Breaking Waves: Ocean News

01/26/2020 - 05:00
Animal welfare put at risk on old and ‘inferior’ converted car carriers and cargo ships that are not built to transport livestock The live export trade carrying millions of sheep and cattle across the seas each year is plagued by “old” and “inferior” ships that are a threat to animal welfare, claims a leading shipping company.Livestock carriers are a key part of the multibillion dollar live export industry, dominated by Australia, South America and Europe. In 2017, almost 2 billion animals were exported in a trade worth $21bn (£15bn), with a significant proportion travelling by sea. But most of the ships are old car carriers or other former cargo ships, rather than purpose-built vessels that can meet higher standards of animal welfare, said Wellard, one of the world’s largest livestock exporters, based in Australia. Continue reading...
01/26/2020 - 03:26
Residents opposing a new development fear Scotland is becoming a Klondyke for wealthy property speculators Even by the aesthetic standards of some rural property developments, the one planned at Loch Long in Argyll and Bute is startlingly nondescript. The site is accessed through virgin woodlands which provide shelter to endangered and protected species, including European long-eared bats, pine martens and tawny owls. This brings you out to the shoreline and a stunning vision across one of Scotland’s grandest sea lochs that hasn’t changed with the passing of aeons and is a designated area of panoramic quality. The tiny hamlet of Portincaple, which sits alongside Loch Long, is facing the prospect of seeing its population of 120 doubled by a luxury housing and hotel project described by local people as “an aggressive major development”. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 22:51
UN urges immediate action as east African nations already experiencing devastating hunger see large areas of crops destroyed The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the insects swarm into the east African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. Those two countries have not had an infestation like this in a quarter century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger. “Even cows are wondering what is happening,” said Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours Friday trying to chase the locusts from his farm. “Corn, sorghum, cowpeas, they have eaten everything.” Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 14:00
Exclusive: Helene Marsh backs calls for the creation of national scientific monitoring system to help protect wildlife A senior adviser to the federal government on threatened species has backed calls for the creation of a national scientific monitoring system after the bushfire crisis to help fix Australia’s “very uneven” record in protecting endangered wildlife. Helene Marsh, chair of the national threatened species scientific committee and an emeritus professor of environmental science at James Cook University, said the scale of the ecological tragedy had made Australians more aware of the risks facing the country’s unique animals and plants and provided an opportunity to improve conservation. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 12:35
Boris Johnson’s partner and animal rights activist was briefed by Badger Trust weeks before the policy was changed The influence exerted on the prime minister by his partner, Carrie Symonds, will be explored in court after permission was granted last week for a judicial review into how the government came to pull a cull on badgers in Derbyshire. The case could embarrass Boris Johnson and raise questions about the government’s willingness to listen to its advisers when formulating policy. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 09:10
New research warns that ‘blue acceleration’ – a global goldrush to claim the ocean floor – is already impacting on the environment. The scaly-foot snail is one of Earth’s strangest creatures. It lives more than 2,300 metres below the surface of the sea on a trio of deep-sea hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Here it has evolved a remarkable form of protection against the crushing, grim conditions found at these Stygian depths. It grows a shell made of iron. Discovered in 1999, the multi-layered iron sulphide armour of Chrysomallon squamiferum – which measures a few centimetres in diameter – has already attracted the interest of the US defence department, whose scientists are now studying its genes in a bid to discover how it grows its own metal armour. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 08:00
In Brazil’s largest indigenous reserve thousands of saplings have been planted as an alternative to profits from illegal gold mining The villagers walk down the grassy landing strip, past the wooden hut housing the health post and into the thick forest, pointing out the seedlings they planted along the way. For these Ye’kwana indigenous men, the skinny saplings, less than a metre high, aren’t just baby cacao trees but green shoots of hope in a land scarred by the violence, pollution and destruction wrought by illegal gold prospecting. That hope is chocolate. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 06:00
Twenty-five years ago, the national park attempted to reintroduce wolves – now scientists are celebrating it as one of the greatest rewilding stories ever Twenty-five years ago this month, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, America’s first national park and an ecosystem dangerously out of whack owing to the extirpation of its top predator. This monumental undertaking marked the first deliberate attempt to return a top-level carnivore to a large ecosystem. Now scientists are celebrating the gray wolves’ successful return from the brink of extinction as one of the greatest rewilding stories the world has ever seen. Continue reading...
01/25/2020 - 06:00
Young demonstrators aim to make the climate crisis a central issue of the presidential campaign Organizers in the youth climate movement plan an avalanche of activities beginning next week, determined to make the future of the climate the major issue of the 2020 election. Capitalizing on turnout in the September climate strikes, when 6 million people worldwide turned out to demand urgent action to address the escalating ecological emergency, young US organizers are making the leap from mobilization to demands. They’re planning widespread voter activation in the 2020 US presidential election as well as direct action targeting the fossil fuel industry and the banks and politicians that enable it. Continue reading...
01/24/2020 - 13:38
Experts call for sweeping policy changes and warn against Heathrow expansion Expanding Heathrow airport is unlikely to be compatible with the UK’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, leading scientists have said, adding that government policies are lacking in many other key areas from home insulation and transport to carbon capturing. Achieving the net zero goal will require sweeping policy changes, but scientists are concerned that little has so far been forthcoming from ministers. Continue reading...