EnviroBuild name an amphibian in honour of Donald Trump's commitment to environmental issues.
Published on: Dec 18, 2018
Last updated: Feb 05, 2019
As long-time supporter of Rainforest Trust, we were intrigued by an auction to name new species of flora and fauna discovered in rainforests being protected through our donations.
Paying $25,000, the highest price in the entire auction, EnviroBuild bought the naming rights for the caecilian, a type of Panamanian amphibian, which we have chosen to call Dermophis donaldtrumpi after Donald Trump.
What are Caecilians?
Caecilians is taken from the Latin Caecus meaning “blind”, and have rudimentary eyes which can only detect light or dark. Capable of seeing the world only in black and white, Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese1.
The dermophis genus grows an extra layer of skin which their young use their teeth to peel off and eat, a behaviour known as dermatrophy. As a method of ensuring their children survive in life Donald Trump prefers granting them high roles in the Oval Office2.
The amphibians live almost entirely underground, believed to have lost their limbs at least 60 million years ago, as an adaptation to burrowing. Burrowing its head underground helps Donald Trump when avoiding scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change and also appointed several energy lobbyists to the Environment Agency, where their job is to regulate the energy industry3.
Caecilians have tentacles used in a sensory capacity to help them find prey. “This Thing Has Tentacles We Have No Idea About” was said by Juliette Kayyem, a former federal prosecutor and a Homeland Security official in the Obama administration talking special council Mueller’s investigation into alleged interference of Russia in US elections4.
The opportunity to name a species is usually reserved for biologists who spend often painstaking years in the field so was too good an opportunity to miss. The name will still have to undergo peer review, something that biologists EnviroBuild have spoken to had stressed the importance of, but multiple species are named after Presidents, and this amphibian will soon join the vulnerable list.
As Demorphus donaldtrumpi is an amphibian, it is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct as a direct result of its namesake's climate policies7.
EnviroBuild is not an overtly political organisation, but we do feel very strongly that everyone should do everything they can to leave the world in a better way than they found it. It was saddening to see another year without significant progress at the most recent round of COP talks, COP24 in Katowice5. Further progress on the essential technical elements was blocked by the unusual alliance of USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who also blocked the adoption of a key scientific report6.
Chris Redston, of Rainforest Trust UK, said, "Protecting the world's remaining rainforests is now acknowledged as one of the most effective ways to mitigate climate change, yet every day nearly 70,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed forever. This is not only one of the main causes of climate change, but it is also having a devastating impact on endangered wildlife, indigenous communities and the planet's weather patterns."
You can read more about the auction here, which has raised £145,300 for conservation.
A Quick Update:
While the story itself is lighthearted, EnviroBuild are really aiming to push forward an important message; with climate change only accelerating, legislation still isn't doing enough to apply the brakes. This means the only option is to create new avenues ourselves in which we change the way we buy, build and live our lives.
- Donald Trump on climate change being a hoax
Donald Trump appointing his children to the Oval Office
- Trump appoints energy lobbyists to EPA
- Juliette Kayyem Quote
- Failure of COP24 talks
- Nicholas Stern, the former World Bank chief economist and author of a seminal review of the economics of climate change, said: “It is clear that the progress we are making is inadequate, given the scale and urgency of the risks we face. The latest figures show carbon dioxide emissions are still rising. A much more attractive, clean and efficient path for economic development and poverty reduction is in our hands.”
- Johan Rockstrom, director designate at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “My biggest concern is that the UN talks failed to align ambitions with science. We continue to follow a path that will take us to a very dangerous 3-4C warmer world within this century. Extreme weather events hit people across the planet already, at only 1C of warming.”
- The current policies that countries have made as part of the agreement put the world on track for 3 to 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100, according to Climate Action Tracker, an independent research effort, whereas the pledges bring this down to 2.7 to 3.0 degrees.
- Blocking of key scientific report:
- According to CNN:
- The United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait, however, stood in the way last week of "welcoming" the findings of the scientists. The Trump administration has denied the basic consensus of climate science, which is that humans are causing dangerous warming by burning fossil fuels.
- That report is an "ear-splitting wake-up call," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said upon its release. The science crunched the timeline for doing something and upped the stakes of inaction. In Poland, Guterres said it would be "suicidal" and "immoral" to fail at COP24.
- Scientific consensus:
- The UN (http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/);
- “Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment”
- The EU (https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international_en);
- Fighting climate change requires action from all countries across the world.
- NASA (https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/);
- “Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming”
- And the USA’s National Climate Assessment (https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/),
- “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States”
Source Photo 1: Caecilian / Geotrypetes seraphini. Photograph Matthijs Kuijpers. Donald Trump Holds Media Availability In Portsmouth, New Hampshire Photograph: Matthew Cavanaugh. Photo montage creation: EnviroBuild.
Source Photo 2: The 10cm-long amphibian Dermophis donaldtrumpi. Photograph: Rainforest Trust UK
Photo 1 High Res Download - Here
Photo 2 High Res Download - Here