Sorry Nerds, But Colonizing Other Planets Is Not A Good Plan

by Adam Ozimek, Contributor

In November, Stephen Hawking warned that humans needed to colonize another planet within 1,000 years. Now, six months later, he’s saying we have to do it within 100 years in order to avoid extinction. There’s a problem with this plan: under almost no circumstances does is colonizing another planet the best way to adapt to a problem on earth.


Let’s start with Mars, which is a favorite planet for colonization scenarios, including for Elon Musk who thinks we should colonize Mars because earth will eventually face a “doomsday scenario”. The problem with this is that there is almost nothing that could happen to earth that would make it less hospitable than Mars. Whether it’s nuclear war or massive global warming, post disaster earth would be way more habitable than Mars.

For example, we worry that the oceans on earth will get too polluted, or too acidified, or rise up too high. It’s true that could make life on earth very hard. But on Mars the only surface water is frozen in the polar ice caps. We would be hard pressed to ruin the water on earth so badly that it’s worse than what’s available on Mars.

We also worry about the level of carbon dioxide we humans are creating. But there’s nothing we could do to earth’s atmosphere to make it as bad as Mars, which is both extremely thin and also 96% carbon dioxide. Not to mention a significantly lower level of gravity. Whatever we’d have to do on Mars to make the atmosphere habitable would be more easily done on a very very ruined earth.

Even if an asteroid were to strike earth it would remain more habitable than mars. For example, consider the asteroid that struck the earth 66 million years ago creating the Chicxulub crater and wiping out 75% of plant and animal species on earth, including the dinosaurs. Well that disaster still left 25% of species that survived, all of whom would die instantly on the surface of Mars.

If an asteroid like this was heading for the earth here’s what we would do instead of abandoning the planet. First, we’d try to deflect it. If we didn’t know how to do that, everyone who lived on the part of the planet where it was going to land would move to safer parts of the planet. If need be we’d create biodomes and move into them, maybe even at the bottom of the ocean. “Impossible!” you say? “Technology and human behavior would never allow this!” you insist? It’s true it would be extremely hard and today’s technology wouldn’t allow it. And yet it would still be way, way easier than colonizing another planet. If you think getting humans to abandon a continent peacefully is hard, try getting them to abandon the planet.

Perhaps we could focus on colonizing another planet then. One with an atmosphere closer to ours than Mars. This may be possible, but the technology required to do this is a far smaller life than the technology required to build habitable ecosystems on the bottom of the ocean, deflect asteroids, reverse global warming, or cure pandemics. The closest star system to us is Alpha Centauri, which is 4.3 light years away. At a max speed of around 17,000 mph would take existing space shuttles 165,000 years to reach this. Even the faster New Horizon probe, the first to visit Pluto, would take 78,000 years.

The technology required to travel fast enough to get to other planets makes geoengineering to reverse climate change seem quaint.

It is hard to come up with a scenario where evacuating the earth makes the most sense. So why do so many smart people obsess about it? I think the issue is that nerds find space travel and colonizing other planets extremely appealing because they love science fiction and space exploration exciting. That’s fine, and if some billionaires want to colonize Mars for fun I say go for it. But unfortunately, their nerd desires are biasing their assessment of how humanity should prepare for doomsday threats. Sorry nerds, we won’t be evacuating earth. If we are underestimating the risks of doomsday threats, lets instead invest in the technologies that will help protect earth from them. Even though I am not an expert on space, physical sciences, or basically any relevant field, I can tell that this is obviously true. Maybe just it takes an economist to see through the nerd fantasies.

ADDENDUM: The goal of colonizing to preserve the species rather than evacuate doesn’t make sense either. If there are habitable planets within reach, then there must be many, many habitable planets that aren’t within reach. In this case the Drake Equation implies humans are not alone in the universe, and therefore our existence is far less special, lowering the benefit of preserving humanity. In a world of other habitable planets, saving the actual life on earth grows in importance compared to preserving the species somewhere in the universe.

23 Environmental Rules Rolled Back in Trump’s First 100 Days

President Trump, with help from his administration and Republicans in Congress, has reversed course on nearly two dozen environmental rules, regulations and other Obama-era policies during his first 100 days in office.

Citing federal overreach and burdensome regulations, Mr. Trump has prioritized domestic fossil fuel interests and undone measures aimed at protecting the environment and limiting global warming.


