Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

June 5, 2018 by  
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A small male pilot whale, found unable to breath or move in a canal in Thailand  last week, has died from large amounts of plastic clogging its digestive system. After being found near the Malaysia border, the pilot whale was treated by veterinarians while kept afloat by buoys and protected from harmful solar radiation by umbrellas. Despite days of effort, the whale ultimately passed away, but not before vomiting up five plastic bags. Upon post-mortem investigation, it was discovered that the whale had ingested more than 17 pounds of plastic, including 80 shopping bags, which had inhibited its ability to eat. Scientists believe that the pilot whale mistakenly identified plastic as food, eating it until full. “At some point their stomach fills up with trash and they can’t eat real food,” Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s North American operations, told National Geographic . “You’re not getting any nutrients in and you’ve basically completely clogged your digestive system.” This particular whale’s death is symbolic of a much larger problem plaguing marine life. “We have no idea how many animals aren’t showing up on a beach ,” Asmutis-Silvia said. “This is one pilot whale, this doesn’t consider other species. It’s symbolic at best, but it’s symbolic of an incredibly significant problem.” Related: Orca learns to mimic human speech for the first time About 18 billion pounds of plastic are dumped into oceans each year, while more than 300 marine animal species are known to have been killed by plastic pollution in Thailand’s waters. The Thai government has proposed enacting a tax on plastic bags to reduce the amount of plastic polluting the world’s waters. In addition to policy changes, individuals and communities are encouraged to fight plastic pollution by recycling and reducing their own plastic use. Saving the whales, which are known as the gardeners of the sea for their role in fertilizing oceanic ecosystems, is in humanity’s self interest. “It should be a huge red flag for us as a species,” warned Asmutis-Silvia, “that we need to stop killing ourselves.” Via National Geographic Images via Barney Moss and Ron Knight

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Pilot whale dies in Thailand with more than 17 pounds of plastic in its stomach

Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

October 4, 2017 by  
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Jump, Migaloo! In recent months, we’ve seen photographs of white giraffes and even a white moose . Now, footage has emerged of a rare white humpback whale, and nature enthusiasts can’t contain their excitement. The whale, named Migaloo (after the Aboriginal word meaning “white man”), was recently spotted off the coast of Sydney, Australia , – and he is just as majestic as you may expect. Migaloo was first spotted in 1990 and is believed to be around 30 years old. As National Geographic reports, it is unknown whether or not he has leucism (a condition which results in white or patchy skin, but the eyes remain dark) or is a true albino , meaning he doesn’t produce any pigment at all. According to Brian Clark Howard in National Geographic, three white males — including Migaloo — have been spotted off Australia in recent years. He wrote, “One has been dubbed Migaloo Junior’ or the ‘son of Migaloo’ – although no one knows whether this smaller whale is actually related to Migaloo. A third white humpback with black spots on its tail has also been spotted.” Related: Hundreds of people come together to save beached whale in Brazil Due to commercial whaling , humpback whales were once close to extinction . A mere 100 remained in the oceans. Since legal protections were put in place, however, their numbers have recovered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says there are approximately 20,000 humpback whales that migrate to Australia each year. Fortunately, Migaloo remains one of them. Via National Geographic Images via  Earth Touch News Network,   Australian Geographic

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Mesmerizing white humpback whale spotted off the coast of Australia

The Netherlands is converting prisons into homes for refugees

June 22, 2017 by  
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Unlike the United States of America, the prison population and crime rate in the Netherlands has been steadily decreasing for years. As a result, the country’s government is repurposing correctional facilities into housing for refugees who are waiting to be granted asylum status — a process that usually takes a minimum of six months. Not only will the refugees not be required to work, they will be supplied with educational materials to learn Dutch, ride bicycles and build connections within the local community. After the number of migrants exceeded 50,000 in one year alone in the Netherlands, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) proposed a solution for the overflow of refugees: transform empty prisons into temporary housing for families and individuals escaping war. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and photographer Muhammed Muheisen captured the scoop by dedicating the past two years to photographing the refugee crisis as people traversed across continents. After hearing rumors that penitentiaries were being converted to house migrants in the Netherlands, his interest was piqued. He told National Geographic , “I didn’t exactly understand. I thought they feel like they are in prisons.” Related: Green roof with bee hotel tops energy-neutral fair trade building in the Netherlands After waiting six months to get permission to visit the prison and take photos, Muheisen spent 40 days touring three different facilities, meeting residents and documenting their lives. “We’re talking about dozens of nationalities,” he said. “Dozens. The whole world is under this dome.” The refugees will be able to live in the centers for a minimum of six months and are free to come and go as they please. Additionally, they are supplied with resources needed to acclimate to the new country, learn Dutch and even ride bicycles. According to one Syrian man, the prison gives him hope for his future. The refugee told Muheisen, “If a country has no prisoners to put in jail, it means this is the safest country that I want to be living in.” Via National Geographic Images via Wikipedia , Wikimedia

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Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

