Scientists investigate hundreds of guillemot deaths on UK coastline

Seabird carcasses discovered along Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Scottish shores, with many more found emaciated

‘Splainin’ to Do: Oil Execs on the Tobacco Hotseat

“The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” – Utah Phillips Decolonial Atlas: Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich […]

California wildfires burn into some groves of giant ancient sequoias

National Weather Service issues weather watch for critical fire conditions in Sequoia national park

This Is Code Red for the Planet

The Promise of Carbon-Neutral Steel

In the Democrats’ budget  package, a billion tons of carbon cuts at stake

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was explaining why he opposed his Democratic colleagues’ $3.5 trillion budget plan, but his words summed up the Congressional response on climate change for the past 30 years. “What is the urgency?” asked Manchin in an appearance on CNN on Sunday. With climate action advocates now in a race […]

Wanderlust and stolen land: how to mindfully explore the American outdoors

Tips for the socially and environmentally responsible traveler

The computer chip industry has a dirty climate secret

As demand for chips surges, the semicondutor industry is trying to grapple with its huge carbon foot print

As Climate Change Fears Grow, a Real Fight Over Fake Turf

A city’s decision to replace actual grass with a synthetic version sets off a conflict over the possible environmental and health risks of the move.

Peter Dykstra: Protected by an alphabet soup of acronyms

Maybe you’ve heard of a few of these, or maybe you think the “CBD” is the trendy cannabis stuff.


The bottom line — there are a number of esoteric, jargonny global and national conservation pacts that play a vital role in conservation. Here are a few worth knowing.

LDC: A product of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the environment, the London Dumping Convention outlawed the ocean disposal of nuclear and other highly toxic wastes. Eighty-seven nations are signatories.

CITES: The Convention on Trade in Endangered Species makes headlines every other year with its biennial meetings to discuss restricting or banning trade of species under stress.

CCAMLR: The acronym name is pronounced “Camel-are.” And what does the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources seek to do? Its 26 member nations haggle over conserving or exploiting the abundant fishery surrounding the frozen continent.

RAMSAR: Although it would be an awesome acronym, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is named after the city where it formed. Ramsar sits aside a stunning freshwater wetland in Iran. The treaty has 171 signatories and, yes, the U.S. and Iran appear to play nicely with each other there.

LWCF: Since 1964, the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund has been a quiet, bipartisan success, setting aside millions of acres for recreation and wilderness.

LOS: The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty came into force in 1984, with a goal of standardizing how nations exploit or protect the resources of the open sea. It could be sorely tested in the near future, with potential conflicts over oil and gas, fisheries, deep sea mining, and more. China’s current push to build artificial islands in the South China Sea to extend its territorial claims is a flashpoint. The U.S. is not one of the 168 signatories.

CBD: The U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity arose out of the 1992 Earth Summit. Only four of the U.N’s member nation are non-signatories: Andorra, the Vatican, South Sudan, and the U.S.

MBTA: If you’re from New England, “MBTA” probably means the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – the bus, train, and trolley system for Metro Boston. But for more than a century, the acronym has also been used for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the 1918 U.S. legislation that accompanied a treaty with Canada to protect egrets and other birds whose plumage was plucked to decorate ladies’ hats. The latter MBTA has been expanded to protect all manner of migratories, while a commuter can now ride the former MBTA all the way to Braintree.

Random fact: We also have a Convention to restrict something “conventional” — the U.N. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons has 129 full members who foreswear the use of what the U.N. considers “inhumane” landmines. I couldn’t bring myself to read through what qualifies as a “humane” one.

LWCF: Since 1964, the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund has been a quiet, bipartisan success, setting aside millions of acres for recreation and wilderness.

LOS: The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty came into force in 1984, with a goal of standardizing how nations exploit or protect the resources of the open sea. It could be sorely tested in the near future, with potential conflicts over oil and gas, fisheries, deep sea mining, and more. China’s current push to build artificial islands in the South China Sea to extend its territorial claims is a flashpoint. The U.S. is not one of the 168 signatories.

CBD: The U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity arose out of the 1992 Earth Summit. Only four of the U.N’s member nation are non-signatories: Andorra, the Vatican, South Sudan, and the U.S.

MBTA: If you’re from New England, “MBTA” probably means the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – the bus, train, and trolley system for Metro Boston. But for more than a century, the acronym has also been used for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the 1918 U.S. legislation that accompanied a treaty with Canada to protect egrets and other birds whose plumage was plucked to decorate ladies’ hats. The latter MBTA has been expanded to protect all manner of migratories, while a commuter can now ride the former MBTA all the way to Braintree.

Random fact: We also have a Convention to restrict something “conventional” — the U.N. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons has 129 full members who foreswear the use of what the U.N. considers “inhumane” landmines. I couldn’t bring myself to read through what qualifies as a “humane” one.

Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist and can be reached at pdykstra@ehn.org or @pdykstra.

His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher, Environmental Health Sciences.

Banner photo: A 74th United Nations General Assembly event focused on how brands and advertisers can be part of the solution and help address the crisis in biodiversity. (Credit: United Nations Development Programme/flickr)