7.6 Million Join Week of Global Climate Strikes
More than 7.6 million people worldwide participated in the global climate strike between Sept. 20 and 27, according to the current tally reported by 350.org. That number could grow as counting continues, but the week of strikes is confirmed as one of the largest global protests in history. For comparison, the massive 2003 protest against the Iraq War drew between six and 11 million.
"This week was a demonstration of the power of our movement. People power is more powerful than the people in power. It was the biggest ever climate mobilization, and it's only the beginning. The momentum is on our side and we are not going anywhere," Fridays For Future International said.
Early numbers confirm at least 7 million people joined the #weekforfuture climate strikes! Thank you everyone, espe… https://t.co/ZoLKQhcPDt— Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg)1569690059.0
Four million people participated in the first round of strikes on Friday, Sept. 20, making it the largest climate mobilization in history. But that number grew with strikes on Sept. 27. Large turnouts on the 27th were reported in New Zealand, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Canada, according to The Guardian and BBC News.
The day began in New Zealand, where more than 3.5 percent of the country participated, The Guardian reported. Demonstrators delivered a letter signed by 11,000 people to the country's parliament asking it to declare a climate emergency, according to another Guardian report.
"Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action that safeguards our futures on this planet," School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator Raven Maeder said, as The Guardian reported. "Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth for current and future generations. This is our home."
27/09/2019 is one for the history books. #ClimateStrikeNZ https://t.co/WdkTukidlu— School Strike 4 Climate NZ (@School Strike 4 Climate NZ)1569737154.0
Organizers counted 170,000 people through a combination of speaking to people on the ground, talking to councils and police and viewing drone footage, New Zealand's Stuff reported. It's a number of historic proportions, Stuff explained:
If accurate, it takes the lead as one of New Zealand's biggest strikes (in terms of attendees) - beating out the 1951 industrial confrontation that saw 22,000 wharfies join the picket line for 151 days from February to July, as well as this year's mega teachers' strike, but not quite the 1979 general strike which saw almost 300,000 workers nationwide join the picket line for one day.
In Italy, meanwhile, more than one million people participated, according to ANSA.
"There are 200,000 people in Rome, which attracted the biggest crowd, followed by 150,000 in Milan," Gianfranco Mascia of Fridays For Future said. "There are around 80,000 in Naples, 50,000 in Florence, 20,000 in Turin and Bologna and 10,000 in Palermo and Bari."
Rome! #ClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture https://t.co/uGC9nrJPKw— Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg)1569592908.0
Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who has been instrumental in launching the school strike movement, marched in Montreal with half a million others, BBC News reported.
"It is very moving to see everyone, everyone who is so passionate to march and strike," she told reporters. "It is a very good day, I would say."
It’s official. 500,000 people came out into the streets of Montreal today to join the Global #ClimateStrike They’… https://t.co/PVcj5ersgH— 350 dot org (@350 dot org)1569613884.0
Leading the Montreal strike were 15 indigenous and 15 non-indigenous delegates holding a banner by Anishinaabe artist Rachel Thusky Cloutier, which read, "Au front pour la Mère Terre, To the front lines for Mother Earth," CBC News reported.
In total, 800,000 people participated all over Canada, according to 350.org. Canada's climate strikers are calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure and subsidies, BBC News reported. That means cancelling the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, which has the support of both Canada's Liberal and Conservative political parties. Strikers also want the country to commit to reducing emissions by 75 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.
The organizers behind the global climate strikes now intend to build on the past week's success. The next UN Climate Summit will take place in Chile in December, and organizers there say they will continue fighting until governments take meaningful action to reduce emissions and phase out fossil fuels."Today in Chile we marched from Arica to Punta Arenas, where people of all ages, organizations and institutions gave their voice, a voice that bravely rises to ask politicians of the world for no more double speeches and more actions that seek the 'good living', or as they say in my community, the küme mongen," Fridays for Future Chile organizer Joel Enrique Panichine, who identifies as a member of the Mapuche people, told 350.org.
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By Jason Bruck
Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.
