This week in Natural Capital

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25 – 29 August 2014

An appeal to explore nature: It’s hard to be reckless with nature if you have spent time in a wild place

This week’s lead story is based on an interview with scientist and explorer, Sylvia Earle that appeared in the National Geographic titled “Sylvia Earle’s Personal Journey and Why the Ocean is Vital to Life” based on her documentary “Ocean Blue”. Earl has spent more than 7,000 hours diving and has been a relentless advocate for saving our oceans. Shocked by the changes the oceans have gone through in her lifetime she has dedicated her life to spreading awareness and to making people realize how dependent we are on our oceans. “No ocean; no life. No ocean; no us,” she says.

The part of Sylvie Earl’s Interview with the National Geographic that stuck with me most is her advice for the future generation of would-be explorers: Please get out into wild places, whether it’s in your backyard or if you have the opportunity to travel. It’s hard to be narrow-minded if you travel and see other people, how they think, what they do. And get under the sea. Look at creatures and how they live. It’s hard to be reckless with nature if you have spent time in a wild place. So be a curious explorer.

During decades of civilization humans have distanced themselves from nature. As we can take from Earl’s proposal reviving a better connection with nature could be a key to solving environmental challenges. Or as Albert Einstein put it: ”Look deep, deep into nature and you will understand everything better”.
Click here for the full Q &A with Sylvia Earl.

Other headlines:

Agriculture

Food for Tomorrow: The New York Times Gathers Food Experts to Discuss the Future of Food
FoodTank, 27 August, 2014
Nearly 1 billion people go hungry each day, while more than 34 percent of the U.S. population is considered obese. That these realities can exist simultaneously shows that our food system needs to be fixed—and soon. More here

Forests

Seeing the wood: Saving trees is one of the best ways of saving the environment
Economist, 23 August, 2014
Over time countries trace a “forest transition curve”. They start in poverty with the land covered in trees. As they get richer, they fell the forest and the curve plummets until it reaches a low point when people decide to protect whatever they have left. Then the curve rises as reforestation begins. More here

Research

Linking Conservation, Equity and Poverty Alleviation at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Iied, August 2014
The project is innovative as it intends to promote greater understanding of how community conservation efforts can improve people’s lives, and also aims to build the capacity of Ugandan organisations to use this information to inform policy makers and influence conservation policy. More here

Protected areas proven to protect biodiversity
Phys.org, 28 August, 2014
Protected areas conserve biodiversity and more action is needed to ensure safeguards are in place to protect these areas, researchers say. “Our work has now shown that protected areas have significant biodiversity benefits. In general, plant and animal populations are larger and more species are found inside rather than outside protected areas. In other words, protected areas are doing their job.” More here

Water:

Mideast Water Wars: In Iraq, A Battle for Control of Water
Yale 360, 25 August, 2014
Conflicts over water have long haunted the Middle East. Yet in the current fighting in Iraq, the major dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are seen not just as strategic targets but as powerful weapons of war. More here

A Small Island Takes a Big Step on Ocean Conservation
New York Times (Dot Earth), 22 August, 2014
Some small island states are now trying to restore once-rich ecosystems while sustaining their economies. A case in point is Barbuda, population 1,600 or so, where the governing council on Aug. 12 passed a suite of regulations restricting activities on a third of the island’s waters. More here

annaThis weekly blog has the purpose to summarize and collect important stories and news on Natural Capital.

 

By Anna Heuberger, TEEB Communications and Outreach

 

Anna.Heuberger[at]unep.org

 

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