Offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the Inspire4Nature program

Offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the Inspire4Nature program

Why do we need to curb our carbon emissions? Climatic changes due to anthropogenic carbon emissions have already increased the frequency of floods, wildfires, droughts and heatwaves around the world. The last report from the IPCC published in August 2021 reminded us that there is a near-linear relation between cumulative CO2 emissions and average global temperature. Each 1000 Gt of cumulative CO2 emissions is predicted to cause an increase in global surface temperature of 0.45°C. Therefore, stabilizing human-induced global temperature increase ...
Is family planning the answer to our climate change and conservation woes?

Is family planning the answer to our climate change and conservation woes?

(Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash.) Humans are currently facing a global triple-threat crisis. Together, population growth, climate change, and biodiversity loss paint a grim view of a future where agriculture has replaced wildlife, and humans and nature alike struggle for survival on a dying, overheated, overpopulated planet. Over the last few months, it has become clear that the magnitude of climate change is greater than even most climate scientists expected. And the effects are being felt all over the world, even in rich western countries, ...

Humans transform the world, but they don’t remember

In the last century, humans have so dramatically transformed the environment in which they live that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. The magnitude, extent, and rate of change in the environment is so great that it is often hard to comprehend. The difficulty people have to realize how much ecosystems have been transformed partly comes from an environmental generational amnesia 1, caused by shifting baselines between generations 2:  children of each generation perceiving the environment into which they are ...

A model to predict migratory connectivity

Migratory birds undertake epic journeys connecting oceans and continents, awing people across the globe. Sadly, as spectacular as these seasonal movements are, many populations of migratory birds are in decline due to human threats, but tackling their conservation is challenging, as for most species many mysteries of their migrations remain unknown. Scientists believe birds migrate to increase their energetic efficiency: put simply, birds migrate in pursuit of better access to food, warmer climates and less competition with birds of their own and other species. On the other side of ...

The New Global Framework for Managing Nature Through 2030

The last decades, the implications of human actions in nature became more and more apparent. Exploitation of natural resources, habitat destruction in the sake of economic development, illegal species trading are only a few of the activities that have resulted in a new era of mass extinction, the Anthropocene. One of the responses to this catastrophe was to set global environmental goals and specific targets that countries need to reach within a certain timeframe. The ultimate goal is that, during the attempt to reach these targets, society ...
Covid-19 and biodiversity one year later

Covid-19 and biodiversity one year later

Photo by Jue Huang on Unsplash One year ago, the world stood still due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the virus spread inexorably, and most of the world was in lockdown. As a society, those were traumatic and confusing days. The uncertainties regarding what was happening and what was going to happen were immense. In this context, we tried to find positive and comforting messages to calm our unsettling feelings. One of the first messages we heard in the media was 'nature is healing its ...
The necessity of behavior change to reach goals in nature conservation

The necessity of behavior change to reach goals in nature conservation

In his 93 years, the famous British naturalist David Attenborough has visited almost every place on earth, exploring the wild pristine nature, telling fascinating stories. “A life on our planet”, is his latest documentary, where he reflects on his life looking back at defining moments and the changes he has seen in nature and the wildlife through the years. Talking to policymakers and economists at the World Economic Forum 2020, he repeated  a warning: if continuing maintaining the lifestyle that ...
Conservation tool or environmental threat? Blockchain technology is a double-edged sword.

Conservation tool or environmental threat? Blockchain technology is a double-edged sword.

Bitcoin has been hailed as ‘the future of money.’ As I write this, a single bitcoin is worth over $34,000 USD. In 2009, when Bitcoin was released, a single bitcoin was worth $0.0008. That is less than one tenth of a cent. In between, billionaires have been made. Bitcoin’s incredible rise in value and popularity occurred primarily due to the novel technology it is based on, called blockchain. Blockchain is an extremely secure record-keeping system, invented as a public transaction ledger for Bitcoin. Transaction records are created in ...
Killing in the name of greater good? The complexities of trophy hunting

Killing in the name of greater good? The complexities of trophy hunting

Trophy hunting is a topic that sparks discussion, often debated in the comment section of a trophy picture shared on one of many social media platforms. A middle-aged man with a wide grin on his face, posing proudly with the corpse of a dead animal. Many find such images disturbing. I mean, who wouldn’t, right? What’s even worse, conservation scientists claim that trophy hunting can serve conservation purposes. What? Killing animals to protect animals? That sounds like nonsense. Well, it ...
Will there always be more fish in the sea?

Will there always be more fish in the sea?

