Conservation News

 
 


Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


 

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Category: Lifestyle changes can make a difference

  1. Palau - islands making a difference

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    What’s special about Palau?

    It’s an island situated in the western part of the Pacific ocean and it consists of one large volcanic island and several smaller coral reef associated islands.

    It’s small.  But it takes action.

    Palau is imposing a widespread ban on sunscreen in order to protect its coral reefs.  This ban will come into effect in 2020.

    The sale and use of sunscreen and skincare products which have a list of 10 different chemicals will be restricted.  Researchers believe that these ingredients are highly toxic to marine life.  They can also make coral more susceptible to bleaching.  The ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate are particularly believed to make coral more susceptible. 

    Palau has taken the lead in protecting marine life before.

    Back in 2015 it designated almost its entire ocean territory as a marine protected zone.

    It was the second nation to ratify the 2016 Paris climate agreement.

    Thousands of visitors go to Palau every year – and the islands are determined to protect their coral reefs.

    As well as sunscreen, reefs are also threatened by sea water warming, over fishing, nutrient enrichment and pollution. These all need to be stopped to halt the continuing degradation of reef ecosystems.

    But that said, there is always more that can be done, we have to start somewhere, so thank you Palau for leading the way and showing that action can be taken.

    After all, many visitors to come to see the coral reefs in all their beauty, not bleached coral reefs in a terrible state.

    There are bans in other places.  Mexico has banned sunscreen in nature reserves.   The Island of Bonaire in the Caribbean and the state of Hawaii have also passed laws. 

    But Palau is leading the way as it covers 10 chemicals.

    Needless to say, some of the big corporates who produce sunscreen products are sulking, saying that there isn’t enough evidence of the impact on coral.  But some have come together to form the Safe Sunscreen Council and they’ve welcomed the move. 

    Come on other nations – if little Palau can do it, why can’t you? 

    Visit also Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, a nonprofit organization working for healthy coral reefs, clean ocean water and abundant native fish for the islands of Maui Nui 

  2. Apathy kills, action inspires

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    It’s very motivating to browse the internet and come across something which really strikes into your heart.

    The sort of thing I’m thinking of spurs you to take action – not just to want to take action, but to actually do it.

    How often do we come away having read something, thinking," That’s terrible," and then go on as if we had read nothing or not been affected at all?

    The key to successful wildlife conservation is to moving people literally to take action, to do something, in whatever way we all can, to do something to save this wildlife on this planet and most particularly, to save and protect their habitats. 

    Number of actions for wildlife...
    ___________________________________________________________

    0                          2              3              4              5              6              7                         

                    1 action
                    is better than
                    no action at all

    The good thing about taking one action is that we tend to feel good about doing it.  And often we may think, "That was easy!  What else can I do?"  Sometimes it’s just the getting started and doing something however little time it takes.

    The one thing wildlife cannot afford at all is for us all to sit at the zero action position. 

    We need a total army of people who will move from the zero point to doing stuff.  And if each of us already do stuff, we need to do more.

    E.O.Wilson is a scientist.  In his book Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life , (which inspires us to set aside half of the earth’s surface for nature), Mr Wilson writes:

    “To those who are steering the growth of reserves worldwide, let me make an earnest request:  don’t stop, just aim a lot higher.”

    We all need to act for the sake of wildlife and this beautiful planet of ours.

    Please take an action to help wildlife today.  One way is to support those already working to grow and protect reserves around the world or protecting the wildlife already there.

     

     

  3. T-shirts to help plant trees

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    I've got to say, I just love Ecosia.   They're a search engine and I use it a lot to have a good rummage around the internet.

    It's a simple formula - you search, they plant trees and it doesn't cost you a penny :-) Ecosia uses 100% of its profits to plant trees where they're needed most.  So far over 34 million trees have been planted and Ecosia are aiming to plant one BILLION.   It's a journey I'm really to help with, and it's so good to see that many people are joining in as well. 

    So I was really pleased to discover that Ecosia now have an online shop and you can buy things like t-shirts, tops, jumpers and hoodies. 

    Their products are made from organic cotton and they're printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory.  

    And best of all - All profits from their organic apparel go directly towards one of Ecosia’s reforestation projects.  

    I've ordered one of their t-shirts - this one below - for 21.50 euros, plus postage and packaging.  Ecosia have a range of them.   Click on the t-shirt below to see their online shop! 

    Visit Ecosia's online shop

     

    Buying and wearing one of their t-shirts or other clothing items will be a great way to pass the message of the importance of trees on and give people an immediate and very easy way to help :-) 

     

  4. Arctic Sea Ice Day is on 15th July....

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    This morning I was on the website of Polar Bears International.   They are the only organization dedicated to wild polar bears and they know a great deal about them – they are the true experts when it comes to these magnificent animals.

    The non-profit organisation exists to help secure a future for polar bears across the Arctic and they are based in the US and Canada.

    A news item on their website caught my attention about Arctic Sea Ice Day which takes place on 15th July.   Written by BJ Kirschhoffer, Director of Field Operations, it talks about sea ice.

    Kirschhoffer says sea ice is an essential habitat for polar bears – he describes it as "a frozen platform that allows an entire ecosystem to function".

    He goes on to explain that sea ice can take the form of large expanses of flat ice, with snow on top.  Or, it can be small pieces which float like ice pieces in a glass of water. 

    Scientists have been mapping the sea ice extent with satellites since 1979 and they’ve produced charts with its reach and coverage. 

    And this summer, Kirschhoffer was asked to join a Quark Expedition ship as a representative of Polar Bears International, to talk about polar bears and why sea ice is so important to them.

    Kirschhoffer says the trip was amazing and he saw a great deal of wildlife - the polar bear, the bowhead whale, ivory gull, walrus, ringed and bearded seal, reindeer, arctic fox, puffin, king eider, common eider, guillemot, auk, and geese.

    But he realized the trip was in early June.  The boat shouldn’t have been able to travel in and around Spitsbergen and the islands without having trouble with ice.   In the past, straits and fjords were packed with ice or totally frozen.  Travel would have been impossible. 

    This year however, the ship had near total freedom to sail.   The Svalbard Ice area was well below the 1981 to 2010 average for sea ice extent.  It was also well below the minimum sea ice ever recorded for 1981-2010, at just below 200,000 square kilometers.

    Almost all the wildlife Kirschhoffer saw on the trip requires sea ice for survival.  

    So Polar Bears International are asking us all to share their 10 facts about Arctic sea ice as widely as we can so that people understand why it matters and to get involved in their efforts and help reverse the trend.

    The most important fact for me is the one which says we can do something about the loss of sea ice.  Everyone can help.

    Polar Bears International says: "The key to getting the climate system back to functioning the way it should, and to preserving a future for polar bears across the Arctic, is to move away from using fossil fuels for energy altogether. "

    We need to use far less of the kind of energy that adds heat-trapping gases to our atmosphere and move towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

    This will help reduce the carbon emissions that are causing the planet to warm and the sea ice to melt.

    Help save ice by:

    1. Find out about your local and regional renewable energy options and programs.  What can you tap into?

    2. Supporting a state/province/country-wide renewable energy program.
    Let local leaders know that you want efficiency standards and renewable energy sources for constructing, heating, cooling, and lighting the places where we all work and live.

    3. Sharing their new Arctic Sea Ice Day video filmed in Svalbard, and encourage others to join your efforts!  Share, share and share to show how we can all make a difference at home and influence decisions on where our energy comes from. 

    Please share Polar Bears International's information about the Arctic sea ice and how we can reverse the trend.

    It will help polar bears and an entire ecosystem and benefit all our wellbeing.