Dbytes #378 (23 May 2019)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“We don’t have a good process for the initial risk assessment of which species we should be focusing on. Given climate change and other situations, there are some species now where it may be hopeless to be working on them and other species where a little bit of input would make a big difference.”
Nic Bax to the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee on Australia’s faunal extinction crisis


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment
2. Three lessons from behavioural economics Bill Shorten’s Labor Party forgot about
3. Coral bleaching event underway in French Polynesia despite no El Nino
4. Invasive species are Australia’s number-one extinction threat
5. Notre Dame vs. Nature: on why valuing nature is a challenge we need to face
6. Ocean plastics on the rise
7. The Great Science Publishing Scandal

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1. Why The Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’

Other terms that have been updated, including the use of “wildlife” rather than “biodiversity”, “fish populations” instead of “fish stocks” and “climate science denier” rather than “climate sceptic”. In September, the BBC accepted it gets coverage of climate change “wrong too often” and told staff: “You do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/17/why-the-guardian-is-changing-the-language-it-uses-about-the-environment

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2. Three lessons from behavioural economics Bill Shorten’s Labor Party forgot about
By Tracey West
1. People are loss averse
2. Limited decision-making
3. Now is worth more than later

https://theconversation.com/3-lessons-from-behavioural-economics-bill-shortens-labor-party-forgot-about-117404

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3. Coral bleaching event underway in French Polynesia despite no El Nino

Widespread coral bleaching has been reported in the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Moorea, even though there was no El Nino event this year.

ABC Science

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4. Invasive species are Australia’s number-one extinction threat

Cats and foxes have driven 22 native mammals to extinction across central Australia and a new wave of decline – largely from cats – is taking place across northern Australia. Research has estimated 270 more threatened and endangered vertebrates are being affected by invasive species.

https://theconversation.com/invasive-species-are-australias-number-one-extinction-threat-116809

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5. Notre Dame vs. Nature: on why valuing nature is a challenge we need to face
By Manu Saunders

The recent Notre Dame fire grabbed global headlines. The morning I woke to see it on the news, I felt sad. I’m not a Christian and I’ve never been to Paris. But my mother is an artist and I studied French and ancient history for years. I recognise the intrinsic cultural value of Notre Dame and everything within it. The iconic cathedral has value, not only for Parisians, but for many parts of global society: art, religion, history, architecture, popular culture…

As concern over the fire grew, I was surprised at the response from some people online, including scientists, who began criticising support for the burning cathedral. They compared the cultural losses of Notre Dame with nature conservation and species extinction. What about forests? What about species extinction? What about the Great Barrier Reef? The implication was that if you cared about the Notre Dame fire, then you didn’t care about Nature…

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2019/05/08/notre-dame-vs-nature-on-why-valuing-nature-is-a-challenge-we-need-to-face/

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6. Ocean plastics on the rise

A new report has tracked the huge uptick in the amount of plastics in the world’s oceans, with data from over four decades and accessing 6.5 million nautical miles tracking ocean pollution levels. Scientists from the University of Plymouth have published a new paper in the journal Nature communications, showing a significant increase in larger plastic items such as rope and bags, while also tracking a huge increase in mictroplastics. The findings are based on records of when plastics have become entangled on a towed marine sampler, the Continuous Plankton Recorder.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09506-1

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7. The Great Science Publishing Scandal

Matthew Cobb, Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester, explores the hidden world of prestige, profits and piracy that lurks behind scientific journals.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004l7k

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. For the past decade Dbytes has been supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to received it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David Salt


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