Environmental News January 2 - February 14, 2018

Quote for the week

"It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living."
— David Attenborough

Ocean Advocate named Fiji Airways Newest Ambassador
January 2, 2018
By Timoci Vula
Explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau has been announced as Fiji Airways newest addition to its suite of brand ambassadors. In his role as an ambassador, he will work with the country’s national airline to highlight the importance of preserving marine environments and create awareness for more conscious environmental travel.
Read more here.

Are We Eating the World’s Whales and Dolphins Into Extinction?
January 2, 2018
Historically, commercial whalers have been the cause of intensive and unregulated hunting, causing populations to plummet, so that some species went extinct. Even today, the illegal hunting of whales is mostly unregulated, and thus the scale of the problem remains unknown.
Read more here.

The Ocean is Losing its Breath
January 4, 2018
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Within the last few decades, water with low oxygen levels has become increasingly common in both the open ocean and coastal water bodies like estuaries. In order to stop this or at least slow it down, we must work to reduce the effects of climate change and nutrient pollution. Oxygen is fundamental to life on land and underwater, and it’s shortage in oceans is one of the most threatening phenomenons humans have caused.
Read more here.

Climate Change Drives Collapse in Marine Food Webs
January 9, 2018
A new study shows that levels of commercial fish stocks could be harmed as increasing ocean temperatures affect their food source. This can be seen in the transfer of energy from apex predators such as sharks, to primary food producers such as algae. Such disturbances in these food webs can lead to more negative effects for many marine species that are essential to the health of the ocean.
Read more here.

World’s Biggest Wildlife Reserve planned for Antarctica in Global Campaign
January 13, 2018
By Matthew Taylor
Vast 1.8m square km fishing-free zone would protect species, such as penguins, leopard seals and whales, and help mitigate the effects of climate change. This sanctuary would stop industrial-scale krill fishing in the area, which would in turn help the larger endemic species such as penguins and whales. In addition to protecting wildlife by allowing ecosystems to recover in and around the Antarctic, the ocean sanctuary would provide global benefits, with recovering fish populations spreading around the world, encouraging vital biodiversity and providing food security for billions of people.
Read more here.

Half a Billion Plastic Straws Are Used Every Day. What an Unacceptable Waste.
January 16, 2018
By The Times Editorial Board
Every day, Americans use and discard up to half a billion straws, whether after consuming boba teas, smoothies, juices, sodas, or any other drink. This is not taking into account all the other countries of the world. However, if enough of us give up straws for good, we will substantially decrease this number. We must think before using single-use plastic, as it is not biodegradable, and therefore more problematic.
Read more here.

Why You Won’t Be Able to See Dolphins, Whales at Vancouver Aquarium
January 18, 2018
By Jim Donaldson
The Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity, officials said Thursday, because public controversy over the practice is hindering its conservation work. The aquarium continues to do critical work for the ocean and will keep advocating for oceans and educating the public.
Read more here.

Ocean Plastic Trash Conveys Disease to Coral Reefs
January 25, 2018
By Blaine Friedlander
An international research group at Cornell found that not only is climate change posing a threat to coral reefs worldwide, but so is plastic pollution. A new study shows that through housing dangerous microbes, plastics make corals vulnerable to disease and therefore death on a massive scale.
Read more here.

In 2017, the Oceans Were By Far the Hottest Ever Recorded
January 26, 2018
By John Abraham
If you want to understand global warming, you first must understand ocean warming. This is because all of the heat is stored there, making it an easy way for scientists to study the rate at which the Earth’s temperature is rising. Our oceans are warmer now than they ever have been, which can lead to sea levels rising, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and more. This can be addressed by reducing our use of fossil fuels and being more energy efficient.
Read more here.

Paris Readies for Floods as Seine Surges Higher
January 27, 2018
Weeks of rainfall have produced a relentless rise in the water level, which is expected to peak just below 6m (20ft) above normal. This, along with Paris’s recent heat waves, has all been a part of the city’s adaptation to climate change within recent years.
Read more here.

Killer Whale Could Be Saying “Set Me Free"
January 31, 2018
By Talia Shadwell
A Killer Whale is seen mimicking human speech and being thought to repeat “hello”, back to its trainer. Researchers investigated the controversial video and the animal’s behavior, and it revived a conversation about the morality of holding marine mammals captive.
Read more here.

Aqua Expeditions Cruises Setting Sail with Guest Hosts
February 2, 2018
By Michelle Baran
Aqua Expeditions has added a series of hosted cruises for 2018 after experiencing success with themed sailings in 2017. You can now book a stay with them, and be hosted by company founder and CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro, consulting chefs Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and David Thompson, and conservationist Jean-Michel Cousteau.
Read more here.

In Defense of Biodiversity: Why Protecting Species From Extinction Matters
February 12, 2018
By Carl Safina
A number of biologists have recently made the argument that extinction is a natural process, and therefore species conservation is not necessary. This points to the lack of knowledge and understanding of evolution, because it generally takes millions of years for a species to evolve to replace the extinct one. In addition, this is the first mass extinction that is human induced, therefore it is unnatural.
Read more here.

Jacques Cousteau’s Granddaughter Appointed to National Aquarium Board
February 13, 2018
By Amanda Yeager
Céline Cousteau, environmentalist, filmmaker and activist, is among the newest members of the National Aquarium’s Board of Directors. She has dedicated much of her career to highlighting the importance of having a connection to nature, and will now continue to help push for the expansion of national and global conservation initiatives.
Read more here.

University of Florida Reports 2017 as Average Year for Worldwide Shark Attacks, Deaths
February 13, 2018
By University of Florida
The University of Florida observes the number of shark attacks worldwide, and finds there is nothing unusual in comparison with previous years.
Read more here.

Peru Moves to Protect ‘One of the Last Great Intact Forests’
February 14, 2018
By JoAnna Klein, New York Times
While the United States may be weakening protections for wilderness, the creation of Yaguas National Park protects millions of acres from development and deforestation. This Amazonian region contains many endemic species that scientists can use to study evolutionary processes. By protecting this area, not only will these animals be safe from harm, but also the indigenous people that have relied on the land for so long.
Read more here.