Historic Attempt to Swim Georgia Strait Supports Clean Water
Since 1966 many people have attempted to swim the 35km Georgia Strait crossing. It’s longer than the English Channel swim by approximately three kilometers, and only a few have succeeded, among them MP Fin Donnelly.
On Aug. 3, 2014, Fraser Riverkeeper conservationist Rachel Schoeler will make a historic attempt at this crossing, starting at Neck Point (near Nanaimo) and ending in Sechelt.
Rachel, 23, is a dedicated open-water swimmer and she's been training for her big swim for the past 10 months. Success will make her only the second woman in history to complete the crossing, and the first woman to do so in more than 40 years. (The last was in 1972, by a nurse named Fran Cannon).
Her training to date has included marathon laps at Hillcrest Pool in her Vancouver neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant, as well as cold-water training in the ocean starting in April. She is now working on the finer points of staying alive for 11 hours in frigid ocean, including experiments with oily goop to cover her skin (a mix of Vaseline and lanolin) and figuring out how to eat while afloat.
“Eating while you’re treading water is not as easy as it sounds,” she says. “And the whole swim will be pretty tough. Hopefully conditions are good and I make it across. If I do, when I hit the beach I’m probably just going to lay down. Then I’m going to eat. A lot.”
Rachel works for the conservation charity Fraser Riverkeeper part of the international Waterkeeper Alliance headed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. She has dedicated her swim, and any donor funds, to the group’s advocacy work on water-quality issues in British Columbia. Currently the group is asking donors to sponsor 100 meters of Rachel’s swim for a $50 donation.
An Ontario native, Rachel fell in love with open-water swimming during summers at her family’s cabin on Lake Steinburg. She moved to British Columbia in 2008 to study at the University of British Columbia, and has since made British Columbia her home.
“BC has such incredible waters for swimming, and there are so many threats facing them now,” she says. “I’ve been inspired in swimming and conservation by other great long-distance swimmers like Lynne Cox and Fin Donnelly. If my swim inspires anyone else to help protect our waters in Canada or anywhere else, I’ll be happy.”
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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