Gray Whale - Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash In May of this ‘exciting’ year of 2020, it was widely reported that the Smooth Handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) was declared the first species of bony fish to go extinct in modern times. Without a doubt, it is sad that a creature described as having a ‘punk rock hair-do’ has been relegated to a single, discolored specimen on the shelf of a natural history museum discolored specimen on the shelf of a natural history museum. However, ...
Conservation beyond charisma

Conservation beyond charisma

Despite biodiversity conservation slowly creeping into national and international political agendas, monitoring and protecting all species remains impossible. We simply do not have the people, time or resources. So, at a time in which species are declining at unprecedented levels, which species should we focus on? Which species should concentrate all of our attention and conservation efforts, and which should be left to their fate? Defining focal species To tackle this issue, one of the best-known strategies adopted by conservation biologists is the designation ...
Cognitive dissonance and conservation: Will our minds subconsciously guide us to the solution?

Cognitive dissonance and conservation: Will our minds subconsciously guide us to the solution?

On a cold February day in Washington D.C. in 2015, United States Senator Jim Inhofe pulled an infamous political stunt on the senate floor. He unraveled a snowball that he had gathered earlier that day, using it as a prop to "disprove" the reality of climate change. He ended his statement by playfully hurling the snowball across the floor, solidifying the spectacle of his statement in the minds of the U.S. media and public. While many observers dismissed the absurdity ...
Killing for conservation

Killing for conservation

The moral debate surrounding the lethal control of invasive alien species Historically, humans have been translocating animal and plant species from one region to the planet to another, from seeds and exotic birds from the new world to rice and spices from Asian regions. Some of these translocations are well documented, like the introduction of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from the Iberian Peninsula into the rest of Europe by the Romans during the second Punic wars (201-219 B.C), or the deliberate introduction of ...

Understanding the scale and cost of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fisheries

Since 1961, the average annual increase in global fish consumption has outpaced population growth and exceeded consumption of meat from all terrestrial animals combined 1. Accordingly, fish stocks have been increasingly exploited, with 33% of fish stocks overfished and 60% fully exploited in 2015 1. Demand for fish is driven by population growth, human migration toward coastal areas, and rising incomes increasing demand for luxury seafood 1. To identify a sustainable level of fish stock exploitation, experts use a metric called the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), ...
Wind Farms in Greece

Wind Farms in Greece

Despite some beliefs, climate change is real and humans are the ones to blame for. The increase of greenhouse gases – mainly CO2 - in the atmosphere, is the key driver of climate change. Emissions from human activities are responsible for 100% of the warming observed since 19501. One such activity is the production of energy. All processes of the energy production – from the extraction to the product delivered to the end-users – contribute highly to the greenhouse gas ...
A bird from the Netherlands and an airport in Portugal: local political decisions can threaten migratory birds from afar

A bird from the Netherlands and an airport in Portugal: local political decisions can threaten migratory birds from afar

Birds undertake epic migrations across the globe. Knowing no borders, they connect many countries - and even the seas beyond national jurisdictions – in the search for safe heavens where to rest, refuel and spend the winter. But these are no easy journeys. Migratory birds face multiple threats and many populations across the world are facing steep declines. Conserving migratory birds is thus a shared challenge that hinges on close cooperation between countries. Unfortunately, more often than not, this is not the ...
Wildlife over-exploitation and the Coronavirus

Wildlife over-exploitation and the Coronavirus

Underrate threat After habitat loss by agricultural expansion and logging, over-exploitation stands as the main threat for wildlife worldwide. The extraction of fauna from their natural habitats is known as defaunation, if done faster than natural populations can recover, it is known as over-exploitation. Defaunation can be divided into two categories: Subsistence hunting and commercial hunting (Redford, K., 1992), legal or illegal. Subsistence hunting represents a vital source of protein to people living in rural areas, while commercial hunting includes consumption ...
Is there a future for our planet? Or: How not to lose hope in a world with dystopic visions

Is there a future for our planet? Or: How not to lose hope in a world with dystopic visions

Emergency to act! Recently, more than 11’000 scientists from 153 countries signed a paper in which they warn humanity that the planet earth is facing a climate emergency unless major transformations are made in global society (1). The scientists point out that the climate crisis is strongly linked to the excessive consumption of a wealthy lifestyle. Thereby, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate warming come from the most affluent countries. The scientists clearly call to urgent action based on scientific facts! In the paper they ...
Corporation and conservation partnership

