To The Moon? Genetic Material From 6.7 Million Earth Species

Extinction insurance for planet earth is envisioned by sending sperm and egg samples from 6.7 million species to the moon for safekeeping. How could earth species be destroyed to require a “backup”? Genetic modification gone wrong… ⁃ TN Editor

  • To protect Earth’s species diversity, we presently store genetic material in vaults
  • Material including seeds and spores could be used to recover lost species
  • But gene banks on Earth are vulnerable to the catastrophes they insure against
  • US experts propose to more safely store specimens in lava tubes on the moon
  • The deposits would be cryogenically frozen and tended by levitating robots

Sperm and egg samples from 6.7 million of Earth’s species should be sent to an ark built on the moon as a ‘modern global insurance policy’, scientists have proposed.

The lunar gene bank — which could also house seed and spore samples — is envisaged as being built under the lunar surface, in a hollow, cooled lava tube.

Specimens deposited in the ark would be kept refrigerated at cryogenic temperatures, with the facility powered by solar panels on the lunar surface.

The ark would preserve Earth’s genetic diversity in the event of a global catastrophe, such as might be caused by climate change, a supervolcano or an asteroid impact.

Earth is naturally a volatile environment,’ said study author and mechanical engineer Jekan Thanga of the University of Arizona.

‘As humans, we had a close call about 75,000 years ago with the Toba supervolcano eruption, which caused a 1,000-year cooling period and, according to some, aligns with an estimated drop in human diversity,’ he added.

‘Because human civilization has such a large footprint, if it were to collapse, that could have a negative cascading effect on the rest of the planet.’

The idea of creating gene banks to restore lost biodiversity in the future is not new — more than a million seed samples are currently stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the island of Spitsbergen in the Artic Sea, for example.

However, Professor Thanga and colleagues explained that locating such facilities on Earth leaves them also vulnerable to accidental loss.

Climate change, for example, has the potential to push many species into terminal decline in the future — and, at the same time, the rising sea levels which will accompany global warming will see the Svalbard vault lost beneath the waves.

Removed but still accessible, the moon may present a safer location.

Building a genetic storage facility on the moon would be a significant undertaking — but one that Professor Thanga says would be possible.

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COVID mRNA Vaccines Kick Off Planetary Genetic Overwrite

In 1994, two critics of the UN’s Agenda 21 wrote, “the main stake raised by the biodiversity convention is the issue of ownership and control over biological diversity… the major concern was protecting the pharmaceutical and emerging biotechnology industries.”*

Evolution and natural selection is out. Genetic modification is in. Controlling species through genetic engineering will rewrite nature while allowing the patenting of life itself, including humans. This crackpot ideology has been brewing for decades but few have recognized it. Transhumanists call it Humans 2.0. Technocrats call it Nature 2.0.

* The Earth Brokers, Chattergee and Finger, p. 43 ⁃ TN Editor

The very genetic code of the planet’s biosphere, including humans, is being overwritten; The ultimate goal being the ability to manipulate, patent and program at will the biological processes of all life.

Within 50 years we could have more life forms invented in a lab than we have ever identified in nature.” – Fidelity Investments

Tom Knight, professor at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, said in 2007 that “The genetic code is 3.6 billion years old. It’s time for a rewrite.

Now, Knight’s synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks is using its synthetic biology tech to develop COVID vaccines.

Bill Gates has also poured millions into synthetic biology. As reported by Newsweek in 2007, “UC Berkeley received $42 million from Bill Gates to create living microfactories…”

Geneticist Craig Venter is a pioneer in the field of synthetic biology. In 2010 the media hailed his team’s success in creating “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”

Google founder Larry Page met with Craig Venter in California at the Edge billionaires meeting in 2010. Also present were representatives from the State department, Bill Gates, Anne Wojcicki, Bill Joy and dozens of other tech company CEO’s and scientists.

The Edge billionaire meetings have discussed the future of genetic engineering, biocomputation and re-designing humanity in a Transhumanist era. Physicist Freeman Dyson described the individuals leading this group as having god-like power to create entirely new species on earth in a “New Age of Wonder”. He describes them as:

“…a new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet.”

Patenting life

Synthetic engineering of plant and animal life has enabled corporations to patent and profit from genetic code.

Because synthetic biology is a different technique than older genetic engineering tech, the supreme court ruled in 2013 that synthetic DNA can be patented because it is not a “product of nature”. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote,

“…the lab technician unquestionably creates something new when cDNA is made. cDNA retains the naturally occurring exons of DNA, but it is distinct from the DNA from which it was derived. As a result, cDNA is not a “product of nature” and is patent eligible under §101, except insofar as very short series of DNA may have no intervening introns to remove when creating cDNA”.

