The scoop Whales accumulate carbon throughout their lifetime and die with it on the ocean floor. So they save around 33 tons of carbon from the atmosphere each.
Why it matters Today, whales number approximately 1.3 million, and conservation efforts to return them to their 4-5 million pre-whaling population could significantly reduce the greenhouse effect by lowering atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, they are constantly at threat of being hunted.
Big picture Recovering the global whale population to even half its original size is no easy feat, but we must do all in our power to multiply whale species’ populations in all of Earth’s oceans. Regardless of whether a high-tech carbon sequestration tool becomes widely available, harnessing the carbon-capturing power of these beautiful creatures will always positively enhance our atmosphere and marine ecosystems.
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The scoop John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods, sent out a dire message about the global food chain supply breaking as millions of chickens, cattle and pigs face euthanasia due to widespread closures of slaughter houses.
Where it stands
- Meat processing plants across America face closure due to the pandemic.
- Processing plants use the ’just in time’ inventory system.
- Animals have limited processing time, after which they get too big and loses their monetary value for companies such as Tyson.
- It is difficult for meat processors to pivot between varying amounts of demand, exposing its shortcomings as a reliable form of food production.
What are the main concerns?
- Most meat processing plants operate in counties in America worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Thousands of animals and workers in these poorly-sanitised plants remain in close proximity to one other.
- The chances of infections spreading are incredibly high in the plants, with over 5,000 meat workers and 1,500 workers contracting the virus since April.
- Meat processing systems lack a vital aspect of sustainability: resilience.
Zoom out Farmers have discarded millions of pounds of edible food due to the virus and warn of increased food security concerns. Almost 30-40% of food is wasted in America, equivalent to an estimated value of $162 billion every year.
Bottom Line Our food systems need to focus on resilience plans moving forward, making them more adaptable and decentralised to effectively deal with external disturbances such as a pandemic.
Dig deeper → 5 min
What happened On the evening of April 20th 2010, a blowout occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. High-pressure methane gas had risen into the drilling rig, quickly igniting and exploding.
Visible from 40 miles away, the flames overwhelmed first responders.
Two days later, the platform sank, leaving oil gushing at the seabed...until July, 87 days later. Containment started immediately, stopping the fires and oil burst. Clean up continued and ended...TBA.
Big picture Deepwater is not the first major spill, nor it seems, likely the last, and each disaster results in another human and environmental catastrophe.
- Deepwater killed 11 people, injured dozens of others, left vast swaths of ocean fatally contaminated, thousands of miles of beach polluted, killed over one million birds and continues to destroy pristine habitat and wildlife
- There are 175 offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico with the global total growing to 497 by 2017
Why it matters Deepwater displayed the frailties of our petroleum addiction as clear as day. In 2010, the year of the disaster, the planet used about 86 million gallons of Black Gold every day. Now, we use 100 million gallons every day. Black Gold is unsustainable, damaging to the environment, and could be replaced with sustainable alternatives.
We need a global intervention, a massive mobilization focused on powering our planet with the bountiful clean energy nature so gracefully provides. And we must develop an economic model that hastens the long overdue demise of Black Gold.
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The scoop In the world of factory farming, public health risks are completely ignored.
Could applying “social distancing” rules to animals really help us all live healthier and safer lives?
Why it matters Most animals (both wild or domestic) carry some type of virus. It’s easy enough to learn from the recent outbreak and stay away from wildlife. But what about domesticated animals in factory farms? Farm animals carry many diseases.
As the world population increases, so does the demand for meat products. More meat = more crowded spaces in factory farms.
Bottom line Removing factory farming, or significantly improving its operations, is a contributing factor in preventing another public health disaster.Dig deeper → 5 min