Christopher Alberts, the Senior Vice President of Communications for the National Geographic Channels, told me that they have “one of the best policies there is”, but refused to send it to me or tell me anything about it.
Why are these factual networks, whose survival depends on building trust with their audiences, so reluctant to clarify their ethics policies with respect to wildlife?
What does it mean for conservation if high-rating shows on leading channels are portraying wildlife in a negative, seemingly misleading way to millions of viewers worldwide? And why are so few people saying anything about it?
The Guradian’s Adam Welz eviscerates NatGeo, Discovery, Animal Planet, and the History Channel’s horrific violence against animals, including shooting bears, wolves, wolverines, crocodiles, snakes, and many other animals in full view of the camera.
Welz’s piece struck a cord with me this weekend. This is not education, it’s promotion of fear of nature for ratings and money. It’s exploitation to the vilest degree. I believe these channels have to answer for this bizarre blood lust.
A testosterone-fuelled stag chases a man up a tree in Bushy Park, west London. A woman who filmed the incident, Lisa Acremom, describes what happened: two stags were facing up to each other when a passerby got too close, and one of the stags turned on him. The stag chased the man until he climbed a tree to safety
A school of sharks feed on a school of tuna that in turn are feeding on a school of smaller fish a few hundred metres off the coast north of Perth. About 50 sharks were spotted by the crew of an air sea rescue helicopter. Some of the sharks were estimated to be 2.5 metres long
Although there is widespread agreement on the need for adaptation measures to limit the risks posed by climate change, there is no clear consensus on how much adaptation will cost or how it will be paid for. A recent World Bank report suggested that the price of adaptation in developing countries alone will be $70–100 billion a year between 2010 and 2050, while other studies suggest these figures are too low.
The overall bill for adaptation will depend on the severity of climatic changes and the range of measures chosen. The most expensive adaptation measures involve modifying infrastructure and improving coastal and flood protection, so costs will be highest not necessarily where vulnerability is greatest but in regions with a lot of infrastructure that needs to be climate-proofed. Lower-cost measures that can be used as part of an adaptation response include changing behaviours, shifting farming practices and making regulatory reforms.
Costs will be lower if countries plan ahead – for example building roads with drainage systems that can cope with severe rain, rather than retro-fitting these features later on.
"The scientist who has borne the full brunt of attacks by climate change deniers, including death threats and accusations of misappropriating funds, is set to hit back.
Michael E. Mann, creator of the “hockey stick” graph that illustrates recent rapid rises in global temperatures, is to publish a book next month detailing the “disingenuous and cynical” methods used by those who have tried to disprove his findings. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars is a startling depiction of a scientist persecuted for trying to tell the truth.
Among the tactics used against Mann were the theft and publication, in 2009, of emails he had exchanged with climate scientist Professor Phil Jones of East Anglia University. Selected, distorted versions of these emails were then published on the internet in order to undermine UN climate talks due to begin in Copenhagen a few weeks later. These negotiations ended in failure. The use of those emails to kill off the climate talks was “a crime against humanity, a crime against the planet,” says Mann, a scientist at Penn State University.
In his book, Mann warns that “public discourse has been polluted now for decades by corporate-funded disinformation – not just with climate change but with a host of health, environmental and societal threats.” The implications for the planet are grim, he adds.
Mann became a target of climate deniers’ hate because his research revealed there has been a recent increase of almost 1°C across the globe, a rise that was unprecedented “during at least the last 1,000 years” and which has been linked to rising emissions of carbon dioxide from cars, factories and power plants. Many other studies have since supported this finding although climate change deniers still reject his conclusions.
Mann’s research particularly infuriated deniers after it was used prominently by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in one of its assessment reports, making him a target of right-wing denial campaigners. But as the 46-year-old scientist told the Observer, he only entered this research field by accident. “I was interested in variations in temperatures of the oceans over the past millennium. But there are no records of these changes so I had to find proxy measures: coral growth, ice cores and tree rings.”“
Jenny E Ross of the US has won the first prize in the Nature Singles category of the World Press photo contest 2011 with this picture. It shows a male polar bear climbing precariously on the face of a cliff above the ocean at Ostrova Oranskie in northern Novaya Zemlya, Russia, attempting to feed on seabird eggs. This bear was marooned on land and unable to feed on seals - its normal prey - because sea ice had melted throughout the region and receded far to the north as a result of climate change. Photograph: Jenny E. Ross/Handout/2011 WPPC
“Until recently, this area of southern Mongolia was one of the world’s last great wildernesses – a cold desert that is home to gazelle, wild ass and herders living a traditional nomadic existence.
Today, however, it is the centre of the planet’s greatest resource boom. Some are calling it “the last frontier”, others “Minegolia”. Whatever the name, this impoverished but remarkable nation in east Asia is on the brink of one of the most dramatic transformations in human history.
Other mega-mines will follow. The extraction is expected to triple the national economy by 2020 and propel the living standards of the small, impoverished 2.6 million population into the global middle class, but locals fear it will also devastate an arid environment as the mines suck up scarce water resources, damage the grasslands and necessitate roads and electricity grids that disrupt the migration patterns of local species.
The damage is already evident in the cross-Gobi traffic, where drivers churn up so much dust that some use their headlights in the middle of the day to pierce the gloom.”
At least 15 high-level meetings and frequent communications have taken place since September, with David Cameron discussing the issue with his counterpart Stephen Harper during his visit to Canada, and stating privately that the UK wanted “to work with Canada on finding a way forward”, according to documents released under freedom of information laws.”
Some of the 20 million bats emerging from Bracken cave in Texas. A depleting insect population has forced millions of bats around drought-stricken Texas to emerge before nightfall for food runs, making them more susceptible to natural predators. Some experts have already noticed fewer bats emerging from caves and have seen evidence that more infant bats are showing up dead, hinting at a looming population decline.Photograph: Eric Gay/AP