“Food 2.0”

Synthetic biology ingredients have already quietly entered our food supply. Nature reported in 2014, “This year [Evolva] will release a product that has been created by genetically modified yeast that converts sugars to vanillin. It will be the first major synthetic-biology food additive to hit supermarkets.”

Since then, other synthetic foods have been developed. Synthetic biology has created plant based burgers, eggs, and shrimp. Forbes reports,

“With the advent of synthetic biology, the easy reading, writing and editing of DNA could open up a whole new world of designer proteins with enhanced nutrition, flavors, fragrances, and material properties.”

Humans re-engineered with new vaccines

The New York Times reported on the developing vaccine technology called “immunoprophylaxis by gene transfer” in 2015. As the Times reported, animal tests on the synthetic DNA vaccine “are essentially re-engineering the animals to resist disease.”

The New York Times piece went on to say, “…the prospect of genetically engineering people to resist infectious diseases may raise concerns among patients“.

Now, in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, human beings are set to be genetically altered with mRNA vaccine technology based on synthetic biology.

As reported, the Gates funded synthetic biologists believe that they can “do better” than nature with “self-assembling nanoparticles” that will be injected into your body:

With all due respect to nature, synthetic biologists believe they can do better. Using computers, they are designing new, self-assembling protein nanoparticles studded with viral proteins, called antigens: these porcupine-like particles would be the guts of a vaccine.”

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Flashback: U.S. Participated In Extremist ‘One World, One Health’

The “challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead” were all wildly speculative and smacked of environmental extremism, but why did the CDC and Department of Agriculture participate in this craziness? Both of these agencies should have condemned these proceedings rather than embraced them.

Was our own government selling America down the river without so much as a press release to tell us so? Today’s scope of the COVID panic and the ‘Great Reset’ is coming into focus: it’s all about the entire basket of policies emanating from the United Nations over the last 30 years under the umbrella of Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor

About “One World, One Health”

Health experts from around the world met on September 29, 2004 for a symposium focused on the current and potential movements of diseases among human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society and hosted by The Rockefeller University. Using case studies on Ebola, Avian Influenza, and Chronic Wasting Disease as examples, the assembled expert panelists delineated priorities for an international, interdisciplinary approach for combating threats to the health of life on Earth.

The product—called the “Manhattan Principles” by the organizers of the “One World, One Health” event, lists 12 recommendations (see below) for establishing a more holistic approach to preventing epidemic / epizootic disease and for maintaining ecosystem integrity for the benefit of humans, their domesticated animals, and the foundational biodiversity that supports us all.

Representatives from the World Health Organization; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center; the United States Department of Agriculture; the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre; the Laboratoire Nationale de Sante Publique of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law; and the Wildlife Conservation Society were among the many participants.

The Manhattan Principles on “One World, One Health”

Recent outbreaks of West Nile Virus, Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, SARS, Monkeypox, Mad Cow Disease and Avian Influenza remind us that human and animal health are intimately connected. A broader understanding of health and disease demands a unity of approach achievable only through a consilience of human, domestic animal and wildlife health – One Health. Phenomena such as species loss, habitat degradation, pollution, invasive alien species, and global climate change are fundamentally altering life on our planet from terrestrial wilderness and ocean depths to the most densely populated cities. The rise of emerging and resurging infectious diseases threatens not only humans (and their food supplies and economies), but also the fauna and flora comprising the critically needed biodiversity that supports the living infrastructure of our world. The earnestness and effectiveness of humankind’s environmental stewardship and our future health have never been more clearly linked. To win the disease battles of the 21st Century while ensuring the biological integrity of the Earth for future generations requires interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches to disease prevention, surveillance, monitoring, control and mitigation as well as to environmental conservation more broadly.

We urge the world’s leaders, civil society, the global health community and institutions of science to:

1. Recognize the essential link between human, domestic animal and wildlife health and the threat disease poses to people, their food supplies and economies, and the biodiversity essential to maintaining the healthy environments and functioning ecosystems we all require.

2. Recognize that decisions regarding land and water use have real implications for health. Alterations in the resilience of ecosystems and shifts in patterns of disease emergence and spread manifest themselves when we fail to recognize this relationship.

3. Include wildlife health science as an essential component of global disease prevention, surveillance, monitoring, control and mitigation.

4. Recognize that human health programs can greatly contribute to conservation efforts.

5. Devise adaptive, holistic and forward-looking approaches to the prevention, surveillance, monitoring, control and mitigation of emerging and resurging diseases that take the complex interconnections among species into full account.

6. Seek opportunities to fully integrate biodiversity conservation perspectives and human needs (including those related to domestic animal health) when developing solutions to infectious disease threats.

