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70 Arrested at Extinction Rebellion Protest Demanding More Urgent Climate Coverage From New York Times

Climate
Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday. SCOOTERCASTER / YouTube screenshot

Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday as they demanded the paper improve its coverage of the climate crisis, Reuters reported.


Protesters briefly blocked traffic on Manhattan's Eighth Avenue, between the Times building and the busy Port Authority Bus Terminal, The Guardian reported. Demonstrators staged a die-in on the street outside the paper's headquarters. They also attached banners to the two buildings. The one affixed to Port Authority read "Climate Emergency," and the banner suspended from the Times building read "climate change = mass murder," with "change" crossed out and replaced with "emergency," Reuters reported.

"The lack of coverage of the climate crisis is completely unacceptable," member of Extinction Rebellion's press and fundraising teams Becca Trabin told The Guardian. "It's a public safety crisis on a global scale."

In total, 67 activists were taken into custody by the New York Police Department and three by Port Authority police, a spokesperson told Reuters.

In one incident, police arrested journalist Michael Nigro while he was photographing the protest from the third floor of the Port Authority building. A live-stream of his arrest was posted on YouTube by News2Share.

Journalist Michael Nigro Arrested for Photographing at NY Port Authority

Breaking: Journalist (and friend of News2Share) Michael Nigro (contributor to SIPA, Getty) has been arrested by NYPD / New York Port Authority for photograph...

News2Share Editor-in-Chief Ford Fischer tweeted that Nigro was released Sunday, but that police kept his press badge, camera and phone.

"I was arrested for committing an act of journalism and then, because of that act, had the very tools I use to report and make a living taken from me," Nigro said in a statement shared by Fischer. "This is troubling not just specifically for journalists, but it pollutes our democratic society in general."

Protester Donna Nicolino told The Guardian why she was willing to risk arrest.

"We want the New York Times as well as all the other media to treat climate change as the crisis it is," she said.

The protest comes around a month after The Guardian updated its style guide for environmental reporting to reflect the urgency of climate change. The paper said it would replace "climate change" with "climate emergency, crisis or breakdown"and refer to "global warming" as "global heating."

New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha defended her paper's coverage.

"There is no national news organization that devotes more time, staff or resources to producing deeply reported coverage to help readers understand climate change than The New York Times," Rhoades Ha told The Guardian. "We fully support this group's right to express their point of view, even when we disagree with it as it relates to our coverage."

The New York Times published 795 articles about climate issues in 2018, Rhoades Ha said.

But Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Eve Mosher told CNN that even though the New York Times did "good reporting" it did not cover the issue with the appropriate seriousness.

"They should be treating it like World War II," Mosher said, "where there were headlines every day."

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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.

Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.

Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.

SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0​

"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.

It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.

Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.

In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.

The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).

"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.

The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.

"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.

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