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What The United States’ Grab Of Ocean Seabeds Signals

There is an iron rule of resource exploitation: Go after the easy stuff first. If you don’t, your competitors will and run you out of business with lower prices. But where do you go when the easy stuff runs out? (And the easy stuff always runs out.) The United States’ recent expanded claims to ocean seabeds signals that the easy stuff has run out or will soon. More on those claims later. The obvious answer to getting more resources is to start digging up the harder stuff. Sometimes it’s new technology that makes the harder stuff economical to extract. Heap leach mining was developed to take low concentration ores and leach out the desired metals using chemical-laced sprays that result in a liquid “leachate.”

United Nations Adopts Legally Binding Treaty To Protect High Seas

After years of discussions, the UN finally adopted the “Treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction” during the resumed fifth session of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) that was held in New York on Monday, June 19. The legally binding treaty will govern the use of high seas, or seas beyond the territorial control of countries, with the objective of protecting its ecosystems from pollution, over-fishing and over-exploitation. The treaty will form a part of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea, adopted in 1994, and will be open for signing by member states from September 20 during the annual UN General Assembly meeting at New York.

Woman To Cross Pacific To Raise Awareness About Ocean Crisis

"This is all aimed towards shining the light on climate change," Baumstein said. "Humans are doing so much to exacerbate it, and we don't even know all of the ramifications of our actions." The oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and contain 97 percent of all the water on earth. They are where the planet's weather systems are formed, and they are absorbing astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide and human-generated plastic and garbage. Baumstein hopes her journey will bring people's attention to these crucial impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. "The oceans are full of data," Baumstein said. "They have all this data that we could use to unlock some of the keys to climate change." And she's willing to put her life on the line to do so.

Great Barrier Reef Campaign: Scientists Against Coal Projects

Australia’s leading coral reef scientists have called for huge coalmining and port developments in Queensland to be scrapped in order to avoid “permanent damage” to the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) report, compiled by experts from five Australian universities and submitted to the United Nations, warns that “industrialising the Great Barrier Reef coastline will cause further stress to what is already a fragile ecosystem.” The report notes that nine proposed mines in theGalilee Basin, in central Queensland, will produce coal that will emit an estimated 705m tonnes of carbon dioxide at capacity – making the Galilee Basin region the seventh largest source of emissions in the world when compared to countries. Climate change, driven by excess emissions, has been cited as the leading long-term threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Corals bleach and die as water warms and struggle to grow as oceans acidify.

This Town Is Using The Ocean To Provide Heat To Low-Income Residents

When most people think of harnessing renewable energy from the ocean, the gigantic spinning blades of offshore wind farms are probably the first thing that come to mind. Or maybe it’s gracefully bobbing buoys capturing wave energy or dams that skim power off rushing tides. Very few people, however, think of the oceans as a vast source of renewable heat that can be used to keep homes warm and showers steaming. But that’s exactly what a growing number of seaside towns in northern Europe are doing, despite having some particularly chilly ocean water. Technologies like solar panels were just too expensive and wouldn’t produce enough energy in this region. It should perhaps come as no surprise that the ocean can be used to climate control our homes. After all, the Earth’s oceans essentially climate control the entire planet. The more than 70 percent of the Earth that is covered by water serves as a kind of global thermostat. Oceans take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps to moderate temperatures, and they also emit heat from the sunlight they absorb. Clouds, too, which perform a variety of cooling and insulating functions to help regulate temperature on Earth, form from water evaporating off the ocean. Harnessing just a tiny fraction of the heat stored in the world’s oceans has theoretically been possible for many years, but has only recently been put into practice. One of the first places in the world to draw on the ocean for residents’ heating needs is Duindorp, a small harbor town near the Hague in the Netherlands.

Sea Shepherd & Ocean Alliance To Document BP Oil Spill

Sea Shepherd & Ocean Alliance Set Sail on “Operation Toxic Gulf 2014”. The Campaign will Document the Long-Term Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Toxic Oil Dispersants on Gulf of Mexico Whales, Other Ocean Life. Marine conservation organizations, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Ocean Alliance set sail today on Operation Toxic Gulf 2014, a joint campaign to research and document the devastating and lasting impacts of the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill on ocean life and marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. In this collaborative campaign, Sea Shepherd and Ocean Alliance are sending an international crew to the Gulf region this summer to study and document the chronic effects of the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Among the crew will be Ocean Alliance Founder and world-renowned scientist, Dr. Roger Payne. Although they employ different approaches, both of these organizations work in pursuit of the same goal: to defend, conserve and protect ocean life worldwide. Both also share an understanding that, as Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson says, “If the oceans die, we die.”

