Tag Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time

“Epupa Falls” is an image courtesy of © Mark Madison. All rights reserved.


Inspired by indigenous views of nature, a movement to grant a form of legal “personhood” to rivers is gaining some ground — a key step, advocates say, in reversing centuries of damage inflicted upon the world’s waterways…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (08-14-2018)

Whanganui River the first in the world to be given legal status as a person; NZ Herald (03-15-2017)
New Zealand’s Whanganui River now has the legal status of a person under a unique Treaty settlement passed into law. It’s believed to be a world first…

Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings; Guardian UK (03-21-2017)
A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand ordered on Monday that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, be accorded the status of living human entities…

France to Soon Enact the Principle of Ecological Prejudice; Le Figaro (02-28-2015)
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, presented, a bill proposing to include the notion of ecological prejudice in the Civil Code, and to make reparation a legal obligation.
The bill was adopted June 21st, 2016, and the notion of ecological prejudice is now included in the french Civil Code.

Off the African Coast, a Struggle to Revive a Battered Fishery

Lagoon, Indian Ocean. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


In their documentary film, “Vey Nou Lagoon” — the third-place winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest — videographer Vanina Harel and conservationist Zara Currimjee tell the story of the fishermen, scientists, and government officials who are battling to turn around the situation on Mauritius.

Focusing on several of Mauritius’ fishermen, the film describes how the creation of marine protected areas and the introduction of stricter fishing regulations have begun to have a positive impact…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (08-09-2018)

Red tide is devastating Florida’s sea life. Are humans to blame?

Photo source: ©© Pmjohnso


Thousands of sea creatures now litter many of southern Florida’s typically picturesque beaches.

“Anything that can leave has, and anything that couldn’t leave has died.”…

Read Full Article, National Geographic (08-08-2018)

Worst “red tide” toxic algae bloom in years killing turtles, manatees in Florida; CBS News (08-02-2018)

What is a red tide? MNN (08-02-2018)

Toxic Algal Blooms Aren’t Just Florida’s Problem. And They’re On The Rise. Huffington Green (07-07-2016)

Troubled Waters

“Fausse-pêche.” Discarded fishes from unwanted catch, on Atlantic shores. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
The EU has banned discarding caught fish in February 2013. The ban has been phased in gradually, beginning with the North Sea in 2014. By 2019 it will cover all the EU’s fisheries, with some exceptions. Regulatory tools such a seasonal or area closures can help but, alas, cannot completely eliminate the discard problem. Once a fish is caught, it is almost certainly going to die either because it is out of the water or because it was injured in the process… Captions: OECD Observer


UCSB scientists find that wealthy nations are responsible for almost all of trackable industrial fishing across the global oceans.

Furthermore, vessels registered to wealthy countries were found to be responsible for 78 percent of trackable industrial fishing in the domestic waters of less-wealthy countries, a practice employed when the wealthy countries’ demand for fish exceeds its domestic supply or these wealthy nations otherwise wish to seek out new supplies of fish.

China, Taiwan and Japan top the list of a very small number of wealthy countries whose industrial fishing dominates the high seas, with China and Taiwan together responsible for a little more than half of all the trackable industrial fishing in the shared waters. Meanwhile, China, Taiwan and South Korea were also found to be the top three industrial fishing countries fishing in the domestic waters of less-wealthy nations; their vessels were detected in 45 percent of all non-landlocked nations’ waters…

Read Full Article, UCSB Current (08-01-2018)

Original Study: “Wealthy countries dominate industrial fishing”; Science Mag (08-01-2018)

Large-scale commercial fishing covers more than half of the oceans, study finds; CBS News (02-23-2018)

Official fish trade ‘hugely underestimates’ global catches; Science Daily (10-09-2017)
Conservation of dwindling fish stocks is being severely hampered by poor controls on global trade, according to new research…

Overfishing is as big a threat to humanity as it is to our oceans; Guardian UK (02-16-2016)

As global per-capita fish consumption hits all-time high, UN warns on over harvesting; UN (07-07-2016)
A new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that while growth in aquaculture has helped drive global per capita fish consumption above 20 kilograms a year for the first time, almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now overharvested at biologically unsustainable levels…

Chinese Foreign Fisheries Catch 12 Times More Than Reported, Study Shows; Science Daily (04-03-2013)

Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Supply is Wasted, Study Shows, Science Daily (09-25-2015)
As much as 47 percent of the edible US seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, new research suggests…

Food Chain Collapse Predicted in World’s Oceans; Discovery News (10-12-2015)

The World’s Tuna and Mackerel Populations Are in a “Catastrophic” Decline, Quartz (09-17-2015)

EU proposes total commercial fishing ban on Atlantic sea bass; Guardian UK (10-27-2016)

African Fisheries Plundered by Foreign Fleets; IPS News (07-02-2016)

Earth Overshoot Day: August 1st, 2018

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Earth Overshoot Day is not a day to be celebrated, but it is a day that deserves to be noticed and acted upon.

It’s the day we go into ‘nature debt,’ utilizing more than the year’s supply of water, forest and agricultural resources…

Read Full Article, MNN (07-31-2018)

Earth Overshoot Day is the earliest in almost half a century; Euronews (07-31-2018)
It’s taking over 1.7 earths to sustain our current way of life, according to the Global Footprint Network.

