Saturday, December 11, 2010

Terrible Facts about Bottled Water!

I came across this infographic the other day that made me realize how terrible bottled water is. I always drink tap water and refill plastic bottles with tap water simply because I don't think it tastes bad and also to save a bit of money. After seeing the infographic below, I am sure to always choose tap water over bottled water, and expect every one to do so. Bottled water companies spend billions of dollars worldwide to advertise and promote their "so-called healthy" water. Don't be a victim of marketing and start helping the environment.
While a large portion of the world desperately seek clean drinking water, the United States and other countries spend billions on bottled water when perfectly clean drinking water is readily available. Not only are we needlessly spending money on water with lower standards than those of tap water, we are also filling our landfills with billions of pounds of oil based plastics that take thousands of years to degrade. This graphic will visually present an overview of bottled water.

Average price of tap water: $0.0015 per gallon
Average price of bottled water: $10.00 per gallon
Bottled water is around 10,000 times more expensive than tap water
Annually, Americans consume 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water, 53 billion gallons globally.
This generates $51 billion.
40% of all bottled water is taken from municipal water sources (aka. tap water).
22% of tested bottled water brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.

Bottled water versus tap water:
Tested for e. coli - Bottled NO, Tap YES
Required to provide source - Bottled NO, Tap YES
Required to produce quality reports - Bottled NO, Tap YES
Can still be distributed when tap water standards are not met - Bottled YES, Tap NO

17 Million barrels of oil are used in the production of water bottles yearly, enough to fuel 1 Million cars a year.

It takes three times the amount of water to produce the bottle as it does to fill it.

Only 1 in 5 water bottles are recycled, the other 4 contribute to the 3 billion pounds of waste from plastic water bottles.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

'Traditional' Turtle slaughter in Australia

Many sea turtle species, along with the rare Dugong, are becoming more and more threatened by human activity and see their populations decline at an alarming rate.

The Queensland's Animal Care and Protection Act is meant to protect these animals.
However, in the name of the 'politically correct' and tradition, exceptions are allowed for some aboriginal communities in the North of Queensland.

These communities pull out these helpless animals onto the sandy beach. Still alive and once immobilized, the limbs are sliced off and the turtle is left to bleed to death. Eventually, the poor creature is beheaded.

These practices have no place to be in 2010. These communities should be told how to pursue some of their cruel traditions in a sustainable way (if any).
And like I read on another site, no one would even think about doing such thing to a cow.

Please be aware: Some of the footage below contains graphic content.

In the meantime, on the other side of the world...

More information on Turtle & Dugong slaughter

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Deep Sea Under the Pole - Amazing Arctic Expedition

After centuries of polar expeditions, a crew of eight young adventurers went on a challenge to cross the Arctic ice cap. Their 800 kilometer trek was punctuated by underwater dives, scientific measurements and -30°c blizzards! The Arctic is a little known part of the world, but what is under the ice cap is even more of a secret to us.

As you will see in the footage below, the ice forms amazing underwater sculptures, home to very mysterious marine species. Unfortunately, like most of the rest of the world, this region is also under threat. Do not hesitate to read this article about why we should leave the Arctic alone.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Save trees, print your files in .wwf format rather than .pdf!

Save as WWF, Save a Tree!

It is with this tagline that the World Wildlife Fund launched a new file format in order to save trees. Every year, millions of square kilometers of forets are cut down in order to produce paper. Paper recycling is still extremely low at a world level and people often print pages for a single use before dumping them away.

The new .WWF format works just like a .PDF but cannot be printed. This is a great way to entice people to save paper, and therefore our world's forests.

Every day, entire forests are cut down to make paper. Paper that’s senselessly used to print out documents all over the world: websites, emails, even entire books, in spite of the fact that it's easy to avoid printing by saving the document as a PDF. But even PDFs can sometimes also be printed out. So to stop unnecessary printing and encourage a new awareness about the use of paper, we’ve developed a new, green file format: WWF. A format that can’t be printed out. A simple idea that saves trees. Join in. Decide for yourself which of your documents don’t need printing - and save them as WWF.


