Dbytes #431 (24 June 2020)

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


“Ringing the alarm bell is identified by academic journals as being something that’s going to help their impact factors more. Academics don’t necessarily get kudos and rewards for trying to make sure their findings are applied; there are not really the incentives for them to do that in the way that research is funded.”
Rhys Green [see item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Effective conservation science must shift away from doomsday views and toward solutions
2. Inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia
3. Conceptual ambiguity and ecosystem disservices
4. Australia’s devotion to coal has come at a huge cost. We need the government to change course, urgently
5. Climate change makes Covid-19 politics look easy
6. All’s fair in love and war law?
7. The Climate Tide roars in, yet leaders fail to understand and act

-~<>~-

1. Effective conservation science must shift away from doomsday views and toward solutions

Too much of conservation research focuses on describing the state of nature, in particular declines in biodiversity, and not on developing sustainable solutions to conservation challenges, say the authors of a new study. Studies that “ring the alarm bell” tend to dominate because of the challenges of doing the kind of complex multidisciplinary research needed to develop workable solutions, and the fact that professional and financial incentives are lacking for the latter kind of work. The researchers highlighted three cases in which the accumulated body of research on a particular conservation challenge took a solution-oriented trajectory and met with success: South Asian vultures, whooping cranes, and seabird bycatch.

https://news.mongabay.com/2020/06/effective-conservation-science-must-shift-away-from-doomsday-views-and-toward-solutions-study/

-~<>~-

2. Inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia

Following a referral from the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, the Committee resolved on 18 June 2020 to conduct an inquiry into the problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia. The Committee is accepting written submissions, addressing one or more of the terms of reference, to be received by Thursday, 30 July 2020. 

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Environment_and_Energy/Feralanddomesticcats

-~<>~-

3. Conceptual ambiguity and ecosystem disservices

Ecosystem services is one of the most misunderstood scientific concepts. Ambiguity and confusion can be a real barrier to establishing a new scientific concept or field of research. Ecosystem services is still a young discipline (formalised in the 1990s based on a much longer heritage) and is often misrepresented as being a purely economic concept that is damaging to biodiversity conservation and ecological science. This couldn’t be further from the truth, yet this misguided opinion consistently gets regular airtime and clouds broader understanding of the relevance of ecosystem services to research, policy, and land management.

The term ecosystem disservices was first used to address an early criticisms of the ES concept, i.e. that ES was largely focused on benefits and overlooked the ecological reality that nature sometimes harms us. This is a valid issue that must be addressed in any ES approach. But, as we argued a few years’ ago, creating a false dichotomy around opposing terms is not the most effective way to solve this problem.

https://ecologyisnotadirtyword.com/2020/06/14/new-paper-conceptual-ambiguity-and-ecosystem-disservices/

-~<>~-

4. Australia’s devotion to coal has come at a huge cost. We need the government to change course, urgently

Because we are rich in coal and gas, Australia has been plagued with two decades of wars over climate policy. The wars have claimed three prime ministers: Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull. They have also, in the words of journalist Alan Kohler: “ruined Australia’s ability to conduct any kind of sensible discussion about economic policy and to achieve consensus on anything.”

The response to the pandemic shows that consensus and effective, evidence-based policy are not impossible for Australia’s politicians. Faced with a crisis of life and death, they can put aside ideology and stare down vested interests.

https://theconversation.com/australias-devotion-to-coal-has-come-at-a-huge-cost-we-need-the-government-to-change-course-urgently-140841?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton

-~<>~-

5. Climate change makes Covid-19 politics look easy

The coronavirus pandemic has led to all kinds of novel political calculations. Climate change needs even better ones.

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/climate-change-makes-covid-19-politics-look-easy

-~<>~-

6. All’s fair in love and war law?

Framing environmental regulation as ‘green tape’ and challenges to environmental approvals as ‘lawfare’.

‘Green tape’ and ‘lawfare’ are back in the headlines. This time the impetus comes from the Government’s latest ‘congestion-busting’ initiative and the impending publication of a new study into litigation by environment groups. So, is there a tangle of ‘green tape’ out there that needs to be ‘busted’? What about an environmental conspiracy to bog down coal mines and other development projects in litigation? Or are we witnessing another round in the seemingly endless political struggle to control the environmental policy agenda?

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

-~<>~-

7. The Climate Tide roars in, yet leaders fail to understand and act

Climate change is a massively complex ‘wicked’ problem hence solutions require human capacities of logic and imagination guiding action. Our leaders appear bereft of science-based logic, acknowledging neither magnitude nor urgency of climate change. This denial may be facilitated by refusal to imagine themselves inside these impacts and become mobilised to take responsibility for the suffering of those who are and will be affected by their decisions.

https://johnmenadue.com/melissa-haswell-and-david-shearman-the-climate-tide-roars-in-yet-leaders-fail-to-understand-and-act/?mc_cid=57f11a86ac&mc_eid=bdd43ba6c5

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was 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 receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s