Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Manmade ruin adds 7,000 species to endangered 'Red List'

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick GALEY, July 18, 2019

The Roloway Monkey of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana has fewer than 2,000 left in the
wild (AFP Photo/SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Paris (AFP) - Mankind's destruction of nature is driving species to the brink of extinction at an "unprecedented" rate, the leading wildlife conservation body warned Thursday as it added more than 7,000 animals, fish and plants to its endangered "Red List".

From the canopies of tropical forests to the ocean floor, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said iconic species of primates, rays, fish and trees were now classified as critically endangered.

The group has now assessed more than 105,000 species worldwide, around 28,000 of which risk extinction.

While each group of organisms face specific threats, human behaviour, including overfishing and deforestation, was the biggest driver of plummeting populations.

"Nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history," said IUCN acting director general, Grethel Aguilar. "We must wake up to the fact that conserving nature's diversity is in our interest."

In May the United Nations released its generational assessment of the state of the environment. It made for grim reading.

The report warned that as many as one million species were now at risk of extinction, many within decades, as human consumption of freshwater, fossil fuels and other natural resources skyrockets.

It found that more than 90 percent of marine fish stocks are now either overfished or fished to the limit of sustainability.

The IUCN singled out a number of sea and freshwater fish that now occupy its highest threat category of "critically endangered" -- the next step on the Red List is extinction.

Wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes, known collectively as Rhino Rays due to their elongated snouts, are now the most imperilled marine families on Earth.

The False Shark Ray is on the brink of extinction after overfishing in the waters off of Mauritania saw its population collapse 80 percent in the last 45 years.

Seven species of primate are closer to extinction on the new list, including the Roloway Monkey of Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, with fewer than 2,000 individuals left in the wild.

Prime culprits are humans hunting the animals for bushmeat and "severe habitat loss" as forest is converted to land to grow food.

40 percent of all primates in West and Central Africa are now threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN.

"Species targeted by humans for food tend to become endangered much more quickly," Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List Unit, told AFP.

"Species in environments with lots of deforestation for agriculture end up being impacted."

'Millions of years of evolution'

The updated list shows that over half of Japan's freshwater fish and more than a third of Mexico's are threatened with extinction due to the loss of free-flowing rivers and increasing pollution.

More than 500 deep-sea bony fish and molluscs have been added to the list for the first time posing something of a conservation conundrum as the space they inhabit -- 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) beneath the surface -- is often beyond national boundaries.

"The alarm bell has been sounding again and again concerning the unravelling crisis in freshwater and marine wildlife," said Andrew Terry, director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London.

"Many of these ancient marine species have been around since the age of the dinosaurs and losing just one of these species would represent a loss of millions of years of evolutionary history."

Monday, July 15, 2019

Let's talk about gay penguins: Munich zoo joins Pride week

Yahoo – AFP, Pauline CURTET, July 13, 2019

Biologists say giraffes are bisexual. In some groups, 90 percent of the acts
observed are in fact homosexual in nature (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

Munich (Germany) (AFP) - Organisers of this year's Gay Pride week in Munich have a group of rather wild partners -- penguins, giraffes and lions at the city zoo where tours are being run about same-sex love in the animal kingdom.

The Munich zoo has joined Pride week with an unusual look into the intimate lives of all creatures great and small, seeking to boost tolerance among humans.

"It is important for us to talk about" homosexuality in the animal kingdom and show that same-sex love has its place in Nature, said Munich zoo spokesman Dennis Spaeth.

"Because unfortunately in Germany we see more and more people from the reactionary right attacking LGBTQI rights."

While even mostly-Catholic Bavaria has grown more accepting and lawmakers legalised gay marriage in 2017, non-heterosexuals are sometimes still a target for violence.

Police recorded 91 attacks based on the victim's sexual orientation last year.

In the safe confines of the zoo, the first stop on the Pride tour is the giraffes. The blotchy animals spare visitors only occasional curious glances from behind their long eyelashes as they enjoy a meal of hay.

"Giraffes are bisexual. In some groups, 90 percent of the acts observed are in fact homosexual in nature," explained biologist Guenter Strauss.

The Munich zoo has joined Pride week with an unusual look into the intimate lives
of all creatures great and small, seeking to boost tolerance among humans (AFP 
Photo/Christof STACHE)

A few enclosures down, there is little to distinguish a male-male couple of black-faced Humboldt penguins squatting together from other, mixed pairs.

