In the past few years, environmental groups have continuously raised their voices over the concern of the increasing global trend for traditional Japanese food, especially tuna. This fad is driving the world’s tuna stock to precariously low levels. Environmental groups have also sought strong precautionary measures to preserve this species’ survival.
The United States on Friday rejected to identify the Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species. It said that it was worried about overhunting but does not fear its early disappearance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it has put the Atlantic bluefin tuna fish on watch list but would not categorize it as an endangered species.
“Based on careful scientific review, we have decided the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of bluefin tuna is through international cooperation and strong domestic fishery management,” said a senior official at the agency, Eric Schwaab.
He further added that we will continue to support firm international quotas for tuna hunting to ensure its long term availability. Concerned authorities requested to review this decision in early 2013, as the current figures on the number of tuna fish were collected before the massive BP oil destruction in the Gulf of Mexico.
Not to forget here the fact that Atlantic bluefin tuna has disintegrated in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. The Atlantic bluefin tuna is loved by seafood lovers. The new hype in the demand of yummy Sushi and Sashimi have increased the demand of tuna fish and this commercial aspect has lead to overfishing of this species.
When it comes to aquatic animals, one creature we consider as smart as humans is the dolphin. Dolphins are aquatic creatures closely linked to whales and porpoises. There are about forty species of dolphins found in different regions of the world. The sizes of dolphin vary from 4 feet 90 lb to 30 feet and 10 tones. Larger ones are mostly found in deep water. Dolphins are carnivores and eat fish and squid. They are regarded as the most intellectual animals, friendly and they learn easily. These qualities make them popular among human beings.
In most countries, it’s a taboo to eat marine mammals because of their cuteness, intelligence and friendly nature. A recent decline in the quantity of seafood globally has motivated many poor nations to eat creatures like bush meat, primates and dolphins. There is demand for their meat for both consumption and shark bait.
In some parts of the world fishermen are not able to catch enough. So, to make up the shortfall they regard dolphin as fair game to feed their families. Also they have started using fish nets that act as efficient dolphin killing machines. This practice could start a new accepted culture of hunting dolphins- says Robards, one of the researchers who spent years in gathering this data. This is happening in Madagascar where hunting a dolphin is no more a taboo.
The hot spots for hunting dolphin include Peru, Venezuela, the Gulf of guinea, Taiwan, Australia, Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands. If this act continues, slow reproducing dolphins are feared to become extinct. Making this practice illegal is not the only solution, it is high time we engage the local population and help them in finding food alternatives to save the endangered species.
There are a lot of sad people out there in the world today. Depression has become one of the leading social issues of our time. Depression is being recognized more and more for its role in break downs in relationships, jobs, and can lead to physical health problems. Words like Prozac and Sarafem and other antidepressant brand names are now commonplace. These products are also becoming commonplace in the environment and they are having adverse affects on our ecosystems.
Antidepressants, after being ingested, eventually end up in a lake or river. Once in the water system they are reducing the microbe community within the body of water. Research says that a small quantity of antidepressants, which we use to relax our senses, is found in drinking as well as recreational water. This diluted chemical combination might not affect human beings, but it has a drastic impact on the reproductive system of mollusks and a milder effect on the brain of fish.
Antidepressants also affect bacteria. The killing of disease producing bacteria such as E. coli and enterococcus is good news because they are the most common diseases found on planet Earth due to contaminated water. But the bad news is they are bacteria that play a vital role in the continuous food chain are also getting affected. Only a small amount, about one nanogram per liter of water, is enough to affect bacteria.
The use of psychiatric drugs is increasing day by day. More than 10% people or about 127 million people in the U.S. are believed to use these relaxants according to a 2009 survey. It is believed that many anti-inflammatory drugs and some pain killers are also increasing the quantity of harmful chemicals in water which is harmful for aquatic life.
We cannot completely stop the usage of these drugs as they now act as ‘life savers’ for some people. What we can do is to create awareness among people so they discard these medicines in a proper way that does not create water pollution or cause contamination. Also, water treatment plants should start working on machines that can detect these chemicals and extract them from the drinking and recreational water.
Everything that exists in this world has a use. Even creepy creatures like toads and frogs are beneficial for the existence of human beings. Yes, you do not like them but it is a fact that amphibians eat all the non vertebral creatures and insects that can lead to harmful diseases in human beings.
