Good job Mr President – Your action plan for the environment is the best

President er, Trump,

(Apologies for stumbling a little over placing your name after the P word)
You are a guy true to your word. If we ever suspected those campaign promises were just empty political slogans, you sure proved us wrong. You really meant what you said. Wow!

So cool to have a strong hand at the tiller at last when it comes to the environment. If I can hold your attention for five minutes – a big ask I know – you might want to take a look when we’re getting near the end of this page at what those losers your predecessors had to say on the topic.

Jeez, their sappy ideas were never going to get us the American Dream. But now we have you in the Oval Office, we can go for broke!

Now who is it you’ve fingered for the Environment Protection Agency? Oh yeah, Scott Pruitt. Great choice. Mr Pruitt has an fine record on the environment. Isn’t he the same guy that took the EPA to court a dozen or so times in six years? I guess he took exception to the Clean Water Act being rolled out even further – who wouldn’t? And then there were those irritating rules about coal-fired power plants. He showed’em!

“Excessive regulation is killing jobs”, you say. Well Scottie’s right behind you, 110%, and now he has free rein, we’ll see some hatchet action at last. To quote another of your gems Sir, environmental protections are “out of control”.

I for one can’t wait to see Scottie light a match under all that crappy red tape. How can the hustlers keep lining their pockets, with tiresome stuff like that tying them in knots. Regulations regulations regulations – a nightmare getting in the way of the American Dream.

Now you Mr President are the Real Deal. Billionaire with fingers in multitudinous multinational pies, bestower of the noble name of Trump on real estate around the world, you Donald J Trump are the embodiment, there for all to see, of the American Dream we all aspire to.

(Your business acumen when you “bullied the small businesses that occupy the ground floor of [your] namesake Fifth Avenue skyscraper, jacking up rental prices and then suing tenants when they fought back. Court documents reveal a pattern of legal disputes within Trump Tower over the years, in which [you] the billionaire real-estate developer routinely deployed lawyers to harass the very people funding [your] extravagant and ostentatious lifestyle on the 66th floor.”¹ Wow and wow again. I am taking notes!

But let’s stick with the environment. I admit I’m a bit confused. If I understand it right, the EPA says its mission is “to protect human health and the environment — air, water and land.” Call me dumb but I can’t quite seem to square that with Mr Pruitt’s vision for it. Which is basically, to trash all that hooey getting in the way of jobs, business and ‘the marketplace’. Am I right?

yellowstone-national-park-1581879_960_720

Well, maybe best to scrap the EPA altogether then? Ah, already there on your To Do List of Executive Orders. I should have known you’d be on top of it. As I see it, leaving a federal agency in charge of America’s land, air and water is asking for the bureaucrats to poke their noses in where they’re not wanted. They just put roadblocks in the way of a guy’s rightful pursuit of the almighty dollar -er, I mean happiness. (Isn’t it the same thing?)

Can we hope the ESA² will go the same way? Those wolves, bears and bison are just being allowed to run wild.

Good job freezing regulations that loser you kicked out the White House left still in the pipeline – that’s the bad kind of pipeline. Generally you favour them I know. We’ll get to that in a just a minute.

Love, just love your latest Executive Order pushing through the Regulatory Reform Agenda. Out with the old curbs on business, and in with as little as you can get away with of the new. Regulations regulations regulations. One new one in, two old ones out, just like you promised. Genius!

Those Greenpeace wusses can’t hack it. Wouldn’t you just expect them to say something dumb like, “This executive order will put Trump’s unvetted corporate minions above experts at our federal agencies in charge of protecting our water, our land and our climate.” But heck, who listens to them?

Take Standing Rock. That spineless ex-Pres. left those darn water protectors there for months.  But you had them out in days. That’s the way to do business. ‘Water-protectors’ – ha! More like Big-Oil-obstructors. If we start worrying about indigenous people’s rights and hysterical fears of pollution who knows where it will end. We totally need to stamp hard on anyone that gets in the way of our go-getters and our monolithic corporations making themselves richer and richer by the day. It’s plain anti-American to think any different.

