A Roadmap to Living—and Thriving—in Harmony With Nature

October 2, 2014

Biodiversity100114

In an attempt to recognize biodiversity as a problem, Japan and other Asian-Pacific countries adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. But first things first—achieve human well-being in harmony with nature.

In Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, the international community made a commitment to future generations by adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

In doing this, governments recognized that biodiversity is not just a problem to be solved, but rather the source of solutions to 21st century challenges such as climate change, food and water security, health, disaster risk reduction, and poverty alleviation.  In taking this action, countries affirmatively recognised that biodiversity is essential for sustainable development and the foundation for human well-being.

We now know that real change does not come from ‘silver bullet’ solutions, but from those strategies that simultaneously address the multiple underlying causes of biodiversity loss.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets are a framework for the world to achieve the vision of human beings living in harmony with nature.  If achieved, by the middle of the 21st century, we will enjoy economic and social well-being while conserving and sustainably using the biodiversity that sustains our healthy planet and delivers the benefits essential to us all.

This is within our reach. And if we succeed, we will ensure that by the end of this decade, the ecosystems of the world are resilient and continue to provide for our well-being and contribute to eradication of the poverty that holds back human aspirations.  The Aichi Biodiversity Targets are about taking action now for the benefit of our collective future.

We are now approaching the mid-way mark of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.  Governments of the world will meet in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea in early October at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-12) where they will launch and review the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO4), the latest global assessment of the state of biodiversity. As they review GBO4, they will see how we are all doing in achieving this vision.

The good news is that countries and civil society are making progress, and concrete commitments to implement the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are being taken.  Our current efforts are taking us in the right direction.

However, achieving many targets will require substantial additional efforts.

Additional pressures are being placed on the life-support systems of our planet by a greater population, by climate change, land degradation, over exploitation of species and spread of alien invasive species as a consequence of economic decisions that neglect to fully take into account the value of environmental assets and of biodiversity.  Extra efforts will be needed to overcome these human-made challenges.

What kind of actions need to be taken?  We now know that real change does not come from ‘silver bullet’ solutions, but from those strategies that simultaneously address the multiple underlying causes of biodiversity loss – subsidies that lead to overexploitation, habitat loss, climate change, inefficiencies in agriculture among others – while addressing the direct pressures on our natural systems.

There is an increasing need to develop strategic and sustained actions to address both the underlying and immediate causes of biodiversity loss in a coordinated way.  There is a need to mainstream biodiversity into policies and actions well beyond the sectors that focus on conservation.

At the Pyeongchang meeting governments will need to make additional commitments to ensure that their actions are effective and achieve the desired results.  They will need to agree to mobilise sufficient financial and human resources in support of such actions – increasing significantly current efforts.

The actions that are needed to overcome the loss of biodiversity and the ongoing erosion of our natural life support systems are varied: integrating the values of biodiversity into national accounts and policy, changes in economic incentives, enforcing rules and regulations, the full and active participation of indigenous and local communities and stakeholders and engagement by the business sector. Partnerships at all levels will need to be agreed and vigorously pursued.

At COP-12, events such as a Business Forum and a Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments, and meetings of Biodiversity Champions, will help to build the networks and partnerships needed to realise this.

These actions for long-term work take time to lead to measureable outcomes.  Direct action is needed now to conserve the most threatened species and ecosystems.  So, we will need to continue our work in establishing protected areas and expanding networks for terrestrial and marine areas.  We will need to work with partners to save the most endangered species.  We will need an urgent push for the protection of coral reefs.

Our immediate and our long-term efforts can and must be strengthened by understanding the critical links between biodiversity and sustainable development. Measures required to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets will also support the post-2015 development agenda, and the proposed Sustainable Development Goals currently under discussion at the United Nations General Assembly.

In this way achieving the Targets will assist in achieving the goals of greater food security, healthier populations and improved access to clean water and sustainable energy for all. Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 means already implementing our strategy for sustainable development.

The theme of the High Level Segment of the Pyeongchang meeting reflects this. For two days in October, over 100 ministers and high level representatives will discuss “Biodiversity for sustainable development.”

In choosing this theme, the government of Korea has made it clear we must continue our efforts to not only achieve the mission of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, but the social, economic and environmental goals of sustainable development, and to achieve human well-being in harmony with nature.

Edited by Kitty Stapp

THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT HAS JOINED A MIGHTY STREAM….

October 2, 2014

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/30/win-climate-change-fight/

Harvey Wasserman |/EcoWatchOkay, so we had this historic march a little over a week ago..It was …

… joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming … and in many ways a turning point.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.

It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.We are our species’ ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.

We are also part of a mighty activist stream that’s campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.

We’ve endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.

Our hard-earned commitment to non-violence allows for a calm internal space and the great power that emerges from it. So in a diverse movement of good people with very strong opinions, we are learning to cut each other plenty of slack.

But how do we now build on this? What do we do next?

Politically, we operate at two essential levels: the local and the global.

And to stay functional, we need: net neutrality, corporate accountability, election protection, social justice and peace.

1.  Local organizing is our ultimate source of power.

The green movement has the great luxury of tangible targets. The King CONG corporations (Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas) need actual land on which to do their dirty work. So we can fight them inch-by-inch, at the source.

We can count the number of nukes Nixon wanted to build (1,000) and how many we stopped or shut (about 900 in the U.S.; far more worldwide).

We can name scores of reactors that didn’t get built, did get cancelled, are now being shut, will soon be stopped.

There are also mines undrilled, mountaintops not removed, oil rigs not pumping, fracking wells cancelled, polluting factories greenly altered, and much more we’ve beaten quietly, on the ground.

There are also solar panels on rooftops, windmills generating power, electric cars in the pipeline, recycling programs in place, consumption reduced, the overall vision of a green-powered Solartopia becoming ever more tangible.

In this movement, “what can I do?” always has a ready answer: fight the polluter next door. Pick one and shut it down!

So after our joy walk in New York, we return to our letter writing, phone calling, neighborhood speeches, strategy meetings, classroom educating, town council lobbying, around the corner picket lines, civil disobedience, finance-sabotaging, office seeking, rate withholding, fund raising, dog-that-corrupt-politician work.

Some of these fights we may seem to lose, at least for the time being. But it’s never over until we quit, which our survival instinct won’t let us do. A polluter once opened can always be shut if we never give up.

So at the grassroots, we are the individual immune cells that fight toxic industrial poisons and cancerous trash at the source. That’s the revolution that’s not televised…..

READ MORE AT http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/30/win-climate-change-fight/


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US Gov’t: Fukushima an “unprecedented wide-area” disaster — Nuclear power threatens human existence

October 1, 2014

ENENews


Fukushima chief was pleading for help from U.S. military: “Fire’s broken out at Reactor 4… We can’t do anything… please” — Leader turned pale after seeing flames and black smoke near fuel pool — Worker tries to have last meal before dying and realizes he’s unable to taste food

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 03:03 PM PDT

US Gov’t: Fukushima an “unprecedented wide-area” disaster — Nuclear power threatens human existence — Japan “profoundly impacted” by radiation, scale of damage is “extraordinary”

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 10:17 AM PDT

Climate Change Is Driving Heat Waves Around The World: Report

October 1, 2014

Posted: 09/29/2014 5:04 pm EDT Updated: 09/30/2014 11:59 am EDT

WASHINGTON –- The record-settingheat wave in Australia last year was “largely attributable” to human-caused climate change, according to asynthesis report released Monday. Heat waves in Japan, Korea, China and Europe were also “substantially influenced” by global warming, the report found.

For the synthesis report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 22 groups of scientists looked at 16 extreme weather events that took place in 2013. The paper concludes that at this time, it is more difficult to discern the human impact on other extreme events, such as the drought in California, extreme rainfall in Colorado, and an early-season blizzard in South Dakota.

This is the third annual report on the connections between individual extreme weather events and climate change, led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The studies reached mixed conclusions about the California drought, which saw the driest 12-month period on record from 2013 into early 2014. Three studies looking at the links between Pacific Ocean surface temperatures and anomalies in the atmosphere were unable to find a direct tie to human-caused climate change, while another paper found that climate change was affecting atmospheric pressure patterns. Thus, the paper concludes, “implications for extremely low precipitation in California remain uncertain.”

“A clear picture of how climate change influenced California’s drought has yet to emerge,” Stephanie Herring, the report’s lead editor and a scientist at NOAA, said in a call with reporters Monday.

Similarly, the report looked at the five days of heavy rainfall in Colorado in September 2013 that caused massive flooding and concludes that the probability of an event like it occurring has “likely decreased due to climate change.” Another study of extreme precipitation events in the U.S. found evidence that while most of the increase in such events was due to natural variations, there also was evidence the increase was due, at least in part, to climate change. Both those studies stressed the need for additional research.

