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“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, the stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ― Aldo Leopold
By Brent Fewell
I never weary of great stories like this one, capitalism at work to improve the human condition and sustain our oceans. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform fisheries management. This Partnership between Encourage Capital, RARE, and Oceana will help Brazil, Chile and the Philippines sustainably manage their fisheries, enhance food security and strengthen local communities.
Daniel Botkin, , Religion and Nature,anthropogenic climate change,Balance of Nature,biological diversity,Charles Krauthammer,climate change,Earth’s tipping point, ecosystem stability, Encyclical,George Woodwell,homeostasis,James Gustave Speth, Judeo-Christian ethic on nature, Laudato si,Pope Francis
Guest Contributor: Dan Botkin
Throughout my career as an ecological scientist, I have been fascinated
by the connections between the Judeo-Christian religious beliefs and modern environmental science, and have written about this in various scientific articles and several of my books. So I have been especially intrigued that on June 18 the pope published his Encyclical Letter about climate change. It is a fascinating combination of many things, some completely contradictory, some I agree with, some I don’t, but with an overall important impact.
One of the intriguing things Pope Francis writes is
When we speak of the ‘environment’, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. (Encyclical, Paragraph 139).
That people are part of nature, not separate from it, is a point I have emphasized in my writing many times over the years, but has not been a common part of dominant ideas in Western Civilization, which has tended to view people as separate, in a negative way, from nature — a view promoted especially since the beginning of the scientific/industrial age.
The Pope’s Encyclical Letter may seem to many people to be new, novel and unique in the history of religion. But in fact, as long as people have written in Western civilization, they have written about people and nature from a religious and philosophical perspective.
Pope Francis also writes in his new Encyclical Letter about the character of nature, stating, for example,
Frequently, when certain species are exploited commercially, little attention is paid to studying their reproductive patterns in order to prevent their depletion and the consequent imbalance of the ecosystem. (Para. 35), and
Despite the international agreements which prohibit chemical, bacteriological and biological warfare, the fact is that laboratory research continues to develop new offensive weapons capable of altering the balance of nature. (Para. 57).
The story of how Flint, Michigan’s children were poisoned with lead is long, complicated, and filled with human errors in every chapter. Not a single child in this country should ever be exposed to health risks in our drinking water. The fact is five percent of Flint’s children have tested with too high levels of lead in their bodies, and there will be life-long health and learning repercussions because of it. My perspective and opinion on what happened in Flint is informed by my fourteen years experience as a city commissioner and former mayor of a small Michigan city, and my day job as executive director of ConservAmerica, a national conservation organization. The progressive movement in the country rushed to judgment, declaring read more
As one who is unwavering in his support for strong regulations protecting the environment, there are times when I'm confounded by the agencies engaged in rule-making. Take for example EPA's proposed Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) regulation, estimated to cost $9.6B per year, which the Supreme Court struck down last June. New developments suggest the agency may nonetheless be moving forward with the regulation. I link to Susan Dudley's recent article in Forbes this past week titled EPA Ploughs Ahead With $9.6 Billion Mercury Rule, Despite Supreme Court's Concerns. Dudley writes The Environmental Protection Agency is going through the motions of responding to a Supreme Court order requiring it to consider whether a $9.6 billion annual increase in Americans’ electric bills read more
Linking to a great news story that understates the decades of effort to bring back Atlantic salmon to Connecticut. For nearly 150 years, Connecticut's rivers have been devoid of spawning salmon due to a legacy of water pollution and dams. Now, there is a glimmer of hope as the efforts of so many, including watershed groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the Connecticut's Fisheries Division, appear to be paying off. Here's the story by Scott Garland of the Connecticut Local Fishing News: An incredible discovery! This past November, Inland Fisheries biologists discovered three redds (name for a ‘nest’ in the streambed where trout or salmon lay their eggs) made by wild returning Atlantic salmon. This marks the read more
Guest Contributor: Prof. Lucas Bergkamp The Paris Climate Agreement has been hailed as a huge success by some and a big failure by others. Emphasizing its key role in brokering the agreement, the European Commission calls the Paris Agreement an “ambitious and balanced agreement.” President Obama referred to “the strong agreement the world needed,” which “makes America proud” and would constitute “a tribute to American leadership.” Even some environmental groups were ecstatic; World Wildlife Fund labeled the agreement “a huge step forward.” Global Justice Now, on the other hand, finds it “outrageous” to spin the Paris deal as a success, because it “undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and read more
Contributors: Reed Watson and Brent Fewell This week the White House announced a new water innovation initiative on the heels of last week's historic global climate agreement. The stated goal of the initiative is to leverage more private investment to better respond, prepare for and adapt to the changes in water resource availability in response to a changing climate. The focus will be to promote greater investment in water innovation and technology and encourage water markets and exchanges, more water infrastructure, and mitigation banking mostly in the West, which is experiencing some of the worst drought conditions in over a century. To the Obama Administration's credit, this is not a federal takeover of local water - collective sigh of relief from read more
Linking below to a great news story by Dan Upham of EDF that reinforces the value of market-based approaches to conserving natural resources, particularly those such as the planet's fisheries at increased risk of over-harvesting due to the tragedy of the commons. It's all about getting the incentives and science right, and encouraging smarter and responsible consumerism. The amazing comeback of U.S. fisheries, and what it means for sustainable seafood Dan Upham / Published November 20, 2015 in OceansPartnerships We only celebrate World Fisheries Day once a year, but for the billions of people who rely on the sea for nutrition and millions who fish its waters for income, every day is fisheries day. So this is a good time to pause and reflect read more
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of their employers or their clients.