Monday, March 15, 2010

TEAM (2): another failure

When I wrote my blog about the perils of taking polluter's money, I thought that I have to go back to check on TEAM, the Tropical Ecology Assessment & Monitoring Network, a large scale initiative announced five years ago with great fanfare by Conservation Commons, one of the conservation NGO's explicitely criticized in Hari's article in the Nation. In June 2006 I wrote a comment on TEAM, and ended, specifically regarding ants " I can not see, that this (...) TEAM project has a chance to florish".

Ants are out, and do not exist anymore.

The project is far from what it wanted to be, a global monitoring project to be able to separate global from regional and local events and trends. It has now only 9 sites on three continents active abut an impressive list of 148 team members. There is even Data to be downloaded, eg. Camera Trap Data, the latest from 2006 - not really a sign of an active project. From the 9 sites there is only data from 5 to be downloaded from the "Data Query and Download" page.

If I remember right, TEAM had a stall at the last year's E-biosphere meeting in London at one of the most prominent positions.

Unfortunately, this what I consider a dismal state of such a large scale projects confirms my fears and suspicion, that Conservation International did, what it can best, attracting big funding but with little understanding of the nitty-gritty to run successfully such large scale monitoring programs. It also shows nicely what has been discussed within the Conservation Commons, that the big heavy weight members of this initiative are all but sharing data - the mission of the Conservation Commons.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On the perils of taking polluter's money

Recently there has been a series of contributions about the perils of taking money from corporation involved in heavy pollution and how in the authors view is affecting the behavior of the especially the large conservation organizations. It’s worthwhile read and contribution within CC's debate in Conservation Commons on how to deal with the extracting industry.

The Real Climategate: Conservation Groups Align with World’s Worst Polluters

"Major environmental groups are coming under criticism from within their own ranks for taking positions that some say are antithetical to their stated missions of saving the planet. In the latest issue of The Nation magazine, the British journalist Johann Hari writes, “As we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters—and burying science-based environmentalism in return…In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate.”"

The Wrong Kind of Green

"Why did America's leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen and lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests--and runaway global warming? Why are their lobbyists on Capitol Hill dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as "unworkable" and "unrealistic," as though they were just another sooty tentacle of Big Coal?"

Green Inc

"In this scathing indictment of the surprising profligacy and complacency of some of the world's top environmental organizations, journalist MacDonald, a former media manager at Conservation International, exposes the clubby, well-upholstered world of conservationists. The posh headquarters and six-figure compensation of top environmental leaders (from the Wildlife Conservation Society's $825,170 to the Sierra Club's $229,000) gall the author, but she's most outraged by organizations routinely accepting donations from oil, lumber and mining industries and corporate behemoths such as Wal-Mart without holding them accountable for ongoing pollution practices. MacDonald singles out BP's Beyond Petroleum campaign as a particularly egregious example of greenwashing (the label for corporations marketing themselves as green while paying lip service to environmental concerns) and lambastes Ikea for failing to ensure that the goods it imports are manufactured from sustainably harvested timber. Her lament at the loss of activist edge among top-tier environmental groups is heartfelt—MacDonald exhorts them to stop being such lapdogs and start acting like the watchdogs they were conceived to be—and her umbrage and ample evidence are impossible to ignore. (Sept.)
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