“I think the key message is that given what we know today, it’s a lot easier for us to associate heat extremes with human influence than it is other extremes,” said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

The synthesis report highlights a relatively new area of climate science known as detection and attribution studies, which explores what is known about extreme weather events and climate change. The scientists caution that this type of study is still in its early stages. “As models and methods improve, we could end up with new results in future studies,” said Karl. “That’s how science evolves.”

Marty Hoerling, the report’s co-editor and a scientist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, said scientists know that climate change is “influencing all manner of weather events.” What the report seeks to explore is not if climate change influenced weather events, “but by how much” and in what direction –- whether it is making a particular weather event more or less likely, and more or less severe.

While still a relatively new field, this type of analysis is helpful, Karl argued. “The science remains challenging, but the environmental intelligence it reveals for decision-makers is invaluable,” said Karl. “There is a lot of demand out there. We think this is an important activity.”

How We Win on Climate Change

October 1, 2014
Published on
by

‘New Orleans: The Seas Are Rising And So Are We.’ (Common Dreams: CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

Okay, so we had this historic march a little while ago.

It was….

…joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming…and in many ways turning point.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.

It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.

We are our species’ ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.

We are also part of a mighty activist stream that’s campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.

We’ve endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.

Our hard-earned commitment to non-violence allows for a calm internal space and the great power that emerges from it.  So in a diverse movement of good people with very strong opinions, we are learning to cut each other plenty of slack.

But how do we now build on this?  What do we do next?

Politically, we operate at two essential levels:  the local, and the global.

And to stay functional, we need:  net neutrality, corporate accountability, election protection, social justice, peace.

1.  Local organizing is our ultimate source of power.

The green movement has the great luxury of tangible targets.  The King CONG corporations (Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas) need actual land on which to do their dirty work.  So we can fight them inch-by-inch, at the source.

We can count the number of nukes Nixon wanted to build (1000) and how many we stopped or shut (about 900 in the US; far more worldwide).

We can name scores of reactors that didn’t get built, did get cancelled, are now being shut, will soon be stopped.

There are also mines undrilled, mountaintops not removed, oil rigs not pumping, fracking wells cancelled, polluting factories greenly altered, and much more we’ve beaten quietly, on the ground.

There are also solar panels on rooftops, windmills generating power, electric cars in the pipeline, recycling programs in place, consumption reduced, the overall vision of a green-powered Solartopia becoming ever more tangible.

In this movement, “what can I do?” always has a ready answer:  fight the polluter next door.  Pick one and shut it down!

So after our joy walk in New York, we return to our letter writing, phone calling, neighborhood speeches, strategy meetings, classroom educating, town council lobbying, around the corner picket lines, civil disobedience, finance-sabotaging, office seeking, rate withholding, fund raising, dog-that-corrupt-politician work.

Some of these fights we may seem to lose, at least for the time being.  But it’s never over til we quit, which our survival instinct won’t let us do.  A polluter once opened can always be shut if we never give up.

So at the grassroots, we are the individual immune cells that fight toxic industrial poisons and cancerous trash at the source.  That’s the revolution that’s not televised.

2.  But our planet as a whole is now infected with a lethal mega-virus—the global corporation, a metastasized cancer that usurps human rights but shuns human responsibilities. 

A toxic tumor that demands just one thing: a constant flow of dollars, don’t ask how.

If it can make an extra dime by killing the planet, it’s bound to do just that.

Big gatherings to fight this menace can be risky, divisive, diverting and expensive.  They can come and go without apparent impact.

But they can also be amazingly effective, often in ways that are hard to see.

Last century, mass strikes built the labor movement.  They withstood violent corporate/government assaults. Without them, we would have no unions.

In 1932 a “Bonus Army” was attacked by by Herbert Hoover.  Two marchers were killed.  It seemed a dismal failure.  But it opened the door to the New Deal.

During World War 2 the mere threat of a mass march by labor leader A. Philip Randolph extracted major civil rights concessions from a reluctant Franklin Roosevelt.

Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” march changed civil rights forever.

LBJ and then Richard Nixon scorned the anti-war gatherings.  But both were forced to resign, and Nixon (NEVER forget this!) said those marches stopped him from nuking Vietnam.

