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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Good New for Women and Habitat Recovery
I spotted these two good news items today:

Yale Study: Damaged Ecosystems Can Recover Rapidly
Environmental News Network: "A recent study by Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies reports that if humans commit to the restoration effort, most ecosystems can recover from very major disruption within decades to half-centuries. The study was written by Holly P. Jones and Oswald J. Schmitz and will appear in the June edition of the journal PLoS ONE. According to the study, researchers compiled information from 240 independent studies conducted since 1910 that examined large, human-scale ecosystems recovery following the termination of both human and naturally imposed disruption."

This does not mean it's okay to leave our messes untended or make new ones ... but it means that nature is good at repairing itself after widescale disasters such as tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and humanity. So for example, if we stop killing everything that swims in the oceans, we should be able to eat out of them again in 25-50 years. That is better than we had any right to expect.

Lesley Abdela | Finally, a UN Agency for Women
Lesley Abdela, The Guardian UK: "This autumn the UN General Assembly will vote yes or no to a new 'super-agency for women'; $1 billion is being discussed as the starter annual budget. Just like the House of Commons, the UN has finally been shamed into reforming itself. The UN sets global standards for human rights, but has no single agency with the resources and clout to work globally to improve the lives of women. As a result, the UN system has badly and unforgivably let down the world's 3 billion-plus women. In 2006 a UN high-level panel set up to recommend reforms in the wake of the 2005 world summit gave the UN null points for services to women. The panel found the way the UN system works for women 'incoherent, fragmented, and under-resourced'. Many of us have been saying for years the UN system is a son of the 1950s, patriarchal and hierarchical, so it is good to see it's official."

While far from perfect, the UN is as close as we've come to admitting we're all Terrans together. This would be a great step forward to protecting one of the most oppressed groups on the planet. Women are probably the biggest "underclass" after the poor.

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fayanora From: fayanora Date: May 30th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
It also means that we may not be able to adapt to the environment when it changes. I cover this in my Traipah novels: the planet Traipah was being badly mistreated, just as bad or worse than Earth now. Then one day there was a mass adaptation to all this. If not for some fast and potent action on the part of eco-friendly groups who knew how to use technology to work with the environment and were really good at genetic engineering, civilization would not have survived. As it was, one of the major races of the Ah'Koi Bahnis - the Ihg'Dahk (sort of like white people on Earth, but worse) - went exinct, and it took thousands of years to get adjusted enough to the environment before they started going back into space. But they didn't lose very much knowledge, thanks in part to those groups and also because the Ah'Koi Bahnis race has always had one thing in common: they all worship knowledge and ideas. Even if they don't agree with an idea, they don't burn books or kill/imprison intellectuals, like humans have been known to do.

As to how the planet adapted... well, the plants, animals, and the interesting planimals* already existed, but their breeding rates went up, some plants learned how to dissolve concrete and/or glass and were resistant to all herbicides (even using those herbicides against other plants), animals started breeding more and many developed poisons. Others, like the ny'ah'lah (which is akin to a crocodile but is a kind of flightless bird) just got bigger and nastier and harder to kill. Essentially, the planet declared war on civilization. Civilization just barely survived, and now there's a sort of stalemate.

* = planimals are creatures that create their own food via photosynthesis but eat animals for other nutrients. The most innocuous of these is the voong flower, which eat insects... but the wild variety will shoot poison darts at you if they feel threatened.
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