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Biodiversity and Climate Change

Special Report- Biodiversity and Climate Change-A Biocentric View

The Learning Sustainability Campaign and GreenWatch have teamed up with the Habiitat and Natural Resources Working Group of the Western New York Environmental Alliance, a Great Lakes based environmental organization, to publish the final draft of the Working Group's white paper. The document is written and produced by the Western New York Environmental Alliance Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group -By Jay Burney and Joseph Schmidbauer with contributions from Larry Beahan and Art “Happy” Klein.

Table of Contents
I. Introduction and Overview II. The Role of Biodiversity III. Human Dominion Over Nature-Holocene Extinction IV. It’s the Economy, Stupid
-Externalities v. Value -Why the Energy Equation is Not Enough -The Kaya Identity

V. WNY Primacy
-Preserve, Protect, and Defend, -biodiversity -We Can! -The Sweetwater Seas -Buffalo Sewer Authority and CSO’s -Hydrofracking -Methane and C02 Issues -Habitat Destruction Through Infrastructure Development -Land Use -Buffalo Waterfront -Urban Greenscaping


Conclusion-A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Note: It is the intention of the WNYEA Habitat and Natural Resources Group to use this white paper as an evolving document. We hope to use the issues and scenarios discussed in this document as an outline for a long term work plan focusing on issues, solutions, partnerships, and strategies to address fundamental climate change issues. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. Introduction and Overview
Last May, David Suzuki the eminent Canadian scientist, environmentalist, climate change activist, filmmaker and writer, quit his own organization’s board so that he could more freely speak out on issues that his organizations funders found too controversial or objectionable. His very first piece of writing after his resignation was called: “A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now”

In it he wrote, “Environmentalism has failed. Over the past 50 years, environmentalists have succeeded in raising awareness, changing logging practices, stopping mega-dams and offshore drilling, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But we were so focused on battling opponents and seeking public support that we failed to realize these battles reflect fundamentally different ways of seeing our place in the world. And it is our deep underlying worldview that determines the way we treat our surroundings. We have not, as a species, come to grips with the explosive events that have changed our relationship with the planet. For most of human existence, we lived as nomadic huntergatherers whose impact on nature could be absorbed by the resilience of the biosphere. Even after the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago, farming continued to dominate our lives. We cared for nature. People who live close to the land understand that seasons, climate, weather, pollinating insects and plants are critical to our well-being.” -To read the entire piece: When David Suzuki came to Buffalo in 2001 as a speaker at the Learning Sustainability Conference this was also his underlying message. “Humans have to think of themselves as a part of the earth and not just a consumer of the earth.” “ We are the earth, we are interconnected and interdependent and if we do not realize this and act accordingly we will destroy our opportunities to survive as a species,” he said in an interview at that time. It is time for us now to take up this challenge in Western New York. It is time for us to take a “biocentric point of view”. This is essentially what this “white paper” is about. Climate change is rampaging our planet, our region, and our communities like an unstoppable freight train that has gone off the tracks. We are no longer looking at a “predicted” future of possible highly variable extreme weather conditions and catastrophic events. That future is here now. Climate instability has impacts that do and will continue to effect each one of us. Our pocketbooks, food supply, environment and ecology, human health and our social structures will bear the increasingly undisguised and festering scars of this careening train. Climate change is challenging our very ability to survive as a species. -Co2 in the atmosphere continues to increase dramatically on a global scale. The changes in atmospheric gasses which now include nearly 400 ppm of CO2 is increasing about 2ppm per year. These increasing emissions are due to human activity. This activity is causing a rapid escalation of atmospheric instability. Climate scientists estimate that a healthy and stable atmosphere needs to be reduced to 275 ppm. Currently we are not even slowing down global emissions although according to a new report issued by the US Energy Information Administration, in 2011 due to factors such as a poor economy and a glut of cheap natural gas US energy related carbon emissions declined by 2.4%. This report may not give a full picture, but it does suggest that effective alternative strategies can have an impact on at least US emissions. This may be inconsequential on a global scale In early August, NASA released a study co authored by Jim Hansen, the Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Instead of modeling, which had been done in previous NASA studies, this study used statistical analysis of recent heat and drought events and extreme weather patterns. It concludes unequivocally that climate change has arrived, is here on a disastrous global scale, and is much worse that we thought. Climate change science has been clear for over a decade. What is changing is that now we have statistical evidence of things such as climate instability and extreme weather events, which have lead to draughts, ecological devastation, heat waves, and a rise in ocean levels. -In 1994 Peter Sousounis of the University of Michigan came to Buffalo to release a report of which he was lead researcher and author. The report was the first White House sponsored draft of the first US Climate Change Research Programs National Assessment Regional Report. The draft was titled: “Preparing for a Changing Climate-The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, Great Lakes Overview.”

