Tag Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas?

Plastic pollution, Kuta beach, Bali. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
Between 4.8 million tonnes and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, 80 percent of it from land sources due to inadequate waste management. According to the Worldwatch Institute, plastic production is increasing 4-5 percent annually.


From Thailand to Bali, a huge increase in tourists, many from China and other rapidly developing economies, is straining sensitive ecosystems to the breaking point. Some countries are trying to control the boom, with a few closing popular destinations to allow damaged areas to heal…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (04-18-2019)

Bali Proposes a Tourist Tax to Clean Up Plastic Pollution; Yale E360 (01-25-2019)
Bali is considering taxing foreign tourists to tackle the Indonesian island’s mounting plastic pollution problem. Bali receives about 6 million visitors annually, mostly from China and Australia…

South-east Asia closes island beaches to recover from climate change and tourism; The Straits Times (03-27-2018)
More popular South-east Asian islands will be off limits to visitors this year as officials seek to protect eco-systems crumbling from warming seas and unchecked sprawl, despite the risk to tourism revenues and tens of thousands of jobs…

Chile moves to protect Easter Island by limiting tourism; DW (08-02-2018)
Tourists visiting Chile’s Easter Island will face new restrictions for traveling and staying on the island, Chile authorities have said. The move is aimed at protecting both the natural environment and island heritage.

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. Groaning under the weight of 30 million annual visitors, this most beautiful of places is suffering a degree of pressure that risks pushing it to extinction as a real city…

Colombia’s Tayrona National Natural Park: A Caribbean Coast Gem; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago & William J. Neal- October 2017
In 2015 and again in 2017 the park was closed for short periods to all except for indigenous groups who live within the park area “for ecological, environmental and spiritual healing” (Colombia Travel Blog, 2017), and the suggestion is made that the Park Management should set a cap on the number of visitors within the park at any given time. The “healing” time is also important to the hundreds of species that call the park home, including at least 56 endangered species. A cap on numbers of visitors may sound draconian, but the park’s mission is to protect the natural ecosystems, rather than becoming just another amusement center…

Russia will release 10 orcas, 87 belugas from overcrowded ‘whale jail’

“©Freedom Breach” is an image courtesy of © Pasha Reshikov.for Coastal Care’s Photo of the Month, October 2013.


Russian authorities and marine life advocates have signed an agreement to release nearly 100 marine mammals being held in the so-called “whale jail” on Russia’s Far East coast. Ten orcas and 87 belugas have been housed in overcrowded enclosures at a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay in the town of Nakhodka.

The whales were illegally captured last summer and fall by four Russian companies that reportedly planned to sell them to marine parks in China, reports The Whale Sanctuary Project. Whales can sell for millions of dollars each, depending on the species, according to The New York Times…

Read Full Article; MNN (04-11-2019)

The Destruction of the Environment: An Unfolding Tragedy for Humanity

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


Late last year the World Wide Fund for Nature released their Living Planet Report for 2018. WWF’s estimates were stark: populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have, on average, declined by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014.

The Earth is estimated to have lost about half of its shallow water corals in the past 30 years. A fifth of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years, and 2018 marked the worst level of deforestation in history.

The 2019 Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum identified “Major biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse (terrestrial or marine)” as both one of the most likely and most serious global risks with “irreversible consequences for the environment, resulting in severely depleted resources for humankind as well as industries…”

Read Full Article; IPS News (03-26-2019)

Will large protected areas save the oceans or politicize them?

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


How can we save the oceans? They cover two-thirds of the planet, but none are safe from fishing fleets, minerals prospectors, or the insidious influences of global warming and ocean acidification.

In the past decade, there has been a push to create giant new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). They now cover nearly 9.7 million square miles, equivalent to more than the land area of North America. Cristiana Pașca Palmer, executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, says the world is on course reach the convention’s target of having a tenth of the oceans protected by next year…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (03-25-2019)

Tropical Species Moved Hundreds of Miles North During Marine Heatwave

Photo courtesy of: © Tim Davis


Between 2014 and 2016, parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean warmed as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit above average during what has been characterized as the worst marine heatwave on record. During the event, scientists began discovering a record number of tropical sea species along the northern California and Oregon coasts, more than 700 miles north of their usual range…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (03-12-2019)

Fatal horizon, driven by acidification, closes in on marine organisms in Southern Ocean

Reunion Island, Indian Ocean. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Marine microorganisms in the Southern Ocean may find themselves in a deadly vise grip by century’s end as ocean acidification creates a shallower horizon for life.

The modeling study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, forecasts that at current carbon dioxide emission rates, the depth at which some shelled organisms can survive will shrink from an average of 1,000 meters today to just 83 meters by the year 2100, a drastic reduction in viable habitat.

The steep drop, which could happen suddenly over a period as short as one year in localized areas, could impact marine food webs significantly and lead to cascading changes across ocean ecosystems, including disruptions of vital global fisheries…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (03-11-2019)

Huge sunfish washes up in northern waters for first time in 130 years

Sunfish Mola Mola. The ocean sunfish or common mola (Mola mola) is one of the heaviest known bony fishes in the world. NOAA


A giant sunfish has washed up on a beach in Santa Barbara, California, the first time this particular species of the animal has been sighted in the northern hemisphere in 130 years.

The sunfish measuring 2.05 metres (6ft 8 in) and weighing several hundred kilograms, or more than 600lb, was found on the beach of the Coal Oil Point Reserve in California…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (03-03-2019)

The Real Price of a Chocolate Bar: West Africa’s Rainforests

West Africa. Photo courtesy of: © Andrew Cooper


Ivory Coast has lost more than 80 percent of its forests in the last 50 years, mainly to cocoa production. The government has a plan to turn over management of former forest to international chocolate manufacturers: Is it a conservation strategy or a land grab?…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (02-21-2019)

A Giant Brought To Its Knee: The Atlantic Coastal Forest
The Atlantic Forest is a shadow of its former self. Originally covering more than 386,000 sq. miles along Brazil’s coast, extending into eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. Today less than 7% of that cover remains, in the wake of centuries of forest clearing for agriculture and urban development, and fragmented by centuries of unsustainable use and logging.

The Rising Environmental Toll Of China’s Offshore Island Grab; Yale E360 (10-10-2016)