Posts Tagged ‘Kobe’

Caribbean reefs ‘flattened’ in just 40 years

June 11, 2009

In just 40 years, the Caribbean’s spectacular branched corals have been flattened. Research reveals that the corals have been replaced by shorter rival species — and points to climate change as at least partly to blame.

Most of the reefs have lost all the intricate, tree-like corals that until the 1970s provided sanctuary for unique reef fish and other creatures, as well as protecting coastlines by sapping the energy of waves.

Coral diversity is important for both the many species that swell on reefs and for coastal protection, says Jennifer Gill of the University of East Anglia and a member of the research team.

She and her colleagues analysed data over the past 40 years from 500 surveys of 200 Caribbean reefs. They say that the flattening process took place in two main phases. Firstly, in the late 1970s, a condition called white-band disease swept through the reefs, killing 90 per cent of the most spectacular tree-like elkhorn and staghorn corals.

The second phase, in 1998, saw many of the remaining tree-like corals being wiped out during a massive bleaching event, probably driven by global warming.

Different corals — fast-growing but short-lived “weedy” species — then took over the reefs, outcompeting most of the remaining tree-like corals. The researchers found that flat reefs now cover 75 per cent of the Caribbean, compared to just 20 per cent in the 1970s.


California’s plans for biggest desalination plant are a go

May 19, 2009

The $320 million desalination plant planned for Carlsbad, California was approved earlier this week, making it a prime opportunity to test out how desalination might work as a way forward through the water issues the state faces.

The New York Times reports:

The plant, to be built near Carlsbad, north of San Diego, will be the first large-scale desalination operation on the West Coast and the largest in the hemisphere. “If they build it well and it operates well and the price is right, we will see more,” said Peter Gleick, the cofounder and president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif.
“I think there’s going to be some hesitancy to really expand desalination until this plant is up and running,” he added. “There’s going to be hesitancy on the part of everyone — regulators, water agencies and municipalities.”

The hesitancies come from the unknown factors involved in desalination. The process is energy intensive, and the benefits might not outweigh the burden not only on energy needs, and the ecological impact of pumping 100 million gallons of water a day from the ocean, turning it into 50 million gallons of drinkable water, then spitting large amounts of brine back out into the sea.

Because desalination is not a very widely tested possibility for drinking water, especially on this large of a scale, the plan is highly controversial, with Surfrider fighting hard against it. It’s definitely one to keep a very close eye on from all aspects.

Article here.

US EPA Clears Most Mountaintop Removal Permits

May 19, 2009

The Obama administration has approved 42 mountaintop removal coal mining permits in the Appalachian Mountains, dashing hopes among many environmentalists that the president would crack down on the destructive and controversial practice. U.S. Rep. Nick J..

Find here.

Toxic Chemicals Released Near You

May 19, 2009

Search This Database to Find Out What Toxic Chemicals Are Released in Your Neighborhood. [EPA | TRI Chemicals | TRI Program]

Information on the rules which have lowered reporting thresholds for Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals. If you want information about toxic chemical releases (& more) in your neighborhood enter your Zip code.

Find it here.

Let’s generate electricity by walking!

May 19, 2009

Kohei Hayamizu has a bold vision for the future: a city that is in itself an electric power station. A place where all its roads, bridges and sidewalks generate electricity from the vibrations produced by the cars and people that move over them.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Article here.

Feds declare salmon disaster

May 4, 2009

The federal government has declared the commercial salmon industry in California and part of Oregon a disaster, and conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are partly to blame.

The declaration by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is a continuation of an order issued last year and paves the way for Congress to allocate disaster relief dollars for Northwest fishers.

The commercial Chinook salmon fishing season will be closed from Cape Falcon, Ore., all the way to the U.S. border with Mexico in San Diego County.

Researchers are working to better understand the effects that ocean changes have on salmon populations, but evidence suggests problems with the salmon population stem from environmental degradation and invasive species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where water has been siphoned off in record sums for farming and urban consumption. Unfavorable shifts in ocean temperature are also likely to blame.

This is very scary as we are seeing a rapid decline in salmon populations in various places around the world.…

What is it going to take for us to sustainably manage our food resources?