The Impact of Overfishing and Truly Biodegradable Plastic -Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-05-31
Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a blog post from Coty Perry, the Managing Editor at YourBassGuy.com and he tells us about the impact of overfishing and what we can do to make a difference. We also have stories about the potential of solar and wind energy to meet the global energy demand, what Australian reefs can look like untouched by humans, Joe Biden’s top 11 climate actions, interesting facts about renewable energy, and truly biodegradable plastics created in a lab.
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Overfishing and water conservation is a complicated subject. Not because it’s hard to understand, but because everyone has an opinion and much of what we see as “fact” might not be as true as we think.
Looking at statistics simply isn’t enough. We can sit back and observe what is happening in our oceans and think that it’s out of our hands, but that isn’t entirely true. Even as individuals, we have a role to play in conservation and sustainability. At a young age, I started to take an interest in understanding commercial fishing as compared to recreational fishing.
I wanted to understand the business side of fishing because it’s often something many of us overlook when we’re on the water in our small boats fishing for fun. We overlook the fact that this marine protein source actually drives a large portion of the world’s economy.
Yet, it’s believed by many that much of our seafood could be completely gone by the year 2048. Do I think that is an exaggeration? Maybe.
But, how can we know for sure? How can any of us actually know what is going on in our oceans? We can’t. All we know is what we read and hear from news and media sources. How many of us actually go out there and see it with our own eyes?… [read more]
The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5
Solar and wind potential is far higher than that of fossil fuels and can meet global energy demand many times over, unlocking huge benefits for society. With current technology and in a subset of available locations we can capture at least 6,700 PWh p.a. from solar and wind, which is more than 100 times global energy demand. Opportunities unlocked. The collapse in renewable costs in the last three years means that half of this solar and wind technical potential now has economic potential, and by the end of the decade it will be over 90%. The land required for solar panels alone to provide all global energy is 450,000 km2, 0.3% of the global land area of 149 million km2. This differs by country as highlighted below. Humans specialise in extracting cheap energy, and fast, as witnessed by the rapid development of shale gas. Now the opportunity has been unlocked, expect continued exponential growth of solar and wind deployment. The technical and economic barriers have been crossed and the only impediment to change is political. Sector by sector and country by country the fossil fuel incumbency is being swamped by the rapidly rising tide of new energy technologies. Even… [read more].
- Rowley Shoals: thriving Australian reef shows what’s possible when ecosystems are untouched by humans
What would a tropical reef look like if it could escape the man-made perils of global heating and overfishing? A new study suggests it would look like Rowley Shoals, an isolated archipelago of reefs 260km off Australia’s north-west coast. “As soon as you jump in you realise there’s something special,” said fish biologist Matthew Birt. “The coral cover is amazing.” Birt has just led a study on the three reefs that make up the uninhabited Rowley Shoals, using cameras with baits that allowed Birt and colleagues to analyse the marine life over 14 years. The study found the relative isolation of Rowley Shoals, protections from commercial fishing, and its shape and location has sustained threatened species and rich biodiversity during a time of “unprecedented degradation of coral reefs” elsewhere around the world. Giant fish like the humphead Maori wrasse and humphead parrotfish – both growing to more than 1.5m – were seen regularly at Rowley Shoals, despite their globally threatened status. “What was remarkable was there was no real change in the abundance [of fish] through time. We don’t see any evidence of decline,” said Birt, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims). The humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) … [read more].
Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters. President Joe Biden took over at a moment of existential threat, when the long-term ability of humans to thrive on Earth is no longer assured. Climate change is progressing at such a rate that if we fail to halt it, scientists say, we will face irrevocable and worsening damage. Speaking at a UN climate and security debate in February, naturalist David Attenborough called the climate crisis “the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced.” A UN study released days later concluded that the world’s nations have to redouble their efforts to meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. It emphasized the need for immediate action: “2021 is a make or break year,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in the accompanying statement, adding that the study’s findings were “a red alert for our planet.” Biden’s presidency thus coincides with a narrowing window of time to act. He has responded by making climate concerns the cornerstone of his agenda, wedding environmental goals to pandemic recovery, infrastructure development, and international security. Hours after … [read more].
Most of us are aware that renewable energy is the only sustainable option we have to power our homes. But there are plenty of amazing nuggets of information that you might not have known, and which show just how far we’ve come in terms of creating a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. They might even make you want to look at how energy is supplied to your home by re-evaluating your electricity plan and how you heat your house. 10 Interesting Facts about Renewable Energy Hydropower makes up 18% of the world’s generation of power, making it the largest renewable energy source. In the UK, it’s wind energy that reigns supreme. We have nearly 11,000 turbines producing enough energy to power 18 million homes. Iceland generates 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable resources. It’s the only country to do so and takes advantage of the geothermal energy from the volcanic regions on the island, as well as hydropower. Women make up just 21% of roles in the fossil fuel industry, but 32% in the renewable energy industry. In 2020, global investment in green energy rose by 9%. There’s nothing new about renewable energy – harnessing… [read more].
A research team has found a way to make biodegradable plastics actually disappear, unlike ones that only claim to break down. Typical plastics, even ones dubbed as biodegradable, may not biodegrade in certain environments. Since the 1950s, only 600 million metric tons of plastic have been recycled, compared to the 4.9 billion metric tons in landfill or polluting the planet. Researchers at the University of California have found a way to make plastics disappear, using plastic-eating enzymes. A research team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC), Berkeley has found a way to make biodegradable plastics actually disappear. While biodegradable plastics have been touted as a solution to plastic pollution, in practice they don’t work as advertised. “Biodegradability does not equal compostability,” Ting Xu, study coauthor and UC Berkeley polymer scientist, told Science News . But by studying nature, Xu and her team have developed a process that actually breaks down biodegradable plastics with just heat and water in a period of weeks. The results, published in Nature on Wednesday, could be game-changing for the plastic pollution problem. “We want this to be in every grocery store,” Xu… [read more].
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