Ocean Action Hub

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Protecting 5% More Of The Ocean Can Increase Fisheries Yield By 20% According To New Research

27 Oct 2020 - A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that protecting an additional 5% of the ocean can increase future fish catch by 20% or mo

27 Oct 2020 - A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that protecting an additional 5% of the ocean can increase future fish catch by 20% or more. Growing up in a fishing community in the Philippines, lead researcher Dr. Reniel Cabral believes that marine protected areas (MPAs) can benefit both conservation and fisheries goals simultaneously. In the past, MPAs have been used as conservation tools, however a focus on fisheries may provide a necessary incentive for many coastal nations to adopt or expand them.

“We are curious if we design MPAs to increase fisheries productivity on a global scale, how much food can we generate, and how expensive will it be?” says Dr. Cabral, who hopes to see 30% of the world’s oceans protected by 2030; a widespread conservation goal. Currently only 2.5% of the ocean is fully protected, however Dr. Cabral anticipates that the research will provide a scientific basis for nations to view protected areas as investments into the future success of their fisheries.

The study entitled “A global network of marine protected areas for food” looked at MPA siting and area coverage using fisheries data for over 1,300 commercially-important fish species to determine how much fish biomass could be available for the fishing industry if more of the ocean was protected. Building on years of previous research, the research team modeled protection networks to predict fisheries success. They found, unsurprisingly, that expansion of MPAs will have the greatest impact in areas where overfishing is occurring, which is often in the developing world where fisheries management resources are less robust.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ariellasimke/2020/10/26/protecting-5-more-of-the-ocean-can-increase-fisheries-yield-by-20-according-to-new-research/#7fba9c7458af

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We Need The World's Ocean Philanthropies To Join The Fight Against Ocean Plastic

9 Oct 2019 - Philanthropic capital has a key role to play in paving the way towards sustainable waste management and recycling supply chains and creating investible solutions at scale.

9 Oct 2019 - We should all be encouraged by the financial commitments that political leaders and multinational companies are making with increasing frequency to address the world’s ocean plastic crisis. But these hundreds of millions of dollars of commitments, while important and symbolic, are dwarfed by the scale of the problem. Ocean plastic costs. It costs the earth and it costs us money. In economic terms, plastic does $13 billion in damage to marine ecosystems annually. As much as 95% of the value of plastic packaging -- worth $80 to $120 billion annually -- is lost to the economy after the first-use cycle. It’s a massive problem.

To turn plastic waste into a resource, we will need to engage a suite of solutions: from public policy and corporate commitments to financial incentives and changes in human behavior.

I am deeply convinced that proving the investment case to attract market and institutional investors is the ultimate way to develop waste management and recycling solutions at scale. However, these solutions have to be both profitable for the investors and sustainable in order to keep generating positive environmental impact as well as socio-economic benefits for local communities. But, to attract the capital we need to develop these lasting solutions, we first need to prove the market and demonstrate the investibility of new solutions -- and that takes time.

Where can we find the capital to do this? Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, philanthropic capital has a key role to play in paving the way towards sustainable waste management and recycling supply chains and creating investible solutions at scale.

Here’s why.

Most of the emerging economies most affected by the plastic waste crisis, such as in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, lack a recycling and waste management infrastructure and end up contributing an estimated 45% of the world’s plastic leakage to the ocean. Waste management is always a local issue, leading to global impacts when mismanaged. It starts in the everyday actions of each household. Waste collection and treatment is organized locally and often informally,  community-by-community if at all. The solutions therefore lie in local innovation, but not all innovations will demonstrate financial returns.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robkaplan/2019/10/09/we-need-the-worlds-ocean-philanthropies-to-join-the-fight-against-ocean-plastic/#2fe3fb1d4090

Image by tkremmel from Pixabay 

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Can AI Save Our Oceans? Let's Start With The Data.

18 Sept 2019 - There are some glimmers of light and hope spots that we can point to, especially in the areas of AI for the benefit of the ocean.

18 Sept 2019 - The ocean is in a dire crisis that puts the entirety of humanity at risk. The gravity of its issues range from climate change to plastics pollution to overfishing, all of which are overwhelming issues to tackle individually, and seemingly insurmountable when looked at together.

