Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

November 9, 2017 by  
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Why did hundreds of sea turtles perish near El Salvador ? The country’s ministry of environment and natural resources found 300-400 dead turtles in Jiquilisco Bay, so they took samples to try and determine why the animals died. National Geographic floated fishing and algal blooms as two reasons for the sea turtle die-offs. Around 300 to 400 sea turtles died near El Salvador, according to MARN . Locals began seeing the turtles the end of October; MARN announced the die-off on Twitter in early November. Several turtle species reside in the area, but so far it looks like ridleys have been the species most hit. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies ridleys as vulnerable. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry A red tide , or harmful algal bloom, led to turtle deaths in El Salvador in 2006 and 2013. Turtles can die after ingesting the blooms. But it’s not yet clear if a red tide caused these deaths. On November 3, MARN said they collected samples from seawater and the turtles’ tissues, and also took blood samples from a living turtle. The fishing industry has been to blame for turtle deaths in the past during shrimp trawling, as turtles can get caught in the nets. But a month-long moratorium began October 17, so the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative ‘s Mike Liles said fishing probably didn’t cause the 300 to 400 turtles to perish. Liles did say the practice is still dangerous for the creatures. This recent event is one of the biggest turtle die-offs El Salvador has experienced. Liles said large-scale die-offs could just get more common as industrial agriculture runoff worsens red tides. Conservation Ecology Lab ecologist Alexander Gaos agreed and said more conservation programs are needed. Via National Geographic Images via MARN El Salvador on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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Hundreds of sea turtles found dead near El Salvador

Report: meat industry responsible for largest-ever dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

August 2, 2017 by  
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Most people know by now that a plant-based diet is better for one’s mental and physical well-being. But did you know that reducing your consumption of meat — whether from bovine, chicken or pig — can also benefit the environment? It’s an important revelation, one more people need to learn, as a new report reveals that toxins poured into waterways by major meat suppliers have resulted in the largest-ever “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico . The report was conducted by Mighty , an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman. It was determined that toxins from manure and fertilizer which companies are pouring into waterways are contributing to huge algae blooms . This, in turn, creates oxygen-deprived areas in the gulf, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake bay. As a result of the pollution and worsening algae blooms, it is expected that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will confirm that the Gulf of Mexico has the largest ever recorded dead zone in history. Concerned environmental advocates predict it to be nearly 8,200 square miles or roughly the size of New Jersey. The report blamed American citizens’ vast appetite for meat for driving much of the harmful pollution. Small businesses, as well, are “contaminating our water and destroying our landscape,” said the report. Said Lucia von Reusner , campaign director at Mighty, “This problem is worsening and worsening and regulation isn’t reducing the scope of this pollution. These companies’ practices need to be far more sustainable. And a reduction in meat consumption is absolutely necessary to reduce the environmental burden.” To determine the findings, Mighty analyzed supply chains or agribusiness and pollution trends. It was found that a “highly industrialized and centralized factory farm system” is primarily responsible for converting “vast tracts of native grassland in the midwest” into mono-crops , such as soy and corn. When it rains, the stripped soils can easily wash away, resulting in fertilizers entering streams, rivers, and oceans. Related: Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone” in 2017 could be the largest on record Tyson Foods , which is based in Arkansas, was identified as a “dominant” influence in the pollution. This is because the company is a major supplier of beef, chicken, and pork in the United States. The Guardian reports that every year, the supplier slaughters 35 million chickens and 125,000 cattle every week. Its practices require five million acres of corn a year for feed. Unfortunately, Americans’ appetite for animal products is only expected to increase in future years , which spells trouble unless the majority of the United States adopts high-quality, organic plant-based diets which require fewer resources to grow and are less detrimental to the environment. Mighty is urging Tyson and other firms to use their influence and to ensure grain producers, such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, implement practices that reduce pollution in the waterways. These changes include not leaving soil uncovered by crops and being more efficient with fertilizers so plants are not sprayed with so many chemicals . While more action needs to be taken, the report, at the very least, raises awareness about the pervasive issue which demands attention. Via The Guardian + Mighty Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Report: meat industry responsible for largest-ever dead zone in Gulf of Mexico

