San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 44-year-old northern white rhino, Angalifu, passed away yesterday, December 15th, leaving only five northern white rhinos in the world. Northern white rhinos are the largest of the entire species, and are often prey to poaching gangs. In 1960, there were over 2,000 northern white rhinos in the wild, but that number dwindled down to only fifteen by 1984 due to poaching. There is one female still let at the Safari Park, three rhinos at a preserve in Kenya, and one still at a zoo in the Czech Republic.
Although the Safari Park and Kenyan preserve have attempted to conserve the white rhinos through their breeding efforts, they have been unsuccessful. One of the last efforts that will be attempted by the park is the use of artificial insemination with the sperm of a male white rhino. As Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the Safari Park, positively says “We’re not willing to give up yet.”
Read the full story here.
Yes, you read that correctly. 5 trillion pieces of plastic. After 24 expeditions occurring from 2007 to 2013, 5 Gyres Institute has recently concluded and published a report that states that there are a total of 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently circulating in our oceans. These pieces, which equal 296,000 tons, can be found throughout the entire ocean, including many ecosystems; this contradicts the common assumptions that most of the plastic pieces are found mainly in gyres, which are large systems of rotating ocean currents.
But where does all of this trash come from? According to Anastasia Pantsios’ article, the plastic is “swept into the ocean from rivers, coastal activity and shipping lanes.” The plastic then becomes degraded into microplastics and travels throughout the ocean. It becomes very easy for marine animals to then accidentally ingest these pieces. With this report, 5 Gyres Institute hopes to spark companies into taking action to create better, more eco-friendly packaging that will eliminate many –single use packages. Fortunately, according to Michael Eriksen, 5 Gyres Institute’s director of research, “if we stop adding to the problem, the oceans will clean themselves.”
Read the full story here.
Internationally Unrelated provides hard facts about the ecological footprint of our society. August 19th, Tania reports, was Earth Overshoot Day – the day which marks when we as a global society have used as much resources as the earth can replenish in one year. If this date was December 31st, then we would be a sustainable society. However, we still have four full months left on the calendar, and a part of August! This translates to a shorter life for the earth overall through harsher effects of harvesting resources, and land and habitat degradation. Read the article reblogged below for a fuller picture on Earth Overshoot Day! Thanks Internationally Unrelated!
I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.
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On Monday, Duke Energy joined the growing list of corporations to grossly contaminate nearby waterways this month. 5000-8000 gallons of diesel was spilled into the Ohio River in the thirty odd minutes before the company noticed an overflow valve was accidentally open. The water is thankfully now clean to drink. Read the full article from Thought Progress here.
Altaeros Energy’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine, or BAT, is the beginnings of a new step for Wind Energy. This turbine is not on a tower, but a helium blimp housing a turbine which is tethered to the ground from about 300 meters in the air (making it the worlds highest wind turbine!). The air is not only more powerful as you climb higher into the atmosphere, but the technology is less prone to problem. Without the massive steel tower, and yaw mechanism which rotates the turbine to face the wind as it changes, the maintenance is much less significant. The turbine also is quieter, while producing more energy! Although this technology is only in prototype phase, tests have been positive. Now being tested over Alaska, CEO Ben Glass predicts to provide power at about $0.18 per kilowatt-hour, about half the price of off-grid electricity in Alaska.
It seems like this is a win for energy efficiency and standards of living! Kudos to Altaeros! Find a full article, from The Spirit Science here: Wind Turbines Take to the Skies to Generate a Magnificent Quanta of Energy VIDEO! , as well as from IEEE Spectrum here.
Eco People LTD recently reported Hawaii committing to geothermal energy! Governor Neil Abercrombie signs Bill 2953 which designates the Department of the Hawaiian Home Lands as the only recipient for the royalties from geothermal resources generated on the home lands. This bill is intended to support and encourage the search and use of geothermal energy – something Abercrombie believes to probably be “inexhaustible.” As a clean, dependable and sustainable energy source we firmly agree with the direction Hawaii is taking! Read the full article below, or at http://bit.ly/1pWFbPT.
Here at Eco People we love the idea of Geothermal Energy, a thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. We love it so much because it seems so natural. From hot springs, geothermal energy has been used for bathing since Paleolithic times and for space heating since ancient Roman times, but it is now better known for electricity generation. Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
Hawaii could see a geothermal energised future as they are currently facing tough times when it comes to their energy. Almost all their energy is imported and with the ever impending reality of climate change, prices for importing such energy would be increased drastically.
The governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie (I don’t think there’s a link) believes the answer lies beneath the earth and is already making plans to embrace the power of geothermal energy!
“I realise that there’s been…
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Yesterday 1.3 billion gallons of mining waste burst from a Mount Polley gold and copper mine’s tailing pond in the Cariboo region of British Columbia. Canadians in the region cannot drink their water, and authorities can not yet tell how many more Canadians will be effected as the water continues to flow through creeks and streams. The area is sparsely populated limiting human impact, however the environmental harm created is vast. Lake Erie’s algae bloom is a natural reaction catalyzed by human activity, whereas this disaster is a direct effect! Carelessness, and laziness are two qualities the future of our planet strongly relies on, and yet they were not shown. Read Think Progress’s full article here.
Toledo, Ohio and surrounding area are currently not able to drink their tap water because of a large algae bloom on Lake Erie. What this post from ThinkProgress adds to the story, is that climate change, and humans are direct aggressors on the formation, and severity, of these blooms.
Events such as this continue to give tangible proof of the importance in moving towards more eco-friendly practices. Read this article for more information.
BY EMILY ATKIN POSTED ON AUGUST 3, 2014
This satellite image provided by NOAA shows the algae bloom on Lake Erie in 2011 which according to NOAA was the worst in decades.
Approximately 400,000 people in and around Toledo, Ohio are being warned not to drink their tap water after high levels of a dangerous toxin were discovered in the water supply Saturday, according to the Toledo-Lucas County Department of Health.
The toxin is called microcystin, the high levels of which were caused by massive increases in algae on Lake Erie. The increases in algae, called “algae blooms”, are poisonous if consumed — causing abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness, and dizziness. Boiling the water doesn’t help — in fact, itincreases the presence of the toxin.
As of now, it’s…
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David Quilty, blogger of The Good Human, writes some devastating news last week. The insecticide neonicotinoids which are used to kill bees have been detected in nine major rivers across six different states. While the effects of neonicotinoids are quasi-understood when used as insecticides, what the effects on the fish population will be is still uncertain. The likelihood of negative effects however, seems plausible if not probable. What’s more is that now that the toxin has infected our water supply, it can be precipitated across other areas where there is not agricultural purpose. This does not effect one farm, but breaks through ecosystem borders. Currently, Bayer and Monsanto (among others) manufacture and sell them, and it is the most widely used insecticide in the world. Already detrimental effects are compounding from the usage of this chemical, but will the present profits made from it continue to outweigh the future of our planet?
Halt and Reflect: An Open Letter is a document currently being dissmeninated across the internet calling attention to the unsustainability of our current lifestyle. An important focus is the political and institutional failure to address this issue with appropriate, and measurable positive results.
‘We work all over the world, and all over the world we see a common pattern. Existing policy initiatives, with very few exceptions, fall short of what is needed to re-align human activities with the fundamental limits of our planet. Despite heavy rhetoric on sustainability, most policy initiatives are not able to fundamentally change the global trajectory of increasing un-sustainability.’
The authors of the letter are scientists, and are calling fellow scientists to sign on in support of the message. Over 200 scientists have signed already and more continue to sign. Awareness withing all occupations is important, but this is a very good way to continue to raise awareness. Without change our environment will continue to deteriorate. Read the full letter here.