June 22, 2017 by  
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Sweden just took a huge step towards becoming even greener than they already are. A new law passed by the country’s parliament will slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes Sweden the first country to upgrade its carbon goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement . A cross-party committee prepared the law, which then passed with an overwhelming majority, bringing the goal to become carbon neutral from 2050 down to 2045, and puting in place an independent Climate Policy Council. The law calls for an action plan that will be updated every four years. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 According to New Scientist, Sweden already obtains 83 percent of its electricity from hydropower and nuclear energy . They met a goal to obtain 50 percent of energy from renewables eight years before their target. They’ll work to meet this new carbon neutral objective in part by focusing on transportation , such as through increasing use of vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels . Sweden aims to slash domestic emissions by a minimum of 85 percent. And they’ll offset any other emissions by planting trees or investing in sustainable projects in other countries. Femke de Jong, European Union Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch , said Sweden has a high chance of success, and other countries in Europe could follow suit. “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris Agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world,” de Jong said. Public resistance can be an obstacle to cutting emissions, but according to New Scientist in Sweden there’s an unusually high amount of support for environmentally friendly policies. But de Jong warned the country must also show leadership in forests, not simply emissions. They were recently accused along with France, Finland, and Austria of attempting to weaken rules to obscure emissions from burning wood and deforestation . Via New Scientist Images via Håkan Dahlström on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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National Geographic chief says layoffs were done to avoid Fox takeover

November 10, 2015 by  
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Last week, employees of National Geographic Society were shaken when the company let them know it would be making an “announcement about employment status” the following day. Over 180 employees were laid off in a strategic cost-cutting move, according to chief executive Gary Knell, who said it was done to avoid having those assets taken over by Fox, their new partner. Some fear this is an indication of the beginning of the end for the 127-year-old nonprofit. Read the rest of National Geographic chief says layoffs were done to avoid Fox takeover

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Win $50,000 for a Dream Expedition from National Geographic

July 23, 2014 by  
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Brought to you by National Geographic Whether you prefer to explore in the outback or under a microscope, National Geographic is looking for the next generation of explorers in any field to submit their dream project for “ Expedition Granted ,” where one person’s proposed expedition will be fueled by $50,000 . Check out this video featuring Brain Games host Jason Silva, who shows you how to submit your big idea at expeditiongranted.com . Whether your goal is to secure a future for captive wildlife or bring music lessons to those who can’t afford them, National Geographic and their incredible advisory council want to see your vision – enter today ! ENTER YOUR DREAM EXPEDITION > Read the rest of Win $50,000 for a Dream Expedition from National Geographic Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: environmental activism , expedition grant , Expedition Granted , green design competition , Jason Silva , National Geographic , national geographic competition , Travel , travel competition , travel prize , Video

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Will Your City Sink Beneath the Ocean if all Ice on Earth Melts?

November 5, 2013 by  
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Photo by George Steinmetz for National Geographic National Geographic just launched a new series of interactive maps that demonstrate just how catastrophic it would be if all five million cubic miles of ice on Earth were to melt. Entire cities would sink as the sea rises by 216 feet , reshaping the world as we know it while average temperatures rise to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58. Scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt all of the ice on Earth , but if we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere at current rates, it could happen a lot sooner. Read the rest of Will Your City Sink Beneath the Ocean if all Ice on Earth Melts? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 5000 years to melt all the ice on Earth , cities that are most likely to sink , cities that will sink if all ice melts , five million cubic miles of ice on Earth , National Geographic Interactive Map , rising average temperatures across the globe , rising sea levels , sea rises by 216 feet , unprecedented population migration        

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Insect Eggs Look Amazing Up Close (Pics)

August 30, 2010 by  
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Image via National Geographic Insect eggs are neat, but we had no idea they looked this neat. Gizmodo points us to a phenomenal slideshow of insect eggs photographed from and ant-eye view, making the less-than-2-millimeter eggs look other-worldly. Using a scanning electron microscope, National Geographic and Prüftechnik Uri and School of Applied Sciences, FHNW, show us what the beginnings of life look like for bugs.

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The Search For Local Organic Food In The Arizona Desert, Or Shell-Shocked California Girl Goes Foraging in Phoenix

August 30, 2010 by  
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Photo by cogdogblog Locally raised organic food — it’s what anyone who wants to eat the healthiest foods with the smallest environmental footprint hunts for, right?

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The Search For Local Organic Food In The Arizona Desert, Or Shell-Shocked California Girl Goes Foraging in Phoenix

Iceland’s Volcanic Eruption: More Tourists, Colder US Winter

April 5, 2010 by  
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Photo: Eyjafjallajökull erupting as onlookers stand by (Christopher Lund, National Geographic ) After lying dormant for almost two centuries, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull (that’s pronounced AY-uh-full-ay-ho-kul) volcano blew its top on March 30 – in the process spurring an evacuation of hundreds, while at the same time, drawing in more than 25,000 tourists from around the world, eager to see the “lavafalls” and fiery belching up close (but not with… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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