Posts Tagged ‘USA’

West Coast Devastation Continues:

Seals, Oysters, Pelicans, Fish, Squid- All Sick, Dying Or Failing To Breed

“The makings of a mass-level extinction event in the world’s oceans appear disturbingly imminent, as marine species after marine species washes ashore on the Pacific West Coast. Ailing seals, dead fish, missing pelicans and much more are being reported in the media as scientists struggle to figure out what, exactly, is causing entire marine ecosystems to suffer and die, seemingly inexplicably. 
 
Much of the carnage is being reported in California, where baby sea lions in distress have been washing ashore in record numbers. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that, for the second year in a row, more baby sea lions than ever are having trouble surviving after being abandoned by their mothers, the direct result of a lack of food. 
 
According to reports, a record 367 California sea lions were admitted to the Marine Mammal Center near San Francisco between January and May, which is nearly five times the normal average. In Southern California, more than 600 sea lions, or twice the normal average, have been taken in so far this year. This is on top of the 1,600 that were treated last year. “Sea lions are living and feeding on the same resources as humans are,” stated Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center, to WSJ. “If they are starting to have problems, that shows there could be a problem with the ocean.” 
 
A little further north, orcas and beluga whales are suffering similar fates. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says widespread pollution from oil and gas drilling has caused populations of both species to dwindle significantly throughout the past several decades. Also suffering along the Alaskan coast are Alaskan ice seals, more than 250 of which have developed a mystery disease that often results in death. Experts have postulated that toxic algal growth along coastal waters may be to blame, and this a result of excess sun exposure due to continued ozone depletion. 
 
“In all, the federal government has declared 38 ‘unusual mortality events’ involving marine mammal species since 2003,” wrote Jim Carlton for WSJ. “That is nearly twice the number of events recorded from 1999- when the animals were put under greater federal protection- to 2002.” 
 
Over on the other side of the country, hundreds of manatees and about 80 bottlenose dolphins were discovered stranded in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon between 2012 and 2013. And in South Carolina in 2013, as many as 40,000 menhaden fish, which measure between six and eight inches in length, washed up dead between DeBordieu Beach and Pawleys Island, just one week after thousands of the same type of fish washed up along North Carolina’s Masonboro Island. One year prior, thousands of dead starfish washed up along the same beaches. 
 
Back in California, changing weather patterns that some scientists are attributing to the weather phenomenon known as El Nino are causing fish and whales to appear in unusual places. The first ever yellowfin tuna fish was recently caught in San Diego, as well as the first dorado (Mahi Mahi) fish. These fish types typically do not appear in San Diego. 
 
“We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” stated Tim Barnett, a marine research emeritus with the San Diego-based Scripps Institute of Oceanography, to KPBS. “The first yellowfin tuna was caught in May- that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection. And the other thing too is the first dorado (mahi-mahi)- first of June. That has never happened before. They really like the warm water and you normally don’t see them here until September.” 
 
Ocean mortality events mark beginning of possible global extinction: Since these types of fish don’t normally live in the colder waters off the coast of California, their fate is basically already sealed like the rest of the dead animals that have previously been discovered. Add to this the millions upon millions of dead sea stars being identified up and down the Pacific West Coast and the world has a real problem on its hands. 
 
“It’s the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen,” added Drew Harvell, a marine epidemiologist at Cornell University, to KUOW News about the phenomenon. “It affects over twenty species on our coast and it’s been causing catastrophic mortality. My expectation is that within the next month all of the stars will die.” 
 
Whether it’s radiation from Fukushima*, residual oil and chemical pollution from the BP oil spill in the Gulf, changing weather patterns, or some combination of all three, one thing is for sure- the world’s oceans are sick. And based on the way things are going, a global extinction event of epic proportions seems like less a matter of if, and more a matter of when.”

Source: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

Opinion:

What’s happening?

Someone knows, and they’re not telling.

To me, the answer is obvious. This is primarily happening on the west coast of North America, nowhere else on this scale.

You need to ask the question – Where did the radiocative water from Japan come?

To the west coast of North America!

To me that is a pretty big clue.

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Make you Fink on Friday

ComparingDiet

Does this make you think?

Why does America have a greater obesity problem than Europe…

 

Monday Moaning

The Fracking Truth

Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking, has raised hopes, promised riches and seen as the highly needed source of new fossil fuels.