Civil disobedience at Seabrook, Diablo Canyon and other reactors prompted a flood of cancellations, and opened the door to Solartopia, a green-powered Earth.

Ronald Reagan scorned the millions who marched to freeze nuke weapons, but somehow went eight years without using one.

Bush/Cheney “ignored” 15 million marchers and attacked Iraq.  But what more would they have done had we not marched?

Now millions have gathered against global warming.  And the day after, Barack Obama attacked Syria.

Did we fail?  Should we march again soon, this time with massive civil disobedience?

3.  As we work this through, there are inter-related issues we can’t avoid:

NET NEUTRALITY defines the core nervous system of what’s left of global democracy.  The corporations want it killed.  This demands everyone’s immediate attention.

CORPORATE PERSONHOOD must die by Constitutional Amendment.

ELECTION PROTECTION demands universal hand-counted paper ballots, an end to Jim Crow vote theft and a ban on the corporate billions that poison what’s left of our democracy.

SOCIAL JUSTICE, including workplace democracy and a universal living wage, means we can all live and work with integrity, no matter our diverse religions, race, gender, sexual preference, etc.  Poverty is an unsustainable form of planet-killing pollution.

PEACE means ending the suicidal idiocy of permanent imperial war.

All these difficult issues are essential to the health of our species.  We don’t get to a green-powered Earth without bringing them with us.

4.  For each of us there’s also a deep internal dimension to this work. Being an activist is itself a great leap of faith.  It can have a long list of personal costs.

But the rewards—spiritual, of the heart, in terms of inner peace—can be incomparable.

If undertaken in good faith, and with success, the ability to do movement work can be one of life’s great gifts.  Amazing joy can come with saving our only home.

After all, we are seven billion sentient beings, thinking and breathing together, inseparable from each other and the planet that gives us life.

One way or another, our Mother Earth lets us know how to undo the damage done by our baser instincts.  Our greatest test now is to cure the cancer of the global corporation.

To fight it, we might listen to our gut instincts, accept what we’re good at doing, heed our natural passions, respect our comfort zones, heal in concert with our fellow citizen who are struggling to do the same.   As the good Dr. Spock once told the young mothers of a new generation, “you know more than you think you know.”

No victory is too small to count, no polluter is too big to beat.

As we saw on this march, and in so much else we do, when we fly with non-violence and consensus, our living planet gives us generous margins.

So the specifics of our next moves are up for a good, healthy debate.  But we all know we have no choice but to win.

And that as we work our newfound power toward joyful agreement, and a peaceful trust in the will of our species to survive, we cannot fail.

Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.progressiveradionetwork.com, and he edits www.nukefree.org. Harvey Wasserman’s History of the US and Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth are atwww.harveywasserman.com along with Passions of the PotSmoking Patriots by “Thomas Paine.”  He and Bob Fitrakis have co-authored four books on election protection, including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election, at www.freepress.org.

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Planet on the Brink: Human Activity Killing the Planet’s Life-Supporting Systems

October 1, 2014
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WWF’s state of the planet report reveals alarming and avoidable biodiversity loss

Will humanity change course and act within the limits of our finite planet?  (Photo: "Masai Mara"/ Christopher Michel/flickr/cc)Will humanity change course and act within the limits of our finite planet? (Photo: “Masai Mara”/ Christopher Michel/flickr/cc)Human activity has brought the planet’s life-supporting systems to the brink of tipping points, causing an “alarming” loss in biodiversity and critical threats to the services nature has provided humankind.

So finds the newest state of the planet report (pdf) from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which offers a damning look on the health of the Earth.

“We’re gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life,” stated Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF.

Among the report’s findings is a dramatic loss in biodiversity. Its Living Planet Index, managed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and based on over 10,000 populations of over 3,000 species, shows a 52 percent decline in global wildlife between 1970 and 2010. And that’s a trend that “shows no sign of slowing down.”

Among the causes of the decline are climate change, habitat loss and degradation, and exploitation.

Breaking these losses down further, the report states that populations of freshwater species have declined 76 percent, compared to losses of 39 percent each for marine species and terrestrial populations.

Region-wise, Latin America has suffered the biggest decline in biodiversity, with species populations plummeting 83 percent.

Global wildlife populations have declined over 50 percent between 1970 and 2010.The impacts of humankind’s assault on the planet are not being felt equally, the report notes, as higher-income countries have an “ecological footprint” five times higher than those of lower-income countries. In fact, because of resource imports, high-income countries “may effectively be outsourcing biodiversity loss,” stated Keya Chatterjee, WWF’s senior director of footprint.

