The Science Of A Vanishing Planet

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

There are numerous ways to define the Precautionary Principle. It’s something we can all intuitively understand, but which many parties seek ways to confuse since it has the potential to stand in the way of profits. Still, in the end it should all be about proof, not profits. That is exactly what the Principle addresses. Because if you first need to deliver scientific proof that some action or product can be harmful to mankind and/or the natural world, you run the risk of inflicting irreversible damage before that proof can be delivered.

In one of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

Needless to say, that doesn’t easily fly in our age of science and money.

Cigarette makers, car manufacturers and oil companies, just to name a few among a huge number of industries, are all literally making a killing while the Precautionary Principle is being ignored. Even as it is being cited in many international treaties. Lip service “R” us. Are these industries to blame when they sell us our products, or are we for buying them? That’s where governments must come in to educate us about risks. Which they obviously do not.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb -of Black Swan and Antifragile fame- has made the case, in his usual strong fashion, for applying the Precautionary Principle when it comes to GMOs. His argument is that allowing genetically modified organisms in our eco- and foodsystems carries unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, and that these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems mankind relies on for survival.

Taleb is not popular among GMO producers. Who all insist there is no evidence that their products cause harm. But that is not the point. The Precautionary Principle, if it is to be applied, must turn the burden of proof on its head. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Monsanto et al must prove that their products do no harm. They can not. Which is why they have, and need, huge lobbying, PR and legal departments.

But I didn’t want to talk about GMOs today, and not about Precautionary Principle alone. I wanted to talk about this: Paragraph 2 of article 191 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty (2009) states that:

“Union policy on the environment shall aim at a high level of protection taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Union. It shall be based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.”

In other words, the EU has committed itself to the Precautionary Principle. Well, on paper, that is. However, then we get to a whole series of reports on wildlife in Europe, and they indicate all sorts of things, but not that Brussels cares even one bit about adhering to the Precautionary Principle, either for its people or its living environment. One voice below calls it a “state of denial”, but I would use some other choice words. Let’s start with the Guardian this morning, because they have an interesting perspective:

Most Britons remain blithely unaware that since the Beatles broke up, we have wiped out half our wildlife…

since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the number of flying insects on nature reserves in Germany had dropped by at least 76% – more than three-quarters…

Things like ‘since you were born’, ‘since man landed on the moon’, ‘since the wall came down’ or ‘since 9/11’ may be a bit clearer than 100 years, or 25 years. Moreover, I read somewhere that since Columbus landed in 1492, America has lost on third of all its biodiversity, but that doesn’t yet explain the rate of acceleration that is taking place.

In October last year, the Guardian had this:

Three-Quarters Of Flying Insects In Germany Have Vanished In 25 Years

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years , according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said. The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factorsand climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.

“The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,” said Hans de Kroon, at Radboud University in the Netherlands and who led the new research. “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life , and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

[..] When the total weight of the insects in each sample was measured a startling decline was revealed. The annual average fell by 76% over the 27 year period, but the fall was even higher – 82% – in summer, when insect numbers reach their peak. Previous reports of insect declines have been limited to particular insects, such European grassland butterflies, which have fallen by 50% in recent decades. But the new research captured all flying insects, including wasps and flies which are rarely studied, making it a much stronger indicator of decline.

Then last week from AFP:

France’s Bird Population Collapses As Pesticides Kill Off Insects

Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. “Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert,” he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.

The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.

“There are hardly any insects left, that’s the number one problem,”said Vincent Bretagnolle, a CNRS ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize. Recent research, he noted, has uncovered similar trends across Europe, estimating that flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years. Despite a government plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2020, sales in France have climbed steadily, reaching more than 75,000 tonnes of active ingredient in 2014, according to EU figures. “What is really alarming, is that all the birds in an agricultural setting are declining at the same speed, even ’generalist’ birds,” which also thrive in other settings such as wooded areas, said Bretagnolle.

Not that it’s just Europe, mind you. Still ‘ove’ this one from Gretchen Vogel in ScienceMag, about a year ago, on a phenomenon most of you stateside will have noticed too:

Where Have All The Insects Gone?

Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. “If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen,” says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. “I’m a very data-driven person,” says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. “But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don’t see that mess anymore.”

Some people argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and therefore less deadly to insects. But Black says his pride and joy as a teenager in Nebraska was his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1—with some pretty sleek lines. “I used to have to wash my car all the time. It was always covered with insects.” Lately, Martin Sorg, an entomologist here, has seen the opposite: “I drive a Land Rover, with the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and these days it stays clean.”

Though observations about splattered bugs aren’t scientific, few reliable data exist on the fate of important insect species. Scientists have tracked alarming declines in domesticated honey bees, monarch butterflies, and lightning bugs. But few have paid attention to the moths, hover flies, beetles, and countless other insects that buzz and flitter through the warm months. “We have a pretty good track record of ignoring most noncharismatic species,” which most insects are, says Joe Nocera, an ecologist at the University of New Brunswick in Canada.

After all those numbers, and before they get worse -which they will, it’s already baked in the cake-, you would expect the EU to remember the Precautionary Principle all its member nations signed on to for the Lisbon Treaty. You would expect wrong. Instead Brussels vows to continue with the exact same policies that have led to its mind-boggling biodiversity losses.

EU In ‘State Of Denial’ Over Destructive Impact Of Farming On Wildlife

Europe’s crisis of collapsing bird and insect numbers will worsen further over the next decade because the EU is in a “state of denial” over destructive farming practices, environmental groups are warning. European agriculture ministers are pushing for a new common agriculture policy (CAP) from 2021 to 2028 which maintains generous subsidies for big farmers and ineffectual or even “fake” environmental or “greening” measures, they say. In a week when two new studies revealed drastic declines in French farmland birds – a pattern repeated across Europe – the EU presidency claimed that the CAP continued to provide safe food while defending farmers and “protecting the environment”.

“The whole system is in a state of denial,” said Ariel Brunner, head of policy at Birdlife Europe. “Most agriculture ministers across Europe are just pushing for business as usual. The message is, keep the subsidies flowing.”Farm subsidies devour 38% of the EU budget and 80% of the subsidies go to just 20% of farmers , via “basic payments” which hand European landowners £39bn each year.

Because these payments are simply related to land area, big farmers receive more, can invest in more efficient food production – removing hedgerows to enlarge fields for instance – and put smaller, less intensive farmers out of business. France lost a quarter of its farm labourers in the first decade of the 21st century, while its average farm size continues to rise.

A smaller portion – £14.22bn annually – of EU farm subsidies support “greening” measures but basic payment rules work against wildlife-friendly farming: in Britain, farmers can’t receive basic payments for land featuring ponds, wide hedges, salt marsh or regenerating woodland. Signals from within the EU suggest that the next decade’s CAP [..] will continue to pay farmers a no-strings subsidy, while cash for “greening”, or wildlife-friendly farming, may even be cut. Birdlife Europe said the “greening” was mostly “fake environmental spending” and wildlife-friendly measures had been “shredded” by “loophole upon loophole” introduced by member states.

[..] This week studies revealed that the abundance of farmland birds in France had fallen by a third in 15 years – with population falls intensifying in the last two years. It’s a pattern repeated across Europe: farmland bird abundance in 28 European countries has fallen by 55% over three decades, according to the European Bird Census Council. Conservationists say it’s indicative of a wider crisis – particularly the decimation of insect life linked to neonicotinoid pesticides.

20% of farmers work 80% of the land in Europe. That is used as an argument to single them out to pay them billions in subsidies. But it simply means these 20% use the most detrimental farming methods, most pesticides, most chemicals. The subsidies policy guarantees further deterioration of an already disastrous situation. The polluter doesn’t pay, as the Lisbon Treaty demands, but the polluter gets paid.

And even that is apparently still not enough for the fast growing bureaucracy. In a move perhaps more characteristic of the EU than anything else, it approved something last week that a million people had vehemently protested: the Bayer-Monsanto merger. The European parliament may have thrown out all Monsanto lobbyists recently, and voted to ban Roundup, but the die has been cast.

A million citizens can protest in writing, many millions in France and Germany and elsewhere may do the same on the street, none of it matters. The people who brought you WWII nerve gases and Agent Orange can now come together to take over your food supply.

