Fighting climate change with compassion, one letter at a time

first_imgDearTomorrow cofounders hope to inspire climate action today by having people write letters their children will open in 2050.The initiative seeks to make climate change more pressing by imagining what the world will be like in three decades.Anyone can write a letter – and Kubit and Shrum have made sure their program accepts people with different political, religious or cultural beliefs. What can you do that transcends climate policy and unites us all in a better, more resilient future? Imagine writing a letter to your children about climate change that they’ll open in the year 2050. What would you want them to know about this pivotal moment in history?Jill Kubit and Trisha Shrum are moms, environmentalists, and cofounders of DearTomorrow, a project that invites people to compose letters, photos, or videos to the children in their lives, to be made available for them to read when they grow up. Anyone can participate.As Kubit says, “I like to think that in 2050 the world looks very different, but it’s not just negative, it’s also positive in terms of better health outcomes, switching away from fossil fuels, livable cities…” In addition to letters written to kids and grandkids, they have letters that are written to “future selves” and also sometimes to nieces, nephews, students, future generations, communities, and more (see Jill’s TED Talk here).Shrum and Kubit co-founded DearTomorrow with the goal of engaging people on the topic of climate change through the universal values of family, love, and legacy, and hope to generate 10,000 messages that reach more than 20 million people.AN INTERVIEW WITH TRISHA SHRUM AND JILL KUBITKayla Walsh for Mongabay: What motivated you to start DearTomorrow?Trisha Shrum: Two and a half years ago, I went to a climate and energy conference in Iceland to give a talk on how to leverage insights from behavioral economics to broaden support for climate change policies: how do we get beyond the idea that climate change is distant, vague, and unconnected with our day-to-day lives?With those ideas swimming in my head, the words from another talk sparked the idea of DearTomorrow. Christiana Figueres, the head of the UNFCCC climate negotiations, ended her speech with a powerful story of a dream she had where the children of the future look at her and ask, “You knew about climate change. What did you do about it?” On the plane ride home, I wondered what I would someday tell my own daughter, who was ten.Jill Kubit, cofounder and director of DearTomorrow (left) and cofounder Trisha Shrum (right). Photo Credits: Mustafa Onder and Matt Nager respectively.On the flight home, this question echoed in my mind. I wanted my daughter to know what I did. And how I felt. And what I had not yet done. So I opened my laptop and wrote her a letter. When I wrote that letter, I realized that to my daughter, I am not small and powerless. To her, I am the most powerful person in the world and it is my job to protect her. While I wrote, it hit me. This could be the answer to my question I explored in my talk. Looking back from the future might reduce our problem of global procrastination. Parental love is a universal value with a uniquely empowering frame. Writing and sharing letters like these could reach and activate millions.When I got back home, I met Jill Kubit and together we created DearTomorrow. We’ve gained amazing traction as people feel the unique power of this project.Jill Kubit: I’ve been working on climate change since around 2006 and for the first seven or eight years I basically worked in the trade union movement on climate change… A lot of the work was around building bridges between organizations, doing coalition building…. I’ve always had this sort of people-centered understanding of climate change. I would hear that we need to make this [energy] transition by the year 2020 or 2030 or 2050 but I always thought those years or timeframes were really far in the future – until I had my own kids.I have a son; he was born in 2013 and when I had him I really started to think about those years and the transitions we have to make in a much more personal way. I got involved in [DearTomorrow] at the end of 2014 and I wrote my letter to my son in the spring of 2015.  In 2020 he would be in first grade. In 2030 he would graduate high school and then in 2050 he would be about the age that I was when I started this project. I thought about the types of changes we needed to make and the short timescale in which we needed to make them…In thinking about climate change through my own son’s life and what his life was going to look like when he grew up, I had a different experience in terms of how I thought about the issue…I really started to think about if other people who were parents and grandparents and teachers, or people who had nieces and nephews, and if they started thinking about the issue in terms of people who they loved who were younger than them – could that motivate them to be more engaged and take more action on the issue?Trisha Shrum at a demonstration in Paris during the Paris Climate Talks in December 2015.Mongabay: How many letters have you received? Jill: We have 609 messages published, including 453 letters, 144 photos, and 12 videos.The archive is a very