A new and controversial frontier in mining is opening up as a British firm joins a growing rush to exploit minerals in the depths of the oceans…UK Seabed Resources is a subsidiary of the British arm of Lockheed Martin. It has plans for a major prospecting operation in the Pacific. The company says surveys have revealed huge numbers of so-called nodules – small lumps of rock rich in valuable metals – lying on the ocean floor south of Hawaii and west of Mexico.
Living With Less. A Lot Less. (New York Times op-ed)
We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products. There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.
From the Al Gore Amazing
Sustainability Index 2013
“The F-150 has been the best-selling truck for 36 years in the U.S., and it’s been the best-selling vehicle of any kind for 31 years. They build 7,500 trucks in the Dearborn plant per week….. While all U.S. auto companies are showing increases in car sales, it’s a rebound in pickup trucks and real estate that really gets Detroit car executives excited.”
Two wind turbines towering above the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, Mass., were intended to produce green energy and savings — but they’ve created angst and division, and may now be removed at a high cost as neighbors complain of noise and illness…“It gets to be jet-engine loud,” said Falmouth resident Neil Andersen. He and his wife Betsy live just a quarter mile from one of the turbines. They say the impact on their health has been devastating. They’re suffering headaches, dizziness and sleep deprivation and often seek to escape the property where they’ve lived for more than 20 years.
The most accurate assessment to date of the impact of commercial fishing on sharks suggests around 100 million are being killed each year…The researchers say that this rate of exploitation is far too high, especially for a species which reproduces later in life. The major factor driving the trade is the ongoing demand for shark fins for soup in Chinese communities.
Nearly half of all of Africa’s lion populations could face extinction in the next 40 years if conservation measures aren’t changed, according to a new study. The study, published today (March 6) in the journal Ecology Letters, found that lion populations that were fenced into conservation areas rebounded in recent years, whereas lions in open preserves were challenged by prey loss and predation by human neighbors.
A controversial group opposing Japanese whaling in the Antarctic region on Monday released video showing one of its ships, the Bob Barker, being sandwiched tightly between two larger vessels: a Japanese whaling ship and a Korean refueling tanker. It also shows what’s said to be a flash-bang grenade explosion near the stern of the refueling ship, Sun Laurel.
The new boom in natural gas from shale has changed the energy economy of the United States. But there’s another giant reservoir of natural gas that lies under the ocean floor that, theoretically, could dwarf the shale boom…No one had tapped this gas from the seabed until this week, when Japanese engineers pulled some up through a well from under the Pacific. The gas at issue here is called methane hydrate. Methane is natural gas; hydrate means there’s water in it. In this case, the molecules of gas are trapped inside a sort of cage of water molecules.
Evidence from Siberian caves suggests that a global temperature rise of 1.5C could see permafrost thaw over a large area of Siberia. A study shows that more than a trillion tonnes of the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane could be released into the atmosphere as a result. BBC News
A global olive oil shortage looms as the effects of last year’s drought, which affected Spain and areas in Southern Europe, begin to hit the marketplace…In 2013, Spain may see as much as a 60 percent drop in olive harvest yields from last year, from 1.6 million to 700,000 tons. This will have global consequences — Spain is the world’s top producer and exporter of olive oil and table olives, as recognized by the International Olive Council.
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