Dr. Sousounis and his team were in Buffalo after his hosts, WNYEA members, climate change activists, andWNYEA Habitat and Natural Resource Working Group members Jay Burney and Joseph Schmidbauer had urged the White House to release the report in this critical Great Lakes city. The White House agreed and both local and national activists and press gathered at the then Statler Towers Georgian Room to hear the presentation. Scenarios characterized in that report introduced language referring to “increasingly extreme weather events”, “significant and increasing threats to biological diversity”, “threats to water quality and availability”, “agricultural security”, “human health consequences”, and “national security”. Since that time dramatic radical ecological shifts have been analyzed reported and studied. -At a recent presentation at West Valley New York, the U.S. Dept of Energy released “Climate Change Handbook” Among other things this presentation focused on the likelihood of extreme weather episodes and their impacts on habitat and biodiversity. For example, the 2009 rainfall that flooded Cattaraugus Creek and Gowanda was referred to several times in the West Valley Conference. The conference also is predicted that we are going to have an accelerated infestation of invasive and non-native species as a result of global warming but the impact of such infestations and their spread will be much quicker. The spread of Dutch Elm disease was glacial compared to the Pine Bark Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and global warming may accelerate this. The debate about what causes climate change is over. Nature is certainly about change and transition, but the impacts of human activity on climate are no longer a theory. It is the central theme to our out of control future. Can we make a difference still? It is difficult to say but if we understand what we do as humans to contribute to climate change, we may have a fighting chance. Future generations will have a quality of life that relies entirely on decisions we have made over the past century and the decisions we make in the next years. The endless and obfuscating natural v. human’s activity debate must be put behind us. If you do not understand that your head is buried somewhere other than deep in the sand. We must solve the most serious issue that has faced our species. To do that we need to intelligently characterize and continue to identify how human activity has caused climate disaster. Most importantly we must find ways to change our ways. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. The Role of Biodiversity
Loss of biodiversity is both the cause of atmospheric instability and is caused by the rapidly expanding extremes represented by climate instability. This double edged sword is an almost unstoppable natural force that may have already gone beyond any kind of tipping point that humans can deal with. The evolution of life on earth coincides with the evolution of the atmosphere. Over the millennia, nature, biodiversity, and earth’s ecosystems and atmosphere have undergone ongoing substantial adjustments. At every level vital exchanges between energy and life effect the atmosphere including how gasses are stored and released. Biodiversity is fundamental to the way our atmosphere has evolved, -and to its stability. Life, collected in the oceans, forests, savannahs, wetlands and literally all of the bioregions of the planet interconnect, interact, and interdepend upon each other. E.O Wilson, the famed Harvard biologist says that “nature achieves sustainability through complexity”. A stable atmosphere champions life, including the relatively recent rise of the human species. Biodiversity makes us unique in the universe. The downside is that has humans have risen to the top of the food chain, we have come to dominate and transform ecosystems at every level. One of the primary consequences is vanishing biodiversity. EO Wilson says, “each millimeter, each acre, each square mile of natures ecosystem that is destroyed is a nail the atmospheric coffin”. Some of the ways in which biodiversity effects climate change have been described in a recent study authored by William Anderegg of Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford, and by Jeffry Kane and Leander Anderegg of

