice is shrinking so much mostly because greenhouse warming is raising Arctic temperatures. This has direct effects: when the air is warmer, more ice melts. It also has indirect effects. Warm, salty water from the North Atlantic sliding below the cold, fresh upper layers of the Barents Sea may be one of them. Another could be that warmer air is often moister. Moist air traps more heat in summer. In winter it tends to create more clouds, which keeps the surface below warm.

Disappearing trick

In theory, climate models should help tease out which of these indirect effects is playing the biggest role, and also say how much of the decline in ice cover can be assigned to natural variability and how much to feedback loops in which a little warming leads to a lot more. The most famous of these feedbacks is the ice-albedo effect: the darker (“lower-albedo”) surfaces revealed when bright, reflective ice melts go on to absorb more sun than the ice did, accelerating the process that originally provoked the melting.

Unfortunately, climate models do not seem to be good at coping with the Arctic. The melt is happening much faster in reality than it does in computer programs. It seems these are not capturing the subtleties of the ways in which more heat is getting to the far north, and that these subtleties matter.

This makes it hard to say how fast the summer ice cover will continue to shrink. But the betting has to be that it will indeed continue to do so. The warming trend means that, every year, there is less old ice and more new ice that has formed in the winter just past. That new ice will often be fragile and thin, easily disrupted by summer weather. And in a warmer world the sort of cold conditions that used to allow the ice to thicken and reinforce itself are that bit less common, so opportunities to reverse the trend are rare.

It is still possible that changes in wind patterns and longer-term natural climate shifts may slow the currently tumultuous process of decline. But according to Mark Serreze of NSIDC the system has entered a “new regime” in which, eventually, most of the ice will come and go every year, with little lasting the whole summer. September ice cover of less than 1m km2 could be normal within decades. That’s just France and Germany.

Our animation of previous September sea-ice extents reveals the shipping routes that could be unlocked

A world in which sunshine and ocean currents push a lot more energy into the Arctic in the summer will be one where much of that energy comes back out in the winter, as the surface waters cool and the ice freezes back. This release of heat will probably change the atmosphere’s circulation patterns, perhaps through the jet stream, a wind which circles the world in the lower stratosphere, perhaps through other means. Such changes will, in turn, affect the weather at lower latitudes.

Various groups of researchers have sought to link the expanses of open water north of Siberia in years with strong summer melting to cold subsequent winters in western Europe. More generally it has been suggested that the effect on the jet stream might increase the frequency of “blocking” patterns, in which weather conditions that would normally be expected to stay over a given region for only a few days get stuck for weeks or months, provoking droughts and heatwaves.

Over and out?

As yet none of these ideas has been confirmed, and for now there is no definitely discernible pattern in terms of severe weather. James Overland of America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who works on the matter, points out that normally temperate places saw unusually cold winters in 2009-10 and 2010-11, which some people have linked to strong previous melting; but after similar melting the winters of 2011-12 and 2008-09 turned out quite differently.

The effects in the Arctic, on fisheries and trade, may be easier to measure. But low levels of ice do not mean open water everywhere. Shell’s attempts to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea this August were forestalled by ice floes which, though small by the scale of continents, were pretty large by the standards of human engineering. On the other side of the ocean the Parry Channel, a part of the Northwest Passage which has been ice-free in previous years, this year stayed resolutely impassable.

Such quirks will make the Arctic an unpredictable place to work. But if the details are tricky, the big picture is clear. Clear as an open ocean.

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The Evil Quartet

The Evil Quartet

A biologist called Jared Diamond coined the phrase ‘the evil quartet’ to describe the four main human-induced causes of extinction: habitat degradation and fragmentation, introduction of exotic species and over harvesting.

Habitat degradation and fragmentation include wetland destruction, river pollution, deforestation of woodlands and rainforest, and even just the isolation of pockets of forest as roads are built through them. These changes affect species in a number of ways. They are associated with reductions in population sizes and increased isolation of populations as well as, potentially, novel selective pressures.

The introduction of exotic species can result in a rapid increase in numbers of the invasive species, at the cost of native species which are either out-competed or introduced to novel diseases. Such has been the case for native red squirrels in the UK since grey squirrels were introduced from north America. Changes can frequently have knock-on effects throughout the local environment.

Over harvesting, such as of fish stocks like North Atlantic Cod, can rapidly reduce the population size and impose very strong directional selective pressures on a species. The result can be rapid and large shifts in the size and age at which the species matures and how quickly the individuals grow. Again, these changes can lead to wider effects across the ecosystem.

