Breaking Waves: Ocean News

08/10/2020 - 11:59
Enhanced photosynthesis holds promise of higher yields in a drought-afflicted future Tobacco plants have been modified with a protein found in algae to improve their photosynthesis and increase growth, while using less water, in a new advance that could point the way to higher-yielding crops in a drought-afflicted future. The technique focuses on photosynthesis, the complex process by which plants are able to use sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce nutrients that fuel their growth. Enhancing photosynthesis would produce huge benefits to agricultural productivity, but the complexities of the process have stymied many past attempts to harness it. Continue reading...
08/10/2020 - 10:01
Seed-coating chemicals harm birds’ development, study finds US and Canada have lost 29% of birds since 1970 Popular pesticides are causing bird species to decline at an alarming rate in the US, adding fuel to a 50-year downward trend in bird biodiversity, a new report has found. Related: Chirp to arms: musicians record album to help conserve endangered birds Continue reading...
08/10/2020 - 09:03
Stranded oil tanker is breaking up, threatening even greater ecological devastation People living in Mauritius have described the devastation caused by an oil spill from a stranded tanker and called for urgent international help to stop the ecological and economic damage overwhelming the island nation. More than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has already seeped from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio into the sea off south-east Mauritius, polluting the coral reefs, white-sand beaches and pristine lagoons that attract tourists from around the world. Continue reading...
08/10/2020 - 05:30
Indigenous leader Célia Xakriabá and Vagina Monologues author V discuss Brazil’s biodiversity crisis and why this is the century of the indigenous woman Célia Xakriabá is the voice of a new generation of female indigenous leaders who are leading the fight against the destruction of Brazil’s forests both in the Amazon and the lesser known Cerrado, a savannah that covers a fifth of the country. V, formerly Eve Ensler, is the award-winning author of the Vagina Monologues, an activist and founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against all women and girls and the Earth. The two recently held a conversation in which V asked Xakriabá about what is happening to Brazil’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples, and why women are the key to change. V: Many people, especially in the west, don’t really understand what’s happening to the Cerrado in Brazil. Can you tell us what’s happening to the forests?C: It’s very tough at this moment. Every minute one person dies of Covid-19, but also every minute one tree is cut. And whenever a tree is cut, a part of us is cut, a part of us also dies, because the territory dies and with no territory there is no air, no good air for everyone in the world. People can’t breathe. So all this Covid contamination, it gets to the territory through the miners, the gold miners, the loggers and the rangers. And now that we are getting to August, we get even more worried about the fires, all the fires that burned the Amazon last year. It’s going to come back. Continue reading...
08/10/2020 - 03:00
The majestic fish inspired Ernest Hemingway but as numbers falter alternatives to landing the ocean giants are finding favour Read more in our Seascape series As a child, I strolled the docks during the Big Rock tournament in Morehead City, North Carolina. Fishermen strung huge marlins up by their tails. Bills down, the marlins’ flashing silver bodies drained to a dull blue-gray. Awestruck, people posed for photos with the dead fish, as they do today. To reel one in, according to Dr Ellen Peel, executive director of the Billfish Foundation, “is almost like ballet. It takes a lot of orchestration and choreography. Everyone has their job. It’s a fascinating team sport to watch.” Continue reading...
08/10/2020 - 01:45
Growing oil spill from MV Wakashio threatens ecological and economic disaster A ship that ran aground off Mauritius leaking tonnes of oil into the ocean is cracking up, the country’s prime minister has said, threatening an even greater ecological and economic disaster for the island nation. More than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has seeped from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio into the sea off south-east Mauritius, polluting the coral reefs, white-sand beaches and pristine lagoons that lure tourists from around the globe. Continue reading...
08/09/2020 - 21:02
Exclusive: Taneti Maamau says Kiribati will seek support from China and other allies to elevate islands from the sea, partly through dredging Kiribati will raise its islands above the ocean as part of its fight against sea-level rise, seeking help from its new diplomatic partner China to secure the archipelagic nation’s future, the country’s newly re-elected president has said. In his first in-depth interview since his resounding election win in June, Taneti Maamau told the Guardian international co-operation would be on Kiribati’s terms: he said he would not accept large loans “from any country”, and would not allow China to build a base on Kiribati’s strategically significant Christmas Island, south of Hawaii. Continue reading...
08/09/2020 - 04:00
Donations to support the president’s re-election have flooded in from a fossil fuel industry that has enjoyed three years of energy deregulation and tax cuts In mid-June the oil pipeline billionaire Kelcy Warren hosted a fundraising bash at his palatial Dallas, Texas, home that drew the presence of Donald Trump and raised $10m for the US president’s campaign coffers. Warren’s fundraising gusher for Trump occurred after he and his wife had donated a hefty $1.7m since 2019 to Trump Victory, a fundraising vehicle for Trump’s re-election and the Republican National Committee, according to the non-partisan Open Secrets group. Continue reading...
08/09/2020 - 02:00
Thousands turn to rivers and canals for exercise, fresh air and easy social distancing To celebrate his 40th birthday last week, Adam Partington and his partner, Gemma Cann, took to the River Cam on new paddleboards with a goodies hamper strapped to the front. After gliding past Cambridge’s ancient colleges, the couple stopped at Grantchester Meadows at the edge of the city for a picnic and celebratory glass of bubbly before paddling back to their starting point. Continue reading...
08/09/2020 - 01:00
Two prominent ‘lukewarmers’ take climate science denial to another level, offering tepid manifestos at best It is no longer credible to deny that the average temperature around the world is rising and that other phenomena, such as extreme weather events, are also shifting. People can now see with their own eyes that the climate is changing around them. Nor is it tenable to deny that the Earth’s warming is driven by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, resulting from human activities, such as the production and burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Such denial is only now promoted by cranks and conspiracy theorists who also think, for instance, that the Covid-19 pandemic is linked to the development of the 5G network. Continue reading...