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World Oceans Day Is June 8: Here’s How You Can Make a Difference
By Pete Stauffer
Ever since the United Nations declared June 8th to be World Oceans Day in 2002, people and groups from around the world have used the occasion to celebrate the ocean and take steps to protect it. Now, with the ocean facing more threats than ever, it's time for all of us to come together to protect our treasured marine environment.
Our federal leaders are waging an unprecedented assault on the ocean. The Trump administration has proposed new offshore drilling in more than 90 percent of U.S. waters, while targeting marine protections for potential repeal. Meanwhile, plastic pollution continues to proliferate in our ocean, choking and entangling marine wildlife, as government leaders and corporate interests refuse to take meaningful steps to address the problem.
This is why grassroots action is desperately needed to protect the health of our ocean. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "If the people lead, the leaders will follow." So, on June 8th, let us all be reminded of our responsibility as ocean advocates to protect this incredible resource for now and the future.
Here are three ways to take action on #WorldOceansDay 2018.
1. Tell Your Federal Leaders to Stop the Rollback of Ocean Protections
The administration and members of congress need to hear from people who value the ocean and oppose proposals that would damage the marine environment. Please visit Surfrider's Stop Offshore Drilling campaign page to learn how you can take action to defend our coastlines from new oil rigs. Please also complete this action alert to urge your representatives to support our Marine Sanctuaries and National Monuments. Or better yet, pick up the phone and call your representatives in the Senate and House! For more information on Surfrider's Ocean Protection initiative click here.
2. Reduce Your Consumption of Plastics With a #ZeroPlasticLunch!
Plastic pollution represents one of the greatest threats to the health of our ocean. Every year, millions of tons of plastic enters marine waters, wreaking havoc on wildlife and ecosystems. That's why the theme of this year's World Oceans Day is preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean. Surfrider is partnering with CNN to ask students around the world to celebrate #WorldOceansDay with a #ZeroPlasticLunch. Join by sharing photos of your lunch on social media using the hashtag #ZeroPlasticLunch and tagging @surfrider with changes you made to your meal and why. For more tips on reducing your consumption of plastics, please visit Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics page.
3. Join the March for the Ocean (or Wear Blue to Show Support)
On Saturday, June 9th, ocean advocates are assembling in Washington DC and sister events around the country to March for the Ocean. The goal is to show grassroots support for stopping offshore drilling, reducing plastic pollution, and preserving coastlines in the face of rising seas. Surfrider Foundation will have a strong presence at the march, with chapter members and staff traveling to our nation's capital for the event. Those who can't make it to Washington DC are encouraged to 'Wear Blue for the Ocean' to show their support in local communities and on social media. For more information go to: www.marchforocean.com and engage with #MarchForOcean on your favorite social channels.
- How a Small Piece of Plastic Wrap Likely Killed a Harp Seal ›
- Parley Continues Its Innovative Campaign to Save Our Oceans With ... ›
- A Fishing Town in India Is Building a Road to a Plastic-Free Ocean ›
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.