important part of the project and we want to make the entire collection of letters, photos and videos publicly available in the years 2030 and 2050. But, since we don’t know how people will receive and share information during those years and what kind of technology will be available, we are working with archivists to think through how we are going to store the data and transition it from now until 2050. We are also working to identify an institution or multiple institutions that are interested in holding the collection, as we believe it will be a historical documentation of how people thought about climate change during this important period of time (2015-2020). We want to preserve this collection for the year 2050 and beyond.Mongabay: Why are you concerned about climate change, personally? Trisha: One of the most terrifying courses you can take in college is Introduction to Environmental Science. It is eye-opening and frankly quite depressing to learn about the massive impact we are having on the planet that is here to support the only future we have. So I am concerned because I’ve spent the last 15 years studying climate change and I know that literally everything is at stake.Now that I am a parent, this concern is crystallized: my daughters will inherit that future. I want to give them the best possible chance at a happy, healthy life. I hope they can someday snorkel in vibrant coral reefs and not worry about how the air they are breathing might be harming their unborn child. But at a minimum, I want them to have the resources they need to live.Jill: I understand where we’re headed. I’m not a scientist, but I’ve worked in the field long enough to understand what kinds of negative implications are happening, actually right now in places, but are also projected to happen in the future. Understanding that through the lens of my own kids has been very personally motivating for me. Having my own child and thinking about it through his life, moves thinking about the problem in an intellectual way to thinking about it in an emotional way and that’s very powerful. It changes it from something in your head in terms of data, statistics and science to thinking of it in terms of the heart, in terms of emotions and why this is important.Mongabay: How old will you be in 2050 and what do you think the climate will look like? Trisha: In 2050 I will be 68 years old. My daughters will be 36 and 33. Long before 2050, I think any trace of doubt in whether climate change is real will be erased by the world we see around us. But I hope that I’ll live to see the other side: when the climate begins to grow more stable. If we take strong actions today, then we can start to reverse the damage and bring the climate back into a safe zone for our kids and grandkids.Jill: In 2050 I will be 74. It’s hard to predict what the world will look like, because I think we know what it will look like if we continue business as usual. We’re pretty much on course to pass [a two degree Celsius global temperature increase] by 2050. If that happens, scientists predict increased storms, drought, floods, and more severe weather…If people can’t farm and live in the places they currently live in then people will be forced to move to other countries or locations within their countries. People often think one degree or two degrees…that’s not really big, but we’re talking about changing our water systems, the amount of food that’s available, having land where people can no longer live. I think the bigger problems are around water and mass migrations. And that creates bigger questions around political instability.We actually do have the solutions that we can be putting in place to make a transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and we’re in a period of time right now where we’re making a choice to either continue business as usual (which we know is kind of scary) or take this amazing opportunity to make a transition and put the policy and practices in place to make this transition.I like to think that in 2050 the world looks very different, but it’s not just negative, it’s also positive in terms of better health outcomes, switching away from fossil fuels, livable cities…We don’t spend enough time really envisioning what a positive 2050 could look like. Part of the [DearTomorrow] project is to get people to put themselves in the year 2050 and to look back on the present and imagine having a conversation with your own child in the year 2050 and having them ask you, “What did you do?” And instead of asking the question, like, “Why didn’t you do anything?” I envision my own child would ask me: “What was it like in a world where there was fossil fuels? What was it like to live before this massive transition that we took and what role did you play in making this happen?” or “What did the world look like when people used gasoline and what did a gas station look like?”Mongabay: Do you feel that since you’ve started this project you’ve had a more hopeful outlook on where we could be in 2050?Jill: It has changed my perspective in terms of meeting so many interesting and engaged people who are not only leading organizations, but I’ve met so many people who have day jobs who volunteer their time on climate change. They’re so passionate about the issue… They’ve opened up and expressed in