Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Researchers map plastic patch bigger than Greenland floating in the South Pacific


A massive plastic patch larger than Greenland has been discovered in the South Pacific, and much of the waste is believed to have originated in New Zealand.

The discovery was made by a team of researchers led by Captain Charles Moore, and is vital to understanding the extent of plastic waste, he says.

Moore spent 180 days at sea, trawling a fine mesh net in order to discover the edges of the 2.5 million square-kilometre plastic patch, which sat around Easter Island and Robinson Crusoe Island.
mate how many particles are floating in the plastic patch.
"This area is enormous, it's heavily polluted with plastic fragments," he said.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/94879644/new-research-maps-massive-plastic-patch-floating-in-the-south-pacific

Monday, 24 July 2017

We are heading for Global Cooling not warming

  • On March 19 of this year, British scientists announced that sunspot counts had reached a seven-year low. In fact, as of that date, sunspots had been absent for 13 consecutive days. This coincides with the beginning of a new solar minimum (period of little or no sunspot activity) that should arrive sometime between 2019 and 2020. And that, we must note, can also be the beginning of a significantly colder period, global cooling, if you will.

    Of course lots of other factors bear upon whether our atmosphere will become warmer or cooler. Doctor Roy Spencer recently wrote: “The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1 percent or 2 percent decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling.”

    So here we find that the sun and earth’s clouds greatly influence worldwide temperatures. Volcanic activity also has a huge bearing upon our climate. Airborne particulate matter blocks solar radiation, causing a sudden chill. Who would have thought? But in the face of man-made global warming rhetoric, we overlook the real possibility of global cooling.

    http://waldo.villagesoup.com/p/sunspots-and-global-cooling/1
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Friday, 21 July 2017

When the world's glaciers shrunk, New Zealand's grew bigger


The question has puzzled scientists: when the world's glaciers were retreating, why were New Zealand's glaciers getting bigger?\

New research from a group of New Zealand scientists may have solved the mystery, but it's not good news; New Zealand's glaciers are now likely to continue melting at a dramatic rate.
Between 1983 and 2008, when the vast majority of the world's glaciers were shrinking in a warming world, at least 58 New Zealand glaciers grew bigger.

The Southern Alps was one of a handful of areas internationally where glaciers were growing – In 2005, 15 of the 26 advancing glaciers worldwide were in New Zealand.

In that time, Franz Josef Glacier regained nearly half the mass it had lost during the 20th century.
The unusual period of advance came after several decades or rapid decline, which for many glaciers has resumed since 2008.

Many of the country's largest glaciers have retreated substantially since 2011 with several on track to disappear entirely.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/89403443/When-the-worlds-glaciers-shrunk-New-Zealands-grew-biggerhttp://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/89403443/When-the-worlds-glaciers-shrunk-New-Zealands-grew-bigger.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/89403443/When-the-worlds-glaciers-shrunk-New-Zealands-grew-bigger

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

There's a pressing need to value eco-friendly wool

OPINION

 Eco-friendl, sustainable and good for the environment are all well-worn admirable sentiments. Aspirations we should all be aiming towards.

But sometimes the interpretation can be interesting and somewhat biased. A garment is termed eco-friendly when made out of recycled plastic bottles.

The garment might be a product of clever manufacturing and it's a good idea to keep these bottles out of rubbish dumps, but it conveniently overlooks the fact that plastic is a synthetic product made from crude oil . And we are all well aware that extracting fossil fuels is certainly not a sustainable practise.
In addition there is the huge issue of microfibres shed when synthetic materials are washed. The estimate of 1.7 grams of microfibre lost off every garment in every wash doubles for older fabrics.
 
This pollution enters waterways, lakes, oceans and shorelines and also into fish and shellfish along the food chain.

Considering the amount of synthetic clothes washed every day, this is serious and not fixable by simply fencing waterways.

There is a choice of action. Either try to isolate the problem using anti-shed treatments, filters, nets or even waterless washing machines, or eliminate the problem by no longer using unsustainable, environmentally unfriendly fabrics and instead find alternatives.

