Power and publicity trump protection in large marine protected areas

May 15, 2019 by  
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Nations have just one more year to reach the global marine conservation goal to protect 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020. Although 7 percent is already legally protected, many new declarations are massive, offshore areas. Some conservationists argue these offshore achievements fail to protect more critical coastal waters and may even be aggressive ocean-grabs by colonial powers. The goal to legally protect 10 percent of the ocean was ratified under the Convention of Biological Diversity in 2010, and in 2015 it was added to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. According to the World Database of Protected Areas , although 7 percent of the ocean is protected, only 20 marine protected areas account for 70 percent of that area. Offshore areas have significantly fewer stressors than coastal areas, including fishing, tourism, development and mining and host considerably less biodiversity. By contrast, coastal coral reefs are home to 25 percent of all marine species. Related: Drones — the future of ocean conservation Because of the diversity in both uses and species, governments have a difficult time finding compromises to effectively declare and sustainably manage coastal areas, but they can easily make headlines and reach their targets by sectioning off large areas of deep sea. The colonization of marine protected areas Ecological concerns are not the only issue. Many critics also believe political — and colonial — power dynamics are behind these declarations. In recent years, the United States, Britain and France have declared large protected areas in their island territories, while declaring very few at home. The U.S. has less than 1 percent of continental waters under legal designation, while 43 percent of its colonial ocean territories are under protected status. England has just 2.9 square miles of marine protected areas but controls 1.5 million square miles around its territories. Control and displacement in the Indian Ocean In the 1960s, Britain maintained the Chagos Archipelago islands in the Indian Ocean, even after granting independence to nearby Mauritius. In order to make a naval base, the British forcibly removed 2,000 citizens who have spent decades demanding to be allowed to return to their homeland and continue their traditional fishing practices. In 2010, Britain declared the islands a protected area, and suddenly, peoples’ traditions became a crime. Despite official claims that the protected area had nothing to do with preventing displaced people from returning to their homeland, leaked documents revealed an explicit connection to this motive. In 2019, the International Court of Justice at The Hague declared Britain’s actions wrongful and ordered the island to be handed back to Mauritius. Why prioritize coastal areas? Larger protected areas are praised for their ability to preserve more space for migratory species like whales and tuna and for protecting deep sea areas from future exploitation. The problem, however, is when large offshore declarations distract attention from the harder work of protecting coastal zones. The declaration of protected or managed coastal areas requires compromise from many different stakeholders, including transportation, businesses, hotels, local fishers and coastal residents. Unsustainable development, pollution and competing interests exacerbate environmental degradation in coastal areas and require explicit management legislation and compliance — a feat that many governments lack the capacity to take on. In fact, only 5 percent of all marine protected areas have implemented management plans. Enric Sala, a marine ecologist with the National Geographic Society,  argues that protected area declarations that aren’t accompanied by management plans are “false and counterproductive” achievements that look good on paper but do nothing to protect the long-term sustainability of ocean resources. Money and management The lack of local government resources and investment means that the majority of marine conservation activities are funded and implemented by foreign conservation groups and private philanthropists — the majority of whom are American. According to Fred Pearch, a journalist with Yale Environment 360, “Some see such philanthropists as planetary saviors; others as agents of a creeping privatization of one of the last great global commons.” Again, foreign powers have jurisdiction and decision-making power over foreign waters and what indigenous communities can and cannot do. Many local groups are pushing back against this invasion. John Aini, an indigenous leader in Papau New Guinea explained in an interview with MongaBay about the decolonization of marine conservation: “I’ve basically given up working with big international nongovernmental organizations, basically given up networking with them. And we are doing our own thing now with funding that’s available, and funding from people that understand that we are in touch, that we own the land, the sea, we know the problems of our people better.” What is the right way to protect the ocean? There is no one-size-fits-all solution and no way to make all marine conservationists and ocean users agree, but positive examples of protected areas do exist. Last year, Honduras declared a marine protected area in Tela Bay, which includes 86,259 hectares of coral reef. Although it is relatively small at only 300 square miles, the coastal protected area is a model for its outreach strategy, local management committee and “managed-access fishery” program that supports coastal residents. Belize also became the first country to implement a nationwide, multi-species fishing rights program for small-scale local fishers that is incorporated into the country’s intricate network of protected and locally managed areas. The key to successful legal protections is more science- and community-based conservation, not what New York Times contributor Luiz A. Rocha calls “convenient conservation” to meet numbers, make headlines and ignore realities and power dynamics on the ground — and under the sea. Via Yale Environment 360 Images from Bureau of Land Management , Arnaud Abadie , Dronepicr , Drew Avery , USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems , Daniel Julie and Fred