Looking at humanity’s overall “ecological footprint,” the report states that we need 1.5 planets to provide for the current demands on nature.

Water footprints are noted as well, and the report states that in some ares “such as Australia, India and USA …life-giving aquifers are being severely depleted.” Agriculture is responsible for the lion’s share of use, accounting for 92 percent of the global water footprint

Because of the human activity changes is causing on the planet, the report states, “we can no longer exclude the possibility of reaching critical tipping points that could abruptly and irreversibly change living conditions on Earth.”

The WWF stresses that these sobering statistics were not unavoidable, and that the challenges we now confront to effect change are not insurmountable.

“The scale of biodiversity loss and damage to the very ecosystems that are essential to our existence is alarming. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live,” stated Professor Ken Norris, Director of Science at the ZSL.

As WWF’s Roberts stated, “we already have the knowledge and tools to avoid the worst predictions. We all live on a finite planet and it’s time we started acting within those limits.”

To hear more about some of the details of the report, watch this video from ZSL:

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TV: Fukushima poses “significant health risks” to areas thousands of kilometers away

September 30, 2014

ENENews


Official Data: Lettuce from US West Coast nearly topped Chernobyl contamination limit; ‘Most dangerous’ alpha radiation also detected — TV: Fukushima poses “significant health risks” to areas thousands of kilometers away (VIDEO)

Posted: 29 Sep 2014 05:16 AM PDT

David Swanson Interviews TCBH!’s Dave Lindorff on Ukraine, Syria, and on the Militarization of America’s Police

September 29, 2014

“Let’s Try Democracy” Program on Talk Nation Radio:

 

Talk Nation Radio host David Swanson, a noted labor and peace activist who has been doggedly promoting the idea that war itself is a crime — one that was outlawed by the Kellogg-Briand Pact, ratified by the Senate 85-1 and signed by President Calvin Coolidge — interviews TCBH! founder Dave Lindorff about the crisis in Ukraine, about the US push for war against ISIS, and ultimately Syria, and about the ongoing militarization of the police in the United States.

Listen to this half-hour edition of Swanson’s program “Let’s Try Democracy,” by clicking here

TCBH!'s Dave Lindorff (l) and David Swanson, host of Talk Nation Radio's "Let's Try Democracy" program (r)TCBH!’s Dave Lindorff (l) and David Swanson, host of Talk Nation Radio’s “Let’s Try Democracy” program (r)

On the road to artificial photosynthesis: Study reveals key catalytic factors in carbon dioxide reduction

September 29, 2014

Date:
September 25, 2014
Source:
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Summary:
The excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving global climate change could be harnessed into a renewable energy technology that would be a win for both the environment and the economy. That is the lure of artificial photosynthesis in which the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is used to produce clean, green and sustainable fuels. However, finding a catalyst for reducing carbon dioxide that is highly selective and efficient has proven to be a huge scientific challenge. New experimental results have revealed the critical influence of the electronic and geometric effects in the carbon dioxide reduction reaction and might help make the problem easier to tackle.

This TEM shows gold–copper bimetallic nanoparticles used as catalysts for the reduction of carbon dioxide, a key reaction for artificial photosynthesis.
Credit: Image courtesy of Peidong Yang group, Berkeley Lab

The excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving global climate change could be harnessed into a renewable energy technology that would be a win for both the environment and the economy. That is the lure of artificial photosynthesis in which the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is used to produce clean, green and sustainable fuels. However, finding a catalyst for reducing carbon dioxide that is highly selective and efficient has proven to be a huge scientific challenge. Meeting this challenge in the future should be easier thanks to new research results from Berkeley Lab.

Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, led a study in which bimetallic nanoparticles of gold and copper were used as the catalyst for the carbon dioxide reduction. The results experimentally revealed for the first time the critical influence of the electronic and geometric effects in the reduction reaction.

“Acting synergistically, the electronic and geometric effects dictate the binding strength for reaction intermediates and consequently the catalytic selectivity and efficiency in the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide,” Yang says. “In the future, the design of carbon dioxide reduction catalysts with good activity and selectivity will require the careful balancing of these two effects as revealed in our study.”