More information on WWF


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Death of the Oceans? - BBC Documentary with David Attenborough

For those who follow me on Twitter, I sent a message calling for my Australian followers to watch a BBC documentary entitled "The Death of the Oceans?". This great documentary highlights the beauty of our oceans and what lives in there, as well as the terrible impact of human activities such as climate change, pollution and overfishing.

Sir David Attenborough reveals the findings of one of the most ambitious scientific studies of our time - an investigation into what is happening to our oceans. He looks at whether it is too late to save their remarkable biodiversity.
Horizon travels from the cold waters of the North Atlantic to the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to meet the scientists who are transforming our understanding of this unique habitat. Attenborough explores some of the ways in which we are affecting marine life - from over-fishing to the acidification of sea water.
The film also uncovers the disturbing story of how shipping noise is deafening whales and dolphins, affecting their survival in the future.


For those who haven't seen it yet, you can watch it below (or you can watch it again if you haven't already).
And don't forget to share this around!

The video is also available in high definition here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No more fish in the Seas [Infographic]

I stumbled across the infographic below which depicts the evolution of fishstocks for some of the main species victims of overfishing. I personally wonder how this same graph would look like if bluefin tuna and shark populations were represented.

Transcript of the text on the infographic:
People eat a lot of fish. In fact, per capita fish consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. The problem is that they may not be anymore fish if we keep catching and consuming them at this rate. To calculate how many fish are left in the ocean, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations measures how many of each species were caught each year. Assuming that fishermen are catching as many fish as possible (and they usually are), the logic goes that fluxuations in the number of fish caught gives a fairly good indication of fluxuations in fish populations. Here is a look at how some of our most popular fish are doing.

Click on the picture for full size view

Source: "No More Fish in the Sea"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Howard Hall's beautiful underwater videos

"Howard and Michele Hall are natural history filmmakers specializing in marine wildlife and marine environmental films. Together they have produced numerous films for television including several episodes of the PBS series Nature, a National Geographic Special, and the five-part PBS series Secrets of the Ocean Realm.
Today the Halls are best known for their IMAX films. Howard has directed four IMAX films including Into the Deep, Island of the Sharks, and Deep Sea 3D (the later two films were produced by Michele). Howard has been director of underwater photography on several other IMAX features including the MacGillivray Freeman IMAX feature, Coral Reef Adventure. Howard and Michele also appear as stars in the film.
The Hall’s most recent IMAX 3D feature, Under the Sea 3D, was released in IMAX theaters worldwide in February 2009."

The beauty of the videos below leave me speechless. Anyone who sees this will understand how vital it is to support the creation of marine reserves in order to save biodiversity in our oceans. You haven't taken action yet, please read this article. It's simple, will only take you a few minutes, but could make a big difference!

"The Maldives in RED"

"Sailfish drama"

"Coco Islands 2010"

"Ocean Requiem"

"The Blue Ocean in RED"

Howard Hall's Vimeo channel

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whale hunting season is starting, again

Japanese whaling fleet
Whale slaughter is season is back for the Japanese "Research" vessels. This year, they've been granted the licence to kill another 900 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales in the Southern Ocean.

The IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) has staged a simple yet marking show in Sydney's Darling Harbour, asking viewers to help stop the slaughter of the world's whales. If you want to help as well, please text SAVE to +61 488 771 771.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Catch, the Story of The Tokyo Two

The video below retraces the story of the two Greenpeace anti-whaling activists Toru Suzuki and Junichi Sato, surnamed the "Tokyo Two".

As part of an undercover investigation where they successfully revealed evidence of commercial whale meat, they were accused of stealing and arrested.

They have been facing trial for nearly two years in Japan before receiving a one-year jail sentence earlier this year.

In 2008, Junichi and Toru exposed a scandal involving government corruption entrenched within the tax-payer funded Japanese whaling industry. They are on trial for theft and trespass, and the prosecutor has asked they be jailed for one year and six months.

It is not just Junichi and Toru's liberty that is at stake here - it is the fundamental right to peacefully investigate and expose corruption, to challenge authority and to do so without fear of persecution.

Watch The Catch

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Action Aid launching a Cycle-against-poverty challenge!

