Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/20/2019 - 07:59
Church of England and large Australian superannuation funds among shareholders who pushed for environmental decision The commodities trader Glencore has bowed to pressure from shareholders to limit coal production for environmental reasons – days after reporting that it produced nearly 130m tonnes of the fossil fuel last year. The Switzerland-based firm, whose oil-trading operation is based in London, laid out plans to improve its environmental record, including a review of its membership of trade bodies it fears may be undermining the international Paris climate agreement. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 06:44
The Faroes will be closed to tourists – except 100 volunteers – for a weekend in April as part of a campaign to promote tourism and sustainability In parts of the Faroe Islands it rains 300 days a year, a national dish is wind-dried fermented mutton and the population of 50,000 people is outnumbered by sheep. Transforming this archipelago between Shetland and Iceland into a mainstream tourism destination was never going to be easy. However, the Faroese pride themselves on inventiveness and practicality, qualities that have seen tourist numbers increasing 10% a year over the past five years. In part, it’s down to the work of Guðrið Hojgaard, director of the island’s tourist board, who has been selected by Politico as one of the 28 people most likely to “shape the world in 2019”. Hojgaard is behind the idea that the Faroes “will be closed from 26-28 April”, except for the 100 tourist volunteers who will be given free board and lodging in return for helping with practical projects to improve facilities for the 60,000 visitors who now choose the Faroe Islands for a holiday. The idea (more information at preservefaroeislands.com) is that tourists and locals collaborate on marking paths, creating signs and improving access to beauty spots that have become a success on Instagram. Lord of the Rings-style mountains, cute puffins and shaggy, shaggy sheep that come in dozens of different shades have made this a favourite destination for social media influencers. They fall for its quaintness: turf-roofed houses, dramatic waterfalls and misty Avalon-style landscapes. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 06:00
Pollution from Cannon air force base has gone unreported for decades. Now it’s threatening the US food supply For months, Clovis, New Mexico, dairy farmer Art Schaap has been watching his life go down the drain. Instead of selling milk, he is dumping 15,000 gallons a day – enough to provide a carton at lunch to 240,000 children. Instead of working 24/7 to keep his animals healthy, he’s planning to exterminate all 4,000 of his cows, one of the best herds in his county’s booming dairy industry. The 54-year-old second-generation dairy farmer learned last August that his water, his land, his crops – even the blood in his body – were contaminated with chemicals that migrated to his property from nearby Cannon air force base. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 06:00
Hipster tastes have fueled a spike in succulent poaching. Now conservationists are finding creative ways to rescue them When most people drive through the Cactus Forest in Saguaro national park, their gazes are fixed skyward. Towering saguaros fill the view on either side of the road, rising 40, even 60ft high, their human-like arms outstretched. But on a recent December afternoon, Ray O’Neil was focused on the ground. He was looking for holes. As the park’s chief ranger, O’Neil is on constant alert for an unusual menace: cactus poachers. Saguaros aren’t just beautiful to look at; they also fetch a hefty price, up to $100 a foot, on the black market, where they are enormously popular with landscapers. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 02:27
UK’s Molly Scott Cato among those held after action over stockpiling of US nuclear bombs Three Green MEPs – including one from the UK – have been arrested after breaking into a Belgian military airbase to protest against its stockpiling of American B61 nuclear bombs. The MEPs – Molly Scott Cato, Michèle Rivasi and Tilly Metz – unfurled a banner on a runway for F-16 fighter jets at the Kleine Brogel base in the east of the country calling for a nuclear-free Europe, before being taken into custody. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 01:00
Plastic is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere – potentially posing serious risks to our health. A crew of scientists and activists is conducting a hands-on investigation When I arrive at the marina in Victoria on a late-July morning, the sky and water are complementary shades of azure. On the deck of the 72ft shiny-bright Sea Dragon, moored here in the island capital of British Columbia for just one day, are four young women, part of the crew of the research voyage “eXXpedition”. They’re hauling buckets of black sludge up to the deck from the ocean floor. The team will meticulously pack the wet sand from the harbor floor into little glass jars. These jars will be added to a library of sand, water and air samples that they’ve collected over the past six weeks from across the north Pacific. They’ll ship some of those samples off to Plymouth, England, to be analyzed by eXXpedition’s marine scientist Imogen Napper. The idea is that by cataloging this library, she and the team will begin to get a better sense of what kind of plastic is out there in the ocean. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 01:00
Washington state’s Democratic governor wants to ‘put the pedal to the metal’ to save the planet The US stands virtually alone in the world in having a leader who openly dismisses the reality of climate change. But amid growing concern among Americans about the overheating planet, one potential 2020 presidential candidate is aiming to hoist climate to the top of the agenda. Jay Inslee, the gravel-voiced governor of Washington, is poised to enter the throng of Democrats vying to dislodge Donald Trump as president in the 2020 election. He’s made some exploratory moves, visiting Nevada and New Hampshire, and said a definitive decision on running will be taken in “weeks”. Continue reading...
02/20/2019 - 01:00
Research shows loss in yields could be offset by reorienting diets away from grain-fed meat Europe would still be able to feed its growing population even if it switched entirely to environmentally friendly approaches such as organic farming, according to a new report from a thinktank. A week after research revealed a steep decline in global insect populations that has been linked to the use of pesticides, the study from European thinktank IDDRI claims such chemicals can be phased out and greenhouse gas emissions radically reduced in Europe through agroecological farming, while still producing enough nutritious food for an increasing population. Continue reading...
02/19/2019 - 22:43
Scientists invited to collaborate on climate change following mass fish kills and royal commission findings In the wake of mass fish kills in the Menindee Lakes in January and scorching criticism of its stewardship of the Murray-Darling Basin, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has announced that it will upgrade its scientific work on climate change and the river system. The authority’s chief executive, Phillip Glyde, has invited the scientific community to collaborate on its work on climate change. Continue reading...
02/19/2019 - 21:24
Case against demolition of Allianz Stadium hears government failed to investigate reports of contamination A legal challenge to the New South Wales government’s controversial plan to demolish Sydney’s Allianz Stadium before next month’s state election has heard the government “suppressed” the release of a report showing the site was contaminated with potentially carcinogenic material. Local Democracy Matters, a group set up to fight the amalgamation of Randwick and Waverley councils 18 months ago, is seeking to halt the demolition of the stadium before the election by arguing the government failed to follow its own planning rules. Continue reading...