1. Approved the Dakota Access pipeline. Feb. 7

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republicans in Congress criticized President Barack Obama for delaying construction of the pipeline — which they argued would create jobs and stimulate the economy — after protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Mr. Trump ordered an expedited review of the pipeline, and the Army approved it.

2. Revoked a rule that prevented coal mining companies from dumping debris into local streams. Feb. 16

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? The coal industry said the rule was overly burdensome, calling it part of the war on coal. Congress passed a bill revoking the rule, which Mr. Trump signed into law.

3. Canceled a requirement for reporting methane emissions. March 2

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republican officials from 11 states wrote a letter to Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the rule added costs and paperwork for oil and gas companies. The next day, Mr. Pruitt revoked the rule.

4. Approved the Keystone XL pipeline. March 24

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republicans, along with oil, gas and steel industry groups, opposed Mr. Obama’s decision to block the pipeline, arguing that the project would create jobs and support North American energy independence. After the pipeline company reapplied for a permit, the Trump administration approved it.

5. Revoked an update to public land use planningprocess. March 27

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republicans and fossil fuel industry groups opposed the updated planning rule for public lands, arguing that it gave the federal government too much power at the expense of local and business interests. Congress passed a bill revoking the rule, which Mr. Trump signed into law.

6. Lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands.March 29

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Coal companies weren’t thrilled about the Obama administration’s three-year freeze on new leases on public lands pending an environmental review. Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, revoked the freeze and review, though he promised to set up a new advisory committee to review coal royalties.

7. Rejected a ban on a potentially harmful insecticide.March 29

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? The company that sells the insecticide, Dow Agrosciences, strongly opposed a risk analysis by the Obama-era E.P.A., which found that the insecticide Chlorpyrifos poses a risk to fetal brain and nervous system development. Mr. Pruitt rejected the E.P.A.’s previous analysis and denied the ban, saying that the chemical needed further study.

8. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges. April 3

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Alaskan politicians opposed the law, which prevented hunters from shooting wolves and grizzly bears on wildlife refuges, arguing that the state, not the federal government, has authority over those lands. Congress passed a bill revoking the rule, which Mr. Trump signed into law.

9. Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews. April 5

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republicans in Congress opposed the guidelines, which advised federal agencies to account for greenhouse gas emissions and potential climate effects in environmental impact reviews. They argued that the government lacked the authority to make such recommendations, and that it would be impossible to plan for the uncertain effects of climate change.


10. Ordered review and “elimination” of rule that protected tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Feb. 28

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Farmers, real estate developers, golf course owners and many Republicans opposed this clarification of the Clean Water Act, arguing that it created regulatory burdens. Mr. Trump called it a “massive power grab” by the federal government and instructed the E.P.A. and the Army to conduct a review.

11. Reopened a review of fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. March 15

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Automakers said it would be difficult and costly to meet fuel economy goals they had agreed upon with the Obama administration and noted rising consumer demand for sport utility vehicles and trucks. A standards review had been completed by the Obama administration before Mr. Trump took office, but the auto industry argued that it was rushed. The E.P.A. and Department of Transportation have reopened the review.

12. Ordered “immediate re-evaluation” of the Clean Power Plan. March 28

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Coal companies and Republican officials in many states strongly opposed the plan, which set strict limits for carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants. Republicans argued the plan — Mr. Obama’s signature climate change policy — posed a threat to the coal industry, and had mounted a legal challenge. Mr. Trump signed an executive order instructing the E.P.A. to review and re-evaluate the rule. An appeals court recently approved the Trump administration’s request to put the lawsuit on hold during the review process.

13. Rolled back limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways. April 12

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Utility and fossil fuel industry groups opposed the rule, which limited the amount of toxic metals — arsenic, lead, and mercury, among others — power plants could release into public waterways. Industry representatives said complying with the guidelines would be extremely expensive. The E.P.A. has delayed compliance deadlines while it reconsiders the rule, which had been challenged in court.

14. Ordered review of rule limiting methane emissions at new oil and gas drilling sites. April 18

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Lobbyists for the oil and gas industries petitioned Mr. Pruitt to reconsider the rule, which went into effect last August, limiting emissions of methane, smog-forming compounds and other toxic pollutants from new and modified oil and gas wells. They argued the rule was technologically infeasible.