Scientists have noted that even if we were to halt all of our fossil fuel activity today, we are still on track to lose 90% of the ocean’s corals by 2050. Coral is the ocean’s life system and without it, we will soon also have an ocean without life.

In spite of the terrible news, there are some glimmers of light and hope spots that we can point to, especially in the areas of AI for the benefit of the ocean. This will be the first in a series of articles that puts a spotlight on the top innovators and innovations that are using the power of technology, and specifically AI to restore and regenerate our precious oceans.

Ultimately, AI is about leveraging data in the most efficient and unique ways to uncover new insights, innovations, and ways to work. When it comes to ocean data, the information is often overwhelming, unavailable and almost always fragmented. Making sense of data is the key to creating solutions for our oceans and acting on them.

Limited Knowledge is Hindering Us

Many of the issues facing our ocean today originate with us not knowing that much about it, in spite of it making up over three-quarters of our planet. It’s interesting to note that we know much more about the topography of Mars and the Moon than our own ocean. Because life underwater isn’t always visible, it has largely stayed out of sight and out of our cultural mindshare. Only very recently has public awareness bubbled up about the precarious state of our oceans. It’s also recent that the acceleration of its degradation has become so visible that it is impossible to ignore. But what can be done about the precarious state of our oceans?

I spoke with several AI startups that are doing their part to enable solutions for the oceans. Sinay is aggregating ocean data and applying machine learning to empower positive ocean action, Data 360 is using data to identify cultural knowledge gaps and opportunities and Hadal is mapping the ocean floor to expand our knowledge of ocean topography (Bathymetry).

Bridging the Gap in Maritime Expertise and Data

There are many initiatives to gather data about the oceans, however certain datasets are difficult to gain access to, and the sheer volume of information is massive. Making sense of this data requires access to computational resources and expertise in the fields of oceanography, and physics; when you add machine learning to the equation, it adds up to a rare combination of skill sets in not necessarily available in today’s corporate maritime landscape.

Sinay is looking to bridge the gap in maritime expertise and data. Their platform aggregates data from over 6,000 sources ranging from iOT sensor data that measure water quality, wave and weather data, shipping vessel locations, and ocean acoustic. They then apply machine learning algorithms to correlate information for real-time decision making, insight into operational efficiencies, and reductions in cost as well as environmental harm.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/09/17/can-ai-save-our-oceans-lets-start-with-the-data/#13f6c085700d

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How To Create A Plastic Free Ocean In Ten Years

12 Jun 2019 - While ocean plastic pollution is an enormous issue, experts believes that if governments, NGOs, consumers, and businesses team up, it can be solved in ten years.

12 Jun 2019 - Last month, 162 people from very diverse walks of life boarded a boat to join the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit (OPLS) in the North Atlantic Gyre -a circular system of ocean currents. They were on an experiential research expedition to better understand the scope of plastic pollution and to develop cross-industry solutions and partnerships to solve this global challenge over the next decade.

Organized by SoulBuffalo, the immersive experience was designed to put decision makers where they could see and feel the consequences of the plastic scourge firsthand. According to the California-based Oceanic Society, Between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year—enough to cover every foot of coastline on the planet! And that amount is expected to more than double in the next 10 years

But ocean plastic is a problem we can solve. We know how to pick up garbage, and we know how to recycle it. According to Ted Siegler, a resource economist who spent 25 years working with developing nations on garbage, the problem is building the necessary institutions and systems to do it before the ocean becomes irretrievably a thin, lifeless soup of plastic.

Not a fish in sight

The OPLS group included producers, manufacturers, brands, recyclers and waste worker representatives. There were financial experts, scientists, and storytellers like National Geographic, researchers, thought leaders and innovators ranging from C-level executives from companies like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Dow Chemicals to NGOs like Greenpeace, WWF, and Ocean Conservancy.

Whenever the ship approached clumps of sargassum seaweed in the gyer, the participants would stop their meetings and presentations and jump into zodiac boats with their snorkeling gear.