Northern Arizona and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors reviewed dozens of scientific papers dealing with the ecological relationships with climate change. They found that forests alone store as much as 45 percent of the carbon found in terrestrial ecosystems and sequester as much as 25 percent of annual carbon emissions from human activities, which help mitigate a key driver of climate change. They also found that clear-cutting of forests in the topics account for 8-15 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The study also reports that climate changes effects on biodiversity are devastating. “Already facing an onslaught of threats from logging and conversion for agriculture, forests worldwide are increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change, putting the ecological services they afford in jeopardy.” The report identifies widespread cases of forest die-off from drought and elevated temperatures that can increase the incidence of fire and pest infestations like pine beetles. These effects have the potential to trigger transitions to other ecosystems, including scrubland and savanna. But the impacts vary from forest to forest and the authors say more research is needed to fully understand the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems. Read more: Other reports are just as dramatic. Citizen Scientists working with Harvard scientists in Northampton Massachusetts have recently reported on a 19 year study by the Massachusetts Butterfly Club that demonstrates that butterflies commonly only found in Florida and Texas are shifting to the Northeast while formerly common northern butterflies, adapted for colder climates are declining. The report, “Climate Driven Community Changes in New England Butterflies” is coauthored by Harvard Forest Professor Greg Breed, and Massachusetts Butterfly Club collaborators Elizabeth Crone and Sharon Stichter. Jay Burney, who has been working on butterfly dynamics in WNY for over 30 years has also noted recent WNY influxes of some of these species including the Giant Swallowtail and the Baltimore Checkerspot which according to Breed, has broadened its host plant opportunities (previously only White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra) to an invasive which is becoming more common – English Plantain (Plantgo lancelota). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Human Dominion Over Nature - The Holocene Extinction
Human fecundity, and our alleged ability to reason, have been the foundations of our belief in human primacy on the planet. That may be a temporary adjustment. Many scientists are now recognizing that we are experiencing an extinction event on this planet, The Holocene Extinction that rivals any previous extinction episode. Conservative estimates by many scientists now believe that we are losing species at a rate 100 times what would be considered sustainable. This is defined as the comparative rate at which new species emerge as old species disappear. Edward O. Wilson, the highly respected Harvard biologist, estimates that the extinction rate is currently between 1,000 and 10,000 times the sustainable rate. According to the Word Conservation Union’s Red List- a data base measuring the global status of Earth’s 1.5 million scientifically named species, one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one in three amphibians, one in three conifers and other gymnosperms are at risk of imminent extinction. At a minimum 40% of all species on earth are in jeopardy including 51 percent of reptiles, 52 percent of insects, and 73 percent of flowering plants. Estimates are that between 27 and 270 species are erased from existence every day, including today.

Wilson predicts that by 2100 half of all species on earth will have vanished forever. Generally accepted practices of human culture tend to view the earth from an essentially anthropocentric point of view. This centers on the belief that the earth is here to serve humans rather than humans are actually a part of a complex interdependent ecosystem. This intellectual achievement by humanity centers on a fundamentally political failure that pits things like mainstream monotheistic religious beliefs and economic hegemony, -and against science. The resulting conflicts have been consequential. It is a mismatch. Science wins. Humans and their paradoxical and often corrupting political philosophies are on the way out. We cannot afford to think of the environment as something to be conquered but rather we must understand that our lives depend on our own healthy relationships with ecosystems. That means fundamentally, we must defend biodiversity. To read more about this: “Biodiversity, Habitat, and Climate Change” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. It’s the Economy, Stupid
Until now the discussions and arguments have been filled with political obtusities. Science almost always takes a back seat to economic growth. We have been through decades of failed global summits and conventions including Kyoto, Rio, Johannesburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen and many others with the focus ostensibly on sustainable development and climate change. One of the problems is that the term sustainable development is clearly an oxymoron. Another problem is that the primary concern of virtually every world leader that has attended any of these events is not the environment, but instead the concern is economic growth and the GDP. According to our global leadership, sustainability is about the economy and not about the relationships between environment, society, and the economy, with the environment being the real bottom line. This is where the train has gone off the tracks. Externalities v. Value Our generally accepted economic system declares natural resources to be commodities. The costs and values of the ecological services that these systems provide such as atmospheric balancing and clean water are externalities. In other words a forest is measured by its value in board feet and its ecological services values are marginalized. The real costs and consequences of harvesting our ecosystems are “external” and are not the responsibility of the political entities that are profiting from exploitation. Instead the costs of water treatment facilities and health care associated with environmental degradation are passed on to the public while the measured consumer economy grows without the bother of accounting for environmental loss. The political economic systems that we have intentionally deployed are directly responsible for eviscerating earth’s ecosystems. Why the Energy Equation is Not Enough In a specific sense the earth’s biosystems have evolved to sequester carbon thus creating a balanced atmosphere. Human use and burning of fossil fuels combined with the elimination of biodiversity ranging from ocean and lake organisms to forests and other natural carbon banks has exacerbated the problems of the life support system. Habitat loss and energy use via consumerism go hand in hand and you cannot begin to solve climate change problems by only addressing renewable energy strategies. How we obtain and use our energy is very important. The focus on renewable energy strategies is consequential, but

