One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.
Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
- NASA and NOAA: Last Decade Was the Hottest on Record - EcoWatch ›
- Earth Just Had Its Hottest September Ever Recorded, NOAA Says ... ›
Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
- Best CBD Oils of 2020: Reviews & Buying Guide - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Oil for Pain Management - Top 10 CBD Oil Review 2020 ... ›
- Best CBD for Dogs 2020 - Organic CBD Oil for Pets - EcoWatch ›
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil: What To Know - EcoWatch ›
- Charlotte's Web: A Review of the Certified B Corp CBD Brand ›
- Best CBD Waters: Plus All You Need to Know - EcoWatch ›
- The Best Water Soluble CBD Available Online - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD for Sleep (Lab-Tested, Person-Tested Oils) - EcoWatch ›
- CBD Oil for Dogs: 7 Benefits & Treatment Guide - EcoWatch ›
- NuLeaf Naturals CBD Review | Are They Worth The Cost? - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Capsules & Pills - Buyer's Guide (Update for 2021) - EcoWatch ›
- Because Price Matters: Most Affordable CBD Oils of 2021 - EcoWatch ›
- Strongest CBD Oils to Buy in 2021? - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Oils For Pain: Top 3 Brands of 2021 - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Vape Pen: Top Brands of 2020 - EcoWatch ›
For the first time, researchers have identified 100 transnational corporations that take home the majority of profits from the ocean's economy.
- 3 Innovations Leading the Fight to Save Our Ocean - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Ways to Curb the Power of Corporations and Billionaires - EcoWatch ›
The future may be too hot for baby sharks, a study published Tuesday found.
- Climate Change Likely Drove Our Ancestors to Extinction, Study Finds ›
- Fast and Furious Star Joins Sea Shepherd to Show Impact of ... ›
- 'Surprising' Fossil Discovery Could Rewrite Shark Evolution Story ... ›
- Will 500,000 Sharks Be Slaughtered for a COVID-19 Cure ... ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
By Alex Truelove
We're all culprits in the plastic pollution crisis — and that's by design.
I was reminded of this recently when I ordered a set of carbon filters for my countertop compost bin. (Like most people, I don't care for smelly kitchens.) The package arrived in a layered-plastic bubble envelope. Inside I found another clear plastic bag encasing the filters. Finally, adding insult to injury, each filter was wrapped individually in plastic. That made at least three layers of plastic for each filter.
Marine litter on a remote stretch of Norway coastline. Bo Eide / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0<p>The cost to the companies making these wasteful products? Zero. In a shareholder profit-maximizing world, making disposable junk wins every time.</p><p>But what if these companies were held responsible for their products? Would it prevent the onslaught of plastic junk filling up our landfills and too often ending up in the ocean? History suggests manufacturers would design products to be more reusable, repairable and resilient, because they'd want to limit the waste they would have to manage.</p><p>Which brings us to an idea known as producer responsibility.</p><p>Producer responsibility programs have existed around the world for decades and have successfully increased collection, recycling and reuse for the products they cover. For the most part these programs regulate hazardous, hard-to-dispose-of products such as batteries, paint, mercury thermostats, carpet, pesticides, tires and pharmaceuticals. Dozens of states already have programs in place for these items.</p><p>For example, thermostat makers are required to finance and sometimes run convenient recycling programs to keep mercury, a potent neurotoxin, from escaping and causing damage. Not all programs require producers to collect their own trash, but they all require adequate financing for safe collection. Producers that redesign their products to be less dangerous or more reusable can often avoid higher fees.</p><p>Unfortunately we don't have programs in place for single-use packaging and foodware, despite the fact that those products are <em>also </em>hazardous and hard to dispose of. That's why <a href="https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/break-waste-cycle" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">we need to create them</a>. British Columbia has already implemented producer responsibility legislation, and a handful of U.S. states — from Washington to Maine — are <a href="https://www.wastedive.com/news/epr-extended-producer-responsibility-maine-new-york-trends-plastic/587623/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">considering similar programs</a>. If implemented, these programs would create jobs, generate revenue streams for local municipalities to further reduce waste and, in the long run, improve human health and help fight climate change.</p><p>With support and pressure from residents, we could see laws pass as early as 2021, forcing our product-makers to either be better or pay out.</p><p>The idea is even gaining support <a href="https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/news/press-releases/udall-lowenthal-merkley-clark-unveil-landmark-legislation-to-break-free-from-plastic-pollution" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at the federal level</a>, as members of Congress respond to growing calls from constituents to address the plastic pollution crisis. Even the remote possibility of a federal program may push states to establish their own programs first.</p><p>Perhaps unsurprisingly, industry groups that represent manufacturers of these products have <a href="https://time.com/5790656/fixing-recycling-in-america/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">already opposed</a> efforts to hold their clients responsible, which is why we must continue to push our legislators to support these programs now and into the future. In other words, the jig is up — but only if we say so.</p><p><em>The opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of</em> The Revelator<em>, the Center for Biological Diversity or their employees.</em></p><p><em><a href="https://therevelator.org/author/alextruelove/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Alex Truelove</a> is United States Public Interest Research Group's director of zero waste campaigns.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://therevelator.org/plastic-producer-responsibility/" target="_blank">The Revelator</a>. </em></p>
A rare orca stranding on Scotland's Orkney Islands had a happy ending when volunteers and local residents teamed up to send the animal back out to sea.