They didn’t see any fish all day. And at first, they didn’t see much plastic either. That’s deceptive because it’s not visible on the surface. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small particles that are caught in seaweed and ingested by marine creatures.

“What you don’t see is the real problem,” says Michael Groves, CEO of Topolytics, a data analytics business for waste managers who was part of the expedition. He explained that while trawling over a distance of one kilometer, the boat picked up 76 pieces of microplastic just under the surface.

Multiply that by the amount of microplastic in the water column going down to a depth of 2.5 kilometers, and the immensity of the problem becomes apparent.

Accepting responsibility

As Virginie Helias, chief sustainability officer at Procter & Gamble noted, “addressing the plastic problem in our oceans today is everyone’s responsibility – including the companies that produce and use much of the plastic in the world today.”

John Hocevar, Ocean Campaign Director at Greenpeace, agrees.

“The people on this boat represent companies that are responsible for a very large portion of the planet’s plastic footprint, so we have the people here who can really solve the problem of plastic pollution,” he says. “We already have quite a few companies that are focused on end of pipe solutions like recycling and consumer education, but what we need is more people, companies and governments taking responsibility for the production end.”

Hocevar believes we really can’t stop plastic pollution until we stop making so much of it in the first place and says that most companies aren’t even aware of how much plastic they are producing. A starting point for a company is to assess its plastic footprint, and then set targets to reduce it.

But there is some good news. A number of sustainable brands like Procter & Gamble are stepping up their circular economy initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic and other resources, and many more are taking steps to join the journey.

Adidas, for example is now manufacturing shoes made from ocean plastic. They were invented by John Warner, a founder of green chemistry who was part of the expedition.

Dow Chemicals, one of the expedition sponsors of OPLS, recently announced it will help lead a $1 billion global alliance to end plastic waste in the environment.

Jim Sullivan, who leads SAP’s global sustainability innovation accelerator and helped organize the expedition, noted that in order to solve a global crisis such as this, we need open, occasionally uncomfortable, dialog with a diverse set of stakeholders. We also need a multi-industry systems approach which can identify trade-offs with other global challenges such as climate change to avoid unintended consequences. And we need common metrics to prioritize the most consequential activities and track progress towards aspirations such as zero plastic waste in nature by 2030.

Conserving versus consuming

But there is no one single solution or company that can solve this issue. Partnerships and scaled solutions like the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit are a crucial part of the future we need to invent.

As a first step, perhaps it’s worth harking back to “the original conflict of interest between Indigenous people and Industrial people which is stewardship of the earth, water, fire and air.” According to Patricia Anne Davis, Navajo Wisdom Keeper, that ownership conflict is still on-going today.  

Indigenous people were stewards of these elements since the beginning of humanity while Industrial people trashed the planet within just one or two centuries. This disconnect is no longer sustainable and must be stopped in the interest of every human on the planet today.

“We need to switch from consuming to conserving,” says Damien Johnson who was at the summit representing the SAP Office of Innovation for North America. Johnson believes the solution is twofold: first, we must halt the introduction of new waste plastics and second, we must improve recycling processes of existing waste material.

“Plastic usage was driven by innovation in the field and a desire to improve the customer experience.  Now we must use technology and innovation to maintain the experience but remove the single use plastics,” he concludes.

Creating value

One of the problems with plastic waste is that is doesn’t have market value... yet.

In many countries like Brazil and India, traditionally, street collectors have been picking up metal, rags and paper to resell for recycling. But many plastics have been ignored because they had no resale value.

“The crazy thing is that companies that want to use recycled plastic are having trouble finding it on the market,” says Padmini Ranganathan, SAP Global Vice President, Products and Innovation.

That’s why Ranganathan and her team are onboarding organizations like Plastics for Change onto the SAP Ariba Network to help integrate the informal waste-picker economy into more formalized supply and demand systems for secondary materials.

“We need to integrate plastic waste into the supply chain system, so it doesn’t disappear in the illegal sector, as the waste workers work hard to segregate and convert waste to value,” warns Ranganathan. 

The long-term solution requires a system change - both in the material flow system and the digital systems.

“The ERP and business processes, but as the plastics supply chain is transforming itself, we need to leverage digital systems that are agile and adapt to change,” said Ranganathan.

