Do you love the ocean and ocean life? If so, help to promote a wild, healthy ocean for the future by living an ocean-friendly lifestyle. Here are some everyday actions you can take to benefit the ocean and marine life.
1. Consider the land-sea connection.
What we do on land directly affects the ocean. Runoff from lawns, farms, streets, parking lots, and construction sites is a major source of ocean pollution. In the bays and estuaries around nearly every populated area, chemicals and fertilizer from lawns, gardens, and farm fields are creating "dead zones," where nothing can live. Runoff-silt, nitrogen, and phosphorous-rob ocean waters of light and oxygen, and are especially harmful to coral reef ecosystems, You can control the polluted runoff from your neighborhood by taking the following actions:
· If you live right on the water, plant a buffer zone of trees, tall grasses, and shrubs to filter runoff and to provide shelter and habitat for turtles, shorebirds, and other animals,
· Use less fertilizer. Instead, mulch grass clippings to enrich your lawn and create a compost pile that will provide natural nutrients for your garden.
· Wash your car on the grass, not the driveway, That way, harmful chemicals will be filtered by grass and soil before they reach local waterways, where they can harm delicate aquatic life.
· Make sure that construction sites in your neighborhood use silt fences, storm wattles, and other means of keeping sediment and other harmful runoff out of storm drains,
· Plant trees. Trees contribute to clean water; they are the ocean's best filters.
2. Remember that everything flows downstream.
The ocean is downstream of everything. And it doesn't have an endless capacity to absorb waste, In fact, every year people dispose of 161 million gallons of used motor oil-an amount greater than the Exxon Valdez oil spill-improperly. Much of this oil ends up in waterways and the ocean, where it takes a tremendous toll on aquatic life, By being careful about oil, water, and other substances that you use on land, you can help keep ocean waters clean, Here are some things to consider:
· If you decrease your water use at home, you'll decrease the amount of water that must be treated with chemicals before entering rivers, streams, and the ocean.
· Don't use the toilet as a trash can or garbage disposal. Doing so contributes to overloaded sewer and septic systems, which release their effluent into local waterways and the ocean.
· Sweep walks and driveways rather than hosing them down. Water picks up chemicals and transports them to the nearest storm drain, creek, or waterway, Often, these hard surfaces contain oil, antifreeze, lawn chemicals, and other substances,
· Empty your swimming pool or hot tub on the grass, not into the street. Chlorinated water is harmful to aquatic life, By emptying it into a wooded or grassy area, you are making use of nature's natural filtering action,
· Don't fill your gas tank to the top; by not topping off, you'll avoid spills.
3. Recreate-but not recklessly.
Ocean lovers spend a lot of time on-and under-the water, swimming, boating, fishing, diving, and enjoying the beach. These activities are often the most direct contact we have with ocean life, so how you engage in them determines whether your impact is negative or positive,
· Retrieve all fishing line, lures, or gear-even if tangled or broken, Fishing gear can entangle or injure seabirds, turtles, dolphins, manatees-even divers and swimmers. And because it is durable, it can continue catching and killing fish indefinitely.
· Drive your boat as though life depended on it. Be aware that there is life under water! Damaging wake can tear up plants and erode shoreline; boats' slashing propellers injure countless sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, and whales every year.
· When you haul your boat out of any waterway, rinse your boat on the spot to remove hitchhiking plants and organisms. By doing so, you help prevent the spread of harmful invasive species.
· On trips to the beach, carry out whatever you carry in. Wildlife can ingest, or become entangled in, trash left behind.
· It takes all kinds of life to keep an ecosystem healthy, When snorkeling and diving, don't touch, break, stand on, or attempt to collect coral or other marine organisms, Instead, take only pictures and leave only bubbles,
EarthWeb supports those projects that keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy. Through science-based advocacy, research, and public education, we inform, inspire, and empower people to speak and act for the ocean.
World Record-Breaking 2014 Weather And Climate
January 1st, 2015 by Sandy Dechert
It isn’t official yet, but 2014 appears to have been the hottest year on the world temperature record. In December, during the U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru (COP20), the World Meteorological Organization announced in a provisional statement that this conclusion about 2014 weather and climate was virtually certain.
WMO bases its report on datasets maintained by the Hadley Centre of the UK’s Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Centre; and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Expect the final 2014 weather and climate updates and figures in March 2015.
As well as the challenge to global records, the hot weather trend hit most areas of the world exceptionally hard. Says Professor Joanna Haigh, atmospheric physicist and Co-Director of the Grantham Institute:
“2014 is on course to be the hottest year on record as well as having experienced a range of exceptional weather events, especially heat waves and flooding, across the globe.”
Among the records met or shattered this past year:
Flooding affected much of Europe, Asia, and South America. Major storms hit China, India (Cyclone Hudhud, India’s most expensive natural disaster ever), northern Bangladesh, northern Pakistan, and the Philippines. Severe flooding hit in Eastern US in April. Number of US days with nuisance floods (road closures, infrastructure damage) rose. Seven feet of snow fell on one day in November in Buffalo, New York. Fewer but more destructive tornadoes occurred in the US (notably in late April).
Sea level rise forced evacuation of at least one entire island. Ocean coral died at record rates. Arctic sea-ice was sixth lowest ever. Warmer and saltier waters melted Antarctic ice from below. See the figure below for a summary of some of the most extreme 2014 weather and climate events.
Greenhouse gas emissions also hit new record highs. Can we say a specific heatwave, flooding event, or catastrophic storm happened only because of climate change? Science has proven that rising temperatures make abnormal events more likely. Recent extreme event trends are consistent with expected impacts of climate change. So the simple answer to the question seems to be “not always, but with increasing frequency.”
In a look toward what we can expect, the video above shows one of WMO’s Weather Reports for the Future: 2050, based on the Fifth Assessment Report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. Here’s what Dr. Jeff Masters, founder and director of the Weather Underground, has to say about it:
“Futuristic and creative 3-D weather graphics like you’ve never seen before light up the screen in this forecast for September 23, 2050 video released by the Weather Channel. The video was made in response to an appeal by the World Meteorological Organization to television weather presenters world-wide to imagine a ‘weather report from the year 2050,’ based on the best science we have as summarized in the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report…. The video imagines a future when it wouldn’t take a landfalling hurricane to push water levels two feet above normal in Miami Beach—the onshore winds of a hurricane passing 400 miles offshore could cause that level of flooding, due to sea level rise.”
Worst Yet To Come
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that the problem is likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.
The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.
Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said.
And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty. In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.
The report was among the most sobering yet issued by the intergovernmental panel. The group, along with Al Gore, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to clarify the risks of climate change. The report released Monday in Yokohama is the final work of several hundred authors; details from the drafts of this and of the last report in the series, which will be released next month, leaked in the past few months.
The report attempts to project how the effects will alter human society in coming decades.
It cited the risk of death or injury on a massive scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations.
“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger,” the report declared.
The report also cites the possibility of violent conflict over land or other resources, brought on indirectly by climate change “by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.”
The scientists emphasized that climate change is not just some problem of the distant future, but is happening now. For instance, in much of the American West, mountain snowpack is declining, threatening water supplies for the region, the scientists reported. And the snow that does fall is melting earlier in the year, which means there is less meltwater to ease the parched summers.
In Alaska, the collapse of sea ice is allowing huge waves to strike the coast, causing erosion so rapid that it is already forcing entire communities to relocate.
The experts did find a bright spot, however. Since the group issued its report in 2007, it has found growing evidence that governments and businesses around the world are launching extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions, even as some conservatives in the United States and a small number of scientists continue to say a problem does not exists.
“I think that dealing effectively with climate change is just going to be something that great nations do,” said Christopher B. Field, co-chairman of the working group that wrote the report, and an earth scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif.
Talk of adaptation to global warming was once avoided in some quarters, on the grounds that it would distract from the need to cut emissions. But the past few years have seen a shift in thinking, including research from scientists and economists who argue that both strategies must be pursued at once.
A striking example of the change occurred recently in the state of New York, where the Public Service Commission ordered Consolidated Edison, the electric utility serving New York City and some suburbs, to spend about $1 billion upgrading its system to prevent future damage from flooding and other weather disruptions.
The plan is a reaction to the blackouts caused by Hurricane Sandy. Consolidated Edison will raise flood walls, bury some vital equipment and launch a study of whether emerging climate risks require even more changes. Other utilities in the state face similar requirements, and utility regulators across the United States are discussing whether to follow New York’s lead.