15. Ordered review of national monuments created since 1996. April 26

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Congressional Republicans said the Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to designate national monuments on federal land, had been abused by previous administrations. Mr. Obama used the law to set aside more than 4 million acres of land and several million square miles of ocean for protection.

16. Ordered review of offshore drilling policies and regulations. April 28

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Lobbyists for the oil industry were opposed to Mr. Obama’s use of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to permanently ban offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast and much of the ocean around Alaska, as well as regulations around oil rig safety.


17. Withdrew a rule that would help consumers buy more fuel-efficient tires. Jan. 26

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? The rule required tire manufacturers and retailers to provide consumers with information about replacement car tires. The tire industry opposed several aspects of the rule, but had been working with the government to refine it. The Trump administration withdrew the proposed rule from consideration, but has not confirmed whether it may be reinstated.

18. Voted to revoke limits on methane emissions on public lands. Feb. 3

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? The oil and gas industry said that the rule, which required companies to control methane emissions on federal or tribal land by capturing rather than burning or venting excess gas, would have curbed energy development. The House voted to revoke the rule under the Congressional Review Act, and Senate Republicans have until May 8 to take action.

19. Postponed changes to how oil, gas and coal from federal lands are priced. Feb. 22

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry said the changes, meant to ensure fair pricing on oil, gas and coal on federal or tribal land and to reduce costs, were redundant since the government already has the power to impose penalties. They also argued that it created a lot of uncertainty in the market.

20. Delayed a rule aiming to increase safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals. March 13

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Chemical, agricultural and power industry groups said that the new rule, a response to a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, did not increase safety and would have undermined oversight. The rule is delayed until June 19, and industry groups have said that they may sue.

21. Delayed rules increasing energy efficiency standardsfor some appliances and some federal buildings. March 15

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Republicans in Congress opposed the rules, which applied to ceiling fans, heating and cooling appliances and other devices, as well as residential buildings owned by the federal government, saying that they would place an unfair cost on consumers.

22. Delayed rules modernizing the federal highway system, including environmental standards. March 15

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? The trucking industry supported the changes for bridge and pavement condition guidelines, but strongly opposed measures aimed at environmental sustainability and mitigating climate change.

23. Delayed a lawsuit over a rule regulating airborne mercury emissions from power plants. April 27

WHO WANTED IT CHANGED? Coal companies, along with Republican officials in several states, sued the government over this rule, which regulated the amount of mercury and other toxic pollutants that fossil fuel-fired power plants can emit into the air. They argued that the rule helped shutter coal plants, many of which are already compliant. Oral arguments in the case have been delayed while the E.P.A. reviews the rule.

Any regulations we missed? Tweet @nytclimate.

Stephen Hawking says we have 100 years to colonize a new planet—or die. Could we do it?

Here’s what it would take to survive this particular doomsday prophecy

human on Mars

Living on Mars would arguably be harder than fixing up our own planet.


Stephen Hawking is making apocalyptic predictions again. The respected theoretical physicist warns that humanity needs to become a multi-planetary species within the next century if we don’t want to go extinct. Last year, he prophesied that we had maybe 1,000 years left on Earth, and the inspiration for this newly-urgent timeline is unclear—except for the fact that Hawking’s new documentary about colonizing Mars is coming out soon.

To be sure, Earth is facing some big problems, including climate change, overpopulation, epidemics, and asteroid strikes. But before we flee this planet like an action hero jumping out of an explosion, let’s think about this for a second. Sure, it’d be great to have a backup civilization somewhere in case asteroids wipe out all life on Earth. And it would be one of the most exciting things humankind has ever done. But what would it actually require.

Finding a second home for humanity

Mars is a somewhat obvious choice because it’s nearby, but it’s not exactly Earth 2.0. In fact, it’s arguably a lot worse off than Earth. It has toxic soil, it’s freezing cold, and the air is unbreathable. Any Martian colony would likely rely on regular care packages from home, which would not work well if Earth was done-zo.

If we really want to find the perfect home away from home, we could look to other star systems: with billions of planets in the Milky Way, there’s a good chance some will have water, land, and breathable air. But so far we haven’t found Earth’s twin, and our telescopes don’t have the kind of resolution that could tell us in detail what an exoplanet is like. Also, it would take hundreds of years to get there, and if those passengers don’t die along the way, they’d likely evolve into a new species before they even got to their new planet.