And as for so-called ‘climate change’, I wouldn’t expect a man of your intellect to fall for that hogwash. It’s nothing but pseudo-science. Your nuggets of wisdom on that fake news deserve another airing:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” @realDonaldTrump

“It’s real cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” @realDonaldTrump

One more thing Sir, can you please hurry up with that wall? It’s not just the foreigners. We need to keep out all that pesky wildlife as well.

So if you got this far Mr President – and I expect you will since I’ve said such a lot of nice things about you – have yourself a smirk at all this guff from former POTUSes (they are history now we have you, the genuine article) on the subject of the environment:


“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

— Theodore Roosevelt


“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt


“If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”

— Ronald Reagan


“‘Environment’ is not an abstract concern, or simply a matter of aesthetics, or of personal taste — although it can and should involve these as well. Man is shaped to a great extent by his surroundings. Our physical nature, our mental health, our culture and institutions, our opportunities for challenge and fulfillment, our very survival — all of these are directly related to and affected by the environment in which we live. They depend upon the continued healthy functioning of the natural systems of the Earth.”

— Richard M. Nixon


“We must not only protect the countryside and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted.”

— Lyndon B. Johnson


And THE most ridiculous of all from the ex-President

In the absence of sound oversight, responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment.

— Barack Obama

This guy clearly doesn’t know excessive regulation is killing jobs, does he? But then, he wasn’t even born in the USA. What do you expect from a foreigner.


Well blah blah blah. For crying out loud. Who needs forests? Who needs critters and flowers – they just take up good ranching and mining land. Who needs bees for heavens sake? Who the heck needs National Parks (more land there for ranching and mining). Who needs crap like romance and history, heritage, environment and nature?
Who needs beauty, wonder or spirit? Notions like that are nuts. What we need, and all we need, is evergrowing heaps of dollar bills. The rest is for the girls.

Postscript

For those of a less Trumpian mindset, the Center for a New American Dream may be of interest. The Center redefines the American Dream as “… a focus on more of what really matters, such as creating a meaningful life, contributing to community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends.” Not a dollar sign in sight.

Join the People’s Climate Movement & the March for Climate, Justice & Jobs April 29th 2017, Washington DC

More actions you can take for the environment here

Read more about the President’s plans for the EPA here

Read about the President’s climate-change-denying top energy aide here

Read about first lawsuit filed against head of EPA Scott Pruitt here

Read about the threats to the ESA here

Donate to Endangered Species Coalition Action Center here

Updates

27th February 2017 EPA may soon have 300 empty desks after Trump slashes budget

28th February 2017 This guy doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. He tore off another leaf from his executive order pad to dismantle the Clean Water Rule


¹ Vanity Fair

²Endangered Species Act


Sources

6 memorable quotes about the environment from former U.S. presidents – MNN

Barack Obama Quotes About Environment – A-Z Quotes

What is the American Dream Today? – the balance

Could US endangered species rules go extinct under Trump? – Focusing on Wildlife


Related posts

Inauguration Day Special

What Trump’s Triumph Means for Wildlife

A Fragile Butterfly Joins the Face Off at Standing Rock

A Promising New Way Forward for Animal Rights?

If the interests of animals are properly embedded in the democratic process…the laws adopted by a society are less likely to infringe their fundamental interests.

1822 is a date we lovers of justice and animals should all have tattooed on our hearts. Because 1822 was the year Richard Martin MP won for animals an important protection which was also a right: the right – for their own sake – not to be gratuitously harmed.

A 19th Century Irishman who fought more than 100 duels with sword and pistol – and obviously survived them all! – seems a most improbable man to put forward as father of the modern Animal Rights movement. But the small snowball he set in motion has just kept on rolling and rolling for the last 200 years, and growing into what we hope will soon become an avalanche.

