Category Archives: Coastal Care Junior

The Eddy and the Plankton

“Eddies are the internal weather of the sea,” they are huge masses of water spinning in a whirlpool pattern—either clockwise or counterclockwise—and they can stretch for hundreds of kilometers. Eddies often spin off from major ocean current systems and can last for months. In the image, the anti-cyclonic (counter-clockwise) eddy likely peeled off from the Agulhas Current, which flows along the southeastern coast of Africa and around the tip of South Africa. Agulhas eddies, or “current rings,” tend to be among the largest in the world, transporting warm, salty water from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic.

By Michael Carlowicz / NASA / Earth Observatory

The ocean has storms and weather that rival the size and scale of tropical cyclones. But rather than destruction, these storms—better known as eddies—are more likely to bring life to the sea…and often in places that are otherwise barren.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these natural-color images of a deep-ocean eddy. The top close-up shows the vortex structure of the eddy, traced in light blue by plankton blooming in the 150-kilometer wide swirl. The lower, wider view shows the bloom and eddy in context, about 800 kilometers south of South Africa.

“Eddies are the internal weather of the sea,” says Dennis McGillicuddy, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. They are huge masses of water spinning in a whirlpool pattern—either clockwise or counterclockwise—and they can stretch for hundreds of kilometers.Eddies often spin off from major ocean current systems and can last for months.

In the image, the anti-cyclonic (counter-clockwise) eddy likely peeled off from the Agulhas Current, which flows along the southeastern coast of Africa and around the tip of South Africa. Agulhas eddies, or “current rings,” tend to be among the largest in the world, transporting warm, salty water from the Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic.

Certain types of eddies can promote blooms of phytoplankton. As these water masses stir the ocean, they draw nutrients up from the deep, fertilizing the surface waters to create blooms of microscopic, plant-like organisms in the open ocean, which is relatively barren compared to coastal waters.

In satellite observations of sea surface height and in computer models, eddies appear as bumps or depressions in the ocean, indicating the upwelling or downwelling of water. They also can be distinguished by higher or lower surface temperatures. However, such observations were not available for the eddy depicted above.

Original Article, NASA

Iberian Peninsula at Night

iberian peninsula nasa
Image by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 30 crew / NASA.

By William L. Stefanov, Jacobs Technology/ESCG at NASA-JSC

The city lights of Spain and Portugal define the Iberian Peninsula in this photograph from the International Space Station (ISS).

Several large metropolitan areas are visible, marked by their relatively large and brightly lit areas, including the capital cities of Madrid, Spain—located near the center of the peninsula’s interior—and Lisbon, Portugal—located along the southwestern coastline. The ancient city of Seville, visible to the north of the Strait of Gibraltar, is one of the largest cities in Spain. The astronaut view is looking toward the east, and is part of a time-lapse series of images.

The network of smaller cities and towns along the coastline and in the interior attest to the extent of the human presence on the Iberian landscape.

The blurring of city lights is caused by thin cloud cover (image left and center), while cloud tops are dimly illuminated by moonlight. Though obscured, the lights of France are visible near the horizon line on the upper left, while the lights of northern Africa are more clearly discernable at right. The faint gold and green line of airglow—caused by ultraviolet radiation exciting the gas molecules in the upper atmosphere—parallels the horizon (or Earth limb).

The Iberian Peninsula is the southwestern-most of the European peninsulas (together with the Italian and Balkan peninsulas), and includes the Principality of Andorra, as well as the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic. The approximately 590,000 square kilometer landmass is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, west, and southwest and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. Its northeastern boundary is marked by the Pyrenees mountain range.

Original Article, NASA

Landsat in Memory of the World Register

Photo source: ©© jmwk

Excerpts; by Laura Rocchio / Landsat / NASA

What do the Gutenberg Bible, Tolstoy’s personal library, the Book of Kells—an 8th century illuminated manuscript, created by Celtic monks—and the Landsat Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) data archive have in common?

They are all among the 245 international documentary collections that make up the Memory of the World Register. The register is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) effort to preserve access to documentary heritage around the world.

Read Full Article, NASA

Building Schools And Houses Out Of Plastic Trash

In rural Guatemala, communities worked together to collect plastic trash and plastic bottles to use as building materials. Former Peace Corp volunteer Laura Kutner tells host Bruce Gellerman that projects like this are a win-win: villages are cleaner and children get new schools.

3 Months of filming compressed into a 3 minute video: An overview of the hard work, dedication, win-wins, and excitement surrounding Bottle Schools.

Hug it forward- Bottle Schools has built 14 Bottle Schools in less than 2 years.

“Hug It Forward is a 501c3 non-profit that empowers communities to build bottle schools. Bottle schools are schools built using soda bottles and other trash. We have empowered communities to build 14 “bottle schools” in Guatemala, in less than 2 years.”

“The intangible change is provided by raising awareness of global issues and by demonstrating that we are all one people. Everybody has the power to be the change, by living their passion and giving back to society. We exist to help people along that journey.

The tangible change is provided by empowering communities to unite and work together towards a common goal: building schools built out of wasted trash bottles called “bottle schools”. Bottle schools have many many benefits. You can see a video of how bottle schools are made on the home page.” Hug it forward- Bottle Schools.

Plastic Bottles: To Solve Nigeria’s Housing Problem

Making the pillars, Step by step, bottle by bottle. Photo source: Eco Nigeria


Following the lead of the Guatemalan project, the idea found an other practical application in Africa, where plastic bottles that litter Nigeria’s roads, canals and gutters are collected and used to build houses, providing an environmentally smart strategy of chipping away at a housing shortage in Africa’s most populous nation…

“The houses have been built using earth-filled plastic bottle ‘bricks’ and mud. The three-room structure is so sturdy that it could stand for thousands of years.”

The next Nigerian bottle building project is a school hall in Seluja at the Africa School of Excellence, which urgently needs classroom space. The school children are being trained in the bottle brick making technique and the newly trained masons will lead the build in January 2012…

Photo source: ©© Muha

Plastic bottles solve Nigeria’s housing problem, Read Full Article, AFP

Nigeria recycles plastic bottles into housing, Eco Nigeria

Houses Made Of Plastic Bottles, Argentina

Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill

A children’s book written by William Sargent, Illustrated by Julia Purinton

Strawberry Hill Press Publishing just released Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill ,
a children’s book from the Lilly and Minot series, which provide a whimsical look at the environment.

“Lilly and Minot live at a dairy farm in the little town of Ipswich, north of Boston. They became famous when Lilly taught kids how to ride her bull-friend, Minot.

Their unbounded curiosity and desire to help others have led to great adventures around the world, from marching in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans to learning about Minot’s Indian bovine counterparts.

In this witty and charming book, Lilly and Minot travel to New Orleans to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of New Mexico.”

william sargent LM

William Sargent is a consultant for the NOVA Science Series and has authored more than a dozen books on environmental science and coastal issues.

The World Oceans Day: Ocean IQ Challenge

joel harper pro
Celebrate WORLD OCEANS DAY while letting your OCEAN IQ net you some serious socially responsible swag!

All the Way to the Ocean wants you to have fun on World Oceans Day by learning more about our oceans and how to save them.

It’s easy when you check out The World Oceans Day Ocean IQ Challenge

It’s fun and informative, because you get to challenge yourself with 4 different Ocean Knowledge Quizzes. You can even tell your friends about this unique contest (sponsored by All the Way to the Ocean and powered by Funnelbrain) and then challenge them to get a better score than you did.

Who knows, one of you may win an autographed copy of the book ‘All the way to the Ocean’ by Joel Harper, a Ben Harper CD, or a great prize from Klean Kanteen or a CD/DVD combo of Eddie Vedder’s latest solo album “Ukulele Songs “.

Contest open to all U.S. residents 18 or older. But if you’re not, why not ask someone who is to play, so you can help them answer the questions. Then next time you’re at a nearby ocean, river, stream, lake or pond you’ll know that you’ve already taken the first step to make it pollution free.

Please check out the contest on Facebook, “Like” the page and take the quizzes at thefollowing link :The World Oceans Day Ocean IQ Challenge / Funnelbrain

All The Way To The Ocean, by Joel Harper, in Coastal Care

Kids Fighting Climate Change Through Innovative Initiatives

Photo source: ©© Oxfam International


Floods and droughts may be the “new normal” and sea levels may be rising faster than previously thought, but the younger generation isn’t willing to accept these climate change consequences for their future.

As the grownups duke it out in Washington, kids take action with visible results, proving they may be more capable than adults in fighting man-made climate change.

Over 200,000 young people nationwide from over 2,500 schools participated in the Green Your School Challenge, a program that encouraged students to create initiatives focused on recycling, energy, climate change and food issues in their schools…

Read Full Article, By Joanna Zelman, Huffington Post

NASA, Climate Change and Children
Educational ressources, tales and games

EPA, A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change

Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill, By Lynda Deniger

Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill

Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill, By Lynda Deniger

Louisiana and much of the Gulf coast had barely recovered from the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina when the area was brought to its knees by the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history on April 20, 2010.

Patti Pelican and Sammy Seagull of the “Salty Seas Series” were caught in the wake of this latest tragedy.

Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill tells their inspiring story of rescue and release by the dedicated men and women who fought valiantly and tirelessly to rescue endangered wildlife trapped in the oil along the coastal waterways.

“Author Lynda Deniger has brilliantly crafted a factual story about the plight of birds who were oiled, captured, cleaned and rehabilitated by caring humans during the Gulf oil spill. This marvelous educational tool will help children understand the importance and value of preserving and protecting our environment while conveying a message of hope and inspiring environmental stewardship in children and adults alike.” Jay Holcomb, Director, International Bird Rescue Research Center

WATCH: Interview with the author, Lynda Deniger, on Good Morning New Orleans:


Original Article and Video

The International Bird Rescue

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