We already have a wonderful natural product readily available. It can be used to create clothing, blankets, carpets, mats and furniture upholstery. Because of its amazing properties it is also used for making piano dampers, the fuzz on the outside of tennis balls, the stuffing inside baseballs and, ironically, even absorbent pads to mop up those eco-damaging oil spills.

Resistance to fire is a major advantage and it doesn't drip or melt, which gives a huge safety factor superior to synthetics. Any fibres shed are totally biodegradable so no pollution is washed into waterways
 
The unsung hero is, of course, a great product we grow efficiently in New Zealand, exporting about 84,000 tonnes last year. Whoopee for wonderful, warm wool.

The best action any enthusiastic environmentalist could do for sustainability is to proudly promote wool. As the "green movement " is sensibly returning to basic values like making compost, eating home-grown vegetables, upcycling clothing, using less chemical cleaners and being more aware of our footprint, it is high time we championed wool again, as our grandparents did.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/rural-women/94799701/pressing-need-to-value-ecofriendly-wool

Thursday, 13 July 2017

One trillion tonne iceberg breaks off from Antarctica


A one trillion tonne iceberg has broken off from an Antarctic ice shelf, changing the shape of the Antarctic Peninsula forever.

The much-anticipated calving from the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduces its area by more than 12 per cent, though the 5800 square km iceberg won't have an impact on sea levels as it was already floating before completely breaking away.

Researchers have previously shown the rift could increase the risk of instability leading to the wider ice shelf's collapse - a fate which befell its neighbour Larsen B, seven years after it experienced its own calving event in 1995.

A section of an iceberg - about 6000 sq km - broke away as part of the natural cycle of iceberg calving off the Larsen-C ice shelf in Antarctica in this satellite image released by the European Space Agency on July 12, 2017.

Believed to size up among the top ten on record (it is roughly 6000sqkm, siz times the size of Auckland city), the iceberg separated from Larsen C sometime between July 10 and July 12 - the event detected and confirmed separately by two Nasa satellites.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/94676841

Sunday, 9 July 2017

China builds a 100-hectare solar farm shaped like a giant panda


A new solar power plant in Datong, China, decided to have a little fun with its design.
China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda.

The first phase, which includes one 50-megawatt plant, was completed on June 30, according to PV magazine. The project just began delivering power to a grid in northwestern China, and a second panda is planned for later this year.

Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years, according to the company. That will eliminate approximately one million tonnes of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tonnes.

China Merchants New Energy Group worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to make the Panda Power Plant a reality. The project is part of a larger effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy, the UNDP wrote in a statement.

The groups hope to build more panda-shaped solar plants throughout China in the next five years.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Third of turtles found dead on New Zealand beaches had ingested plastic



A third of turtles found dead on New Zealand beaches have swallowed plastic, an expert says, and single-use shopping bags are the most common culprit.

Dan Godoy, of Massey University's Coastal-Marine Research Group, said the turtles' intestinal tract got blocked when they mistook soft plastics for jellyfish, resulting in "horrific" deaths.
"They can't digest food, and they basically slowly die," Godoy said.
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Dan Godoy, of Massey University's Coastal-Marine Research Group, said 30 per cent of stranded turtles had plastic in their stomachs.
"In the turtles that I've looked at, and [from] other studies around the world, it's the soft, white, and translucent plastics items – so plastic bags particularly – that are consumed in a higher proportion than other items."

The Government has been facing mounting pressure from local bodies, environmental groups, and schoolchildren to take action against the more than a billion plastic bags Kiwis discard annually. So far there's been no real movement on the problem.

Some of the samples of plastic found in turtles stomachs.
, and said of those with plastic in their stomachs, about half had died as a direct result.

He has seen instances where hard plastic had punctured the intestines and fishing line had cut through the intestinal wall, resulting in a horrific death for the reptile.

"Marine turtles aren't the only ones, we are seeing this in a huge range of species – seabirds, even whales," he said.

Up to half of turtles found to have eaten plastic died directly as a result.
On one occasion he was able to tell by the label that the plastic wrapping had come from Lower Hutt.​
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https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/94277174/third-of-turtles-found-dead-on-new-zealand-beaches-had-ingested-plastic