For Martin it was who introduced a new Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle, which made it an offence, punishable by fines up to five pounds or two months imprisonment, to “beat, abuse, or ill-treat any horse, mare, gelding, mule, ass, ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep or other cattle.”

Up until ‘Martin’s Law’ was passed, it was the animal’s owner who was considered wronged by any harm done to the beast, not the poor animal itself. The animal had no greater status than a table or a chair, so harm inflicted on it was simply damage to the owner’s property. Martin’s Law changed that.

The prolific and accomplished duellist followed up his great legislative achievement by personally bringing the first prosecution under the new Act. The criminal – a fruit seller. The crime – beating a donkey. When the MP led the donkey into the courtroom to exhibit its injuries to judge and jury, he provoked a storm of publicity. Political cartoons appeared depicting him with donkey’s ears. Instead of being praised for his unusual-for-the-times passion for animal protection, he was publicly ridiculed.

Before another two years were out, this remarkable man was instrumental in founding the SPCA –  later the RSPCA – the very first animal protection organisation in the world, prompting the birth of similar groups in Scotland, Ireland, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Only welfarism as yet, but animal advocacy began to spread around the world.

But that was 200 years ago. So where is Animal Rights today?

Well, because human society and its treatment of nonhuman animals is still, it goes without saying, regulated by law, changes in the law are what we continue to wrangle for in our pursuit of Rights for Animals. And laws that win new rights and protections for our nonhuman cousins have really gathered pace in the last decade.

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But when, just to take one example, badgers – a ‘protected’ species – are being slain in their thousands year upon year supposedly to safeguard other animals, dairy cattle – which later farmers will send to their deaths in the slaughterhouse  – there is clearly still a very long way to go.

So what if we didn’t need to change the law concerning animals at all? What if nonhuman animals had the right to have their interests properly taken into account before any human proposals were cemented into law?

Well, we just may have an exciting new way forward for Animal Rights, a way that could sweep aside the drawbacks inherent in all the various AR theories to date: it is the principle of political theory called the “all-affected.”

“The interests of animals are affected – often devastatingly – by collective decisions and, therefore, they, or – more specifically – their representatives, have a democratic right to have some say in the making of those decisions” says Professor Robert Garner.

If I can beg your patience a little further? To appreciate just how promising this approach could be, we need a super-quick run-through of Animal Rights in the past 40 years or so. Animal Rights is, as it always has been, dependent on two disciplines:

Philosophy, which deliberates on human perceptions of nonhuman animals, and their status relative to us.

And Law, which regulates that status.

I am neither a philosopher or a lawyer, so forgive my lack of expertise, simplifications of a complex subject, and any glaring omissions in my brief summary. This is a personal view, not by any means a definitive account of Animal Rights.

Utilitarianism

One of the first and most influential in recent years to grab hold of Richard Martin’s snowball and give it an energetic push down the mountain was Australian philosopher Peter Singer. He famously shook things up in the 1970s with his book Animal Liberation. His approach to Animal Rights was based on two principles:

  1. The separation of ‘human’ from ‘animal’ is illogical and arbitrary – there is far more difference between a great ape and an oyster than there is between a human and a great ape
  2. The utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham that ethics and morality are dictated by what will achieve “the greatest good of the greatest number”

It necessarily follows from his first principle that nonhumans must not be excluded from that “greatest number” for whom it is our moral duty to obtain “the greatest good”.

Drawback

The problem with this approach to Animal Rights is that if it can be established (by humans, nonhumans having no say) that the greatest good can only be achieved for the greatest number by the use of animals, even if this means inflicting pain upon them or causing them to die, then such actions are justified. Singer for example condones the use of animals where ‘necessary’ in medical research – a position I for one totally reject.