a very personal way how they feel and that’s kind of what keeps me very hopeful – the depth that people feel when they really understand the choices that we’re making now… It really motivates me to continue this project. I think I’ve been most surprised by the relationships I’ve formed with people who’ve participated.Screenshots of letters posted at DearTomorrowMongabay: Trisha, you told Grist, “When people write to their own children, instead of envisioning the apocalypse, they envision a better path – a future I would want to leave for my kids.” Why is this positivity important? What can it do for the climate movement? Trisha: If you want to grab someone’s attention, fear works. But if you want to hold someone’s attention, you must also have hope. When we build a tangible vision from today’s polluted world run by fossil fuels to a future run by clean energy, then we can get people to walk down that path with hope and an understanding that they are fighting a winnable fight.Mongabay: How can DearTomorrow reach people who aren’t impacted by climate change or don’t perceive themselves to be impacted by climate change? Jill: There are people currently impacted by fossil fuel development or by climate change and those people have important stories to tell – either about living in areas that have drought, or living on coasts that are impacted by storms, or living next to a fossil fuel plant, or in Appalachia by mountaintop removal. Those stories are all very important. But, I think it’s important for us to understand that we can’t wait for everybody to be impacted before we take action. It’s really important to address this distance that most people feel around climate change. Most people in the U.S. understand it as an issue that is happening, but happening somewhere else in another place or in the future. It’s hard to connect their everyday actions and political beliefs to something that feels very distant from them.The DearTomorrow project is trying to address this distance that people feel by getting people to think about it in terms about their own children and grandchildren. I think the power of the project is not to necessarily ask people to become environmentalists, but to ask people to build off the beliefs and values they already have. People care about their children, families, legacy and climate change is part of that. We’re trying to connect the values of protecting your family, protecting their kids, and protecting their future (and their future is really at risk because of climate change). Therefore, part of protecting the people that we love – that are younger than us – is putting in place the policies and practices that provide for a safe and stable future for them, and that’s the value that DearTomorrow has.Mongabay: Let’s get political – How does the Trump Administration – particularly pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord – inform your work at DearTomorrow? Jill: It doesn’t have an impact on the day to day of DearTomorrow because we’re not a political organization that’s responding to policies that are being passed. But, it does point to the need for us to have a conversation about why climate change is important and to get past the political divide that we’ve created in this country. We support the Paris Agreement, but our project is trying to address the underlying problem – that this issue has been politicized and that we continue to argue about whether or not this is a problem. The Paris Agreement is important because it recognizes the need to make a transition away from fossil fuels and to keep [global] warming well below two degrees. The decision made by President Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the Agreement is only possible because the issue of climate change has become so polarized that it is often still seen as a liberal issue.For me, this decision underscores the need to reframe climate change not as a political issue, but as a personal one. We think our project can help tell the story about why climate change is important for people regardless of ideology or political affiliation, because ultimately we have shared values – parenting and family – that can reach across political and social boundaries. We think the values we connect to around parenting and family and legacy – those are values that exist in all communities. This is a project that people from all different communities can participate in and connect to.Mongabay: How do we talk about climate change to conservatives, skeptics, or religious groups? Trisha: Traditional environmental messaging about pandas and polar bears has been effective with the small segment of the population that identifies as environmentalists. Fear-based messaging works for a short time to get the rest of the population to pay attention, but eventually that fear turns to denial or apathy unless there is also a pathway of hope.If you try to get people to set aside their deeply held identities and values and take on your own, your outreach will backfire. But if instead you work to understand where they are coming from and understand what motivates them and gives their lives meaning – then you can start to build bridges. DearTomorrow appeals to universal values of legacy, family, and love, those values across social, political and geopolitical