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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:09 am

The Environmental Threat
You’ve Never Heard Of


The process of water darkening is well-studied in fresh water, but scientists are keying into the effects it may be having in coastal environments, It’s called coastal darkening, and scientists are just beginning to explore it

Click on photo enlarge:
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Coastal waters around the world are steadily growing darker. This darkening—a change in the color and clarity of the water—has the potential to cause huge problems for the ocean and its inhabitants.

“It’s affecting the quality of the sea we know,” says Oliver Zielinski, who runs the Coastal Ocean Darkening project at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. These “changes in the physics will lead to biological changes,” he adds.

Some of the causes behind ocean darkening are well understood: fertilizer enters the water and causes an algal bloom, or boats stir up light-blocking silt as they move. But other causes are murkier. During heavy rains, for instance, organic matter—primarily from decaying plants and loose soil—can enter the ocean as a brown, light-blocking slurry. This process is well documented in rivers and lakes, but has largely been overlooked in coastal areas.

Maren Striebel, an aquatic ecologist also with the Coastal Ocean Darkening project, showed in a large-scale experiment the power of this phenomenon.

In the study, Striebel and her team filled huge metal vats with water, phytoplankton, and silt. From peat, the team extracted a brown liquid as an approximation of the dissolved organic matter found in coastal waters. They put low, medium, and high concentrations of the liquid in the vats, and hung lamps above them to mimic the sun’s rays.

Over the first few weeks, the peat extract decreased the light’s ability to penetrate the water by 27 percent, 62 percent, and 86 percent, respectively, for the low, medium, and high concentrations. The phytoplankton suffered from the lack of light—primarily in the medium- and high-concentration vats.

However, and perhaps more importantly, the organic matter not only caused the raw biomass of phytoplankton to drop, it also favored some species over others. As phytoplankton form the base of the ocean’s food web, this could have stark implications. Some species of zooplankton, for instance, have adapted to eat one kind of phytoplankton. Any change in phytoplankton composition could result in winners and losers throughout the ecosystem.

Over time, Zielinski says, coastal darkening could have widespread effects beyond those on microorganisms. Decreased light availability, he says, would benefit creatures that don’t rely on sight to hunt, such as jellyfish, and hinder species such as fish that hunt better when they can see.

As the experiment progressed, Striebel says that the murkiness dissipated as light and microscopic life forms in the water began to degrade the dissolved organic matter, allowing the phytoplankton to fully recover. However, she says that in the real world, this relief may be unlikely. In the experiment, the water was contaminated with a singular addition of the peat extract. But under normal circumstances, rain would continue to push new dissolved organic matter into the ocean.

Click on photo enlarge:
1307

A range of processes can cause water to become darker, from the runoff of fertilizer and dissolved organic matter, to boats churning up seafloor sediments.

There were some other quirks of the experiment, too, that might have mitigated the effects of coastal darkening.

The organisms that lived on the bottom of the tank, for example, were largely unaffected. The vats had chambers that changed the water level to mimic the rise and fall of the tides. Striebel suspects the decrease in water depth at low tide meant more light could reach the life on this artificial seafloor. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case in some places that do not receive much natural light even at low tide.

According to research by Amanda Poste, an aquatic ecologist at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, darkening could also have a pronounced chemical effect.

Along with various microorganisms, sunlight breaks down some toxic chemicals, including methyl mercury, that end up in some waterways. Poste’s study showed that if light is less able to penetrate the water, methyl mercury sticks around longer, potentially giving the pollutant enough time to transfer through the food web to fish and, eventually, humans.

Though researchers are only beginning to study its effects in detail, there’s strong evidence that coastal darkening is happening—and has been for a long time.

Over the past 100 years, the North Sea has been growing markedly darker, according to a 2019 study by biologist Anders Frugård Opdal at the University of Bergen in Norway.

This darkening, Opdal shows, may have already caused up to a three-week delay in the usual “bloom” of phytoplankton in the North Sea, when lengthening daylight and an influx of nutrients cause rapid population growth. The timing of these blooms is essential to some species, such as fish that rely on phytoplankton for food when they spawn.

All in all, it’s difficult to pin down any specific consequences of coastal darkening, says Opdal. The darker water may even be having some benefits, such as sheltering some species from predators. Somewhat ironically, while global warming is expected to push plankton to bloom earlier in the year, in the North Sea that change may have been somewhat mitigated by the darker water. It’s a tricky thing to study with many moving parts, Opdal says.

