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Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World
by Jeff Schweitzer and Giuseppe Notarbartolo-Di-Sciara
Humans are special, not because we are made in god\'s image, and commanded by the Bible to rule over the earth, but because we have the amazing ability to choose a future in which we thrive and develop in a just society while coexisting with a healthy natural world.

Next Earthscan Earthcast: Reconnecting Nature and Culture

November 20, 2010

Earthscan’s next free webinar presented by the authors of Biocultural Diversity Conservation and Sacred Natural Sites for an event that explores the important relationship people have with nature and how vital it is for the future of our natural world is open for registrations now.

Understand the concept of biocultural diversity

Learn how to integrate cultural and spiritual values into conservation, tourism and heritage management practices

Discover how embracing the values of local people can dramatically increase the success of conservation and sustainability efforts, for the benefit of all

Tuesday 23rd November 2010
17:00 (UK time – GMT), 12:00 (EDT), 9:00 (PDT)

Register with EarthScan online

CITES makes a statement to ICCAT about bluefin tuna, oceanic white tip & porbeagle sharks

November 20, 2010

The formal statement by John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES to the 17th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is online now.

This is an important statement that can leave the ICCAT meeting in no doubt about what is at stake here.

Highlights include:

Many different intergovernmental agreements and many actors in both the public and private sectors are involved in the management of natural resources, including fish. The critical issue is the complementarity between different instruments and how well they work together to achieve common objectives, as is appropriate.

CITES Parties have been concerned about the conservation and sustainable use of commercially-exploited aquatic species for many years, and some of you will recall the discussions about the Atlantic bluefin tuna at our eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in Kyoto, in 1992. Their concern has heightened in recent years and it seems very likely that such concerns will not abate in the years to come.

Whatever the precise figures, there seems to be general agreement that the stocks of [Atlantic bluefin tuna and the Oceanic white tip and porbeagle sharks]  have declined very considerably. The third FAO expert advisory panel for the assessment of proposals to amend Appendices I and II of CITES concerning commercially-exploited aquatic species, convened by FAO to review proposals for the March meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Doha, concluded that their decline had been sufficiently large to warrant inclusion in the CITES Appendices.

You can read the full statement, from the CITES website.

Destined for the dining tables of the world’s elite and wealthy: the high price paid by bluefin tuna

November 19, 2010
bluefin tuna_photographer Greenpeace

Bluefin tuna: photographer Greenpeace

Conservation organizations across the world are once again making the case that the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting in France this week must suspend the fishery for Atlantic bluefin tuna until strong management and enforcement measures are in place and the species shows signs of recovery. Similar calls were ahead of the Commission for the Conservation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) last year.

By almost anyone’s language, bluefin tuna are in trouble. Southern bluefin tuna is listed by the IUCN as being critically endangered and northern bluefin tuna as endangered in the East Atlantic and critically endangered in the West Atlantic.

Read more…

The St. Petersburg Tiger Summit : hopefully more than political posturing

November 15, 2010

Siberian Tiger cub: photographer Pittsburgh Zoo.

I am stumped. I have absolutely no idea why the tiger sits so precariously on the edge of extinction. The species are as iconic as they get.

Their majesty is irrefutable; their beauty remarkable; their poetry and strength utterly, utterly unchallengeable.

The tigers of Bali, Java and the Caspian are already extinct and the tigers of South China can now only be seen in zoos. In fact just 3,200 tigers still roam free in the world, carving of what existence they can in the meager areas left of their homes. They are solitary, territorial predators that naturally roam across vast tracts of land, sometimes areas as large as 800 square kilometers.

* The St. Petersburg Tiger Summit commences on 21st November 2010. *

Read more…

Will Australian Environment Minister Burke deliver on marine protected areas?

November 11, 2010

Cross posted on 18th November 2010

The science of protection stacks up. The international community has spoken. Will Minister Burke deliver on marine protected areas?


Australian sealion (c)

A few weeks ago, the great and the good convened in Nagoya, Japan to deliberate the future of our planet. Perhaps a little melodramatic, but in many ways it’s the truth. This 10th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was every bit as important as the Climate Change meetings are. After all, the CBD itself is there to protect the genetic resources, ecosystems and species that we depend on for our quality of life and who share this planet with us. We need this protection to be sorted out, because we are devastating biodiversity at an alarming rate.

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The tide turns back towards Labor on marine parks

August 19, 2010

Posted on the Crikey Rooted Blog : August 19, 2010 – 12:56 pm

The past 12 years of conservation of our seas has been an interesting and unexpected journey. Despite the common assumption by the Australian body politic that the Liberals are poorer on environmental issues than Labor a close examination of marine protection during the Howard years compared with the last term of Labor shows the Howard government ahead. This election threatens to drown this legacy from the inside of Howard’s own party, and is turning the tide towards Labor as the future champions of marine.

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Abbott turns back on marine legacy for votes

August 11, 2010

Posted on the National Times as an Opinion Piece : August 11, 2010 – 7:16AM | Posted in the West Australian as an Opinion Piece : August  20, 2010  
It is a routine assumption by the Australian body politic that the Liberals are poorer on environmental issues than Labor. The debate over climate change in recent years has reinforced this notion. However, a forensic examination of Howard years versus the last term of Labor shows that this is at best a patchy truth.

While not engaging or delivering on climate change the Howard government did deliver strongly in improved conservation of our seas.

Read more…