5 Environmental Victories to Inspire You This Earth Day

Olivia Rosane

Planet Earth is at a crisis point. Researchers say we have to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 if we want to meet the temperature goals outlined in the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic climate change.

The work to be done can seem overwhelming. A survey published this week found that only 6 percent of Americans think we will succeed in reducing global warming.

But Earth Day weekend is no time to give up! History has shown that when human beings come together to face environmental challenges, we are capable of making the planet a healthier, happier place for humans and non-humans alike.

Here are five environmental victories to inspire you this Earth Day.

  1. The First Earth Day Creates a Movement

Before the first Earth Day in 1970, polluted rivers in the U.S. sometimes caught fire, and industry polluted the air without worrying about consequences. Then Sen. Gaylord Nelson decided to launch a “national teach-in on the environment,” drawing on the tactics of the anti-war movement to unite different struggles against pollution, oil spills and wilderness depletion under a single green umbrella. Twenty million Americans participated in the first Earth Day and it led to major legislative victories, such as the formation of the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which set out to make all U.S. rivers swimmable and fishable again, and insured they would no longer be flammable.

As hard as it might be to believe in today’s political climate, that first Earth Day was a bi-partisan affair. Nelson reached out to Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey to act as the day’s co-chair, in a model of the kind of bipartisan collaboration we need to tackle today’s environmental challenges.

  1. The U.S. Saves Its Symbol

One of the factors that raised environmental consciousness in the U.S. in the decade leading up to the first Earth Day was the 1962 publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. In the book, Carson explained how the widely-used pesticide DDT entered the food chain, killing many more insects than targeted and harming the birds who feasted on the insects, including bald eagles.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), a year after Carson’s book was published, there were only 487 nesting pairs left in the country. But the U.S. acted to save its national bird. In 1972, the nascent EPA banned DDT, and, in 1978, the species was listed as endangered, five years after the passage of the Endangered Species Act. In 2007, the FWS announced that the bald eagle had entirely recovered.

  1. International Collaboration Closes the Ozone Hole

As insurmountable as global climate change seems at times, there is precedent for nations coming together to solve an environmental problem. When a hole in the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from the ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer and harm plants, was discovered in the 1980s, nations came together and finalized the Montreal Protocol in 1987.

The protocol banned ozone-depleting products such as chlorofluorocarbons that were used in refrigerants and aerosol sprays. And it worked. A 2018 NASA study found that the reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals had resulted in 20 percent less ozone depletion since 2005.

  1. The Green Belt Movement Plants More Than 50 Million Trees

Prof. Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her role in founding the Green Belt Movement. Fredrick Onyango

In the 1970s, Prof. Wangari Maathai listened to the complaints of women in rural Kenya who told her that they had to walk further for fuel, their local streams were drying, and their food supply was more precarious. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1972 to encourage them to plant trees in order to improve the soil, store rainwater, and provide fuel and food. Tree planting led to grassroots activism as the women realized the deterioration of their land was also the result of government policies. Overall, the movement has planted more than 51 million trees since its founding.

  1. Maori Win 140-Year-Old Environmental Court Case

 

 

In 2017, New Zealand’s parliament granted the Whanganui River, called Te Awa Tupua by the Maori, the legal rights of a person, something the local Maori had petitioned for since 1873. The move honored the persistence of indigenous activists, who are often on the forefront of struggles to protect the environment, and signals that settler governments might finally be willing to learn from a worldview that places fewer separations between human beings and the planet. The legislation included money for compensation and for improving the river’s health, and paved the way for Mount Taranaki to be offered similar legal status later that year.

https://www.ecowatch.com/environmental-victories-2561818321.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=1db4b0c0eb-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-1db4b0c0eb-86074753

Advertisements

End Plastic Pollution | Earth Day Network

From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.

In response, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.

