Author: Diego Estigarribia




With the rise of electric vehicles, we still have a somewhat obscure dilemma.

With the passing of the decades, humans must consider ourselves, in fact that is already under debate, to be more green, sustainable, etc … The important thing is that we have several alternatives, now, the important thing is to know which of them is the most correct and the origin of everything, how it is born and who gives it as energy to the world of consumption.

some data..

In 2012, in countries such as the United Kingdom, electricity generation from coal increased by 40%, due to the increase in the prices of gas also used to generate energy.

Electricity from coal, which is the most polluting way to produce energy, drastically reduces the advantages of electric cars. For example, as China generates almost all its energy with coal, the analysis of electric cars in the Asian giant showed that they were much more polluting than gasoline cars.

However, in countries like Norway, where much of the energy is produced by hydroelectric plants, electric cars had less environmental impact than normal ones.

“For the average electricity generation in Europe, if you use a car for 150,000 km you can expect an improvement of 25% (in global impact) compared to a vehicle with gasoline”

These results add another dilemma to all those consumers who evaluate whether or not to switch to electric cars.

Aside from questions about your driving or whether you will be able to reach your destination without having to change the battery, the environmental benefits are not always entirely clear.

Now, the rise of Lithium as batteries in vehicles recycling these batteries “is not harmless” to the planet, recycling costs a lot, less only 50 ‘60% can only be recycled and again to disassemble Lithium batteries It requires many highly polluting agents that, to top it all, generate a lot of Co2.

As a planetary organization we see with a lot of “eye” the supposed green energy that we want to sell, in any case we should go slowly and see how it goes to dictate its impact on the environment, its origin and its reuse, in order to minimize the impact and thus help humans to generate their development.


The decline in carbon emissions that has resulted from coronavirus lockdowns could easily be reversed by efforts to quickly ramp up economies.

The skies above Los Angeles are cleaner and clearer because of lower automobile use and less local manufacturing.



Traffic-free roads, plane-free skies and widespread brick-and-mortar closings have made the planet a beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic — but only in the short term.

Li Shuo, senior climate and energy policy officer at Greenpeace in Beijing, said it’s not time to “pop the champagne corks” just yet.

“It’s hardly a sustainable way to reduce emissions,” he said.

Many climate experts spotlighted 2020 as a critical year to take decisive action to limit the worst impacts of global warming. The year started with international attention on catastrophic wildfires and floods.

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The pandemic has overshadowed those issues — but with an environmental silver lining. The sharp reductions documented in carbon emissions and air pollution caused by coronavirus-related lockdowns have offered a sort of preview of the kind of improvements that can be made when drastic action is taken.

But the changes could easily be wiped out by efforts to quickly ramp up economies, including governments around the world that may be more willing to relax regulations to jump-start companies.

Despite an estimate showing that China — the world’s biggest polluter — emitted 25 percent less carbon than in the same four-week period the previous year, Shuo remains skeptical about any lasting changes. He said he’s worried that efforts to reignite China’s economy might end up making the coronavirus epidemic a step backward for climate efforts.

Average nitrogen dioxide concentrations from air pollution across France in March 2019, left, and March 14 to 25, 2020, as mapped by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, a reduction that the European Space Agency says is due to the strict quarantine measures during the coronavirus outbreak

That’s because if history is anything to go by, China might not take the greenest option.

Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, based in Finland, said China responded to the 2008 financial crisis with the “biggest, dirtiest stimulus program in the history of mankind.”

“It meant that for the following three years there was rapid growth in CO2 emissions, and we can now say with quite a bit of certainty that the overall impact was to nudge China on a more carbon-intensive, fossil fuel-intensive economy path,” Myllyvirta said.

How other nations handle their responses to the economic shock will also be critical.

There are some glimmers of hope that ambitious climate action could play a part. European Union leaders have said the recently announced Green Deal must be at the heart of an “intelligent recovery.” In spite of pressure to soften its green ambitions because of the pandemic, the EU has begun a consultation on tightening its carbon reduction targets by 2030.

Things look less promising in the U.S. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that the Trump administration had relaxed enforcement of regulations to help polluting industries deal with the pandemic. Gina McCarthy, who directed the EPA in the administration of President Barack Obama, called the announcement “a license to pollute.”

Meanwhile, some industries in the U.S. and Europe are pushing to relax other regulations.

The plastics industry, recently on its back foot over ocean pollution fears, has worked to turn the tide on plastic bag bans.

Although the science is far from clear, plastic makers have long argued that single-use plastics are safer and more sanitary than reusable alternatives. Plastics Industry Association CEO Tony Radosewski recently stressed the need for more single-use plastics to combat the spread of the virus in a letter March 18 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And it seems that many lawmakers are listening.