Bringing enough people

We would need to send significant numbers of people to other worlds in order to ensure the survival of the human species. Small colonies are subject to genetic anomalies from inbreeding, and vulnerable to getting wiped out in accidents.

NASA’s missions to Mars will likely only carry as many as six people at a time to the red planet. SpaceX wants to develop an Interplanetary Transport System to deliver 100 Martian settlers at a time, but at the moment it is nothing more than an imaginary behemoth.

The interstellar route is even more challenging, because we don’t even have an imaginary spacecraft capable of supporting thousands of people for hundreds of years on an interstellar journey.

And in either case, there’s always the politically charged question of: who goes and who stays? Do poor and disadvantaged people get left behind on a hellish world?


Could we make Mars look like Earth?

Making ourselves at home

If we really want to thrive on another planet, we’ll probably have to adapt the environment to suit our needs. Sure, we might be able to terraform Mars, but it would take about 100,000 years for its atmosphere to become breathable. Hope you’re not in a rush to go outdoors without a gas mask anytime soon.

Paying for it

NASA’s Journey to Mars is expected to cost up to $1.5 trillion. And that’s just for the first crews. Later on, launches bringing settlers and supplies to the colony would probably still cost hundreds of millions of dollars each.

And SpaceX’s plan to build the Interplanetary Transport System sounds great, but CEO Elon Musk has been very open about saying the company has no idea how it would pay for such a vessel.

And exactly who would pay to colonize Mars? Why would the U.S. government spend all that money to sustain a colony? What would we get out of it, besides better chances for the survival of our species? Will the Martian colony produce valuable exports, besides the (obviously awesome) scientific discoveries that would come out of it?

Surely there are a few wealthy Earthlings willing to pay millions of dollars each for a ride to and a habitat on an alien world, but the majority of folks who want to go to the red planet hope to come home afterwards.

Solving the problems that are killing Earth

History has a tendency to repeat itself. Even if we do successfully colonize another planet, we’ll still have to solve all the problems that Earth currently faces. Our technologies are just as likely to destroy the environment on other planets, and epidemics and asteroids could wipe out a Martian settlement much easier than they could obliterate the entire population of Earth.

The television show that Stephen Hawking is promoting is all about how human ingenuity is solving the challenges of colonizing Mars. Well, surely if we can figure out how to survive on a completely alien world, then we can figure out how to survive in our own home—possibly a lot more easily and cheaply than the alternative.

You Can’t Catch, Sell, or EAt an Extinct Bluefin Tuna


Born Free USA Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay

28 Apr 2017

How bad does it have to get before sanity dictates action? For every 100 Pacific Bluefin tuna who were in the ocean at one time, there are only about two-and-a-half left! Certain ideologues continue to claim that the value of living resources, such as ivory, big game species, timber, or Bluefin tuna, guarantee their protection. But, the situation with species of wild fauna and flora with high commercial value too often illustrates the reverse… and none more so than the Pacific Bluefin tuna.

Members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, including Japan, agreed to significantly reduce their catch of young Bluefins weighing under 30 kg (66 pounds), giving them a chance to breed and to thus contribute to restoration of the severely depleted population. However, The Guardian reported that Japan will reach its quota two months early, but with no sign that the fishing for Pacific Bluefins will end for the year.

In theory, if every fishing nation were to stick to the quotas assigned, the numbers of Pacific Bluefin tuna could build up to 20% of their historically high levels by about 2034. But, key to it all is Japan, which consumes about 80% of all Pacific Bluefin tuna captured by commercial fishers.

The problem is greed. Even a tiny piece of prime tuna flesh, called otoro, when consumed as sushi in a high-end Tokyo eatery, can cost more than I’d pay for a week of restaurant meals in Canada. A few years ago, a single 489-pound fish sold for $1.76 million. While that had more to do with generating interest in sushi than real value, in fact, even at modest prices, one fish can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Ironically, the most prized of the three species of Bluefin tuna could soon reach “commercial extinction,” whereby no matter how high the price, not enough can be caught to cover fishing costs. Actual extinction could soon follow. Forever after, the nation with the biggest craving for Pacific Bluefin tuna would have none—nor would the oceans hold one of the most magnificent and beautiful of our world’s rapidly diminishing list of species.