ActionAid Australia, a global anti-poverty agency, has been working in Cambodia to help farmers and their families create and build sustainable farming livelihoods. Since 2006, ActionAid has worked with these communities affected by landmines. The focus of ActionAid’s community development projects is now on increasing incomes through better farming techniques, training farmers in important business skills, such as selling and negotiating prices for their produce, and the benefits of rain tanks, water storage and management knowledge so that the productivity of farmers continues to rise. These skills together will help these communities start to build their own small businesses and farming co-operatives – initiatives that mean more food for themselves and their children as well as additional income.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Red Crabs trailer

Located Northwest of Australia, in the Indian Ocean, the Christmas Island holds one particular phenomenon. Every year during the monsoon season, a horde of red crabs (Gecarcoidea natalis) leave their moist rainforest habitat and head for the coast line to mate and release their eggs. Even if measures to protect the species have only been taken in the recent years, the number of crabs has drastically decreased, from several hundred millions down to an estimated 30 million.

The documentary below can be seen in 3D in most imax cinemas.

Join the red crabs on their epic journey to the coast not just to breed but for the survival of their species...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stop torturing our aquatic life - Earth Choice TV ad

Most people living in developed countries are aware about environmental issues and yet they are very often the least concerned about the impact of their lifestyle on the environment. Some of our simple everyday gestures could make a big difference, if applied to millions of people around the world. Some of the most polluting products we consume our right in our homes, ranging from dish-washing liquid to laundry powder. Nature Organics is a company that takes these issues into account. Their brand include the Earth Choice products, which is far less harmful to the environment than other more "renowned" brands. Some people might think these products don't clean as well, but they're all just clichés. I've been using Earth Choice products here in Australia for over 2 years and their quality is good and price affordable. Next time you are in the supermarket, have a thought about what product to buy.

At Earth Choice, our passion for the environment includes a dedication to animal welfare. Our latest TV commercial, which dramatises the harm that mainstream cleaning products can do to aquatic animals, is testament to this.

For more information, head to the Nature's Organics site.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Australian fish stock collapsing due to overfishing

While most media usually pay little attention to environmental issues, I was positively surprised to see a television talkshow mention the sensitive topic of overfishing. The short video below, an extract from the 7pm Project on channel 10, highlights the declining fishstocks in Australia (and around the world). UN warns that we might not have any fish to eat by 2050 and that we need to make decisions in the short term to positively affect the long term.

The part about overfishing begins around 5'30"

7pm Project

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Important facts everyone should know about water

Water is life, as simple as that. We have plenty of it on our planet, from the composition of our body to the air we breathe. And yet, it remains so precious to many of us. Please find below some very important facts that are worth learning.
  • Water Resources
  1. The Earth's total volume of water is 1.4 billion km3.
  2. A world of salt: Only 2.5% of which is freshwater (35 million km3).
  3. Of those 2.5% of freshwater, 68.9% is in the form of ice, 30.8% is in the soil and only 0.3% is in rivers/lakes.
  4. The total supply of usable freshwater for humans and natural ecosystems is approximately 200,000 km3, less than 1% of all freshwater, and less than 0.25% of all water on Earth.
  5. 13,000 km3 of freshwater are located in the Earth's atmosphere, in clouds or ambient humidity.
  • Water Use
  1. How the world uses freshwater:
    -about 70 percent for irrigation
    -about 22 percent for industry
    -about 8 percent for domestic use
  2. The use of water has been increasing twice as fast as the human population in the last century.
  3. The world's six billion people are appropriating 54 percent of all the accessible freshwater contained in rivers, lakes and underground aquifers.
  4. 145 nations have territory within a transboundary basin.
  5. Water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50% by 2025 in developing countries, and 18% in developed countries.
  6. Over 1.4 billion people currently live in river basins where the use of water exceeds minimum recharge levels, leading to the desiccation of rivers and depletion of groundwater.
  7. In 60 percent of European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used at a faster rate than it can be replenished.
  8. By 2025, 1 800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.

Why care about water

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Barack Obama's speech on the Gulf spill

Nearly 3 months after the environmental disaster started in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama has finally given its first speech. In this 17 minute long footage, he attempts to reassure the people of America by listing a long list of measures that were taken to fight the spill, help the people living in affected areas and pleads for a redefinition of the energy industry in the US by promoting green energy.