19-Year-Old Develops Method To Clean Up Plastic From Oceans

Another young creative mind working towards bettering our world. 19-year-old Boyan Slat has revealed his plans to the world regarding his Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The revolutionary device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling. It all began when Boyan Slat launched a project that analyzed the size and amount of plastic particles in the ocean’s garbage patches. He produced a paper of his findings which went on to win several prizes, including Best Technical Design 2012 at the Delft University of Technology. Boyan also had the opportunity to unveil his final concept during a TEDx talk in 2012.

New Nature Preserve Will Be The Largest On Earth

New Caledonia, a small island chain in the South Pacific, just set aside the largest protected area on the planet. The sprawling marine park spans 1.3 million square kilometers — or more than 320 million acres — easily becoming the most expansive wilderness preserve anywhere, on land or at sea. Named Le Parc Naturel de la Mer de Corail, or "the Natural Park of the Coral Sea," the newly established sanctuary is home to a menagerie of wildlife. It contains more than 1.1 million acres of coral reefs, 25 species of marine mammals, 48 shark species, 19 species of nesting birds and five species of sea turtles. The park's ecosystems also generate up to 3,000 tons of fish every year, providing an important food source for New Caledonia's quarter of a million human inhabitants. "This is a monumental decision for New Caledonia and the entire Pacific," says David Emmett, senior vice-president for Conservation International's Asia-Pacific program, in a press release about the park. "Such a measure exemplifies what other countries in the Pacific can do to fully invest in the long-term health and productivity of their ocean resources."

Japan Ordered To Stop Hunting Whales

Japan’s secretive practice of hunting whales near Antarctica has to stop, the UN ordered today. For decades, Japanese whaling ships have set out in pursuit of hundreds of whales to sell for their blubber and meat. The practice has become so controversial that recently they’ve been leaving in the dead of night. Worse, the whalers are heavily funded and protected by the Japanese government, and many suspect the Japanese Coast Guard protects the ships. Remember the controversial show Whale Wars, which followed the conservationist pirates aboard the Sea Shepherd? Yeah — those are the whalers those guys were chasing. Australia brought the case against Japan to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court. The justices decided, by a vote of 12-4, that Japan could not legally hunt and kill minke whales or issue permits to hunt and kill humpback and Fin whales.

Hundreds In Small Coastal Town Protest Seismic Testing For Oil

Hundreds of people descended Monday night on Kure Beach Town Hall, standing for more than two hours in the meeting room and parking lot, waiting for a chance to protest Mayor Dean Lambeth's decision to sign a letter endorsing seismic testing for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast. "I ask you to rescind your endorsement of seismic testing," said Joanne Durham, a Kure Beach resident. "I think when you signed this letter you weren't expecting this turn-out tonight … we really weren't represented by our mayor in this decision." The Obama Administration has expressed interest in opening the Atlantic Coast to seismic testing, a process that uses air guns to determine whether oil and gas deposits are located beneath the ocean floor. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held a series of public hearings on the matter in Wilmington last year, but has yet to release an environmental impact statement. The mayor's letter of support for testing, signed in December, was penned by America's Energy Forum, a lobbying group backed by the American Petroleum Institute.

Study Links BP Oil Spill To Dolphin Deaths

"I've never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals – and with unusual conditions such as the adrenal hormone abnormalities," Lori Schwake, the study's lead author, said in a statement. The scientists caught, examined and released about 30 bottlenose dolphins from Barataria Bay in 2011, one year after the disaster. The area was one of the most heavily oiled areas following the April 2010 blowout of BP's deepwater well, that killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf. Government scientists and conservation groups had been concerned from the outset about the effects on marine life of the vast amounts of oil that entered the water.

Life Or Death In The Open Seas

The accompanying IPSO press release states: “Latest Review of Science Reveals Ocean in Critical State from Cumulative Impacts.” Ninety percent (90%) of all life on the planet is in the ocean, a body of water so vast that scientists are only beginning to grasp the full extent of anthropogenic-caused degradation as a result of burning fossil fuels, and in that regard, the recently released IPSO report clearly signals a bold-lettered S-O-S to the world to slow down, and halt, CO2 emissions or risk ocean extinction. The impending extinction problem is not only a result, primarily, of coal-burning electric utilities saturating the atmosphere with CO2. As well, over-fishing is a very, very serious problem. As for one recent example, the Baiji White Dolphin became a victim in the 21st century. Baijis are freshwater dolphin known to be extremely intelligent and native to the Yangtze River but over-fishing killed them all. They are now extinct.
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