Yang, who also holds appointments with the University of California (UC) Berkeley and the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley, is a leading authority on nanoparticle phenomena. His most recent research has focused on nanocatalysts fashioned from metal alloys rather than a single metal such as gold, tin or copper.

Nanoscience expert Peidong Yang holds appointments with Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley and the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

“By alloying, we believe we can tune the binding strength of intermediates on a catalyst surface to enhance the reaction kinetics for the carbon dioxide reduction,” he says. “Nanoparticles provide an ideal platform for studying this effect because, through appropriate synthetic processes, we can access a wide range of compositions, sizes and shapes, allowing for a deeper understanding of catalyst performance through precise control of active sites.”

In addition, Yang says, nanoparticle as catalysts have high surface-to-volume and surface-to-mass ratios that are advantageous for achieving high catalytic activity. For this new study, uniform gold-copper bimetallic nanoparticles with different compositions were assembled into ordered monolayers then observed during carbon dioxide reduction.

“The ordered monolayers served as a well-defined platform that enabled us to better understand their fundamental catalytic activity in carbon dioxide reduction,” Yang says. “Based on our observations, the activity of the gold-copper bimetallic nanoparticles can be explained in terms of the electronic effect, in which the binding of intermediates can be tuned using different surface compositions, and the geometric effect, in which the local atomic arrangement at the active site allows the catalyst to deviate from the scaling relation.”

The effects Yang and his colleagues observed for gold-copper bimetallic nanoparticles should hold true for other carbon dioxide reduction catalysts as well.

“We expect the effects we observed to be universal for a wide range of catalysts, as evidenced in other areas of catalysis such as the hydrogen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions,” says Dohyung Kim, a member of Yang’s research group and a collaborator in this study. “The factors we have identified are based on the solid concept of electrocatalysis.”

Knowing the influence of the electronic and geometric effects makes it possible to deduce how intermediate products in the reduction of carbon dioxide, such as carboxylic acid and carbon monoxide, will interact with the surface of a newly proposed catalyst and thereby provide the means for predicting the catalyst’s performance. Coupled with the exceptional structuring of active catalytic sites made possible by the use of nanoparticles, the path is paved, Yang and his colleagues believe, for unprecedented improvements in electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction.

“My group is now using the insights gained from this study in the design of next generation carbon dioxide reduction catalysts,” Yang says.

A paper describing this research has been published in Nature Communications entitled “Synergistic geometric and electronic effects for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide using gold-copper bimetallic nanoparticles.” Yang is the corresponding author and Kim is the lead author. The other co-authors are Joaquin Resasco, Yi Yu and Abdullah Mohamed Asiri.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided byDOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dohyung Kim, Joaquin Resasco, Yi Yu, Abdullah Mohamed Asiri, Peidong Yang. Synergistic geometric and electronic effects for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide using gold–copper bimetallic nanoparticles. Nature Communications, 2014; 5: 4948 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5948

Cite This Page:

DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “On the road to artificial photosynthesis: Study reveals key catalytic factors in carbon dioxide reduction.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140925150824.htm>.

Longevity Gene Therapy Is the Best Way to Defeat Aging

September 29, 2014

6 Votes

Схема-для-блога

Gene engineering is the most powerful existing tool for life extension. Mutations in certain genes result in up to 10-fold increase in nematode lifespan and in up to 2-fold increase in a mouse life expectancy. Gene therapy represents a unique tool to transfer achievements of gene engineering into medicine. This approach has already been proven successful for treatment of numerous diseases, in particular those of genetic and multigenic nature. More than 2000 clinical trials have been launched to date.

We propose developing a gene therapy that will radically extend lifespan. Genes that promote longevity of model animals will be used as therapeutic agents. We will manipulate not a single gene, but several aging mechanisms simultaneously. A combination of different approaches may lead to an additive or even a synergistic effect, resulting in a very long life expectancy. For this purpose, an animal will be affected by a set of genes that contribute to longevity. In addition, a gene therapy of all major age-related pathologies will be developed to improve the functioning of individual organs and tissues in old age. As a result, we will develop a comprehensive treatment that will not only dramatically extend lifespan, but will also prevent the decrepitude of the body. Experiments will be conducted in old mice. Thus, in case of success, the developed method of aging treatment can be quickly moved to clinical trials.

The goal of the project is to develop a complex gene therapy that will drastically increase mouse lifespan and prevent tissue pathology in old age, coupled with the safety assessment of the treatment.