I have included both the video and transcript of the speech below.

What are your thoughts on Obama's speech? Will this be enough? Is he just another politician talking or will there be change?

Tell us what your thoughts are in the comment section below.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Burning an iPad for the Environment?

The so far unknown Project Green Apple has published a video that quickly went viral. The footage shows the burning of the much hyped Apple iPad being burnt down by a few flame torches. The message is clear: Apple needs to improve its environmental policy. This follows reports of N-hexane poisoning in Wintek factories, one of Apple's partners.

They describe themselves as follow:
"Project Green Apple is a team of Northwestern University students, focused on
evaluating the current environmental policy and supplier relations of Apple Incorporated. With Apple currently positioned as one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world, it has the ability to greatly influence the computer industry, since the company's actions will cause a domino effect. It is therefore important that Apple adheres to its stated environmental protocols
and focuses on environmental sustainability as the company expands."
Not sure if this move was very environment-friendly.
Was it worth burning an iPad to criticize Apple's environmental policies?
Tell us what you think in the comments!

This also reminds me of some Greenpeace reports released late March 2010, coming to the conclusion that "the growth of internet computing could come with a huge jump in greenhouse gas emissions."

Image source: Greenpeace

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top 6 reasons to leave the Arctic alone!

Along with global warming comes the melting of the polar ice cap. Nothing talks more than hard figures: Over 40% of the ice cap has melted away in 30 years!

As the Arctic sea opens up,we humans begin to pay a lot of attention to this once peaceful part of the world, leading to new issues and challenges. Below are some of the top reasons why we should leave this part of the world as it is: untouched.

  1. Less ice = Great reduction of the inhabitat of many wild endangered or soon-to-be endangered species including Polar Bears, Harp Seals, Northern Fur Seals, Walruses and many more.
  2. Interest in the North Pole raises tensions between countries in redefining borders: Norway vs. Russia vs. USA vs. Canada vs etc.
  3. Expansion of commercial fishing areas. After overfishing in all seas, wouldn't it be great to create an arctic marine park? (by this I mean a "human-free" environment).
  4. New commercial routes between Asia and Europe/USA, opening the area to thousands of ships per year. As we know, an increased traffic would lead to increased pollution and disturbance to local animals.
  5. Lastly, new gas and oil drillings! 22% of global oil reserves are located in the Arctic according to the USGS. With all surrounding countries claiming as much territorial area as possible, there is no doubt that a race to discover and extract gas/oil has begun.
  6. With oil spills ruining our world every few year, imagine what we would do if a major oil spill occurs in the Arctic just as it happened with DeepSea Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico? In such remote location difficult weather conditions, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to stop a leak and clean up the mess. Imagine the oil spills travelling under the ice...

Arctic route map by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Arctic oil rig photograph by Richard Olsenius/NGS
Polar ice cap graph

Sunday, June 6, 2010, another Green Search Engine is a new "green" search engine, powered by 100% solar energy. It has a beautiful Flash design that makes navigation smooth and easy. It offers a search function which will let you find ecology related websites, blogs, articles and news. differs from other green search engines such as because its search results are not fetched from other search engines. Instead, the results come from links submitted on the website. For this reason, the results are still limited but should improve as publishers submit their site. By the way, site submission is free (link in the top right corner) so if you are the owner of an eco-related site, don't hesitate to add it. also offers a large variety of eco-related news, in which you can drill down and browse easily. This site, although its use is currently limited, has a lot of potential in bringing relevant and interesting content to those who are interested in these topics.

Below are a few screenshots of

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Underwater Sydney: the hidden side of a busy city!

Satellite view of Port Jackson
Sydney is not only the very first European settlement in Australia but is also the largest city in Oceania. Its tall skyline and vast residential areas border the coastline as well as the Sydney Harbour. Located within Port Jackson, the harbour is 19 kilometers long and its coastline measures 327km²! Many boats navigate it on a daily basis: cargo ships and tankers, leisure and sailboats, ferrys, cruise boats, whale watching tours, water taxis, etc... With such floating traffic, anyone would expect the harbour to be similar to those in other major cities: dark polluted water.