Our strategy to End Plastic Pollution will:

Lead and support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution
Educate and mobilize citizens across the globe to demand action from governments and corporations to control and diminish plastic pollution
Inform and activate citizens to take personal responsibility for the plastic pollution that each one of us generates by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics
Work with universities, school teachers and students to End Plastic Pollution
Work with other organizations and networks and make Earth Day 2018 a platform to End Plastic Pollution by developing resources that others can use and build partnerships.
Promote the work that cities and local governments are doing to tackle plastic pollution
Empower journalists across the globe to report on the problem and its emerging solutions.

Earth Day Network will leverage the platform of Earth Day, April 22, 2018 and the growing excitement around the 50thAnniversary of Earth Day in 2020. We will work with key constituencies and influencers to build a world of educated consumers of all ages who understand the environmental, climate and health consequences of using plastics.

We will engage and activate our global network of NGO’s and grassroots organizations, campus youth, mayors and other local elected leaders, faith leaders, artists and athletes, and primary and secondary students and teachers.

We will organize events in all continents of the world, build a global following and activate citizens to join our End Plastic Pollution advocacy campaigns.

In sum, we will use the power of Earth Day to elevate the issue of plastic pollution in the global agenda and inspire and demand effective action to reduce and control it.

Sign the End Plastic Pollution Petition

Make a pledge to reduce your use of plastic

Send your ideas or propose a partnership to plastic@earthday.org

https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/plastics-campaign/

Petition: No Captive Animals as Entertainment at The World Cup!

by: Care2 Team
target: FIFA World Cup

21,386 SUPPORTERS
25,000 GOAL
In a third division match between Mashuk-KMV vs. FC Aungusht, a bear was used to entertainment the crowd at the of start the game. That’s right, a real live captive bear was brought to the soccer field and forced to clap his hands just to amuse the audience. This kind of animal exploitation is not only unsafe, but inhumane.

The incident had some commenters speculating that the World Cup might do something similar or try to outdo it, but we want to make sure nothing like this happens again. Sign this petition asking FIFA to commit to an animal cruelty-free World Cup in Russia this June.

Bears and other animals that are used as entertainment are usually “trained” at a young age. This often involves being taken away from their natural environments and from their mothers almost instantly, being defanged and declawed, and then being taught – via fear and intimidation – to do the trainers bidding. There is no excuse for treating animals this way.

Using wild animals as entertainment isn’t just harmful to the animals – it also poses a real danger to humans. When startled or stressed, as animals often become in unnatural environments, they often react instinctually, understandbly so, putting people at risk of injury or worse.

Animals belong in their natural environments, living life as they natrually would. They don’t belong in circuses, cruel roadside zoos, or sporting events. Please sign this petition urging FIFA to stand against animal exlpoitation and keep animals out of the World Cup.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/949/366/829/

 

Petition: 200 Whales Could Be Killed if Iceland Allows Whaling

by: Care2 Team
target: Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir

22,580 SUPPORTERS
25,000 GOAL
June 10th, 2018 — that’s Dooms Day for the fin whales off the coast of Iceland.

That’s because, after a two-year respite, Hvalur, inc – the Icelandic whaling company has given notice that it has begun preparations for whaling season and will commence hunting this summer.

Fin whales are an endangered marine mammal, and while some species might be regionally in jeopardy, the fin whale is at risk of being hunted to extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

That’s why it is extremely baffling that Iceland, one of the most progressive nations on Earth, would allow one of its companies. Hvalur, Inc is responsible for the agonizing death of countless. The innocent mammals are harpooned, dragged in and then secured to the side of the ship. If they aren’t already dead, they must endure an excruciating trip back to shore before they are finally butchered and sent off to Japan for consumption.

Altogether, some 200 whales could meet be murdered if Iceland doesn’t ban this barbaric practice.

Ask Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir to do what is right. Sign the petition and ask Iceland to put an end to whaling now.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/908/719/364/

Province lifts ban on rehabbing orphaned black bear cubs ‘Bears are not an animal that really needs to be feared’

Exposing the Big Game

Stephen Hunt · CBC News · Posted: Apr 18, 2018 7:18 PM MT | Last Updated: April 18

<https://i.cbc.ca/1.4607891.1523026902!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpeg_gen/derivatives/16x9_1180/bear-cubs.jpeg?imwidth=720>

Estimated to be a couple of months old, this black bear was rescued in southern Manitoba after its mother was found dead. Alberta is lifting a ban on rehabilitating orphaned black bear cubs under the age of 12 months. (Manitoba Bear Rehabilitation Centre)

Orphaned black bear cubs have been given a reprieve by a new provincial policy that allows for them to be rehabilitated.