identifying energy sources without taking into consideration consumerism, growth, and the externalities of the value of biodiversity and costs of habitat loss, and the social consequences of all of the above flies in the face of sustainable problem solving. The Kaya Identity Decades ago, Japanese energy economist Yoichi Kaya explained that human caused CO2 emissions are explained by four factors: population, economic activity, how we obtain our energy, and how we use that energy. His resulting “Kaya Identity” (Emissions=GDP x Technology) is a formula that has been a way to both recognize and predict carbon emissions, and to find ways to reduce these emissions. Economic activity, translated in the formula as GDP, externalizes by tradition, fundamental environmental values. This egregious miscalculation has lead to a false hope that we can still work within the economic systems that have championed consumption and destruction of habitat. This path has lead to climate disaster by forcing us to decide that we can only address the almost singular issue of “how we obtain our energy” while ignoring the results of expanding GDP on biodiversity and habitat loss. This strategy is not working. The Kaya Identity Redux Emissions=GDP x Biodiversity x Technology Certainly a focus on “greener” energy and a “green economy” has its merits, but can anything that promotes consumer growth that ignores the basic reality of the value of biodiversity succeed? Can we stop this careening train? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. WNY Primacy
Preserve, Protect, and Defend, -biodiversity
In part 1, we explored that the fundamental cause of human created climate change is the eradication of biodiversity. Eradication is enriched by the economic exploitation and the characterization of these resources as commodities. The harvesting of forests and the use of our waterways as waste repositories have dealt fundamental blows to our planets ability to support life. The ecological services provided by ecosystems are marginalized as economic “externalities”. Ecological and social contexts have to be woven in to the sustainability equation with the real bottom line being biodiversity. A purely economic definition of “sustainable development” remains an oxymoron. We have to change this. The potential negative impact on our region’s biodiversity by climate change is substantial. The positive contribution to atmospheric stability by biodiversity is fundamental science. We must recognize the overwhelming significance of habitat destruction and the exploitation of natural resources. This is a very addressable strategy. -We Can! -Rethink, redefine, and react to fundamental causes of climate change. This will characterize the value of our current generations. -Identify, catalog and reverse the unprecedented human evisceration of biodiversity. WNY is located in one of the most historically biodiverse regions on the planet. Our Great Lakes, rivers, creeks, streams, wetlands, forests, uplands, and meadows are vital components of a rapidly vanishing bioregion of global significance. Although most of our natural assets have been urbanized or seriously altered by human activity there remain significant areas that are ecologically productive. Most areas can return to ecological productivity with planning and investment. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-The Sweetwater Seas
The Great Lakes contain nearly 1/5th of the world’s fresh surface water.

The Great Lakes Basin is a bioregion that supports nearly 10% of the US population and 25% of the population of Canada. Urbanization, industry and agriculture have diminished our ecologically productive capacity. Our waters are a valuable asset. They face growing threats championed by economic activities with a laser focus on growth and development. We can enhance our planets capacity to support life and atmospheric stability if we continue to provide opportunities for biodiversity. But only if we engage conservation as a primary first line of defense.