This tiny off-grid cabin in the UK is clad with reclaimed slate tiles

June 27, 2017 by  
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This rustic writer’s retreat in UK’s Snowdonia National Park is covered with local stone and slate tiles reclaimed from nearby farms. Architecture studio TRIAS based the Slate Cabin’s design around local and historically significant materials, with carefully arranged openings that capture small vignettes and views of the gorgeous hills and pastures of Wales. The cabin is set in a lush green valley surrounded by Snowdonia National Park. The structure has a simple, rectangular volume and muted exterior contrasted by the warm birch interior. The interior is bright and simple, with a single room for essential activities– sleeping, cooking, resting and relaxing– and a bathroom tucked behind. The bed sits up on a raised platform, and pulls back at one end to provide space for a seat and desk. Related: Trek-in prefab cabin offers luxury sustainable lodgings for campers The bed head does double duty to support a built-in seat and table. Stairs to the bed platform are a space to store books and shoes, while a shelf above the bathroom acts as a slot for stashing hiking packs. A continuous lantern of high windows bathe the space in natural light , while smaller openings offer curated views of the surrounding landscape. + TRIAS Via Uncrate Photos via Epic Retreats

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This tiny off-grid cabin in the UK is clad with reclaimed slate tiles

This pink snow may be pretty, but it’s terrible news for the environment

June 27, 2016 by  
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Pink snow might sound outlandish, but it can actually be found around the world. While it may be pretty, it turns out it really isn’t a good look: the color is caused by blooming algae , which cause the snow to melt quicker. As the climate changes, these algae thrive – but their presence has ominous implications for glaciers . In a study published this week in Nature Communications , scientists from the UK and Germany scrutinized the algae and an effect called “bio-albedo.” White surfaces, like glaciers and snow, reflect sunlight, and that’s called albedo. When those glaciers and snow melt, they reveal darker surfaces beneath, like mountains or oceans, and those surfaces have a lower albedo, or absorb greater amounts of sunlight. That effect is important because red algae actually gives snow a lower albedo and makes it melt faster. Related: Arctic temperatures are literally off the charts Lead author Stefanie Lutz told Gizmodo, “The algae need liquid water in order to bloom . Therefore the melting of snow and ice surfaces controls the abundance of the algae. The more melting, the more algae. With temperatures rising globally, the snow algae phenomenon will likely also increase leading to an even higher bio-albedo effect.” Lutz’s study reveals ” red pigmented snow algal blooms ” can decrease snow albedo by 13 percent during a melt season. The phenomenon takes place all around the world, too, from the Arctic to Antarctica. Greenland, the European Alps, and Iceland are a few other places where people have noted the algae. The algae is especially prevalent in the Arctic during the summer, when Lutz says by her estimation at least 50 percent of snow on a glacier displays the blooms. Lutz and her colleagues recommended the algae be taken into account in future climate models, because warmer temperatures will likely mean more algae, and therefore even more melting. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dick Culbert on Flickr

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This pink snow may be pretty, but it’s terrible news for the environment

The surprising reason melting iceberg chunks slow down global warming

January 12, 2016 by  
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The Earth has shown us many different ways it tries to heal itself from the destruction we cause. It turns out large chunks of icebergs breaking off of Antarctica are actually countering the effects of global warming by providing sustenance for carbon dioxide-devouring algae blooms. While this can’t completely sop up our manmade emissions, it does create a sizable dent in addressing climate change . Read the rest of The surprising reason melting iceberg chunks slow down global warming

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The surprising reason melting iceberg chunks slow down global warming

Blue Water Satellite Scans Toxic Algae Blooms From Space

December 22, 2010 by  
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Images via Blue Water Satellite Using satellites helps us monitor everything from animal migrations to forest cover to water supply levels. And now Blue Water Satellite has come up with another perfect use — monitoring toxic blooms of blue-green algae in lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Blue-green algae makes news as a foul-smelling killer found everywhere from China to

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Blue Water Satellite Scans Toxic Algae Blooms From Space

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