Preserving the Wild- A Photographic Essay- Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-05-10
Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a blog post by Yuri Choufour, a Canadian nature and expedition photographer. Through a photo story, he tells us about preserving the wild future of British Columbia. We also have stories about how woodchips are being used to clean water, a 16% increase in Nepal’s rhino population, NASA’s phone app game that encourages citizen scientists to classify and analyze coral, how regenerative agriculture can help restore our earth, and how floating solar farms create more energy than land-based farms and can help cool down lakes.
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Guest post by: Yuri Choufour
British Columbia is known the world over for images of pristine old-growth forests, stunning mountain vistas, and impressive biodiversity with nearly an unmatched wildness. This incredible land has been home to nearly 200 First Nations for time immemorial and has long attracted immigrants and tourists like nowhere else in Canada.
BC is also home to a stunning abundance of iconic wildlife, including the apex predators of the ocean, a genetically unique species of wolf, and one of the world’s rarest bears. Canadian photographer, Yuri Choufour, highlights some of the conservation issues at stake for the province’s wildlife and ecosystems as a whole.
SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES
Orcas, also known as killer whales, are a member of the toothed whales, and the world’s largest dolphin species. They hunt a variety of prey, with residents often favouring fish, while transient and offshore populations also actively hunt mammals, and are known to use an array of cooperative techniques. This has also earned them the title “wolves of the sea”… [read more]
The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5
Australian pineapple, Danish trout, and Midwestern U.S. corn farmers are not often lumped together under the same agricultural umbrella. But they and many others who raise crops and animals face a common problem: excess nitrogen in drainage water. Whether it flows out to the Great Barrier Reef or the Gulf of Mexico, the nutrient contributes to harmful algal blooms that starve fish and other organisms of oxygen. But there’s a simple solution that significantly reduces the amount of nitrogen in drainage water, regardless of the production system or location: denitrifying bioreactors. “Nitrogen pollution from farms is relevant around the world, from corn and bean farms here in Illinois to sugarcane and pineapple farms in Australia to diverse farms bordered by ditches in Belgium. We’re all dealing with this issue. It’s really exciting that bioreactors are bringing us together around a potential solution,” says Laura Christianson, assistant professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and lead author on a new synthesis article accepted for publication in Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Denitrifying bioreactors come in many shapes and sizes, but in their simplest form, they’re trenches filled with wood chips… [read more].
This year’s National Rhino Count in Nepal showed a promising gain in the odd-toed ungulates. The 2021 numbers are up 16% for a total of 752 rhinos, according to results released by Nepal’s government this week. The rhino count started on March 22 and ran through April 10. It covered popular rhino ranging areas such as Parsa, Chitwan, Bardia and Shuklaphanta National Parks as well as their outside protected areas and buffer zones. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation led the count and used 350 technicians and other personnel and 57 elephants to methodically search for rhinos. They based their population estimates on data collected on age group, sex and identifying features, and the team also gathered data on invasive species, human activities and habitat conditions. Related: Endangered rhino population up 1000% in Tanzania following poaching crackdown Nepal’s one-horned rhinos have long been killed and tormented by poachers, who sell their horns on the black market. An increasing human population threatens the rhinos’ habitat . “The overall growth in population size is indicative of ongoing protection and habitat management efforts by protected area authorities despite challenging contexts these past years,” said Ghana Gurung, country representative of … [read more].
Less than 1% of the ocean floor consists of coral reefs. But more than one-quarter of marine animals live in them. With rising temperatures bleaching corals across oceans, Nasa scientists turn to an unlikely tool: a smartphone app. A team of Nasa scientists in Silicon Valley has developed NeMO-Net, a game to classify corals, into a tool for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). Without the app, mapping reefs usually involves high amounts of data and low-quality photos, which lead to slow analysis. Eight per cent of the ocean floor is mapped out, said Ved Chirayath, an earth scientist with Nasa who leads the team, at the same photo resolution as terrestrial land. “The key questions of where is the coral, how healthy is it, and how is it changing over time – that has to be answered by somebody, in the past, having to go through the mapping data and manually classifying those corals,” Chirayath said. Corals get their bright colors from algae within them. When corals live under stress, they expel the algae and turn pale white, leaving them starving but not dead, yet. The world’s oceans take up 90% of the heat from greenhouse gas… [read more].
In 35 years, there will be 10 billion people on earth. Our planet is getting full , and unless we’re very careful, its people will go hungry. The environmental impacts of trying to increase production by further intensifying industrial farming are devastating and expanding lands under cultivation destroys entire ecosystems. Urban agriculture shows promise but may not be scalable. As part of its 2021 Earth Day theme, Restore Our Earth, EARTHDAY.ORG (formerly Earth Day Network) launched a new campaign to help people understand the ways industrial agriculture contributes to environmental destruction and how regenerative agriculture can not only feed the world but also restore our earth. Agriculture is a big part of the impact humans have on the planet. Global food production accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater withdrawals, and 78% of eutrophication in both fresh and ocean waters. It also uses half of the world’s habitable lands – an increasingly important impact on an increasingly crowded planet. Modern industrial farming methods, while initially raising productivity, pump chemical pesticides and fertilizers into the environment, harming biodiversity and polluting drinking water . They also cause long-term soil… [read more].
Solar is now the ‘cheapest source of electricity in history’, according to a 2020 report. Solar power is the world’s cheapest source of electricity, according to a 2020 IEA report. It’s land-intensive though, so researchers have explored the potential of floating solar panels on bodies of water. Their study suggests the idea has potential, but questions remain about the impact on wildlife and the broader ecosystems. Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history , according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency. But there’s something holding this clean energy powerhouse back: space. Unlike fossil fuel power stations, solar farms need a lot of room to generate enough electricity to keep up with demand. Most solar farms are composed of ground-mounted panels that take up land that could be used to grow food or provide habitat for wildlife. Although electricity and water don’t usually mix, a growing number of floating solar farms are being deployed worldwide. Floating solar panels on a lake or reservoir might sound like an accident waiting to happen, but recent studies have shown the technology generates more electricity compared with rooftop or ground-mounted solar installations. This is thanks to the… [read more].
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