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A Plan to Mute Ocean Noise for Marine Life
June 15, 2016 06:37 AM - Laura Goldman, Care2
Imagine trying to relax in your home while being bombarded with the explosive sounds of shotgun blasts as well as freight trains rumbling by. For many whales, dolphins and other marine life that depend on their hearing to survive, there is no way to escape the loud, human-made noises in their ocean home. The main culprits are vessels like cargo ships, along with sonar guns used by the U.S. Navy and air guns used in seismic oil and gas exploration. Their blasts are so loud that they are known to change the behavior of blue whales. But now, in what Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, Land & Wildlife Program, referred to as “a sea change in the way we manage ocean noise off our shores,” NOAA has announced it plans to take action to reduce the noise in entire marine ecosystems.
How Air Pollution Impacts Childhood Mental Health
June 13, 2016 12:23 PM - Steve Williams, Care2
Air pollution is a known risk factor for certain mental health problems in adults, but a new study also links high rates of air pollution to poorer psychiatric health in children and adolescents.
To investigate this link, researchers from Umeå University in Sweden examined what is known as “register-based” data. All medications given to Swedish people are registered, and in this case, researchers zeroed in on individuals under age 18 from Stockholm, Västra Götaland, Skåne and Västerbotten. They then looked at this information in connection with the Swedish National Register, which logs air pollution.
Environmental crimes increasing according to the UN
June 13, 2016 06:44 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
A new report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Interpol has highlighted the sophistication and growth of environmental crimes across the world. These crimes range from the illegal trade of wildlife, illegal mining, illegal forestry and fishing. And despite our growing global attention towards conservation, these crimes have jumped 26 percent in the past two years alone.
The report highlights the criminal fluidity of these trades. They say that transnational crime rings are no longer focusing on just one flow of illicit trade; rather, “criminals coordinate, evade or even shift their focus from drugs, human trafficking, counterfeit products and arms to any new opportunity – hazardous waste and chemicals, forest products, pangolins, giant clams, minerals and illegally extracted gold.”
According to the UNEP, the reasons behind this rise is linked to both increasing demand, primarily in Asia, as well as poverty in the regions where the smuggling of these goods take place. Local wildlife authorities across Africa, which often scrape by on a minimal budget, must constantly adapt to new methods and new extremes employed by poachers.
Fish use tools!
June 11, 2016 07:04 AM - s.e. smith, Care2
Fish: charming, but not terribly bright, right? That’s been the party line for years, but it turns out that it’s not quite accurate.
Some fish actually use tools, and as researcher Culum Brown points out, the lack of studies on fish populations means that we don’t actually know the extent this skill. Opening our eyes a little might reveal some fascinating new information about creatures we’ve traditionally identified as sitting at the lowest rung of animal life — even some vegetarians don’t see a conflict with including fish in their diets!
The first documented instance of tool use by a fish occurred in 2011, when a diver noticed a blackspot tuskfish doing something odd as he drifted along the Great Barrier Reef. When the diver investigated, he found that the fish was using a rock to crack open clam shells in order to access the meat inside. It showed a degree of resourcefulness that researchers hadn’t expected to see in fish — and it wasn’t the only intelligent tuskfish behavior.
Thousands Ask Feds to Protect West Coast's Beloved Orcas Before It's Too Late
June 10, 2016 03:36 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2
Thousands of people spoke out this week to ask for more protection for a highly endangered and beloved population of orcas, otherwise known as the Southern Resident killer whales who live in the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks to whale watching tours, and organizations like the Orca Network and Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of their population, we have had the opportunity to glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve been able to celebrate births, mourn deaths and root for the elders among them, like Granny, who has been around long enough to see how drastically our actions have changed their home and families.
Is sunscreen bad for coral reefs?
June 10, 2016 07:01 AM - Natalia Lima, Care2
You only use a little bit of sunscreen — a squeeze of the bottle or two or three sprays. Sure, it has some chemical ingredients, but it won’t kill anyone, right? Wrong. Sunscreen is actually one of the culprits of putting over 60 percent of the planet’s coral reefs in critical danger — and bringing a whole lot of other wildlife down with them.
Renewable Energy Hit Record Levels in 2015
June 8, 2016 04:19 PM - Steve Williams, Care2
A new report confirms that 2015 was a record-breaking year for renewable energy in which 147 Gigawatts of renewable electricity came online.
That figure represents the largest annual increase ever recorded, and is due in part to the $286 billion invested in renewables. In fact, in 2015 almost twice as much money was spent on renewable energy, like solar and wind power, than fossil fuels like gas-fired power stations — only $130 billion.
This information comes as part of the Renewables Global Status Report authored by the global renewable energy policy network known as REN21.
Chile Is Producing So Much Solar Energy It's Giving Electricity Away for Free
June 7, 2016 10:11 AM - Lorraine Chow, Care2
In a new Bloomberg report, “Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free,” solar capacity from the country’s central grid has increased four fold to 770 megawatts since 2013. Another 1.4 gigawatts will be added this year with many solar power projects under development.
Not So Healthy: Young Fish Eat Microplastics Like Fast Food
June 6, 2016 05:06 PM - Steve Williams, Care2
New research shows that young fish are eating tiny pieces of plastic instead of their regular food — with potentially devastating consequences.
A study published this month in the journal “Science” explains that juvenile perch larvae appear to be eating microplastics in place of their usual food sources, like free-swimming zooplankton. This hinders fish development, leaving them more susceptible to predators.
Microplastics — plastic particles that measure below 5mm — infiltrate our environments as a result of litter, such as plastic bags, packaging and other materials, that eventually end up in the sea. Microbeads — tiny plastics often found in health products, such as face scrubs and even some toothpastes — represent another major source of pollution. For this reason, a number of governments have either banned or are considering banning microbeads.
Good news for the Giant Panda!
June 6, 2016 07:45 AM - Steve Williams , Care2
Due to a breeding boom over the past few years, giant pandas are making a strong recovery. Some experts argue that the species should be removed from the critically endangered list — but is it too soon?
This comes as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature undertakes an official reassessment of the panda’s status. The Swiss-based organization uses a seven-point scale to gauge the risk facing animal populations.