The new policy reverses a ban that’s been on the books since 2010.

Lisa Dahlseide, a wildlife biologist with the Cochrane Ecological Institute, says that ban resulted in the euthanizing of at least 24 black bear cubs, according to data collected from a report released in 2015.

Dahlseide described the change in policy as “wonderful news” in a Wednesday interview on <http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-homestretch> The…

View original post 565 more words

Petition · Utah Attorney General’s Office: Investigate Representative Mike Noel & the Lake Powell Pipeline · Change.org

https://www.change.org/p/utah-attorney-general-s-office-investigate-representative-mike-noel-the-lake-powell-pipeline?source_location=petition_footer&al

Utah Rivers Council started this petition to Utah Attorney General’s Office and 1 other

We the undersigned request a formal investigation of Representative Mike Noel and the Division of Water Resources’ Lake Powell Pipeline. A complaint has been filed requesting an investigation of Mr. Noel’s possible conflicts of interest. Mr. Noel is also the Executive Director of the Kane County Water District (KCWD), an agency that would receive water from the Pipeline. We wish to know whether Mr. Noel used government resources to advance the Pipeline to benefit his own private land holdings in Kane County.

The proposed $2-3 billion Lake Powell Pipeline is a large infrastructure proposal that will have profound impacts upon Utah taxpayers, water ratepayers, and downstream residents of the Colorado River Basin. The Pipeline will have major impacts to the Colorado River and the landscapes and ecosystems it supports.

The only community in all of Kane County slated to receive Pipeline water may be the Johnson Canyon area where Mr. Noel owns ~750 acres of land, with an estimated value between $4 – 9 million. By using taxpayer money to deliver Pipeline water to his lands, Mr. Noel could see a significant increase in his property values.

Additionally, Mr. Noel has been a leading critic of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM), and was intricately involved in redrawing the boundaries of GSENM, a change that may personally benefit him in several ways. Not only does the new boundary contain a peculiar cutout for a parcel of Mr. Noel’s land, but the new boundary was also moved so the proposed Pipeline no longer has to pass through GSENM, which helped exempt the proposed Pipeline from permitting concerns by going through the GSENM.

As an unregistered lobbyist for both the KCWD and his own land ownership, Mr. Noel worked to pass several pieces of legislation that may benefit him, without following lobbyist guidelines and standards and without fully disclosing these personal interests, as is required by several Utah statutes. We are concerned that Mr. Noel may have violated the Ethics Requirements Governing Legislators, the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act and the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act.

Given these concerns, we the undersigned respectfully request that the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigate Mr. Noel’s potential conflicts associated with the Division of Water Resources’ proposed Lake Powell Pipeline.

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

Petition · The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) : Protect The Critically Endangered Goliath Grouper! · Change.org

XmvrqdgShpxgGZd-800x450-noPad

Deadline this Thursday April 26th 2018

Stop The FWC From Reopening Fishing Of The Critically Endangered Goliath Grouper
OneProtest started this petition to FWC Marine Department and 7 others

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is considering reopening fishing of the critically endangered Goliath Grouper. Local fishermen have pressured the agency, stating that the grouper populations have recovered and they fear the groupers are consuming too many game-fish and lobsters.

What Does Science Tell Us?

  1. A recent Florida State University research team published a paper on their findings stating “The Goliath Grouper is still Overfished and Critically Endangered!”
  2. A recent research paper by Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres shows that overfishing is the reason for declining fish and lobster stocks; not Goliath Groupers.

  3. An analysis of Goliath Grouper stomach contents by the University of Florida found that 85% of their diet consists of crabs and other crustaceans. The other 15% was found to consist of slow moving fish such as pufferfish, catfish, and stingrays; not game fish.