Adapted from: http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/darwin200/pages/index.php?page_id=h1

Link to the article: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2009/03/12/evil-quartet-highlights-threats-to-biodiversity-in-armenia/

‘Evil Quartet’ Highlights Threats to Biodiversity in Armenia

YEREVAN–Vem Media Arts of Yerevan recently completed the 10th in a series of 11 films about environmental issues in the Republic of Armenia. Its latest film, “Evil Quartet,” is about the threats to biodiversity. The 22-minute documentary was produced by Manuk Hergnyan, written by Inga Zarafyan, and directed by Hayk Kbeyan.

The film provides a scientific overview of an ecosystem and highlights several endangered species in Armenia, the impact of human development on wildlife, and the role of hunting and poaching.

Zarafyan highlights the major threats to biodiversity identified by bio-geographer Jared Diamond of UCLA, namely, aggression of species and overgrazing, hunting and poaching, chains of extinction, and loss of habitat, noting that “the music of this quartet is getting louder and louder in Armenia.”

The film includes testimony from experts at the Botany Institute, Zoology Institute, Center for Prevention of Infectious Diseases, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Saint Louis Zoo, who address the risk of losing numerous endemic species of rare flora and fauna found only in Armenia, with many listed in the Red Book of endangered species. Since the Bezoar goat and moufflon (wild sheep) are declining in numbers, for example, the Near Eastern leopard is nearing extinction.

The film notes that the natural corridors of the leopard stretch over dozens of kilometers in southern Armenia and parts of Nakhichevan and Nagorno Karabagh, and that they are highly valued by hunters.

WWF wildlife expert Alexander Malkhasyan indicates that leopards are killed at a rate of one every two years, and that “if the situation does not change, we will lose the leopard forever.” He points out that WWF photographed one of the rare leopards in Armenia for the first time in 2005, and for the second time in 2007. “The situation of leopards in Armenia is not good, with only five to seven leopards remaining,” warns Malkhasyan.

“We have to realize the truth that while preserving the biodiversity of species we preserve ourselves as Homo sapiens [modern humans],” concludes the narrator of the documentary.

 

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Threatening the survival of UK trees

Link to the article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19167307

‘Unprecedented threat’ for UK trees from pests

By Mark Kinver

Environment reporter, BBC News

UK trees are facing an “unprecedented level of threat” from pests and diseases, the Forestry Commission has warned.

All species are vulnerable to potential attacks – from ecologically vital oaks to non-native ornamental species, such as lawson cypresses.

The biggest risk, it warns, comes from non-native organisms, which – in their natural range – are kept in check by natural predators and environmental conditions.

However, if they are able to become established in the UK’s natural environment then there are often no natural controls to curb their spread, resulting in a potentially devastating impact on the landscape.

In October 2011, UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman launched the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan, warning that millions of trees could be lost in the next few years unless urgent action was taken.

The Commission recently published biosecurity guidance, offering advice on steps that can be taken to avoid accidentally spreading damaging organisms on clothes, footwear, vehicles, etc.

“The fact that we are an island has helped us, because we are fairly impoverished compared with the European mainland,” explained Hugh Evans, head of Forest Research in Wales.

“So even the 20 miles of water is enough to protect us from the pests that are quite dangerous on the mainland.”

But our relative isolation has come at a cost, he warned.

“If pests do get through, then they arrive without the spectrum of natural enemies and that is one element that can make the effect within the arrival country much worse than in the country of origin.”

Growing trade

Richard McIntosh from Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) says the growing volume of international trade is one reason for concern.

“Trade is becoming increasingly global, and there is an ever-widening diversity of plants and plant material being traded around the world,” he told BBC News.

“There are examples of where pests or pathogens have been introduced, and it is very difficult to respond to them once they are within the EU.

“Prevention is much better than cure but identifying all of the risks is not always the easiest thing to do.”

Probably the most widely publicised pathogen isPhytophthora ramorum, a fungal organism which was suspected of being introduced to these shores via the plant trade. There is no treatment; infected trees have to be felled and removed from the natural environment.

Although it had been present at low levels in the UK for a number of years, in 2009 there was a sudden change in the pathogen’s behaviour. It was recorded infecting and killing the commercially important Japanese larch trees in South-West England.

It was the first time in the world that P. ramorumhad been found on a species of conifer. It has since been recorded affecting larch trees at sites in all four UK nations.

John Morgan, head of the Forestry Commission’s Plant Health Service observed: “We are still are pursuing a policy of reducing the level of the disease so then it does not spread further.

“If, over a number of years of felling, we can reduce its spread we can then preserve what we have left in terms of larch in forests.”

Dr Morgan added that the disease would not be eradicated: “Once something like that is established then we are purely looking at a policy of containment.

P. ramorum is definitely in the realms of containment strategies. By the time it was discovered in larches, it was too late.”

Experts say the symptoms to look out for on larch trees include dead and partially flushed trees present in groups, patches or distributed throughout a stand. An affected tree’s crown and branches die back, and there is a distinctive yellowing or ginger colour beneath the bark.

