NASA asked the public to vote for their favorite satellite image from the series created by the U.S. Geological Survey, “Earth as Art,” and posted the five most favorited images about a month ago. “Earth as Art” is composed of images taken by satellites part of the Landsat Program, which is managed by both NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The U.S. Geological Survey selected certain features from the images and colored them from a digital palate. The series was created for aesthetic purposes rather than scientific interpretation.
Where science and art meet. Lovely isn’t it?
United By Blue has had 6 cleanups at Bartram’s Garden this Summer
Join us at our next one the first Tuesday in September.
9/4/12, 5- 7:30PM
Last September, Method announced plans to develop bottles made from collected ocean plastic. In the company of EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Method co-founder Adam Lowry described our work to collect plastic from the beaches of California and Hawaii and convert them into new, recyclable bottles for method soap.
So, what have we been up to since then? Mostly cleaning beaches.
Method has participated in, alongside partners Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kahuku Hawai’i Foundation, several beach cleanup days that resulted in collecting several thousand pounds of beach debris. The primary challenge encountered in these cleanups, aside from hauling hundreds of pounds of plastic from remote beach locations, has been retrieving the plastics before they degrade to tiny particles that are effectively impossible to collect in large quantities.
The range and quantity of plastic in the oceans is astounding. The debris collected from these beaches has varied from fishing baskets made of polypropylene to Russian shampoo bottles and Japanese bleach bottles made from HDPE, to car bumpers, ropes, water bottles, and buoys.
Although these cleanups have allowed us to gather plenty of plastic, they face real challenges of scale in creating a lasting supply chain. Fortunately, we’ve found some great potential partners. One is United by Blue, a Philadelphia-based fellow B Corp that designs and sells apparel to support its beach and waterways cleanup activities. United by Blue have been cleaning beaches at an impressive rate (over 1 pound of debris removed per shirt sold), and we hope to source from them the plastics we can use for our Ocean Plastic bottles (resins number 2, 4, and 5). And our partner organizations in Hawaii continue to be instrumental in diverting the immense amount of plastic that washes up on their beaches from the landfill and into our bottles.
These images show a stretch of the Mississippi River just south of Memphis, Tennessee. The top one was taken by a NASA satellite on August 8, 2012, and the bottom one by a different NASA satellite on August 14, 2011. See how there are huge patches of light tan along the river in the image from 2012? Those are newly exposed sand bars, the result of record low water levels.
This summer’s record-setting temperatures (July was literally the hottest month on record) and dry weather conditions have created historic droughts. We can now see how those conditions have affected our waterways. On August 17 of this year, water levels in the Mississippi were 2.4 to 8.3 feet below their normal “river stage” levels.
Pearl farming is emerging as one of the most sustainable ocean-based economies, and a good way for small island nations to protect their oceans while also increasing revenue.
For developing countries, industry has often equated to exploitation. For centuries, minerals, timber, oil and and other industries have left little behind except wealthy elites, enriched foreign companies, and a mess for future generations.
Perhaps pearl farming will be different, argue two researchers from the University of Vermont, Laurent Cartier and Saleem Ali. The multi-billion market for pearls promises a sustainable economic model for some coastal and island nations. By demanding pristine waters, attentive labor, and consistent oversight, pearl farms incentivize a clean environment and strong labor demand in places with little of either. “Pearl farming can be one of the most profitable forms of aquaculture” in isolated islands with “very limited economic opportunities,” write the pair in the journal Solutions.
During busy summer weekends, the Brandywine Creek is packed with sunbathers, swimmers, hikers, bikers, and people floating down the creek in canoes, tubes, or kayaks.
United By Blue, Trail Creek Outfitters, and 32 volunteers picked up nearly 600 pounds of trash left along the Brandywine Creek by summertime visitors. Our weird trash haul included lots and lots of beer bottles and cans, a lot for sale sign, a pool float, shoes, bathing suits, a kitchen knife, and a mystery pump (we think it came from a paintball gun).
For the past 29 years, Trail Creek Outfitters has provided Delaware and Southeastern, PA residents with the best outdoor products and latest fashions around. This is the not the first cleanup that United By Blue and Trail Creek Outfitters have held together; UBB, TCO and 50 of their closest friends, family, and customers picked up 1,651 pounds of trash from along the Brandywine in August 2010.
UBB would like to thank: Trail Creek Outfitters, Glen Mills Whole Foods, Wilderness Canoes, Delaware Greenways, Wilmington Trail Club, and Opdenaker Trash Removal.
By KELLY SLIVKA
In a potential milestone for ocean management, a team of collaborators has produced the first Ocean Health Index, a tool for appraising the state of the world’s oceans. The index takes into account the major factors that influence the quality of regional marine ecosystems like fisheries, biodiversity, tourism and carbon storage and then assigns a score from zero to 100 for each place.
Globally, the oceans received an ocean health score of 60. The lowest score was 36 (Sierra Leone’s waters) and the highest was 86 (waters surrounding uninhabited Jarvis Island, near Hawaii).
Dozens of scientists, policymakers and conservationists in the United States and Canada came together over the last two years to create the index, which is described in detail in a paper published online in the journal Nature. Their goal was to find a way to compare different parts of the ocean that are heavily used by humans and determine whether this activity is sustainable or in need of better management.