Dbytes #527 (9 June 2022)

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


“We found Australia has already overshot three of these [planetary boundaries]: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.”
Romy Zyngier [see item 7]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity
2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold
3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn
4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work
5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians
6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’
7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

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1. The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity

Ambitious conservation efforts are needed to stop the global biodiversity crisis. In this study, we estimate the minimum land area to secure important biodiversity areas, ecologically intact areas, and optimal locations for representation of species ranges and ecoregions. We discover that at least 64 million square kilometers (44% of terrestrial area) would require conservation attention (ranging from protected areas to land-use policies) to meet this goal. More than 1.8 billion people live on these lands, so responses that promote autonomy, self-determination, equity, and sustainable management for safeguarding biodiversity are essential. Spatially explicit land-use scenarios suggest that 1.3 million square kilometers of this land is at risk of being converted for intensive human land uses by 2030, which requires immediate attention. However, a sevenfold difference exists between the amount of habitat converted in optimistic and pessimistic land-use scenarios, highlighting an opportunity to avert this crisis. Appropriate targets in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to encourage conservation of the identified land would contribute substantially to safeguarding biodiversity.

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl9127

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2. Bringing ‘the environment’ in from the cold

2013: Conservatives trumpet they will put recovery plans into action for real conservation outcomes
2022: after gutting the environment dept, they scrap recovery plans altogether

Now we need to bring the environment in from the cold

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/07/bringing-the-environment-in-from-the-cold/

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3. Species recovery targets in England damaging and illogical, scientists warn

PM told there could be eight years’ decline before any gains despite already being at ‘rock bottom’

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/31/species-recovery-targets-england-damaging-illogical-scientists-warn?

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4. Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work

Americans support recycling. We do too. But although some materials can be effectively recycled and safely made from recycled content, plastics cannot. Plastic recycling does not work and will never work. The United States in 2021 had a dismal recycling rate of about 5 percent for post-consumer plastic waste, down from a high of 9.5 percent in 2014, when the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled—even though much of it wasn’t.

Plastic Recycling Doesn’t Work and Will Never Work – The Atlantic

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5. Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians

Voters have given the new government a mandate to prioritise valuing nature. The make-up of the crossbench shows stronger and faster climate action was clearly a factor in the ballot booths.

Valuing nature is key to unlocking real change for Australians – The Fifth Estate

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6. The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’

What does a natural landscape look like to you? Maybe you think of a dense forest, or a sparkling body of water. Somewhere untouched by humans, right? Maybe the word “wilderness” comes to mind. Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a geographer and a descendant of the Wiradjuri – and he wants to challenge the idea that country that’s untouched by humans is a good thing.

The ideology of wilderness ‘destroying this continent’ – Ockham’s Razor – ABC Radio National

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7. Australia has overshot three planetary boundaries based on how we use land

We used to believe the world’s resources were almost limitless. But as we spread out across the planet, we consumed more and more of these resources. For decades, scientists have warned we are approaching the limits of what the environment can tolerate. In 2009, the influential Stockholm Resilience Centre first published its planetary boundaries framework. The idea is simple: outline the global environmental limits within which humanity could develop and thrive. This concept has become popular as a way to grasp our impact on nature. For the first time, we have taken these boundaries – which can be hard to visualise on a global scale – and applied them to Australia. We found Australia has already overshot three of these: biodiversity, land-system change and nitrogen and phosphorus flows. We’re also approaching the boundaries for freshwater use and climate change.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-overshot-three-planetary-boundaries-based-on-how-we-use-land-183728

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

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David Salt
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