boundaries. And the love a parent has for their child is the most powerful force on the planet.The other unique power of DearTomorrow is that it helps to amplify the stories of hundreds of different people who come from a diverse range of backgrounds and belief systems. Those messages resonate with different people for different reasons. But the connection to a trusted messenger helps motivate those who have not yet viewed themselves as the kind of person who takes action on climate change.Jill: I would start by saying that there’s already a lot of great organizations and visionary leaders doing work around climate change in those communities. There’s faith-based efforts, business efforts, Republican efforts [to] change how their communities think about climate change. I think the value of DearTomorrow is not to tell people what the correct way to talk about climate change is, but to give people a platform to create their own narrative and share their own stories within their own communities. We want to provide a place where Catholics, Evangelicals, business leaders, environmentalists, environmental justice people, Republicans and Democrats can create their own stories and share those stories within their own communities – instead of creating a prescriptive narrative for everyone to follow. I think it’s more empowering to give people the tools to create and share their own narrative. I think our project is something that’s very easy for people to use and organizations to use, because it’s an idea and a place where people can write stories, read stories, and post their own. Really anybody with a computer or smartphone can do the project.Mongabay: How does the Voter Pledge Work? Jill: People want to take action. Our basic philosophy is that people should take on a commitment that’s important to them in their own lives, so we don’t have any parameters over what people should do. In the photo part, we ask people to take pictures of themselves, write down one commitment that they’re willing to make – something new for the next year, like installing solar panels, eating less meat, riding your bike more, attending community meetings, or calling representatives. They commit to taking this action by writing it down and they take a picture.Jill makes a pledge for DearTomorrow’s archive.At the same time, the changes that we have to make are profound, so we do need major changes in terms of policy and business practices. So, when we’re offering people one suggested action, we’re saying that voting is actually a really important action to help make these major policy changes.On the site, we identify one thing we think it’s unanimously important for people to do, and that is [to] vote. We partnered with the Environmental Voter Project (EVP) which…gives people information about the elections in their area. It gives reminders for midterm elections and local elections where people might actually be less inclined to vote. The reason why voting is really important is because climate change in the past is considered to be a very low priority voting issue and the EVP has identified that there are 15 million environmentalists out there who don’t vote.Mongabay: What’s on the horizon for DearTomorrow?Jill: Our goal for 2017 is to have 2,000 participants and in 2020 our goal overall is to have 10,000 participants but then to reach more than 20 million people through those 10,000 messages. We’re generating this very rich content that we then want to distribute in a variety of different channels through art, radio, newspapers, public events, and exhibits that get the word out to a larger group of people.Mongabay: What’s one letter that really resonated with you? Trisha: I love this letter because it is so honest and so normal. This guy seems like a great dad. But he isn’t a superhero Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist. He’s a regular guy who has a vision for the future he wants for his kids and he is willing to stand up to do the simple things in his life to make the future a reality.Jill: I read all of the letters and there’s so many of them that are really moving. One of my favorite parts of my job is to actually go through the material and read people’s stories. It’s super motivating to understand the depth of how they care about climate change. One of my new favorite letters was written by a coral reef researcher in Australia…she witnessed all the coral bleaching that’s been taking place and she had this realization that because her son is only three years old – and he has to be ten before he can scuba dive with her – she isn’t sure where she will actually be able to take him SCUBA diving.And so she’s telling me this story – she’s almost crying – and I’m getting emotional because our sons are close to the same age. It’s the idea that this is something in her life that’s so important to her and she doesn’t know if she’ll get to share that with her son because of climate change. I connected with her because both our kids are about the same age, but also with this idea of passing down memories and places and things that we love about life, and there’s a question of if we will be able to do that.The whole point of the project is to get people to think about climate change in a much more emotional and relevant way. I think that there’s a power to if we