EU Approves Buyout Of Monsanto By German Chemical Firm Bayer

German conglomerate Bayer won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $62.5bn (£44.5bn) buy of US peer Monsanto, the latest in a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the agrochemicals industry. The tie-up is set to create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market. Driven by shifting weather patterns, competition in grain exports and a faltering global farm economy, Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta had earlier led a wave of consolidation in the sector. Both deals secured EU approval only after the companies offered substantial asset sales to boost rivals.

Environmental and farming groups have opposed all three deals, worried about their power and their advantage in digital farming data, which can tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilise and pick crops based on algorithms. The European Commission said Bayer addressed its concerns with its offer to sell a swathe of assets to boost rival BASF [..] “Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”

[..] Vestager said the Commission, which received more than a million petitions concerning the deal, had been thorough by examining more than 2,000 different product markets and 2.7 million internal documents to produce a 1,285-page ruling. [..] Online campaigns group Avaaz criticised the EU approval. “This is a marriage made in hell. The Commission ignored a million people who called on them to block this deal, and caved in to lobbying to create a mega-corporation which will dominate our food supply,” Avaaz legal director Nick Flynn said.

Dow-Dupont, ChemChina and Bayer Monsanto have a lot more political influence than a million Europeans, or ten million Americans. They have even convinced numerous, if not most, people that without their products the world would starve. That their chemicals are needed to feed a growing human population. Farming based on algorythms.

They are not ‘seed companies’. They are ‘seeds-that-need-our-chemicals-to-grow’ companies. And they are out to conquer the entire world. A 100-times worse version of Facebook. And our governments subsidize the use of their products. As we not-so-slowly see our living world be massacred by those products.

We don’t know how bad GMOs will turn out to be. Which is in itself a very good reason to ban them. Since once they spread, they can’t be stopped anymore. Then the chemical boys will own all of our food. But we do know how bad the pesticides and other chemicals they produce are. And we’re not even banning those. We just eat all that sh*t and shut up.

It’s a failure to understand what science is: that you must proof harm first before banning stuff. The only real science is the one that has adopted the Precautionary Principle. Because science is supposed to be smart, and there’s nothing smart about destroying your own world. Because science should never be used to hurt people or nature. Science can only be good if it benefits us. Not our wallets, but our heads and hearts and forests, and our children. Do no harm.

Yeah, I know, who am I fooling, right?

Comments

Adolph.H. JerseyJoe Wed, 03/28/2018 - 06:05 Permalink

"Food" industry is becoming more outrageous everyday. Little by little we "discover" how toxic these products are and yet it will not end up nearly as bad as the tobacco industry because they are hand in hand with big pharma. They will sell you other toxic products to only deal with symptoms and make life possible while eating the shit your are spoon fed with.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2018/03/28/new-insight-into-how-gut-feelings…

If you discuss with any MD about any illness, they will sell you pills and syringes with a long list of side effects and debilitating consequences, but will never explain you the origin of it, because they don't know, they never learnt this. They are stupid parrots. 

Vote with your wallet, don't purchase that crap, and this entails buying raw organic products and cooking by yourselves. 

Strangely you'll be surprised to discover the immense benefits this will have on your social life, health, morale, and on your finances. 

The cherry on top will be when you will lose your fat while eating all you want. What's not to like? 

In reply to by JerseyJoe

ldd ZENDOG Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:35 Permalink

read youchi shimatsu re 3/11. very informative. although there are many reasons due to what we have done to the planet, since 3/11, where i live has been lacking of bugs and birds. i live by a river with mountains behind me. my car would be covered in bird shit every morning and there would be bugs everywhere.

In reply to by ZENDOG

Stuck on Zero ldd Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:02 Permalink

Back in the sixties a drive through the Anza Borrego desert meant stopping every half hour to scrape dead locusts off the windshield. They were so numerous that the radiator would clog and they would burn up on the manifold stinking up the car.  The highways were covered with migrating locusts. Long before that the Mormons fought plagues of locusts. Today: none. The Western locust is extinct.