Buffalo Sewer Authority and CSO’s One of the most significant threats to our waters involves waste
treatment and disposal. For example, just seven sewer authorities throughout the Great Lakes including the Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) discharge almost 20 billion gallons of untreated sewerage and storm water through Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). The BSA is responsible for releasing almost 2 billion gallons per year of our untreated material into the Niagara River, Buffalo River, Black Rock Canal, Scajaquada Creek and 52 other permitted outfalls. The good news is that currently the BSA has a 19 year plan developed in conjunction with RiverKeeper to address CSOs. The BSA is one of the only sewer authorities in the Great Lakes with a “Green Infrastructure Plan”. It comes with a $500 million plus price tag. The bad news is that the BSA plan is not enough and there is no guarantee that the money can be raised. Our culture is in a current suicidal cycle of downplaying infrastructure investments of this kind. Maybe we will build a new football stadium instead. The bad news goes deeper with the BSA. It is a “self-permitting” Public Authority. The BSA alone determines and monitors what it processes through its system. This is not a unique situation. The political and economic underpinnings of a Public Authority give the BSA extraordinary legal powers and can keep public scrutiny at arms length. Contentious issues involving permitting disclosures result. -The BSA is the sole authority for Buffalo Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits (BPDES), issues permits for “Trucked in Waste” and permits for “Temporary Discharges”. While the BSA is on record as saying that it is doing nothing illegal, permit applicants “self-identify” the materials that they are seeking to discharge into the lake. This means that the potential for deliberate or unintentional misidentification of materials permitted for release by private entities is there. Public scrutiny of these permits does not include public review of permit applications prior to permitting. We would be shocked, just shocked if illegal activity takes place, but the potential is there. A recent example of the kinds of problems that exist under this current system include an investigation of fracking wastewater permits undertaken by ArtVoice in the late winter of 2011-12. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite all the industry hype about the environmental benefits of a transitional natural gas economy, one of the least reported aspects of hydrofracking is that the activity releases huge amounts of methane which is a major component of shale gas and which is a less reported but highly significant greenhouse gas. Coupled with the documented consequences of using billions of gallons of water, concocting and injecting proprietary chemical soups that are highly toxic that appear in groundwater, aquifers, and other drinking water sources, hydrofracking damages ecosystems, threatens biodiversity, and is simply not a supportable strategy regarding climate change. Even on a purely economic basis hydrofracking does not live up to industry hype. Mix in the development of hundreds of millions of acres of landscapes eaten by roads, well heads, lagoons, and other infrastructure demands, it becomes more clear that this energy strategy does not support biodiversity and is instead another nail in the coffin of atmospheric stability. -Methane and CO2 Issues with Fracking. According to an analysis published by Cornell in November of 2010 Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations by Robert W. Howarth · Renee Santoro · Anthony Ingraffea “The National Research Council (2009) noted emissions from shale-gas extraction may be greater than from conventional gas. The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2010) wrote to President Obama, warning that some potential energy bridges such as shale gas have received insufficient analysis- sis and may aggravate rather than mitigate global warming. And in late 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a report concluding that fugitive emissions of methane from unconventional gas may be far greater than for conventional gas (EPA 2010).” “Fugitive emissions of methane are of particular concern. Methane is the major component of natural gas and a powerful greenhouse gas. As such, small leakages are important. Recent modeling indicates methane has an even greater global warming potential than previously believed, when the indirect effects of methane on atmospheric aerosols are considered (Shindell et al. 2009). The global methane budget is poorly constrained, with multiple sources and sinks all having large uncertainties. The radiocarbon content of atmospheric methane suggests fossil fuels may be a far larger source of atmospheric methane than generally thought (Lassey et al. 2007).” “When shale gas extracted by high-volume hydraulic fracturing, large volumes of water are forced under pressure into the shale to fracture and re-fracture the rock to boost gas flow. A significant amount of this water returns to the surface as flow- back within the first few days to weeks after injection and is accompanied by large quantities of methane (EPA 2010). The amount of methane is far more than could be dissolved in the flow-back fluids, reflecting a mixture of fracture-return fluids and methane gas.” “Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life- time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas. The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured—as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids—and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.” -Habitat destruction through infrastructure development A recent report published by the USGS, “Landscape Consequences of Natural Gas Extraction in Bradford and Washington Counties Pennsylvania, 20042010 examines in great detail the impacts of infrastructure development on habitat and natural areas including land cover and forest fragmentation. The report concludes that the effects of natural gas infrastructure development is substantial. Infrastructure includes well pads, roads, pipelines, impoundments and other support areas and activities such as processing plants, storage tanks and staging areas. Part of the Report: Forest Fragmentation Fragmentation of forest and habitat is a primary concern resulting from current gas development. Habitat fragmentation occurs when large areas of natural landscapes are intersected and subdivided by other, usually anthropogenic, land uses leaving smaller patches to serve as habitat for various species. As human activities increase, natural habitats, such as forests, are divided into smaller and smaller patches that have a decreased ability to support viable populations of individual species. Habitat loss and forest fragmentation can be major threats to biodiversity, although research on this topic has not been conclusive (With and Pavuk, 2011). Although many human and natural activities result in habitat fragmentation, gas exploration and development activity can be extreme in their effect on the landscape. Numerous secondary roads and pipeline networks crisscross and subdivide habitat structure. Landscape disturbance associated with 9shale-gas development infrastructure directly alters habitat through loss, fragmentation, and edge effects, which in turn alters the flora and fauna dependent on that habitat. The fragmentation of habitat is expected to amplify the problem of total habitat area reduction for wildlife species, as well as contribute towards habitat degradation. Fragmentation alters the landscape by creating a mosaic of spatially distinct habitats from originally contiguous habitat, resulting in smaller patch size, greater number of patches, and decreased interior to edge ratio (Lehmkuhl and Ruggiero, 1991; Dale and others, 2000). Fragmentation