Plastic bag restrictions have been lifted across the country. In New York and Maine, recently introduced bans have been delayed. In Connecticut, plastic bag fees have been removed, while in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu prohibited shoppers from bringing reusable bags and ordered stores to make disposable bags available.

Likewise, the crisis has been a boon for the auto industry, with the Trump administration seizing the moment to fulfill a campaign promise to weaken Obama-era emissions standards. Automakers in the EU are also lobbying for a delay in tightening emissions restrictions because of the crisis. And in China, plans for tougher standards look likely to be delayed to help struggling automakers.

Airlines including Delta and JetBlue started off the year promising carbon offsets amid a growing culture of “flight shaming.” The airline industry is also lobbying for government bailouts and regulation relief.

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With governments focused on the crisis, there are also fears that the diplomatic push to refocus global efforts on reducing emissions could slip.

The United Nations’ COP 26 climate conference, scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, has been postponed until 2021. It had been hailed as the most important climate gathering since the Paris climate accord was signed in 2015. Under that agreement, countries are due to come back to the table with new pledges to limit warming to the agreed-upon level of “well below 2 degrees” Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and ideally below 1.5 degrees.

It’s “abundantly clear that the countries of the world are falling short of the goals of the Paris agreement,” said Dr. Simon Evans, deputy editor of Carbon Brief, a climate science website.

“Current pledges have the world on track for warming of about 3 degrees” Celsius, he added.

Environmentalists have already raised concerns after Japan — the world’s fifth-biggest emitter — became the first G7 country to announce its new targets. The plan, however, would simply maintain the country’s existing emission reduction pledges. The World Resources Institute, a research nonprofit based in Washington, criticized the approach for falling “woefully short.”

A successful outcome in Glasgow, therefore, looks likely to require extensive preparatory work and diplomacy. As Evans said, the Paris agreement was “built on years of diplomatic efforts on the part of the French government and the whole French diplomatic service over the course of about three years.”

Although the postponement of the climate conference does provide welcome extra time for work toward a successful summit, he argued that it is “inevitable that countries’ preparatory work toward their new pledges” will have been affected.

So while the world looks likely to emerge from the pandemic — at least temporarily — with cleaner air and lower emissions, “any positive environmental impact” from the crisis relies on our “changing our production and consumption habits towards cleaner and greener,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, wrote this week.

“Only long-term systemic shifts will change the trajectory of CO2 levels in the atmosphere,” she said.


Squirting dye into the mini Mississippi shows how the water flows around a proposed diversion. Squirting dye into the mini Mississippi shows how the water flows around a proposed diversion. 


HOLDEN, Mass. — We were standing on the levee of the Mississippi River, about an hour west of Boston.

Of course, the actual Mississippi River is a half-continent away. We were in fact in a vast, warehouse-size laboratory above a scale model of a bend in the river in Louisiana, painstakingly recreated at 1/65th scale, right down to the simulated sand.

The model is one of the most striking parts of an ambitious project to rebuild Louisiana’s vanishing coast, which is rapidly being lost to rising seas and sinking land. Engineers want to be sure their design for a river “diversion” — an enormous mechanism for restoring eroded wetlands — will work.

A diversion is a set of gates in a river levee that can be opened and closed. The escaping river water is supposed to sweep sand, sediment and clay into nearby wetlands being annihilated by climate change and other environmental disasters.

The cost of the model, some $4 million to build and test, is a bargain, said Dan Gessler of Alden Research Laboratory, which built it. “You’re paying for insurance, basically, to make sure you got it right,” he said. Considering the cost of the finished project, roughly $1.4 billion, and the enormous potential cost of correcting design flaws that a working model can reveal, “It’s very, very cheap.”

It is also fun. At the scale of the model, I would be more than 300 feet tall — a heady experience for a short person. Dr. Gessler stepped across a bridge that put him over the middle of the river and squirted a stream of bright red dye into the water to watch how the currents flow.

In the middle of the river is the deep navigation channel that serves as a major thoroughfare for shipping. The dye in the middle continues to flow downstream, while the dye close to the diversion flows obediently into the long chute that, in real life, would then enter an eroding stretch of bays and estuaries south of New Orleans known as the Barataria basin. The dye experiment shows that the ships in the navigation channel are not likely to be pulled toward the diversion.

Patterns of sediment in the model show how the planned diversion would move sand out of the river and into the basin.Patterns of sediment in the model show how the planned diversion would move sand out of the river and into the basin.

Patterns of sediment in the model show how the planned diversion would move sand out of the river and into the basin.

The squeeze bottle of dye has a long nozzle so that a line of color can be spread across the moving water.

The squeeze bottle of dye has a long nozzle so that a line of color can be spread across the moving water.

