Archive for Oceans
LMV have recently come into contact with the Terra Mar Project, a fantastic initiative that calls for the protection of the world’s high seas. The open ocean is outside of the legal jurisdiction of any government and has therefore been exploited to a dangerous extent. Overfishing and pollution have ravaged the oceans but the Terra Mar Project believes that every individual on the planet has duty to ensure the marine environment is protected. Following the Law of the Commons, which states: “The high seas belong to all of us and should be protected for generations to come”, TMP encourages people to become a ‘citizen’ of the high seas and therefore promote awareness of its plight to friends, family and contacts. Currently, less than 2% of the oceans are protected with the UK leading the way after creating the world’s largest marine reserve around the Chagos Islands.
Become a citizen of Terra Mar now and help protect the high seas of the planet.
www.independent.co.uk 16th August 2012
Scientists have created a “systematic way of scoring the health of the world’s oceans” in an attempt to evaluate their health in the face of growing problems such as pollution, overfishing, and acidification. The Ocean Health Index (graph below) places the overall health of the world’s oceans at 60 out of 100. The worst affected areas included the territorial waters of Sierra Leone, which scored just 37 and failed in every one of the ten measures the index uses to measure the sea’s health. Measures include water quality, biodiversity, and the sustainability and productivity of local maritime industries, such as fishing and tourism. Interestingly, the survey found that waters of the coasts of developed countries such as Germany differed little on the index than those in remote areas such as Jarvis Island in the Pacific Ocean. The survey was put together by 30 scientists and published in Nature. Only 5% of countries rated over 70 whereas a third were below 50. Great Britain weighed in at 61, just above the global average but below the US (63) and Germany (73).
e360.yale.edu 29th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A new study says the preservation of just 4 percent of the world’s oceans would protect critical habitat for most of the world’s marine mammal species. After comparing maps of where each of the planet’s 129 marine mammal species are found — and where conservation efforts would be most productive — scientists from Stanford University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México identified 20 areas of “species richness” based on the number of species present, risks of extinction, and the presence of species unique to the area. According to their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, preserving just nine of those 20 conservation sites, which cover 4 percent of the world’s oceans, would protect habitat for 108 species, or 84 percent of the Earth’s marine mammal species. The sites are located off the coasts of Baja California in Mexico, eastern Canada, Peru, Argentina, northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. At least 70 percent of those areas are significantly impacted by human activities, highlighting the urgency to enhance marine conservation efforts, the authors said.’
Electrolux, the second largest manufacturer of home appliances in the world, has released series of unique vacuum cleaners made out of plastic gathered from the world’s oceans. The launch was the next step in the Swedish company’s Vac from the Sea initiative, which aims to raise awareness about plastic waste in the oceans and the need for industry to achieve higher recycling rates. The five vacuum cleaners represent each of the five oceanic gyres on the planet where plastic pollution is highest and will be auctioned to raise funds for research into the problem. Although the true extent of marine plastic contamination is not known, a recent UN report has stated that there is now not a single beach in the world that hasn’t been affected.
www.bbc.co.uk 20th June 2011
According to a new report published by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the world’s oceans are in a far worse state than previously recognised. Factors such as over-fishing, pollution, and climate change are working together in a way putting marine life “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction…unprecedented in human history”. IPSO collected together experts in the fields of many marine science disciplines to write the report, including coral-reef specialists, toxicologists, ecologists and fishery specialists. “We’ve ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we’re seeing changes that are happening faster than we’d thought, or in ways that we didn’t expect to see for hundreds of years,” said Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. One of the new areas discussed by the specialists is the problem of plastics in the oceans. Plastic particles, broken down in the marine environment, act as sponges for persistent organic pollutants such as DDT and PCBs. This increases the toxin uptake rate in fish that mistake plastic for food. These chemicals then bioaccumulate up the food chain causing various harmful effects. Plastic also acts as transport for algae thereby increasing the occurrence of algal blooms. Other problems are ocean acidification and coral bleaching. Five “mass extinction events” are known to have occurred in the earth’s history and, although the report says it is too early to tell, IPSO say that if mankind continues to exploit the oceans as we are, then we will cause the sixth.
Congressman Sam Far (Democrat representing California’s 17th District) has worked hard in his political career to draw attention to the plight of the world’s oceans. It was through his hard work that the first National Ocean’s Conference in the USA was put together, held in 1998 during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The Conference was a stepping stone to the pioneering Oceans 21 bill (the Oceans Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act), which was submitted to the house by Congressman Farr and adopted by President Obama. LMV caught up with the Congressman during the 5th International Marine Debris Conference where he was a keynote speaker. He kindly granted us an interview and spoke about many of the topics he discusses in the video below.
TED, the non-profit organisation that puts on global events for ‘ideas worth spreading’, is hosting a conference on the consequences of man-made plastics in the oceans. The event takes place today (Saturday 6th November) at 8.30am Pacific Time (4.30pm GMT). It will last the whole day and will ‘bring together global thought leaders from the fields of technology, science, arts and entertainment, design, community activism and business in a dialogue on the theme of “The Global Plastic Pollution Crisis”’. Speaker include British environmentalist David de Rothschild (founder of Plastiki), Ed Begley Jr. (American Actor and Environmentalist), and Captain Charles Moore (the discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), and many more (see the full list here).
e360.yale.edu 19th September 2010
Quoted from source:
‘With only 1 percent of the planet’s oceans currently under protection, the international community has fallen far short of the 10 percent target set at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Convention on Biological Diversity, according to a new report. And even that percentage is inflated by the protection of very large marine parks, leaving numerous vulnerable areas unrepresented and unprotected, said Mark Spalding, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy and one of the report’s editors. While more than 4.2 million square-kilometers of ocean are now protected — about 1.17 percent of the planet’s marine area — most of that is in the continental shelf areas. The report says efforts so far have failed to protect a representative selection of regions, species, and habitats critical for biodiversity and conservation — particularly as scientists learn more about the effects of climate change on the planet’s oceans. The report was released by a coalition that includes scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the UN Environmental Program.’
e360.yale.edu 22nd September 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The warming trend on the planet has reached deep into world oceans over the last two decades, particularly in the waters around Antarctica, according to a new study. While earlier studies have shown that the upper levels of the planet’s oceans are getting warmer, scientists with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say their latest research shows that waters at a depth of 3,300 feet and more have absorbed about 16 percent of the heat accumulating in the upper layers of the ocean. While the temperature increase is relatively slight — about 0.02 degrees C per decade in the Southern Ocean, and less elsewhere — researchers say it’s still a significant increase given the massive volume of water involved and the high capacity of water to absorb heat. That temperature increase has not only caused ocean water to expand worldwide, increasing sea levels, but has contributed to the melting of some Antarctic ice sheets, according to the paper, published in the Journal of Climate. Sea levels around Antarctica have increased by 3 millimeters annually — about an eighth of an inch — since 1993.’