There are many articles out every day that I want to read. Most often I then want to talk about them, ideally over a tea or a pint (with pie or cake). Needless to say I don’t have the time to read this many articles every day, let alone chat about them, nor the money to invest in pints, pie and cake so frequently…
So how does you chose what to read? Further than that, how do you go on to digest information, understand it and form your own opinion? Having 20+ un-read open internet tabs on your desktop, sitting un-red for days,
does not work (can’t fault me for trying).
A good way to get me to read some was to want to write about them – enter blog post! Perhaps you will find this list of recent environmental topics interesting, as I do.
1) Knowledge of the Ocean’s biodiversity, vulnerability and current state of health…
We now have a wealth of knowledge about our oceans. Tourists spend huge amounts diving and companies spend HUGE amounts on discovery (e.g. someone I know helped find this wreck which know has £1000s of funding) . I recently dived off Nusa Lembongan with Manta Rays and on coral walls, which was a stunning experience. You can identify Manta Rays individually by their markings, increasing understanding of their behaviour.
Seeing as it is so obvious to some people that the oceans are precious (including one of my all time heroes, David Attenbough, see this interview), I would urge everyone to have some awareness of correct, up to date information about the current state and importance of our oceans. It helps if know a little about it’s health – see the Ocean Health Assessment (the clue is in the name). It also helps if people communicate information (like this fantastic insight into deep sea trawling) is easy to understand, interesting ways , see this great RIO +20 video and simple education like “What’s the problem with tuna fishing in the Coral Triangle?” . Technology is helping us access information more and more easily , case and point is the underwater street map! recently launched by google.
I’m hoping there will be increasing stories like “Marine Protected Areas increase 10-fold in a decade” , and less like “Half of Great Barrier Reef ‘disappeared’ in past 27 years“.
2) Contrasting, confusing information shows areas that need to be focused on – one step at a time.
Conservation can work, from small articles – where endangered species can begin to increase in number (example here from Indonesia, October 23rd) , to books full of stories which prove species are not yet lost!, see for example Jane Goodall‘s Hope for Animals and Their World. But the next day (October 24th), after numbers are increasing, illegal trade is very high in the same geographical location (see here)! With so many people I admire working in conservation, including many friends, fingers crossed for so much fantastic work going on at the moment, including of course OuTrop , Imperial’s Conservation Science group and prominent ecological research – which recently helped produced this fantastic tree of life (DISCLAIMER: If you ever want to work productively again, do not enter this site).
3) Lastly some up to date information on two pieces of UK environmental news, both which need any action to be based on the science on the species in question…
The badger cull; I think, seeing as…
a) The badger cull has no sound scientific, economic or moral basis
b) Badger cull ‘mindless’, say scientists
c) Postponement and out voting by the public and MPs (campaign information here), causing delay
d) Brian May always knows best, see here
… this cull is not the best idea since sliced bread or pie for dinner.
Ash dieback , Chalara fraxinea ; As a walker and a lover of the English country side, ash die back and the species it threatens . Anger from the Forestry commission, have been followed suggestions of how to reduce the spread. Interesting point of view here from forest scientist with different methods to help the trees survive. Trees in Scotland are being surveyed, trees to have no where to run and many endangered species are now threatened through loss of habitat.
Hopefully something based on scientific research can be done to cull the Chalara and not the badgers.