Subjects-of-a-Life

Following quickly on Singer’s heels, Tom Regan gave the snowball another hearty shove with his book “The Case for Animal Rights”. His was a very different argument. He proposed that if animals are ‘subject-of-a-life’ as unquestionably humans are, then their value lies in more than just their usefulness to humans.

“Such an individual has inherent value independent of its utility for others. Because of this inherent value, a subject-of-a-life has rights to protect this value and not to be harmed. Other subjects have a duty to respect these rights.”¹

Drawback

It seems a promising approach until you realise how high he set the bar for non-human animals to be worthy of consideration as ‘subject-of-a-life’, strangely, higher than is set for human beings.

The Big Stumbling Block – Species Criteria

For Regan, to be ‘subjects-of-a-life ‘ nonhumans must have “beliefs, desires, memory, feelings, self-consciousness, an emotional life, a sense of their own future, an ability to initiate action to pursue their goals, and an existence that is logically independent of being useful to anyone else’s interests” – his criteria any species must fulfil.

Humans all have rights independent of Regan’s requirements: newborn infants, certain disabled people, elderly people with failing mental and physical health – none of these could fulfil his criteria, but their rights are nevertheless guaranteed.

He is said not to be speciesist but so many species would be left by the wayside. Would the honey bee, for instance, reach Regan’s bar? Does the honey bee have ‘an emotional life’ and ‘beliefs’? And who decides? Humans of course. When it comes to nonhuman animals, Regan limits those supposedly deserving of rights to ‘normally mental mammals over a year old, several species of birds, and possibly fish’.

Apart from the few wild animals that qualify, certain farmed animals – cows, pigs and sheep – could benefit from his approach. But not calves, piglets or lambs, and very probably not (in spite of what we now know of their intelligence and complex emotional and social life) hens. Certainly not the millions of day-old chicks that drop off the conveyor belt into the grinder.

The criteria he has set would leave billions of animals, and a very large slice indeed of the estimated 8.7 million species on the planet without rights.

Abolitionism

In the here and now, animal advocates fall broadly speaking into two camps: the abolitionists and the welfarists. The foremost spokesperson for Abolitionism is Professor Gary Francione. As a lawyer with a background in philosophy the Prof is peculiarly well qualified, one would think, to set out the ideal path for the AR ‘snowball’ to travel.

Abolitionism is based upon the philosophical premise that all animals, human and nonhuman, have the basic moral right not to be treated as the property of others. Therefore any human use of nonhumans is unjustifiable, just as human slavery is unjustifiable. All animals exist for their own purposes, not others. The moral baseline is veganism.

The battle for Abolitionism is legal as well as philosophical since in law, with a few notable exceptions, such as in a limited way in France², the status of nonhuman animals is still that of property. And most laws that relate to animals simply protect their welfare to a greater or lesser degree – without changing their status.

So how to get that legal status changed?

Two ways the status of nonhumans can be changed:

  1. By governmental legislation
  2. In the law courts. If a change in status can be established in a court of law, a legal precedent is set which would subsequently apply to all similar cases.

There are heroes for animals like Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Animal Rights Project in the US, and the Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) in Argentina, toiling tirelessly to get that status change from property to person accepted in a court of law.

Drawback

It’s a tough battle, less like giving the AR snowball a gentle nudge on its way, much more like pushing an elephant up a mountain. And once again there is a major problem. We are back to the dreaded Species Criteria. Bringing a case to court, a lawyer has to limit him/herself to a particular client or clients on whose behalf he/she is pleading. And we’d be crazy to think a judge would grant personhood to, say, a silkworm, let alone to the entire animal kingdom. The right client has to be chosen.monkey-256420__340

So what are the criteria by which a lawyer selects a client that has the best chance of success in court? The NhRP’s current plaintiffs are “members of species who have been scientifically proven to be self-aware and autonomous: currently, great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales.”

