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.

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