Farewell Species #1…. :(

The Morrison government in Australia has formally recognised the extinction of a small island rodent, the Bramble Cay melomys. The first known demise of a mammal because of human-induced climate change. Disgusting news.

It’s not a big, iconic or ‘sexy’ species and therefore it won’t get much coverage in the media. But hold on to your hats, because guys this is seriously important.

The extinction of the Bramble Cay melomys is understood to be the first mammal killed off by human-led climate change.

Image credit: Queensland Government

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three meters high, left it vulnerable to climate change. However, its 2008 so called “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the imminent and eventual risks.

“The likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

And we laaaaughed and laughed (OR NOT!!!)…..

The federal policy director for the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, said preparation for the plan was limited, and it was never reviewed at its completion in 2013 – but why the hell not?!

“The Bramble Cay melomys was a little brown rat,” Mr Beshara said. “But it was our little brown rat and it was our responsibility to make sure it persisted. And we failed.”

Call me a pessimist, but my gut tells me this will be the first of many species to go extinct due to our undiscriminating behavior. We seriously need to buckle up and push our conservation efforts forward, with a more COLLABORATIVE approach. Easier said then done with little government backing, I’m aware…

 

Information taken from: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/our-little-brown-rat-first-climate-change-caused-mammal-extinction-20190219-p50yry.html

A Coral For Help…

I was reading a recent BBC news article earlier today about the desperate situation at Maya Beach in Thailand. A once idyllic and flourishing beach that became littered and ecologically damaged due to it being a popular tourist destination. A huge increase in tourists was subsequent to the filming at Maya Beach of the feature film ‘The Beach’ during the mid 90’s. A huge conservation effort, including a total shutdown of the beach itself and the surrounding bay, has lead to the local ecology starting to recover. Yay!

But this got me thinking… (always dangerous..)

Perhaps the Maya Beach recovery is a sign that Thailand is turning a page in its effort to preserve its precious natural resources. But for a nation so dependent on tourists and their cash, it could also just be proof of how grim a situation has to get before enforced action to help the local biodiversity. The total area experiencing coral reef damage in Thailand has increased from 30% to 77% in just one decade! Staggering.

Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a marine scientist from Kasetsart University (who studied Maya Bay and the area for 40 years and was hired by the ministry to survey the environmental damage and lead the rehabilitation) blames polluted water (most often released by beachfront hotels) and plastic waste dumped into the ocean as the main causes of damage to coral reefs in this area.

mayabay2Figure.1. This satellite image shows the huge conservation efforts put in place to save Maya Beach and the wildlife that inhabits there.

Globally, coral reef health is declining at an unprecedented rate and tourism plays its part in this. So in the spirit of this article, I feel it necessary to highlight the need for better responsible tourism at vulnerable habitat spots and I cant help but feel this boils down to three key things. Education, research and of course, funding.

 

Information source and BBC news article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_beach_nobody_can_touch

Time to Clear up Our Act…

As well as being unsightly, litter is a serious social, economic and environmental problem. It causes harm to communities and wildlife, and in an era where local authorities’ budgets are coming under increasing pressure, costs over £1billion each year to clear up. Yet it is entirely preventable. By us.

“In the past few decades we have become a society that consumes on the go, with all the packaging that goes along with it. If you buy something – be it a packet of crisps or a bottle of water – you buy the packaging as well and it is your responsibility to dispose of that packaging appropriately by recycling it or putting it in the bin. And, if we’re not near a bin we need to keep that rubbish with us until we are. To do otherwise is not only against the law but it is also damaging to our environment.” – CEO of Keep Britain Tidy (Allison Ogden-Newton)

Person Holding Plastic Bottles and Hose#

For any Londoners reading this; The Port of London Authority (PLA) have a system whereby when you collect litter during a foreshore/river clean, you can report your findings through their website and contribute to a valuable database, enabling crucial research.

Link to PLA website: https://server1.pla.co.uk/Environment/Reporting-your-Thames-litter-clean-up

 

 

A Mountain of a Problem…

“A child born today will see an Everest largely free of glaciers within their lifetime.”

Would this be the case if global warming wasn’t ‘a thing’? Absolutely not.

Is this ok? Absolutely not.

Will it make a difference? Absolutely, yes.

Thousands of organisms rely on glaciers as their ecosystem. No glaciers equals a huge loss in some very important organisms, both micro and macroscopic.

Sorry to be all doom and gloom, but I just cannot understand for the life of me why this is not at the forefront of news. Too frustrating for words really…. So I’ll just write a whole paragraph on it…

Glaciers reveal clues about global warming. For example, how much does our atmosphere naturally warm up between Ice Ages? And how does human activity affect the climate? Glaciers are incredibly sensitive to temperature fluctuations following climate change and direct glacier observation may help answer these questions. Since the early twentieth century, with few exceptions, glaciers around the world have been shrinking at unprecedented rates. Many scientists believe this massive glacial retreat relates back to the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1760. The hideous fact is that several ice caps, glaciers and ice shelves have disappeared altogether in this century, with many retreating so rapidly that they may vanish within just a matter of decades…

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