7. Reduce the demand for and better regulate the international live wildlife and bushmeat trade not only to protect wildlife populations but to lessen the risks of disease movement, cross-species transmission, and the development of novel pathogen-host relationships. The costs of this worldwide trade in terms of impacts on public health, agriculture and conservation are enormous, and the global community must address this trade as the real threat it is to global socioeconomic security.

8. Restrict the mass culling of free-ranging wildlife species for disease control to situations where there is a multidisciplinary, international scientific consensus that a wildlife population poses an urgent, significant threat to human health, food security, or wildlife health more broadly.

9. Increase investment in the global human and animal health infrastructure commensurate with the serious nature of emerging and resurging disease threats to people, domestic animals and wildlife. Enhanced capacity for global human and animal health surveillance and for clear, timely information-sharing (that takes language barriers into account) can only help improve coordination of responses among governmental and nongovernmental agencies, public and animal health institutions, vaccine / pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other stakeholders.

10. Form collaborative relationships among governments, local people, and the private and public (i.e.- non-profit) sectors to meet the challenges of global health and biodiversity conservation.

11. Provide adequate resources and support for global wildlife health surveillance networks that exchange disease information with the public health and agricultural animal health communities as part of early warning systems for the emergence and resurgence of disease threats.

12. Invest in educating and raising awareness among the world’s people and in influencing the policy process to increase recognition that we must better understand the relationships between health and ecosystem integrity to succeed in improving prospects for a healthier planet.

It is clear that no one discipline or sector of society has enough knowledge and resources to prevent the emergence or resurgence of diseases in today’s globalized world. No one nation can reverse the patterns of habitat loss and extinction that can and do undermine the health of people and animals. Only by breaking down the barriers among agencies, individuals, specialties and sectors can we unleash the innovation and expertise needed to meet the many serious challenges to the health of people, domestic animals, and wildlife and to the integrity of ecosystems. Solving today’s threats and tomorrow’s problems cannot be accomplished with yesterday’s approaches. We are in an era of “One World, One Health” and we must devise adaptive, forward-looking and multidisciplinary solutions to the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.

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Environmentalists Celebrate COVID-19 Lockdowns As ‘Biggest Conservation Action’

While COVID-19 is treated as an accidental blessing to the environment, it should be underscored that the UN’s Agenda 21/2030 Agenda has always called for economic activity to be scaled back to around the 1850 level and here we are in 2020 doing just that. This is not accidental. ⁃ TN Editor

Spring is a bloody season on American roads. Yearling black bears blunder over the asphalt in search of their own territories. In the West, herds of deer, elk, and pronghorn scamper across highways as they migrate from winter pastures to summer redoubts. A smaller-scale but no less epic journey transpires in the Northeast, where wood frogs, spotted salamanders, and eastern newts emerge from their winter hideaways and trek to ephemeral breeding pools on damp March nights, braving an unforgiving gantlet of cars along the way.

Among all creatures, it’s these amphibians—tiny, sluggish, determined—that are most vulnerable to roadkill. This year, though, their journey was considerably safer.

Greg LeClair, a graduate student at the University of Maine, leads The Big Night, a citizen science initiative in Maine through which volunteers tally up migrating frogs and salamanders and escort them across roads. This spring, he assumed that coronavirus concerns would shut down the project; instead, he rallied more participants than ever. “I think people were just home and had nothing else to do,” he told me. All of those volunteers found an amphibious bonanza. In previous years, LeClair said, the project’s participants counted just two live animals for every squashed one. This spring, they found about four survivors per victim. “The ratio of living animals to dead doubled,” LeClair marveled.

Maine’s amphibians are just one of the collateral beneficiaries of the novel coronavirus, which has ground civilization to a halt. Travel bans have confined many of us to our couches; post-apocalyptic photos of empty freeways have circulated on social media. With Homo sapiens sidelined, wildlife has tiptoed forth. Lions basked on a road in Kruger National Park, normally crowded with tourists. Wild boars rooted in Barcelona’s medians. Roadkill surveyors in places as far apart as Santa Barbara and South Africa told me they’ve seen fewer carcasses this year than ever before. In Costa Rica, where Daniela Araya Gamboa has conducted years of roadkill studies aimed at reducing the harm of cars, highways have become less perilous for ocelots, cryptic wildcats bejeweled with black spots. In the more than three months since the pandemic began, Araya recently told me, her project had logged only one slain ocelot. “We have an average of two ocelot roadkills each month during normal times,” she added.

