Tag Archives: Earth

Global Living Planet Index


By Tom Randall – If animals were stocks, the market would be crashing.

To say the index of animals is underperforming humans is an understatement. More than half of the world’s vertebrates have disappeared between 1970 and 2010.

Humans are currently drawing more from natural resources than the Earth is able to provide. It would take about 1.5 planet Earths to meet the present-day demands that humanity currently makes on nature, according to the WWF (pdf).

If all the people of the world had the same lifestyle as the typical American, 3.9 planet Earths would be needed to keep up with demand. more> http://tinyurl.com/mdb9wjg

As the seas rise, a slow-motion disaster gnaws at America’s shores


By Ryan McNeill, Deborah J. Nelson and Duff Wilson – Since 2001, water has reached flood levels an average of 20 days or more a year in Annapolis, Maryland; Wilmington, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sandy Hook, New Jersey; and Charleston, South Carolina.

Before 1971, none of these locations averaged more than five days a year.

Annapolis had the highest average number of days a year above flood threshold since 2001, at 34. On the Delmarva Peninsula, the annual average tripled to 18 days at the Lewes, Delaware, tide gauge.

“In the U.S., you have best data set on what’s happening in the world, and yet it’s not used in public policy,” said Robert Nicholls, professor of coastal engineering at the University of Southampton in England. more> http://tinyurl.com/kqqojj4

Good News & Bad News About Ocean Plastics


By Ann R. Thryft – The report, “Valuing Plastic (pdf),” was produced by the Plastic Disclosure Project.

It found that marine pollution is the largest downstream cost of damage caused by plastics in the environment. Sources include improperly managed landfills, tourist activities, fisheries, and littering.

Although some debris sinks to the bottom of the ocean, much of it ends up floating long distances to pollute shorelines or accumulate in the notorious mid-ocean gyres.

Plastic waste damages coral reefs, becomes entangled in fishing equipment, is ingested by marine animals and birds, provides a source of chemical contamination, and makes a mess of your favorite beach. more> http://tinyurl.com/nz5blgc

Clashes with Russia point to globalization’s end


By Mark Leonard – The burger chain was celebrated in the 1990s by the journalist Thomas Friedman’s “Golden Arches theory of conflict prevention,” which argued that the spread of McDonald’s around the world would bring an end to war. But almost 25 years after a McDonald’s restaurant opened in Moscow, it seems that deep interdependence has not ended conflict between great powers – it has merely provided a new battlefield for it.

Many saw global trade relations as a prelude to global government, with rising powers such as Russia and China being socialized into roles as “responsible stakeholders” in a single global system.

But multilateral integration now seems to be dividing rather than uniting. Geopolitical competition gridlocks global institutions; the Ukraine crisis came about because of a clash between two incompatible projects of multilateral integration — the European-led Eastern Partnership and Russia’s Eurasian Union. more> http://tinyurl.com/n795jhq

Views from the Solar System (218)


Caribbean Sea Viewed From the International Space Station

NASA – From the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, flying some 225 nautical miles above the Caribbean Sea in the early morning hours of July 15, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman photographed this north-looking panorama that includes parts of Cuba, the Bahamas and Florida, and even runs into several other areas in the southeastern U.S. The long stretch of lights to the left of center frame gives the shape of Miami.

Millions of tons of ocean plastic have gone missing


By Rich McCormick – For a decade or more, scientists have assumed our seas carry millions of tons of plastic, much of which should be floating in open water, forming vast midocean “gyres” — islands of man-made mess such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But according to a new study, something more worrying is happening to 99 percent of the ocean’s plastic: it’s disappearing.

The study outlines the findings of scientists who trawled the waters around five large ocean gyres in 2010 and 2011. The data they obtained put them far short of the expected amount of plastic in the ocean — rather than millions of tons, the global load of ocean plastic was calculated at 40,000 tons at most. more> http://tinyurl.com/podpyh9

Underestimate a lady hurricane at your peril


By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – In shocking news that should vindicate men’s rights activists everywhere but surprise no one who has ever angered my mother in a supermarket, it has today (June 3) emerged that female hurricanes are deadlier than their male equivalents.
They found that, over and above the qualities of the storm itself, a severe hurricane with a girly name will kill more people than a storm with a masculine one. This is because, according to the Washington Post’s rather sweet phrasing, “people don’t respect them”. more> http://tinyurl.com/nxt3eev