Augh not the pikas! Environmental groups Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit this week in which they claimed that climate change could cause mass pika extinction and that the fuzzy little guys should therefore be put on the endangered species list. From Grist:
The pika, a rabbit cousin characterized by inordinate cuteness and a squeaky call, is "the polar bear of the Lower 48," says Greg Loarie of Earthjustice. Pikas live in alpine meadows and spend their summers gathering vegetation to sustain them through the winter. "Global warming threatens pikas by shortening the time available for them to gather food, changing the types of plants that grow where they live, reducing the insulating snowpack during winter, and, most directly, causing the animals to die from overheating," says CBD. The lawsuits say pika habitat should be protected and that carbon dioxide should be regulated as a pollutant. That won't fly with the Bush administration, which has declared that the Endangered Species Act should not be used to force greenhouse-gas regulation.
- DNA testing concerns! Privacy advocates want to make sure genetic profiling will not become a new way for employers and insurers to discriminate. Given human nature, I think tougher laws guarding this info are a fine idea.
- Oceanic dead zones! Nitrogen runoff is killing the oxygen in the water in coastal regions around the world, which means sea life cannot survive in these areas. Marine biologists are saying government intervention is needed to reverse the problem, so basically I don't have a hope in Hades.