Corporation and conservation partnership

COP 25 is taking place right now in Madrid, and we can observe big corporations sponsoring all types of events. Among them is Endesa, an energy company responsible for 10% of the emissions in Spain1. Big corporations sponsoring environmental events is common, and more and more they are present in the environmental debates and the decision-making platforms. Another context where we can see this controversial involvement is in the donation-based partnership between conservation and NGOs. This article ...
A good case of conservation in action : Nepal

A good case of conservation in action : Nepal

Introduction The rate of resource use and its implication on environment has been well documented. According to the Living Planet Index report of 2018, 60% of wildlife population has declined over the last 40 years. It is also looking more and more likely that we will be unable to meet the goals we have set like the 2°C target for global warming,the SDGs among others. The situation looks particularly bleak in south Asia where two of the projected dominant economies of the future (India and China) are flexing their ...
Are species important for the conservation of biodiversity?

Are species important for the conservation of biodiversity?

© Wikimedia Commons Biodiversity is an abstract concept without a universally accepted definition (Meinard et al., 2019), with measures often incorporating both processes and entities. These may include: the functional diversity of a system, reflecting its biological complexity; phylogenetic diversity, whereby the distances between evolutionary lineages are summed; or species densities, relative abundances and total richness. Choosing an appropriate measure for conservation can depend on the end goal of the policy maker, the values of the stakeholders or simply the ...
So long, and thanks for all the fish?

So long, and thanks for all the fish?

© Wikimedia Commons THEIR habitats are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. And despite their critical value as a source of food and employment for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, it is likely that many freshwater fish species have already disappeared without record. Freshwaters cover just 0.8% of the Earth’s surface and hold 0.01% of its water yet they harbour astonishing biodiversity, with around 16,000 described resident or migratory fishes accounting for roughly half the global total and 25% of all vertebrates. They provide ...

Freedom in the high seas: a pickle for nature management

The high seas, or international waters, encompasses all areas beyond 200 nautical miles (nm) of shore, which in total constitutes one-half of the world’s surface area. Not only is this a massive area, but also hosts a diversity of life, with species ranging from sharks and albatrosses, to tuna and sea turtles using the high seas on a regular basis (Harrison et al. 2018). Importantly, many species from these groups are in severe decline (here), and therefore it may not suffice to protect them while within ...
How to make space for nature?

How to make space for nature?

Nairobi national park Global biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. It is well-evidenced that this is the result of human activities, primarily agriculture and other forms of land conversion, as well as overexploitation of species. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s most recent Living Planet Report, published in November 2018, shows that surveyed animal populations have declined by more than 50 per cent on average in the last two generations. The recently-released global assessment from the United Nations´ leading ...
One million species are facing extinction, IPBES report warns

One million species are facing extinction, IPBES report warns

Monarch butterflies are one of the species negatively impacted by human activities. © Wikimedia Up to one million out of the roughly 8 million estimated species are threatened with extinction due to the impact of human activities, affirms the new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Compiled by 145 authors and with inputs from another 310 professionals, the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the most comprehensive ...
New study finds protected areas are compatible with human well-being

New study finds protected areas are compatible with human well-being

Ana Alvarado and Edison Canelos, members of a local Kichwa community, plant seedlings near the Selva Viva protected forest in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Photo credit: Sandra Lucia Almeyda Zambrano The trade-off between environmental protection and human well-being is a longstanding issue in the realm of conservation. From forced evictions to unjustified restrictions of local resource use, conservation policies have often imperiled the most marginalized members of our societies. New research published earlier this month in Science Advances, however, suggests that this ...
Scientists map Sri Lankan elephants for first time

Scientists map Sri Lankan elephants for first time

TRUNK AND DISORDERLY: Sri Lankan elephants often come into conflict with humans. © Wikimedia Scientists in Sri Lanka have produced the first-ever evidence-based distribution map for Asian elephants. The researchers carried out interview surveys across the country and found that the charismatic mammals occur over around 60 per cent of the island nation, a much higher proportion than elsewhere in its 13-country range. Earlier distribution models either covered smaller areas within individual countries, or were based on “guesswork and conjecture”, according to the authors of the ...
Un-bee-lievable! World’s biggest bee rediscovered in Indonesia

Un-bee-lievable! World’s biggest bee rediscovered in Indonesia

STING IN THE TALE: Wallace's giant bee has been dubbed 'the flying bulldog'. © Clay Bolt It was feared extinct for almost four decades. But a team of North American and Australian biologists has filmed Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto) alive on a remote island in Indonesia. First discovered in 1859 by renowned English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, the thumb-sized species had not been seen since 1981, when American entomologist Adam Messer found it on three islands in the North Mollucas archipelago. And after a report of two individuals ...