Browsing: Environment

Do you remember Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak? It turns out wizards aren’t the only ones who can vanish from sight with a special coat. Marine researchers have discovered shrimp-like crustaceans called hyperiids that can hide in the open using internal nanotechnology to cloak themselves in invisibility. That’s just one among many fascinating discoveries to celebrate on World Oceans Day, June 8.

The notion that we must conquer or dominate nature has governed human behaviour for a relatively short period of our 150,000-year history on this 4.5-billion-year-old planet. It’s an understandable impulse. Our intelligence and foresight allowed us to develop complex societies, and gave us a sense of control over our existence in the face of powerful, often threatening natural forces.

Most people understand that human-caused climate change is a real and serious threat. True, some still reject the mountains of evidence amassed by scientists from around the world over many decades, and accepted by every legitimate scientific academy and institution. But as the physical evidence builds daily — from increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events like droughts and floods to disappearing polar ice to rising sea levels — it takes an incredible amount of denial to claim we have no reason to worry.

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhat Binsar Pandjaitan, has announced up to one billion dollars will be pledged to reduce Indonesia’s plastic waste by seventy per cent over the next eight years. The announcement was made at the 2017 World Oceans Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali. Luhat confirmed that Indonesia will be focussing on plastic alternatives and education initiatives to achieve their goal. Their plan is part of the global UN Clean Seas campaign to reduce major marine waste sources by 2022.

We recently highlighted the faulty logic of a pseudoscientific argument against addressing climate change: the proposition that because CO2 is necessary for plants, increasing emissions is good for the planet and the life it supports. Those who read, write or talk regularly about climate change and ecology are familiar with other anti-environmental arguments not coated with a scientific sheen.

In 2011, I travelled with my family down Yukon’s Hart River. It’s one of seven pure rivers in the Peel River watershed, a 68,000-square-kilometre wilderness that’s been at the centre of a legal dispute for many years and a land-use planning debate for more than a decade. For two weeks, we fished from the river’s vibrant green waters and gazed at the limestone and dolostone peaks of the Ogilvie Mountains.

We all know just how important the ocean is and how vital is that we help to support and maintain it as a resource and eco system but some individuals spend time and energy taking that to the next level to promote it locally and to instigate action. We meet Jim Cutting, a Portsmouth resident who has a passion for the environment and for its protection.