Thanks to a former NBA star, a coalition of Chinese business leaders, celebrities and students, and some unlikely investigative journalism, eating shark fin soup is no longer fashionable here. But what really tipped the balance was a government campaign against extravagance that has seen the soup banned from official banquets.
“People said it was impossible to change China, but the evidence we are now getting says consumption of shark fin soup in China is down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years,” said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, a San Francisco-based group that has promoted awareness about the shark trade. The drop is also reflected in government and industry statistics.
“It is a myth that people in Asia don’t care about wildlife,” Knights said. “Consumption is based on ignorance rather than malice. ”
The dramatic expansion in China’s middle and upper classes has transformed the country into a major driver of global wildlife trafficking. The Obama administration is so concerned about Chinese demand for endangered wildlife that it made the subject an important part of its bilateral dialogue this year.
More than 70 million sharks were killed last year, largely to satisfy rapacious demand from China’s newly rich for shark fin soup.
Lavish spending by China’s wealthy has also sent demand for ivory skyrocketing, fueling a massive expansion in elephant poaching in Africa.
Elementa’s Editors-in-Chief share their thoughts on the topic of the Anthropocene, the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to climate change, working with a mission-driven nonprofit publisher, and open access publishing.
Elementa is a new open source scientific journal. It covers climate change issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.
They’re now accepting submissions! Scientists, researchers, profs, students, check it out!
This is an excellent program. I did some adaptation work with CEU last summer and Budapest (and surrounding wine country) is beautiful.
The year of ”Comparisons”
The CEU Institute for Advanced Study (CEU IAS) is pleased to invite applications for its Senior and Junior Core and Humanities Initiative fellowships for the academic year 2014/15.
In the 2014/15 academic year the guiding theme of the Institute will be “Comparisons”. We do not require that fellows do comparative research, this is not part of the selection criteria. The theme is designed as a catalyst for intellectual conversations on doing empirical research and producing social theory. We expect to organize a handful of events around the theme of “Comparisons” in the hope that it will engender productive conversations and support fellows’ ongoing research work even if it is not explicitly comparative in nature.
CEU IAS Fellowships are highly competitive and will be awarded on the basis of scholarly excellence.
Application deadline for all three fellowships: October 20, 2013
How to apply?
1. Read the detailed requirements by clicking on the fellowship of interest below.
Hello - I am in my senior year of college as an Interior Design major (with a minor in Sustainability in the Built Environment) but only very recently did I find my passion for Environmental Studies. Unfortunately, it appears every graduate school I look at requires heavy undergrad studies in Chemistry and Biology as well as research experience, which, as I did not realize this interest until late in the game (in terms of undergrad) I just don't have. I feel like I don't have any options. Help?
A question by Anonymous
You’re fine. In fact, you may be more interesting than most applicants. Embrace your undergrad and shape yourself as a visionary. I’m sure there are heroes and heroines in your field, so mimic their paths.
Most importantly, have a face-to-face chat with either the grad school’s dean. Tell them you’re goals, your fears, and what you’d want to accomplish. Also identify a professor you’d want to work with at that grad school and have several chats with them. These people are (usually) on the application review boards.
Do you think a Bachelor in environmental engineering is a useful degree to combat climate change?
A question by Anonymous
Well, EE is a sweet degree - very focused and lots of job opportunities. As far as “combating climate change” goes, I don’t want to fool you or provide a false sense of hope. I think the best thing for you to do is realize and accept that emissions are not going down. Every source that monitors emissions agrees, for example see here and here.
Maybe introspect and evaluate why it is you believe you can ‘combat’ climate change. I don’t have the answers you’re looking for - after all, I’m not even into emissions or energy, nor do I ‘combat’ climate change in any of my work. I’m an adaptation specialist. I tell governments where to build stuff, which is out of harms way.
Hi Michael, I am a senior in high school, so I am starting to think about my plans after graduating. I am not sure what I want to do in the future, but I am certain that I want to do something to combat climate change and other environmental issues in some way. I have a strong background in math and science, but I also have an interest in politics and culture, which influences how we handle this problem. I am not sure if I should try to contribute to some technological innovation, or try to get involved with environmental policy. Most importantly, I am struggling to figure out what I should do for undergraduate college. What kind of major do you think would provide me with the optimal knowledge and skills to contribute? What kind of college would be better? A research-oriented university, or a liberal arts college? Thanks, John Zhao
ED hits all the sweet spots you mentioned, and lays the ground work for some pretty sweet masters degrees.
