The ‘blue acceleration’: Study shows humans’ surging incursions into the sea

The ‘blue acceleration’: Study shows humans’ surging incursions into the sea

SOURCE: MongaBay DATE: February 13, 2020 SNIP: Humanity has depended on the ocean for millennia. Today, however, the rush to the sea is occurring with unprecedented diversity and intensity, propelled by population growth and demand for diminishing terrestrial resources. A study published in January in the new journal One Earth analyzed 50 years of data on 18 kinds of marine resource claims, broadly grouped as food, material and space. The authors, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, captured the results in a series of graphs showing the amount of activity since 1970 in areas such as marine aquaculture, shipping, deep hydrocarbons, and offshore windfarms. The graphs all show sharp upticks in the past 20 to 30 years. The authors call this race for the sea the “blue acceleration.” “The current narrative is that we are about to move into the ocean as the new frontier,” lead author Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, a Ph.D. candidate in sustainability science, told Mongabay. “However, when you look at the graphs, it has started already.” Jouffray said he and his team are concerned about the increase in human activity in the oceans. They warn that the current approach could fundamentally alter the ecology not only of the oceans but of the global environment. “[Humanity hopes] the ocean will solve our need for food, freshwater, minerals, and will be the medicine chest for the future, but central to the blue acceleration is the idea that the ocean is not limitless,” he said. Moreover, the current scale of activity in the oceans prioritizes the exploitation of ocean resources above scientific exploration, to the detriment of marine...
New cities may make millions more vulnerable to climate change

New cities may make millions more vulnerable to climate change

SOURCE: McGill University DATE: September 10, 2018 SNIP: A forthcoming study of over a hundred new cities being built around the world suggests developers and planning authorities are doing very little to make their projects resilient to climate change. On the contrary, a boom in new city projects in coastal areas – including some on reclaimed land in the sea – appears to fly in the face of the danger of rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events. When McGill geography professor Sarah Moser mapped 120 new cities under construction across Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, she was struck by how many of them were in vulnerable coastal areas. “I think this has to do with the fact that a lot of these projects are real estate projects. Everyone wants to live on the coast and new cities are often geared towards the wealthy – they’re investment vehicles,” Moser says. But the short-sighted pursuit of profit may be just one of many forces driving the surge in new cities in coastal areas. Ambitious, eye-catching projects often form part of political narratives in which authorities seek to portray themselves as making a break from the past. In some cases, new cities are billed as a utopian solution to overcrowding and congestion. “I’ve determined that there are only about eight cities out of 120 that are even talking about climate change. It’s really a minimal effort,” Moser says. Forest City, a futuristic high-rise project being built on reclaimed land in the narrow body of water that separates Malaysia from Singapore, is one example of a vulnerable...
Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

Ecuador To Sell A Third Of Its Amazon Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: March 26, 2018 SNIP: Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China’s insatiable thirst for energy. On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups. Attending the roadshow were black-suited representatives from oil companies including China Petrochemical and China National Offshore Oil. “Ecuador is willing to establish a relationship of mutual benefit – a win-win relationship,” said Ecuador’s ambassador to China in opening remarks. According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area’s environment and threaten their traditional way of life. [NOTE: Ecuador has recognized Rights of Nature in its constitution; this is a clear violation of those...