Tech and teamwork

While ocean plastic pollution is an enormous issue, these experts believes that if governments, NGOs, consumers, and businesses team up, it can be solved in ten years. That’s because most of the plastic enters the ocean through five rivers in Asia, so reducing plastic materials in rivers by just 20% over the next seven years would revert to ocean plastic levels to those of the 1990s.

The technology to fix this exists today. Companies that are sustainable brands play a huge role in the solution. They are transforming their businesses with circular models that enable consumers and producers to refuse, reduce, reuse, re-purpose and recycle. Bringing together business, governments, NGOs, and ocean conservancy groups, it is possible to create a holistic solution for a sustainable future.   

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2019/06/12/how-to-create-a-plastic-free-ocean-in-ten-years/#596c4a67107c

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How Can Businesses Play A Role In A More Sustainable Global Economy?

23 Apr 2019 - We need a new business model that shifts the industrial approach of "take, make, dispose" to a more circular approach, where products are recycled, upcycled and reused.

23 Apr 2019 - We are at a moment in history that is unprecedented. Every week, young people are taking to the streets to demand action on climate change. The 150,000 students who protested on March 15th know all too well that drastically cutting carbon pollution during the next 12 years is not just essential to stopping the worst effects of climate change; it’s essential to creating a sustainable global economy.

We can't just fuel-switch our way out of climate change. We need a new business model that shifts the industrial approach of "take, make, dispose" to a more circular approach, where products are recycled, upcycled and reused. Businesses across the globe must innovate new ways of creating sustainable products, and policymakers must demand it from them. That means incentivizing and, in some cases, mandating that products are designed and produced with extended use and reusability as main features, not as afterthoughts.

To realize the idea of the circular economy, we must change how we view "waste" and eliminate the thoughtless amounts we produce as a global society. Manufacturers and creators of products have a growing ethical business responsibility to ensure that continued reuse is the destination for what they sell, not the landfill.

There is currently a significant amount of attention on this issue because of the proliferation of single-use materials globally. Images of a garbage patch twice as big as the state of Texas that is currently floating on the surface of the Pacific Ocean have been a wake-up call for many.

Single-Use Waste

Some preliminary steps have already sparked hope in the effort to eliminate single-use materials that end up in landfills. The European Parliament approved a measure that will ban certain single-use plastics by 2021. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has teamed up with the UN Environment Programme to unite more than 350 organizations "on its common vision of a circular economy for plastics, keeping plastics in the economy and out of the ocean." And some of the world’s largest consumer brands have signed on, such as PepsiCo, Nestle and Unilever.

If your company is using single-use materials for things like packaging, consider more innovative alternatives. For example, the Danish beer company Carlsberg is reducing plastic use with its new "Snap Pack" technology that replaced plastic wrap for its six packs. Glue now holds the cans together instead of plastic. This is a simple yet innovative idea. Other businesses can have a major impact by adopting the same or similar technologies.

Businesses can also adopt practices to tackle sustainability by looking at traditional methods used across the world. Social media users on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms recently saw this point on full display when viral news spread that a supermarket in Thailand eliminated plastic wrap for produce by wrapping fruits and vegetables in banana leaves. Biodegradable products are readily available almost everywhere, even if banana leaves are not.

For example, Dell began using bamboo for distribution and shipping nearly a decade ago. Bamboo is revered because it is biodegradable, compostable, durable and economical. Rwanda -- a country that was among one of the first to ban plastic bags -- is also shifting heavily toward using bamboo for packaging.

Reusable Building Materials

Another major producer of global trash is the building sector. According to a study done by the World Economic Forum, the building sector accounts for more than one-third of all global solid waste. Virtually all that waste ends up in landfills.

As Bill Gates points out, "As the urban population continues to grow in the coming decades, the world’s building stock is expected to double by 2060—the equivalent of adding another New York City monthly between now and then."

With all the economic development expected in the next few decades, coupled with the challenges we already face, we cannot continue constructing buildings with materials that will eventually go to landfills. The consequences are too significant.

