Tag Archives: United States

In The News

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(Photocredit: Diana Haecker/AP)

“Poachers may have killed these 25 walruses for their heads and tusks,” writes Esha Dey for VICE News. “The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has launched an investigation into the deaths of 25 walruses in a remote region in the northwestern coast of Alaska.”

While killing walruses is illegal under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, Alaskan Natives (Inuits) remain allowed to hunt these animals (as well as narwhals), as they make up an important part of the diet of the natives, and the tusks and bones and hides are used to make traditional goods. However, across the board, “head hunting”—killing these animals purely for their tusks—is illegal.

“‘Walruses use ice as a platform to feed off…it’s like sitting in a bus and going from one supermarket to the next,’ Horstmann-Dehn said. ‘They can jump off the floating ice and feed and again get on it and digest, and then they float on the ice into a new area and feed again.’

But climate change, which is warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the world. Sea ice and glaciers in the Arctic are receding, the permafrost is melting, and sea levels are rising.

A 2012 study of Pacific walruses conducted by researchers from the US Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center and Russia’s Pacific Research Fisheries Center found that the lack of sea ice in September and October caused walruses to forage in areas nearer to the shore, instead of going further offshore as they did in the past.”

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/poachers-may-have-killed-these-25-walruses-for-their-heads-and-tusks)!

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In The News

“Climate change is actually helping whale hunters — here’s how,” writes VICE News’ Matt Smith.

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(Photocredit: Franck Robichon/EPA)

In defiance of a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, Iceland and Norway continue to whale; some in Japan still eat whale meat; Japan allows whaling under an “exemption for scientific purposes.” Whales face “more threats today than at any time in history,” says Patrick Ramage, the director of whale programs at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, and its sea ice cover has been shrinking for decades. That’s opening up new sea routes along the northern shores of North America, Europe, and Russia — and causing ‘unprecedented changes’ to traditional cetacean habitats, WWF Arctic species specialist Pete Ewins told Vice News.”

Though, Fin whales generally live in the northern temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, warming temperatures have driven them to higher latitudes, “putting them in competition with existing Arctic species like bowhead and beluga whales or narwhals,” said Ewins. “Those whales are highly stressed, especially by ice retreat at unprecedented levels,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the prospect of increased commercial fishing in the region threatens to reduce the amount of food for the massive mammals. And as warming driven by fossil fuel consumption makes the Arctic more accessible, it’s made the estimated reserves of oil and gas in the region more accessible.

All of those pose threats to whales, which also can die when snagged in fishing gear, hit by ships’ propellers, or fouled by an oil spill. Ewins said humans need to come up with “a smarter and better-balanced” approach to the Arctic before pouring into the North the way they have swarmed other frontiers.”

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/climate-change-is-actually-helping-whale-hunters-heres-how)!

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In The News

“A massive amount of death is plaguing the world’s oceans,” writes VICE News’ Aaron Cantú.

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(Photocredit: Franck Robichon/EPA)

The WWF attributes the death to a “network of interrelated human behaviors”: overfishing, aquafarming, island- and ocean-based tourism, pollution, climate change, and offshore drilling in the oceans—read more about offshore arctic drilling here. As all of these factors accelerate—largely due to an increased standard of living rather than new human needs—the unprecedented levels of carnage in our oceans will not cease to exist (“29 percent of the world’s fish stocks classified as overfished and 61 percent as ‘fully exploited,’ meaning they have no ability to produce greater harvests”).

However, the oceans are not a lost hope: “‘If you stop taking the pieces out of these ocean civilizations, they can begin to rebuild themselves,’ he told VICE News. ‘It’s never going to regrow itself the way it was 50 years ago […] but we have to do what we can to stop the carnage and allow these systems the space to regrow.'”

Marine species have declined by almost half over the last forty-five years, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index, and leading marine scientists tell VICE News that the only hope of stopping mass death in the oceans is to radically and quickly transform human behavior.

[…]

Fish were the most threatened, in large part because of human overfishing: Over a third of fish consumed by humans measured by the Living Planet Index are under threat of extinction, with one family of tuna and mackerel falling 74 percent between 1970 and 2010.

Other animals that recorded massive and ongoing losses were sharks and rays, of which one in four species is threatened with extinction, and some species of turtles, which declined by 97 percent in the Eastern Pacific.

The mass death of larger animals is tied to the decimation of habitats that are critical to the ocean’s biosphere. The WWF also noted that coral reefs — which support 25 percent of all marine life — could go extinct by 2050, and global surface areas of seagrass and mangroves, which provide spawning grounds, nutrients, and shelter for many animals, have declined precipitously.

Read more here (https://news.vice.com/article/a-massive-amount-of-death-is-plaguing-the-worlds-oceans)!

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In The News

VICE News: Writers, scientists, and climate experts discuss how to save the world from Climate Change.

“The public debate over climate change adaptation often focuses on rural areas—Arctic communities forced to relocate from the vanishing permafrost, farming towns in the dust bowl driven out as their water table is sucked dry. But what about those of us in cities? We are far from immune.”

Climate Change effects our planet and its inhabitants—and that includes us.

Read the entire article here (http://www.vice.com/read/sos-0000653-v22n5)!

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In The News

As carbon pollution hits record level, Senator James Inhofe says Climate Change is greening the planet, according to VICE News.

“‘People don’t realize you can’t grow things without CO2,” Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said on the chamber’s floor Wednesday. “CO2 is a fertilizer. It’s something you can’t do without. No one ever talks about the benefits that people are inducing from that as a fertilizer.” That buildup has led “to a greening of the planet and contributed to increasing agricultural productivity,’ he said.

The overwhelming majority of climate scientists, however, warn that the increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases — a byproduct of burning coal, oil, and natural gas — are changing the Earth’s climate at an unnaturally rapid rate. The warming that results is likely to bring a future of rising seas and more intense storms and droughts, with the world’s poor bearing the brunt of the effects.”

As people in power constantly dispute scientific findings and allow big corporations to contribute to global warming, our planet—and its inhabitants—finds itself in a dire predicament.

Read the full article here (https://news.vice.com/article/as-carbon-pollution-hits-record-level-senator-james-inhofe-says-climate-change-is-greening-the-planet?utm_source=vicenewsfb).

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In The News

The U.S. is taking the helm regarding climate change and its alarming rate in the arctic, and, at the Arctic Council Friday, tried to make climate change a priority of the utmost importance, according to the Globe and Mail.

“‘This is not a future challenge, this is happening right now,’ Mr. Kerry said as he outlined the rapid retreat of Arctic ice cover, the collapse of permafrost with resulting massive releases of the potent greenhouse gas methane as well as dire coastal erosion and the acidification of the Arctic Ocean.”

Read more of the fascinating article here (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/arctic-council-to-focus-on-climate-change-under-us-leadership/article24126137/).

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Help save the arctic and its beautiful inhabitants, such as the narwhal, here—every dollar makes a difference (wwf.worldwildlife.org/goto/savethenarwhal)!