Insurers already paying for humans harming nature
Hong Kong foils poachers, Scientists finger poisons
What’s behind ecocide? Money. What’s before ecolibrium? The same. Recalling the equinox, we trim, blend, and append four 2012 articles from: (1) msnbc, Mar 17, on honeybees; (2) Reuters, Mar 27, on abalone; (3) AFP, Mar 21, on oceans; and (4) AP, Mar 28, on Lloyd’s.
by msnbc, by Reuters, by AFP, and Associated Press
Honeybee die-offs linked to insecticide, study say
A newly published study draws a stronger link between mass die-offs of honeybees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and an insecticide widely used on corn.
Bees play a critical role in the pollination of crops, and thus a threat to bee colonies can potentially affect entire ecosystems.
The latest study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, focuses on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. The pesticides are popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but are less toxic to other animals. Springtime die-offs of honeybees coincided with the introduction in Europe in the late 1990s of neonicotinoids as coatings of the corn seeds.
The scientists postulated that bees were flying through clouds of the insecticide created by automated planting machines that expel a burst of air with high concentrations of pesticide-coated particles.
Even before the latest study, some researchers had identified neonicotinoids as a potential factor in bee die-offs, along with other pesticides, tracheal and Varroa mites, the Nosema fungus and a variety of viruses. Some European countries, including Italy, have limited or suspended the use of neonicotinoids. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, continues to allow their use in the United States.
To read more .
JJS: Our fellow Earthlings’ suffering is the consequence -- whether intended or not -- of our actions.
Hong Kong returns poached abalone haul to S Africa
A massive haul of the gourmet mollusc abalone that was illegally harvested in South Africa has returned to the country after it was seized in Hong Kong.
Rampant poaching has decimated the abalone population in South Africa's coastal waters to feed demand for the high-priced delicacy in Asia, where the molluscs have also been over harvested, forcing buyers to look elsewhere.
The 2.6 tons of abalone will be auctioned, with the proceeds going to a fund aimed at protecting South Africa's marine resources.
Between 2007 and 2009, South African officials confiscated 107 tonnes of abalone. But this was believed to be only a fraction of the abalone illicitly harvested.
Abalone cling to rocks in fairly shallow waters just off the coast, making them a relatively easy target for divers who pry them loose with knives.
To read more .
JJS: It’s not just the creatures of the sea whom we harm thoughtlessly but also the sea itself.
Climate change damage to oceans to cost $2 trillion
Greenhouse gases are likely to result in annual costs of nearly $2 trillion in damage to the oceans by 2100.
The estimate by the Stockholm Environment Institute is based on the assumption that climate-altering carbon emissions continue their upward spiral without a pause.
Warmer seas will lead to greater acidification and oxygen loss, hitting fisheries and coral reefs.
Rising sea levels and storms will boost the risk of flood damage, especially around the coastlines of Africa and Asia.
The cost in 2050 will be $428 billion annually, or 0.25 percent of global domestic product (GDP).
If emissions take a lower track, and warming is limited to 2.2 C (4 F), the cost in 2050 would be $105 billion, or 0.06 percent of worldwide GDP.
These figures do not take into account the bill for small island states swamped by rising seas. Nor do they include the impact of warming on the ocean's basic processes, such as nutrient recycling, which are essential to life.
To read more .
JJS: Those costs are already starting to be felt.
Lloyd's of London loses $822 million in 2011
Lloyd's of London reported a big loss for 2011, which proved to be the second-costliest year ever in terms of natural catastrophe claims for the global insurance industry.
Lloyd's, a society of corporate underwriters and wealthy individuals that make insurance transactions through 88 syndicates, said it lost 516 million pounds ($822 million) on net claims of 12.9 billion pounds.
The claims included 4.6 billion pounds for catastrophes, the largest amount in that category in Lloyd's 324-year history. Total claims from natural catastrophes for the global insurance industry in 2011 were $107 billion, second only to $120 billion in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina in the United States.
Major catastrophe claims followed flooding in Australia in January, the second earthquake in New Zealand in February, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, a deadly series of tornadoes in the United States in April and May, and the floods in Thailand from July.
Lloyd's said it was confident of meeting the European Union's Solvency II regulations on the insurance industry in 2013. Uncertainty about the cost of the new regulations has led one major British insurer, Prudential, to say it was examining the possibility of moving its headquarters out of London.
To read more .
JJS: These ecological problems do have an economic solution.
Peter Smith: This Saturday, March 31, in a live webcast , I will I help pass sentence on the world’s most heinous wildlife criminals in a ground-breaking mock trial under a proposed new law of ecocide.
I will be in helping sentence The Chief Executives of two fictional oil companies for major environmental destruction, in a world-first legal process. Top lawyers including Michael Mansfield QC will take part in the mock sentencing at the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex.
I will be helping these fictitious big bosses understand the destruction their actions inflict on nature and what we can do to prevent it.
It will also be my proposal in the process of restorative justice that it is possible to have a thriving economy, employment and a healthy environment through a simple change in our taxation system. The simple process of transferring taxes from incomes and commerce to the use of land and natural resources will solve the majority of our crimes against nature. I will propose that such a system will stimulate the switch from a stagnating economy with massive monopoly income for those that control land and natural resources to a thriving economy that destroys natural monopolies, seeking out technologies that value nature, and at the same time does not penalize hard work and commerce with taxes. Such a system will put a real value on nature and land, saving its natural wealth for our future generations.
It will be available from this website: click here .
JJS: Along with the needed reform of shifting taxes, I wonder if also needed is a shift of subsidies? Perhaps we should not underwrite the entrenched grey ways of fossil fuels, strip mining, clear-cutting, automobile dependency, etc. Further, perhaps we should not keep humans alienated from Earth’s bounty but share her fruits, reconnecting this dominant species to our Mother in all the ways that matter.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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