What if I told you that, despite my best intentions, I could single-handedly be causing tons of recyclables to end up in a landfill? I am that person that hovers over the recycling, compost, and waste bins while struggling internally to decide what item goes where. I want to feel like I’m saving the environment one piece of trash at a time. So when in doubt, I drop it in the recycle bin. I feel better about myself for “recycling” my item, and it is always better to recycle it than toss it, right? WRONG.
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A satellite view of the deforestation in the wildlife refuge Punta de Manabique in Guatemala, and a vision proposal to revert the actual destructive tendency.
Punta de Manabique is the only place in Guatemala with coral reefs. It is home to two endangered species: The Hammerhead Shark (Sphirna mokarran) and the Chumbimba (Vieja Maculicauda). It has the most extensive seagrasses in the country, beaches and waves, swamps, tall forests, palms, mangroves, guamiles and freshwater lagoons. It provides shelter to the largest number of migratory birds in Guatemala. The flooded forests or swamps of Confra (Manicaria saccifera), a species of palm, is one of the rarest ecosystems in Guatemala, which exists only in this region.
However, since 2005 the area has been rapidly deforested. Currently, the agricultural frontier continues, wood extraction, destruction of the Motagua river basin, fauna extraction, overfishing, garbage and pollution.
A new TRAFFIC report reveals a thriving trade in poached South African abalone Haliotis midae in Hong Kong, where the marine mollusc is considered a delicacy in Cantonese cuisine. Over the last 20 years, the illegal harvest of abalone in South Africa has exceeded the legal quotas, with criminal networks poaching and smuggling wild abalone to Hong Kong, which imports about 90% of all dried South African abalone.
By Spencer Showalter
For this week’s dose of #OceanOptimism, let’s fly across the Pacific to meet Hawaii’s state marine mammal: the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi)! This charismatic animal is the oldest seal species on the planet—evidence indicates that they have lived on the Hawaiian islands for several million years. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the world. Presently, their population is estimated at about 1,400 seals, which comes out to about 30% of historic estimates for the species. Between 1950 and 2013 the species declined continuously due to a number of forces, including food limitations, shark predation, and most importantly, humans. Fishermen leave behind marine debris and inactive fishing nets, which lead to potentially fatal entanglement. Tourists take over beaches where monk seals historically hauled out to rest, escape predation, and raise young. Finally, beachgoers often feed monk seals, which can be dangerous to the seal and limit their capacity to learn to hunt for themselves.
By Ashley Bagley
Ocean acidification is Puget Sound’s silent killer for marine organisms – acidifying seawater cannot be readily seen, yet its effects are pervasive and detrimental to the Sound’s ecology and renowned shellfish industry. Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which creates a foundational change in seawater chemistry – carbon dioxide reacts with water to create carbonate and bicarbonate ions. As a result, seawater becomes more acidic.
At this time, Dos Mares is an initiative, is not yet a incorporated legal non-profit, and their most frequent activity at this time is educating Central America's people about ocean conservation and marine research, though the most common social networks. However, Dos Mares pretend to implement specific programs and projects according the Dos Mares Conceptual Plan II.
By Nick Wehner, MarXiv Project Director
The primary method for obtaining full-text papers behind a journal’s paywall for those without institutional library access* is to email the author to ask for a free copy. But that cannot happen when you do not know the email address of the author, which SpringerNature does not offer.
SpringerNature does not show the email address for any corresponding author of any journal they publish. Not a one. Go take a look for yourself and see. Here’s one paper in Nature if you don’t feel like searching.
By Kelly Martin
You open the newspaper or scroll through your newsfeed and it’s everywhere: another oil spill, natural disaster, or endangered species gone extinct. Doom and gloom fills the pages of most news we see, particularly news concerning the environment. After a while you may think to yourself, “is it even worth trying to fix the planet anymore?” You’re not alone in this sentiment: researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) call this “emotional numbing,” a phenomenon that occurs after repeated exposure to emotionally draining scenarios. In a world saturated with information about the many environmental disasters happening all around us, it is easy to become numb to these issues. “Eco-anxiety” has also become an increasingly recognized problem, as issues ranging from devastating natural disasters to the more gradual impacts of climate change are linked to stress, a feelings of powerlessness, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. One study found that in Australia, 25% of children are “so troubled about the state of the world that they honestly believe it will come to an end before they get older.”
By Spencer Showalter
In November 2017, more than 200 countries convened in Bonn, Germany for Conference of the Parties 23 (COP 23), the most recent in the yearly United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conferences. These meetings began in the 1990s with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, a pioneering international agreement that set the groundwork for substantially reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. COP 23 was a notable meeting for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first meeting since the Trump Administration announced its intention to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the major outcome of COP 21. Secondly, COP 23’s main goal was to iron out the details of the Paris Agreement in order to continue to chase the international goal of limiting warming to under 2˚C (3.6˚F)—a goal that is already on tenuous ground. So, given that the US is not participating in the Paris agreement, what did the American delegation do at the conference? What were the outcomes of the conference?
Punta de Manabique is the only place in Guatemala with coral reefs. It is home to two endangered species: The Hammerhead Shark (Sphirna mokarran) and the Chumbimba (Old Maculicauda). It has the most extensive seagrasses in the country, beaches and waves, swamps, tall forests, palms, mangroves, guamiles and freshwater lagoons. It provides shelter to the largest number of migratory birds in Guatemala. The flooded forests or swamps of Confra (Manicaria saccifera), a species of palm, is one of the rarest ecosystems in Guatemala, which exists only in this region. However, since 2005 the area has been rapidly deforested. Currently, the agricultural frontier continues, wood extraction, destruction of the Motagua river basin, fauna extraction, overfishing, garbage and pollution. I hope that someone can get attention during the IMPAC4 Congress in relation to this terrible situation in Guatemala.