In the past several decades there has been a dramatic decline in amphibian populations. These down turns are one of the most difficult hazards to global biodiversity. Several factors are responsible for the degeneration of this phylum and currently it is a topic of ongoing research.
The prominent reasons for the extinction of amphibians are:
- Habitat alteration: Amphibian means creatures that can live on land as well as in water. Any modification in these habitats can result in their disintegration.
- Pesticides and other chemical Pollution: Amphibians rely on insects and other tiny creatures for food and these insects are mostly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and insecticides like glyphosate, malathin or carbaryl. In the food chain these insects when eaten by frogs, their mortality rate along with the deformity rate (three legs) increases.
- Ozone depletion & Ultra violet rays: The DNA of Amphibian creatures gets affected by the UV rays that enter the earth due to ozone depletion.
- Ailments within phylum Amphibian: Red leg, Ranavirus and Anuraperkinsus are among the deadly diseases in amphibians affecting their growth.
Amphibians do not just live in their own world; they are an integral part of the food chain. They consume a large amount of insects and other invertebrates, and themselves act as a prey for larger animals, thus fueling the food chain.
Secretions from amphibian glands are used as an important source of medicine for humans. Amphibians also lower the occurrence of insect-borne ailments by dropping the numbers of insects.
We must seek ways to reduce the degeneration of amphibians as it is in favor of our health and environment.
A recent study, based on new ice loss calculation techniques, reveals that mountain glaciers are now melting 100 times faster than they were in the past 350 years. The findings show that ice lost from Patagonia is five times more than Lake Erie in North America. The scientists involved in this study revealed that this melting rate was slower in the start of the 21st century but it has significantly accelerated in the past 30 years.
With the help of debris left by glaciers and fine lines on mountain edges where new vegetation has started growing, a team under the supervision of Professor Neil Glasser of Aberystwyth University, collected a series of calculations to find the reason for glacier reduction. They concluded that 270 glaciers covering the area of one square kilometer have lost around 606 cubic kilometers. It is the first time anyone has calculated the accurate reading for glacier melting and it is an alarming situation.
Glaciers are important for the production of food and are used to irrigate the world’s food supply. They hold about 75% of the world’s fresh water used for irrigation and other purposes.
Due to the melting glaciers, there is a 1 to 2 millimeter per year rise in sea levels worldwide. It is not too late for us to stand up and take action to save these melting glaciers. If we continue to use the products that contain chemicals and gases responsible for global warming, chances are our future generations will only see these glaciers in pictures.
Due to the recent volcanic eruption this year, people of Iceland are facing the same situation as they had faced last year. The only difference is this time; the eruption has died down early. The Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland erupted last Saturday for the first since after 2004. Ashes rose to more than 12 miles into the sky but it has not caused the travel chaos Europe faced last year. This eruption is supposed to be the largest eruption in the past 100 years. Predictions indicated that these ash clouds could extend to Scotland, UK and some parts of Germany.
More than 700 flights were feared to be cancelled due to this ash volcanic eruption. The volcanic ash seems to be going down now as very few eruptions were reported in the past six to twelve hours. This is a positive sign for European & other air traffic as they had cancelled all their flights to Iceland.
Last year’s eruption from Eyjafjallajoekull Glacier expelled lava hundreds of meters high in the sky. More than 10 million people were stranded due to the six day closure of airports that cost airlines $1.7 billion.
Since airlines are resuming their flights to Europe but still the International Airline Pilot’s Association has warned its members to remain cautious.
“As a result, there are no areas of high concentration predicted or observed over Europe today,” said Brian Flynn, head of network operations. “There are no flight restrictions anywhere,” he further added.
These volcanic eruptions do not only cause harm to plane equipment and sand blasts their windows but it also leads to abnormal weather patterns and breathing problems.
Newsweek reports that there will be only limited and have little consequence long term on global climate. The short term effects are more severe. The ash is toxic to most plants and animals. Animals who consume the ash may get sick. The ash that settles on plants will disrupt photosynthesis and may wipe out entire swaths of greenery. These issues will only go on for 4-6 months.
CBC reported today that global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2010. Energy consumption is the key indicator for the increase in carbon emissions. This is according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Carbon emissions dipped in 2009 but have spiked in 2010.
