Harrison Ford Is The Ocean
"But humans, they take more than their share. They poison me then they expect me to feed them. Well, it doesn't work that way," states Ford, Academy Award nominee and Conservation International's vice chairman, as narrator of The Ocean.
Did you know that the ocean produces half of the oxygen we breathe? Did you know that nearly 80 percent of all life on Earth is found in the oceans? But overfishing, pollution and warming waters is threatening the health of the ocean, which impacts our survival.
"When I first came across Conservation International in 1991, I was just looking for a way to give back," said Ford. "But as I became more deeply involved with CI, I learned about the important work they were doing to improve human well-being through the care of nature. The message was simple: People need nature. More than 20 years later, this simple message is more important than ever. The environment has become a political, polarizing issue. It's time to change the conversation about nature to focus on what we all have in common: Our shared humanity."
Dr. Sebastian Troeng, senior vice president and managing director of the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans, in a Conservation International blog post, asks you to "Just consider the remarkable range of benefits we get from healthy oceans."
Troeng provides these 10 important benefits:
- Food provision through wild fisheries and fish farming. About 4.3 billion people get around 15 percent of their animal protein and essential nutrition from seafood.
- Natural products like shells, seaweed, fish oil and coral. Each year, people consume almost 23 million tons of seaweed alone, an amount valued at more than U.S.$ 6 billion.
- Coastal protection. Natural barriers like coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds mitigate impacts from major storms and tsunamis.
- Artisanal fishing opportunities for those who don’t have other options for employment or livelihoods and need to make their sustenance from oceans. There are more than 12 million artisanal fishers worldwide.
- Economies and livelihoods for people along the coasts. Worldwide, an estimated 350 million jobs depend on the ocean.
- Biodiversity. Already the IUCN Red List categorizes 11.7 percent of the 8,459 marine species assessed to date as threatened with a high risk of extinction in the wild. The decline or extinction of species threatens the many direct and indirect benefits they provide to people, from being sources of new medicines to maintaining ecosystems in balance.
- Clean water, free from pollutants and plastic garbage, that people can swim and wash in without putting their health at risk. There are already more than 400 dead zones worldwide, where lack of oxygen prevents many forms of life. These areas cover an area larger than the entire state of Minnesota.
- A sense of place, including cultural, spiritual and aesthetic benefits. In the U.S. 39 percent of the population lives in coastal counties; these people are shaped by living by the ocean.
- Carbon storage. The ocean captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and buries it in sediments to mitigate climate change. Mangroves capture five times as much carbon per acre as tropical rainforests, but these “blue carbon” habitats are being lost at a rate 2 - 4 times faster.
- Tourism and recreation. In the U.S., more than 40 percent of people visit the beach each year.
Nature Is Speaking is a series of short films voiced by some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Penélope Cruz, Harrison Ford, Edward Norton, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Ian Somerhalder and Kevin Spacey.
Help share this great film by using the #NatureIsSpeaking hashtag on social media platforms. HP will donate $1 to Conservation International each time the hashtag is used.
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
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