That is until the guide points out that with no egg to care for, the pair has taken to brooding a rock instead.

This is no one-off fling, as "penguins conduct homosexual relationships that can last a whole lifetime, something very rare in the animal kingdom," said Strauss.

Scientific taboo

In fact, hundreds of animal species, from elephants to snakes and birds, display homosexual behaviour.

But unlike most humans, the sexual preference of our four-legged or feathered friends is often quite fluid.

"Among people, we grow up with a specific sexual orientation. That's often not true for animals," said Strauss.

Unlike most humans, the sexual preference of our four-legged or feathered friends 
is often quite fluid (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

"They are in fact bisexual. They adopt certain sexual behaviour at specific moments."

One case in point are lions, and the zoo's male big cat greets the group with a loud roar.

"Servus!" responded Strauss in a regional greeting redolent of traditional, conservative Bavarian culture.

"Eight percent of sex acts among lions are homosexual. As for lionesses, they only show lesbian behaviour when they're kept in captivity," he explained.

While same-sex love among animals is commonplace, the topic was long a taboo for scientists of more hidebound eras.

"On one expedition to the South Pole at the start of the 20th century, a doctor saw males (penguins) copulating -- but he left out the pages dealing with the behaviour when he published the results of his research," Strauss recounted.

Considered unpalatable back then, the valuable pages were only rediscovered "eight or nine years ago" in a library in Britain, he added.

Times have changed since then.

London Zoo, for its contribution to Pride week, mounted a banner above its penguin beach, declaring: "Some penguins are gay. Get over it," a nod to a human anti-homophobic campaign.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Nine deer dead in Japan after eating plastic: wildlife group

Yahoo – AFP, July 10, 2019

Tourists are forbidden from feeding the deer any food other than the crackers
(AFP Photo/Behrouz MEHRI)

Tokyo (AFP) - Nine deer have died after swallowing plastic bags in Japan's Nara Park, a wildlife group said on Wednesday, warning that a surge in tourism may be to blame.

The Nara Deer Preservation Foundation said that masses of plastic bags and snack packets were found in the stomachs of the deer which died between March and June this year.

"The biggest litter found in one of the nine amounted to 4.3 kilograms (9.5 pounds)," foundation official Yoshitaka Ashimura told AFP.

"We were surprised. It was so big," he said.

The picturesque park in Japan's ancient capital is home to more than 1,000 deer, which can even be found roaming the streets in search of special tasty crackers offered by tourists.

Tourists are forbidden from feeding the deer any food besides the crackers but Ashimura said some visitors offer the animals other types of snacks.

"The deer probably think that the snacks and the plastic packs covering them are both food," he said, adding the animals normally eat grass and acorns.

"They might also eat plastic bags dropped on the ground," he said, adding that he believed such cases had increased recently "due to the growing number of visitors".

"The only way to prevent this is to remove all the garbage."

The sprawling park that also includes wooden temples and shrines built centuries ago is a major tourist attraction.

The number of tourists visiting Nara city where the park is located has increased in recent years, with 16 million visitors in 2017.

The deer at the park -- numbering on average about 1,200 -- are protected as a national treasure.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Dogs trained to offer support to troubled US veterans

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine TRIOMPHE, June 16, 2019

US military veteran Michael Kidd and his companion dog Millie leave after a training
session at the Paws of War office in Nesconset, New York -- Millie helps Kidd navigate
the difficulties of post-traumatic stress disorder (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

Nesconset (United States) (AFP) - Michael Kidd, now 84 years old, fought in the Korean War. His young German shepherd Millie helps calm him down when things start to swirl, usually at night.

Harry Stolberg -- a 42-year-old former Marine who served in Bosnia, Liberia and Nigeria -- has a chocolate Labrador named Rocky who wakes him up from his troubled dreams.

And 31-year-old Phil Davanzo -- who carried the bodies of fallen comrades during a hostage rescue operation that went wrong off Somalia in 2011 -- hopes his Rottweiler puppy will soon be trained to support him during his panic attacks.

The three US veterans, who all live on New York's Long Island, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have sought solace through pet therapy -- namely, a loyal dog to keep them company.