This list of the species that qualify is even more meager than Regan’s. The idea, of course, is to ‘get a foot in the door’ for one species, which would pave the way for others. But I’m guessing it will be a long long while before science decides silkworms are self-aware and autonomous, the first hurdle they need to jump if their advocates are to pursue this particular route to legal rights.

I applaud their efforts and don’t wish to sound unduly pessimistic, but short of turning the entire world vegan, it is unclear how in practical terms Prof Francione is going to achieve his Abolitionist goal.

Protectionism/Welfarism

Certain animal charities such as PETA, Animal Aid, Viva, also advocate total non-use of animals for human purposes. But where out-and-out Abolitionists are at odds with them, is their pursuit at the same time of incremental welfare improvements to reduce the suffering of animals alive now.

Drawback

It could be – and is – argued that campaigning for greater protections is a distraction from the goal of Animal Rights. Or worse, counter-productive, allowing the public to believe they can keep right on using animals, as long as it is done ‘humanely’. Abolitionists certainly think so and reject single issue campaigns. But that’s an argument we won’t get into just at the moment!

And the majority of other animal charities like ASPCA, HSUS and the RSPCA make no bones about their purely welfarist agenda.

Out-and-out revolution

There is absolutely no doubt that nearly all the exploitation and abuse, legal or illegal, humans inflict on nonhumans is in the service of the great capitalist god Profit. When it comes to lining their pockets humans have no regard for the rights of animals. So the answer is simple –  bring down capitalism.

Drawback

Or is it? Personally, I can’t see the overthrow of capitalism stopping people wanting to eat meat and cheese, use leather or wear fur. Isn’t it likely, or at least possible, that today’s capitalist factory farms would be tomorrow’s communist or socialist state-run operations?


Finally, the good news!

At last we come to Professor Garner’s exciting new paper Animals and democratic theory: Beyond an anthropocentric account” published in Contemporary Political Theory less than two months ago. Even the title whets the appetite!

The Prof bases his thesis on the ‘all-affected principle’, already current in political theory. It goes like this: in a democracy, the interests of every sentient being affected by legislation must be considered. And those who clearly cannot speak for themselves must have their rights represented by those who can.

“A democratic polity should take account of animal interests, not because a substantial number of humans wish to see greater protection afforded to animals, but rather because animals themselves have a democratic right to have their interests represented in the political process.”

So exactly why should we believe Garner’s new political theory could do better for animals than what has gone before?
  • Firstly, because it removes disputable questions of morality, ethics, and humanity (humaneness) from the equation. Under this principle Animal Rights is a purely political matter. You don’t have to believe it immoral to exclude nonhumans from democracy – it’s enough that it’s undemocratic.
  • Secondly – and I think this is huge – because it sweeps away all those contentious species criteria we were talking about. Here there are no criteria to fulfil, except that of sentience alone.

So no longer does AR depend upon humans deciding whether an animal is ‘intelligent enough’ or has a ‘sufficiently complex emotional life’. A life need only be sentient. And that, says Professor Marc Bekoff, author of a Universal Declaration on Animal Sentience³, is now beyond dispute:

“After 2,500 studies, it’s time to declare animal sentience is proven.”

Not so very long ago black people and women, though most certainly affected by the collective decisions of their society, were entirely excluded from the democratic process. They battled hard for their rights, their vote, their say.

And won.

Because the ‘all-affected’ principle is surely the very heartbeat of Democracy.

Animals next!

To get general acceptance for Professor Garner’s new approach to AR, to help turn that snowball into an avalanche, please share widely!

You can read his complete paper here

Check out CASJ (Centre for Animals & Social Justice) who commissioned his work, and whose aim is to achieve:

• an overarching legal/political status for animals
• the institutional representation of animals’ interests within Government
• a government strategy and targets to improve animal protection

¹Subject-of-a-life – Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy

²What France’s New Animal Rights Law Actually Means For Animals – The Dodo. This change in French law “only applies to pets or wild animals tamed or held in captivity. The sentience of wild animals, meanwhile, is not recognized.