- Why Do Whales and Dolphins Strand? - EcoWatch ›
- Orca Who Carried Dead Calf for 17 Days Gives Birth Again to ... ›
A new population of endangered blue whales has been hiding in the western Indian Ocean. According to NOAA, these gentle giants weigh up to 330,000 pounds and grow up to 110 feet long. The largest creature to have ever lived on Earth would seem hard to miss, but this group has been unknown to researchers – until now.
Blue whales are the largest animals ever to live on our planet. NOAA
- Endangered Blue Whales Make 'Unprecedented' Comeback to ... ›
- Some Experts Say Icelandic Whaling Company Killed an ... ›
Keeping a reusable straw in your purse, pocket, on your key ring, or in the glove compartment of your car makes it easy to skip single-use plastic when you're on the go. In fact, purchasing reusable straws, made from materials like bamboo, glass, silicone, and stainless steel, is one of the simplest ways to reduce your waste.
5. Best Metal Straw: Friendly Straw Six Pack<p>Looking for the best no-frills metal straw? Try the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZYWF89S/ref=syn_sd_onsite_desktop_176?uh_it=b42943e063b1b6d741ac68241cb0fd23_CT&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzQk1YNkMyWElBNE9PJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTQ3Nzc3RzUwSEpHM0lCU1Y3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MTA5NjczMUpFWVJHREk1Mk1JJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c2Rfb25zaXRlX2Rlc2t0b3AmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl&th=1" target="_blank">Friendly Straw Six Pack</a>. This set of three straight and three bent straws lets you choose the ideal angle for sipping your favorite beverages. All are dishwasher safe, come with a carrying pouch, and include a brush to make cleaning a breeze.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating:</strong> 4.4 out of 5 stars</p><p><strong>Why Buy: </strong>Dishwasher safe; Rust-proof stainless steel; Carrying pouch and cleaning brush included; Paper packaging</p>
Buyer's Guide: Which Reusable Straw Is Right For You?<p>We've listed 10 of the best reusable straws to choose from, but which one is best for you? When buying a reusable straw, you'll want to take into account f<strong></strong>actors such as whether you want to take your straw on the go — and, thus, whether it folds down or has a carrying case of some sort — and whether it's important that it's dishwasher safe.<br></p><p>You'll also want to choose which material you prefer:</p><ul><li><strong>Silicone:</strong> If you're a habitual straw biter or have young children, Silicone will likely be your best bet. These soft reusable straws are ultra flexible, nontoxic, and are available in many different colors. They don't hold a shape as well as some alternative materials, but that's precisely what many users like about them.</li><li><strong>Stainless steel:</strong> Metal straws made with food-grade stainless steel are often a cheap option, but they hold up over time. While some people complain about a metallic taste and heating up when drinking hot beverages, others prefer these straws for their durability. Additionally, some stainless-steel straws come with silicone tips that can be used if you don't like how hard the metal is on your teeth.</li><li><strong>Glass:</strong> Glass reusable straws have a smooth mouthfeel, are lightweight, and can come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing hues. You can rest assured they won't be made with BPA or other <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/a-toxin-in-every-household-2595496112.html" target="_self">harmful toxins</a>, but one common concern with glass straws is how breakable they are. To combat this, look for straws made from a material like borosilicate glass that's more shatter-resistant.</li><li><strong>Bamboo:</strong> Reusable straws made from bamboo are <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/biodegradable-straws-cutlery-2647876041.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1" target="_self">completely biodegradable</a>, making them especially sustainable. Like glass, they're lightweight and have a smooth mouthfeel, however, they can have a slight woody taste. And if you want a bent straw, you'll need to choose another material — these only come stick-straight. </li></ul>
- 5 Green Cleaning Products for Tackling Messy Homes - EcoWatch ›
- The 18 Best Healthy Foods to Buy in Bulk (And the Worst) - EcoWatch ›
By Brett Wilkins
A report published Tuesday by the eco-advocacy group Environment America urges President-elect Joe Biden to immediately restore critical environmental protections gutted by Trump administration regulatory rollbacks.
- 12 Trump Attacks on the Environment Since the Election - EcoWatch ›
- Trump EPA Hinder Biden Efforts to Address Climate and Pollution ... ›
- Latest Trump Rollback Allows Increased Logging in National Forests ... ›
- UCS Offers Science Advice for Biden Administration - EcoWatch ›
At least twelve deep-sea species were recently discovered in the Atlantic, BBC News reported. After five years of research, scientists of the ATLAS Project, a transatlantic assessment and deep-water management plan for Europe, discovered new species of sea mosses, molluscs and corals.
