Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

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Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones en formato virtual

El programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB ha reanudado sus sesiones formativas en formato virtual.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
News
Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

Date: 2020-04-14

 

  • A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.
     
  • Adopting limits to international trade in resources or reducing and sharing the work, are some of the seven alternative proposals that the article notes to stop biodiversity loss.
     
  • It is proposed that IPBES considers a trajectory beyond growth by proposing biodiversity scenarios in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 

Barcelona, 14 April 2020. The increase in resource consumption and polluting emissions as a result of economic growth is not compatible with biodiversity conservation. However, most international policies on biodiversity and sustainability advocate economic growth. These are the main conclusions of the study ‘Biodiversity policy beyond economic growth’, published this week in the scientific journal Conservation Letters. This contradiction became clear after a review of international scientific and policy work on the subject. The scientific article is overseen by Iago Otero - a researcher at the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur la montagne, of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland - and has involved 22 professionals from some 30 research centres in 12 countries, specialised in conservation ecology and the ecological economics. Participants in the project include, among others, Katharine N. Farrell, from the University of Rosario (Colombia), Lluís Brotons, researcher from CSIC at CREAF, Giorgos Kallis from ICTA-UAB and Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos, researcher from ICTA-UAB and the University of California Berkeley.

The document recommends that the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) - the IPCC of biodiversity - incorporate in its reports a scenario that goes beyond economic growth, as part of its current work to envision the future of biodiversity. So far, the projections of change in biodiversity assume that the economy has to grow and seek policy options that minimize biodiversity loss without compromising economic growth. Instead, the article recommends beginning with conservation and social welfare objectives and then looking at what economic trajectories might meet them. "This can mean positive or negative rates of Gross Domestic Product growth," says Iago Otero, leader of the study, adding that more and more voices in IPBES are calling for "replacement of this economic indicator with new welfare paradigms.”

Taking the last 170 years in the United States as an example, the research team speculates about the meaning of continued economic growth that is clearly associated with biodiversity loss but whose contribution to social progress has become stagnant since the late 1970s.
 

Alternatives for conserving biodiversity

The article outlines 7 alternative proposals to ensure prosperity beyond growth and halt the loss of biodiversity. They are realised in the following national and international actions by diverse communities, NGOs, researchers and companies:

1. Limit the commercialization of resources at an international level.

All products contain a certain amount of resources and land use necessary for their production. The paper proposes establishing absolute caps on these amounts in the products marketed and to allocate them by country. It is argued that less international trade reduces resource extraction and the spread of invasive species.

2. Restrict the activity of extractive industries in areas of high biodiversity.

Putting in place clear limitations and removing subsidies to unsustainable extractive industries helps to curb habitat loss and fragmentation. Moratoriums on extraction could also be introduced in highly sensitive regions.

3. Slow down the expansion of major infrastructure.

Re-examine in detail the need for new major infrastructure (airports, dams, motorways) and its impact on sensitive ecosystems and human communities. In addition, protect areas that are still free of roads, to prevent the rapid loss of their biodiversity and endangered cultures.

4. Reduce and share the work.

Promoting legislation that reduces the working week and supporting companies that implement work sharing schemes can reduce environmental pressure and impacts on biodiversity.

5. Promote agro-ecological development and food sovereignty.

Encourage government support for sustainable agricultural systems and local and organic food, through regulations and subsidies and by adjusting tax systems accordingly. This seeks to shorten production chains, using criteria of biodiversity and sustainability, reduce pressure from agricultural and livestock production and promote diversity within species, between species and of landscapes.

6. Prioritize compact urban planning and shared use of housing.

Promote efficient land use through integrated collective housing solutions, rent control and limits on the land available for urbanization and peri-urban expansion. Reduce the pressure of urbanization on peri-urban agricultural land.

7. Report on the impact of production on biodiversity.

Tax product advertisements that lead to overexploitation of species and lands. Increase awareness of the effects of products on biodiversity through better labelling and information campaigns. Promote education programmes on responsible consumption.

 

Beyond the GDP, the wellfare

The authors of the research advocate the use of economic, social, biophysical and welfare indicators to evaluate the results of the proposed measures. They argue that, given the fear that ambitious biodiversity conservation targets will have a negative impact on GDP, it should be remembered that this is not an indicator of social welfare. As an alternative, they propose a series of indicators such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, whose trends better reflect the evolution of social welfare. In short, the study aims to contribute to overcoming countries’ dependence on economic growth and to propose changes in national and international political priorities towards greater efforts for the conservation of biodiversity and human well-being.

 

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