Sunday, August 17, 2008
Sustainability Update: Dead Zones & the Rise of Slime Threaten This Ocean Planet
Dead Zones & the Rise of Slime Threaten This Ocean Planet
Earth is an ocean planet. Consider these two important stories and the dire consequences they portend. Humankind must change the way it lives, or it will not live much longer in any way worth living. -- Richard Power
Human activities are cumulatively driving the health of the world's oceans down a rapid spiral, and only prompt and wholesale changes will slow or perhaps ultimately reverse the catastrophic problems they are facing.
Such is the prognosis of Jeremy Jackson, a professor of oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, in a bold new assessment of the oceans and their ecological health.
Publishing his study in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Jackson believes that human impacts are laying the groundwork for mass extinctions in the oceans on par with vast ecological upheavals of the past.
He cites the synergistic effects of habitat destruction, overfishing, ocean warming, increased acidification and massive nutrient runoff as culprits in a grand transformation of once complex ocean ecosystems. Terra Daily, 8-18-08
Man-made pollution is spreading a growing number of suffocating dead zones across the world's seas with disastrous consequences for marine life, scientists have warned.
The experts say the hundreds of regions of critically low oxygen now affect a combined area the size of New Zealand, and that they pose as great a threat to life in the world's oceans as overfishing and habitat loss.
The number of such seabed zones – caused when massive algal blooms feeding off pollutants such as fertiliser die and decay – has boomed in the last decade. There were some 405 recorded in coastal waters worldwide in 2007, up from 305 in 1995 and 162 in the 1980s.
Robert Diaz, an oceans expert at the US Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, at Gloucester Point, said: "Dead zones were once rare. Now they're commonplace. There are more of them in more places." Guardian, 8-15-08
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Oceans, Sustainability, Environment