Could the Great Barrier Reef Heal Itself? New Study Offers Cautious Hope
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland, CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Sheffield, found that three percent of the coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef are "robust source reefs." In order to meet the criteria of a "source reef," the reefs need to be well-connected to other reefs through shifting currents but also be able to sustain bleaching events and be less susceptible to crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks.
"Finding these 100 reefs is a little like revealing the cardiovascular system of the Great Barrier Reef," said professor Peter Mumby from the University of Queensland's school of biological sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies.
In the past two years, warming waters subjected the Great Barrier Reef, a 1,400-mile chain of 3,800 individual reefs, to unprecedented bleaching events, devastating two-thirds of the World Heritage site. If protected from outside threats, such as pollution, the cool-water reefs could supply larvae to 45 percent of the reef. Scientists have only recently begun to understand the connectivity of coral reefs through ocean currents. These latest findings will likely be seen as a boost to efforts already underway to save Australia's reef, which brings in nearly $6 billion in tourism annually.
"The presence of these well-connected reefs on the Great Barrier Reef means that the whole system of coral reefs possesses a level of resilience that may help it bounce back from disturbances," lead author of the study, Karlo Hock of the University of Queensland, told Agence France Presse.
Other experts warn that the paper is overly optimistic. According to one professor, John Alroy, from Macquarie University, who spoke to The Guardian, the paper doesn't fully acknowledge the toll that worsening climate change will exact on the "source reefs." According to Alroy they likely won't survive.
Last May, scientists cautioned the Australian government that its plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is no longer achievable due to the stark of impacts of climate change.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.
By Jennifer Skene and Shelley Vinyard
For most people, toilet paper only becomes an issue when it unexpectedly runs out. Otherwise, it's cheap and it's convenient, something we don't need to think twice about. But toilet paper's ubiquity and low sticker price belie a much, much higher cost: it is taking a dramatic and irreversible toll on the Canadian boreal forest, and our global climate. As a new report from NRDC and Stand.earth outlines, when you flush that toilet paper, chances are you are flushing away part of a majestic, old-growth tree ripped from the ground, and destined for the drain. This is why NRDC is calling on Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Charmin, to end this wasteful and destructive practice by changing the way it makes its toilet paper through solutions that other companies have already embraced.
By John Rennie Short
As cities strive to improve the quality of life for their residents, many are working to promote walking and biking. Such policies make sense, since they can, in the long run, lead to less traffic, cleaner air and healthier people. But the results aren't all positive, especially in the short to medium term.