Breaking Waves: Ocean News

07/10/2016 - 03:15
New research into the complex links of the food chain suggest that the lovable mammals play a key role in managing carbon dioxide levels Charles Darwin once mused on the impacts that predators could have on the landscapes around them. In particular, he wondered – in On the Origin of Species – how neighbourhood cats might affect the abundance of flowers in the fields near his house at Downe in Kent. He concluded the animals’ potential to change local flora was considerable. A robust cat population, he argued, would mean that local mouse numbers would be low and that, in turn, would mean there would high numbers of bumble bees – because mice destroy bee combs and nests. And as bees pollinate clover, Darwin argued that this cascade of oscillating species numbers would result in there being more clover in fields in areas where there are lots of feline pets. Cats mean clover, in short. Continue reading...
07/10/2016 - 02:00
A group of Dutch entrepreneurs has used their country’s wet weather as a business opportunity by creating a rainwater bitter It may have been the wettest June since records began in some of the Netherlands, but that’s no reason for the Dutch to be despondent. A small group of entrepreneurs has demonstrated that it’s the perfect excuse to make beer, launching a brew made from rainwater. Continue reading...
07/10/2016 - 00:00
Baking your own bread sounds like the pinnacle of green cooking, but we still need to be aware of road miles and heat use For a non-baker (like me), a zero-energy cake used to mean one someone else made. But I’ve forced myself to recognise the footprint of shop-bought croissants and cream puffs. It’s no joke. First, there are obviously the giant ovens devouring energy, then there’s industrial baking’s reliance on palm oil, too. A new report highlights the devastating impact of the continued march of palm oil monocultures. A further ingredient is bread miles: in the UK an estimated 130m extra road miles are caused by getting “fresh” bread into stores. Home baking gives you some control. But a homemade cake still has an impact. Research from the Centre for Alternative Technology highlighted the impact of the eggs (1.8kg of CO2 per box) and the 350 ears of wheat it takes for one loaf. Continue reading...
07/09/2016 - 02:00
From female basket weavers in Tanzania to the women farming salt in Gujarat, social enterprises are helping women become clean energy entrepreneurs “People call us Mama Solar,” says Solar Sister entrepreneur Hilaria Paschal. In her native Tanzania, Paschal and her fellow basket weavers buy solar lights and clean cookstoves from Solar Sister, a social enterprise empowering women to bring clean energy to rural African communities, and sell them to friends and neighbours living without access to electricity. The women pay for the products with savings, income from other businesses, funding circles or through Solar Sister’s startup funding packages. Paschal has sold products to more than 1,000 people, channelling the income into her children’s school fees and expanding her basket weaving business. Now, she mentors other women keen to gain economic independence. Continue reading...
07/09/2016 - 01:52
The two most important bike races in the world are on right now: but you can only watch the Tour de France boys on telly. Meanwhile, fans of the Giro Rosa must check Twitter to follow the girls. Helen Pidd talks to TV networks — and cycling commentator Ned Boulting —to find out why July is the best month of the year for cycling fans: three glorious weeks of the Tour de France to gorge on, provided you can wrestle the remote from any Wimbledon watchers in your life. Yet while it is possible to watch Mark Cavendish’s renaissance live on both Eurosport and ITV4, anyone wanting to follow the Giro Rosa has to make do with crumbs posted on social media. Continue reading...
07/08/2016 - 23:30
South Uist If the oystercatchers had sounded anxious, the new arrival sounds almost desperate, for its call has a panicky breathlessness about it At the end of a hot summer day what could be pleasanter than a peaceful evening stroll down to the beach? The sun is still warm, there’s just the lightest of breezes, and the only sound to be heard is that of a skylark singing overhead. But we haven’t walked far before an oystercatcher takes to the air, uttering a succession of loud, shrill calls. Over and over again it repeats its brief, anxious notes as it flies over our heads away across the field, and then returns to make another pass above us. A second oystercatcher a little further away echoes the vocal performance so that our eyes are constantly drawn to one or the other. They accompany us for a 100 metres or more along the track without once letting up. Then they are joined by a lapwing. Continue reading...