Seals and Their Race against Climate Change

With the rapid ice loss in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, many subspecies of seals are currently racing against the ticking clock of climate change. The worldwide status of seal population is alarming. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “almost no seal pups, dependent on sea ice, survived in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence during the ice-free years of 1967, 1981, 2000, 2001, and 2002.” The southern hemisphere seal population has been likewise affected by ice loss. Environmental scientists, Dr. Clive McMahon and Dr. Harry Burton of the Australian Antarctic Division, have concluded that warming climate is changing the ocean’s ecology to such a degree that the survival of seals and their young has increasingly become a concern for marine biologists.

Scientists have continued to monitor the decline in seal numbers considering also what is known about climate in the Southern Ocean and conclude that the decline is due to a drop in the amount of squid and fish available for the seals to eat . Dr. Burton also explained that ice loss around Antarctica has affected the area’s ocean ecology by causing a decrease in the amount of algae, plankton and krill. All of these organisms constitute the very foundation of the ocean’s food chain. Marine biologists continue to express their concern over the reduction of nutrients essential to seals’ diets in the Southern Ocean, because mothers are then unable to nurse their young pups properly.

It is, however, in the Arctic region where the seals’ predicament is most pressing. In Canada, 2007 had one of the worst ice conditions on record, causing serious problems for harp seals. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) monitored the gulf of Saint Lawrence last year, and reported that it was practically devoid of ice, and, naturally, devoid of harp seals. Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW stated: “the conditions this year are disastrous. I’ve surveyed this region for six years and I haven’t seen anything like this. [. . .] There is wide open water and almost no seals.”

The Gulf of Saint Lawrence sustained below average ice conditions in 9 out of the past 11 years. In 2002, 75 percent of harp seal pups died due to a lack of ice. Dr. David Lavigne, Science Advisor for IFAW, concluded during the 2007 survey that “it’s likely that this year we could have, due to the poor ice conditions caused by rising temperatures,” close to 100 percent pup mortality in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Another serious consequence of climate fluctuations is the reduction of food for bottom dwelling creatures in the oceans. In recent years, scientists have directed their attention to the impacts of climate change in the Bering Sea’s ecosystem, which is considered by scientists “a canary in a coal mine because it appears to be showing climate change effects before the rest of the ocean” ). Although it is “a good start” that people begin to realize the gravity of melting ice and rising sea level, we must be aware that humans are now responsible for comprehensive changes in the way Earth’s ecosystem works” said marine ecologist Dave Hutchins.


Figure 2: Seals (

A recent study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series shows that global warming will greatly affect the Bering Sea’s phytoplankton, the cornerstone of the ocean’s ecosystem and food-chain. Any changes affecting this ecosystem are of crucial importance, as the Bering Sea produces one half of the fish caught in the United States (and almost a third worldwide) every year. It is precisely because of a large presence of phytoplankton that the Bering Sea is so productive. Phytoplankton organisms are eaten by larger organisms, known as zooplankton, which are in turn eaten by large fishes. Recent studies show that as the Bering Sea increases in temperature, the presence of zooplankton or phytoplankton tends to decrease. Because of climate change, “the food chain seems to be changing in a way that is not supporting […] top predators, of which, of course, we [human beings] are the biggest,” and this phenomenon is occurring at an unprecedented rate.

The changes observed in the Bering Sea’s ecosystem will inevitably affect all marine mammals which are part of its food-chain. The number of seals is already dwindling. The IPCC concluded that without serious curbing of greenhouse gas emissions, the Arctic ice will “almost entirely disappear by the end of this century. Whether we are talking about the Peary caribou in the Canadian Arctic islands—with a population drop from 26,000 in 1961 down to 1,000 in 1997—or the near absence of ringed seal pups in the Bering Sea area in 2007, it is certain that if the current trend of emissions continues, all ice-dependant animals will continue to face a grim future.