The human cost of COVID-19 has, of course, been so incomprehensibly tragic that acknowledging the virus’s silver linings—the cleaner air, the forestalled carbon emissions—can feel ghoulish. But there’s no denying that the abrupt diminishment of human travel, a phenomenon scientists recently dubbed the “Anthropause,” has generated profound conservation benefits. Mounting evidence suggests that we’re in the midst of an unprecedented roadkill reprieve, a stay of execution for untold millions of wild creatures. “This is the biggest conservation action that we’ve taken, possibly ever, certainly since the national parks were formed,” Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis, told me. “There’s not a single other action that has saved that many animals.”

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Green Fascists Charge Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro With Ecocide Over Amazon Fires

Green Fascist radicals have the ears and pages of mainstream media like the New York Times to openly demonize a duly elected President of a sovereign nation in order to bully, intimidate, slander and generally promote their insane causes. This is the epitome of the worst sort of hate speech and fake news but is of no concern to major media outlets.

Ecocide is defined as:

“the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.”

Americans (and Brazilians) need to understand that these forces of Green Fascism, aka Technocracy, will not be silenced until they are completely rejected by citizens everywhere. If these control-freaks were ever to rise to power, their jackboot would stamp out freedom and liberty everywhere.

⁃ TN Editor

Since August, as vast stretches of the Amazon rainforest were being reduced to ashes and outrage and calls for action intensified, a group of lawyers and activists who have been advancing a radical idea have seen a silver lining in the unfolding tragedy: One day, a few years from now, they imagined Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, being hauled to The Hague to stand trial for ecocide, a term broadly understood to mean the willful and widespread destruction of the environment, and one that, they hope, will eventually be on par with other crimes against humanity.

There is no international crime today that can be used to neatly hold world leaders or corporate chief executives criminally responsible in peacetime for ecological catastrophes that result in the type of mass displacements and population wipeouts more commonly associated with war crimes. But environmentalists say the world should treat ecocide as a crime against humanity — like genocide — now that the imminent and long-term threats posed by a warming planet are coming into sharper focus.

In Mr. Bolsonaro they have come to see something of an ideal villain tailor-made for a legal test case.

“He has become a poster boy for the need for a crime of ecocide,” said Jojo Mehta, the co-founder of Stop Ecocide, a group that is seeking to give the International Criminal Court in The Hague the jurisdiction to prosecute leaders and businesses that knowingly cause widespread environmental damage. “It’s awful, but at the same time it’s timely.”

The first prominent call to outlaw ecocide was made in 1972 by Prime Minister Olof Palme of Sweden, who hosted the United Nations’ first major summit on the environment.

In his keynote address at the conference, Mr. Palme argued that the world urgently needed a unified approach to safeguard the environment. “The air we breathe is not the property of any one nation, we share it,” he said. “The big oceans are not divided by national frontiers; they are our common property.” That idea got little traction at the time and Mr. Palme died in 1986 having made little headway in the quest to establish binding principles to protect the environment.

During the 1980s and 1990s, diplomats considered including ecocide as a grave crime as they debated the authorities of the International Criminal Court, which was primarily established to prosecute war crimes. But when the court’s founding document, known as the Rome Statute, went into force in 2002, language that would have criminalized large-scale environmental destruction had been stripped out at the insistence of major oil producing nations.

In 2016, the court’s top prosecutor signaled an interest in prioritizing cases within its jurisdiction that featured the “destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land.”

That move came as activists seeking to criminalize ecocide had been laying the groundwork for a landmark change to the court’s remit. Their plan is to get a state that is party to the Rome Statute — or a coalition of them — to propose an amendment to its charter establishing ecocide as a crime against peace. At least two-thirds of the countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute would have to back the initiative to outlaw ecocide for the court to get an expanded mandate, and even then it would only apply to countries that accept the amendment. Still, it could change the way the world thinks about environmental destruction.

Richard Rogers, a lawyer who specializes in international criminal law and human rights, said that if ecocide campaigners and countries suffering the effects of climate change put forward a narrow definition of the crime, it could quickly garner widespread support. “We’ve seen in the past few years a huge shift in public opinion, and we’re entering a phase where there is going to be huge pressure on governments to do more,” said Mr. Rogers, a partner at Global Diligence, a firm that advises companies and governments on risk mitigation.

Given the number of countries and businesses that would recoil at the prospect of being held criminally responsible for environmental damage, he said, it is vital to come up with criteria that reserve prosecution for cases in which “massive and systematic” environmental destruction is done “knowingly or intentionally.”

Environmental activists say there is no shortage of culprits who could be put on trial if the world were to decide to outlaw ecocide. But few are as compelling as Mr. Bolsonaro, a far-right former Army captain who campaigned on a promise to roll back the land rights of indigenous people and open protected areas of the Amazon to mining, farming and logging.