We need to embrace -- and policymakers need to incentivize -- the concept of "design to deconstruct." This simple approach can be pivotal in moving us to a waste-free society: Construct buildings with materials that can be reused after a building’s life to construct new buildings.

However, it doesn’t always take new, innovative products to create sustainable buildings. Marble, spruce floorboards, matting and other buildings materials, such as stone wool (which, full disclosure, is a product solution our company offers), can all be reused to construct new buildings if they are installed to eventually be disassembled.

We can put a greater emphasis on sustainability by salvaging materials to reuse before demolishing buildings to make way for new ones. Constructing buildings with reusable materials ensures fewer materials end up in landfills while improving the energy efficiency of buildings and significantly decreasing the amount of carbon pollution that goes into the air.

The Bottom Line

Every company can benefit from having a chief sustainability officer or sustainability team empowered to find ways to reduce waste in its supply chain. And policymakers should continue demanding more sustainable innovation from businesses to tackle climate change and waste.

The bottom line is that there’s an immediate need to reduce the amount of waste we’re producing, almost all of which will eventually impact the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe. Businesses and developers are already receiving market and regulatory signals that point to investments in more sustainable products, materials and practices. The future health of global sustainability depends on it.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/04/23/how-can-businesses-play-a-role-in-a-more-sustainable-global-economy/#203a145062a2

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2018: A Tipping Point for Climate Change

31 December 2018 - Did the world wake up to climate change in 2018? Or are we falling deeper into ignorance about the environmental changes happening all around us? 

31 December 2018 - Did the world wake up to climate change in 2018? Or are we falling deeper into ignorance about the environmental changes happening all around us? 

The increasingly severe effects of the rise in global temperature are being felt everywhere on the planet through extreme weather events and natural disasters, serving as a wake-up call to the impacts of climate change... for those who are willing to listen. Scientific studies have demonstrated that we are poised on the cusp of worldwide disaster, and the global community is becoming increasingly aware of the impending crisis. Many are demanding action; the world’s nations and innovators are exploring new technologies for sustainable energy production to prevent a global catastrophe.

According to the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body dedicated to providing an objective view on climate change, 2018 is a tipping point for the global environment. In 2018, we needed a pivotal year for climate action. 

Here are 6 significant climate change themes that emerged during the year.

1. The Environment: Extreme Weather Events

Weather events and environmental disasters are determined by a variety of complex factors, both natural and man-made. It is impossible to attribute any single weather phenomenon directly to climate change. Science makes it possible to ascertain how much climate change influences weather events, however. Scientific analysis reveals that the rise in global temperature is more than a minor component of natural disasters and extreme weather events. In many cases, it serves as an essential factor.

Nearly every region on the planet experienced extreme weather and natural disasters in 2018.

The hurricanes of Florence and Michael caused massive destruction in the southeast U.S. during the Atlantic storm season. In the Pacific, Super Typhoons Mangkhut and Yutu rocked the Philippines, Guam, South China and the Mariana Islands. Argentina and Uruguay experienced severe drought. The U.S. state of California experienced the deadliest and most destructive wildfires on record and Europe has seen extremes in both cold and heat this year.

Heavy rainfall contributed to flooding and landslides in Africa, India, Japan, Korea and the Caribbean islands of Grenada and Trinidad in 2018. Millions of people were displaced and there has been widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure. Flood conditions have exacerbated outbreaks of cholera in East Africa and leptospirosis (“rat fever”) in India.

In mid-December, the Centre of Research on the Epidemiology of Disastersreported that approximately 5,000 people have died and 28.9 million needed emergency assistance worldwide because of extreme weather. Research indicates that economic losses from climate-related disasters have increased 151% in the past 20 years, a trend that is only expected to worsen.

2. The Science: Unequivocal Evidence

More scientists than ever are turning attention to studying the impacts of climate change.

This year saw new studies that have broadened our understanding of the consequences of the rise in global temperature. In October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report revealing that global temperatures are moving towards a catastrophic 3° C rise during this century. The study encourages rapid and unprecedented changes to reduce global temperature increase to at least 1.5° C.

Also released in October, in advance of the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference,  the United Nations Environmental Emissions Gap Report made it clear that current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are inadequate to bridge the emissions gap by the target date of 2030. The report asserts that urgent action is required to avert the catastrophic consequences of an undeterred rise in global temperatures.