In reply to by ldd

DownWithYogaPants kralizec Wed, 03/28/2018 - 08:38 Permalink

This article is a bunch of eco religionist shit.  GMO is a demonstrable problem from the business domination angle.  But don't take the Stalinist Green  approach.  That's part of what brought us to this point.  Attack things for the right reason.  The banking / corporate cartel that is forcing the GMO seeds on the people.

 

In reply to by kralizec

Ajax-1 BennyBoy Wed, 03/28/2018 - 09:26 Permalink

Just because a seed has been genetically altered doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Corn is a classic example. Natural Corn/Maize was originally a tropical vegetable. In it's natural state, an ear would typically be no larger than your index finger at maturity. It was not drought tolerant and it was prone to disease as well as damage by insects. Now think about modern corn.........delicious, flavorful and healthy. However, there is a dark side to modern agronomy and I share the concerns of many. I worry about the incestuous relationships clouding the lines of demarkation between University Researchers, Big Agra and the USDA.

In reply to by BennyBoy

unicorn BennyBoy Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

Now watch this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKQDSgBHPfY
Title: DEF CON 25 - John Sotos - Genetic Diseases to Guide Digital Hacks of the Human Genome

Its about bio-warfare, genetic deseases that can be really easily designed in your garage (cause its easyer to break stuff than fix it).
Its only 20 Minutes, the other 20 minutes are questions and answers. Watch it and be afraid about the really scary stuff...
No big weapon will help, a psychopath is enough, and there are lots of running around.

 

 

In reply to by BennyBoy

RedBaron616 Adolph.H. Wed, 03/28/2018 - 08:27 Permalink

Buy organic? No way to know what is organic. No real inspections because organic farms can hire their own inspectors (read, weak, blind inspectors). Organic has become a scam, because no one is doing any real validating.

In reply to by Adolph.H.

Endgame Napoleon JerseyJoe Wed, 03/28/2018 - 18:53 Permalink

Germany manicures its forrests, cutting down on the brush where insects might do whatever disgusting things they do, certainly no more disgusting than what the DC Swamp Creatures do when creating their un-manicured legislative soup, with ingredients carelessly tossed in to appease every lobbyist and deep-pocketed campaign donor. 

In reply to by JerseyJoe

bluez halcyon Wed, 03/28/2018 - 06:49 Permalink

Hey yeah! The Ebner effect!

"In laboratory experiments the researchers the Dr. Guido Ebner and Heinz Schürch exposed cereal seeds and fish eggs to an "electrostatic field" – in other words, to a high voltage field, in which no current flows. Unexpectedly primeval organisms grew out of these seeds and eggs: a fern that no botanist was able to identify; primeval corn with up to twelve ears per stalk; wheat that was ready to be harvested in just four to six weeks. And giant trout, extinct in Europe for 130 years, with so-called salmon hooks. It was as if these organisms accessed their own genetic memories on command in the electric field," --

http://rexresearch.com/ebner/ebner.htm

And if you increase the voltage high enough, they turn into solid pure gold!

In reply to by halcyon

MoralsAreEssential bluez Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:14 Permalink

My guess is that if this is true, and I don't disbelieve you, TPTB have quashed this for us Plebs just as "They" have cures for all illnesses except hearts which is why they have multiple transplants.  And there is a reason they can't control hearts. The long and the short of it is in order to keep their power, the rest of us must be denied the resources which Mother Earth could provide to us. 

In reply to by bluez

bluez Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:10 Permalink

For quite a while now I have been suggesting the abolition of all patents and copyrights. We don't need them. Look at the pharmaceutical companies -- They patent "EpiPens" that people with bee sting allergies need to live, and then sell them for > $2,000 a dose. Meanwhile they have come up with no new antibiotics, and the germs are all becoming resistant. But they created terminator seeds that can only grow one crop!

And never mind the computer/IT catastrophe. Let the Chinese do the inventing. Or whatever. Let us be free to make what we will with no letters from lawyers.

cubitknot Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:20 Permalink

1.) those who have the most money rule. 

2.) it's how things work in fascism and the united states of america is the ultimate playground for fascists.

3.) you get what you pay for.

JerseyJoe Normally Aspirated Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:55 Permalink

Nonsense - massively downsized government.  And stop protecting "too big to fail" criminals hiding behind the corporate veil. 