³A Universal Declaration on Animal Sentience – Psychology Today

Footnote: The EU already implements something approaching Prof Garner’s thesis.

“In terms of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the European Union (EU) is the most progressive one in regard to including animal welfare in its sphere of policy work. Its activities in this area are based on the recognition that animals are sentient beings.

An amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into effect on 1st December 2009, now includes this principle and made it a binding condition to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals when formulating and implementing policies in relevant areas.This puts animal welfare on an equal footing with other key principles such as: gender equality, social protection, human health, combat of discrimination, sustainable development, consumer protection and data protection.”

 

Other Sources

There are three Animal Movements – Armory of the Revolution

Animals have democratic right to political representation – CASJ

The Case for Animal Rights – Wiki

Animal Rights – Wiki

Related posts

Persons Not Property – Could The Tide Be Turning?

Busting the Myths of Human Superiority

Vegan Rights & Why They Really Matter for the Animals

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Bee Heaven – the Recipe

 gbbc-logo-bee-saver-kit_0“Bees are beautiful, fascinating and inspiring insects and we need as many people as possible to contribute to the Great British Bee Count to help us better understand how they are faring in 21st Century Britain. Be warned – you may become obsessed with their amazing lifecycles and behaviour!”

– Steven Falk, author of Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

Thousands responded, joining Friends of the Earth’s 2016 GBB Count to build up a picture of the state of the nation’s bees. Literally – participants contributed 14,000 photos. Great work, people.

bees-counted-2016_0

The bees need us. We’ve already lost 20 species. And the ones that remain have a miserable 3% of the wildflowers to feed on that their forebears had 60 years ago.

So, it’s time to cook up a little bee bliss, guaranteed to lift our stripey friends out of the bee blues. Here’s our simple recipe. But forget the wooden spoon and bring out your best garden spade.

Ingredients

🐝  Plants bees love best. These 5 got the most bee visits according to the GBBC results. Bees voting with their probosces! In order of merit:-

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COTONEASTER
phacelia-tanacetifolia-855501__340
LACY PHACELIA
rhs_wsy0020525_743445
CEANOTHUS
butterfly-bush-164173__340
BUDDLEIA
wisteria-1400479__340
WISTERIA

🐝 This may seem like an odd time of year to be thinking about bees at all, but in fact now is the BEST possible time to plant shrubs such as these 5 bee mouthwaterers.

🐝  A water fountain – bees don’t just need nectar-rich plants, they need water too. Clean shallow water, with stones to land on. Bees’ work is thirsty work.

🐝  Blue, white and yellow flowers – easier for these guys to spot in their pursuit for pollen. Their ultraviolet spectrum makes it hard for them to tell the difference between red and green.

🐝  Flowers with just one layer of petals, like sunflowers. Single layer flowers give easier access to pollen and nectar.

Dahlia on left – bee-easy  Dahlia on right – phew, where is the stuff?

🐝  WEEDS! Learn to love them. Flowering weeds like dandelions and clover are bee-scrumptious, a banquet of pollen and protein. Don’t be a too-tidy gardener clearing away the feast before the guests have had a chance to sit down.

 

bee-saver-kit-hero-2🐝  The Bee Saver Kit -get yours here
🐝  Protect our bees! Friends of the Earth’s petition to rid the land of bee-harming pesticides.
Method

Sign petition.

Mix ingredients together. If you can’t get hold of all the ingredients, use as many as you can. But for best results use all.

Leave be 🐝for a couple of years until well-matured. Your garden/yard will be abuzz.

Let the proboscis be the judge. Number of proboscis🐝votes indicates the level of bee bliss.

Enjoy your bees!

And join in next year’s Great British🐝Bee Count.

For full results of Friends of the Earth Great British Bee Count click here

Instructions on planting shrubs here

Free shopper’s guide to bee-friendly rapeseed oil here

Another petition to sign: Tell Kroger to say NO to bee-killing pesticides here

Sources

Friends of the Earth

Take Part

Related posts

Who Knew? The Unbearable Beauty of Bees

Make Your Own Seed Bombs for Bees!

