oceans

Jo Ruxton, co-producer of 'A Plastic Ocean'. Photo: via plasticoceans.net

Plastic Ocean - why the world should declare plastic 'hazardous waste'

Lesley Henderson
Brunel University London
| 8th June 2016
Plastic is ubiquitous around the world's oceans, writes Lesley Henderson, but although it's visible from space, it can be surprisingly elusive in the water - as she heard from Jo Ruxton, producer of the investigative documentary 'A Plastic Ocean'. Solutions to this growing hazard have also proved elusive to date, hence the film's strong focus on action: educational, cultural and legal.

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Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner
| 8th June 2016
The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers.

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The smoke rises above Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada - no, not from the recent fires that afflicted the city, but from the highly polluting plant processing tar sand into oil. Photo: kris krüg / DeSmogBlog via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewables versus climate change - the battle heats up!

Jeremy Leggett
| 7th June 2016
The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe?

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A small settlement in Bangladesh's Sundarbans, which extends into India to make the world's greatest mangrove forest - a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Area that is home for both people and countless wildlife species. Photo: Marufish via Flickr (CC BY-S

Exim Bank of India - stop support for the Rampal Coal Power plant!

Johan Frijns
Banktrack
| 26th May 2016
The Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh, near the world's greatest mangrove forest, is a deeply misconceived project that must be abandoned, writes Johan Frijns in this Open Letter to the Exim Bank of India - which is planning to finance its construction. It would severely damage the precious local environment and wildlife, while adding to global climate change and sea level rise.

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Raging seas: storm waves bear down on the already damaged Porthreath harbour wall, 1st February 2014. Photo: Philip Male via Flickr (CC BY).

Raging seas: going local to understand ocean extremes of the future

Mikis Tsimplis
University of Southampton
| 24th May 2016
Scientists are rightly getting worried about increases in the average sea level over coming years, decades and centuries, writes Mikis Tsimplis. But that's only one cause of sea flooding and the loss of land to the sea. What's often forgotten are intense sea storms, hurricanes, typhoons and shifting tides, which have huge implications for the future of coastal areas around the world.

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Overheating? 2015 was actually the hottest year on record, and since then the heat has continued to rise. Image: Met Office (CC BY-NC-SA).

Scientists must challenge poor media reporting on climate change

John Krebs
University of Oxford
| 5th May 2016
The deliberate misrepresentation of climate science in our media deserves an urgent corrective, writes John Krebs. Recent misreporting by The Times - passing off partisan, unscientific, non-peer reviewed, ill-informed climate change-sceptic opinion as 'science' - deserves particular opprobrium.

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The futuristic visitor centre planned for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Swansea Lagoon is our promised green energy future - so why isn't it in the Energy Bill?

Stephen Tindale
| 4th May 2016
Tidal lagoons could generate 8% of the UK's electricity, writes Stephen Tindale, and go on doing so for 120 years to come. With the Hinkley C nuclear project looking ever more dicey, and with promises to shut down coal fired generation by 2025, a promised new tidal lagoon In Swansea Bay would come in very useful. So why hasn't the government included it in the Energy Bill?

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Mindful living is beautiful in thought and even better in reality. Picture a small-town sanctuary where you can find yourself, live in the moment, and relish the simple things in life. Photo: via Viviane Mahieux.

Brutal, opaque, illegal: the dark side of the Tres Santos 'mindfulness' eco-tourism resort

Viviane Mahieux
| 29th April 2016
A small fishing community in Mexico's Baja California is playing involuntary host to a gigantic tourism and real estate development, writes Viviane Mahieux. And while the branding of the Tres Santos resort is all about mindfulness, ecology and sustainability, the reality is one of big money, high level politics, and the unaccountable deployment of state violence against those who dare oppose it.

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Container ship MOL GRANEUR. Photo: ARTS_fox1fire via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UK must not let shipping sink the Paris Agreement!

Barry Gardiner
Richard Burden
| 18th April 2016
This week, the International Maritime Organisation could act to curb fast-rising emissions from shipping under the Paris Agreement, write Barry Gardiner & Richard Burden. But there are growing fears that the UK government may seek to delay and obstruct vital progress.

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The famous Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Matt Turner.

BP's deep sea oil exploration in South Australia - no way!

Graham Readfearn
DeSmog.uk
| 14th April 2016
BP's plans to explore for oil in the deep seas of the Great Australian Bight came under fire today at the company's Annual General Meeting in London, writes Graham Readfearn. The drilling would risk the ocean's rich marine wildlife - while blowing a massive hole in Australia's COP21 emissions targets.

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How long before the entire Great Barrier Reef goes this way? Bleached coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: John Howell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Great Barrier Reef die-off - the latest harbinger of a global mass extinction?

James Dyke
| 12th April 2016
Large areas of the Great Barrier Reef are dying in what may be its greatest ever 'bleaching' event, writes James Dyke. The mass loss of the photosynthetic algae that sustain the coral is the result of this year's massive 'El Niño' perturbation to Pacific weather patterns, and global warming. Australia's response? The government has just approved leases for the world's biggest coal mine.

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Time, tide and sea level rise wait for no one ... so are we ready? Photo: clappstar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No planet for optimists: coastal flooding may come sooner and bigger than we think

Pete Dolack
| 8th April 2016
Of all the impacts of climate change, one stands out for its inexorable menace, writes Pete Dolack: rising oceans. And it's not just for distant future generations to deal with: new scientific studies show that people alive today may face 6-9 metres of sea level rise flooding well over a million sq.km including many of the world's biggest cities. So where's the emergency response?