The shelter animals are either trained or being trained to help them through difficult times by Paws of War, an association funded entirely by private donations that then provides the service dogs free of charge.

The group will also train a veteran's dog if he or she already has one.

Veteran Harry Stolberg says his dog Rocky helps him wake up from the nightmares that 
have come after his service overseas in the Marine Corps (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

"The biggest thing is he wakes me up from nightmares," Stolberg says of three-year-old Rocky.

"He can open the door, come in my room, turn on the lights, take my blinders off me... and lick my hands so I wake up."

Rocky, whose 18 months of training were completed six months ago, also helps Stolberg navigate large crowds, which can be triggering.

"If I can't move, he will get me out of that crowd -- he will pick up on that. He will walk around me and look at it and if I don't respond, he will walk away from the crowd with me hooked up to him," he says.

Paws of War -- their acronym is a play on POW, used to signify prisoners of war -- has been active since 2014.

More than 100 dogs have been trained so far, and the therapeutic results for their masters have been significant.

Michael Kidd's dog Millie, seen here, is being trained at Paws of War to help Kidd 
when times are tough -- he says her assistance has led to a reduced need for 
medication (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

Off the meds

Kidd, who suffers from severe PTSD, has been able to reduce his intake of medication thanks to Millie.

At night when things are tough, "she will come over to me, she will put her paw on my shoulder, on my chest, and just give me a big slobber," says Kidd, whose father was in Normandy on D-Day.

"That's just saying, 'I am here for you.'"

Stolberg used to need sleeping pills to get through the night, but not anymore, thanks to Rocky.

"Sleeping was my biggest problem. (...) Now I only have a nightmare once or twice a month, instead of every day," he explains.

"A lot of that is also because I know that when I go to sleep, he is in the room -- he is going to wake me up no matter what."

Rebecca Stromski, a senior trainer for Paws of War whose husband served in 
Afghanistan and Kuwait, says it takes 18 to 24 months to teach dogs what to do when 
a troubled veteran sends distress signals (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

'Quite a process'

It takes 18 to 24 months to teach dogs what to do when a troubled veteran sends distress signals, according to Rebecca Stromski, a senior trainer for Paws of War whose husband served in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

"It's quite a process actually, creating a mutual respect and a connection between the service dude and the service dog," she says.

"Once the foundations are in place and the dog starts feeling if things are going well or not for the veterans, they start to do certain motions when the guys are fidgeting," Stromski explains.

"I can start and cue that behavior and use that as an alert."

In the face of seemingly interminable wars for US military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq, deployments which began in 2001, veterans are experiencing PTSD symptoms on a regular basis.

Paws of War has more requests for service animals than it can fulfill, with 50 veterans on the waiting list, according to the group's co-founder Dori Scofield.

So far, Paws of War has trained more than 100 dogs to help troubled veterans on Long 
Island, and has more applications than it can currently fulfill (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE)

Both ends of the leash

After running an animal shelter for 30 years, Scofield launched Paws of War after being contacted by veterans returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those soldiers had become attached to dogs they had found in those countries, but were unable to bring them back home.

Through word of mouth recommendations, the association quickly became a top meeting place for the 75,000-strong veteran community on Long Island, one of the biggest in the United States.

"We get applications every day -- we can't keep up," Scofield says. "I can't train enough dogs fast enough."

She has opened satellite offices in Florida and in northern New York state. She has also launched a free mobile veterinary clinic where veterans can bring their companion animals.

Dogs who might have ended up put to sleep in shelters now have homes, and veterans are rediscovering "a reason to get up every day, get moving, get out," Scofield says.

"It has been just so awesome, helping both ends of the leash."

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Dutchman wins prestigious prize for work with seeds and small farmers

DutchNews, June 11, 2019

Photo: Marcel Bakker via World Food Prize Foundation

This year’s World Food Prize, the most important global prize in the field of farming and food, has been awarded to Dutchman Simon Groot for his work in helping millions of smallholder farmers to use good seeds. 

This work, the organising committee says, ‘enabled them to to earn greater incomes through enhanced vegetable production, benefitting hundreds of millions of consumers with greater access to nutritious vegetables for healthy diets’. 

‘Simon Groot has dedicated his life to improving the livelihoods of millions around the world,’ Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, said at the award announcement on Monday. 

