Peculiarity and Paradox – Counterpoint
Why was the Russian army so weak against Ukraine? Dr Tony Ward quotes The Economist; “the incurable inadequacy of despotic power” and “the cheating, bribery and embezzlement” which is “characteristic of all administration”. Peculation means embezzlement. It’s a word rarely used these days; these words were indeed published by The Economist in October 1854, when Russia was losing the Crimean War”. Today, he says, “rarely have the pernicious effects of authoritarianism and endemic corruption been so clearly demonstrated.” He explains how corrupt Russia is and why it has such a negative effect on its army and why this war is not over yet and argues that it is “possible that the Russian army can learn from its mistakes strategic and logistical, while winning the battle”. for the Donbass region. But, unlike many Russian officers, general corruption and distrust remain on the battlefield.”
Next, (at 13 minutes) How come Antarctica is the most protected places on the planet and yet at the same time the most threatened? What is this paradox? Professor Alejandra Mancilla and Associate Professor Peder Roberts explain the history of the region and what it has meant to the rest of the world and say that “Antarctica is protected by one of the the toughest in the world. And yet, no restrictions on actions in Antarctica – whether in terms of tourist numbers, the introduction of dogs and other animals, dumping of waste or mining – can prevent changes caused by anthropogenic climate change. This highlights a paradox of environmental governance that is gaining importance in our time: it is not enough to protect a place by protecting only that place. What we call the “protection paradox” occurs when the means of protection do not match the dynamics of the ecosystem. This is the case in Antarctica”. How did this happen and what if anything can be done because “in this vast laboratory, our default assumptions about what good environmental governance requires are tested – and fail”.
Then, (at 27 mins) Amanda climbs on top of her soapbox to rant about gratitude.
Also, (at 28 minutes) is salt today’s great chemical threat? Fred Pearce thinks so. He argues that “today there is an increase in salinity on all inhabited continents.” Climate change is far from the only cause. The deltas are wide open to seawater incursion by dams upstream, by pumps that extract fresh water from underground for taps and irrigation, and by sand mines that lower the beds of the rivers. And in dry regions, irrigation systems supplying water to crops bring salt to the fields, which stays in the soil when the crops take up water. Humans also add salt directly to landscapes, for example by pouring saline drainage water from mines into rivers and dosing roads with rock salt to prevent freezing in winter.” It describes the damage salt is causing around the world and what it will mean for our soil, our rivers and for ourselves and what people around the world are doing to adapt to this salinity “but adaptation cannot go only so far”. The salt must be restrained”.
Finally, (at 40 minutes) how fast do wild animals evolve? Dr. Timothée Bonnet participated in a study of 19 bird and mammal populations over several decades. They found that they were moving at two to four times the speed suggested by previous work. This shows that adaptive evolution can play an important role in how traits and populations of wild animals change over relatively short periods of time.” He explains what was involved in the study and says that “we found that on average, genetic change in response to selection was responsible for an 18.5% increase per generation in the ability of individuals to survive. and reproduce”. He says this “shows that evolution cannot be ignored if we are to accurately predict the near future of animal populations.” That “despite the practical challenges, we are thrilled to witness Darwinian evolution, a process once thought to be extremely slow, operating in observable ways over our lifetimes.”