What is Earth Overshoot Day and why is it coming earlier each year? The Independent (07-31-2018)

Earth’s resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes; Guardian UK (07-22-2018)
Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes. As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded…

Sea mammal on brink of extinction targeted by “mafias” in Baja, Mexico

The vaquita is a shy member of the porpoise family. Vaquitas are the most endangered of the world’s marine mammals. Less than 30 vaquitas remain in the wild, and entanglement in gillnets is driving the species toward extinction. Vaquitas have the smallest range of any whale, dolphin, or porpoise. They only live in the northern part of the Gulf of California, an area that is rich in fish and shrimp. Fishing is thus a major source of income for the people there, who almost exclusively use gillnets, but vaquitas can also become accidentally wrapped in the nets and drown. Captions and Photo source: NOAA


There’s a crisis going on in the Pacific Ocean as an innocent porpoise falls prey to money and greed.

The Vaquita, which means little cow in Spanish, is only about 4 feet long, weighs less than 100 lbs and calls the waters off the coast of Baja, Mexico home. With fewer than 30 left, it’s the most endangered marine mammal in the world…

Read Full Article, CBS News (07-30-2018)

Help Save the Vaquita; By NRDC (07-06-2018)

Fish Poachers Push Endangered Porpoises to Brink, Yale E360 (03-05-2016)
China’s lucrative black market for fish parts is threatening the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal. The porpoises, who live only in the Gulf of California, are getting caught up as bycatch in illegal gill nets and killed. Scientists fear the porpoise could vanish by 2018…

Cruise line faces backlash over shooting of polar bear

ocean giants
“Environmentalists have long railed against what they brand “sea monsters,” virtually floating cities,each pumping massive amounts of greenhouse gases — sailing perilously close to the sea coast to thrill passengers aboard”… Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


A German cruise line is facing outrage after one of its employees shot and killed a wild polar bear in Norway after the animal attacked another of its employees…

Read Full Article, CNN (07-29-2018)

Polar bears could become extinct faster than was feared, study says; Guardian UK (02-01-2018)

Soul-crushing’ video of starving polar bear exposes climate crisis, experts say; Guardian UK (12-08-2017)
Video footage captured in Canada’s Arctic has offered a devastating look at the impact climate change is having on polar bears in the region…

Busy Times at the World’s Largest Polar Bear Prison; The Atlantic (12-16-2016)
Sea ice has done some extremely odd things in 2016, as climate change is reshaping the Arctic faster than the rest of the planet. According to a new study, there’s a 71 percent chance that the global polar bear population will fall by over 30 percent in the next three decades. The only hope for the polar bear is to reduce carbon emissions, in the hope that the runaway pace of Arctic warming will eventually stabilize and reverse…

Polar Bears Shifting to Areas with More Sea Ice, Genetic Study Reveals; USGS (01-06-2015)
Scientists from around the Arctic have shown that recent generations of polar bears are moving towards areas with more persistent year-round sea ice…

Save The Arctic Video, Greenpeace; Greenpeace (09-01-2012)
Greenpeace, Jude Law, Radiohead and hundreds of thousands of people around the world are coming together to demand we save the Arctic from oil drilling, industrial fishing and militarization…

Princess Cruises Hit With Largest-Ever Criminal Penalty For ‘Deliberate Pollution’; NPR (12-01-2016)
The California-based cruise operator, Princess Cruise Lines, will pay a $40 million fine for “deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up,” according to the Department of Justice, which calls it “the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution.”..

Venice Fights Back; City Lab (02-10-2017)
The world’s most beautiful city has never been more threatened. But a passionate movement of locals is determined to keep it alive…

UN threatens to place Venice on endangered list unless Italy bans cruise ships; The Telegraph (07-15-2016)
Venice will be placed on Unesco’s list of endangered heritage sites if Italy fails to ban giant cruise ships from the city’s lagoon by 2017, the United Nations has warned.The world heritage committee has expressed “extreme concern” about the deteriorating state of the lagoon and approved a resolution demanding that Venice moves towards the “prohibition of the largest ships and tankers” by February 2017…

Hong Kong land reclamation explained: the good, bad and ugly methods of pushing back the sea

Land reclamation, Hong Kong. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


About 6 per cent of city is reclaimed land, and while extending the shoreline of a land-starved society seems ever more attractive, critics say it would not solve housing issues. At the same time, conservation groups such as WWF and Greenpeace say reclamation is environmentally catastrophic…

Read Full Article, SCMP (07-29-2018)

Green group says only 30% support land reclamation for housing; Hong-Kong Free Press (07-03-2018)

Interactive map visualises 150+ years of land reclamation in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Government Is Spending Billions Taking Land from the Sea; Motherboard – Vice (11-10-2017)
Through expensive, time intensive, and complicated land reclamation projects, Hong Kong is continually extending out and into the water, where there wasn’t land before…

Government’s ambitious 2030 land reclamation plan to cost HK$400 billion; South China Morning Post (12-04-2016)

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk, Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

“$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore “Scares the Hell Out of Everybody”; Bloomberg (11-21-2016)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!—Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…”

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care