Today is World Population Day, plus Mexico’s King Vulture habitat scores a win for biodiversity. And the Rutgers University Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience Initiative.
World Population Day, Mexico’s King Vulture Habitat a Win for Biodiversity, The Rutgers University Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience Initiative
WORLD POPULATION DAY
World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program in 1989.
It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987. That was the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people. World Population Day aims to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.
The day was suggested by Dr. K.C.Zachariah in which population reaches Five Billion when he worked as Sr Demographer at World Bank. While press interest and general awareness in the global population surges only at the increments of whole billions of people, the world population increases annually by 100 million approximately every 14 months. The world population reached 7,400,000,000 on February 6, 2016; the world population reached 7,500,000,000 at around 16:21 on April 24, 2017. The world population reached 7,700,000,000 in 2019. By the end of 2022, the Earth will be home to 8 billion people.
And that’s why marking, if not celebrating, World Population Day matters to us: Now more than ever, it’s is important to become aware of the effects of overpopulation on the environment and development. The theme of World Population Day 2022 is “A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all – Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all.”
PRESERVING THE KING VULTURE HABITAT IN MEXICO IS A WIN FOR BIODIVERSITY
We’ve learned a lot about fighting climate change here on The Climate Daily. One key lesson learned is the importance of biodiversity in saving the climate. That’s why this story resonates. But let’s go back a moment in time. For the ancient Mayans, the king vulture was an intermediary that crossed the skies, communicating with humans and the gods. Today, while perhaps not exactly communicating with the gods, the average king vulture stands almost three feet tall and weighs in at about 30 pounds. And it sports a wingspan over 6 feet across. Impressive.
For residents of Nuevo Becal in Mexico’s southeastern state of Campeche, the king vulture is impressive for another reason: the knowledge that forest management improves both quality of life for communities and the conservation of wild animals has come from preserving its habitat. Said Lucio López, a forest engineer who leads the surveillance committee, in an interview for Mongabay, “For us … the king vulture is an emblematic species which we are proud of having and we are committed to conserving through the economic activities that we promote.”
To that end, Nuevo Becal dedicated over 1,000 acres as a sanctuary for it. Research also shows the king vulture exclusively eats carrion. In this way, it makes an important contribution to the important task of keeping the environment clean, helping to prevent the proliferation of parasites and illnesses that could potentially be dangerous to the ecosystem and to humans.
Why does preserving the habitat of the king vulture matter to us? The associated community forest management efforts have also proven effective in improving the quality of life of wild animals and their habitats. Which means increased biodiversity, which means the climate has a chance.
THE RUTGERS UNIVERSITY COASTAL CLIMATE RISK & RESILIENCE INITIATIVE
It’s no longer a secret. A changing climate is increasingly threatening the world’s coasts, both economic engines and homes to millions. In the United States, coastal counties produce 40 percent of jobs, contribute more than 58 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product, and contain more than 50 percent of the population, not to mention the critical infrastructure like ports and energy-generating stations.
Coastal wetlands make up 38 percent of the wetlands in the continental United States, critical for flood protection, erosion control, water filtration, and habitat for wildlife and fish. That’s why Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey established the Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience Initiative back in 2016– to train Rutgers graduate students to collaborate with local decision-makers and hep vulnerable communities prepare for the impact of climate change. The coursework includes:
- New ways of whole-systems thinking that intersect socio-economic, ecological and engineered solutions;
- Training leaders that have the capacity to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries; and
- Participatory processes to develop and implement strategies that build more resilient, greener, healthier, prosperous, and more equitable communities.
The capstone project pairs students with a client, such as a coastal municipality, to assess the unique risks posed by climate change and to develop strategies for managing them. This allows students to apply the various disciplinary perspectives they have learned and work directly with the client in developing land-use, capital improvements, and hazard-mitigation planning. Importantly, the experience exposes students to public decision-making procedures and the challenges of contributing scientific information to contentious public policy debates.
Why does the Rutgers C2R2 really matter to us? The effort to safeguard communities takes a holistic approach– the science and technical aspects of coastal resilience, as well as command of public policy. And critically, the ability to communicate the science behind the effects of climate change on coastal populations, communities, infrastructure, and natural systems in helping leaders find lasting solutions and avoid short-term fixes.