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Amazing Underwater Photos Reveal Newly Discovered Brazilian Coral Reef
Greenpeace Brazil has captured the first underwater images of the Amazon Reef, a 9,500 km2 system of corals, sponges and rhodoliths located where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean—an area that the Brazilian government has opened for oil exploration.
A team of experts, including several oceanographers who announced the discovery of the reef last year, have joined the Greenpeace ship Esperanza on an expedition to document this new biome, which runs from French Guyana to the Brazilian state of Maranhão, an area larger than the cities of São Paulo or London. Oil companies Total and BP could start drilling in this area if they obtain authorization from the Brazilian government.
The team was searching in a submarine launched from the Esperanza at 220 meters depth, more than 100 kilometers off the Brazilian coast, when the reef came into view for the first time.
"This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light and physicochemical water conditions. It has a huge potential for new species and it is also important for the economic well-being of fishing communities along the Amazonian Coastal Zone," said Nils Asp, researcher at the Federal University of Pará.
"Our team wants to have a better understanding of how this ecosystem works, including important questions like its photosynthesis mechanisms with very limited light. Hopefully, this will lead to a gradual mapping of the reef system. At the moment, less than 5 percent of the ecosystem is mapped." continued Asp.
While experts have just started to study the reef and its implications, oil companies Total and BP are already planning to explore the area for potential oil drilling. It is estimated that reserves are approximately 15 to 20 billion barrels.
"We must defend the reef and the entire region at the mouth of the Amazon River basin from the corporate greed that puts profits ahead of the environment. One of Total's oil blocks is only eight kilometers from the reef and environmental licensing processes are already under way," said Thiago Almeida, campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil.
"After ratifying the Paris agreement, Brazilian President Michel Temer declared that the climate issue is an obligation for all governments. If Brazil's commitment is serious, we must prevent the exploration of oil in the region and keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid climate catastrophe," Almeida continued.
Drilling in this area would mean a constant risk of an oil spill. The Cape Orange National Park, the northernmost point of the Brazilian state of Amapá, is home to the world's largest continuous mangrove ecosystem and there is no technology capable of cleaning up oil in a location with its characteristics. In addition, the risks in this area are increased due to the strong currents and sediment that the Amazon River carries. So far, 95 wells have been drilled in the region, 27 of which were abandoned as a result of mechanical incidents—the rest due to the absence of economically or technically viable gas and oil.
American Manatee (Trichechus Manatu) in the Amazon.Greenpeace
The mouth of the Amazon River basin is home to the American manatee, the Amazon River's yellow tortoise, dolphins and the river otter—an endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is also home to communities of local fishermen and more than 80 Quilombola communities that rely economically on the area.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Derrick Z. Jackson
As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
'We Need People's Bailout, Not Polluters' Bailout': Climate Groups Move to Preempt Big Oil Giveaway Amid Pandemic
By Andrea Germanos
A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
An Important Note
No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene — can protect you from developing COVID-19.
The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.
By Zak Smith
It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more: