First the good news. Organochlorine chemicals, mostly used by farmers, take up to 25 years to degrade and are passed from animal to animal, eventually reaching the human animal, which was undoubtedly one of the reasons the chemicals were banned throughout Europe in 1989. Otters had declined drastically throughout the UK, because they were being poisoned by the chemicals leaching into the rivers. Peregrine falcons, kestrels, and herons also declined because the chemicals caused reproductive abnormalities. The good news is that the effects of the ban are showing up in an increased otter population. Falcons, kestrels, and herons are also no doubt benefitting.
The bad news that might be good news is that scientists think the world’s oil supplies are going to start running out much faster than previously thought, and that price rises due to shortages might show up in as little as four years. This is a powerful incentive to drive governments to support programs and human ingenuity aimed at finding alternative sources of energy faster and on a larger scale than we’d realized we were going to need them. If we don’t find clean alternatives, the dirty alternatives like coal and deforestation will be even more environmentally destructive than our energy use is already.
So there’s good news and there’s bad news. But maybe the bad news isn’t altogether bad.