From an evidentiary standpoint, Mr. Bolsonaro is an attractive potential defendant because he has been so starkly disdainful of his own country’s environmental laws and regulations. He vowed to put an end to fines issued by the agency that enforces environmental laws. He has asserted that protecting the environment matters only to vegans. He complains that Brazil’s 1988 Constitution set aside too much land to indigenous communities who “don’t speak our language.”

Since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, deforestation in the Amazon has increased significantly, setting the stage for the thousands of fires that began raging last month. Government agencies tasked with protecting the environment warn meanwhile that they are at a breaking point as a result of budget and personnel cuts.

Mr. Bolsonaro is by no means the only world leader reviled by environmentalists. President Trump has been assailed for rolling back environmental regulations and pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

Facing a cascade of international pressure and a boycott of some Brazilian exports, Mr. Bolsonaro last month ordered a military operation to put out fires in the Amazon. But the government’s overriding message has been that the world’s angst about the Amazon is an unwelcome and unwarranted intrusion on Brazil’s sovereignty.

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Shut Up: Human Voice Declared Environmental Hazard

Whoever thought that Sustainable Development/environmentalism is not anti-human, just isn’t paying attention. Now the human voice is disturbing nature and people should be respectful. ⁃ TN Editor

In case you haven’t been paying attention, leftists will not be satisfied until they have undermined all human flourishing. Actually, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, human extinction is the highest ideal for leftists. Don’t believe me? Then check out this article in The Atlantic that declares the human voice is bad for the environment. One more piece of evidence to slide next to things like abortion, euthanasia, and environmental regulations and economic policies that make it harder for humans to prosper.

During the summer of 2017, researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz played recordings of human voices in wilderness areas where humans rarely venture. Populated with predators like mountain lions and bobcats, as well as a variety of other animals, the researchers didn’t force the wilderness residents to listen to loud, obnoxious voices. Rather, quiet voices reading poetry were played through the speakers. “Some of the animals became jittery. Others stopped eating. A few fled in fear,” The Atlantic explains.

Through their experiments, researchers discovered:

That, the quality of the poetry aside, even the gentlest of human speech can make wild animals—even top predators—unnerved and watchful, in ways that shake entire food webs. It’s the clearest demonstration yet that we are among the scariest of animals—a super-predator that terrifies even the carnivores that themselves incite terror.

All fine and good, I could’ve told them that, saving them the trouble and expense of the research. Of course, the research is more than just a fact-finding expedition for those interested in learning about the quirks of animals. It’s ideologically driven. Buried deep in the article, The Atlantic reveals that:

Suraci’s studies show that through our mere presence, we can affect wildlife by changing the contours of their landscapes of fear. “We’re a very loud and big species,” says Suraci. “Much of what we do is potentially terrifying to wildlife, like industrial activity and vehicle traffic. We tried to get past all of that and isolate the perceived presence of humans, separate from all the other disturbing things we do. And the implication is that we don’t need to cut down the forest to have an impact on wildlife.”

Our very presence is bad for the environment. Our voices are harmful to frightened animals. The article goes on to quote UC Berkeley’s Kaitlyn Gaynor who warns, “Human-induced behavioral changes may be ultimately harmful to species and ecosystems if they make it harder for animals to survive and reproduce.”

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UN Biodiversity Conference To Create ‘Paris Moment’ To ‘Rescue Nature’

The upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference is to nature what the Paris Conference was to global warming. The outcome will extend the 1,100 -page Global Biodiversity Assessment from 1995 and specify all human behaviors that are necessary to ‘rescue’ nature. ⁃ TN Editor

Diplomats from 130 nations gathered in Paris on Monday to validate a grim UN assessment of the state of Nature and lay the groundwork for a rescue plan for life on Earth.

The destruction of Nature threatens humanity “at least as much as human-induced climate change,” UN biodiversity chief Robert Watson said as the five-day meeting began.

“We have a closing window of opportunity to act and narrowing options.”

A 44-page draft “Summary for Policy Makers” obtained by AFP catalogues the 1001 ways in which our species has plundered the planet and damaged its capacity to renew the resources upon which we depend, starting with breathable air, drinkable water and productive soil.

The impact of humanity’s expanding footprint and appetites has been devastating.

Up to a million species face extinction, many within decades, according to the report, and three-quarters of Earth’s land surface has been “severely altered”.

A third of ocean fish stocks are in decline, and the rest, barring a few, are harvested at the very edge of sustainability.

A dramatic die-off of pollinating insects, especially bees, threatens essential crops valued at half-a-trillion dollars annually.

Twenty 10-year targets adopted in 2010 under the United Nations’ biodiversity treaty — to expand protected areas, slow species and forest loss, and reduce pollution — will, with one or two exceptions, fail badly.

