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Ghost Fishing Nets: Invisible Killers in the Oceans – January 7, 2014

Abandoned fishing nets and pots, trap, maim, and kill hundreds of marine animals daily

Unseen below the surface, fishing gear reaps the oceans bounty the world over. Viewed from below, nets appear as veil walls lightly dancing the currents with a serene and silent intent. Ever since nets began to be cast out at sea eons ago, more and more fishing gear has been entering our oceans daily. And much of this gear remains in the water — lost, torn away, or simply abandoned.

abandoned fishing net on coral reefPhoto by Tim Sheerman-Chase/Wikimedia CommonsSome abandoned nets and lines wrap themselves on reefs, shipwrecks, or rocks, ensnaring marine animals, maiming, drowning or simply starving hundreds of thousands of them.

Abandoned… more

by: Jacob Shea

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New Greenhouse Gas Discovered – December 20, 2013

Perfluorotributylamine is 7,100 times worse than CO2

With a name like perfluorotributylamine, the latest greenhouse gas to be discovered is a tongue twister. But you should learn how to say it, as this synthetic chemical could mean dangerous business for the climate.

Perfluorotributylamine (or PFTBA) is an artificial compound commonly used since the 1950’s in electrical equipment and heat transfer agents. According to a recent study in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, PFTBA has a significantly higher capacity to capture solar radiation than carbon dioxide. How significant? PFTBA is about 7,100 times more effective than CO2 at heating the globe over a 100-year span.

Polar Mesospheric Clouds Over the South Pacific Ocean (NASA,… <a href=more

by: Jacob Shea

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California Coastal Commission Urged to Ban Fracking State Waters – December 3, 2013

Oil drillers using hazardous chemicals, pumping wastewater into coastal waters, shows new analysis

We now know that hydraulic fracturing has already been underway in state and federal waters off California’s coast for more than two decades. Recent media reports have revealed that federal regulators have permitted fracking in the Pacific Ocean at least 12 times since the late 1990s, and have granted four fracking permits off the marine-life rich Santa Barbara coast without environmental review.


by: Jacob Shea

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Aboard a Squid Fishing Boat: Learning Tough Lessons About Our Food Sources – October 25, 2013

A view from the bottom of the commodity chain reveals the comedy, and tragedy, of human exploits in nature

As I stumble from my bunk, I come eye to toe with a smelly, sock-coated foot. Shaking sleepily, I stagger out to conjure up grimy, cheap coffee, which I drink with tasteless cereal and a waxy apple. As the boat engine rumbles to life, I leap out on deck to coil anchoring lines. The fog is dense, and our brief commute to open water teems with life. The marina seals resemble neighborhood dogs, barking and flopping lazily atop rust crusted buoys. Sea otters can be spotted floating on their backs, rubbing their bellies. This serenity is shattered by a shout from the captain, and we jump into our uniforms, though to… more

by: Jacob Shea

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Salmonella Outbreak Highlights Need For More Oversight of Slaughterhouses – October 17, 2013

USDA plans to speed up processing lines, reduce trained inspectors a risk to public health, worker safety

Last week, more than 300 people in 20 US states and Puerto Rico fell sick from a “multi-drug resistant” salmonella outbreak traced to three California poultry plants owned Foster Farms. This is the second time this year that the big poultry company has been linked to a nationwide Salmonella outbreak. Back in July, 134 people in 13 states became sick after eating Foster Farm chicken.

chicken slaughterhouse Photo courtesy USDAUSDA inspectors examine chickens at a poultry slaughterhouse in Texas. The agency's proposed new rules would allow processing time to be increased to up to 175 chickens per minute, which means employees will have… more

by: Jacob Shea

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Seven Harmful Chemicals used in 12 California Offshore Wells
Chemical Number of Wells Used Known Health Effects20
Crystalline Silica (X-Cide) All 12 wells