Groot, now 84, and his partner in the Philippines, started East-West Seed in 1982. Today, the team has developed vegetable varieties with enhanced disease resistance and significantly higher yields which are now used across Asia and beyond. The company serves 19 million smallholder farmers in more than 60 tropical countries.


In an interview with the Volkskrant, Groot said he thinks it regrettable that seed production is in the hands of a few big companies such as Bayer/Monsanto and Syngenta. 

The big companies, he said, are limiting supplies because there is little money to be made from minor breeds. ‘Big companies look at the importance of shareholders,’ he said. ‘Traditional seed companies put the interests of farmers first. We are friends to farmers.’ 

The prize was founded in 1986 by Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Groot is the first Dutch national to take the prize.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Rare all-white panda spotted in China reserve: State media

Aljazeera –AFP, 26 May 2019

China's Wolong National Nature Reserve is in Sichuan province which is home to 80 percent of the world's wild pandas.

Pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species, with fewer than 2,000 living in the
wild according to the World Wildlife Fund [Handout Wolong National Nature Reserve/AFP]

A rare all-white panda has been caught on camera at a nature reserve in southwest China, showing albinism exists among wild pandas in the region, state media reported.

The bear was photographed while trekking through the forest in mid-April in southwest Sichuan province, said official news agency Xinhua on Saturday.

The panda is an albino between one to two years old, said Li Sheng, a researcher specialising in bears at Peking University, who was quoted in Xinhua's report.

The Wolong National Nature Reserve - where the animal was spotted - told AFP it had no further details about the albino panda.

More than 80 percent of the world's wild pandas live in Sichuan, with the rest in Shaanxi and Gansu province.

Giant panda park

There were about 548 giant pandas in captivity globally as of November, reported Xinhua.

The number living in the wild has dwindled to fewer than 2,000, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Famed for its "panda diplomacy", in which China dispatches the rare animals to other countries as a symbol of close relations, Beijing has invested in different programmes to protect its furry ambassadors in recent years.

In 2018, China announced plans to create a bastion for giant pandas three times the size of Yellowstone National Park to link up existing wild populations and encourage breeding of the notoriously slow-reproducing animal.

At least 10 billion yuan ($1.45bn) had been budgeted for the Giant Panda National Park in mountainous southwestern China the state-run China Daily reported.

Pandas are currently listed as a vulnerable species, which means that while their survival is still threatened, conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Zimbabwe sells 100 elephants to China, Dubai

Yahoo – AFP, May 15, 2019

Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of
$2.7 million over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said Wednesday,
citing overpopulation (AFP Photo/MARTIN BUREAU)

Harare (AFP) - Zimbabwe has sold nearly 100 elephants to China and Dubai for a total price of $2.7 million over six years, the country’s wildlife agency said Wednesday, citing overpopulation.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo told AFP Zimbabwe's elephants were overcrowding national parks, encroaching into human settlements, destroying crops and posing a risk to human life.

"We have 84,000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 50,000," he said, justifying the sales. "We believe in sustainable use of resources, so we sell a few elephants to take care of the rest.

Farawo said 200 people have died in "human-and-animal conflict" in the past five years, "and at least 7,000 hectares of crop have been destroyed by elephants".

The animals' natural habitat has been depleted by climate change, he added, while recurrent droughts have added to strain on the overburdened national parks, forcing the pachyderms to seek food and water further afield.

Farawo said money from the legal sales was allocated to anti-poaching projects, conservation work, research and welfare.

According to the Zimbabwe Chronicle newspaper, 93 elephants were safely airlifted to parks in China and four to Dubai between 2012 and 2018, They were sold in a price range of between $13,500 and $41,500 each.

Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have called for a global ban on elephant ivory trade to be relaxed due to the growing number of elephants in some regions.

But over the past decade, the population of elephants across Africa has fallen by about 111,000 to 415,000, largely due to poaching for ivory, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Rare dandelion, thought extinct in NL, spotted in island field

DutchNews, May 13, 2019

Common dandelions. Photo: Depositphotos.com

A type of dandelion thought to have died out in the Netherlands 50 years ago has been rediscovered in a field on the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog. 

The dandelion taraxacum euryphyllum, which has mottled leaves, is common in Scandinavia, but the last examples in the Netherlands were seen on the island of Texel decades ago, Karst Meijer founder of the Herbarium Frisicum, told local broadcaster Omrop Fryslan. 