Based on an underlying report that draws from 400 experts and weighs in at 1,800 pages, the executive summary has to be vetted line-by-line by diplomats, with scientists at their elbow.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) document, once approved, will be released on May 6.

Historically, conservation biology has focused on the plight of pandas, polar bears and a multitude of less “charismatic” animals and plants that humanity is harvesting, eating, crowding or poisoning into oblivion.

But in the last two decades, that focus has shifted back to us.

“Up to now, we have talked about the importance of biodiversity mostly from an environmental perspective,” Watson told AFP ahead of the Paris meet.

Agriculture is key

“Now we are saying that Nature is crucial for food production, for pure water, for medicines and even social cohesion.”

And to fight climate change.

Forests and oceans, for example, soak up half of the planet-warming greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere.

If they didn’t, Earth might already be locked into an unliveable future of runaway global warming.

And yet, an area of tropical forest five times the size of England has been destroyed since 2014, mainly to service the global demand for beef, biofuels, soy beans and palm oil.

“The recent IPCC report shows to what extent climate change threatens biodiversity,” said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris Agreement, referring to the UN’s climate science panel.

“And the upcoming IPBES report — as important for humanity — will show these two problems have overlapping solutions.”

Extinctions hard to see

That overlap, she added, begins with agriculture, which accounts for at least a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

Set up in 2012, the IPBES synthesises published science for policymakers in the same way the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) does on climate.

Both advisory bodies feed into UN treaties.

But the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has always been a poor stepchild compared to its climate counterpart, and the IPBES was added as an afterthought, making its authority harder to establish.

Biodiversity experts are trying to engineer a “Paris moment” for Nature akin to the 2015 Paris climate treaty.

Read full story here…

Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 6 Nov. 2018

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.

“The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer,” she told the Guardian. “It’s different from climate change, where people feel the impact in everyday life. With biodiversity, it is not so clear but by the time you feel what is happening, it may be too late.”

Pașca Palmer is executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – the world body responsible for maintaining the natural life support systems on which humanity depends.

Its members – 195 states and the EU – will meet in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this month to start discussions on a new framework for managing the world’s ecosystems and wildlife. This will kick off two years of frenetic negotiations, which Pașca Palmer hopes will culminate in an ambitious new global deal at the next conference in Beijing in 2020.

Conservationists are desperate for a biodiversity accord that will carry the same weight as the Paris climate agreement. But so far, this subject has received miserably little attention even though many scientists say it poses at least an equal threat to humanity.

The last two major biodiversity agreements – in 2002 and 2010 – have failed to stem the worst loss of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs.

Eight years ago, under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, nations promised to at least halve the loss of natural habitats, ensure sustainable fishing in all waters, and expand nature reserves from 10% to 17% of the world’s land by 2020. But many nations have fallen behind, and those that have created more protected areas have done little to police them. “Paper reserves” can now be found from Brazil to China.

The issue is also low on the political agenda. Compared to climate summits, few heads of state attend biodiversity talks. Even before Donald Trump, the US refused to ratify the treaty and only sends an observer. Along with the Vatican, it is the only UN state not to participate.

Read full story here…

 




Bad Humans: UN Blames For Extinction Of One Million Species

U.N. Technocrats continue to throw fear-mongering mud at the wall to see what will stick. The extinction hasn’t happened yet, but humans are blamed for it as if it has. The purpose is to drive the world into Sustainable Development, aka Technocracy. ⁃ TN Editor

Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence, according to a draft UN report obtained by AFP that painstakingly catalogues how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends.

The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves — to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by Nature — poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6.

Indeed, biodiversity loss and global warming are closely linked, according to the 44-page Summary for Policy Makers, which distills a 1,800-page UN assessment of scientific literature on the state of Nature.

Delegates from 130 nations meeting in Paris from April 29 will vet the executive summary line-by-line. Wording may change, but figures lifted from the underlying report cannot be altered.

“We need to recognise that climate change and loss of Nature are equally important, not just for the environment, but as development and economic issues as well,” Robert Watson, chair of the UN-mandated body that compiled the report, told AFP, without divulging its findings.

“The way we produce our food and energy is undermining the regulating services that we get from Nature,” he said, adding that only “transformative change” can stem the damage.

Deforestation and agriculture, including livestock production, account for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and have wreaked havoc on natural ecosystems as well.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report warns of “an imminent rapid acceleration in the global rate of species extinction.”

The pace of loss “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years,” it notes.

“Half-a-million to a million species are projected to be threatened with extinction, many within decades.”

Many experts think a so-called “mass extinction event” — only the sixth in the last half-billion years — is already under way.

The most recent saw the end of the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago, when a 10-kilometre-wide asteroid strike wiped out most lifeforms.

Scientists estimate that Earth is today home to some eight million distinct species, a majority of them insects.