The highest ever carbon emissions were reported at 30.6 gigatonnes. It is a 5% increase from the previous record set in 2008 of 29.3 gigatonnes. The CBC reports Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist saying, “This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2º C” (CBC).
The CBC report goes on to indicate some the extent of this set back from the environment:
The IEA also said 80 per cent of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in because they will come from power plants that are already built or under construction.
To achieve the target set by global leaders at the UN climate change conference in Cancun in 2010 of limiting a worldwide temperature increase to 2° C, the IEA said, the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must be limited to around 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent.
That would represent only a five per cent increase from an estimated 430 parts per million in 2000.
Based on the targets agreed to by countries represented at Cancun, by 2020 energy-related emissions must not be greater than 32 Gt, the IEA said.
“This means that over the next 10 years, emissions must rise less in total than they did between 2009 and 2010,” it said.
“Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” said Birol.
“The world has edged incredibly close to the level of emissions that should not be reached until 2020 if the 2º C target is to be attained. Given the shrinking room for manœuvre in 2020, unless bold and decisive decisions are made very soon, it will be extremely challenging to succeed in achieving this global goal agreed in Cancun.”
“The IEA estimated 44 per cent of 2010 emissions came from burning coal, 36 per cent from oil and 20 per cent from natural gas.
The IEA estimated that 40 per cent of global emissions came from OECD countries in 2010, with these countries accounting for only 25 per cent of emissions growth compared to 2009.
Non-OECD countries — led by China and India — saw much stronger increases in emissions as their economic growth accelerated, it said, but on a per-person basis, OECD countries together emitted 10 tonnes, compared with 5.8 tonnes for China, and 1.5 tonnes in India.
If you were planning to invent any other medicine or antibiotic to kill bacteria, then think again. Maybe you’ll change your idea after learning the fact that scientists have found bacterial protein that can generate energy.
The energy crisis is one of the much debated topics these days. The reason is that energy can be produced by only two resources; renewable (e g. e wind, water, biomass and geothermal) and non-renewable (e g. coal, gasoline, natural gas and diesel) resources. Non renewable resources are not sustainable and are depleting gradually so we need renewable resources to generate energy if we want to have electricity in the future.
On May 23rd, 2011, the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published new research in which they have revealed the actual molecular structure of proteins that can be used to transfer an electrical charge. It means that now scientists can directly attach the microbes with the electrodes to form ’bio batteries.’
“Identifying the precise molecular structure of the key proteins involved in this process is a crucial step towards tapping into microbes as a viable future source of electricity.” Says Dr. Tom Clark of UEA’s School of Biological Sciences.
This current advancement is believed to speed up the development of microbes that can clean oil impurities and uranium pollution.
The energy crisis is more often seen in underdeveloped countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Among these countries the crisis has worsened in the past few years due to a lack of strategic planning. While India and Bangladesh are still working on ways to overcome this, we all have to make a conscious effort to improve the way we utilize energy.
Do you remember when you last heard the buzzing of a honey bee? Hmm… can’t remember. Ok, I heard it two years back and since then I haven’t even seen a bee. Isn’t it a signal that bees are disappearing each year?
In the last 50 years, the population of bees has declined 50%.The cause responsible for the dwindling of bee populations is believed to be our very own technology. Ever imagined why you are not able to see a bee when you are attending a call on your cell phone? This is due to mobile signals that distract a bee and it forgets its way home. Cryptochrome helps a bee find its way back home. This pigment is sensitive to radiation emitted by a cell phone and disturbs the sense of direction of bees.
In the U.S. alone there was a 29% decline in beehives in 2009 and previously 36% in 2008 and 32% in 2007. These bees produce honey that costs about $ 15 billion per annum.
Yes, you can be happy that chances of bee stings are also reducing with their extinction but no, it’s not a good sign. Bees will not only be wiped out but they will also deprive us of our favorite fruits and flowers. Due to the halt in pollination, more than 20,000 flowers are feared to disappear. We are 15 to 30% dependant on these bees for our food. They just do not fly from one place to another but they also carry with them pollen grains of different fruits and vegetables.
So next time, before you call a friend, rather stop and visit himor her. Skipping that phone call will decrease noise pollution and avoid emiting signals that cause distortion for bees in identifying their beehives.