Meijer told the broadcaster he suspects the plant had always been on Schiermonnikoog but that no-one had ever gone looking for it. He and a team were on the island looking for a different sort of dandelion when they made the discovery.

‘Most people think a dandelion is a dandelion, but we were actively looking for another rare species, which is why we spotted it,’ he said.

Monday, May 13, 2019

At least 300 Himalayan yaks starve to death in India

CAN – AFP, 12 May 2019

In this file photo taken on Dec 13, 2014, an Indian local walks with his yak on a
snow-covered road during the season’s first snowfall at Kufri, some 17km from the
northern hill town of Shimla. (Photo: AFP/STR) 

NEW DELHI: Indian officials Sunday said (May 12) that at least 300 yaks starved to death in a remote Himalayan valley after a bout of unusually harsh winter weather.

Officials in the northeastern state of Sikkim said they received the first distress call from around 50 people cut off in the remote Mukuthang Valley in December.

Following very heavy snowfall the residents asked for help providing feed for their herd of around 1,500 yaks, a source of local milk, milk products, transportation and wool.

"We made several attempts to reach them but couldn't. No roads or air transport could reach there because of the weather conditions. We reached there now and have already confirmed at least 300 yak deaths," local official Raj Kumar Yadav told AFP.

"The local families say that 500 yaks have died because of starvation. We are trying to confirm that. Around 50 yaks are also receiving urgent medical attention," Yadav added.

Yaks are one of the mainstays of the region's tourism-dependent economy.

A few yaks die because of extreme conditions in the region each year, but the authorities say that this year's toll is unprecedented.

"The weather was too harsh. One heavy spell of snowfall in December was followed by even more snowfall and even the grass didn't grow. They died because of both cold and starvation," Yadav added.

The authorities are making arrangements to bury the dead yaks and assist local families in the valley, around 70 kilometres (45 miles) from state capital Gangtok.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

UN biodiversity conference to lay groundwork for Nature rescue plan

Yahoo – AFP, Marlowe HOOD,  April 29, 2019

Up to a million species face extinction, many within decades, according
to the draft UN report (AFP Photo/ISHARA S. KODIKARA)

Paris (AFP) - Diplomats from 130 nations gathered in Paris on Monday to validate a grim UN assessment of the state of Nature and lay the groundwork for a rescue plan for life on Earth.

The destruction of Nature threatens humanity "at least as much as human-induced climate change," UN biodiversity chief Robert Watson said as the five-day meeting began.

"We have a closing window of opportunity to act and narrowing options."

A 44-page draft "Summary for Policy Makers" obtained by AFP catalogues the 1001 ways in which our species has plundered the planet and damaged its capacity to renew the resources upon which we depend, starting with breathable air, drinkable water and productive soil.

The impact of humanity's expanding footprint and appetites has been devastating.

Up to a million species face extinction, many within decades, according to the report, and three-quarters of Earth's land surface has been "severely altered".

Biodiversity loss around the world measured in percentage compared to 
an intact ecosystem (AFP Photo/Simon MALFATTO)

A third of ocean fish stocks are in decline, and the rest, barring a few, are harvested at the very edge of sustainability.

A dramatic die-off of pollinating insects, especially bees, threatens essential crops valued at half-a-trillion dollars annually.

Twenty 10-year targets adopted in 2010 under the United Nations' biodiversity treaty -- to expand protected areas, slow species and forest loss, and reduce pollution -- will, with one or two exceptions, fail badly.

Based on an underlying report that draws from 400 experts and weighs in at 1,800 pages, the executive summary has to be vetted line-by-line by diplomats, with scientists at their elbow.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) document, once approved, will be released on May 6.

Historically, conservation biology has focused on the plight of pandas, polar bears and a multitude of less "charismatic" animals and plants that humanity is harvesting, eating, crowding or poisoning into oblivion.

But in the last two decades, that focus has shifted back to us.

"Up to now, we have talked about the importance of biodiversity mostly from an environmental perspective," Watson told AFP ahead of the Paris meet.

Three-quarters of Earth's land surface has been "severely altered", according 
to the draft UN report (AFP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)

Agriculture is key

"Now we are saying that Nature is crucial for food production, for pure water, for medicines and even social cohesion."

And to fight climate change.

Forests and oceans, for example, soak up half of the planet-warming greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere.