A quarter of catalogued animal and plant species are already being crowded, eaten or poisoned out of existence.

The drop in sheer numbers is even more dramatic, with wild mammal biomass — their collective weight — down by 82 percent.

Humans and livestock account for more than 95 percent of mammal biomass.

“If we’re going to have a sustainable planet that provides services to communities around the world, we need to change this trajectory in the next ten years, just as we need to do that with climate,” noted WWF chief scientist Rebecca Shaw, formerly a member of the UN scientific bodies for both climate and biodiversity.

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Google’s Parent Plans Global Species Wipeout Of All Mosquitoes

Nobody likes mosquitoes that bite and potentially carry disease, but the thought of extinguishing the species entirely is causing a lot of scientific concern. Conceptually, if interfering with the reproduction cycle works with the elimination mosquitoes, it could work with other species as well. ⁃ TN Editor

Silicon Valley researchers are attacking flying bloodsuckers in California’s Fresno County. It’s the first salvo in an unlikely war for Google parent Alphabet Inc.: eradicating mosquito-borne diseases around the world.

A white high-top Mercedes van winds its way through the suburban sprawl and strip malls as a swarm of male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes shoot out of a black plastic tube on the passenger-side window. These pests are tiny and, with a wingspan of just a few millimeters, all but invisible.

“You hear that little beating sound?” says Kathleen Parkes, a spokesperson for Verily Life Sciences, a unit of Alphabet. She’s trailing the van in her car, the windows down. “Like a duh-duh-duh? That’s the release of the mosquitoes.”

Jacob Crawford, a Verily senior scientist riding with Parkes, begins describing a mosquito-control technique with dazzling potential. These particular vermin, he explains, were bred in the ultra-high-tech surroundings of Verily’s automated mosquito rearing system, 200 miles away in South San Francisco. They were infected with Wolbachia, a common bacterium. When those 80,000 lab-bred Wolbachia-infected, male mosquitoes mate with their counterpart females in the wild, the result is stealth annihilation: the offspring never hatch.

Better make that 79,999. “One just hit the windshield,” says Crawford.

Google’s Parent Has a Plan to Eliminate Mosquitoes Worldwide

Mosquito-borne disease eradication is serious stuff for Alphabet, though it is just one of many of the company’s forays into health care and life sciences. Through Verily and other branches of the company, Alphabet is investigating smart contact lenses, artificial intelligence applications for health care, and the molecular mechanisms of aging. Just this month, Google hired Geisinger Health Chief Executive Officer David Feinberg to oversee its many health-care initiatives.

Verily guards its technology closely. But it stands to reason that if it succeeds in making mosquito control easy and cheap enough, it could have a lucrative offering on its hands: Many governments and businesses around the globe might be glad to pay for a solution to their mosquito problems.

In the arid climate of California’s Central Valley, A. aegypti are detested for their vicious bite. But there, at least, they don’t typically transmit disease. Other places aren’t so lucky. The mosquito species is among the world’s deadliest, spreading diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya in the tropics and subtropics. The diseases its bite carries kill tens of thousands of people every year and infect millions more. Releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes into the wild may eventually wipe out entire populations of deadly mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

At least that’s the plan if the field tests pan out in California. Every morning during mosquito season—which runs from April to November—the van, emblazoned with “Debug Fresno,” cruises through leafy housing tracks full of multistory homes. At predetermined locations, an algorithm automatically releases carefully calculated numbers of mosquitoes, counting each individual insect with the help of a laser as it exits the van.

As the efforts to wipe out mosquito-borne diseases have ramped up, a few different approaches to the problem have emerged. Bill Gates alone has pledged more than $1 billion for technologies that may help wipe out malaria, including controversial efforts to genetically modify mosquitoes. Verily’s approach relies on a variation of a very old strategy known as sterile insect technique, in which a population is gradually killed off by interfering with the ability to reproduce.

It’s unclear what would happen if the world’s disease-causing mosquitoes were done away with. The ecological role that mosquitoes play hasn’t been thoroughly studied, though some scientists suggest we might be just fine without them. But it’s clear that A. aegypti has no business in Fresno County. Native to warmer, wetter climes, no one knows where they came from when they first showed up in 2013. All that’s certain is that they have spread extremely rapidly.

“After we detected it, we did a massive and extensive effort to prevent the mosquito from establishing and eliminate it,” says Jodi Holeman, the scientific services director for Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District. “We were not successful, in any way, shape, or form.”