Well guess again, Sydney Harbour is surprisingly clean in most places and that's exactly what the Underwater Sydney team is trying to show us. With the objective of raising awareness about this fragile marine environment, they hope that people will start caring, helping & protecting. They are setting the foundations for a soon-to-come project, possibly in partnership with the Sydney Aquarium Conservation Fund. In the meantime, the photographers are in the waters of Sydney Harbour, digging up amazing and beautiful pictures of this busy city's other inhabitants! Each photograph comes with an interesting and exciting story. I have included a few photographs below but I strongly suggest you visit the Underwater Sydney website, subscribe to their RSS feed and support their cause.

Sydney Harbour
Box fish

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wake up! It's time to save our Oceans!

Fishermen only keep the shark fins
If you've been following Poor Planet posts for a while, you might have noticed that many of my posts are more ore less related to the oceans. This is not a topic I purposely target. Oceans simply cover 70% of our planet's surface and for many decades, we've exploited the natural resources it holds, dumped all sorts of junk into it and took it for granted. Only now we start realizing the need and importance of protecting our oceans.

"We need to defend our oceans because without them, life on Earth wouldn't exist"

I highly recommend you watch the video below entitled "Drop into the Ocean", posted by Greenpeace. It covers most environmental issues our oceans face today and raises the alarm: Change is needed, and this video will show you how urgent it is!

Everyone can do its part for the environment. I've chosen to create this blog in order to raise awareness. If you want to take action, here are three ways:
  1. Begin by sharing this video around to your friends, colleagues and family.
  2. You can also sign a petition requesting the creation of the World's largest maritime reserve in the Coral Sea.
  3. Or go to the Greenpeace site and sign their petition as well.

Photo: Jeffrey L. Rotman/Corbis

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nature takes over The Champs-Elysées avenue

On Sunday 23rd of May, the city of Paris transformed its most prestigious avenue, the Champs-Elysées, into a nature haven. Around 200 trucks turned overnight 1.2 kilometers of asphalt into a wide spread of flowers, trees, fruits, vegetables and even farm animals. In total, over 8,000 pieces of green were installed during these two days, in honor of 2010, the year of biodiversity. The event, entitled Nature Capitale, was the best way to introduce nature directly into the city life. It was organised by both the city of Paris and an organisation representing 55,000 French farmers under the age of 35.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to restore pristine oceans? Enric Sala shows us how

Screenshot of Enric Sala's presentation
I have always been a great fan of Ted Talks where many great minded people discuss and present amazing ideas, concepts and insights. Recently, Enric Sala, a marine ecologist who fights to change policies using data and research.

In this talk entitled "Glimpses of a Pristine Ocean, Enric focusses on how we can restore healthy oceans, coral reefs and marine life along with economic benefit: The creation of large marine parks.

In May 2010, the protection of Ocean through marine parks is barely reaching 1% of all ocean surface, while experts say we should protect 20% of all sea surface on Earth to have a sustainable ecosystem (Help create the World's largest marine park in the Coral Sea).
Some of the benefits of creating such a large protected area would be, believe it or not:

Every year, governments pay $35 billion in subsidies to fishing when the cost of protecting those 20% of the ocean is only $16 billion. So little is done, due to a lack of awareness (that this blog tries to fight), bad governance & politics, and wrong funding models.

Remember, no organization alone is going to save the Oceans
Enjoy the video!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Murdered Albatros on Midway Islands: Direct consequence of human mass consumption

One of my first articles on this blog was about the world's biggest garbage dump: the Pacific Ocean. Located thousands of kilometers away from all land, floating garbage is brought to one specific area by maritime currents. This plastic waste, result of human activity, piles up in the ocean until there is more garbage than actual life (plancton or fish). The plastic is photodegradable, which means the sun rays breaks it down into smaller pieces. Every form of life present there inevitably nurrishes on plastic and ends up killing the animal.

The Midway Islands are located in the middle of the Pacific. Made popular during the Second World war when the US Navy clashed with the Japanese naval army. The Midway Islands are now a beautiful sanctuary for many wild species. Unfortunately, the Pacific garbage patch is located nearby and affects many local species of animals, including birds. Chris Jordan, an American photographer, went there to photograph the consequences of American and Asian mass consumption on remote island creatures.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Possible Solutions to collect the Oil Spill

Hair Booms
What if these two easy ways of collecting the lost oil in the Gulf of Mexico were the solution?