Legislative bodies should be more like Texas - the political players only meet every couple of years and can only vote on laws and budgets that have been fully vetted and publicly published for months prior to the meeting.   

If nothing else, it slows the growth of the parasitic deep state the lives in most organized bodies.  Bureaucrats always find ways of growing and getting more power. 

Their roots need regular trimming and controlled watering like a potted Bonsai tree.   

In reply to by Normally Aspirated

MoralsAreEssential JerseyJoe Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:19 Permalink

Yep, Texas is doing awesome.  Their Governator Abbott and Legislator passed a law demanding allegiance to Israhell for any State business, as well as even before that law any Individual who needed FEMA funds to fix their homes also had to sign a pledge to not boycott Israhell.  These policies are as bad or worse as Libtardation.

In reply to by JerseyJoe

Sudden Debt Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:41 Permalink

They have so much power over politics and politicians get paid so much while citizens don't give a rats ass about the food that they eat that nothing will change for the good. Ever.

AE911Truth Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:42 Permalink

The banks print up the money for the corporations to buy up the Planet, and since they claim to own it, they claim the right to destroy the planet in the pursuit of ever greater control & profit. Never mind we need it for our survival. The only way humanity survives is to wake up and realize there is a War between the People and the Banks (and the trans-national corporations they own, which include governments inc.).

Then, Act as if your survival depends upon winning that War, because it does.

 

bverheg Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:45 Permalink

"Monsanto et al. must prove that their products do no harm."

Replace Monsanto with car manufacturers or any other modern manufacturing process and you can see that with "The Precautionary Principle" applied, we would still live in prehistoric conditions. No, thanks. I'd rather have the modern, science based world.

 

 

 

Teja bluez Wed, 03/28/2018 - 09:27 Permalink

Oh yes they do - someone compared them to a virus in the sense that in an area where many people use cars, the conditions for pedestrians and bikers deteriorate so much that all but the most hardy (or poor) start buying and using cars, too.

Then people start driving to "pristine nature" on their weekends. Spreading the curse...

In reply to by bluez

ManTheMan Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:46 Permalink

The EU has been built up for precisely this: supranational FASCISM, the only tool used by globalists and oligarchs against communism. When the Soviet Union won WWII, the EU was already in a box, ready to be implemented, to counter the victors. Not that communism as implemented was a panacea in terms of society well-being (far from being so), but the old and new aristocracies would have none of it, thus the EU.

 

For the sake of all that is good, this awful and nefarious construct must be brought down ASAP.

FoggyWorld Wed, 03/28/2018 - 05:59 Permalink

Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett held big chunks of Monsanto stock and they all believe the human  population of his planet has to be seriously reduced.   I've never heard them address the issues of fewer bugs or birds. Not sure I really want to know.

Hillarys Server Wed, 03/28/2018 - 06:05 Permalink

Where have all the insects gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the insects gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the insects gone?
MonSatan has squashed them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
They've become bad mood resting bitch face radical lesbian purple haired social justice third wave fat pride feminists every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
(Note: Not all.)

commoncourtesy FreeEarCandy Wed, 03/28/2018 - 07:03 Permalink

Life has lost it's purpose and sanity for a great many people. Governments have been hijacked by CORPORATIONS. 

How great would it be if peoples of the world could take-back their countries and form governments 'for the people'.

Unfortunately, all roads still lead to ROME, however, things are changing. 

FreeEarCandy - For America www.annavonreitz.com is already doing as you suggest.

I believe Australia/AUSTRALIA is legally in a very strange and precarious position at the moment. See here: https://justiniandeception.wordpress.com/page/4/ for more info. Much of this info also applies to America/UNITED STATES. 

Anyone able to help with info on UK?

 

In reply to by FreeEarCandy

Teja commoncourtesy Wed, 03/28/2018 - 09:32 Permalink

Juistiniandeception.... writing stuff like

" The Word "Vatican" means: "vat I can", meaning, "holder or vessel I can do", meaning, the VATICAN has become the first Trustee Legal Title holder of the dominion of the living man. "

No further comment necessary, I would think, for anyone knowing that the names of the 7 hills of Rome predate the English language some 1000 years.

In reply to by commoncourtesy