You’ll learn about architecture, history, watersheds, pollution, politics, animals, ecology, anthropology, culture, viruses, art, and even law. You’ll learn how to write mo beddah, take great photographs, draw buildings, landscapes, plants, and even design transportation systems.
You contacted me, so that’s one incredibly important skill you’ll need as an environmentalist - networking - that you’ll also develop.
Many high-school and undergrads ask me questions like this. Have a look at my Reader Mail tag. And here are some possibly useful responses, which dive a bit deeper than what I’ve written above:
A surprise headline. The piece is in praise of Al Jazeera America’s coverage of climate change. Why? The new channel didn’t take the low road.
Bottom line: this was a great start. But just as encouraging as what Al Jazeera America discussed last night — climate change — is the list of things it didn’t do:
1. Provide False Balance.
Perhaps most significantly, Inside Story explored public opinion on climate science, and even presented differing views on climate policy, without once offering marginal contrarian viewpoints as a “counterbalance.” Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera America’s acting chief executive, has cited PBS as a model, and it showed. Other cable news channels have sometimes run afoul of this standard.
2. Focus On Politics.
Al Jazeera America focused on the impacts of climate change, with a complementary discussion of some possible ways of mitigating them through political action. Notably, no politicians were interviewed, as few politicians are credible sources of information on, say, sea level rise. Instead, the guests — Michael Mann, Heidi Cullen and Klaus Jacob — were all scientists familiar with the topic at hand. Television news outlets don’t always do this well: in 2012, 89 percent and 12 percent of Sunday and nightly news coverage of climate change, respectively, was driven by politics.
3. Show Weird Charts.
Discussing public opinion on climate change, Inside Story displayed two graphs showing recent polling. Both had proper vertical axes (starting at zero), showed accurate statistics and cited their sources. Previously, peer network Fox News has had some trouble with charts, maps and the like. They might want to compare notes.
4. Obscure The Cause.
Some attempts at climate coverage muddy the waters, but Al Jazeera America left no doubt that the phenomenon it was referring to is man-made. The segment treated the science as a “given,” and host Libby Casey made a point of mentioning the fact that a significant majority of scientists agree about it, as is continually re-affirmed by high-level research.
Course, lodging, food, and per diem are covered. Transportation not included.
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) will be offering its Climate Change Adaptation Planning course on October 1-3, 2013, in Reno, NV. The course provides an introduction to planning for climate change impacts, highlighting the work of several tribes. The course is intended for tribal environmental and natural resource professionals who expect to be involved in climate change adaptation planning. Since the course will focus on climate change impacts in the Great Basin, we especially encourage people from that area to attend.
This course employs a variety of instructional methods such as presentations including tribal case studies, large- and small-group discussions, activities, and a 1⁄2-day field trip. Participants will complete a pre-course assignment prior to attending.
Please see the course description, attendee expectations, travel and cancellation policy, application form, and release form, and review all of the information carefully.
If you are interested in applying for this course, please fill out the application form and release form and fax them to our office. Space is limited, so please be sure to get your application in as soon as possible. ITEP will be paying lodging costs and reimbursing per diem for up to 20 tribal participants. All participants are responsible for their own transportation costs (airfare, taxis, shuttle service, mileage, etc.).
Applications received by August 6, 2013, will have priority consideration.
The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Rainforest Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund are pleased to announce the release of three new, self-paced and web-based courses on climate change and REDD+ on www.conservationtraining.org.
The curriculum, Introductory Curriculum on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Conserving and Enhancing Forest Carbon Stocks (REDD+), provides an introductory level of understanding on climate change, deforestation, forest degradation, and REDD+. This new version contains up-to-date information on policy and implementation as well as a cool new facelift and improved interactivity. It is divided into three courses:
•Course 1, Introduction to Climate Change and the Role of Forests, the focus is on background information on climate change, the drivers of deforestation, and strategies for reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
•Course 2, REDD+ Policy, we cover the essential aspects of the technical, political, financial, social, and environmental issues related to REDD+.
•Course 3, REDD+ Implementation, the focus is on the basics of implementing REDD+ activities at various scales.
The course is freely available to anyone who is interested.