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Power and publicity trump protection in large marine protected areas

SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping

May 15, 2019 by  
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For a break from schoolwork, students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) have been swapping their laptops for shovels and seedlings at SCAD Back40, the university’s new one-acre “farm.” Created as a legacy project to celebrate SCAD’s 40th anniversary, the agricultural initiative features a wide range of seasonal, organically grown crops as well as a growing apiary with 16 beehives actively managed by students. Produce is regularly donated to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, with 1,000 units of leafy greens sent to the non-profit food back in the fall and winter quarters of 2018. Located in Hardeeville, South Carolina across the bridge from Savannah, Georgia, Back40 occupies rural land just a short drive from the bustle of cars and urban life. Back40 Project Manager Jody Elizabeth Trumbull oversees the agricultural initiative with the help of student volunteers from varying backgrounds, ranging from UX design to architecture. Because Back40 employs active crop rotation methods, soil management, companion planting and other natural growing methods —  organic certification is currently in progress — for producing seasonal crops, SCAD prefers to call the project a “farm” rather than a “garden.” The one-acre plot has the potential to grow up to five acres. While Back40 has yet to incorporate livestock and poultry, it does feature an apiary with 16 honey-producing hives and nearly 350,000 bees. Each hive can produce 80 to 100 pounds of honey. In addition to supporting the declining bee population, the apiary fits with SCAD’s image — the university’s mascot is the bee. To provide enough food for both managed and native bees, SCAD has planted a wide range of flowers to support both bee populations. When wild beehives are found on campus buildings, they are safely removed and relocated to the apiary. Related: SCAD artist turns recycled materials into giant puppets to revitalize a historic French village Back40 produced 1,000 units of kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes, shard, cardoon and three types of lettuce in the first two quarters of operation. Part of the yield is donated to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia to help fight food insecurity, while the remaining produce is used at SCAD dining venues. As an educational tool for conservation, Back40 offers learning experiences not just for its students, but for local schools and organizations as well. In the future, the urban farm’s non-food commodity items will also be used in SCAD fine arts and design programs, such as the new business of beauty and fragrance program. + Savannah College of Art and Design Images via SCAD

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SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping

‘World’s deepest plastic bag’ found in the Mariana Trench

May 10, 2018 by  
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Plastic pollution is a scourge upon the planet – and it turns out that it’s reached the deepest ocean trench on the earth. While studying man-made debris in the deep sea, scientists recently discovered a large number of single-use plastic products near the ocean floor – including a plastic bag in the Mariana Trench , almost 36,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. Plastics are now showing up in the very deepest, most remote parts of our planet. This plastic bag was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, nearly 11km under water. It's time to #BreakFreeFromPlastics . Retweet if you agree. https://t.co/18RZyUIA4K pic.twitter.com/95Rts4vDyg — Greenpeace East Asia (@GreenpeaceEAsia) May 10, 2018 The bag, which The Telegraph referred to as the “world’s deepest plastic bag,” was one of 3,425 pieces of man-made debris from the past 30 years that scientists recorded in the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)’s Deep-sea Debris Database . Launched for public use last year, the database includes photographs and images of trash obtained by remotely-operated vehicles and deep-sea submersibles. While the bag’s discovery came to light in an April article for Marine Policy , JAMSTEC’s video of the debris lists the dive date as 1998. JAMSTEC led the team that wrote the article, which included researchers from the United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Center and Marine Works Japan . Related: “Extraordinary” levels of pollution found in deepest parts of the ocean The scientists said over 33 percent of the debris “was macro-plastic, of which 89 percent was single-use products, and these ratios increased to 52 percent and 92 percent, respectively, in areas deeper than 6,000 meters.” They spotted deep-sea organisms in 17 percent of the images of plastic debris, “which include entanglement of plastic bags on chemosynthetic cold seep communities.” Rubber, metal, glass, cloth, and fishing gear were among the other debris found. The scientists also sounded the alarm on plastic pollution’s threat to deep-sea ecosystems, pointing to a statistic estimating that almost 80 percent of global plastic waste generated from 1950 to 2015 remains in landfills or the environment , and has not been burned or recycled . According to the research team, “Minimizing the production of plastic waste and its flow into the coastal areas and ocean is the only fundamental solution to the problem of deep-sea plastic pollution.” You can check out a video of the Mariana Trench plastic on the JAMSTEC website . + Marine Policy Via The Telegraph Image via Depositphotos

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‘World’s deepest plastic bag’ found in the Mariana Trench

Former Google Maps Genius to Build the World’s Largest Plant Library

August 20, 2014 by  
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San Francisco-based startup Hampton Creek already has a couple of wins under its belt with its egg-free mayonnaise and dairy-free cookies. But its recent announcement that Dan Zigmond, formerly lead data scientist for Google Maps, will head the data resources for the company’s planned world’s largest plant library reveals just how grand its ambitions are. The purpose of the library? To identify and catalog plant characteristics in the quest to find more sustainable, animal-free alternatives to common foodstuffs . Read the rest of Former Google Maps Genius to Build the World’s Largest Plant Library Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal free , chemistry , cruelty-free foods , Dan Zigmond , database , food science , Hampton Creek , Lee Chae , non-GMO foods , vegan foods , vegetarian , world’s largest plant library

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Former Google Maps Genius to Build the World’s Largest Plant Library

Prefabs for Hermit Crabs

August 20, 2014 by  
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  Prefabricated homes have really evolved over the years, to the point where they really do come in all shapes and sizes. 3D printing has been of immense benefit in this regard, with the world’s first 3D-printed house currently being assembled in Amsterdam . Prefabricated houses aren’t just for people, however, and groups around the world have been putting their creative talents towards creating homes for animals in need… and one of the species being designed for is the ever-fascinating hermit crab. Read the rest of Prefabs for Hermit Crabs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed , 3D printed crab shells , 3D printing , crab shells , crabs , Elizabeth Demaray , Hand-Up , hermit crabs , Prefab , PREFAB FOR HERMIT CRABS , prefabricated , prefabricated crab shells , project shellter , shellter , shelter

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DOE opens up performance data on 60,000 buildings

June 24, 2013 by  
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The Buildings Performance Database allows comparisons among commercial and residential buildings to find cost-saving improvements.

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DOE opens up performance data on 60,000 buildings

O2forYou is a Database of Houseplants That Clean Your Air

October 18, 2012 by  
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Houseplants are wonderful for livening up indoor spaces – but did you also know that many of them are effective natural air purifiers too? If you’re looking for a new plant for your home or office, O2forYou is a database full of different plants that clean your air. You can also look for plants with ‘ O2 for You ‘ tags at your local retailer and reap the benefits of these hard working plants. + O2forYou The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to  see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following  this link . Remember to follow our  instructions  carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing. Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 02 for you , benefits of indoor plants , ferns and spider plants , house plants , houseplants , indoor plant week , Indoor Plants , National Indoor Plant Week , peace lilies , plants

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O2forYou is a Database of Houseplants That Clean Your Air

American Society of Landscape Architects Highlights 479 Green Infrastructure Projects

October 20, 2011 by  
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The American Society of Landscape Architects just released an incredible useful and comprehensive database of 479 case studies of successful “green rainwater infrastructure” projects. It exemplifies various techniques of collecting rainwater and filtering it naturally before it flows into urban waterways as polluted runoff. Moreover, the study found that the use of green infrastructure is rarely cost-prohibitive. In fact, 75% of the projects in the database reduced development costs or had no impact on them. Read the rest of American Society of Landscape Architects Highlights 479 Green Infrastructure Projects Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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New Database Rates Energy Efficiency of Ships

December 6, 2010 by  
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A new online database, ShippingEfficiency.org , gives efficiency and emissions ratings for 60,000 ships worldwide to push fleet owners to start using cleaner and more efficient ships. The project was created by billionaire Richard Branson to empower exporters, importers and even cruise-vacation-goers to choose the most efficient ships to do business with.  The database lists engine size, type of ship, energy efficient features, emissions and other information about each ship along with overall ratings based on those facts.

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New Database Rates Energy Efficiency of Ships

Google Earth Engine Tracks Global Environmental Changes

December 6, 2010 by  
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A new online technology from Google called Google Earth Engine allows scientists and researchers to track environmental changes by analyzing 25 years worth of images from the LANDSAT satellite, the longest continually orbiting satellite on earth. The new project, which will be posted online for free, was introduced at the COP16 talks in Cancun last week and will include applications that monitor and measure deforestation, land use trends, water resources and more.  In honor of the conference’s location, the first major creation of Google Earth Engine is the most comprehensive scale map of Mexico’s forest and water resources to date

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