Environmental regulations around fertilizer use, and efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, mean that in some places—such as the North Sea, parts of North America, and the Mediterranean Sea—the situation is already improving. There, the water is either staying at the same level of murkiness or even getting clearer. But such improvements are not the case everywhere, Zielinski says: more data is needed from around the world to really understand the breadth of the phenomenon.

https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/the- ... obal-en-GB
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:21 am

Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade

We rangers are risking our lives every day to stop poachers

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Julius Miyengo is Commander of a Special Anti Poaching Unit (SAPU) established by Game Rangers International, protecting wildlife in Zambia’s Kafue National Park. To mark World Rangers Day today we are celebrating the anti-poaching frontline, as part of the Evening Standard’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign. Funds raised will to pay for vital wildlife protection projects implemented by the campaign’s partner charity Space for Giants. This will work to help stop the poaching and illegal trafficking of animals

By Julius Miyengo
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:11 am

Rangers in DR Congo's Virunga National Park:

Protecting the forests of Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo - home to endangered mountain gorillas - could be described as one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Park rangers also take care of orphaned mountain gorillas at Virunga

Image

In the past 12 months, more than 20 of the park's staff have been murdered - and last week rebels were accused of killing the Italian ambassador to DR Congo, his security guard and driver in an attack within the park.

"The level of sacrifice that's involved in keeping this work going will always be the hardest thing to deal with," says Emmanuel de Merode, who is in charge of more than 800 rangers at Virunga, Africa's oldest and largest national park.

It spans 7,800 sq km (3,000 sq miles) and is home to an astonishingly diverse landscape - from active volcanoes and vast lakes to rainforest and mountains.

The park was set up nearly 100 years ago to protect mountain gorillas, whose numbers have increased over the past decade, though there are still only 1,000 left in the world.

Mr De Merode has lived in DR Congo for nearly 30 years, but he still remembers the day he first arrived.

"I bought a motorbike in Kampala and drove through Uganda into Congo, and as you cross the border you're immediately struck by the enormity of the park and the incredibly beautiful landscapes."

Born in North Africa and raised in Kenya, Mr De Merode is a Belgian prince, but he does not use his title.

He is softly spoken and calm, despite the challenges he and his team face daily.

Two deadly attacks in the last 12 months have been harrowing for them all:

    Last April, 13 rangers were murdered in what park officials described as a "ferociously violent and sustained" attack by another armed group

    In January, six rangers, patrolling the park's boundary on foot, were killed in an ambush by militias. All of those who died were aged between 25 and 30.
"Believe me, it is truly a very painful experience to lose so many young people all at once," says ranger Gracien Muyisa Sivanza, who is responsible for the park's lakes.

"My fellow rangers who have passed away loved their work very much and went so far as to make the ultimate sacrifice for our cause of conservation."

But he says it makes them all feel more determined to "continue the fight we started together... to honour their memories.

"I think they are proud of us wherever they are."

"You have to accept that [there's risk]. It's a national park which is part of the Congolese state which has been affected by civil war for the most of its recent history," he says.

'We have kept the park alive'

But he also points to the park's achievements in the face of ongoing adversity.

"It's had enormous ups and downs… we've suffered enormously, but alongside that is an incredible achievement of keeping this park alive."

More than 800 rangers put their lives on the line to protect the park

The attack on Mr De Merode came at a turbulent time when the heavily armed and notorious M23 militia were advancing in the region. At the same time, a British oil company formerly called Soco had been granted permission from the government in Kinshasa to extract oil by drilling on the park's land.

Tensions were at breaking point - and captured on film in the 2014 Oscar-nominated documentary, Virunga.

"We were fighting against a British oil company… We were in confrontation with a number of people. On that day, I had submitted a substantial investigation report into the activities of the oil company."

Driving back alone through the forest he was ambushed: "I was shot in the chest and the stomach."

The company condemned the attack and denied any involvement in it. It has since changed its name and withdrawn from DR Congo.

Mr De Merode says he was "lucky". "People from a village pulled me away, so my efforts continue thanks to them. Many of our staff weren't so lucky."

When people die carrying out his orders in the park, he says "it leaves a level of agony I can't describe for their families".

It's estimated that a dozen or so armed militia groups survive off the park's resources - poaching or chopping down wood to sell for fuel.

DR Congo's natural resources have been fought over for decades. The country - which is the size of mainland western Europe - has more mineral wealth, with diamonds, oil, cobalt and copper, than anywhere else on the planet.

A soldier in front of Mount Nyiragongo, DR Congo - archiveimage copyrightAFP
image captionVirunga's Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano - seen here in the distance - last erupting in 2002

These are some of the elements essential to modern technology, making up key components in electric cars and smartphones.

Virunga is no different. It's rich in resources underground as well as in nature and wildlife. But the two million people living in the region of the park mainly live on under $1.50 (£1.08) a day.

Tourism dollars

This tussle for survival is not lost on Mr De Merode who sees protecting the park as essentially a social justice issue.

"It's not a simple problem of protecting gorillas and elephants; it is overcoming an economic problem at the heart of one of the most horrific civil wars in history," he says.

"Over seven million Congolese are believed to have died over 30 years and at the heart of it is an economic issue.