- More Microplastics in Deep Sea Than Great Pacific Garbage Patch ... ›
- Race to Mine Deep Seabeds, With Unknown Ecological Impacts ... ›
- Ocean Warming Is Causing Deep-Sea Creatures to Migrate Toward ... ›
By Gavin McDonald
Fishing on the high seas is a bit of a mystery, economically speaking. These areas of open ocean beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any nation are generally considered high-effort, low-payoff fishing grounds, yet fishers continue to work in them anyway.
Unique Behavior From Forced Labor<p>Forced labor is <a href="https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C029" target="_blank">defined by the International Labor Organization</a> as "all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered themself voluntarily." Essentially, many of these workers may be enslaved, unable to stop work, trapped out on the high seas. Sadly, forced labor has been <a href="https://www.ap.org/explore/seafood-from-slaves/" target="_blank">widely documented</a> in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/world/outlaw-ocean-thailand-fishing-sea-slaves-pets.html" target="_blank">fishing</a> <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/southeastasia/publication/3428/seabound-the-journey-to-modern-slavery-on-the-high-seas/" target="_blank">world</a>, but the true extent of the problem has remained largely unknown.</p><p>Our team wanted to say more about how forced labor is being used in fisheries, and the breakthrough came once we asked a key question that drove this project: What if vessels that forced labor behave in observable, fundamentally different ways from vessels that do not?</p><p>To answer this, we first looked at 22 vessels known to have used forced labor. We got their historical satellite tracking data from <a href="https://globalfishingwatch.org/" target="_blank">Global Fishing Watch</a> – a nonprofit organization that promotes ocean sustainability using near-real-time fishing data – and used it to find commonalities in how these vessels behaved. To further inform what to look for in the satellite monitoring data, we met with human rights groups, including <a href="https://libertyshared.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Liberty Shared</a>, <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/international/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Greenpeace</a> and the <a href="https://ejfoundation.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Justice Foundation</a>, to determine which of these vessel behaviors might indicate a potential risk of forced labor.</p><p>This list of indicators included vessel behaviors like spending more time on the high seas, traveling farther from ports than other vessels and fishing more hours per day than other boats. For example, sometimes these suspicious vessels would be at sea for many months at a time.</p><p>Now that we had a good idea of the "risky" behaviors that signal the potential use of forced labor, our team, with the help of Google data scientists, used machine learning techniques to look for similar behavioral patterns in thousands of other vessels.</p>
Shockingly Widespread<p>We examined 16,000 fishing vessels using data from 2012 to 2018. Between 14% and 26% of those boats showed suspicious behavior that suggests a high likelihood that they are exploiting forced labor. This means that in those six years, as many as <a href="https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2016238117" target="_blank">100,000 people may have been victims of forced labor</a>. We don't know whether those boats are still active or how many high-risk vessels there may be on the seas today. But according to Global Fishing Watch, as of 2018, there were nearly <a href="https://globalfishingwatch.org/datasets-and-code/vessel-identity/" target="_blank">13,000 vessels operating</a> in industrial longliner, trawler and squid jigger fleets.</p><p>Squid jiggers lure their catch to the surface at night using bright lights; longliner boats trail a line with baited hooks; and trawlers pull fishing nets through the water behind them. Squid jiggers had the highest percentage of vessels that exhibited behaviors that indicate the potential use of forced labor, followed closely by longliner fishing vessels and, to a lesser extent, trawlers.</p><p>Another key finding from our study is that forced labor violations are likely occurring in all major ocean basins, both on the high seas and within national jurisdictions. High-risk vessels frequented ports across 79 countries in 2018, with the ports predominantly located in Africa, Asia and South America. Also notable for frequent visits by these suspicious vessels were Canada, the United States, New Zealand and several European countries. These ports represent both potential sources of exploited labor as well as transfer points for seafood caught using forced labor.</p><p>As it stands now, our model is a proof of concept that still needs to be tested in the real world. By having the model assess vessels already caught using forced labor, we were able to show that the model was accurate 92% of the time when it flagged suspicious vessels. In the future, our team hopes to further validate and improve the model by gathering more information on known forced labor cases.</p>
Turning Data Into Action<p>Our team has built a predictive model that can identify vessels that are at high risk for engaging in forced labor. We believe our results could complement and inform existing efforts to combat human rights violations and promote supply chain transparency. Currently, our team is using individual vessel risk scores to determine forced labor risks for specific seafood products as a whole.</p><p>As we get more substantial data and improve the accuracy of the model, we hope that it can eventually be used to liberate victims of forced labor in fisheries, improve work conditions and help prevent human rights abuses from occurring in the first place.</p><p>We're now working with <a href="https://globalfishingwatch.org/" target="_blank">Global Fishing Watch</a> to identify partners across governments, enforcement agencies and labor groups that can use our results to more effectively target vessel inspections. These inspections offer opportunities to both catch offenders and provide more data to feed into the model, improving its accuracy.</p>
- Greenpeace: The Truth Behind the World's Largest Tuna Company ... ›
- Investigators Find Slave Labor on Starbucks-Certified Brazil Coffee ... ›
- AP Investigation: Supermarkets Selling Shrimp Peeled by Slaves ... ›