With millions of litres of crude oil leaking in the Gulf of Mexico and starting to pollute fragile ecosystems all along the coastline, something needs to be done urgently. As shown in the presentation below, the oil attaches itself to the floating hay. By spreading large quantities of hay in the sea, boats would simple need to collect the floating mix of oil and hay at the surface. Perhaps it sounds too easy but we are in a desperate situation where every idea is a good idea (except those that were already used such as burning the oil spill or spreading dispersant chemicals which are as nocive!).

The second solution is to fill in old stockings with hair and to use this as floating dams that will absorb oils. The reason we use shampoo is because hair absorbs oil, so this should help clean up.

Sometimes the best solutions are the easiest solutions. Do you really think this could help collect the oil from the water? Tell us in the comments!

Using Hay

Using Hair

Donate your hair now to Matter of Trust!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Images and Infographic of the Underwater oil spill

More than three weeks after the accident, the oil continues to pour in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the DeepWater rig. The first underwater images of the spill were released yesterday on Youtube. The first one shows one of the leaks while the second one shows the lowering of the cofferdam that is meant to contain the leak. For your information, this attempt was unsuccesful. Please also find an interesting infographic from David McCandless about how much oil is wasted.

One of the spills

13 Biggest Oil Spills in History

While the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is far from being over, here are some of the largest oil spills that ruined our world since the 1950's.
  • 1957: One of the first major oils spills occurred off the coast of Mexico when the Tampico Maru crashed and released 2.7 million gallons* of oil into the Mexican state of Baja California, Lower California.
  • 1967: The Torrey Canyon supertanker crashed on Pollard Rock off the coast of England. This lead to the spill of 500,000 barrels of crude oil into the North-East Atlantic Ocean and English Channel. The coasts of England, France and Spain were all affected.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"There once was an Island: Te Henua E Nnoho" trailer

"There once was an Island: Te Henua E Nnoho" - This powerful title says it all. The sea level is rising, it is a fact that even skeptics cannot refute. Whether it is the consequence of human activity or not, it doesn't matter. What really matters now, is how do we deal with it?

The most pessimist predictions I could find mentioned a rise of 59 centimeters by year 2100. Many people wouldn't care as it is in 90 years from now. Others will argue that 59 centimeters is not a big change, and therefore do not care either. Well, perhaps the inhabitants of Te Henua E Nnoho, a small Pacific island would show you their story and how alarming it is. This award winner film is yet to be released but the trailer below says enough.

'Climate Change Islands' documentary film

Rising seas, overfishing, long lines, side catches, coral regeneration, shark fin,... This 45 minute documentary entitled "Climate Change Islands" covers most of these sensitive topics. I found it posted on the DocoHD youtube channel alongside other very interesting documentaries.

After writing articles for a few months now, I have realised that most environmental issues are located or related to the sea. Being a sea lover, it encourages me to support further more the creation of marine national parks throughout our oceans. Please read my previous article on creating one of the largest marine parks in the world and help spread the word!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A few stats about Earth Hour 2010

On March 27th at 20:30, the third edition of Earth Hour took place all around the world. The event which started in Australia in 2007, was initiated by WWF Australia, Leo Burnett (advertising agency) and Fairfax Media in order to address the climate change issue. This not only raised awareness in Australia but all around the world as more cities and countries took part in the event.

Here are a few statistics about Earth Hour 2010 as well as a video:
-Over 4,000 cities took part in this unique event
-In 125 countries
-18 countries of the G20
-34 of the world's C40 cities
-An estimated 1 billion people

You can also read the WWF Earth Hour 2010 press release.

Fight against Whaling, Give Whales a Voice

"Whales are one of the loudest beings on the planet, producing sounds of up to 188 decibels.

It's been 25 years since the IWC introduced a ban on commercial whaling, but a legal loophole means the senseless slaughter has continued.

Every year, 2,500 whales are hunted - usually using a harpoon with an explosive grenade at the tip, which causes shock, blood loss, internal injuries and a very slow death.

We're outraged by this blatant cruelty and want to help put a stop to it once and for all."