Project description

11 genes that are most promising in terms of life extension (table 1) will be used as targets for gene therapy. We will affect both the biological aging mechanisms, common to all the cells of the organism, as well as the primary neuroendocrine center, that regulates the whole organism’s longevity – the hypothalamus. The expression increase or decrease of these genes in animal models was shown to result in boosted longevity. If the increase in expression of a particular gene is necessary for longevity, we will deliver this gene into the body. If, on the other hand, longevity depends on the inhibition of a certain gene’s expression, we will introduce a genetic construct that encodes small RNAs that inhibit the expression of the target gene. Two out of 10 genes have previously been used for gene therapy of aging: the lifespan of mice was increased by 20% (Zhang et al., 2013, Bernardes de Jesus et al., 2012). In addition, we will deliver 8 genes that prevent the individual tissue function disruption in old age. Each of these genes separately has previously been successfully used for gene therapy of one of the age-related diseases in rodent models (table 2).

Therapeutic genes will be introduced into the body using viral vectors – the most powerful method of delivering genetic constructs. This novel therapy that utilizes all the genes simultaniously will be used for radical life extension and for fighting decrepitude. Furthermore, each of the therapeutic genes will be tested individually. All the experiments will be conducted in 2-year old mice.

The experiments will be conducted in the following groups of experimental animals:

  • Simultaneous impact of 11 genes, known to extend life expectancy (table 1) and 8 genes that prevent the development of age-related diseases in various tissues (table 2)
  • Simultaneous impact of 11 genes, known to boost longevity (table 1)
  • Simultaneous impact of 8 genes that prevent the development of age-related pathologies in different tissues (table 2)
  • The impact of each of the 10 genes that extend lifespan, individually (11 groups of animals) (table 1)
  • Exposure to a combination of the 10 most effective geroprotectors
  • Old animals without impact
  • Young animals without impact

First of all, the efficiency of the delivery of therapeutic genes into the cells and duration of gene expression will be tested. If a tissue-specific therapy is needed, the specificity of the therapeutic construct delivery to the target tissue will be studied as well.

All groups of mice will be regularly tested for aging markers, and also the blood and adipose tissue transcriptome, proteome and metabolome will be analyzed. All age-related histological and physiological changes will be studied. Behavioral test will be performed to analyze cognitive ability and locomotor activity in mice. The average and maximum lifespan of mice will be determined. In addition, a detailed study of side effects will be performed. Mice will be compared with old mice of the control group as well as with young mice. 

Table 1. Target genes for life extending gene therapy.

Target gene The impact on gene expression Therapeutic effect
Effects on the hypothalamus
NF-кВ Expression inhibition The inhibition of NF-KB transcription factor causes an increase in hormone production by the hypothalamus with during aging and hypothalamus rejuvenation

 

UCP2 Overexpression Uncoupling protein 2 elevates the temperature of the hypothalamus, which is accompanied by a slight decrease in the overall body temperature and increased longevity
Systemic effect on most body cells
TERT Overexpression The catalytic subunit of the telomerase extends the end regions of chromosomes – the telomeres, which increase the replicative potential of cells and longevity of the body
Repetitive sequences of the genome, encoding retrotransposons Expression inhibition Inhibiting retrotransposon expression leads reduced genetic instability in old age
CRTC1 Expression inhibition Inhibiting TOR-kinase, which promotes cell growth and proliferation, leads to increased life expectancy
FOXO3 Overexpression A transcription factor that triggers stress response and promotes longevity
TFEB Overexpression A transcription factor that activates autophagy and leads to longevity
ELAVL1 Overexpression RNA – binding protein HuR stabilizes mRNA of factors regulating the cell cycle. The overexpression of HuR leads to rejuvenation of senescent cells
SIRT6 Overexpression The overexpression of sirtuin 6 – a NAD + -dependent deacetylase, leads to an increase in life expectancy
AMPK genes Overexpression AMPK overexpression triggers stress response and promotes longevity
Effect on senescent cells
HSV-TK Overexpression Herpes virus thymidine kinase promotes the transformation of a non-toxic prodrug into a toxic product. Thus, exposure to the prodrug induces death of senescent cells

 

Table 2. Target genes for gene therapy of age-related pathologies. Overexpression of these genes is necessary for the treatment of senile tissue decrepitude.

