Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Sustainable Action Network (SAN) brings us all together to help with our Oceans!

Our oceans are in crisis. You Can Help Protect Oceans in 2016

Fisheries are in collapse. Ocean species are disappearing. Ocean acidification is killing off coral reefs. A new report has made the startling claim that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we have a committed team that fights around the clock for oceans and ocean life. You can support the Center's work to defend oceans by becoming a member with a donation of just $25, or by becoming a sustainer for as little as $5 per month.

The Center has already had a string of successes for oceans this year -- just last week we won a moratorium on offshore fracking in California and secured nearly 40,000 square miles of Atlantic habitat for highly endangered right whales.

Your membership in the Center will allow us to keep our lawyers, scientists and organizers working full-tilt to save the oceans. You'll be joining 40,000 other committed ocean lovers who provide the core of the Center's funding. We'll use your contribution to save the world's smallest and rarest porpoise, the vaquita; push back against attempts to end protection for Florida's manatees; and save the world's last remaining population of monk seals in the Hawaiian islands.

Center membership is easy. Just make a donation of $25 today or become a monthly sustainer. We won't send you a tote bag or a stuffed animal, but we will commit your gift to protecting ocean life.

You'll be joining what The New Yorker has called the "most important radical environmental group in America," -- an organization that wins for wildlife 93 percent of the time. We've saved more than 550 species and 470 million acres of habitat on both land and sea. With your help, we'll continue to win for oceans.
Help Protect Oceans in 2016

Stop Plastic Pollution From Destroying Our Oceans
Trash on our beaches
Target: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Goal: Develop a plastic waste reduction plan before there’s more trash in the ocean than fish.
Dumping of plastic in our oceans has expanded by a dramatic 1,900 percent in the past half-century. Creation of the material is expected to increase twofold again in the following 20 years. If the world stands by and lets plastic pollution continue at this rate, we will lose one of our natural resources and jeopardize the futures of our children.
More than eight million tons of plastics wind up entering our seas every year, where the pieces can remain for many years. There are expected to be 165 million tons of plastic waste in the sea at this moment. We’re dumping what might as well be called one waste vehicle’s worth into the sea every moment; that is anticipated to hop to four per minute by 2050 according to a report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Furthermore, that report has a dismal cautioning–we’re on track to have more plastic than fish, by weight, in our seas by 2050.
Also, the tossed plastic that doesn’t wind up in the sea is likely be placed in a landfill; those two resting places wind up holding around 70 percent of our plastic and only five percent of plastics are viably reused. It’s not only an issue of contamination, but of reusing these plastics properly. “After a short first-utilize cycle, 95% of plastic bundling material quality, or $80 to $120 billion yearly, is lost to the economy,” the report says.
The plastic waste issue has gotten out of control and now more than ever we need more recycling, reusable packaging, and decompose plastic packaging. Sign the petition below to save the future of our oceans and planet’s well-being.
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
The amount of plastic waste in our planet’s oceans has increased tenfold in the last half century. A recent study by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation has anticipated we should expect to have more plastic pollution in our oceans, based on weight, than fish by 2050. Only five percent of plastic in landfills is actually reused properly, which raises the issue of reusability versus waste.
I urge you to take action and support the development of a plastic waste risk reducing plan that will help control plastic pollution in our seas, increase recycling, reusable packaging, and compostable plastic packaging. Also, I challenge you and your resources to find a solution for after-use plastics that can be turned into an economically valuable feedstock.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gerry & Bonni
Win a day at sea with Geoff Shester!
There May Soon Be More Plastic in the Oceans Than Fish.

  Rich Carey/Shutterstock

Discarded plastic will outweigh fish in the world's oceans by 2050, according to a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. That is, unless overfishing moves the date up sooner.
The study, a collaboration with the World Economic Forum, found that 32 percent of plastic packaging escapes waste collection systems, gets into waterways, and is eventually deposited in the oceans. That percentage is expected to increase in coming years, given that the fastest growth in plastic production is expected to occur in "high leakage" markets—developing countries where sanitation systems are often unreliable. The data used in the report comes from a review of more than 200 studies and interviews with 180 experts.
Since 1964, global plastic production has increased 20-fold—311 million tons were produced in 2014—and production is expected to triple again by 2050. A whopping 86 percent of plastic packaging is used just once, according to the report's authors, representing $80 billion to $120 billion in lost value annually. That means not only more plastic waste, but more production-related oil consumption and carbon emissions if the industry doesn't alter its ways.
The environmental impact of plastic waste is already staggering: For a paper published in October, scientists considered 186 seabird species and predicted that 90 percent of the birds—whose populations have declined by two-thirds since 1950—consume plastic. Plastic bags, which are surprisingly degradable in warmer ocean waters, release toxins that spread through the marine food chain—and perhaps all the way to our dinner tables.
Most of the ocean's plastic, researchers say, takes the form of microplastics—trillions of beads, fibers, and fragments that average about 2 millimeters in diameter. They act as a kind of oceanic smog, clouding the waters and coating the sea floor, and look a lot like food to small marine organisms.
In December, President Barack Obama signed a law banning microbeads, tiny plastic exfoliaters found in toothpaste and skin products that get flushed into waterways. But the MacArthur report urges plastic producers to step up and address the problem by developing products that are reusable and easily recycled—and that are less toxic in nature—and working to make compostable plastics more affordable.
The 2050 prediction is based on the assumption that global fisheries will remain stable over the next three decades, but a report released last week suggests that may be wishful thinking. Revisiting fishery catch rates from the last 60 years, Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller of the University of British Columbia found that the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization drastically underestimates the amount of fish we pluck from the seas. The United Nations relies on official government data, which often only captures the activities of larger fishing operations. When the British Columbia researchers accounted for smaller fisheries, subsistence harvesting, and discarded catches, they calculated catches 53 percent larger than previously thought.
There was a glimmer of hope in the findings, though: The researchers write that fishing rates, after peaking in 1996, declined faster than previously thought—particularly among large-scale industrial fisheries. Whether that trend will hold is another story.

