Category Archives: Habitat/Species

The oceans: cradle and graveyard of life on Earth

My first newspaper environmental column appeared in mid-March 2008, headlined: ‘Out of our depth in tackling overfishing disaster’. In researching the piece, I was staggered to read a quote from a senior UNEP official to the effect that even if … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity, Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Sustainability | 3 Comments

It’s a race to the bottom – we’re winning as the oceans die

To me, nothing says summer down-time quite like finding a shady spot on a warm day and settling in for a great read. This year, I had the good fortune of picking two exceptional books – ‘The Ocean of Life’ … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity, Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Media, Sustainability | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Life on Earth now under threat as never before

Below, my opinion article, as it appears in today’s Irish Times: WHEN WE put our mind to it, it’s amazing what we can learn to forget. Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 hosted one of the most important international conferences … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Media, Sustainability | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Crutzen’s tough medicine for a sick planet

Arguably one of the most significant figures of the last two centuries was in Dublin last night, where he presented a lecture in TCD, organised by the Royal Irish Academy. The man in question is Prof Paul Crutzen, the brilliant … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity, Global Warming, Habitat/Species | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Six degrees to annihilation

Below is a news feature as appears on page 14 of this weekend’s Sunday Tribune. Given that global emissions are and will continue to run at or perhaps beyond the IPCC’s ‘worst-case’ (A1F1) scenario, I felt it useful to try … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Sustainability | 42 Comments

Ming shows our bogs no mercy

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”. So wrote novelist Upton Sinclair, and boy, did he have a clear understanding of human nature. Last Thursday’ PrimeTime on RTE … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity, Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Sustainability | 7 Comments

Ireland’s looming bird crisis

Back in 2002, the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity set a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. It is now 2010, the declared UN Year of Biodiversity, and although some endangered species have been saved, notably … Continue reading

Posted in Biodiversity, Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Anthropocene draws to a close

The term Anthropocene was coined by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen a decade ago to describe the new ‘Era of Man’, a distinct geological epoch shaped almost entirely by our actions and impacts. “The Anthropocence has yet to be accepted as … Continue reading

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In the frame for Lisbon

Am usually happiest to operate from the safety and relative anonymity of this side of the keyboards, but decided to face the music, so to speak, and contribute to a press briefing held in the dramatic setting of the upper … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Media, Sustainability | 3 Comments

Where have all the fish gone? (we ate them)

The world’s oceans are in deep, deep trouble. Industrialised fishing, in full swing since around 1950, has in essence waged a war against the marine ecosystem. And the bad news is: we’re winning. Species extinctions, population crashes and vast disruption … Continue reading

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North East Passage open for business

The fabled North West Passage, allowing shipping from Asia to Europe to navigate via the Arctic Ocean, is now routinely used. This passage cost the lives of many earlier expeditions. Times have changed, and a century of relentless global warming … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Sceptics, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Climate camp – Shannonbridge

Last week’s Climate Camp in Shannonbridge drew around 150 people to a site right beside the Shannonbridge peat-burning power plant. The week, which included workshops, bog walks and practical sessions on sustainability, culminated in a Day of Action on Saturday … Continue reading

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Welcome to the New Emergency

They call it the ‘Greenhouse Gamble’. I’d call it the Wheel of Death. Either way, it’s a gizmo that looks like a cheesy prop from the National Lottery show, but in fact it has been developed by scientists from the … Continue reading

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Life on the far side of the Rubicon

“Electric word life – It means forever and that’s a mighty long time”. Eighties music aficionados will probably recognise this line, from Prince’s Purple Rain. It came to mind when reading a report from the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Nuclear, Sustainability | 17 Comments

A night to remember

The last 24 hours has passed by in a blur, punctuated by less than 3 hours’ sleep. It was 6am today before we could drag ourselves away from TV screens and assorted laptops, to drift off, still smiling, into a … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment