Six Months Later, an Oil Disaster Spreads Across the Gulf

Oiled shrimps, Louisiana. Photo source: ©© J.Jackson

By Rocky Kistner, NRDC

For six months, I have lived and worked near ground zero of the worst oil disaster in US history. I’ve traveled on boats hunting thick, reddish peanut butter-colored crude that slowly washed towards the coastal marshes of southern Louisiana. I watched tough, resourceful people of the bayou weep at the sight of the oily tide invading precious fishing grounds…

Read Full Article, NRDC

Arctic Report Card 2010

Svalbard, Arctic region. Photo source: ©© Bjorn Alfthan / UNEP

Excerpt from NOAA

The Arctic region, also called the “planet’s refrigerator,” continues to heat up, affecting local populations and ecosystems as well as weather patterns in the most populated parts of the Northern Hemisphere, according to a team of 69 international scientists.

The findings were released Oct. 21, 2010 in the Arctic Report Card, a yearly assessment of Arctic conditions…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

NOAA, Report Card

The Wrecking Season

The Wrecking Season, a film by Nick and Jane Darke

The Wrecking Season
Image Source: BBC

Excerpt, from the BBC

The North coast of Cornwall in the UK is one the best collection points in the world for long haul drift. When a SW gale blows for three days, artefacts and natural objects from Labrador down to the Amazon wash up on these shores.

This film follows playwright, beachcomber and lobsterman Nick Darke, onto the beach during one stormy winter and records all his discoveries, tracing everything he finds along the coastline back to its source, via the telephone and the internet.

After seeing this film, stepping onto a beach may never be the same again.

Until his untimely death, Nick lived on Cornwall’s rugged and beautiful north coast. He came from a long line of seafarers and he still practised the right of ‘wrecking’, an ancient pastime that intriguingly put him in touch, through phone calls and the internet, with fishermen and oceanographers round the world.

This haunting film, photographed by Nick’s artist wife Jane, which uses atmospheric and evocative archive shot by his father, captures a unique portrait of his daily work as he combed the wild seashore for the wonderful hardwoods, exotic sea beans, and fascinating artefacts. But also, poignantly displays the vast amount of plastic pollution, fishing paraphernalia, marine plastic debris of all kind, ceaselessly deposited on Cornwall’s beaches by the ocean’s long haul drift.

He and his wife, the painter and film-maker Jane Darke, built up a unique picture of coastal communities around the Atlantic, and the flotsam and jetsam that travels between them, making friends with fishermen, scientists, oceanographers and fellow beachcombers.

It’s an uplifting tribute to a remarkable man whose house, garden and whole existence are full of the wonderful things he found and whose data and observations feed into important global ocean research and investigations.


The Wrecking Season

BBC article

Measuring sea-level rise in the Falklands, 19th-Century Benchmarks Reveal

Naval officer and polar explorer James Clark Ross (1800–1862). Photo source: ©© Wikimedia


In 1839, distinguished naval officer and polar explorer James Clark Ross (1800–1862) set off on an expedition to the Southern Ocean with two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. In April 1842, he stopped at Port Louis, primarily to make magnetic field and other measurements, but also to make repairs to his ships which had been badly damaged in the Drake Passage. Having set up a winter base, he took the opportunity to make careful measurements of sea level relative to two benchmarks cut into the cliffs and marked with brass plaques.

These marks remain in good condition to this day…

Read Full Article, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

India Creates a National Green Tribunal to Try Environmental Cases

Photo source: ©© Nevil Zaveri


Polluters beware: India has created a tribunal to punish those who sully the forests, rivers, or waterways or otherwise break its environmental laws, in the hopes of clearing a backlog of some 5,000 such cases languishing in a sluggish court system.

This is not the first time India tried to set up an environmental tribunal. An effort started 14 years ago went nowhere because of a lack of political will and undefined mandate.

This time, however, parliament has passed laws clearing the Green Tribunal as the sole authority in civil cases within its jurisdiction, though its rulings may be appealed…

Read Full Article, AP

PBS Kids to Launch New Web-Based Series About Sustainability

Garbage Loop Scoops

By Jenn Savedge, Author of Green Parenting Books

Did you catch Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff video? That video, as well as its sequels, The Story of Bottled Water, The Story of Cap and Trade, and The Story of Cosmetics have set the Web ablaze over the past few years, thanks in part to Leonard’s incredible knack for breaking down complex subjects into witty, easy-to-understand information. And the quirky animation is fun to watch, too.

Now The Story of Stuff’ founder is bringing her message of sustainability to kids. She has teamed up with PBS Kids and WGBH to create eight short, animated videos to show kids how to think more deeply and creatively about the world they live in, and how to make choices based on what they discover. The goal is that as kids look at objects and activities in their daily life, they will begin asking: Where does it come from? What is it made of? What happens to it when it’s thrown away?

It sounds a little heavy for kids, but Leonard and PBS do a good job of introducing these concepts without burying kids under a mountain of worry. The eight videos look at the “stuff” in a kid’s life such as electronic gadgets, juice boxes and magazines. One video focuses on how much happiness these kinds of things bring to our lives anyway.

PBS Loop Scoops Video on Garbage

The Story of Stuff

Original article

Underwater Robot to Explore Antarctic Ice Shelf


By University of British Columbia

Scientists predict that the sea ice area around Antarctica will be reduced by more than 33 per cent by 2100, accelerating the collapse of ice shelves. Up to hundreds of metres thick, ice shelves are floating platforms of ice that cover almost half of Antarctica’s coastline.

The mission will study the effect of ice shelves on the mixing of sea water, and will provide critical data for the Antarctica 2010 Glacier Tongues and Ocean Mixing Research Project led by investigator Craig Stevens at the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. The field site is located in New Zealand’s Ross Dependency in Antarctica and the team includes scientists from New Zealand, Canada, the United States and France.

Until recently, scientists have had limited ability to access ice-covered waters, but the research team’s use of a high-tech robot aims to change that.

“Few labs in the world are able to investigate the spatial variability of ocean properties under ice,” explains Assoc. Prof. Bernard Laval, head of the UBC Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Fluid Mechanics research group.

“Findings from this study will be unique as there have only been a few under-ice AUV deployments globally, even fewer in the vicinity of ice shelves,” says Laval, who teaches civil engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science.

The AUV, named UBC-Gavia, measures 2.5 metres long by half a metre wide and is equipped with temperature and salinity sensors, current meters, mapping sonar, a digital camera and water quality optical sensors. It will navigate the deep cold waters adjacent to, and possibly under, the floating 100-metre thick Erebus Glacier Tongue in McMurdo Sound, at a latitude of 77° south.

Traveling to Antarctica to operate the AUV are Andrew Hamilton and Alexander Forrest, UBC Civil Engineering PhD candidates in Laval’s lab.

Hamilton and Forrest will pre-plan the AUV missions, setting the flight path and depth for the robot to follow and selecting what sensors to activate. These instructions are uploaded to the AUV, which then dives under the ice collecting data on its own, returning to the ice-hole at the end of the mission.

“The deployments are expected to return important data from a largely uncharted ocean environment,” says Hamilton, who specializes in environmental fluid mechanics.

“Under‐ice datasets will allow us to better understand ice-ocean interactions and provide valuable information for climate modelers.”

Ice Shelf Melting

New Zealand’s Stevens, who worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UBC in the early 1990s, says, “The key is to try and locate the mixing hotspots in time and space. These hotspots appear to be perhaps 1,000 times more energetic than background conditions. The AUV is a key component of our suite of instruments and provides the vital spatial element.”

Original article

Scientists lower Gulf health grade

Thick oil pools in the waters along Louisiana’s coast, near Pass a Loutre. Photo source: ©© Louisiana GOHSEP


Six months after the rig explosion that led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, damage to the Gulf of Mexico can be measured more in increments than extinctions, say scientists polled by The Associated Press…

Read Full Article, CBS News

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

error: Content is protected !!