generally results in detrimental impacts to flora and fauna, resulting from increased mortality of individuals moving between patches, lower recolonization rates, and reduced local population sizes (Fahrig and Merriam, 1994). The remaining patches may be too small, isolated, and possibly too influenced by edge effects to maintain viable populations of some species. The rate of landscape change can be more important than the amount or type of change because the temporal dimension of change can affect the probability of recolonization for endemic species, which are typically restricted by their dispersal range and the kinds of landscapes in which they can move (Fahrig and Merriam, 1994). ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Land Use
Land use models that transcend traditional economic factors are being developed locally. Riverkeeper has introduced a GIS land use database focusing on watersheds. This groundbreaking approach to identifying value is transforming our ability to promote conservation and protection. Other local working groups are focusing on expanding the concept and identifying areas that have economically quantifiable ecological services values such as intact or partially intact ecosystems on both public and private lands. County Forests, parkland, land banks, abandoned farmland, trails, wood lots, and other areas are strategic places. A new database approach could form the basis of quantifiable analysis of critical habitat and biodiversity generators. A new database approach could form the basis of quantifiable analysis of critical habitat and biodiversity generators. GIS and Landscape metrics measuring technology is a new tool that we should have in our conservation kits to better measure land cover, use and disturbance relative to biodiversity and ecological productiveness. We need to better understand how contemporary and historic development is contributing to land use issues such as forest fragmentation, and the transformation of landscapes. The objective is to create a tool to build upon traditional land use concepts that help citizens and governments determine planning, zoning, conservation, and land protection. One potential outcome is incentives that would target keeping public and private land ecologically productive. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Buffalo Waterfront
We can recreate an ecologically productive waterfront by avoiding industrial, commercial or inappropriate mixed-use development. Only if we make significant public investments does this land become valuable land for the developers. Instead of driving profits just to the developers, lets invest in an economic plan that benefits a broader spectrum. By concentrating development on the downtown side of the river and harbor and we will build a better city. The outer harbor should remain as open space with public access. How about a National Marine Sanctuary just off shore? An economic plan that encourages conservation through recreational and tourism will make us wealthier as a sustainable community. We encourage environmental groups to pay attention to the city’s current investment in a new green code, and the Brownfield Opportunity Area Grants, in particular the Outer Harbor BOA, which will be addressing and defining waterfront development for the coming decades. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Urban Greenscaping
Community owned lands such as parks and streetscapes effect biodiversity. A positive effect include intentional designs and planning focused on dedicating more “greenspace” land including rails to trails, bike and pedestrian corridors, walkable neighborhoods, better access to public transportation (Transit Oriented Development – TOD, for instance), reduced automotive traffic and parking, “complete streets”, and appropriate development opportunities. Concentrate urban areas, reduce sprawl, and the Buffalo Green Code are all important and fundamental tools toward a greener urban area. Restore the Urban Forest. Create and restore native habitat for wildlife. Invest in education. If you have a yard you can make a difference. Here is how- Learn about the kinds of beneficial animals such as pollinators, local birds, and butterflies that depend on native plants, and then landscape with those plants! There are plenty of local organizations that promote this kind of gardening. One word of caution, -avoid using native plants in

rain gardens that collect street runoff. Toxic materials from automobiles, lawn chemicals and other poisons can accumulate in these gardens and if you are using plants that attract native butterflies, birds, and bees, they will absorb the toxins, which can be counterproductive. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Conclusion- A Biocentric Viewpoint is Needed Now!
We must take up Suzuki’s call to activism and take a biocentric point of view. If humans are to have any chance at a future, or at a future that works, we must understand that we need to work in partnership with the Earth’s biosystems and ecological foundations and not against them . They are us. If we continue to work at odds with them, if we continue to treat our natural resources as both commodities and as externalities, and if we continue to exploit these foundations as profit centers for a political economic strategy focused on growth and expansion, we will guarantee our lost fate. This will be a fate of declining economic capacity, declining social stability, and the evisceration of the environment and the collapse of our climate systems that have sustained life on the planet since before the dawn of human kind. We can rise to the challenge. The decisions and consequences will be born out by our actions, our strategies, our sacrifices, and our willingness to understand and engage in the real problems and solutions that we are confronted with. Otherwise we have lost the opportunity to work toward a positive future quality of life for those that will come after us.