The Green Book
Where the Wild Things Were
How Conservation Efforts are Faltering
The Globalization of Animal Welfare
More Food Does Not Require More Suffering
Africa’s Anti-Poaching Problem
How Wildlife Trade Bans Are Failing the Continent's Animals
How Technology Is Transforming Conservation
Animal Rights, Animal Wrongs
The Case for Nonhuman Personhood
The Day the Earth Ran Out
The Causes and Consequences of Earth Overshoot Day
Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now
The Club of Rome’s Problem—and Ours
Is Growth Good?
Resources, Development, and the Future of the Planet
No Wars for Water
Why Climate Change Has Not Led to Conflict
The Devolution of the Seas
The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
Suicide By Drought
How China is Destroying Its Own Water Supply
A Light in the Forest
Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate-Change Diplomacy
The Reincarnation Machine
From Cars to Skyscrapers, Indiana to Shandong
The Great Leap Backward?
Pollution Without Revolution
Why China's Environmental Crisis Won't Bring Down the Regime
Harder to Breathe
India's Pollution Crisis—And What To Do About It
Why We Still Need Nuclear Power
Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable
Tough Love for Renewable Energy
Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable
Cleaning Up Coal
From Climate Culprit to Solution
Don't Just Drill, Baby -- Drill Carefully
How to Make Fracking Safer for the Environment
How Chinese Innovation is Changing Green Technology
Beijing's Big Gamble on Renewables
The First Cold War
The Environmental Lessons of the Little Ice Age
The Geoengineering Option
A Last Resort Against Global Warming?
The Truth About Geoengineering
Science Fiction and Science Fact
The Climate Threat We Can Beat
What It Is and How to Deal With It
How Big Business Can Save the Climate
Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed
On the eve of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, I argued that wild nature was in deep distress and that the international institutions charged with the planet's care were managing it poorly ("The Future of Conservation," September/October 2002). Seven years on, the situation is even worse. Humans control the Earth's biosphere and directly manage perhaps half of global plant matter. Their collective ecological impact, however, has taken on a pernicious life of its own, seemingly beyond the will, and perhaps even the capacity. of sovereign political actors to affect.
The Rio de Janeiro summit in 1992 yielded the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which was designed to promote the "conservation of biological diversity [and] the sustainable use of its components." As the International Year of Biodiversity approaches in 2010, a charitable appraisal might argue that the CBD has held its own. Ten percent of the world's terrestrial surface is now at least nominally under some kind of protection. National biodiversity assessments and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment have provided useful information on the "state of nature" in various places. The world knows more and is doing more about conservation than in the past.
Nevertheless, the loss of biodiversity -- wildlife, genetic material, ecosystems, and evolutionary processes -- has not abated. The United States has still not ratified the CBD, and the UN system for conservation is still weak, lacking sanctions for states that fail to live up to their commitments. Trade in protected wildlife continues and poaching runs rampant. Funding for conservation remains vanishingly small, and important animal populations and entire species are in grave danger.
Climate change, meanwhile, has begun to rival habitat loss as the greatest threat to the biosphere. After somehow maintaining most of its animal species throughout human history, for example, Africa now faces unprecedented losses of wildlife and wild places thanks to global warming. Savannah elephants have no exit corridors from East African drought; changes in water availability threaten natural areas and force the rural poor to
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