Optus and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) are teaming up to gather voices from Australians to fight against whaling. You can record your own voice either by mobile phone or on their website. Please show your support for this great cause before it's too late.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, another example of Human well-doing

On April 2Oth, the DeepWater Horizon, an offshore oil rig has collapsed off the coast of Lousiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster started off with a loud explosion followed by a major fire. The floating platform sank while three leaks were discovered. The amount of oil released in the wild is unknown but estimated to about 160,000 litres per day. The rig also contained 2.6 million litres of petrol (at an extracting rate of 1,27 million litres per day) and it is very likely all these stocks were also released in the waters of the Gulf. Today, the oil spill who measures nearly 1,000 kilometers in width was approaching the coasts of several states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The coastline is very sensitive to pollution as it hosts swamps and fragile environments. Not only rare species of aquatic mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds will be affected but the whole local economy where people often live off fishing. Populations still bear in mind the consequences of Katrina hurricane and now have to deal with this.
  • In terms of wildlife, a group of sperm whales live in the area and although they spend most of their time diving for prey, they come back to the surface to breathe.
  • The region is also the only spawning ground for a wide variety of species, many of which are in the middle of the spawning season. These species include the Western Atlantic blue fin tuna, already endangered by Japanese overfishing.
  • Alabama, Mississippi and Florida beaches host different species of sea turtles that travel in these waters.
  • More species of marine animals and wild birds are in danger such as the brown pelican, reddish egret, mottled duck, royal tern and snowy plover. Read more on the NY Times

Below is a summary video from Fox news as well as some pictures to illustrate the dimension of this disaster.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day 2010: Bill Clinton & Al Gore take action

Earth Day, founded in 1970, was celebrating its 40th anniversary on April 22nd of this year. This date marks an annual opportunity to raise awareness of environmental issues, and appreciation of our planet.

This year, I have gathered two elements for you. The first one is an interview of former US President Bill Clinton organised by Their democratic initiative was welcomed on the Internet as anyone could ask a question to Clinton. He would then reply to the most dugg (=top rated) questions. I have embedded the video below for your own convenience.

The second element is a copy of Al Gore's Earth Day letter to all suscribers of his Repower America newsletter. Al Gore, former US presidential candidate, is also the founder of Repower America, a "Climate Protection Action Fund" that pushes political decisions/actions in fighting climate change. Enjoy the documents below and don't forget to do something for the environment (every day if possible :).

  • Bill Clinton's interview

  • Al Gore's letter
Despite the name, Earth Day is really about humanity.
Our planet has existed for billions of years and will continue to exist, no matter how much oil and coal we burn, no matter how much carbon pollution we dump into our atmosphere.
It's the survival of human civilization as we know it that's uncertain. Human consumption of fossil fuels threatens the conditions that we require to live on Earth -- conditions that only occur thanks to a carefully balanced set of circumstances so delicate and rare that they are now shockingly vulnerable to the impact of our newly powerful civilization. These conditions can change, and our actions on this planet are changing them every day. That is a scientific fact that no amount of political rhetoric can alter.
Taking on climate change is a huge challenge -- for America and the world. But the solutions are within our reach. We have the technology. We know the way forward. Now we have to get started on a scale that will matter.
As with so many global crises, the world is looking to America for leadership. In this case, leadership means action from the United States Congress -- and I am pleased to say that we are far closer than we have ever been. Since Earth Day last year, a landmark clean energy and climate bill has passed the House of Representatives, and as I write this, key Senators are reaching across the aisle to finish the job.
If the Senate steps up and passes strong legislation, success will be within reach.
But the forces of opposition are very powerful. And if we did nothing, we would fail - by falling prey to the cynicism of corporate lobbyists and the misinformation of self-serving politicians and pundits whose blatant disregard for scientific fact endangers us all.
So this Earth Day, I ask all of you to join together to take action to address climate change. [...]
Over the past 40 years, Earth Day has helped strengthen our awareness, sense of urgency and will to preserve the environment we rely on. It has served as a national reminder to reduce pollution, celebrate nature and make our air and water cleaner.
But today our task is even greater. Beyond careful stewardship of our natural resources, we must act to prevent a potential global catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. We must aggressively respond to the threat of global climate change.
We created this crisis -- and we can solve it. That starts with strong action from Congress. This is a fight that we must not lose -- for the sake of every human being on the planet and for the generations to come.
Remember, Earth Day is about people -- and our future on this planet.
Thank you,
Al Gore
The Climate Protection Action Fund