“You just want to get in and start playing with it,” said David Muth, director of Gulf restoration for the National Wildlife Federation, who visited the Alden facility. His organization, along with the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Audubon Society, has joined forces with local groups to support coastal projects under the banner of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, which calls diversions a “cornerstone for coastal restoration.”

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost more than 2,000 square miles of land, roughly the size of Delaware, to subsidence, sea level rise and the loss of sediment caused by construction of the levees along the length of the Mississippi. Those levees have reduced flooding and saved countless lives over the decades, but they have also penned up the nourishing sediment that used to flow out with the spring floods and renew the Delta. That, and other damage to the wetlands that includes channels cut for oil and gas exploration, have led to ongoing losses of about a football field of land every 100 minutes.

In response, the state has developed a $50 billion, 50-year master plan for coastal restoration and protection. The first was published in 2007 and Louisiana has re-evaluated and upgraded its plans every five years since then.

Officials have developed an ambitious roster of projects to protect areas of the state and rebuild wetlands, which can buffer the effects of hurricanes. But planners have come to realize that they cannot restore all of the land lost over the decades, and have had to become strategic about what areas can be protected and how.

The Mid-Barataria diversion, and a similar structure farther north that will open eastward into another body of water, are among the most expensive, audacious — and promising — proposals. Land can be built through dredging and pumping sediment into place, and Louisiana has done some of that in some areas, including efforts to beef up the state’s barrier islands.

But that process is prohibitively expensive. The Mid-Barataria diversion could restore as much as 60 square miles over its first 50 years, the coastal authority says, building land in critical areas where people live, work and play.

The funding for the diversion comes from settlement money the state received from BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

Brad Barth of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the program manager for the project said that diversions are nothing short of revolutionary for those who manage the mighty waterway. For more than 100 years, flood protection was the priority, placed far above any consideration of the health of the wetlands.

The river model includes a model ship and other river traffic.

The river model includes a model ship and other river traffic.

The gates on the diversion channel allow operators to limit or stop the fresh water flowing out of the Mississippi.

The gates on the diversion channel allow operators to limit or stop the fresh water flowing out of the Mississippi.

As the water from the river enters the diversion, it speeds up and carries sand away, so the patterns of sediment disappear.

As the water from the river enters the diversion, it speeds up and carries sand away, so the patterns of sediment disappear.

Building diversions means opening up those levees, “a complete about-face of how we’re using the resources of the lower Mississippi River,” he said. Putting in diversions is an acknowledgment, then, that “we can no longer accomplish things by damming things off with flood protection.”

In building the model, the designers are trying to monitor water currents, pressure and flow around the structure, and to determine how much sand the diversion could be expected to deliver through its long chute to the basin. The other components of land building — silt and clay — are suspended fairly evenly in the water and will flow out with the current.

But sand is heavier. So the engineers needed to test the conditions required to lift the sand and carry it into the chute with the minimum amount of fresh water spilling into the brackish estuaries and bay.

The scale model, about 200 feet long and 70 feet wide, had to account for the differences between the weight of actual sand at the speed the real river flows, and the much slower rate of flow in the model. The researchers needed sand for their model with a specific size and density to match the behavior of the real thing.

The answer: “We had to come up with fake sand,” Dr. Gessler said. They designed a stand-in and had a plastics company manufacture it: a white acrylic with the consistency of sugar, ordered in vast amounts and costing about a thousand dollars a ton.

As the 200,000 gallons of recirculating water flow through the model, the researchers experience the unexpected in real time.

Dr. Gessler pointed to a spot at the downstream end of the diversion where water is backing up over the wall of the channel and, as he put it, “corkscrewing” on its way into the channel. That turbulence could be a problem, putting stress on the final construction, he said. “We couldn’t see this in the numerical model,” he said. The discovery could lead to a design tweak.

Instruments are placed around the model, with nozzles connected to long white plastic tubes that run back to racks of sample bottles. During the many tests of the model, as water flowed at different rates, water entered the bottles, and the amount of sand and water in each was recorded.

There is a second model of the chute itself, with tiny pebbles scaled to match the corresponding size of the heavy stone, known as riprap, that will line the actual channel. And, after the tests on this Mid-Barataria model are completed, the model will be broken down and a new one representing the second diversion will be built.

Tubes and piping gather the water and sediment so they can be precisely measured.

Tubes and piping gather the water and sediment so they can be precisely measured.

The researchers test the model at different rates of river flow, taking samples of the water and suspended sand at many steps along the way.

The researchers test the model at different rates of river flow, taking samples of the water and suspended sand at many steps along the way.

One thing that is not being tested by the model: a proposed liquefied natural gas shipping terminal that would sit just upstream from the diversion and could affect river flow. The controversial project is still under consideration by state agencies, and the work to determine whether the project would hinder the diversion is being performed on computational models, Mr. Barth said.