International NASA-led studies have been studying Arctic ice loss and its impact on glacial activity, sea level and drifts in rhe Earth's spin axis. The results of these studies make it clear that the planet-wide effects of climate change are profound.

Research has also demonstrated that the planet is in the midst of an extinction crisis. Earth is currently experiencing the most significant species die-off since the event that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Whereas previous extinction events were caused by such things as asteroid strikes and natural shifts in environmental conditions, the current event is being driven by human activities.

With the growing urgency behind the science, international activists mobilized in London to draw attention to this ecological and environmental emergency. Extinction Rebellion (XR) protestors called upon the government, private corporations and the media to recognize the dire effects of climate change on the planet’s species.

3. Politics & Society: Action And Inaction

The Extinction Rebellion was only one movement of many this year that sought to protest a lack of climate action. Groups such as The People’s Climate MovementRise for Climate and Strike 4 Climate Action mobilized to demand an appropriate response to the crisis facing our planet.

Another notable event was the March for Climate, which took place during COP24, the biggest climate change meeting since the Paris Agreement of 2015. In spite of the fact that the march occurred as part of an international climate change conference, peaceful protestors were greeted with an oppressive Polish law enforcement presence.

The IPCC and UN emissions gap reports, combined with COP24, left the subject of the rise in global temperature at the forefront of international dialogue.

Scientific evidence has made the impact and impending consequences of climate change clear. Widespread international commitment to taking decisive action in the face of this crisis has remained sluggish, however. The host country of COP24, Poland, sent mixed messages by putting coal at the center of the conference. One of the world’s leading emitters, the U.S., has positioned itself to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at the earliest possible opportunity.

Citing the example being set by the Trump administration in the U.S., other nations are declining to cooperate with the international community in climate change efforts. Brazil, the initial intended host country of COP25, has withdrawn from that commitment. Meanwhile, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia joined the U.S. in refusing to welcome the landmark IPCC study into the COP24 negotiations.

Incoming members of the U.S. Congress are rejecting the stance of the current presidential administration, however. Proponents of green technologies and sustainability initiatives are championing a Green New Deal, a plan to modernize infrastructure and invest heavily in clean and renewable energy production. While described as a “radical” plan by those with ties to the fossil fuel industry, “extreme” measures are called for by the U.S. to avert global disaster.

4. Technology & Innovation: Trends To Watch In 2019

Where there has been foot-dragging on the political front, innovators and private companies are responding to the call for the development and implementation of new technologies. Progress is being made with energy storage and microgrid systems that utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet Of Things (IoT) and blockchain to improve efficiency and financing opportunities. 

In many developing countries, renewable energy provides an opportunity to improve quality of life and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Small-scale solar home systems provide an affordable option in countries with low access to electricity. With the price of renewable energy continuing to fall, the economic benefits of renewable energy are clear from Botswana to Boston.

These technological innovations are some of the most important things to watch in 2019.

5. Taking Action: Developing & Implementing Solutions

On the front lines of feeling the effects of climate change, it is no surprise that small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean have taken a position of leadership in implementing new energy and sustainability initiatives. Aiming to become the world’s first climate-smart zone, 26 countries and more than 40 private sector partners have created a coalition to fast track climate action in the Caribbean region.

Strategic partnerships and committed funding for climate-smart investments are being dedicated to reducing emissions and climate-related hazards while supporting healthy ecosystems and securing renewable energy production. This climate-smart zone will reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change while also building economic security for its citizens.

Around the world, others are also turning their minds and hands towards developing solutions for the challenges presented by climate change.

The Nobel Economic Sciences Prize Committee demonstrated the multi-disciplinary importance of the subject with its 2018 award. The prize this year went to economists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, who adapted the western economic growth model to focus on environmental issues. This recognition of the urgent problem of climate change and the need for multi-disciplinary approaches to addressing it is significant.

Other climate action leaders have been recognized this year for efforts to reduce emissions and promote sustainability in everything from school cafeterias to football clubs. Where action may be slow on the part of governments and international groups, it is clear that individuals, academics and private companies are stepping up to provide real-world solutions to address the challenge of climate change.