all have experience growing up and things that we love – and those are things that we want to share with our kids and our grandkids that are disappearing or changing. When we think about climate change in that way, it actually does impact us. And in addition to scary projections of “what the world could look like if we don’t take action,” we’re forgetting about the memories or places we love that potentially are lost or at risk… and I think those things are very important to us as we define our lives.Read messages to the future and submit your own at http://www.deartomorrow.org Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Maria Salazarcenter_img Climate Activism, Climate Change, Conservation, Environment, Extreme Weather, Food, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming, Impact Of Climate Change, Interns, Interviews last_img read more

Western Chimpanzee numbers declined by more than 80 percent over the past quarter century

first_imgAgriculture, Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Bushmeat, Chimpanzees, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, Fragmentation, Great Apes, Habitat Loss, Hunting, Industrial Agriculture, Logging, Mining, Pet Trade, Poaching, Primates, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Mike Gaworeckicenter_img Research published in the American Journal of Primatology earlier this month finds that the overall Western Chimpanzee population declined by six percent annually between 1990 and 2014, a total decline of 80.2 percent.The main threats to the Western Chimpanzee are almost all man-made. Habitat loss and fragmentation driven by slash-and-burn agriculture, industrial agriculture (including deforestation for oil palm plantations as well as eucalyptus, rubber, and sugar cane developments), and extractive industries like logging, mining, and oil top the list.In response to the finding that the Western Chimpanzee population has dropped so precipitously in less than three decades, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) elevated the subspecies’ status to Critically Endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species. Research published in the American Journal of Primatology earlier this month finds that the overall Western Chimpanzee population has declined by more than 80 percent over the past quarter century.In order to arrive at an estimate of the chimp’s population numbers, an international team of scientists led by Hjalmar Kühl of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany used transect count data from 20 different sites that encompassed the nesting grounds for some 25,000 of the estimated 35,000 Western Chimpanzees remaining in the wild. The team writes that they “detected a significant negative trend” at 12 of the 20 sites.“The estimated change in the subspecies abundance, as approximated by nest encounter rate, yielded a 6% annual decline and a total decline of 80.2% over the study period from 1990 to 2014,” the researchers write. “This also resulted in a reduced geographic range of 20% (657,600 vs. 524,100 km2).”Western Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) are one of four commonly recognized subspecies of the great ape, the others being the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (P. t. ellioti), the Central Chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes), and the Eastern Chimpanzee (P. t. schweinfurthii). Each population faces different threats, thus a regional approach to the conservation of each subspecies is considered crucial.The main threats to the Western Chimpanzee are almost all man-made. Habitat loss and fragmentation driven by slash-and-burn agriculture, industrial agriculture (including deforestation for oil palm plantations as well as eucalyptus, rubber, and sugar cane developments), and extractive industries like logging, mining, and oil top the list.Poaching for bushmeat and the pet trade are also taking a toll on the chimps, while human-wildlife conflict is an issue even in or near protected areas. Women living near a national park in Guinea-Bissau, for instance, consider the chimpanzees themselves unfit for consumption, and blame the animals for malnutrition in their villages because of the damage they do to crops.Even infectious disease outbreaks that decimate the chimp’s numbers may be more frequent thanks to human activities. Homo sapiens and P. t. verus are, of course, closely related species, and as increasing human populations expand into Western Chimpanzee territory, they bring with them higher risks of disease transmission because the animals are coming into more frequent contact with humans and human waste.In response to the finding that the Western Chimpanzee population has dropped so precipitously in less than three decades, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) elevated the subspecies’ status to Critically Endangered on its Red List of Threatened Species.According to the IUCN, “Chimpanzees are completely protected by national and international laws in all countries of their range, and it is, therefore, illegal to kill, capture or trade in live Chimpanzees or their body parts.” But enforcement of these laws is generally weak, the IUCN adds.Some Western Chimpanzees are known to occur in national parks, but the majority — greater than 70 