For more information about other events happening on that day, head to

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cane toads, the slow invasion of Australia

Predator species have been introduced by humans in new environment since centuries. Sometimes purposely like in the case of rodent control, or sometimes accidentally. In either case, the introduction of another species is never good for the environment as it always has negative and serious consequences on native/endemic species and ecosystem balance. For example, humans have introduced Polynesian rats in the islands of Hawaii in order to control insect damage on local agriculture. Unfortunately the rat population grew far too much and when it began harming the environment, humans (them again!) introduced the Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) to eat the rats. However, a new issue rose: Mongoose preferred feeding on bird eggs! As a consequence, the Hawaiian goose came close to extinction and rats kept on damaging sugar cane plantations.

This was in 1883, but we still haven't learned the lesson and find ourselves repeating the errors of the past. This is the story of the cane toads of Australia. Originally from Central and South America, the cane toads were introduced in Australia in the 1930's in order to control the invasion of beetles damaging here again sugar cane plantations. The population of cane toads grew exponentially and spread across most of Queensland and now reaching Darwin in the Northern Territory as well as the north of New South Wales. Not only damaging local ecosystems, cane toads have a toxic gland on their back that they use as defense when attacked. Local animals such as snakes and crocodiles feed on other amphibians and die when attacking cane toads.

From 62,000 toadlets introduced in 1937, the Australian population is now estimated to over 300 million toads. Sadly enough, the cane toads never solved the beetle issue as plantations did not offer the right shelter for these toads during the day...

Below is a very interesting 5-part documentary entitled "Cane Toads, an UnNatural History". Enjoy

Monday, April 19, 2010

Help create the World's largest marine park in the Coral Sea has launched an Australian wide campaign recently to support the founding of the world's largest marine park. The Coral Sea, located between the Australian state of Queensland, Papa New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, is a safe haven for marine life.

While we are at a critical time to make important decisions, less than 1% of the world's seas are currently protected. The creation of such a vast marine park would not only help protect local species but encourage the re-population of other species, including migratory ones. Large marine mammals such as dolphins and whales but also large fish such including sharks and tunas would highly benefit from such a protection.

Learn more about the project, sign the petition and discover how to take action on the website. And don't forget to pass the message on to your friends!

You can also take action using the widget below.

The Ye Zi car, so Eco-friendly it Produces Oxygen!

While China holds the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, it seems like environment is at the heart of many projects. One of these is the Ye Zi, or "Leaf" in Chinese. This concept car presented at the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and General Motors (GM) pavilion is more than eco-friendly.

What can honestly be better than carbon neutral? That's right, a car that actually emits oxygen.
This is possible through different systems spread on different areas of the vehicle. Some include:

  • Photo voltaic units placed on the roof (for solar energy)
  • Wind turbines on the wheels (for wind energy)
  • Metal-organic framework (MOF, which absorbs carbon dioxide and water to produce an electric current and O², just as plants would usually do through the process of photosynthesis
Not quite sure until where this concept will be taken but if affordable, that could make a cute city car!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pictures & Information of the Great Barrier Reef Damage

While the Sheng Neng 1 has been refloated and transferred to another island, an inspection team from GBRMPA and the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management have undertaken observations of the damage caused by the carrier ship. A 20 to 30 meters wide scar stretches for approximately 100 meters. Yes! That's 3,000 square meters of damaged corals and marine life that could take up to 30 years to grow back. We will soon know exactly how much damaged has been done as a ship equipped with high tech sonars and cameras is on its way to the reef.
As it stands now, it seems like oil is starting to wash up on a few surrounding islands where baby turtles usually hatch and seabirds nest. Other reports mention the hulk paint scratched off on the seabed killing corals. This paint contains toxic chemicals such as heavy metals and herbicides which aren't good for marine life for obvious reasons.

I have enclosed more information about the damage at the bottom of this post. Don't hesitate to scroll down after the images.

These photographs of the bulk carrier Shen Neng 1 were taken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

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