6. Increasing Public Education & Awareness

Awareness and education about climate change matters increased this year. Journalists and public figures used entertainment media and the internet to draw attention to the problem of climate change and the need to pursue sustainable measures in all areas of society.

British writer, naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough brought attention to the global problem of plastics pollution through his involvement in the BBC’s Blue Planet series. Attenborough also took a critical role in COP24’s People’s Seat initiative, delivering a moving speech that defined climate change "our greatest threat in thousands of years."

In the face of what has largely been a climate change media blackout in the in U.S., more than 100 meteorologists wore matching ties during their summer solstice broadcasts to demonstrate awareness and solidarity. In Zambia, comic artist Mwelwa Musonko created and launched a new comic series to raise awareness about climate change.

In an attempt to wake up those most resistant, scientists reported this year that climate change stands to produce a worldwide beer shortage. As beer is made with barley, a particularly climate-sensitive crop, the continued rise in global temperature will eventually make the beverage rare and expensive. If extreme weather events, mass extinctions and the wobbling of the Earth itself aren’t compelling enough on their own, perhaps a threat to the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage will inspire more people to take action. 

2019: Looking Ahead

The solid scientific evidence, new innovations and growing awareness that emerged in 2018 should give some promising signs for the coming year. Sustainable technologies are no longer simply an acceptable form of energy production, they are quickly becoming the preferred method for energy generation.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2018/12/30/2018-a-tipping-poi...

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Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet

3 Aug 2017 - Scientists have long known about the anomalous "

3 Aug 2017 - Scientists have long known about the anomalous "warming hole" in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area immune to warming of Earth's oceans. This cool zone in the North Atlantic Ocean appears to be associated with a slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the key drivers in global ocean circulation.

A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory.

AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world. Generally speaking, it transports warm and salty water northward from the tropics to South and East of Greenland. This warm water cools to ambient water temperature then sinks as it is saltier and thus denser than the relatively more fresh surrounding water. The dense mass of water sinks to the base of the North Atlantic Ocean and is pushed south along the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.

This process whereby water is transported into the Northern Atlantic Ocean acts to distribute ocean water globally. What's more important, and the basis for concern of many scientists is this mechanism is one of the most efficient ways Earth transports heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe.

Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation. Hence, a slowdown in the planet's ability to transfer heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The cold zone could be due to melting of ice in the Arctic and Greenland. This would cause a cold fresh water cap over the North Atlantic, inhibiting sinking of salty tropical waters. This would in effect slow down the global circulation and hinder the transport of warm tropical waters north.

Melting of the Arctic sea ice has rapidly increased in the recent decades. Satellite image records indicate that September Arctic sea ice is 30% less today than it was in 1979. This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.

This scenario of a collapse in AMOC and global ocean circulation is the premise for the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." As a disclaimer, the plot line in which much of New England and Western Europe gets plunged into an ice age is significantly over exaggerated and unrealistic on human time scales.

While geologists have studied events in the past similar to what appears to be happening today, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/08/03/global-ocean-circulat...

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Social Impact: Ocean Reclaimed Plastics & Kick Starter Fuel Norton Point

25 Apr 2017 - Single use plastic that is used and thrown away often ends up in the ocean. A few years back it was estimated there was $100 Billion dollars worth of this material in our oceans.

25 Apr 2017 - Ryan Schoenike, co-founder of Norton Point, a sustainable eyewear company has an interesting background.

With his degree in economics and work experience in the D.C. market in utilities and solar, he is well steeped in the challenges of making the world a better place environmentally—in an economical manner.

Co-founders that complement each other

Schoenike got together with Rob Ianelli, a college buddy he met while studying abroad in China, to see if they could do their own thing…together.

Schoenike had the business, economics and lobbying understanding that is useful when taking on a social impact challenge. Ianelli was a serial entrepreneur with experience in eyewear and ties to Martha’s Vineyard where the firm hung out their shingle in 2015.

