Breaking Waves: Ocean News

06/18/2018 - 00:00
Retailer offers incentive to send back worn and unwanted items instead of binning them John Lewis is to buy back worn and unwanted clothing from its customers – including underwear and old socks – in a UK industry first that aims to reduce the 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste going into landfill each year. Customers can arrange through an app to have any unwanted clothing that they bought from John Lewis collected from their home, and they will be paid for each item regardless of its condition. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 23:30
Chanonry Point, Moray Firth: These cetaceans kill their porpoise cousins. Do they see them as competition for food? Or are they just killing for sport? There are occasions when nature shatters our cosy assumptions. Last week we were watching the bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) on the Moray Firth, much loved by tourists because they come so close to shore. They flip and leap, roll and dive, singly or in pods of a dozen or more, only a few yards from camera-clicking visitors thronging the shingle spit. The dolphins gather in the Chanonry narrows to feast on salmon migrating upstream to spawn. We often see salmon being flung high in the air and swallowed whole. A feeding spectacle. We know dolphins eat fish and we are comfortable with it. But what we witnessed in front of our lenses that day spun us into shock. Forget film-star Flipper, forget frolicking Fungie in Dingle Bay, forget chummy Sebastian in Disney’s Shark Tale – these Moray Firth dolphins are killers. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 18:01
Sir David Attenborough to tour new premises that showcase the extinct moa bird’s feathers When Sir David Attenborough opens the University of Cambridge’s zoology museum this week, the proud curators will show him their fabulous discovery. It’s fair to say the casual visitor might wonder why they are so excited by the scruffy frame containing a few cobwebby grey-brown wisps, discovered during a £4.1m redevelopment of the museum. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 13:00
The NT government has lifted its fracking moratorium despite fierce opposition, reflecting the war of attrition being waged by gas companies • An unconventional gas boom: the rise of CSG in Australia When the Northern Territory government announced a moratorium on fracking in 2016, it was a victory for those fighting the expansion of the unconventional gas industry. That elation was replaced with shock and disappointment in April, when the chief minister, Michael Gunner, said the practice could resume following a 15-month scientific inquiry. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 13:00
New report says Australian companies lag behind international organisations Australian companies are not doing enough work to model the risks of climate change and how it will affect their profitability, a new report by a thinktank says. Progressive thinktank the Centre for Policy Development says that while most companies have committed to considering what climate change and the Paris climate agreement means for their business strategy, too few have begun using scenario analysis techniques to model what its impacts could be and how to respond to it. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 13:00
In two decades coal seam gas has come to account for 30% of gas production. Here’s how the picture varies state to state • ‘Not safe, not wanted’: is the end of NT fracking ban a taste of things to come? Australia’s production of coal seam gas has risen exponentially since 1995, going from zero to 30% of the country’s overall gas production in 2015-16. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 08:01
Firm hopes to better conventional batteries to store renewably generated power A chemical compound commonly used to boost crop yields could be the answer to helping the world increase its consumption of renewable energy. In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5m pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a new form of energy storage. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 07:14
In nearly 30 years, a bunch of surfers concerned about pollution have become a serious marine conservation force. An unexpected royal patronage has given them more funding and greater reach than ever to fight plastic pollution Despite its eye-catching name, Surfers Against Sewage probably owes its existence to plastic. “The advent of panty-liners meant you could really see sewage slicks. Condoms, panty-liners and other plastic refuse made for a visceral, and visual, reminder of pollution,” Chris Hines, surfer and co-founder of this small charity in Cornwall, recalled in Alex Wade’s book, Surf Nation. Sick of ear, throat and gastric infections, he and others called a meeting in St Agnes village hall. A who’s who of the most committed, passionate surfers in Cornwall – and just about the whole village – turned out. It was 1990 and Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) was born. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 06:00
Head of Syngenta, world’s biggest pesticide maker, says rejecting farming tech could have serious consequences within 20 years The world is likely to face food shortages within 20 years if pesticides and genetically modified crops are shunned, according to the head of the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturer. J Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Syngenta, also said the technologies to produce more food from less land are vital in halting climate change, but that better targeting will mean farmers around the world will use less pesticide in future. Continue reading...
06/17/2018 - 03:00
There is a crisis in the countryside – and a massive decline in insect numbers could have significant consequences for the environment When Simon Leather was a student in the 1970s, he took a summer job as a postman and delivered mail to the villages of Kirk Hammerton and Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire. He recalls his early morning walks through its lanes, past the porches of houses on his round. At virtually every home, he saw the same picture: windows plastered with tiger moths that had been attracted by lights the previous night and were still clinging to the glass. “It was quite a sight,” says Leather, who is now a professor of entomology at Harper Adams University in Shropshire. But it is not a vision that he has experienced in recent years. Those tiger moths have almost disappeared. “You hardly see any, although there used to be thousands in summer and that was just a couple of villages.” Continue reading...