But with a global failure to limit greenhouse gases, the risk is rising that climatic changes in coming decades could overwhelm efforts to adapt, the panel found. It cited a particular risk that in a hotter climate, farmers will not be able to keep up with the fast-rising demand for food.
“When supply falls below demand, somebody doesn’t have enough food,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate scientist who helped write the new report. “When some people don’t have food, you get starvation. Yes, I’m worried.”
The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.
The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a dayslong editing session in Yokohama.
The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations are private.
Poor countries are expected to renew their demand for aid this September in New York at a summit meeting of world leaders, who will attempt to make headway on a new treaty to limit greenhouse gases.
Many rich countries argue that $100 billion a year is an unrealistic demand; it would essentially require them to double their budgets for foreign aid, at a time of economic distress at home. That argument has fed a rising sense of outrage among the leaders of poor countries, who feel their people are paying the price for decades of profligate Western consumption.
Two decades of international efforts to limit emissions have yielded little result, and it is not clear whether the negotiations in New York this fall will be any different. While greenhouse gases have begun to decline slightly in many wealthy countries, including the United States, those gains are being swamped by emissions from rising economic powers like China and India.
For the world’s poorer countries, food is not the only issue, but it may be the most acute. Several times in recent years, climatic disruptions in major growing regions have helped to throw supply and demand out of balance, contributing to price increases that have reversed decades of gains against global hunger, at least temporarily.
The warning about the food supply in the new report is much sharper in tone than any previously issued by the panel. That reflects a growing body of research about how sensitive many crops are to heat waves and water stress.
David B. Lobell, a Stanford University scientist who has published much of that research and helped write the new report, said in an interview that as yet, too little work was being done to understand the risk, much less counter it with improved crop varieties and farming techniques.
“It is a surprisingly small amount of effort for the stakes,” he said.
A stage is being played out in the farmlands of America, all in the name of energy independence. Many Americans believed George Bush’s initial call for the increase in alternative fuels would result in more research for alternatives and a refinement in the processes used to develop alternatives then in place. The then-President went on to announce that ethanol would become a major additive to gasoline. Against this backdrop of political maneuvering and an inability to foresee the unintended consequences of this ill-fated policy, farmers throughout the Midwest and elsewhere began turning diverse crop production into a single crop, corn.
The fulfillment of the government’s plan to harvest more corn for biofuel use has left thousands of acres of what used to be wetlands and conservation areas unable to sustain crop growth and unable to return to its original state. The amount of energy used to farm these earlier protected areas surpassed the energy savings obtained from the use of ethanol, a resulting negative energy gain while losing the use of pristine lands. In addition the water tables have been lowered in most areas while other water supplies have become polluted to level making them unusable.
From a position of maintaining sustainability of Earth’s resources, a policy of energy independence finds itself further down the list of “must dos” than the need to balance societal needs with the recognition that the environment is in trouble. Biofuels can and are produced through processes using other resources, for ethanol sugar is a better source than corn requiring less energy input and resulting in positive energy output. But even here, sugar comes at an expense that must be included in the real cost of energy development; pollution in the Everglades comes, in great part, from the sugar industry.
Is there an answer to the growing demand for energy? Probably but it will come with the need for society to make individual sacrifices. Rather than trying to meet a growing demand, the world market for energy needs to shrink. Individual modes of transportation need to shrink while fuel efficient mass transportation systems to grow. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, need harvesting in a method making them accessible to more people. The more fuel that is burned to create useable energy, the more the harm to Planet Earth. The really big projects to establish a better energy grid will take time and cost billions of dollar but each individual can take the smaller steps to creating a healthier Earth. Looking at just the transportation issue, each of us should make a list of what needs to be purchased outside the home before getting into our cars for the short trip to pick up a gallon of milk or a bag of salad.
“Earth’s Sake for Our Sake.”
Japan Backs Off Climate Accord
The Japanese government has revised its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 25%. The new target allows for an increase in CO2 gases by 3.1%. This revision aroused negative comments from among other countries who have also targeted a reduction in CO2 emissions other the several years. Japan defends its decision by pointing out the elimination of nuclear power, resulting in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. This revision and new target set for CO2 emissions sets the stage for other revisions from other counties and a breakdown in the worldwide promise to better the environment. Japan is currently the fourth largest producer of CO2gases.