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Big waves at Treyarnon Bay, Padstow, North Cornwall, 27th March 2016. Photo: Mark Seymour via Flickr (CC BY).

Stronger storms coming to Europe's Atlantic seaboard

Tim Radford
| 8th April 2016
The giant waves that hit Cornwall's coast this weekend form part of a long term trend, writes Tim Radford. Extreme weather linked to global warming is leading to more violent and more frequent storms devastating beaches, ports, infrastructure and coastal communities on Europe's exposed Atlantic coastlines.

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Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. Photo: Skip Nyegard via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Fishing ban is helping the Great Barrier Reef resist and recover from damage

Camille Mellin
Aaron MacNeil
Julian Caley
| 7th April 2016
New research from Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows that no-take marine reserves don't just mean more and bigger fish, write Camille Mellin, Aaron MacNeil & Julian Caley. They also boost the resistance of reef communities to disturbances like storms, bleaching and predation, and speed their subsequent recovery. It's time for global rollout of coral reef marine reserves!

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Bottlenose dolphins trapped by nets in the killing cove at Taiji, Japan. Photo: Dolphin Project.

Taiji dolphin drive hunt is over - but the cetacean slaughter continues

Ric O'Barry
Dolphin Project
| 6th April 2016
The dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan have officially ended for the season, writes Ric O'Barry, however the offshore pilot whale hunt continues until the end of May. After a particularly brutal year, which culminated in my arrest and deportation from Japan, we at Dolphin Project will continue our crucial work to end the annual barbarity of cetacean killings and captures.

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Male Atlantic salmon showing the kype (hook) in the lower jaw, used in battle with rival mates during the spawning season. Photo: E. Peter Steenstra / US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region via Flickr (CC BY).

FDA sued for 'unlawful' approval of GMO salmon

The Ecologist
| 1st April 2016
A coalition of fishing, consumer, and environmental groups are suing the FDA for its 'unlawful' approval of Aquabounty's GM salmon, as it relied on treating the fish as an 'animal drug' under a 1938 law, and ignored serious risks to wild salmon and fishing communities.

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Small fishing boat at St Andrews, Scotland, UK. Photo: dun_deagh via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Brexit could spell disaster for the UK's fishing industry

Bryce Stewart
Griffin Carpenter
| 30th March 2016
The much-derided Common Fisheries Policy must be one of the EU's most unpopular aspects, write Bryce Stewart & Griffin Carpenter. But in fact it has been a notable success, reflecting public concern over bycatch discards and restoring sustainability to Europe's fishing grounds, and profitability to a long declining industry.

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A day before landfall, on 29th October 2012, Sandy intensified into a Category 2 superstorm nearly 1,000 miles wide. Photo: William Putman / NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Center for Climate Simulation via Flickr (CC BY).

Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: the threat of irreparable harm

Jim Hansen
| 24th March 2016
The term 'global warming' has a reassuring, comfortable sound, writes Jim Hansen. But paleoclimate data shows the reality could be anything but, with rapid climate oscillations, large, abrupt rises in sea level, major disruptions to ocean circulation, and massive superstorms. It may already be too late to forestall this dystopian future - but then it may not be. So let's act while we still can!

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The Pacific Heron moored at Falmouth. Photo: Tim Green via Flickr (CC BY)

Secrecy tightens over plutonium shipments from Japan to US

Tim Deere-Jones
| 21st March 2016
Two heavily armed, UK registered ships are currently engaged in the transport of UK sourced plutonium across the Pacific, writes Tim Deere-Jones. Details of their safety inspection records, survey status, voyage routes and location have been suppressed in the interests of security but the lack of transparency breaches a number of international safety standards.

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Plastic pollution found on a shoreline in Norway. Photo: Bo Elde via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Public Trust Doctrine requires governments to protect our oceans!

Deb Wright
| 9th March 2016
A legal principle dating from Roman times is ripe for use in protecting our waste-filled and over-exploited seas and oceans, writes Deb Wright. Under the 'Public Trust Doctrine' governments are entrusted to protect shared natural resources from abuse, and can be held accountable for neglect of their duties.

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Cruising the open seas on the Sea Dragon. Photo: Katrina McQuail.

In search of the unseen: an investigation into plastics in our oceans

Ana Stanič
| 21st February 2016
One of the biggest threats facing marine life is the 'microplastic' particles found in ocean ecosystems from bottom to top of food chains. Just back from a voyage of environmental exploration in the tropical Atlantic sampling the waters to build up a global picture of this ubiquitous pollutant, Ana Stanič writes of the joys and trials of life on the waves, and the need to keep our oceans clean.

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Cancún's mangroves are destroyed. But hope grows again!

Miguel Rivas
Greenpeace Mexico
| 17th February 2016
Mexico's tourist resort of Cancún has just lost one of its greatest natural riches, writes Miguel Rivas: 57 hectares of species rich mangrove forest, bulldozed in a massive overnight attack by property developers in league with local officials. But people power can still win the battle and see the Tajamar mangroves restored.

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Beached whale in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, being removed using earth-moving equipment, September 2013. Photo: Patrick Down via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Heavy metal poisoning in Scotland's beached whales

The Ecologist
| 15th February 2016
High levels of toxins mercury and cadmium have been found in all organs of the whales recently beached on Scotland's North Sea coast, including the brain. The research shows that rising mercury levels in the oceans leads to toxic stress in the long-lived marine mammals.

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