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2010 International Year of Biodiversity. Ongoing extinction at 1000 times natural rate: most species to disappear in <100 years

2010 International Year of Biodiversity. In the logo, symbolizing biodiversity, include fish, waves, a flamingo, an adult and child, and a tree.
Top: baby harp seal. Bottom: green sea turtles
Green sea turtles, whose ancestors evolved on land and took to the sea to live about 150 million years ago, are one of the few species so ancient that they watched the dinosaurs evolve and become extinct.
Top: deforestation; Bottom: Ecuadorian Poison Frog, Epipedobates bilinguis, transporting its tadpoles.

(quote)

World's biodiversity crisis needs action, says UN. With species extinction running at about 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate, some biologists contend that we are in the middle of the Earth's sixth great extinction - the previous five stemming from natural events such as asteroid impacts.

The United Nations has launched the International Year of Biodiversity, warning that the ongoing loss of species around the world is affecting human well being. Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met.  read more »

Filmmaker to swim across Pacific & Garbage Patch, floating mass of plastic junk size of North America, 10-meters deep

Left: Tons of garbage that swept down the Los Angeles River after a storm is corralled by a boom in Long Beach, Ca. Most plastic trash makes its way to the ocean and can be found washed up on beaches around the world. Right: Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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The floating mass of plastic junk - almost the size of the Northern Territory - in the Pacific is an environmental catastrophe: "...the nature of the problem is so immense and the fact it doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of any particular country means as a cause it's kind of like the runt of the litter, something that no particular country wants to take responsibility for." According to the United Nations Environment Program, it causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 mammals including whales, dolphins, turtles and seals.
The north pacific garbage patch on a continuous ocean map. Like other areas of concentrated marine debris in the world's oceans, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch formed gradually as a result of marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents.  read more »

Faster than predicted: Himalayan glacier'll disappear..endanger water resource. Nepal: world highest Cabinet meeting at Everest

Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal raises his hand in support of a document highlighting the negative impacts of global warming on Nepal's Himalayas during a special cabinet meeting in Kalapathar, a flat area at an altitude of 17,192 feet (5,250 meters) next to Everest base camp, in Nepal, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009

(quote)

Faster than predicted: Himalayan glacier decapitated, endangers water resources

Energy companies remove the tops of entire mountains. Now it turns out humanity’s use of that coal is removing the tops of entire glaciers. Climate models have repeatedly underestimated the speed and scale of major climate change impacts. That is why climate scientists - and indeed everyone but the blinkered deniers - are increasingly desperate that the we cut emissions sharply and quickly.

Mount Everest: The rise in global temperatures could result in the Himalayan glaciers disappearing within 30 years. UN experts say glaciers in the Himalayas could all be gone by 2035.  read more »

Dubai's 59-billion debt from artificial modernity, free-spending & consuming while depleting what nature provides

the city-state Dubai

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"This came as a big shock" – that Dubai is in debt by 59 billion and might not be able to pay its bills sent a wave of uncertainty rippling through markets just as investors thought the worst of the global financial instability was over. Once, Dubai was "like the new beacon for all the world's money" [HOME, the 2009 documentary]... "Dubai has endless sun, but no solar panels. It is the totem of total modernity that never fails to amaze the world. Nothing seems further removed from nature than Dubai, although nothing depends on nature more than Dubai. Dubai is a sort of culmination of the western model - we haven't understood that we're depleting what nature provides."

the four towers, ranging from 54 to 97 floors, are clustered to form a choreographed sculpture

2009 Docu- mentary Film: HOME  read more »

Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap rapidly retreats, 85% of 1912's ice cover vanished..recent surface melting not occurred over 11700 yrs

ice cap of Mount Kilimanjaro has been reduced by more than 80% since it was first mapped in 1912 and it is anticipated to be completely gone in 20 years

comparison of area covered by ice cap (snow) at Mt. Kilimanjaro between Feb. 1993 and Feb. 2000

Kilimanjaro, taken from British Airways flight

(quote)

The ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has continued to retreat rapidly, declining 26 percent since 2000, scientists say in a new report. 85% of the ice cover that was present in 1912 has vanished. It is anticipated to be completely gone in 20 years. Surface melting like that seen in recent years has not occurred over the last 11,700 years.

The impact of these events and the precursor that they offer of the trends to follow e.g. - droughts, intensified storms, floods, sea level increase and famine, are all a result of global warming which, according to an organization (IPCC) of 2,500 scientists from 130 countries is a result of human-caused activities that produce greenhouse gases.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Yann Arthus-Bertrand / HOME, National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) for Tanzania, and Wikipedia  read more »

Vietnam: 1/3 of delta, where 17 mil ppl live, half country's rice is grown, may be submerged if sea rises by 3 ft

a foreign tourist wades on a flooded street in the town of Hoi An

(quote)

In a worse-case projection, a Vietnamese government report released last month says that more than one-third of the delta, where 17 million people live and nearly half the country’s rice is grown, could be submerged if sea levels rise by 3 feet in the decades to come. In a more modest projection, it calculates that one-fifth of the delta would be flooded, said Tran Thuc, who leads Vietnam’s National Institute for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Sciences and is the chief author of the report. Storm surges could periodically raise that level, he said, and experts say an intrusion of salt water and industrial pollution could contaminate much of the remaining delta area.

a woman surveys the flooded streets of Hoi An from a boat

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of AFP / Getty and EPA

Original Source: NY Times

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