Field of Science

Scientia Pro Publica 23: Conservation

Beginning | Biology | Conservation | Ethics | Medicine | Physics | Psychology | Conclusion

For reasons that need to be obvious to everyone, most stories about conservation are pretty grim, and this one presented by John is no exception. The Interior Department, Audubon, and a coalition of other conservation-minded organizations announced the 2010 State of the Birds report, an attempt at Predicting the State of the Birds.
Mitigation is going to become increasingly important as the climate continues to warm. At this point it seems unlikely that we will see effective action from the U.S. Congress on climate change. Even if the EPA is successful in imposing greenhouse gas restrictions, its restrictions may not reduce emissions quickly enough. So we are likely looking at some pretty dramatic changes over the next few decades, and long-term conservation plans will need to account for that.

Millions of pills are thrown away or flushed out every year, and this poses a problem for the environment. Joseph Lents discusses proper ways of Drug Disposal:
In conclusion, we need to minimize waste in health care and that requires the proper use and disposal or recycling of medications. To prescribers, ensure the necessity and quantity of the prescriptions you write, and to patients, be adherent to the drug regimen that you've been prescribed. If after this there are still unused drugs that need disposal look for a recycling program in your area and if none exist follow the recommendations for proper disposal.

Humans are trashy creatures. We produce inordinate amounts of stuff that we just want to get rid of, but Denis DuBay reminds us that You Can't Throw It Away.
So food scraps and grease that go down your drain add to the most important water pollution problem facing America today. But put them in the trash and they go to a landfill, which has an array of problems all its own. What can you do?

This is the part an ecologist loves.

Start a compost bin in your backyard!

Do you eat exotic foods? You might be harming the ecosystem you live in if what you eat are really invasive species. M.L. Henneman considers that The food on your table might create more invasive species. Journal article
Our current policies are clearly not working to prevent new invasives, because the species importers (pet stores, commercial nurseries) currently get all the financial benefit of importing new species, without any of the societal cost for those that become invasive. Some argue sometimes that even if a species becomes a pest, the local ecosystem will just eventually adapt to its presence. It’s not really a great argument given that multiple native species affected by the invasive could go extinct over a much shorter time scale than evolution would normally act to curb it, but a recent paper could (unfortunately) give this idea some legs.

The Greater Sage Grouse of North America is deemed fit to be on the endangered species list, but, according to Obama's Interior Department, the need of another species takes precedence, as Madhu explains in a post In which energy development is more endangered than the Greater Sage Grouse:
"based on accumulated scientific data and new peer-reviewed information and analysis, the greater sage-grouse warrants the protection of the Endangered Species Act..."!


"... but that listing the species at this time is precluded by the need to address higher priority species first."


"we must find common-sense ways of protecting, restoring, and reconnecting the Western lands that are most important to the species’ survival while responsibly developing much-needed energy resources."

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