We can turn the tide for oceans
It’s Friday, April 3, and scientists say oceans can make a comeback.
By now, the American public knows a thing or two about missed opportunities. But it’s not too late to contain the damage we’ve inflicted on our oceans. A new scientific review conducted by an international team of researchers shows that oceans can be restored to their former glory within the span of a generation.
Humans have polluted and overfished the globe’s oceans, and we have destroyed large swaths of coastline in the name of development. But the review, published in the science journal Nature, shows that conservation efforts to protect threatened species like fur seals in Mexico and humpback whales off the coast of Australia have been tremendously successful. The takeaway, scientists say, is that oceans and the creatures that call them home are capable of rebounding, if we let them.
By protecting parts of the ocean from economic activity, fishing sustainably, and controlling marine pollution, the world can bolster food stocks and ensure that oceans contribute to the stability of our climate. Such measures would cost billions of dollars a year, the review states, but the economic benefits would be 10 times as high.
The tricky part is making sure we get climate change under control. Rising temperatures spur ocean acidification, oxygen loss, and coral reef damage, which threaten to undo progress on restoring ocean marine life. But if we redouble conservation efforts and reduce carbon emissions, the world’s oceans could be restored in 30 years.
There are many events we can cancel to try to flatten the COVID-19 curve, but unfortunately hurricane season is not one of them. A forecast by scientists at Colorado State University says that as many as eight Atlantic hurricanes are expected between June and December. At least one hurricane could make landfall in the U.S., which could make social distancing measures more challenging in affected areas.
U.S. efforts to clean up Cold War–era nuclear waste, which were already happening at a snail’s pace, have been put on ice due to (you guessed it) coronavirus. The country’s only underground repository for nuclear waste is limiting shipments and curtailing shifts to try to keep its workers safe from the virus.
More than half of Americans support a bailout for the oil industry, according to a new survey from Brunswick Group. The strategic advisory firm also found that 67 percent believe the oil industry has a positive impact on the U.S. economy. On the bright side, 63 percent said a bailout should come with strings attached to force investments in clean energy.