You won’t want to miss out on this great trip.

On March 18, you could join Geoff Shester on a boat pushing off into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary off California searching for whales, dolphins and other treasured marine life. Oceana will take care of the particulars so all you have to worry about is having a great time appreciating our oceans.

But be warned: I’m what you might call a fish nerd. Don’t let that scare you away! What I’m trying to say is that if you have a question, there’s a good chance I can give you an informed answer.

Pretty cool, huh? Well that’s just the half of it.

By choosing to make a donation, you’ll support Oceana’s proven campaigns around the world to restore ocean abundance and protect the very whales and other ocean animals we hope to see.

The Atlantic Ocean Is Acidifying at a Rapid Rate. A new study finds it’s absorbing 50 percent more carbon than it was a decade ago, and that could have dire consequences for dolphins, whales, and other marine life.
Over the past 10 years, the Atlantic Ocean has soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the decade before, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean, according to a new study.

The paper, published Saturday in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, “shows the large impact all of us are having on the environment,” Ryan Woosley of the University of Miami said in a statement. “Our use of fossil fuels isn’t only causing the climate to change but also affects the oceans by decreasing the pH.”

The burning of oil, coal, and natural gas for energy and the destruction of forests are the leading causes of the carbon dioxide emissions driving climate change. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 355 parts per million in 1989 to just over 400 ppm in 2015.

Decreasing pH in seawater can harm the ability of shelled organisms, from microscopic coccolithophores to the oysters and clams that show up on our dinner plates, to build and maintain their bony exteriors.

Researchers reported last year that acidification is also threatening to wipe out large populations of phytoplankton, the tiny ocean plants at the base of food webs that support fish, dolphins, whales, and other marine life.

Climate change is altering ocean chemistry in other ways as well. Scientists announced on Tuesday that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet is not only releasing huge amounts of freshwater into the Atlantic Ocean—slowing down an important heat-carrying ocean current—but may also be carrying about 441,000 tons of phosphorous into coastal waters.

The meltwater picks up the mineral as it flows along the bedrock at the base of the ice sheet, which is continually pulverized by the weight and movement of the ice.

“We find annual phosphorus input (for all of Greenland’s outlet glaciers) are at least equal to some of the world’s largest rivers, such as the Mississippi and the Amazon,” Jon Hawkings, a researcher at the University of Bristol, said in a statement.

This phosphorous flow could increase as the great melt of the Greenland ice sheet continues, Hawkings and his colleagues believe—and that matters because the mineral is a crucial nutrient in food webs.

They speculate that a richer supply of phosphorous in the Arctic Ocean could lead to increased plankton populations, which could help support more fish, birds, whales, and other marine mammals in both the Arctic and the subarctic.

Those regions, however, are acidifying along with the rest of the world’s oceans.

Stunning Image Foreshadows the Decisive Role We Play in the Future of the World’s Oceans.

As land-dwelling creatures, we humans seem to have little understanding of the vital role the oceans play in our continued existence on this planet. They provide us with 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe and take in an estimated 30 percent of the greenhouse gases we release. Around 500 million people rely on coral reef ecosystems for their sustenance and livelihood … and although they cover only 0.1 percent of the ocean’s total area, coral reefs nurture around 25 percent of the world’s marine species.

In spite of the fact that the world’s oceans literally provide us with the air we breathe, we are doing untold damage to them. The staggering amounts of plastic, chemicals and other waste that we carelessly toss into those mysterious depths – perhaps in the mistaken belief that such behavior will never come to back to haunt us – threaten 700 marine species with extinction. An unbelievable 8.8 million tons of trash end up in our seas every year!

Commercial fishing also poses a monumental threat to marine animals. Aggressive methods such as bottom trawling, long line fishing, and the use of purse seine nets frequently wreak havoc on marine ecosystems by removing more fish from a particular area than was intended. Untargeted marine species – such as sharks, dolphins, turtles and manta rays – often end up being caught and killed in these huge nets too: a phenomenon known as bycatch.

A recent study published in the Nature Communications Journal revealed that overfishing is a far more serious problem than even the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had realized. It found that global fish catches were, on average, around fifty percent higher than official FAO estimates, peaking in the mid-1990s at 130 million metric tons. Global catch numbers have undergone a steady decline since then, as fish populations in most countries have been exhausted.

As if this weren’t enough, the oceans are also undergoing a process of acidification, which could lead many animals and other sea organisms to go extinct. The planet’s oceans have always served as a natural carbon sink, but because humans’ industrial activity has led to a massive escalation of greenhouse gas emissions in recent decades, these gases are now creating a significant pH-lowering effect as soon as they absorbed into the waters.

One single image published by the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) clearly shows us exactly who lies at the center of all the oceans’ problems: us.
Stunning Image Foreshadows the Role We Play in the Future of the World's Oceans
The photograph was featured on ILCP’s Facebook page and asked its followers, “What are you doing to keep the oceans blue and the fish aplenty?” If you want to start delivering a more powerful answer to that question – and help save our planet’s oceans, before it’s too late – check out some of the posts below.