One man’s trash is another man’s core material

Plastics are the core material when making a pair of sunglasses. In developing a social impact startup, Schoenike was aware of the unique challenge of reclaiming and utilizing ocean plastics.

Single use plastic that is used and thrown away often ends up in the ocean. A few years back it was estimated there was $100 Billion dollars worth of this material in our oceans. Schoenike worked with scientists and other with a vested interest in recovering ocean plastics and putting it to use.

The two focused on a way they could help reclaim this material in Haiti—creating a local source of business—and reusing the material to form their glasses.

Co-founders on the move…to opposite coasts

While they initially launched in Martha’s Vineyard, the pair quickly realized that the island was not the best place to grow a business. As Schoenike puts it, the people around them were working on island time while they were working on ‘get stuff done time.’

A few years into their business they now work on opposite coasts.

Ianelli is in L.A.—the seat of fashion, a year-round sunglass consumption market with a local port to receive materials. Schoenike is in D.C. where he can continue to tap into the policy, science and business relationships that help him evolve the economics of the business model.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.forbes.com/sites/moiravetter/2017/04/25/social-impact-ocean-...

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Adrian Grenier: Why He Launched The Strawless Ocean Initiative

31 Mar 2017 - Adrian Grenier, founder of Lonely Whale Foundation and actor, discusses his new Strawless Ocean initiative and why he's decided to make a positive impact on our oceans.

31 Mar 2017 - Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel interviewed Adrian Grenier, founder of Lonely Whale Foundation and former Entourage star, about his new Strawless Ocean initiative.

I spoke to Adrian Grenier, founder of Lonely Whale Foundation and former Entourage star, about his new Strawless Ocean initiative, why he has decided to make a positive impact on our oceans, how he is getting his message to the right people, some of his success stories and the big challenges he faces ahead.

Through Strawless Ocean, the Lonely Whale Foundation is aiming to reduce the use of plastic straws nationwide with the goal of keeping 500 million plastic straws out of the ocean in 2017. This new campaign will officially launch during plastic pollution summit Breaking Down Plastic in Charleston, South Carolina today. With a garbage truck worth of plastic dumped into the sea every minute and 500 million plastic straws used per day, our oceans, beaches and marine life are suffering. Strawless Ocean will encourage bars and restaurants to switch to sustainable plastic straw alternatives, like paper straws and cocktail stir sticks.

Dan Schawbel: Why did you launch the Strawless Ocean initiative and what impact are you trying to make with it?

Adrian Grenier: By the year 2050 it is estimated that we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s just 33 years from now — our lifetime! That number is overwhelming, as is the problem of ocean plastic, so together with Lonely Whale I wanted to create a campaign that inspired, not scared, people to take action for our ocean. We sought out a tool for empowerment that everyone could use, no matter their socio-economic or geographic position. That being said, I do want to make sure I mention that we are not saying no to all straws, simply plastic straws. Straws are important for those with physical limitations and we’re working with the disabled community to ensure marine-friendly alternatives that work for this community are available.

Schawbel: Most people overlook the impact of straws on the environment. When did you decide you would tackle the issue of plastic straws ruining our oceans and what can the average person do to help your mission?

Grenier: We use 500 million plastic straws everyday in the U.S., that means each of us encounter nearly two straws daily. So while plastic straws may seem trivial in the grand scheme of the plastic pollution problem, we are viewing straws as our “gateway plastic” for both consumers and industry leaders alike to understand and take action against all single use plastics. Individuals can take our pledge on strawlessocean.org. We also have on our website tips and a guidebook for restaurants, hotels, bars, public venues and other establishments to make the switch from plastic to a marine-friendly option.

Schawbel: How are you getting your message out there to bars and restaurants to prevent them from using plastic straws?

Grenier: My team at Lonely Whale is working directly with some of the largest venues and also key restaurants and chefs to help them switch from plastic straws to alternatives like paper, metal, or glass, bamboo or reed straws — whichever best suits their needs. We also recognize the importance of teamwork and so are also building a grassroots movement of Team Lonely Whale ambassadors, arming them with information to help make changes in their immediate communities. These individuals are backed by our 20+ organizational partners.

CONTINUE READINGhttps://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2017/03/30/adrian-grenier-why-h...