Repair ecosystems

On this page:

  1. Peak biodiversity and peak ecosystem recap
  2. Count it!
  3. Park it!
  4. Ark it!
  5. Sign it! 
  6. Monetise it! 
  7. Patrol it!
  8. Repair it!

1. Peak biodiversity and peak ecosystem recap

As we saw on the previous biodiversity page, the over hunting of predators, over logging of forests, and introduction of plague animals and weeds are wiping out various little plants and critters and even larger animals, and this threatens to suddenly crash various ecosystem services that most economies are completely dependent on! So what can we do about it?

2. Count it!

The first step is admitting we have a problem. Getting real scientific data is essential. We need data about the state of the environment. We need to know what drives people to use and abuse resources in different locations. How are they living with their natural ecosystems? What about their business and urban environment? What can we do better? That’s one of the jobs of the World Resources Institute.

WRI logo

The World Resources Institute ecosystems projects:

  • Climate, Energy & Transport. Protect the global climate system from further harm due to emissions of greenhouse gases and help humanity and the natural world adapt to unavoidable climate change.
  • Governance & Access: Guarantee public access to information and decisions regarding natural resources and the environment.
  • Markets & Enterprise: Harness markets and enterprise to expand economic opportunity and protect the environment.
  • People & Ecosystems: Reverse rapid degradation of ecosystems and assure their capacity to provide humans with needed goods and services.[2]

3. Park it!

What conservation agencies and national parks can you support? National parks are an amazing way to get the government to set aside vast and beautiful areas for nature. Some international conservation groups agitate for more areas to be declared national parks. First, I’ll start with those that are open to nuclear power.

The Nature Conservancy are open to nuclear power.

As the wiki says:

Its mission is to “conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.” The Conservancy pursues non confrontational, pragmatic solutions to conservation’s challenges working with partners including indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits.

The Conservancy’s work focuses on the global priorities of Lands, Water, Climate, Oceans, and Cities. Founded in Arlington, Virginia, in 1951, The Nature Conservancy now impacts conservation in 69 countries, including all 50 states of the United States. The Conservancy has over one million members, and has protected more than 119,000,000 acres (48,000,000 ha) of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. The Nature Conservancy also operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. The organization’s assets total $6.71 billion as of 2015. The Nature Conservancy is the largest environmental nonprofit by assets and by revenue in the Americas.

Conservation International seem to allow nuclear power and said:-

These are important goals. We need businesses, universities and governments to invest in R&D for low-carbon energy technologies: wind, solar, carbon capture, smart natural gas extraction, nuclear energy. All of these sources of energy need to be part of the equation

As the wiki says:

Conservation International (CI) is an American nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its goal is to protect nature as a source of food, fresh water, livelihoods and a stable climate.

CI’s work focuses on science, policy, and partnership with businesses and communities. The organization employs more than 1,000 people and works with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries. CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, safeguarding more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas. 

Conservation International was founded in 1987 with the goal of protecting nature for the benefit of people.

In 1989, CI formally committed to the protection of biodiversity hotspots, ultimately identifying 34 such hotspots around the world and contributing to their protection. The model of protecting hotspots became a key way for organizations to do conservation work.

As of FY 2016, CI’s revenue totaled $212 million.

The following groups are anti-nuclear ‘conservation’ agencies — I would not give a cent to these groups!

The World Wildlife Fund are anti-nuclear power, and therefore anti-pandas. 

The Natural Resources Defence Council are anti-nuclear power, and therefore are anti-polar bears.

The Sierra Club  are famously and passionately anti-nuclear, and therefore are passionately anti-nature!

Oceana use the same tired old myths agains nuclear power, and therefore are anti-oceans.

4. Ark it!

Grab the threatened critter and stick it in a modern day Noah’s ark!

Some of the groups above will be trying to save species by saving ecosystems. Sometimes that’s not enough. For example, Tasmanian Devil’s were going extinct due to a viral cancer that spread through the native population. Conservation groups removed healthy devils and put them into breeding programs removed from the wild. Now conservationists are hoping the devils finally go extinct in the wild! This is so they can eventually reintroduce the healthy captive devils back into a fresh clean ecosystem with no facial tumours disease.

Another example is the Eden Project.

The Eden Project is a visitor attraction in the United Kingdom, including the world’s largest greenhouse.[1][2] Inside the artificial biomes are plants that are collected from all around the world. The project is located in a reclaimed Kaolinite pit, located 2 kilometers (1.25 mi) from the town of St Blazey and 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the larger town of St Austell, Cornwall.[3]

The complex is dominated by two enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house plant species from around the world. Each enclosure emulates a natural biome. The domes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames. The first dome emulates a tropical environment, and the second a Mediterranean environment.