07/08/2016 - 17:15
Professor Hugh Possingham says authorities must confront prospect that some parts of reef are doomed and focus on what to preserve Governments must decide which parts of the Great Barrier Reef they most want to save and confront the prospect that some of it may be doomed, an expert on conservation modelling has warned. University of Queensland professor Hugh Possingham said agencies, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, needed to make tough decisions about which parts of the natural wonder are most worth preserving “rather than trying to save everything”. Continue reading...
07/08/2016 - 14:20
Ocean Leadership ~ http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=222a27da663bc7a6c129815e5&id=314c858747 The post ONW: Week of July 4, 2016 – Number 325 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/08/2016 - 13:23
Ocean Leadership ~ Perhaps the 4th of July sparked a little bipartisanship among Congress because they dove back into work this week, passing the Global Food Security Act with 85% of the House voting in favor. The bill has already passed the Senate by voice vote and now sits on the President’s desk. The Global Food Security Act, which has been three years in the making, would make “Feed the Future” (a global hunger and food security initiative) law. This will improve the lives of rural poor worldwide by increasing investment in more productive agriculture and better nutrition and would reduce corresponding threats to global and national security.   When most people think of food security, they often only think of agriculture. Thus, words such as “ocean” and “aquaculture” are not found in the recently-passed bill. But food security is not just about agriculture and terrestrial food sources but marine ones as well. Our ocean provides food for the ever-increasing coastal population — fish account for almost 17% of the global population’s intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it can top 70%. While the bill doesn’t specifically address ocean health as a part of food security, it does require the president to develop and implement a comprehensive global food security strategy with a whole-of-government approach. Components of the strategy must include a multi-sectoral approach to food and nutrition security; integrating resilience into food security programs; developing community and producer resilience to natural disasters; and harnessing science, technology, and innovation. These components all relate to the ocean, and we at COL will raise it as part of the national conversation on food security While we talk about ocean and food security, we must also consider myriad impacts of ocean health on the ability of our ocean to feed the growing human population. Ocean acidification, warming waters, and sea level rise all threaten global fish stocks and ocean health, as well as coastal agriculture in many areas. We need to emphasize, to both policymakers and the public, the critical role of sound science in ensuring our ocean is healthy and sustainable and can provide for our world’s people. The members of COL are doing groundbreaking research and development in many areas related to this topic, including aquaculture, marine genomics, and ecosystem management.  Next week, we’re going to try something new with our weekly newsletter – sending it to you on Monday afternoon. If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns about this, please email us at [email protected] -JonRADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)President and CEOConsortium for Ocean Leadership  Member Highlight Nile Crocodiles Identified In South Florida, Scientists Say There may be a deadly new invasive species lurking in Florida’s swamps. A team of scientists from the University of Florida has identified three reptiles captured near Miami as Nile crocodiles, a species native to Africa. The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 7-8-2016 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/08/2016 - 12:49
Sadiq Khan plans to introduce a new charge for London’s most polluting cars (Report, 5 July). The mayor is right to propose bold action to tackle the public health crisis of air pollution, which causes thousands of premature deaths each year in London. Liberal conservative thinktank Bright Blue is calling for city councils throughout England to be given the powers to set up low-emission zones, so that similar radical action can be taken wherever air pollution is a problem. The government’s current air-quality plan gives low-emission zones to just five other English cities, despite many others being affected by harmful pollution. It also excludes private cars from any charges. The revenue raised by low-emission zones should be used to fund a national diesel scrappage scheme, so that dirty vehicles are taken off our roads for good. Sixty years after the Clean Air Act 1956 was signed into law, the government must urgently address today’s challenge from polluting cars.Sam HallResearcher, Bright Blue Continue reading...