America has been blinded to the truths of fracking. England’s David Cameron is pushing the cart as Britain’s solution.

Billions of barrels, just waiting to be plundered.

But wait, check out this story.

Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Industry’s over-inflated reserve estimates are unravelling, and with it the ‘American dream’ of oil independence
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Next month, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish a new estimate of US shale deposits set to deal a death-blow to industry hype about a new golden era of US energy independence by fracking unconventional oil and gas.

EIA officials told the Los Angeles Times that previous estimates of recoverable oil in the Monterey shale reserves in California of about 15.4 billion barrels were vastly overstated. The revised estimate, they said, will slash this amount by 96% to a puny 600 million barrels of oil.

Wow, so that’s one myth about to be busted.

UK looks to boost fracking with new land access rules

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The UK government has proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of fracking.

It proposes that shale oil and gas companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface.

David Cameron’s myopic views as he pushes fracking as the solution to Britain’s woes.

The majority in Britain are opposed to fracking. There have been strong anti-fracking protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, against test-drilling which opened the eyes of the British people.

The effects of fracking include, polluting underground water supplies, mini (at the moment) earthquakes and methane in local water supplies. But the politicians are turning a blind eye to all this as they see riches dancing before their eyes.

Honestly, the verve with which politicians are pursuing this fracking is pathetic.

The people’s voices must be heard.

 

Global threat to food supply

…as water wells dry up, warns top environment expert

Lester Brown says grain harvests are already shrinking as US, India and China come close to ‘peak water’

Iraq is among the countries in the Middle East facing severe water shortages. Photograph: Ali al-Saadi/AFP

Wells are drying up and underwater tables falling so fast in the Middle East and parts of India, China and the US that food supplies are seriously threatened, one of the world’s leading resource analysts has warned.

In a major new essay Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, claims that 18 countries, together containing half the world’s people, are now overpumping their underground water tables to the point – known as “peak water” – where they are not replenishing and where harvests are getting smaller each year.

The situation is most serious in the Middle East. According to Brown: “Among the countries whose water supply has peaked and begun to decline are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. By 2016 Saudi Arabia projects it will be importing some 15m tonnes of wheat, rice, corn and barley to feed its population of 30 million people. It is the first country to publicly project how aquifer depletion will shrink its grain harvest.

“The world is seeing the collision between population growth and water supply at the regional level. For the first time in history, grain production is dropping in a geographic region with nothing in sight to arrest the decline. Because of the failure of governments in the region to mesh population and water policies, each day now brings 10,000 more people to feed and less irrigation water with which to feed them.”

Brown warns that Syria’s grain production peaked in 2002 and since then has dropped 30%; Iraq has dropped its grain production 33% since 2004; and production in Iran dropped 10% between 2007 and 2012 as its irrigation wells started to go dry.

“Iran is already in deep trouble. It is feeling the effects of shrinking water supplies from overpumping. Yemen is fast becoming a hydrological basket case. Grain production has fallen there by half over the last 35 years. By 2015 irrigated fields will be a rarity and the country will be importing virtually all of its grain.”

Running LowThere is also concern about falling water tables in China, India and the US, the world’s three largest food-producing countries. “In India, 175 million people are being fed with grain produced by overpumping, in China 130 million. In the United States the irrigated area is shrinking in leading farm states with rapid population growth, such as California and Texas, as aquifers are depleted and irrigation water is diverted to cities.”

Falling water tables are already adversely affecting harvest prospects in China, which rivals the US as the world’s largest grain producer, says Brown. “The water table under the North China Plain, an area that produces more than half of the country’s wheat and a third of its maize is falling fast. Overpumping has largely depleted the shallow aquifer, forcing well drillers to turn to the region’s deep aquifer, which is not replenishable.”

The situation in India may be even worse, given that well drillers are now using modified oil-drilling technology to reach water half a mile or more deep. “The harvest has been expanding rapidly in recent years, but only because of massive overpumping from the water table. The margin between food consumption and survival is precarious in India, whose population is growing by 18 million per year and where irrigation depends almost entirely on underground water. Farmers have drilled some 21m irrigation wells and are pumping vast amounts of underground water, and water tables are declining at an accelerating rate in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.”

In the US, farmers are overpumping in the Western Great Plains, including in several leading grain-producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Irrigated agriculture has thrived in these states, but the water is drawn from the Ogallala aquifer, a huge underground water body that stretches from Nebraska southwards to the Texas Panhandle. “It is, unfortunately, a fossil aquifer, one that does not recharge. Once it is depleted, the wells go dry and farmers either go back to dryland farming or abandon farming altogether, depending on local conditions,” says Brown.

“In Texas, located on the shallow end of the aquifer, the irrigated area peaked in 1975 and has dropped 37% since then. In Oklahoma irrigation peaked in 1982 and has dropped by 25%. In Kansas the peak did not come until 2009, but during the three years since then it has dropped precipitously, falling nearly 30%. Nebraska saw its irrigated area peak in 2007. Since then its grain harvest has shrunk by 15%.”

Brown warned that many other countries may be on the verge of declining harvests. “With less water for irrigation, Mexico may be on the verge of a downturn in its grain harvest. Pakistan may also have reached peak water. If so, peak grain may not be far behind.”

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Opinion:

Just another example of, ‘we’re in the poo!

Oh, and the same thing is happening here in Brazil…

Deception, once again

This is not so much an eco question, but it is another example of how profits are put before people, how shops, businesses and companies deceive their customers.

Mislabelled fish slip into Europe’s menus

Fish often take a circuitous route before reaching our plate

We are all eating much more fish than we used to – but are we eating the fish we think we are?

Official figures show that global consumption of fish and seafood per person is rising steeply – but research also reveals that much of what gets sold turns out to be not as described on the packet.

Earlier this year Europe’s horsemeat scandal revealed how processed meat can get mislabelled in a complicated supply chain. That appears to be an issue with fish, too.

On a large scale, cheap fish is being substituted for expensive fish without the consumer knowing. Moreover, new varieties, never before consumed, are being detected in fish dishes.

Take a British national dish, for example: fish and chips. It is often thought to be the epitome of Britishness – “as British as fish and chips”, the saying goes.

But scientific testing reveals that the traditional cod or haddock and chips is often something else entirely. Research reveals that 7% of cod and haddock – the deep-fried staples of British fish and chips – actually turn out to be cheaper fish substituted to cut costs.

In the Republic of Ireland, a similar study of samples bought in Dublin restaurants, shops and supermarkets revealed that a quarter of products labelled as cod or haddock were in fact completely different species.

In the United States, a study showed that 25% of the fish served in restaurants in New York were not what they were said to be on the menu.

And in Europe, about a quarter to a third of fish products tested turned out to be not what was described on the packet or menu.

New species

Fish and chips: much-loved, but do you know where the fish came from?

The global industry transports large amounts of frozen fish around the world in containers, with China producing much of it. This means, for example, that one of the biggest points of entry for fish into the European Union is not a port at all – no wharves or boats or even water. It is Frankfurt airport.

Samples here and elsewhere across Europe are tested at the big Eurofins laboratory in Hamburg. Its Director of Scientific Development, Dr Bert Popping, said that tests were turning up types of fish which had never been in the food chain before.

“The authorities at the airport in Frankfurt have found some new species – species which have not been caught previously; fish species which have not previously entered the food chain; which have not previously been commercialised,” he said.

So researchers believe that there is large-scale deception going on when it comes to fish – cheap is being substituted for expensive, so deceiving the consumer and bumping up the profits of the deceiver.

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Opinion:

One of the fish mentioned is the Vietnamese Pangasius

Big fish, lots of flesh

Big fish, lots of flesh

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

It's raised in the Mekong River Delta

It’s raised in the Mekong River Delta

The Mekong River is arguably Asia’s biggest cesspool!

The Mekong River comes from China, passes Burma, Laos, Cambodia with the delta in Vietnam collecting sewerage and industrial waste along its entire length.

Has your fish ‘n chips, or your fancy New York restaurant food been raised on Asian faeces?

This fish called, among other things, Panga has taken the world by storm. It’s cheap, it looks good, but is it healthy?

One report labels it ‘the latest abberation of globalisation’, another ‘Government pressured into removing Vietnamese panga from school canteens, and another Don’t Eat this fish: Pangas (Pangasius, Vietnamese River Cobbler, White Catfish, Gray Sole), yet anotherI don’t know how someone came up with this one out but they’ve discovered that if they inject female Pangas with hormones made from the dehydrated urine of pregnant women, the female Pangas grow much quicker and produce eggs faster (one Panga can lay approximately 500,000 eggs at one time).’

The bottom line is making profits!