Target gene Tissue and delivery method Therapeutic effect Genetherapyresearchlinks
VEGF Systemic delivery into the blood Vascular endothelial growth factor enhances angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) Wang et al., 2004
BMP2, BMP7 Systemic delivery into the blood Bone morphogenetic proteins enhance bone formation and the fracture healing process Yue et al., 2005; Wang et al., 2008
IL-2 gene Systemic delivery into the blood A cytokine that stimulates an immune response Fayad et al., 2004
CREB Hippocampus A transcription factor that in the hippocampus leads to the improvement of long-term memory formation Mouravlev et al., 2006
IGF-1 Systemic delivery to the CNS Insulin-like growth factor-1, whose delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) causes improvement of locomotor activity Nishida et al., 2011
ecSOD Penis Extracellular superoxide dismutase improves erectile function by reducing oxidative stress Bivalacqua et al., 2003
GDNF Hypothalamus Glial-derived neurotrophic factor that reduces obesity when delivered to the hypothalamus Tumer et al., 2006
PVALB Heart A Ca2+- binding protein, that causes improvement of the hearts diastolic function Schmidt et al., 2005

Project authors: Anastasia Shubina, Mikhail Batin, Maria Konovalenko and Alexey Moskalev.

Literature

  1. Bernardes de Jesus B., Vera E., Schneeberger K., Tejera A.M., Ayuso E., Bosch F., Blasco M.A. Telomerase gene therapy in adult and old mice delays aging and increases longevity without increasing cancer // EMBO Mol Med. – 2012. – .v.4(8). – P.691-704.
  2. Bivalacqua T.J., Armstrong J.S., Biggerstaff J., Abdel-Mageed A.B., Kadowitz P.J., Hellstrom W.J., Champion H.C. Gene transfer of extracellular SOD to the penis reduces O2-* and improves erectile function in aged rats // Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. – 2003. – v.284(4). – H1408-21.
  3. Fayad R., Zhang H., Quinn D., Huang Y., Qiao L. Oral administration with papillomavirus pseudovirus encoding IL-2 fully restores mucosal and systemic immune responses to vaccinations in aged mice // J Immunol. – 2004. – v.173(4). –P.2692-8.
  4. Mouravlev A., Dunning J., Young D., During M.J. Somatic gene transfer of cAMP response element-binding protein attenuates memory impairment in aging rats // Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. – 2006. – v.103(12). – P.4705-10.
  5. Nishida F., Morel G.R., Hereñú C.B., Schwerdt J.I., Goya R.G., Portiansky E.L. Restorative effect of intracerebroventricular insulin-like growth factor-I gene therapy on motor performance in aging rats // Neuroscience. – 2011. – v.177. – P.195-206.
  6. Schmidt U., Zhu X., Lebeche D., Huq F., Guerrero J.L., Hajjar R.J. In vivo gene transfer of parvalbumin improves diastolic function in aged rat hearts // Cardiovasc Res. – 2005. – v.66(2). – P.318-23.
  7. Tümer N., Scarpace P.J., Dogan M.D., Broxson C.S., Matheny M., Yurek D.M., Peden C.S., Burger C., Muzyczka N., Mandel R.J. Hypothalamic rAAV-mediated GDNF gene delivery ameliorates age-related obesity // Neurobiol Aging. – 2006. – v.27(3). – P.459-70.
  8. Wang H., Keiser J.A., Olszewski B., Rosebury W., Robertson A., Kovesdi I., Gordon D. Delayed angiogenesis in aging rats and therapeutic effect of adenoviral gene transfer of VEGF // Int J Mol Med. – 2004. – v.13(4). – P.581-7.
  9. Wang Q-L., Han Q-L., Kang J., Gou S.-H., Wang L.-Zh. Polyethylenimine-mediated BMP-7 gene transfection promotes fracture healing in elderly rats // Academic Journal of Second Military Medical University. – 2008. – v.28(5). – P.514-518.
  10. Yue B., Lu B., Dai K.R., Zhang X.L., Yu C.F., Lou J.R., Tang T.T. BMP2 gene therapy on the repair of bone defects of aged rats // Calcif Tissue Int. – 2005. – v.77(6). – P.395-403.
  11. Zhang G., Li J., Purkayastha S., Tang Y., Zhang H., Yin Y., Li B., Liu G., Cai D. Hypothalamic programming of systemic ageing involving IKK-β, NF-κB and GnRH // Nature. – 2013. – v.497(7448). – P.211-6.

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