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Sunday Round Up – #4

April 17, 2011

Top Stories

  • The new federal budget will have a big impact on environmental protections, including a 16% cut to the EPA.  What really worries me is that this is just a drop in the bucket.  The debate was over cutting either $40 or $60 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget.  Meanwhile, Con. Ryan (R) has proposed cuts of $5.8 trillion over 10 years, and Obama has proposed cuts of $4 trillion over 12 years.   The plans more orless focused on the core of our spending – security, health care, social security – but my guess is that environmental protection will take many, many more hits in the years ahead.
  • The world’s largest container shipping firm – A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S or “Maersk” – expects to buy 10 more of the largest and most environmentally friendly tankers ever made.  It’s strange to read “container shipping” and “renaissance” in the same sentence.  How cool is this?  A 1min video tells you.
  • EU’s new system for fisheries control is now fully operational…and I’m skeptical at the significance of this.  The system is to ensure traceability throughout the whole chain, from catch to consumer.
  • Greenpeace USA released is annual ranking of US supermarkets for their commitment to the oceans.  Safeway takes 1st, Whole Foods in 4th, and Walmart – the player that could change it all – comes in 13th.
  • Aquaculture certification is taking off in China as the market tries to calm western markets on safety.  This is because  quality varies greatly and one could assume there is a lot of mislabeling.
  • A new poll suggests that 88% of Europeans want sustainable seafood.  The irony is that the EU’s fisheries are massively overfished, even by international standards. The EU Commission reports that 72% of ‘known’ EU stocks are overfished, while the FAO reports that 32% of the world’s fish stocks are over-fished, depleted, or recovering from depletion.   Here is what I liked most: consumers in Portugal, France, Spain, and Italywere especially supportive (>90%).  These countries’ fishing lobbies are now working to undermine the much-needed reform drive.
  • Researchers have devised a way to model the environmental contamination caused by fish farms.   This is good news as we try to site farms in better places.  Good video on the link.

Worth Reading

  • The always brilliant Richard Black opines on a seminar in Oxford this past week.  Some of the biggest players in ocean science and advocacy were there, sharing new studies and attempting to get a clearer picture of the state of the ocean.  Bottom line: we aren’t doing enough and the threats are only becoming bigger and more difficult for us to tackle.  One of the aims is to get some serious commitments on ocean issues at the Rio+20 summit next year.
  • The Guardian summarizes a new Center for Public Integrity report on the Koch brothers, giving a wonderful glimpse into the world of corporate lobbying and a good idea of how to control the climate debate.  I particularly like the bits exposing the ideological inconsistencies of the brothers, putting profit above their own libertarian ideologies at times.
  • Lee Crockett explains how US fisheries are managed.
  • The Blue Grass Crab at Southern Fried Science gives a great overview of theories of human behavior and how they relate to collective action on the environment.

Good Stuff

  • A flikr slideshow of 50 ways to individually help save the oceans.  This goes along with my view that everyone can be doing at least something to help out the other 71% of the planet.  Though, I find “donate to a good conservation charity” to be conspicuously absent. (hat tip to Brave Blue Words)
  • A decent parody of “I’m on a boat”.  Especially amusing as the original could be described as a parody itself.
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