Additional sources:

National Wildlife Federation Bering Sea Blues (Lisa W. Drew)

The Seattle Times- Videos, pictures

Climate Change Impacts on the United States The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change by the National Assessment Synthesis Team, US Global Change Research Program. Published in 2000

Alaska Overview

Thruthout Environment Page

ABS Science online article

How does ice cover vary in the Bering Sea from year to year? (Dr. Lyn McNutt)

Global warming will diminish fish catch in the Bering sea (Jeremy Hance) January 16, 2008 (

Union of Concerned Scientists- Arctic Climate Impact Assessment 2004

No Apologies. Not Now. Not Ever

.From Captain Paul Watson’s FB Page:

My post from a couple of days ago on this page deploring the killing of a 200 year old Bowhead whale by some 16 year old who was joyfully boasting of his snuffing the life from such a majestic creature seems to have ruffled some feathers.

Some are calling me racist. Others are demanding an apology.

There will be no apology. Not now, not ever.

And there is nothing racist about it. I condemn all whaling by anyone, anywhere for any reason. I don’t care for nor accept any justifications of any kind.

It’s our culture! It’s a tradition! Bullshit. In my eyes it is murder and I make no exceptions.

Whales are self aware, socially complex, highly intelligent, sentient beings and they are my clients. They come first in my eyes. I have no sympathy for their killers nor would I ever apologize to a whaler no matter what their race, culture or traditions might be.

Racism implies discrimination. I do not discriminate. I abhor and despise all whalers and in my eyes they are all equally deplorable.

Bottom line – no apology, not now, not ever.

Image may contain: ocean, water, nature and text

Six women who work to save the world’s most endangered wildlife


These women are determined to protect the planet and its most vulnerable species

A loggerhead turtle hatchling makes its way to the sea.
A loggerhead turtle hatchling makes its way to the sea. Photograph: Randall Hill/Reuters

1 ‘My experiences inspired me to pursue this career’

Elizabeth Whitman.
Elizabeth Whitman. Photograph: Global FinPrint

Elizabeth Whitman is a doctoral candidate in the department of biological science at Florida International University. She has developed a research programme focusing on the factors influencing habitat use of green turtles and the role of this endangered species in marine ecosystems.

Whitman says that her upbringing played a significant part in her decision to pursue a career in conservation. “My mother always encouraged me to explore my surroundings and I was fortunate enough to be able to travel and experience a variety of environments at a young age. These experiences inspired me to pursue a career in science, to assist conservation and management of marine species and their ecosystems.”

Whitman is also part of the Global FinPrint team, a Paul G Allen initiative that brings together an international research team and collaborators to fill a critical information gap about the diminishing number of sharks and rays.

Click here to learn more about Global FinPrint.

2 ‘I can’t afford to see elephants die like this’

Georgina Kamanga
Georgina Kamanga is the first woman to head the intelligence and investigations unit of National Parks and Wildlife Zambia. Photograph: Anne Ackermann

Georgina Kamanga is the first woman to head the intelligence and investigations unit of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Zambia. Kamanga works to show that African governments and individuals are passionate about protecting wildlife, often risking both economic and personal safety. “I’m now taking the whole thing very personal. I can’t afford to see elephants die like this. I can’t.”

She also features in Vulcan Productions’ award-winning documentary The Ivory Game, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Click here to learn more about Kamanga and her work.

3 ‘Discover your niche and persist’

Kathleen Gobush stands in an open space. An elephant can be seen in the background.
Dr Kathleen S Gobush has worked toward the protection and recovery of numerous endangered species across the globe for the last 19 years. Photograph: Vulcan Inc

Dr Kathleen S Gobush has worked toward the protection and recovery of numerous endangered species across the globe for 19 years. She joined Vulcan in 2014 as a senior project developer and wildlife expert. She has developed landscape analyses and impact strategies for Vulcan’s African elephant and rhino conservation programme and manages a multi-million-dollar portfolio of projects.

Gobush also co-leads the Domain Awareness System, a Vulcan Tech anti-poaching technology project that unites three premiere conservation organisations in Africa, as well as the great elephant census-forest initiative with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN) of Gabon and other partners.

She encourages women considering careers in wildlife protection to persevere. “Wildlife conservation has many facets – science, policy, law, advocacy etc. Discover your niche, find the setting where you can best exercise your voice and unique perspective and then persist.”

Click here to learn more about Vulcan and their conservation work.