  4. Florida State University researchers published a peer-reviewed paper showing that reef fish abundance and diversity is higher when Goliath Groupers are present on those reefs. This study shows that goliath groupers act as ecological engineers, creating life for many marine species.

  5. Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), along with other entities, have conducted several stock assessments of Goliath Groupers, with the most recent survey taking place in 2016. The FWC’s recent assessment concluded that Goliath Grouper populations had recovered. However, these results were rejected by a panel of independent scientists brought in by the FWC to review the study. The panel rejected the manner in which these assessments were conducted and labeled the findings as an inconclusive measure of population. Currently, the Goliath Grouper is still listed as ‘critically endangered.’

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) concludes that if permits to harvest the grouper are sold for $300 (an approximation), the current proposal to issue 400 Goliath Grouper permits could bring in roughly $120,000 to be used for ‘scientific research’ aimed to protect Goliaths. In addition, they state these captured fish can be sold for food.

Need More Information?

  1. The Goliath Grouper has become a huge, thriving, piece of the ecotourism industry along Florida’s East Coast. One, out of the roughly one-hundred, scuba operators in South Florida stated that he brings in an estimated $500,000 each year, generated by taking divers to see these groupers in the wild. By protecting these animals, the long-term economic benefits to the state of Florida far exceed the value generated by a one-time kill.
  • Dr. Chris Koenig’s research revealed that the flesh of the Goliath Grouper contains high levels of mercury. Mercury levels in these fish were found to approach 3.5 ppm, far exceeding federal health advisory warnings. The FDA prohibits the sale of any fish with mercury higher than 1.0 ppm. With mercury levels higher than 0.5 ppm, the Natural Resources Defense Council recommends avoiding consumption due to the danger of mercury poisoning.

  • Former Chief Scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr. Sylvia Earle, warned that “Killing the Goliath Grouper would be killing the growing economic benefits derived from divers who want to see these Iconic animals, who are often as curious as us.

  • Some say that a ‘sustainable’ annual harvest of Goliath Groupers is possible, but many scientists agree that the current population would not last more than a year or two after opening such a fishery.
    Time Is Running Out!
    This Thursday April 26th, the fate of the Goliath Grouper will be decided at the FWC meeting.

  • https://www.change.org/p/the-florida-fish-and-wildlife-conservation-commission-fwc-protect-the-critically-endangered-goliath-grouper

    © 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

    Holtec Proposal To Bury High Level Nuclear Waste – Teleconference Sign-up Deadline Monday-Written Comments Due End May

    Mining Awareness +

    Deadline Monday to Register for teleconference re burial of high level nuclear waste (including spent Mox fuel) in New Mexico by Holtec. Privately owned Holtec’s plan would involve cross country transport and burial of first 500 and then ultimately 10,000 high level nuclear waste cans (Chernobyls in a can). Read more here: https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML18107A144
    Written Comment deadline end of May: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/03/19/2018-05438/holtec-internationals-hi-store-consolidated-interim-storage-facility-for-interim-storage-of-spent
    Area of the proposed site:

    An earlier US DOE funded site study of the site states that: “Mineral extraction in the area consists of underground potash mining and oil/gas extraction. Both industries support major facilities on the surface, although mining surface facilities are confined to a fairly small area…. Intrepid has rights to potash beneath the Site as shown in Appendix 2A, Map 9 and Figure 2.1.2-3. Mining has not progressed as far as Site….” https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1024/ML102440738.pdf While the dry salt lakes and potash mines suggest higher…

    View original post 563 more words

    Everyday Needs To Be Earth Day

    Mining Awareness +

    April 22nd is officially Earth Day. Everyday needs to be Earth Day.
    NASA, Image # : 68-HC-870, 12/24/1968 Earth-rise Christmas Eve 1968
    NASA Earth-Rise Christmas Eve 1968
    The human population of the earth has more than doubled since the Earth-Rise picture was taken in 1968, making caretaking of the earth and human birth control even more urgent.
    parting of waters 1493 Chronicles
    Schedelsche Weltchronik or Nuremberg Chronicle Date 1493

    Here in an old, old tradition from thousands of years ago, written almost 2,000 years ago, one sees much biological truth. The human body reflects the earth and water itself. If you poison the earth and the water with lethal radionuclides, humans and other life takes up these man-made radionuclides:
    Genesis 2:6 “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    View original post 977 more words

    Whale and shark species at increasing risk from microplastic pollution – study | Environment

    Whales, some sharks and other marine species such as rays are increasingly at risk from microplastics in the oceans, a new study suggests.

