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Woman takes on 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch'

Planet Earth

By Ayesha Tejpar
October 29, 2009 9:29 a.m. EDT

 -- For Mary Crowley, the sea is her second home.
She learned how to sail at age 4 and spent almost half her life running an international yacht chartering business in Sausalito, California.
But about two years ago, Crowley dove into a new project: helping to clean up the world's oceans. She set sail on a monthlong voyage into the North Pacific Gyre, parts of which are known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The gyre, or area of spiraling ocean currents, is approximately twice the size of the continental United States. It isn't filled with garbage, but the region is known for accumulating large amounts of waste and debris that get trapped by its large clockwise currents between North America and Japan.
"I've been out to the same part of the ocean 30 years ago, and then, it was clean oceanic wilderness. And now, it's like a dump," Crowley said. "This is significantly worse."

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Foam from ocean algae bloom killing thousands of birds

Planet Earth

A slimy foam churning up from the ocean has killed thousands seabirds and washed many others ashore, stripped of their waterproofing and struggling for life.

The birds have been clobbered by an unusual algae bloom stretching from the northern Oregon coast to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

"This is huge," said Julia Parrish, a marine biologist and professor at the University of Washington who leads a seabird monitoring group. "It's the largest mortality event of its kind on the West Coast that we know of."

The culprit is a single-cell algae or phytoplankton called Akashiwo sanguinea.  Though the algae has multiplied off the coast of California before, killing hundreds of seabirds, the phenomenon has not been seen in Oregon and Washington, and has never occurred on the West Coast to this extent, Parrish said.

"We're getting counts of up to a million cells per liter of water," she said. "Think about that. That's pretty dense."


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What Causes Sea Level Rise?

Planet Earth

Global Warming, Ice Melt: Some Facts.

The International Society for Ecological Economics, and its regional associations around the world, is a gathering of ecologists with a profound goal of bringing sanity to the greed normally displayed by the world's economic leaders for the purposes of changing to a sustainable relationship between people and our world's ecological systems.

In my many visits to northern British Columbia and particularly Alaska since 1958, the pronounced melting of the continent's ice sheets has been a dominant feature and warning of the world’s changing climate. My current annual visits aboard the Princess ships have further ingrained the perilous plight our greed-driven society has unleashed on the globe.

The following is a fine review, in Brighter Planet, of the key elements that effect the “sea rise” as a consequence of global warming. Understanding the simple physics that bring about the melting of ice is a very good start in understanding the issues.

Sober reading, more sober solutions!

David Hancock

HWF and member of the ISEE & Brighter Planet

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Dramatic Footage of Walruses in Alaskan and Russian Arctic Highlights Threats From Climate Chang

Planet Earth


Retreating Sea Ice Forces Walruses Ashore, with Deadly Consequences for Calves 

For Release: Oct 01, 2009
Joe Pouliot
(202) 495-4730

Anchorage, Alaska, October 1, 2009 – World Wildlife Fund has obtained dramatic high definition footage along the Arctic shorelines of Russia and Alaska showing the dramatic impact climate change is having on walruses.  Earlier today, an investigative team led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued preliminary findings explaining the mass death of young walrus calves that is captured on the WWF footage. 

The Alaska footage shows some of the more than 100 walrus carcasses that were spotted on September 14 by US Geological Survey (USGS) researchers flying near Icy Cape, southwest of Barrow, Alaska. Days prior to that sighting, a massive heard of walruses was seen congregated on the shore.  According to the preliminary report released today by the FWS team, which included USGS, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, a total of 131 carcasses, mostly calves and yearlings, were found.  Their conclusion was that “the cause of death was consistent with trampling by other walruses.”


For the rest of the story go here...

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Fraser River sockeye fry had little chance because of fish farms

Planet Earth
I thought I was living in another universe the other day. I felt this way because our own Department of Fisheries and Oceans minister, Gail Shea, was in Norway at the major aquaculture get-together wooing them to come to Canada. Doesn't that seem strange?

It should because Norwegian companies own 92 per cent of the fish farms in B.C. But, according to our minister, we need vastly more of them in B.C. because it is "important to the Canadian economy." But here in B.C., it is becoming plain as day that the Fraser River sockeye collapse happened in the ocean as smolts swam past fish farms on their way to sea two years ago.

Read the rest of the story here:


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