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Oceans

Oceans

Insidious Indifference: Our Role in Marine Pollution and the Impact of Animals Eating Plastic Particles

July 15, 2019
animals eating plastic

As humanity’s dependence on plastic has continued to swell, so too has its ecological footprint on ocean pollution. Disposing of waste without weighing the consequences has resulted in problematic repercussions for animals eating plastic particles without realizing how it may harm them. Humanity needs to take note of our culpability in widespread marine devastation and pursue a more sustainable approach.

 

The Threat of Pollution and Animals Eating Plastic Particles

When we reflect on marine pollution, most of us probably envision hapless animals tangled in plastic bags or six-pack rings. While this image accurately speaks to a subset of our pollution woes, the unfortunate reality is that it’s a far more significant problem than we likely perceive.

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Oceans

Threats to the Ocean From Poor Water Management

June 27, 2019
threats to the ocean

When you see a puddle on the street, or a flowerpot full of rain, it’s natural to think this water is separate from the ocean. After all, it’s miles from the coastline. The way we treat water that far inland shouldn’t have an effect on a marine ecosystem such a distance away — but it does.

In truth, all of the earth’s water is connected. The water cycle is a series of linked processes turning in an endless loop, from evaporation to precipitation and runoff. A seemingly harmless action may have consequences elsewhere, and large-scale mismanagement of water can result in serious threats to the ocean.

To visualize the idea, consider the path of a stream. The stream will eventually lead into a river, and the river will eventually lead into the sea. If someone pollutes the stream, it has far-reaching implications beyond the stream itself, causing issues as the contaminants travel toward their inevitable destination.

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Oceans

Repealing Clean Water Act Could Devastate Our Waters

June 13, 2019
clean water act

During 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order allowing former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Secretary Scott Pruitt to begin the process of replacing the Clean Water Act. Stating the move stemmed from a desire to protect the interests of industry, the president once again demonstrates he has little understanding of the reality of environmental devastation and what unfettered pollution will do to the human population, including to business leaders and their brain children. Even though Pruitt recently stepped down as head of the EPA, his replacement Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, promises to be every bit as hostile to the planet.

The waterways of the world are interconnected through series of smaller streams, seasonal wetlands and underground aquifers where humans draw their drinking water. In 2015, former President Obama clarified a rule stating prior to any development destroying a natural water source, the developer must receive a special permit from the EPA. The revocation of this requirement will not only affect smaller streams — it will affect the entirety of the precious resource American citizens rely upon for their very survival.

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Oceans

Water Shows Us More Diversity in the Galápagos Species Than We Initially Thought

June 3, 2019
galapagos species

Scientists already know that the Galápagos Islands are home to an impressive amount of biodiversity. However, a new study shows they’re even more biodiverse than expected due to the number of non-native species migrating to the area. Scientists are concerned because they don’t yet know how these so-called alien species will impact the ones native to the Galápagos Islands.

The Galapágos Islands famously aided much of Charles Darwin’s research, and scientists are still looking into why the species diversity occurred. Recent conclusions indicate that although researchers thought only five non-native marine invertebrate species were living there, there are at least 53.

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Oceans

“Artifishal:” the New Documentary Exposing the World of Farmed Fish

May 20, 2019
Artifishal

A new documentary film by outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25. The film is titled “Artifishal” and takes a look at the practice of farming fish and the unsustainability of the practice. The documentary looks at fish hatcheries, farms and the environment surrounding fish found in the wild. The focus of the film is on Icelandic salmon.

Patagonia partnered with the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) and started an Against the Current campaign to stop open-net pens in Iceland from growing in number. The filmmakers encourage viewers to sign a petition to ban open-net salmon farms in Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Ireland, and thus far has over 10,000 signatures.

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Oceans

Reclaimed Water May Be One of the Biggest Focuses of Wastewater in 2019

May 2, 2019
reclaimed water

As the global population grows and droughts hit many areas of the world, governments, businesses and individuals are looking for ways to ensure access to water. Reclaimed water is a major focus of these efforts and will likely get even more attention in 2019.

Reclaimed or recycled water is used more than once before being released back into the environment. It could refer to wastewater, stormwater, runoff and water from other sources. Depending on where it comes from and its intended use, the water may undergo treatment before reuse.

You can use reclaimed water for nearly any purpose as long as it’s treated adequately. You can use it to water farms, lawns and golf courses. Companies can apply it in their manufacturing processes. It can be used to fill lakes and fight fires. It can even be used as drinking water, although that requires more intensive treatment.

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Oceans

10 Ways to Prevent Ocean Noise Pollution

April 25, 2019
ocean noise pollution

The average person associates the word “pollution” with carbon emissions, chemicals and debris. Pollution takes the form of smoke, exhaust from vehicles, oil spills and the discarded refuse that contaminates the country’s coastlines. By comparison, noise pollution doesn’t receive nearly as much attention.

Even so, noise pollution is just as dangerous as the more visible manifestations of pollution. In certain environments, noise pollution can even prove deadly. You don’t have to look further than our oceans to find an example of this, with ocean noise pollution causing the death of precious marine life, including whales.
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Oceans

Ocean Heat Waves Threaten Marine Wildlife

April 8, 2019
ocean heat waves

You usually hear on the news about large heat waves that occur over land, but we rarely hear about them happening in the ocean. They do take place, and according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, they’re becoming more frequent.

The paper, titled Marine Heatwaves Threaten Global Biodiversity and the Provision of Ecosystem Services, says marine heat wave days have increased by more than 54 percent over the last 30 years. These periods of abnormally high water temperatures for a given region not only became more frequent but also began lasting longer over the study period.

These trends, the study’s authors wrote, is consistent with decreasing amounts of marine life. Marine heat waves are another stress on seas that are already facing pollution, overfishing, declining oxygen levels, increasing acidity and other challenges.

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Oceans

Are We Depleting the Amount of Oxygen in the Ocean?

March 25, 2019
oxygen in the ocean

The level of oxygen in the ocean is falling, an issue scientists say calls for urgent attention. Decreasing oxygen levels could cause substantial harm to the health of the ocean and the life that depends on it.

Across the planet, oxygen levels have fallen by 2 percent in the last 50 years, according to research from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Kiel, Germany. If the problem goes unchecked, global ocean oxygen levels could fall by an average of 7 percent by 2100. Another study found that in some tropical regions, oxygen levels declined by as much as 40 percent. For every degree the ocean warms, oxygen concentration decreases by 2 percent.

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Oceans

People Are Aware of Ocean Changes. Now, How Do We Stop Those Changes?

March 7, 2019
ocean changes

The effect of climate change on our oceans is inarguable, and more than that, distressing. As acidity levels rise, the delicate balance of marine ecosystems has started to tip, affecting countless species of fish and plant life that depend on environmental stability to survive. We’ve already seen the consequences.

Coral bleaching events have increased in frequency, leaving large areas of the world’s reefs pale and weak. Diseases like white syndrome are gaining traction, compounding the problem, and pollution from packaging, bottles and spills have all contributed to detrimental, large-scale ocean changes across the globe.

While this situation is admittedly upsetting, more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the effect their actions have on the environment. They’ve adopted eco-friendly lifestyles that reduce their emissions and waste, and many have corrected their bad habits, doing away with single-use plastics for green alternatives.

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