The Ocean Cleanup Has Reached the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup, an idea brought to life by founder and CEO Boyan Slat, has been in the news for a month or so. The 2,000 foot-long U-shaped floating pipe, launched a month ago from San Francisco, reached its goal on Thursday—the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” an area in the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice the size of Texas. The goal of the mission is to trap floating plastic, return the debris to shore, recycle the plastic and create new products from it.
There will certainly be some trial and error, but if successful, the project could expand to the other 4 garbage patches. They are hopeful that they can clean up 90% of the plastic garbage in the world’s oceans by 2040.
First, a link to the CNN article, with video.
Here is a link to the project’s site.
It is also good to know that this is not the only program committed to help clean up the oceans—the California Coastal Commission’s volunteer group is focusing on trash reduction with land-based efforts. There are a group of volunteers that clean up beaches and coastal waters, preventing yet more plastic waste from entering the ocean in the first place.
Also, The Marine Debris Program is an initiative included in the Save Our Seas Act, signed by President Trump last week.
Below, a view of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Experts say algae is the food of the future. Here’s why.
by Rachel Crane @CNNTech
The article’s author visited an Algae “farm” in southern New Mexico, where a strain of algae, nannochloropsis, is being grown. It is already available in supplement form at The Vitamin Shoppe and on Amazon, and is being developed into snacks and protein powders. These powders will be “virtually imperceptible when added to other foods, and not going to change the flavor.”
The company’s CEO, Miguel Calatayud, believes that if the world’s population grows from 7.5 billion to 10 billion as expected, we’ll need to think more seriously about protein alternatives like algae.
“There will not be enough animal protein or other vegetable protein,” he said. “There won’t be enough arable land, and what’s even more important, there won’t be enough fresh water.”
Their strain of algae takes what would otherwise be wasted — saltwater, desert land and CO2 — and turns it into something special. Made up of 40% protein, it can produce about seven times the amount of protein as soybeans on the same amount of land. The plant also releases oxygen into the air. (About 50% of the world’s oxygen comes from algae).
“There are tons of desert areas all over the world and most of them have brackish water underneath,” he said. “What we are building it’s 100% sustainable and 100% scalable.”An interesting article.
Read the rest of it and see video here.
And now, here’s some news that might motivate governments to take action on climate change:
Add beer to the list of foods threatened by climate change
Rising temperatures and periods of drought will target barley crops worldwide
By Jennifer Leman, October 15, 2018, for ScienceNews
‘Malted barley — a key ingredient in beer including IPAs, stouts and pilsners — is particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures and drought, both of which are likely to increase due to climate change. As a result, average global barley crop yields could drop as much as 17 percent by 2099, compared with the average yield from 1981 to 2010, under the more extreme climate change projections, researchers report October 15 in Nature Plants.
That decline “could lead to, on average, a doubling of price in some countries,” says coauthor Steven Davis, an Earth systems scientist at University of California, Irvine. Consumption would also drop globally by an average of 16 percent, or roughly what people in the United States consumed in 2011.’
The report also mentions that other crops such as maize, wheat and soy and wine grapes are also threatened by the global rising of average atmospheric temperatures as well as by pests emboldened by erratic weather.
Some other details here.
And Spotlight on:
Yellow garden spider
They are found throughout most of the United States. They are orb-weaving spiders, spinning their webs in circular, spiral patterns. Orb-weavers have an extra claw on each foot, to handle the threads while spinning. They prefer sunny places with as little wind as possible to build their webs. The web of this spider spirals out from the center and can be two feet across. The female builds the large web, and a male will build a smaller web on the outer part of her web. The male’s web is a thick zigzag of white silk.
The spider had various meanings—it could be a trickster, a creator, or an intercessor between gods and man. Here is an Osage legend, which teaches that smaller doesn’t mean less significant:
“The Spider and the People”
One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge stag. The chief became very excited.
“Grandfather Deer,” he said, “surely you will show yourself. You are going to become the symbol of my people.”
He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider’s web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up off the ground, he was very angry. He struck at the spider sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.
“Grandson,” the spider said, “why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?”
The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. “I was following the tracks of a great deer,” the chief said. “I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people.”
“I can be such a symbol to you, “said the spider.
“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”
“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed.”
The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.
From Black Walnut Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Vol. 2: Midcontinent
Also, remember that Volume 3 of my series of books about trees is available on Amazon.