    Species such as baleen whales and basking sharks, which feed through filtering seawater for plankton, are ingesting the tiny particles of indigestible plastic which now appear to permeate oceans throughout the world. Some of these species have evolved to swallow hundreds or even thousands of cubic metres of seawater a day, but taking in microplastic can block their ability to absorb nutrients, and may have toxic side-effects.

    The new study, published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, advises more research on the megafauna of the oceans, as the effects of microplastics on them is currently not well understood. Scientists have found, for instance through examining the bodies of beached whales, large pieces of plastic in the guts of such creatures, but the effect of microplastics, though less obvious, may be just as harmful.

    Elitza Germanov, a researcher at the Marine Megafauna Foundation and co-author the study, said: “Despite the growing research on microplastics in the marine environment, there are only a few studies that examine the effects on large filter feeders. We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue. It has become clear, though, that microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”

    Many species of whale, filter-feeding shark and rays are already under threat from other problems, such as overfishing and pollution. The added stress from microplastics could push some species further towards extinction, the authors of the study warned.

    One possibility is that the microplastics will convey toxins to the bodies of the megafauna, though this process is currently poorly understood.

    Maria Cristina Fossi, a professor at the University of Siena and co-author of the study, told the Guardian that although there was no evidence currently that microplastics alone could kill filter-feeders, they could produce “sub-lethal effects” which would endanger their health.

    She said research on whale sharks and fin whales had confirmed that filter-feeding species were exposed to toxic chemicals, perhaps through the breakdown of microplastics in their digestive systems. “Exposure to these plastic-associated toxins pose a major threat to the health of these animals since it can alter the hormones,” she said.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/05/whale-and-shark-species-at-increasing-risk-from-microplastic-pollution-study

    North Atlantic right whales may face extinction after no new births recorded | Environment

    A right whale feeding just below the surface of Cape Cod Bay offshore from Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  Photograph Right Whale Research /AP

    By Joanna Walters @Jonnawalters13

    Mon 26 Feb 201816:04EST

    The dwindling North Atlantic right whale population is on track to finish its breeding season without any new births, prompting experts to warn again that without human intervention, the species will face extinction.

    Scientists observing the whale community off the US east coast have not recorded a single mother-calf pair this winter. Last year saw a record number of deaths in the population. Threats to the whales include entanglement in lobster fishing ropes and an increasing struggle to find food in abnormally warm waters.

    The combination of rising mortality and declining fertility is now seen as potentially catastrophic. There are estimated to be as few as 430 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, including just 100 potential mothers.

    “At the rate we are killing them off, this 100 females will be gone in 20 years,” said Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Without action, he warned, North Atlantic right whales will be functionally extinct by 2040.

    A 10-year-old female was found dead off the Virginia coast in January, entangled in fishing gear, in the first recorded death of 2018. That followed a record 18 premature deaths in 2017, Baumgartner said.

    Woods Hole and other groups, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have been tracing right whale numbers in earnest since the mid-1980s.

    Federal research suggests 82% of premature deaths are caused by entanglement in fishing line. The prime culprit is the New England lobster industry. Crab fishing in Canadian waters is another cause of such deaths.

    A lobster fisherman in Maine. Right whales can become entangled and ropes used for fishing. Photograph: Daniel Grill/Tetra images/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    Baumgartner said that until about seven years ago, the population of North Atlantic right whales was healthy. But then lobster fishermen began greatly increasing the strength of ropes used to attach lobster pots to marker buoys.

    Whales becoming entangled are now far less able to break free, Baumgartner said. Some are killed outright, others cannot swim properly, causing them to starve or to lose so much blubber that females become infertile.