4 ‘We have to build public support to push politicians’

Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.
Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson’s mission is to build bridges between science, policy, and people. Photograph: Will McClintock

Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a PhD marine biologist, policy expert and conservation strategist. Her mission is to build bridges between science, policy and people, so we can use the ocean without using it up.

Her consulting practice provides integrated ocean conservation strategy and communications support for everyone from Greenpeace to the NY Aquarium. She co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning project, resulting in one third of Barbuda’s coastal waters being protected.

She says her biggest challenge is getting government representatives to act. “Lack of political will is the biggest challenge I see right now in ocean conservation. Politicians seem afraid to lead on conservation and sustainability, even though it makes economic sense, so we have to build public support to push them.”

Click here to watch Johnson’s TED talk and learn more about her work.

5 ‘I do this because I want to save what I love’

Captain Oona Layolle.
Captain Oona Layolle is the Sea Shepherd captain. Photograph: Simon Ager

Captain Oona Layolle is the Sea Shepherd captain of the M/V Farley Mowat in Mexico’s Gulf of California. The Sea Shepherd conservation campaign aims to save the vaquita, an almost extinct porpoise. Criminals illegally target a protected fish called the totoaba and the vaquita is snagged as by-catch.

Despite her work putting her at risk from retribution from Mexican cartels involved in the totoaba trade, Layolle is determined to make a difference. “I want the oceans to be as beautiful as when I was a kid. I do this because I want to save what I love. I want to fight for the ocean.”

You can watch Layolle at work in the Animal Planet and Vulcan Productions series Ocean Warriors.

Click here to learn more about Sea Shepherd.

6 ‘It is tremendously rewarding to know I have made a difference’

Dr Susan Lieberman (right).
Dr Susan Lieberman (right) is vice president of international policy with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Photograph: WCS

Dr Susan Lieberman, vice president of international policy with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), has worked in international biodiversity conservation at the intersection of science and policy for 30 years.

Lieberman is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s tortoise and freshwater turtle specialist group, and the United for Wildlife/Royal Foundation Transport Taskforce, and was on Barack Obama’s wildlife trafficking advisory council.

She says a career in wildlife protection is full of rewards. “It is tremendously rewarding when I know I have helped make a difference for the conservation of wildlife species on the ground and in the water.

“I have also found it incredibly rewarding to meet so many dedicated conservationists around the world, often fighting against overwhelming odds.”

Click here to learn more about WCS.

Content on this page is paid for and provided by Vulcan, a sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network.

Hunter takes down massive elk in Idaho desert

Boise hunter Gavin Moody of Boise took down this elk in the Owyhee Desert. (Photo courtesy Gavin Moody via Idaho Fish and Game).

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) — Gavin Moody still can’t believe his eyes.

The Boise hunter was on a scouting trip in the Owyhee Desert when he noticed a juniper tree had been stripped of bark 10 feet up (with two branches broken off).

He quickly realized it was an elk rub, and he later spotted a bull elk that may have been responsible for abusing the tree.

“Oh my God, the biggest bull I’ve ever seen in Idaho steps out,” Moody told the Idaho Fish and Game. “He’s got tips on the tail, and I was speechless. He was just incredible, something you dream about.”

Moody scored a Super Hunt Tag from the state (only 34 hunters score one of the prized tags a year).

He waited three weeks to to see if the elk would stay in the same area, and, as it just so happened, the massive elk showed up to the tree on the first day of the hunt. But the elk went into timber and disappeared.

But his disappointment didn’t last long though. Moody and his wife were in a perfect spot to scout elk on a daily basis, and let him be more selective.

“In general hunts, you see a bull, you put him on the ground,” Moody said. “This hunt gave me the opportunity to look at elk and judge them.”

Soon, a bull that Moody wanted was within sight. He didn’t count points, the hunter said. Just the pure size.

“It was just a fantastic hunt,” Moody said. “The number of big bulls was incredible.”

Moody told Fish and Game that he hasn’t scored his elk.

“To me, the points don’t matter, it was the experience,” he said.

The human factors contributing to extinction

Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:11AM

The world is getting warmer and climate change has already had a serious influence on habitat loss. Scientists believe that as many as one billion people could lose their homes by 2050 because of the devastating impact of global warming.

But it’s not just human beings who are affected by Climate Change. Plants and animals across the globe are already facing extinction.

In this Episode we will discuss how humans can contribute to this global epidemic.