this study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, it is revealed that there is three times the amount of nitrous oxide being released into the atmosphere from the world's waterways as was estimated by the IPCC, most of it derived from the nitrogen-based fertilizers, 220 billions pounds of it produced globally, by way of example, in 2005.
committing suicide in horrific numbers, often by drinking pesticides...more than 17,368 in India in 2009.
annoying article appeared in the Guardian, with the title "Sustainable fish customers 'duped' by Marine Stewardship Council," Apparently, this investigation reveals that the regulatory agency is awarding sustainable certifications for fishery stocks that are "tumbling" and, I might add, by staggering percentages:
concerned about the low catch of squid: "Argentine production in 2010 -- a total of 84,409 tons - was higher than the 2009 figure of 71,414 tons. Both volumes contrasted with 255,000 tons harvested in the 2008 season." And it isn't just squid - their catch of fish is drastically volatile too.
new dimension to the consequences of dying trees - which is the rise of mice carrying a disease that can be deadly to humans and which didn't even exist until 1993. Notice that certain scientists who attribute the death of conifers out West solely to the bark beetle and not to the underlying exposure to ozone have absolutely no bug - or other excuse - to blame for sudden aspen decline:
"A tree-killing syndrome called sudden aspen decline that has wiped out swaths of trees across the West in the past decade has also changed the kinds, numbers and interactions of creatures living around the trees, researchers have found — including some carriers of human disease. Deer mice at hard-hit sites in 2009 were almost three times as likely to carry sin nombre virus — which can be fatal to humans — compared with mice in less-ravaged aspen stands, Erin Lehmer of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and her colleagues reported Jan. 4 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology."
"In study sites that had lost at least two-thirds of their aspens, the researchers found fewer species of small mammals. The most abundant of those species was the deer mouse, which isn’t as choosy about its habitat as the vole is. Lehmer speculated that infection might have risen among deer mice as their growing dominance in the landscape let them encounter each other more frequently and get into more mouse fights. Sin nombre spreads readily among rodents through bites."
I was very grateful to receive the anonymous comment copied below, not least because it validates my own observations and in so doing, contributes to maintaining my remaining shreds of sanity - but mostly because it encapsulates some critically important notions in a nutshell (as it were, heh):
"I noticed it happening here in Vancouver Canada back in the summer of 09, though I think judging by some of the trees it has been going on longer than that. It got worse in the summer of 10 and I expect it will be worst once again when the plants start blooming again here in Spring. No one notices except me, or at least if they do notice, they do not mention it.
Plants are also blooming way out of season. Roses bloomed in December and we had the cherry blossoms come out in late January 2010 which is at least 2 months early if not more. It's been colder this year so we'll see if it happens again.
I think we're in big trouble. I'm a bit worried what will happen when the sleeping folks wake up to the devastation that is growing around us."Anonymous has neatly referenced the relatively recent timeframe of rapid decline; the oddity of out-of-sync blooming; the obliviousness of practically everybody; and finally raises the fascinating question, what will they do when they figure it out? When I consider my own excruciatingly painful journey from blissful ignorance to utter despair, it's hard to imagine that agony multiplied by millions of people in simultaneous recognition of ecosystem collapse.
But, getting back to the topic of rapidly accelerating mass extinctions, as I already mentioned earlier in this post, a Swedish veterinarian stated: "This winter has been unusually tough and jackdaws may be in poor condition. That makes it easier for them to fly into different objects. There is very little food in the wild compared with previous years and I see dying birds every day."
Most reports, such as these recent bird deaths in Sonoma County, California, offer no definitive reason - as is also the case for two more mass deaths reported in Arkansas. The author of that post states rather wistfully:
"...biologists are still saying that it is a natural occurrence in wildlife...I have lived in a rural area most of my life and I have never seen birds or fish die in mass amounts, and I have spent a lot of time in the woods and on the lakes."
I have to agree. I have been a nature lover all my life, choosing to live in as rural an area as I could - and I have only seen a single dead bird three times - never a larger number - and all those three (a hummingbird, a finch, and a bluebird) were all in the past three years.
In any event, two additional stories have come to light that point to hunger as the underlying factor for the mass deaths that have been lately in the news:
First, this report claims that the mystery of turtle doves dying in Italy has been solved, and states that the birds likely died of feasting on food - but wait! it inadvertently corroborates my theory that they are hungry. Let's check - what were they "overeating"?
"Nadia Caselli of an Italian bird association corroborated Ridolfi's findings, telling the AP that sunflower seeds from a nearby oil factory are likely the culprit, as they damage the birds' livers and kidneys, though full tests results are still yet to come."
This gruesome story from Chicago reveals another curious incident:
"A bizarre scene is evolving on the Chicago lakefront, with Canada geese and mallard ducks gulping down dead or dying gizzard shad.
A major die-off of what appears to be the 2010 class is happening in Chicago harbors. Thousands, perhaps far more than that, of dead gizzard shad in the 3- to 5-inch range are frozen in the ice of Chicago harbors or floating around in open patches of water."
"The massive die-off was first documented Thursday by Carl Vizzone, a North Side fisherman who sits on the board of Perch America. What caught his eye was Canada geese and mallards eating dying shad at open water by DuSable and Diversey harbors. 'This is not normal,' he said.
He’s right, agreed naturalist Joel Greenberg, author of A Natural History of the Chicago Region. Canada geese and mallards normally don’t eat fish, but, Greenberg said, 'They are opportunistic.'"Why would Canada Geese and mallards eat dead fish if its not part of their normal diet???
As I already warned with regret, Doomstead Diary has announced plans to eradicate his blog and move on to other pursuits, so I have been trying to read up on old posts before it's too late. On his profile page I was reminded of this scene of Steve Martin from "The Jerk," which I remember quite well from when I first saw it ages ago, because he embodies with bewildered pathos our shock when we are faced, as we all will be, with the loss of everything we have blithely assumed for our lifetimes was rightfully ours...and thus, it's pure comic genius.