Category Archives: Opinions
Sometimes it is hard to look at the future with optimism. We seem to be facing crises in every facet of life, be it the humanitarian, environmental or economic side. From the ongoing pandemic to the antimicrobial resistance crisis, to climate change and the biodiversity crisis, it’s clear we need to be coming up with innovative solutions left right and centre and, just as importantly, acting on them effectively.
All the aforementioned crises directly affect one of the world’s most pressing concerns – food security. The human population is growing and with it, food demand. Meanwhile, food security is diminishing.Read more
Described by the United States Department of Agriculture as the “most expensive animal heath incident recorded in U.S. history”, the 2014-2015 avian influenza outbreak rocked the United States.Read more
This is a guest post by Aife Kearns.
What does it take to make farmers care about biodiversity?
Not much, is the answer. They already care a lot.
In which case, what does it take to make them do something about it?Read more
Zoos have taken many forms since they first appeared thousands of years ago. What started as a collection of animals purely for the sake of royal entertainment has gradually evolved into a public source of education, conservation, and entertainment. When you ask someone to picture a zoo, they no longer picture an animal behind bars. However, it’s taken a long time for zoos to become bastions of conservation from their starting point as hallmarks of animal cruelty.Read more
Image Credit: Sharkcrew, CC BY-SA 4.0, Image Cropped
In February 2022, a British swimmer was killed by a great white shark (Carcharadon carcharias) near Sydney, Australia. Unsurprisingly, this gained significant media attention. State authorities launched a search for the culprit, with the aim of culling/relocating it away from people. This plan would seem, on the surface, to make perfect sense – shark ate human, make it go away. Yet this logic is largely based on a widespread misconception, and an outdated theory that science has long since abandoned.Read more
Let’s face it, IPCC reports are never a fun read. They’re a damming assessment of our ability to take care of the only planet we’ve got. Piecing through them to find the key takeaways is likewise a tough task, but since the final report (for this round) has now been submitted, I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learned going through each step of the report over the last year.Read more
The urgency behind the most recent IPCC report has thankfully garnered it a lot of attention worldwide*. It’s a report that was very frank in its desperation for people to take this threat as seriously as possible. Yet both this report and the one that hit us in February also made mention of one other key factor that has been swept under the rug – the ability of functioning ecosystems to both mediate and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Alongside a wealth of other benefits we gain from biodiversity, ecosystems play vital roles in helping us withstand the rigours of climate change. Wetlands and rivers protect us from increased flooding. Forests help mitigate extreme heat waves. Peatlands, mires, and permafrost are all crucial carbon sinks. Yet as species disappear, these ecosystems deteriorate, as pieces of the complicated web that they’re made up of disappear. It’s why the concept of mass extinction is so frightening.
But what is mass extinction? We often hear about the concept of a mass extinction, and the question of whether we’re currently in the sixth mass extinction is constantly thrown around. So let’s have a quick look at exactly what extinction itself means, what a mass extinction is, and why it’s increasingly obvious that we’re in one.Read more