Environment and Ecology

Minister right to be wary of gene editing - So Shoot Me

Jamie Steer Jun 18, 2019

The Minister of Conservation’s recent direction to put the brakes on research into gene editing for predator eradication has proven a bone of contention with some. That’s regrettable because her decision is well justified. In a recent Letter of Expectation to Predator Free 2050 Limited, Minister Sage instructed that no resources shall be directed towards the development of gene editing … Read More

The tragedy of climate change - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan Jun 06, 2019

Why is there pollution? Why is there an ecological crisis and why has it been so hard to deal with? There is certainly no shortage of culprits – people have blamed neoliberalism, capitalism, consumerism, economic growth, overpopulation, evil corporations, greed. But underneath all the many aspects of this difficult problem lies one fundamental phenomenon: the Tragedy of the Commons. This states … Read More

How endangered are New Zealand dolphins and sea lions? - Guest Work

Guest Author Jun 05, 2019

Professor Steve Dawson, Professor Liz Slooten, Associate Professor Bruce Robertson The Department of Conservation (DOC) has downgraded the threat status of the New Zealand sea lion and New Zealand (Hector’s) dolphin. NZ sea lion has changed from “Nationally Critical” (the same category as the kākāpō) to “Nationally Vulnerable” based on “actual improvement”. The problem is, the available data do … Read More

Beat Air Pollution: UN Environment Day - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Jun 05, 2019

June 5 is the UN Environment Day with the theme this year, being air pollution. Air pollution comprises a number of gases and microscopic particulates that impact on ecosystems and human health. Both the quality of life and human longevity is impacted by these pollutants, often in urban areas. One only has to think of news stories from London … Read More

Green electricity: Is it for real? - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan May 26, 2019

Stop flying, cut out red meat, switch to an electric car or, better yet, a bike.  Newspapers and websites are full of stories of people who have made the switch to a low-emission lifestyle. The stories are inspiring, to me anyway, and they are definitely newsworthy. But, at least judging from the online comments (‘Not gonna happen!’), they can be … Read More

The discovery of a Denisovan jaw bone and what it can tell us - Guest Work

Michael Knapp May 09, 2019

Last week the discovery of a lower jaw bone of a Denisovan hit the headlines all over the world. Denisovans are a now-extinct species of humans that were closely related to us as well as to Neanderthals. To an outside observer, the excitement of researchers about this find might have appeared a bit over the top. After all, Denisovans have … Read More

NZ introduces groundbreaking zero carbon bill, including targets for agricultural methane - Planetary Ecology

Robert McLachlan May 09, 2019

New Zealand’s long-awaited zero carbon bill will create sweeping changes to the management of emissions, setting a global benchmark with ambitious reduction targets for all major greenhouse gases. The bill includes two separate targets – one for the long-lived greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, and another target specifically for biogenic methane, produced by livestock and landfill waste. Read More