Unwelcomed guests

Another pest that was introduced to the UK as a result of human activity was the great spruce bark beetle.

“It clearly came into this country via wood that had not been debarked properly,” said Prof Evans.

“What was interesting – and I think this is [a] somewhat typical story – is that although we found it in 1982, our subsequent research found that it had been in the country at least 10 years prior to that.”

The beetle breeds under the bark and destroys the cambium (a layer of growing tissue that produces new cells to carry water, sugars and nutrients around the tree). This weakens the tree, and in most extreme cases, the damage can kill the tree.

As part of their research, Prof Evans said scientists quickly identified a possible “bio-control” option. They introduced a natural predator – another species of beetle called Rhizophagus grandis.

“We were able to bring that beetle in to the country; we got the very first licence for the release of a non-native species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

“It proved to be incredibly successful,” he told BBC News.

“[The great spruce bark beetle] did kill quite a few trees, but after the predator was introduced and we continued to monitor it for a few years, its population has dropped to a relatively low level. It is still spreading, but the predator seems to be following it.”

Preventing pests

Dr Morgan said UK control measures involved four stages.

“We try to prevent pest and diseases entering the country; then, if they have arrived, we switch to a policy of eradication to try and stop them becoming established,” he said.

“If they do become established then we try and follow a policy of containment which is to try and slow or stop the spread of the pest.

Finally, if all previous three efforts have failed then we operate a way that we can live with the particular pest or disease.”

There are a number of ways that scientists are able track the global or regional spread of a pest or pathogen, such as the EU Plant Health Directive that requires nations to report new outbreaks or new pathogens.

Another way data is shared among researchers is via bodies such as theEuropean Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization and theInternational Plant Protection Convention.

“Both of these organisations have notification systems where countries are able to report developments that might be of wider interest,” revealed Fera’s Richard McIntosh.

“We monitor that sort of intelligence, together with information that might be coming out via publications, and also what we are finding – such as what we are intercepting at the national borders.”

Mr McIntosh said this information is used to produce a document known as a Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), which looks at the risks, possible impacts and control of each organism within a UK context.

Wider impact

Andrew Sharkey, head of woodland management for the Woodland Trust, said the impact of pests and diseases often had ramifications that were felt beyond the individual trees that were infected.

“Two of our sites have been affect by [Phytophthora ramorum]… so we had to fell the larch on those sites,” he said.

“We are comfortable with this because it is good practice but it means that it has disrupted all of the site plans for those sites.

“The larches on one of the sites were on what we call ‘planted ancient woodlands’, which we were trying to restore back to native woodlands.

“This has an immediate impact on our biodiversity work and planning work.”

In 2011, Natural England’s Keith Kirby warned that the future well-being of the UK’s oak trees was at a crossroads because of the potential threat from a disease known as Acute Oak Decline (AOD), which experts warned could be as devastating to the treescape as Dutch elm disease.

Dr Kirby told BBC News that research was helping shed more light on dynamics of the mysterious disease.

“We are becoming more and more certain that it is basically a bacterial issue, and a beetle is involved in its spread. It appears that the problem is also exacerbated if the tree is under stress,” he said.

“But we are not that much further along in terms of knowing exactly how abundant or widespread it is.

“At the moment, it does not look as if it has gone beyond the East Midlands and southern England area, where most of the records have come from.”

As one of the UK’s leading woodland ecologists, Dr Kirby said people had to be philosophical about the fact that the composition of woodlands were going to change.

“We cannot attempt to maintain the mixtures that existed in the past,” he observed. “We have to accept that there will be change, and manage the dynamic situation.

“If you have got a changing environment, you cannot expect the communities and assemblages of species of past environments to survive.”

[Threatening the survival of trees can lead to disastrous effects such as Global Warming, soil erosion and desertification. With no roots to anchor the soil, the soil can be easily worn away when forms of precipitation such as snow and rain fall onto the bare soil. Coupled with the fact that over 80% of the bare soil are on sloped grounds, this can lead to faster rates of erosion and eutrophication can happen in nearby rivers or canals. Also since there is no tree cover to protect the soil, the bare ground is exposed to winds which can blow away the enriched topsoil, and the direct heat from the Sun can increase the rates of evaporation in the soil, causing more sand to accumulate and leads to the formation of deserts.]

[With the introduction of new species into an ecosystem, not only does this tip off the balance of the food web, but also endangers many other species of their habitats and survival. This has led to decline in many species and even led to extinctions. Refer to the post about ‘The Evil Quartet” to learn more.]

 

 

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Is a nuclear-free world even possible?

