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Welcome to 2011: International Year of Forests and Chemistry!

Happy New Year Scientists!

With the close of 2010, the UN’s International Year for Biodiversity and Rapprochement of Cultures, we welcome in 2011, International Year of Forests (UN) and Chemistry (UNESCO).

So was the International Year of Biodiversity a success?

Shark finning - still a problem in Indonesia. Click for a gallery of biodiversity wins and fails in 2010.

The official UN page still has lots of resources for biodiversity, including videos and reports. There is a also a good resource of articles and information from the International Institute for Environment and Development. One of the key conservation events last year was COP-10 in Nagoya – the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. There are some good articles on the build-up and outcomes of COP-10 available at Current.com, as well as a summary at Wikipedia. The Guardian’s George Monbiot reviews the conference here, and they also have their own environmental review of 2010.

Eco-wins: new marine parks, recovering waterways, ecosystem pledges in Nagoya, and the hundreds of ground-level conservation and environmental efforts taking place across the globe. Also, 2010-2020 has been declared the decade for biodiversity!

Eco-fails: Deepwater Horizon, we’re still overfishing, forest clearance rampages on and what are we really doing about plastic pollution, water pollution, air pollution, factory farming, habitat destruction and uncontrolled urbanisation?

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Celebrate the forests!

UN International Year of Forests

Celebrate the forests!

Although global deforestation appears to be slowing down, it is still continuing at an alarming rate, according to the UN’s 2010 report on global forest resources. So what can we do about it in the International Year of Forests?

Check out some of these educational resources:

Here is CIFOR‘s (Centre for International Forestry Research) video for 2011:

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Clicky-clicky!

UNESCO International Year of Chemistry

The International Year of Chemistry 2011 aims to celebrate the achievements of Chemistry and its contrbutions to the well-being of mankind. Head on over to chemistry2011.org, the official page, for a growing wealth of resources and ideas.

Choice Chemistry resources:

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And finally…

Don’t forget that from August 2010 to August 2011 is also the International Year for Youth. Phew – so much to think about and take action on in 2011!

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Have a great and productive 2011, and remember that everything we do in class can be applied to life beyond school and to the global issues we face – and you will have to deal with.

I’ll be trying to postaweek2011 through the year. Why don’t you have a go too?

 

Ctrl-A Del: Sorting out the flowers

Interesting news today from the Guardian: “Scientists prune list of world’s plants“.  600,000 species of flowering plants have been deleted from the records in an impressive piece of international cooperation.

And no, that’s not because 600,000 have gone extinct (although so many are rapidly disappearing)- it’s because so many were duplicates with different names. By sorting out the list, botanists hope to make it easier for ecologists to keep track of genuinely newly discovered species, as well as more effectively monitor species over time.

This is a nice link to the Classification unit, and highlights the importance of international cooperation in the sciences. It was part of an effort for the Convention of Biological Diversity, which meet this October in Japan. It also links to the Ecology and Conservation option.

Here is a short interview with Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, discussing why all of the member countries have failed to reach their targets, and why it is important to engage all stakeholders in the process of conservation:

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