If a species is small enough, such as various frogs and butterflies, we might be able to keep a strong enough gene pool viable in significant populations inside special conservation parks (or is that ‘arks’?) These biodomes seem as good a design as any for some species. While Willie Smits might rebuild a rainforest, he has to have the species and biodiversity with a strong enough gene pool to do so! These domes can be specially temperature controlled for the comfort of the species within. We must protect threatened frogs and insects and other small creatures until we can return them to a safe habitat.

Sadly, I can visualise a time when the only coral reefs will be in enormous tourist  aquariums, and many butterflies and bugs will be in tourist eco-domes, and many of our larger predators (“lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”) will only exist in zoo’s. Unless. Unless we turn this around!

 

5. Sign it!

Join an online group and get regular petitions you can sign

Google around for any local environment groups to sign up to their Facebook pageGoogle groups or email lists. Start conversations on your favourite social network or online forum, email list or group, and soon your daily in-box or feed will have a few things you can sign every week. If you can’t find these then the The Petition site, Avaaz.org, etc. Do it! It’s free, and doesn’t take long.  Just don’t leave it at that, or mere online arguments. Seriously, sponsor one of the groups above. Get involved. One day online petitions might make a difference, even though right now they appear less effective than ever.  

Also, you don’t want to become this guy. There are more important things to do.wrong

  

6. Monetise it! 

Support groups that reinvent local economies to repair local ecologies.

For example, Willie Smits builds a rainforest.  The Samboja Lestari project is inspirational not just because it aims to save Orangutans, but because it does so by rebuilding the local economy via rebuilding the local ecology. Borneo Orangutan Survival foundation bought a dead patch of burnt out rainforest, and repaired it!

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Please watch Willi Smit’s builds a rainforest either on the TED website or below on youtube.

They established clear ownership by the local people, clear economic incentives to pursue  ‘food and fibre’ security, a local culture of interaction and protection of their newly built rainforest, all resulting in the amazing return of local rainfall up 30% due to the rainforest restoration! The fact that the centre of the complex houses a constructed ecosystem for Orangutans is just a fortunate side-effect and badge of pride for the local people who can now live in a sustainable ecosystem that supports them economically as they support it physically.

7. Patrol it!

…with drones!

The Conversation (Jan 2015) article Satellites, mathematics and drones take down poachers in Africa”  shows how technology from modern warfare is creeping chkjr5wf-1422308734into modern conservation.

“The real game changer is our use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, which we have been flying in Africa since May 2013. We’ve found that drones, combined with other more established technology tools, can greatly reduce poaching – but only in those areas where rangers on the ground are at the ready to use our data….

The good news is that we have proof of concept and proof on the ground that UAVS can make a tremendous difference. The bad news is that the poachers are moving to regions where we are not operating. To really address the challenges of poaching in the region, all the nations in southern Africa should be willing at least to test our system in their most critically endangered areas.

Our solution to the poaching problem lies in the combination of satellite monitoring, great math, properly positioned rangers and UAVS flying precise flight paths. It works.”

You can donate to Air Shepherd that run this program.

8. Repair it!

…with robots?!

This is a more speculative comment, but I am cautiously optimistic that we will gradually see military robots become so advanced and so cheap that we may even use them to  repair ecosystems, at least as far as weeding out plague species.

COTSBot will kill the Crown Of Thorn Starfish Bot! ABC September 2015 says:

Queensland researchers are close to completing work on an autonomous robot that will cruise the Great Barrier Reef and inject the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish with a toxic solution….

The robot has been 10 years in development.

Dr Dunbabin said he had to wait for technology to catch up to the initial idea.

“It’s only in the last year that we’ve been able to really hit it hard and come up with a solution that we think can really make a difference,” he said.

“We had a great vision system 10 years ago but the problem was the stuff you use to actually kill the starfish wasn’t feasible.”

The old method of killing the COTS required up to 10 injections for each starfish, but James Cook University has continued to develop the single-shot technology.

We are already developing the military prototype EATR robot which can weed. Imagine this steam-powered military cart driving through forests eating weeds!

I wonder if one day we will send giant autonomous ships floating around in the polluted oceanic gyres, feeding off the micro-plastic with nano-tentacles and digesting it all into some useful petrochemical products? Who can say? In a world where autonomous robots can nearly feed themselves off jungle waste, almost anything is possible. As long as we have plenty of activists engaged in the strategies above, we can make a place for brainstorming new technologies and solutions. After all, who would have guessed drones would be used to spot poachers? We live in remarkable times.

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