Update

Through a comment by ECOCRED, I found she had a very pertinent post on the same subject; Seafood: Fraud, Mis-labelling and Laundering

Make you Fink on Friday

This is absurd

I fail to see it…

At a time when the prices of food are rising beyond the means of ordinary folk Spain holds the Tomatina festival in Buñol where 120,000kgs of tomatoes are wasted by 40,000 people.

While here in Brazil the shortage of tomatoes has risen more than six times their normal price.

This is apparently fun.

This is also apparently fun

Not only this…

In Italy, the Ivrea Orange Festival is a similar absurdity.

“In the small northern Italian town of Ivrea, the Battle of the Oranges Festival is held every year during a three-day carnival leading up to Lent. Nearly 3,000 people gather in the piazzas of this village of just under 25,000 people. Orange-throwing is said to represent the battle against an oppressive emperor in the 12th century.”World’s Weirdest Festivals
Even the Americans do it.

“The Empire Asparagus Festival in Empire, Mich., is dedicated entirely to this perennial vegetable. Michigan is one of the top asparagus producers in the U.S.”World’s Weirdest Festivals

I fail to see the funny side of this when we have a world full of hungry people.

Maybe, I am just a boring old fart.

Monday Moaning

Butterflies yesterday, and again today.

Has Fukushima radiation created mutant butterflies?

A butterfly study is the first to definitively link Fukushima radiation to physical mutations in any organism

Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings. Photograph: Alamy

Last March, the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake triggered a tsunami that sent over 45-foot waves of water crashing down on the reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. While health officials scrambled to quickly stabilize the situation, it was unclear how much radiation had made it out of the plant—and how it could affect people, plants, and animals who came into contact with it.

Preliminary studies concluded that most of the 140,000 people in the surrounding areas of Fukushima had probably been exposed to relatively low doses of radiation that probably wouldn’t lead to any adverse health effects. But a new study published last week in Nature has shown that the radiation is causing a particularly sensitive population—the pale grass blue butterfly—to develop a slew of uncommon and potentially lethal physical abnormalities.

Researchers collected butterflies immediately following the nuclear meltdown and six months later, both from the surrounding areas of Fukushima and from various other localities in Japan where the butterfly is common. As compared with the butterflies collected from elsewhere in the country, Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings, with an overall abnormality rate of around 12 percent.

Mutations included malformed antennae, dented eyes, bent wings, and abnormal color patterns. Photo courtesy of Joji M. OtakiMutations included malformed antennae, dented eyes, bent wings, and abnormal color patterns. Photo courtesy of Joji M. Otaki

While these levels of mutations were still relatively mild, perhaps more alarming were the same data on butterflies collected six months later, in September of last year. The overall rate of similar mutations among these butterflies was around 28 percent, while this number skyrocketed to around 52 percent in the second generation produced from the collected butterflies.

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Opinion:

The world still has not been told the whole truth about Fukushima.

Stunted wings courtesy Fukushima

If the radiation has affected butterflies, it has affected all life, including humans.

Butterflies have a fast life-cycle, in humans it will take maybe one or two generations before we start to see similar results.

Meanwhile, the governments and vested interests lie through their teeth.

I read today on a blog of a woman (American) who has just returned from Japan having been there as a tourist. “Japan is beautiful.”

You couldn’t drag me screaming to Japan.

Japan is dead. It just hasn’t rolled over yet.

Remember how they likened Fukushima to Chernobyl; “Fukushima is Chernobyl on steroids!” Now does that give you an idea of the enormity of the problem?

Decades after Chernobyl and the effects are still being seen.
Then there are other problems to consider. Fukushima is not over yet, there is still the risk of global disaster levels of radiation being released if the cooling tanks collapse as a result of another earthquake. In Japan earthquakes are a guarantee. The procrastination in removing this risk is a disgrace. If another disaster happens and the tanks collapse Japan is finished; and guess who’s next? The west coast of the USA.
The American government don’t want the people to know this because the USA has similar reactors (37 from memory) that are of the same faulty design.
Chernobyl – 26 years later.
“It is not unusual to find infants born to women from the Chernobyl area with shocking birth defects.The baby above was found in an orphanage that Mission In East regularly supplies with humanitarian aid. Her mother comes from the Chernobyl district and is unable to keep her.”Chernobyl Today
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This is the legacy of Chernobyl, will Fukushima be any different?
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