A Night at the Grand Beedapest Hotel – Be a Voice for Bees

The Gross Bee Happiness Program

UK one of “the least natural countries in the world”

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Who Knew? The Unbearable Beauty of Bees

The humble bee, as you’ve never seen him before – just wow!

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These wonderful macro images are from the USGS catalogue of bees in the USA, courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity

Related posts

A Night at the Gran Beedapest Hotel. Be the Voice for Bees

The Gross Bee Happiness Program

Make Your Own Seed Bombs for Bees!

UK one of “least natural countries in the world”

“The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world with more than one in seven species facing extinction and more than half in decline, according to the State of Nature 2016 report.”

“Farming takes responsibility for the iconic British countryside,”  – Guy Smith for the NFU. Yes Guy, and not in a good way.

It’s no surprise to me that the report lays most of the blame for this disturbing state of affairs squarely at the door of those who claim to be the true guardians of our countryside – the farmers.

Four decades of intensive farming has had an “overwhelmingly negative” effect on wildlife. So say the 50 different organisations contributing to the report, which include the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust, the Marine Conservation Society and the Natural History Museum.

The NFU is faced yet again with scientifically-researched, properly accredited expert evidence that spells out in capital letters the damaging results of farmers’ bad practice.

How do they respond? As they always do – with denial. They simply dismiss the report. Just like that.

Each time science slaps them with unwelcome news, the farmers typically respond with hands over ears and heads in the sand. But the trouble is, when the NFU says “Jump!” the Tory government says, “How high”.

And so our nature suffers. Wildlife suffers. We’ve seen it so many times before. Take bee-killing pesticides and the culling of badgers as just two devastating instances.

Urbanisation, wetland drainage and climate change have also played their part in bringing our nature to this sorry state, though to a far lesser degree.

“The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before” – David Attenborough

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Some facts from the State of Nature report covering the years 1970 – 2013

    • A massive 75% of the UK landmass is now under agricultural use
    • Use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides has greatly increased, including the deadly neonics which are killing our bees
    • Marginal habitats like ponds and hedgerows have been taken out
    • There’s been a 20% decline in farmland species
    • 54% decline in farmland birds
    • 41% decline in farmland butterflies
    • 56% decline in total UK species
    • Of 8,000 species, 15% are critically endangered

The UK has lost significantly more nature than the world average. It’s dangerously close to the same nature-deplete level as Hong Kong.

Some of our most iconic animals are at risk of extinction –

  • the kingfisher
  • the water vole
  • the curlew
  • the hedgehog
  • the turtle dove
  • the willow tit

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The much revered naturalist David Attenborough is still optimistic that all may not be lost:

“Millions of people in the UK care very passionately about nature and the environment and I believe that we can work together to turn around the fortunes of wildlife.”

Country Landowner’s Association Tim Breitmayer calls for farmers and conservationists to work together:

“The report makes sobering reading and paints a clear picture of significant decline over 40 years. It reminds us how much there is to do to reintroduce habitats and species into our natural environment and protect them.”

Glyn Davies of WWF-UK too sees a possible way forward: “Nature can recover with the right incentives to help restore species, reduce habitat loss, prevent pollution and develop green energy and infrastructure,” he says.

But those fine fellows at the NFU, speaking through their vice president, still believe there needs to be sustainable intensification of agriculture”  – surely a contradiction in terms – to ensure “domestic and global food security”.

We who treasure our wildlife and nature in the UK have a fight on our hands. We must ensure that the NFU and their champions in the government can’t derail the 25-year Plan for Nature. The government made a manifesto commitment “to leave the natural environment for the next generation to enjoy in a better condition than it is in now.”