    “Lobster and crab fishing and whales are able to comfortably co-exist,” Baumgartner said. “We are trying to propose solutions, it’s urgent.”

    Baumgartner said the US government should intervene to regulate fishing gear. He also said the industry should explore technology enabling fishermen to track and gather lobster pots without using roped buoys.

    The whales migrate seasonally between New England and Florida, calving off Florida and Georgia from November to February. They primarily feed on phytoplankton. Scientists believe rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, linked to climate change, is drastically depleting that food source.

    Past measures to prevent ship collisions and to safeguard feeding areas have helped. Several environmental groups have sued the federal government, demanding greater protection for right whales.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/26/north-atlantic-right-whale-extinction-no-births-fishing

    Mission to untangle female right whale highlights species’ precarious plight | Environment

    A mission to disentangle a particularly important North Atlantic right whale from a thick rope wrapped around its jaw has proved a partial success, amid growing fears that the endangered species is approaching a terminal decline.

    The individual female whale, known as Kleenex, is considered one of the most productive North Atlantic right whales left in existence, having given birth to eight calves. Its condition has deteriorated, however, since it was spotted off the coast of Delaware in 2014 with a thick fishing rope wrapped around its head and upper jaw.

    Conservationists, aware that the right whale population has dropped alarmingly due to a spike in deaths and a birth drought, attempted to remove the rope last week, after Kleenex was seen near the Massachusetts coast. A pursuing team used a crossbow to fire a bolt with razor blades attached at the rope, but did not successfully sever it.

    “The line was damaged and then the whale became more evasive and the weather got worse, so that was our best go at it,” said Bob Lynch, of conservation group Center for Coastal Studies, who was part of the rescue team.

    “Ideally you’d get them on a table for a surgery but you can’t really do that with a whale. We deteriorated the quality of the line so hopefully it will help it break up over time. Whether that will be enough for this individual is hard to say, though.”

    Kleenex is still able to feed but has lost weight, limiting her ability to have another calf. No new right whales were born off the south-east US coast over the winter calving season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed, meaning that the fate of even a single prodigious reproducer like Kleenex, thought to be aged around 50, could be crucial to the fate of the species.

    “She is a rockstar of reproductive females and the species cannot afford to lose her,” said Heather Pettis, a scientist at the New England Aquarium.

    “If the current rate of mortality continues, we will lose all reproductive females within the next 23 years, at which point the species is functionally extinct. If the line breaks up and she is free, she will be able to build up fat reserves and produce more calves in the future.”

    The confirmation that no known calves were born over the winter is a blow to a species that is now thought to have a population of fewer than 450. “It’s the worst scenario we could’ve pictured, given it’s on the heels of a devastating series of mortalities,” Pettis said.

    Scientists suspect that females are unable to put on enough weight to become pregnant, causing the birth rate to plummet. The feeding problems could, in part, be due to an increase in entanglements with more durable types of rope than those the whales were previously able to break.

    The whales are also altering their range, most likely because their plankton food base is shifting. This has brought the species into areas dotted with fishing boats and other shipping off the north-eastern US and Canada, leading to entanglements and ship strikes. Last year, the Canadian government introduced stricter speed limits in the Gulf of St Lawrence for vessels measuring more than 20m, to prevent more whale deaths.

    North Atlantic right whales have gone through years of lean birth rates before, such as in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and managed to bounce back. The species was nearly hunted to extinction before conservation efforts helped reverse its fortunes.

    However, scientists warn that the current low birthrate is a major concern given that it is combined with an increase in mortalities, a situation that presents a significant risk to the species.

    “I’m very concerned, the species isn’t in a good place at the moment,” said Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

    “But we have it in our power the change our activities so right whales can thrive in our oceans. We can have profitable shipping and fishing industries and still have right whales.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/22/female-right-whale-entangled-endangered-species?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=272313&subid=18006728&CMP=GT_US_collection

    Image

    🌎 HAPPY EARTH DAY 🌍

    IMG_20180422_120021