Written by Ho Yung Cher

Here is the link to the reference article: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_NUCLEAR_CLIMATE_CHANGE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Japan’s recent nuclear crisis has shattered confidence in nuclear energy all around the world. The sheer scale of the disaster has generated massive repercussions that saw governments such as Germany and Switzerland abandon nuclear energy, and people marching the streets of Australia, Japan and even India. However, proponents of nuclear energy argue that shutting down nuclear reactors will be damaging to the economy, and even increase carbon emissions. While their objections are understandable, I believe that doing away with nuclear energy will present a greater benefit to the environment.

Nuclear energy has always presented itself as an attractive and efficient power source for developing countries keen on reducing their carbon footprints. Developing countries such as Indonesia, Chile and Kazakhstan have plans to build nuclear reactors to fuel their proliferating energy consumption. With nuclear energy, they are able to reduce carbon emissions without compromising on economic growth, as it is only way in which such large amounts of energy can be generated cleanly. Thus, it would be difficult to replace nuclear energy with another equally efficient method of energy production.

Despite the many benefits presented by nuclear energy, critics are still wary of the potential hazards and other environmental problems posed. The recent Fukushima disaster is a materialisation of such fears. As a result, the Japanese government has decided to shut down all nuclear reactors, with Germany and Switzerland expected to follow suit. Although nuclear programmes pose a minimal hazard to the environment if run effectively, the truth is that most programmes are lax in their management, leading to a slew of radiation leaks in recent years. Nuclear energy is a double-edged sword. With high energy production and minimal carbon emissions, come tonnes of harmful radioactive nuclear waste, which will stay radioactive for millions of years.

Some say, decommissioning nuclear reactors are a step backward in reducing carbon emissions, but I personally feel that doing so will take countries further in their commitment to the environment. The switch to fossil fuels in lieu of nuclear energy to meet energy demands would inadvertently lead to increased carbon emissions, something that Japan has been working assiduously to avoid. Japan pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 25% before 2020, in accordance to the Kyoto Protocol. This would undoubtedly pressurise it to reduce its emissions, which can lead to the allocation of more funds for investments in renewable energy, a sector in desperate need of expansion in Japan. Furthermore, decommissioning nuclear reactors would also eradicate future recurrences of nuclear accidents and the generation of toxic nuclear waste, consequently propelling Japan towards a sustainable and greener future.

While developed countries previously built nuclear reactors as a show of technological prowess, many are beginning to contend with the problem of ageing plants built during the Cold War era. Since then, the political focus has shifted greatly from that of competitiveness to sustainability. As such, developed nations with the capability to invest more in renewable energy should seriously reconsider phasing out nuclear power, and diversify their energy sources.

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Deforestation: An omen to the end of humans?

Written by Chua Zen Zhong

Here is the link to the reference article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13449792

Deforestation is a relevant topic when it comes to the survival of human kind. Conservation efforts in the past few decades have not managed to stop the wave of deforestation in many countries over the world, and as the number of trees lessens, humans too will be affected. Sooner or later, there will be repercussions as a result of excessive logging, such that humans will lose their oxygen supply with declining numbers of trees, and several problems will arise when paper from trees runs out as well. Even though several countries have the autonomy to carry on deforestation for economic benefits, such as the processing then sale of the cut-down trees and the acquiring of valuable land to sell, the world needs to look at efforts to persuade these countries to stop before it’s too late. I believe strongly that deforestation is also the key to postponing global warming, so that we can gain time to find a solution to it. In the article, it seems that deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost six fold, and this is extremely distressing to hear.

If the question is whether the loggers are at fault, then I think they are not. It is more of the conglomerates who are fighting among themselves to get a slice of the deforestation pie, as deforestation is actually creating lots of business opportunities. Estate development is just one. Imagine, take a deep breath, and within the time you took to breathe, the size of 2 soccer fields worth of trees would have been cut down. This is the extreme rate of deforestation that is taking place today, and what would happen once all the trees have been cut down? Not only would we lose our source of oxygen, the animals and other inhabitants of the forests will die out without a suitable habitat to live in.

Deforestation will lead to many different consequences if it is continued, too many of which will affect mankind. We must certainly prevent the corporations out there who wish to expand the industry of deforestation from continuing the destruction of nature, and I feel that we should urge all the people out there to start replanting, to once again bring back Mother Nature and to ultimately preserve our own existence.

There has been talk of a paperless society as well, where paper is no longer needed, when everything is done on laptops and other advanced technology. Think about it though, when you go to the toilet and after excreting waste, you find that there is no toilet paper to clean up. That is just one of the possible things that will happen once we run of trees, then paper in general. Recycling cannot keep up with the pace of paper wastage, so we will indeed run out. Will scientists be able to find a solution to all these practical situations which require paper by then? I for one highly doubt so. We must act now to stop deforestation.

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