The Tories delayed publication of the plan after Brexit. It’s now due to be published this autumn. Looking to a future no longer under European environmental constraints, the government may well try to water down the plan’s provisions. But it’s not too late for us to put pressure on the government to keep its pledge.

Please sign petitions to UK government here and here

Please send the Grow Green Report to your MP here

And please also send a quick email to your MP asking him/her to become a Species Champion by joining the Species Champion Project

All those above are for UK citizens only.

Here’s one for bees that everyone can sign

And for anyone who cares about the planet’s biodiversity, read this excellent piece from Care2 10 Reasons Why the Meat & Dairy Industry is Unsustainable

Find help here to Go Vegan

Sources

UK government must deliver on 25-year environmental pledge – The Guardian

UK one of “least natural countries in the world” – The Independent

Related posts

Which British MPs Stand up for Threatened Wildlife?

Mountains of Cheese, Lakes of Milk, and What We Can Do About It

Brexit – The Animals’ View

Tory Government ‘Committed’ to Vote on Repealing Fox Hunting Ban

A Night at the Grand Beedapest Hotel – Be a Voice for Bees

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ENDANGERED 13 – A Mural Project Raising Awareness of Endangered Species

13 artists take on a 120 metre stretch of railway arches in Tower Hamlets, London

 

Dr Zadok – Bateleur

Dr Zadok – Bateleur

Louis Masai – Bees

Louis Masai – Bees

Louis Masai – Rhino

Louis Masai – Rhino

Carrie Reichardt – Bees

Carrie Reichardt – Bees

Faunagraphic – Grey-breasted Parakeet

Faunagraphic – Grey-breasted Parakeet

Fiya One – Sumatran Orangutan

Fiya One – Sumatran Orangutan

Louis Masai – Coral Reefs

Louis Masai – Coral Reefs

Jim Vision – Polar Bear

Jim Vision – Polar Bear

ATM – Curlew

ATM – Curlew

Louis Masai – Blue Whale

Louis Masai – Blue Whale

Vibes – Tiger

Vibes – Tiger

Xenz – Hummingbird

Xenz – Hummingbird

Andy Council – Asian Elephant

Andy Council – Asian Elephant

Jonesy – Western Lowland Gorilla

Jonesy – Western Lowland Gorilla

Von Leadfoot – Haiku Lettering

Von Leadfoot – Haiku Lettering

Charlotte Webster – Human Nature Founder

Charlotte Webster – Human Nature Founder

Olivia Skalkos – Project co-ordinator

Olivia Skalkos – Project co-ordinator

Where’s Kong – Film

Where’s Kong – Film

Tanya Loretta Dee – Haiku Poet

Tanya Loretta Dee – Haiku Poet

Ian Cox – Camera

Ian Cox – Camera


According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there are currently 23,250 species listed as threatened. This means: critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. Adding extinct and extinct in the wild species the figure is 24,153.

It’s widely predicted that as many as two-thirds of all species could be near extinction by the end of this century. But, some are now rising in population due to increasing concern about the extinction crisis. Co-ordinated conservation efforts include the protection of natural habitats and prevention of destructive practices such as illegal hunting.

TO SEE INTERVIEWS WITH THE ARTISTS, MORE ABOUT THE ENDANGERED ANIMALS DEPICTED AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THEM, VISIT 

THE HUMAN NATURE SHOW WEBSITE HERE

The project is being made possible with the support of
Montana Cans, The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Kabloom, Handover and Earthborn.

The permanent home of ENDANGERED13 will be on Ackroyd Drive at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, over 30 acres of woodland in the heart of East London. Opened in 1841, The City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery is now a designated park, Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation. It is run by our project partners, The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Get your hands dirty and join their local conservation work.

ENDANGERED 13 will be completed on Sunday 10th April and available to view ongoing at
Ackroyd Drive, Tower Hamlets, London

 

Produced by Louis Masai and Human Nature

supported_By_MontanaCans_WHT

 

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