Enviro – 2nd October 2017

On this edition of Enviro:

We looked at a number of newspapers to see what were good news and bad news items, environmentally. Which gave rise to wide ranging discussions on these topics.

  • Bad news:
    1. Curlews face extinction due to loss of habitat through forestry, turf-cutting, land reclamation, moorland fires, shooting, urban sprawl, predation by; foxes, magpies, hooded crows. Breeding pairs have fallen in Ireland from 12,000 in the 1970s to fewer than 150 today (Source: Birdwatch Ireland).
    2. Pandas: Forest cuts are giant threat to pandas-shrinking habitat in China is putting the recovery of pandas at risk- News item- Daily Express September 26 2017. The study in Nature and Ecology and Evolution by US and Chinese scientists found that their habitats cover a smaller area than when the giant panda was first listed as endangered in 1988. However in spite of serious habitat loss numbers are increasing in China due to a captive breeding program.
    3. Cameroon Central African Republic and northern Congo basins: Survival International a UK based campaign group for indigenous peoples alleges that some of the world’s largest conservation organisations like the WWF, World Wildlife Fund are committing atrocities evicting and killing African tribes like the Baka (or Bayaka) tribes. National parks have been created including Lobeke, Boumba Bek and Nki and Ngoyla wildlife reserve, with WWF involvement in order to assist the protection of forest elephants, gorillas, chimps and leopards. (Source Sunday Times report 24 September 2017.)
    4. ARCTIC FOXES: ‘Monster’ arctic foxes are fattened up for fur up to five times their normal weight to increase skin area by some fur farms. Investigations’ in Finland have identifies various outlets for Arctic fox furs including Louis Vuitton (UK),Saga Furs, Finland’s biggest fur trader. Its customers are listed as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Michael Kors. Concerned animal rights organisations include the Finnish ‘Justice for Animals ‘who produced video evidence of cruelty and abuse. Some outlets denied animal abuse or exploitation and some did not respond to requests for comment. Saga improved surveillance and engaged additional veterinarians and co-operation with standard enforcement. (Source The Sunday Times September 24 2017)
    5. EPA Drinking Water Report: found that 63 water supplies serving over 900,000 people had open investigations due to failures to meet the pesticide standard. 55 samples in 29 supplies have failed the standard for individual pesticides. The most commonly found pesticide was MCPA detected in 37 samples. (Farming Independent 19 September 2017)
    6. The Irish Independent 2/10/17 pointed out that” Ireland’s natural resources could power the country, but the state ploughs around 250.000 Euros every 15 minutes buying ‘polluting’ power from abroad”.
  • Good News:
    1. Birdhill Co. Tipperary wins the Ireland Tidy Towns award. The competition includes various environmental awards including a Tree Project Award won by Dunleer Tidy Towns (Co. Louth).
    2. “Do the Irish do Death Best?” book review in the Irish Times January 14 2017- “Death and the Irish: A Miscellany” by Bridget English edited by Salvador Ryan. This book gives many different perspectives from sources as varied as historians, hospice workers, geographers, sociologists, anthropologists, theologians, priests, librarians, musicologists, and funeral directors to name but a few of some 75 different perspectives in short essays. The book takes readers from the fifth century to today. It includes marginalised groups such as Travellers and compares Irish practices with other religions such as Jewish and Muslim.
    3. “Lourdes has answers we seek in a world teetering on brink” by Ray Kinsella Irish Independent September 29 2017. In the article he maintains that “Europe has become more centralised and increasingly militarised-profoundly ill-at-ease with itself….there is a cult of power-politics and the marginalisation of the weak that is profoundly at odds with the sensitivities of its people. Austerity and military adventurism are among the hardly surprising consequences”
    4. Actress and author Pauline McLynn has criticised the government for its role in promoting greyhound racing and hare coursing in Ireland. She frequently protests against greyhound racing and exports of greyhounds.
    5. Renewable energy: Michael Liebreich founder of Bloomberg New Energy estimates that clean energy (wind and solar) will claim 86pc of the 10.2 trillion dollars likely to be invested in power generation by 2040.
    6. The Sunday Times Magazine of 1/10/17 provides data about the increasing numbers of people adopting a vegan lifestyle and the profiles of the various categories of people therein.

Presenter/Producer: John Haughton

Panelists: Joe Dunne


MUSIC from the Baka people of Cameroon’s rainforests.