Researchers work with trained dolphins to learn more about their sensory abilities, seen here testing a dolphin's hearing. Jason Bruck / CC BY-ND
A Lot to Learn From Hormones<p>When sampling the blow, we are looking for hormones in mucus as these can be used to gauge psychological and physiological health. We are specifically interested in <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114062" target="_blank">hormones like cortisol</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.04.003" target="_blank">progesterone</a>, which indicate stress levels and reproductive ability respectively, but can also help determine overall health.</p><p>Additionally, blow samples can detect <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1128%2FmSystems.00119-17" target="_blank">respiratory pathogens</a> in the lungs or nasal passages - blowholes evolved from noses after all.</p><p>This health analysis is especially important in areas with oil spills as the chemicals can cause hormonal problems that harm <a href="https://www.carmmha.org/investigating-how-oil-spills-affect-dolphins-and-whales/" target="_blank">development, metabolism and reproduction</a> in dolphins.</p><p>Hormone samples can provide scientists with valuable data, but collecting them from intelligent and unpredictable animals is challenging.</p>
Cetacean Collaborators<p>To build a drone that can stealthily collect spray from moving dolphins, we needed more data on their eyesight and hearing, and this is data that couldn't be collected in the wild nor simulated in a lab.</p><p>We worked with dolphins at facilities like Dolphin Quest in Bermuda, which provides guests opportunities to learn about dolphins while allowing <a href="https://dolphinquest.com/about-us/our-story/" target="_blank">scientists access to animals for noninvasive research</a>. Here the dolphins can swim away if they choose not to work with us, so we had to design the study like a game; the way a kindergarten teacher entertains a class. If the dolphins aren't interested, we don't get to do the science.</p><p>Over the course of hundreds of sessions, we sought to answer two questions: What can dolphins hear and what can they see around their heads?</p><p>To test dolphin hearing, we set up microphones and cameras to record dolphin behavior as we played drone noise in the air. We analyzed the responses to each noise – such as how many dolphins looked at the speaker – and used these as a proxy for their ability to hear the sounds.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5f31daf07a652b8d64a093b993ee4e96"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjmQeH3vXHI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Robodolphin doesn't look like a real dolphin, but it doesn't need to in order to train our drone pilots. C.J. Barton / Oklahoma State University / CC BY-ND<p>To build robodolphin, we worked with dolphins trained to "chuff" or sneeze on command to measure spray characteristics. We used high-speed photography to see the dolphins' breath as it moved through the air. Then we conducted high resolution CT scans of a dolphin head and 3D-printed a replica of a nasal passage.</p><p>Now, we have a complete robodolphin and are tweaking its sprays to be nearly identical to the real thing. This will allow us to determine how close we need to get to collect the samples, and therefore, how quiet our drone needs to be.</p>
The replica dolphin blowhole was designed from a scan of a real blowhole passage, and the spray it produces closely matches the real thing. Alvin Ngo, Mitch Ford and CJ Barton / Oklahoma State University / CC BY-ND
A Bit of Practice, Then Into the Wild<p>In the next few months, we will test flights over robodolphin with existing drones to determine the timing and strategy for collection. From there, we will fabricate a low-noise drone that can fly fast enough and with sufficient maneuverability to capture samples from wild dolphins. Like a video game, we will use the visual field data to develop approach trajectories to stay in the visual blindspots.</p><p>We plan to test our drones on a truck-mounted robodolphin moving down a runway, then using a boat to simulate realistic conditions. The next steps will involve ocean testing with dolphins trained for open ocean swimming. These tests will determine if our devices can catch and hold the hormones as the drone flies back to a researcher's boat.</p><p>Finally, we will deploy the system to collect data on wild dolphins. Our first goal is to test resident dolphins – animals that live on the coasts and deal directly with boat and oil industry noise – which will allow us to learn more about stress resulting from human impacts.</p><p>Those samples are a way off, but if all goes well we will have a specially built drone capable of flying long distances and capturing samples undetected in a few years. The samples collected will allow researchers to do better science with impact on the animals they study.</p>
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Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.
Environmental and Health Hazard<p>Experts say e-waste, which is now the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream, poses serious environmental and health risks.</p><p>Simply throwing away electronic items without ensuring they get properly recycled leads to the loss of key materials such as iron, copper and gold, which can otherwise be recovered and used as primary raw materials to make new equipment, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from extraction and refinement of raw materials.</p><p>Refrigerants found in electronic equipment such as fridge and air conditioners also contribute to global warming. A total of 98 Mt of CO2-equivalents, or about 0.3% of global energy-related emissions, were released into the atmosphere in 2019 from discarded refrigerators and ACs that were not recycled properly, the report said.</p><p>E-waste contains several toxic additives or hazardous substances, such as mercury and brominated flame retardants (BFR), and simply burning it or throwing it away could lead to serious health issues. Several studies have linked unregulated recycling of e-waste to adverse birth outcomes like stillbirth and premature birth, damages to the human brain or nervous system and in some cases hearing loss and heart troubles.</p><p>"Informal and improper e-waste recycling is a major emerging hazard silently affecting our health and that of future generations. One in four children are dying from avoidable environmental exposures," said Maria Neira, director of the Environment, Climate Change and Health Department at the World Health Organization. "One in four children could be saved, if we take action to protect their health and ensure a safe environment."</p>
Europe Leads the Way<p>While most of the e-waste was generated in Asia (24.9 Mt) in 2019, Europe led the charts on a per person basis with 16.2 kg per capita, the report said.</p><p>But the continent also recorded the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/the-eu-declares-war-on-e-waste/a-51108790" target="_blank">highest documented formal e-waste collection and recycling</a> rate at 42.5%, still below its target of 65%. Europe was well ahead of the others on this front. Asia ranked second with 11.7%.</p><p>The authors said while more that 70% of the world's population was covered by some form of e-waste policy or laws, not much was being done toward implementation and enforcement of the regulations to encourage the take-up of a collection and recycling infrastructure due to lack of investment and political motivation.</p><p>"You have to think about new economic systems," said Kühr.</p><p>One approach could be that consumers no longer buy the products, but only the service they offer. The device would remain the property of the maker, who would then have an interest in offering his customers the best service and the necessary equipment. The maker would also be interested in designing his products in such a way that they are easier to repair and easier to recycle, Kühr said.</p>
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