60 Second Spotlight

September 26, 2017

This Week’s Headlines from the World of Conservation


Theresa May Challenges Trump’s stance on climate change


In a speech addressed to the UN earlier this week, the prime minister likened Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty to North Korean nuclear tests in terms of the threat each decision will pose to global security. May didn’t refer to the President directly, but stressed the importance of international cooperation to tackle global issues like terrorism and climate change.


What is the Paris Agreement?


In a deal hailed as ‘historic’ by many, the Paris agreement unities every nation in the fight to curb climate change, aiming to prevent dangerous and ‘irreversible’ levels (estimated to be 2C above that of pre-industrial times).



Fatal attraction: fish confuse waste plastic for food


Last week, we reported on plastic particles being found in our tap water. It stands to reason that no living organism can avoid the plastic plague unless their diet is somehow devoid of water. This week, we learnt that the smell of waste plastic in large bodies of water incites food search behaviours in fish. In his research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Matthew Savoca explains that at sea, plastic gets coated in bacteria and algae: “"These lifeforms emit distinctive sulphur compounds, in particular, dimethyl sulphide, which many marine animals use to locate biologically productive areas in the ocean for foraging."



Don’t assume pesticides are safe, leading scientist warns




One of the UK’s top scientific advisers has criticised regulators for ‘assuming’ that the widespread use of pesticides is safe, when in fact the lack of limit on the amount of pesticides used and the absence of monitoring means the impacts aren’t known.


“The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation – that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales – is false,” explain the Prof Ian Boyd and Alice Milner in their article published in the journal Science.



Campaigner of the week: Leonardo DiCaprio


The Oscar-winning actor has pledged $20 million to combat climate change in the wake of America’s withdrawal from the aforementioned Paris Agreement. In a jab aimed at the President, the Titanic and Wolf of Wall Street star commented that despite Trump’s unwavering stance on climate change in the wake of the destruction caused by the recent hurricanes, he believes that the US has ‘the potential to lead the world on this issue...We can only hope that the President begins to see it too, before it’s too late.


DiCaprio discusses climate change in this clip from The Insider.







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