percent, the IUCN estimates — occur outside protected areas. That could mean that, in addition to the often intractable threats they’re already facing, the chimps could be facing even larger threats in the near future.The IUCN reports that there is significant overlap between Western Chimpanzee terrain and areas suitable for oil palm development in Western Africa, which is “likely to exacerbate population declines in coming years.” That’s especially true in Liberia, where 94.3 percent of areas of Western Chimp occurrence overlap with areas that might be targeted for oil palm plantations, and Sierra Leone, where there is 84.2 percent overlap. Those two countries, together with Guinea, are considered strongholds for the subspecies, which is already believed to be extinct in the wild in Benin, Burkina-Faso, and Togo. The chimp’s numbers are “in the low hundreds” in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal, the IUCN notes, while “Côte d’Ivoire has seen a catastrophic decline of about 90% of its Chimpanzee population.”The authors of the American Journal of Primatology study write that the IUCN plans to start updating a 2003 conservation action plan for Western Chimpanzees this year, with the intent of providing “a consensus blueprint for what is needed to save this subspecies.”The authors also included “a plea for greater commitment to conservation in West Africa across sectors” in their paper: “Needed especially is more robust engagement by national governments, integration of conservation priorities into the private sector and development planning across the region and sustained financial support from donors,” they wrote.Western Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus). Photo by Christoph Würbel, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.CITATIONHumle, T., Boesch, C., Campbell, G., Junker, J., Koops, K., Kuehl, H. & Sop, T. (2016). Pan troglodytes ssp. verus (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: e.T15935A102327574. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T15935A17989872.en. Downloaded on 31 July 2017.Kühl, H. S., Sop, T., Williamson, E. A., Mundry, R., Brugière, D., Campbell, G., … & Jones, S. (2017). The Critically Endangered western chimpanzee declines by 80%. American Journal of Primatology. doi:10.1002/ajp.22681Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Micro Stock Exchange Will Provide Funds for Growth and Expansion of MSMEs

first_imgMinister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, has reiterated plans for the establishment of a Micro Stock Exchange, which will enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to obtain funds to support their growth and expansion.The exchange will target companies for capitalisation of between $5 million and $50 million.“It is an idea, I believe, whose time has come. We know that over 40 per cent of our economy is said to be informal, so if we want to make more of our economy formal, then the (Micro) Stock Exchange, certainly, is one of the routes to that,” Minister Shaw said.“We have to say to them ‘if you’re transparent and open with your books, then we’ll put you in the stock exchange. You don’t have to pay taxes for a while until you become mature as a business, and you also get money cheaper without having to pay very high interest rates at the bank,” he added.Minister Shaw was speaking at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) inaugural ‘Market meets the Market by the Sea’ event at the Waterfront in downtown Kingston on Thursday (February 7). Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), purchases carrots from vendor, Ricky Robinson, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) ‘Market meets the Market by the Sea’ event at the Waterfront, downtown Kingston on Thursday (February 7).Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (right), purchases carrots from vendor, Ricky Robinson, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) ‘Market meets the Market by the Sea’ event at the Waterfront, downtown Kingston on Thursday (February 7). The event was held with the objective of bringing together small farmers and vendors with stockbrokers, listed companies, members of the JSE and other stakeholders from the financial industry.Minister Shaw commended the JSE for staging the event and linking the farmers with buyers and those interested in stocks.“This is such an innovative idea. We need more innovation like this. We need more creative ideas that can show, ultimately, the linkages in the economy, that show how the stock exchange has an umbilical connection to what we grow in the ground in Jamaica,” he said.“When we set up that Micro Stock Exchange, that will be yet another opportunity to strengthen the linkages in the economy starting from what we grow,” he added.Managing Director, JSE, Marlene Street Forrest, said that her organisation will be looking into making the event an annual one.“This is an initiative we wish will blossom and grow. It focuses on financial inclusion, financial literacy and more than anything, a place where we can meet, greet, eat, we can buy and sell and, ultimately, where we can have an appreciation of each person’s role in wealth creation, aimed at improving this country we love so much,” she said.center_img Prev 1of2 Nextlast_img read more