"We passionately believe for Virunga to survive, we have to first consider the local population. We have to make this park an asset… A net benefit."

He looks to neighbouring Rwanda and its pre-pandemic success in attracting tourism worth over $500m a year. In Kenya it is an industry worth around $3.5bn.

"That's more than the national budget of DR Congo," he says, adding: "Tourism isn't a game we are playing, it's a strategic industry. We need to look at ways of generating wealth without damaging the park."

Swapping guns for jobs

The strategy is starting to pay off in unexpected ways. Increased tourism in Virunga has helped the park attract investment for other projects.

One scheme takes advantage of the park's high rainfall and fast-flowing rivers to produce hydroelectricity - allowing some rebels to swap their guns for a steady income.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55829330
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:05 pm

Food waste:

More than 900 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year

The UN Environment Programme's Food Waste Index revealed that 17% of the food available to consumers - in shops, households and restaurants - goes directly into the bin.

Some 60% of that waste is in the home.

The lockdown appears to have had a surprising impact - at least in the UK - by reducing domestic food waste.

NTV cook, Bake Off winner and food writer Nadiya Hussain has joined the campaign against kitchen waste

Sustainability charity Wrap, the UN's partner organisation on this report, says people have been planning their shopping and their meals more carefully.

And in an effort to build on that, well-known chefs have been enlisted to inspire less wasteful kitchen habits.

23 million trucks of food

The report has highlighted a global problem that is "much bigger than previously estimated," Richard Swannell from Wrap told BBC News.

"The 923 million tonnes of food being wasted each year would fill 23 million 40-tonne trucks. Bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times."

It is an issue previously considered to be a problem almost exclusive to richer countries - with consumers simply buying more than they could eat - but this research found "substantial" food waste "everywhere it looked".

There are gaps in the findings that could reveal how the scale of the problem varies in low- and high-income countries. The report, for example, could not distinguish between "involuntary" and "voluntary" waste.

"We haven't looked deeper [at this issue] but in low-income countries, the cold chain is not fully assured because of lack of access to energy," Martina Otto from Unep told BBC News.

The data to distinguish between the waste of edible food and inedible parts - like bones and shells - was only available for high-income countries. Lower-income countries, Ms Otto pointed out, were likely to be wasting much less edible food.

There is likely to be far less voluntary food waste in low-income countries

But the end result, she said, was that the world was "just throwing away all the resources used to make that food".

Ahead of major global climate and biodiversity summits later this year, Unep executive director Inger Andersen is pushing for countries to commit to combatting waste - halving it by 2030.

"If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste," she said.

Richard Swannell pointed out: "Wasted food is responsible for 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions, so if food waste was a country, it would be the third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet."

Tips to reduce food waste:

    Plan your portions and buy the right amount: a mug should hold the right amount of uncooked rice for four adults, and you can measure a single portion of spaghetti using a 1p or £1 coin;

    Cool your fridge down: the average UK fridge temperature is almost 7°C. It should be lower than 5°C;

    Understand date labels: a "use by" date is about food safety. If the use by date has passed, you should not eat or serve it, even if it looks and smells okay.

    If something is getting close to the use by date, you can freeze it. A "best before" date is about quality.
In the UK, the average household could save £700 per year, according to Wrap research, by buying only the food they ate.

The lockdown effect

Throwing away food can also mean that resources used to grow it have been wasted

Where food waste is voluntary, the Covid-19 lockdown appears to have had the surprising effect of revealing precisely how it can be remedied.

According to research by Wrap, planning, careful storage and batch-cooking during the lockdown reduced people's reported levels of food waste by 22% compared with 2019.

"Being confined to our homes has resulted in an increase in behaviours such as batch cooking and meal planning," the charity said. "But the latest insights suggest that food waste levels are likely to rise again as we emerge from lockdown."

In an effort to avoid that, well-known cooks and chefs have lent their names and social media profiles to the campaign against kitchen waste.

British TV cook Nadiya Hussain is working with Wrap and offering tips and leftovers recipes via Instagram. And Italian restaurateur Massimo Bottura, chef patron of Modena eatery Osteria Francescana, which has three Michelin stars, has been appointed Unep goodwill ambassador "in the fight against food waste and loss".

Throughout the lockdown in Italy, his family produced an online cooking show called Kitchen Quarantine, encouraging people to "see the invisible potential" in every ingredient.

What's causing Britain's food waste?

While millions of tonnes of food was thrown away, an estimated 690 million people were affected by hunger in 2019. That number is expected to rise sharply in the wake of the pandemic.

Ms Andersen pointed out that tackling waste "would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56271385

This report fails to mention the fact that a large portion of food waste was in fact living and breathing beings such as fish, cows, chickens, pigs and little fluffy lambs, all barbarically slaughtered for man's greed and those lives were destroyed for nothing as their bodies are thrown away
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