The county went from having not much of a mosquito problem at all to having one that made residents avoid their backyards and porches. Unlike most mosquitoes, A. aegypti lives and breeds in places inhabited by people, laying its eggs in, say, the few droplets of stagnant water at the bottom of a wine glass left on a balcony, then hiding under beds and in closets, biting legs and ankles. This makes it much harder to fight. Going door-to-door and begging residents to dump out standing water wasn’t cutting it, so in 2016, Fresno teamed up with a scientist named Stephen Dobson and his company, MosquitoMate.

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Scientists Freak Out Over Pandemic Potential Of Genetically Engineered Smallpox

The fact that 300 million people have died from Smallpox was not enough to stop Technocrat scientists from using CRISPR DNA editing technology to bioengineer the killer virus – and then tell the world how they did it1! Again, Technocrat scientists invent because they can, not because there is any good reason to do so. ⁃ TN Editor

Following the release of a paper earlier this year which describes how researchers stitched together segments of DNA in order to revive horsepox – a previously eradicated virus, scientists have been flipping out over the possibility that bad actors may use the study as a blueprint to revive smallpox.

The disease killed an estimated 300 million people before the World Health Organization deemed it eradicated following a long vaccination campaign. Thus, the publication of a method for reviving a closely related disease has understandably raised some red flags within the scientific community, reports futurism.com.

Critics argue that the paper not only demonstrates that you can synthesize a deadly pathogen for what Science reported was about US$100,000 in lab expenses, but even provides a slightly-too-detailed-for-comfort overview of how to do it.

Some of the horsepox scientists’ coworkers are still pretty upset about this. PLOS One’s sister Journal, PLOS Pathogens, just published three opinion pieces about the whole flap, as well as a rebuttal by the Canadian professors.

Overall, everyone’s pretty polite. But you get the sense that microbiologists are really, really worried about someone reviving smallpox. –futurism.com

Prior to its eradication, smallpox was primarily spread by direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact between people. Once the first sores appeared in the mouth and throat (the early rash stage), they were contagious until the last smallpox scab fell off. According to the CDC, “these scabs and the fluid found in the patient’s sores also contained the variola virus. The virus can spread through these materials or through the objects contaminated by them, such as bedding or clothing. People who cared for smallpox patients and washed their bedding or clothing had to wear gloves and take care to not get infected.”

What would a smallpox bioterror attack look like? Via the CDC:

Most likely, if smallpox is released into the United States as a bioterrorist attack, public health authorities will find out once the first person sick with the disease goes to a hospital for treatment of an unknown illness. Doctors will examine the person and use tools developed by CDC to figure out if the person’s signs and symptoms are similar to those of smallpox. If doctors suspect the person has smallpox, they will care for the person and isolate them in the hospital so that others do not come in contact with the smallpox virus. The medical staff at the hospital will contact local public health authorities to let them know they have a patient who might have smallpox.

Local public health authorities would then alert public health officials at the state and federal level, such as CDC, to help diagnose the disease. If experts confirm the illness is smallpox, then CDC, along with state and local public health authorities, will put into place their plans to respond to a bioterrorist attack with smallpox.

Kevin Esvelt, a biochemist at MIT, wrote on Thursday that the threat is so significant that “it may be wise to begin encouraging norms of caution among authors, peer reviewers, editors, and journalists.”

At present, we decidedly err on the side of spreading all information.

Despite entirely predictable advances in DNA assembly, every human with an internet connection can access the genetic blueprints of viruses that might kill millions.

These and worse hazards are conveniently summarized by certain Wikipedia articles, which helpfully cite technical literature relevant to misuse.

Note the deliberate absence of citations in the above paragraph. Citing or linking to already public information hazards may seem nearly harmless, but each instance contributes to a tragedy of the commons in which truly dangerous technical details become readily accessible to everyone.

Given that it takes just one well-meaning scientist to irretrievably release a technological information hazard from the metaphorical bottle, it may be wise to begin encouraging norms of caution among authors, peer reviewers, editors, and journalists. –PLOS

Esvelt blamed the media for amplifying the negative potential of smallpox synthesis as well:

DNA synthesis is becoming accessible to a wide variety of people, and the instructions for doing nasty things are freely available online.

In the horsepox study, for instance, the information hazard is partly in the paper and the methods they described.

But it’s also in the media covering it and highlighting that something bad can be done. And this is worsened by the people who are alarmed, because we talk to journalists about the potential harm, and that just feeds into it. –MIT News

The Canadian professors, meanwhile, shot back at their critics – arguing that smallpox was bound to be synthesized at some point anyway.

Realistically all attempts to oppose technological advances have failed over centuries.

We suggest that one should instead focus on regulating the products of these technologies while educating people of the need to plan mitigating strategies based upon a sound understanding of the risks that such work might pose.

In these discussions, a long-term perspective is essential. –PLOS

In short, prepare for the Jurassic Park of deadly pathogens and their pandemic potential.

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