This particular article stuck out to me because I am really interested in conserving ocean wildlife (I even did a project on it my senior year of high school). Basically Japan’s whaling program as of right now has not been officially for scientific research like it was supposed to be. Even after the International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a ban on commercial whaling in 1986, there was an allowance of taking lethal measures to obtain scientific data on mid-sized to larger whales. Japan has been getting away with impending on their populations supposedly for that reason. The ban did not cover small whales or relatives such as dolphins, which Japan has also taken advantage of. They plan on submitting a new whaling program to get approved by the IWC in autumn so they can start whaling again by next year. Personally I do not think that whales should be slaughtered for any reason, science based or not. I am sure there are ways to get the information needed without killing them or maiming them for life.
I thought it would be nice to hear some positive environmental news.
The blue whales off the Western coast of the US are back to 97% on their original numbers. It didn’t say exactly how they new what the historical numbers were though. Interestingly, they identified this population of blue whales based on their songs and regional dialects, which are unique to this group. They also reported that in the Antarctic, 99.85% of blue whales were killed before whaling was stopped. The only thing that saved the California ones was that whalers weren’t making enough money of them – not preservation efforts.
This article from about a year ago in the Atlantic gives some insight in to the complex world of soil microbes. It turns out that they could be more important than we ever realized as drivers of plant productivity and diversity. We devastated many of these soil microbe communities during the green/agricultural revolution and we still are today. However people are starting to realize the damage we have done and, perhaps more importantly, the financhel implications of using soil microbes to our advantage in agriculture.
heres a more academic perspective.
In 1969 the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught on fire. This environmental disaster was one of the wake up calls that drove America to create the EPA and start working to improve the environment.
China is seeing a similar situation take shape. Last year China had 3 notable environmental disasters:
- The “Airpocalypse” that blocked out the sun with smog in Beijing.
- 16,000 Dead Pigs were found floating in the river past Shanghai.
- 44% of Rice tested in Guangzhou was laced with Cadmium.
These events have lead to the Chinese government to declaring a “war on pollution.” They have reformed the environmental protection law for the first time since 1989, and committed $277 billion to an air pollution “action plan” and $333 billion to a water pollution action plan.
What do you think of this? Is it too little, too late? Or does it give you hope that China will be cleaned up someday? How would you compare this to America in the 1970s?
Ohio is the nation’s fourth-largest emitter of both ozone and global warming pollution due to our dependance on coal. this surprises me tremendously. I figured it would be lower on the list. Read more here.
San Francisco made buying or distributing (with a few exceptions) plastic water bottles under 21 ounces illegal. Plastic water bottles are environmentally harmful in multiple ways: they use more water in the manufacturing process than they actually contain, use oil in manufacturing, only a fraction go to recycling, and those that are not recycled are estimated to take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. This ban on the bottles is part of San Franciso’s zero net-waste plan by 2020, and will start being enforced on October 1. As a side note, over 90 colleges and universities have also banned the bottle…maybe OWU will one day join?
As global population increases some countries struggle to have enough food to feed their population. The idea of vertical farms has been considered by Singapore as a solution to this problem. The shaped was designed to get the plants the maximum amount of sun but produce a minimal amount of shade.The design is only just a concept at this point it could be very beneficial to growing urban centers.