If they didn't, Earth might already be locked into an unliveable future of runaway global warming.

And yet, an area of tropical forest five times the size of England has been destroyed since 2014, mainly to service the global demand for beef, biofuels, soy beans and palm oil.

"The recent IPCC report shows to what extent climate change threatens biodiversity," said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris Agreement, referring to the UN's climate science panel.

"And the upcoming IPBES report -- as important for humanity -- will show these two problems have overlapping solutions."

Graphic on Earth's "mass extinctions" during the last 500 years. (AFP 
Photo/Alain BOMMENEL)

Extinctions hard to see

That overlap, she added, begins with agriculture, which accounts for at least a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

Set up in 2012, the IPBES synthesises published science for policymakers in the same way the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) does on climate.

Both advisory bodies feed into UN treaties.

But the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has always been a poor stepchild compared to its climate counterpart, and the IPBES was added as an afterthought, making its authority harder to establish.

Biodiversity experts are trying to engineer a "Paris moment" for Nature akin to the 2015 Paris climate treaty.

Public concern about global warming has crystallised around impacts ranging from rising seas to deadly heatwaves, and the Paris pact's hard target for capping the rise in global temperatures.

The 2018 IPCC report cited by Tubiana added a time imperative: to hold the line at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), the world must reduce CO2 emissions 45 percent by 2030, and become "carbon neutral" by mid-century, it concluded.

But finding the equivalent for Nature has proven difficult.

"Extinctions are not something the public can easily see," said Watson.

A growing number of scientists and NGOs are calling for 30 to 50 percent of Earth's surface to be "sustainably managed" by 2030, and more thereafter.

But the draft report makes no such concrete proposals.

The next opportunity for a visionary plan to be ratified would be the next full meeting in October 2020 of the parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China.

Related Article:


"....  A mini ice age is coming"Kryon, isn't that doom for the planet?"  Many have seen the artist's rendering of major earth cities under ice and all of the other things that go very well with science fiction movies. That's simply a painting of someone's doom scenario, not reality based in the history of the cycle. If you want to know what a mini ice age is like, just flash back in history and study what took place in about 1650. That was a mini ice age. Due to the change in the Gulf Stream (the ocean), the river Thames froze in London. Dear ones, it was cold, but it did not doom the planet. That's a mini ice age.

That's what you're facing, and I'll say it again. If you live in a cold climate, heed this advice: It's going to get colder. Get off the grid! Within the next 15 years, find a way of producing electricity independently or in smaller groups. This can be done neighborhood-wide or separately in homes. You're going to need this, dear ones, because the grid as it exists right now all over the world is not prepared for this coming cold, and the grid will fail. That's not doom and gloom, that's just practical, commonly known information. Your electricity infrastructure is delicate, too delicate. Prepare for a cold spell that may last for a couple of decades. That's all it is. Technology is racing forward to allow this. Don't let your politics get in the way of your survival. ..."

"...  This is controversial. The planet can't just "change the water". It does it instead with a "reboot of life in the ocean" using the water cycle. Watch for evidence of this as it occurs, and then remember this channel. This weather cycle is to refresh the life in the ocean so that everyone on the planet will have needed food from the ocean. Gaia does this by itself, has done it before, and it does it for a reason - so it will not stagnate.

Dear ones, indeed, you have put compromising things into the air and the water, but it has not caused this cycle. We have said for a very long time, stop killing the environment! The reason? It's going to kill you, not Gaia. Gaia is spectacularly resilient and will survive anything you do. However, it is you who may not survive if you continue polluting. All this is starting to change with your awareness, and you're starting to see this and move with it. But Humans are not causing the current weather shift. This will be known eventually.

What is happening has happened before, and it's almost like a reboot for the oceans and it carries a lot of dichotomous events. You're going to see reports of a dying ocean, but at the same time you're going to see unusual reports of too many fish and other sea life in places that were supposed to have a decline. You're going to see the life cycle of the ocean itself start to change and reboot.

The chief player in this renewal is a place you would not expect: Antarctica. I want you to watch for magic in Antarctica. It has always been the core of the refreshing of microbes and other kinds of life in your oceans and it's especially active during these mini ice ages. The process will cause currents under the sea to be filled with new life, delivering it to both hemispheres almost like an under-sea conveyor belt. ..."