Natural Selection

Natural England, a non-departmental government body sponsored by DEFRA, is recruiting for 29 professional posts (https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472685%20 and https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472667%20). Twenty-nine. At £24,120pa each, that costs £700,000 even without employer’s pension contributions. Where’s that money coming from during the current sustained attack on environmental public spending, including severe cuts to DEFRA?

Interestingly, these roles are in “Sustainable development” – that delightful oxymoron – as Planning or Wildlife Management Lead Advisers. Could these be aimed at combatting wildlife crime and protecting our wildlife?

Perhaps the role specifications may offer clues:
“Support the delivery of the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)”
“Working with a range of partners, customers and colleagues to implement changes in the delivery of land use work.”
“Building partnerships with customers (primarily LPAs [Local Planning Authorities]) and stakeholders to resolve complex and often contentious planning issues and to develop collaborative strategic land use approaches to conserving and enhancing the natural environment.”
Curiously open to interpretation. “Changes.” “Enhancing.”

More curiously,
“Spotting opportunities for income generation through our Discretionary Advice Service including preparing Customer Contracts and delivering the service specified.”
“Spot opportunities around income generation, draw up contracts and work with customers on Pre Application advice.”

Perhaps government is expecting these roles to pay for themselves through licensing land owners to indulge their delusions of military control over nature. Perhaps I’m over-sensitive since our equivalent, Scottish Natural Heritage, is on its own crusade to monetise nature. Ah, time for my anti-cynicism medication.

Chattels

“Livestock subsidies in the 34 OECD nations alone were $53bn in 2013, including an average of $190 per cow.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/24/meat-tax-far-less-unpalatable-than-government-thinks-research-finds)

Greenhouse gas methane, loss of carbon sink forests, farming subsidy, pollution remediation, animal abuse, antibiotics, food poisoning, health care… You don’t get so much meat per pound these days.

Intensed Milk

“The Government itself declined to comment directly on the intensification issue but said that an over-supply of milk on the world market was partly to blame for the sharp fall in milk prices and therefore increasing production was ‘not the answer’. ‘It’s about increasing the great things we do with that liquid milk.'” (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986357/the_march_of_the_industrial_megadairy_is_this_the_future_of_milk.html)

DEFRA once again offers penetrating insight that an over-supply will not be solved by increasing production and that milk is liquid.

Ecoalogical

“Participants in the Kemerovo programme will shed the pounds through sports activities and by trying various diets. … In return they will get the wealth of the region – top-grade, high-calorie coal.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-34869151)

Ideal for those who think shiny, coal-like silicon implants will enhance their beauty as much as silicone. Probably not worth trying to explain that eating coal still produces CO2.

Repackaging

“By 2030, EU states would have had to recycle 70% of their municipal waste, 80% of product packaging, 60% of plastic packaging, 60% of plastics, 80% of wood and 90% of ferrous metals, aluminium and glass.
But the package was withdrawn by the incoming EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker, after industry protests. The backlash that provoked from environmentalists led Juncker’s deputy, Frans Timmermans, to promise a revised proposal that would be “broader, more ambitious [and] more effective”.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/20/eu-drops-food-waste-marine-litter-reduction-targets-leak-reveals)

The package itself needed 80% recycling.

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Cyber Cetacean

“A large number of Japanese websites have come under attack over the country’s continued support for the annual dolphin drive hunts in Taiji. So far nearly 40 websites have suffered from DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, in which the websites are bombarded with numerous data requests, resulting in them either slowing down or going offline completely while genuine visitors are unable to reach them.” (http://uk.whales.org/news/2015/11/cyber-attacks-in-japan-over-dolphin-hunts)

Never underestimate the intelligence of dolphins.

Water Protection Zeroes

“Investigations by WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and Fish Legal have revealed that, in January 2011, Defra Ministers and the Environment Agency decided to put the brakes on the use of WPZs [Water Protection Zones], except as a ‘last resort’. This was despite overwhelming evidence that other measures to tackle the pollution problem would not be sufficient. … It also flies in the face of Defra’s own analysis which has repeatedly shown that relying on voluntary action by farmers alone will not solve the problem of agricultural pollution.” (http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/press_centre/index.cfm?uNewsID=7722)

The High Court is expected to award habitat damages to the plaintiffs and 100 lashes by angling flies in the face to Defra.