Some people in the commercial fishing and oyster industries oppose the diversions, which will inevitably bring fresh water into saltier portions of the bays and estuaries and change the balance of salinity. The project’s designers are planning to minimize those effects by opening the gates only at certain times of the year, and only at water volumes that will provide the best balance of fresh water and land-building sand and sediment.

Mr. Muth of the wildlife group said that the fishers’ concerns miss the bigger picture. Even without action, he said, “The end game is very little estuarine habitat left.”

Inaction is not an option, he said. “The sea is going to win the fight.”

Fish and oyster habitats might have to move as the salinity shifts, but “there will always be places where the appropriate saltiness are there,” he said. To rebuild land, “We only have one effective tool, which is the Mississippi and the sediment it carries downstream,” he said.

“We have to unleash the power of the river, the river that built the Delta in the first place.”




I spent five days last year fighting the California wildfires in Malibu. It felt like the combat patrols I had been on as a Marine in Afghanistan.

From Left: Layne Stratton, Jack Platner, Beau Biglow, Leo Harrington, Sam McGee, Alec Houge, Riley Smoller, Andrew Jacobson, Nick Nushawg, Jake Kelley, Keegan Gibbs, Ryland Lancaster and Robert Spangle.Credit…Keegan Gibbs

In boot camp, I was surprised by the pride the other recruits took in their no-name Midwest hometowns. By contrast, I had no love for Malibu, Calif., which seemed like only one thing to me: an isolated beach town too far from the city for me to escape. I did not surf. I had no luck with girls. Years before I was old enough to enlist, the Sept. 11 attacks gave me a sure direction away from a dysfunctional home: I was determined to join the Marine Corps. So I spent my youth running Malibu’s hills, swimming its coast, avoiding a home that smelled of stale white wine and counting the days until I could enlist in the military. But my antipathy toward Malibu did nothing to stem a stream of brotherly abuse from the other recruits for what they perceived as my star-studded hometown. Their idea of Malibu was very different from what my reality had been.

That was 2007. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full swing. I deployed to Afghanistan as a radio operator with Second Force Reconnaissance in 2009 and again in 2010. My war was defined by the seven men I lived, trained, fought, laughed and cried alongside. Like any family we had roles and complicated dynamics, but we also had something more: The hardships and dangers we faced together, the level of skill and dedication we recognized in one another, fostered trust and a deep sense of acceptance. It only occurred to me as I drove off base for the last time in 2011 that family was what I had been looking for.

After leaving the Marine Corps, I studied fashion and tailoring, which led me to fashion photography. I kept up the pace of travel I had known as a Marine, but under considerably better conditions. Yet no fashion week or foreign destination could replace the feeling of purpose and tribal closeness I felt in the military.

On Nov. 9, 2018, I awoke in my house in Malibu, aching from the dull pains of a motorcycle accident a few days earlier. When I saw the smoke coming off the mountains to the north, I knew it was the beginning of a bad day. The Woolsey Fire would eventually destroy 1,643 structures, burn through 97,000 acres and displace more than 250,000 people.

I shuffled my possessions into my car as the cellphone networks and internet crashed. I lived alone in a rented house, having moved back to Malibu a year earlier, and my obligations to the rest of the world seemed minimal. But as I prepared to leave, I felt a strong sense of commitment to my sleepy beachside community. As an adult who had seen a lot of the world and had come to feel how fast life goes by, I had come to appreciate the beauty and peacefulness of this place that as a teenager I had been so eager to leave.

The Woolsey fire destroyed 1,643 structures, 97,000 acres of land and displace more than 250,000 people.Credit…Jake Burghart

With the normal lines of communication crashing and no way to gain a clear picture of the hazards around me, I evacuated, bringing two neighbors out with me. We reached the highway as flames arched across the road leading from our neighborhood. When we sped past our local fire station, it was hemmed in by fire.

I evacuated to my cousin’s home in Santa Monica, about 20 miles down the coast, but I felt little relief in escape. The news made it clear that all of Malibu was burning, and to my horror, much of the firefighting resources in the state had been sent to the fire in Paradise, almost 500 miles away in Northern California, leaving Malibu virtually undefended. I had assumed my city was well protected; now I felt like I had abandoned the place and done nothing to save it. I had a strong urge to return and do anything I could to help. But I wasn’t firefighter, so was there really anything I could do? This internal debate kept me up most of the night. By morning I decided to act, if only for my own peace of mind.

When I got back to Malibu, the town was so dense with smoke that I couldn’t see down to the end of the streets I rolled past. On my street, the fire had stopped four houses from my own. My mother’s home two miles away was ash and a burning gas line. Without emergency services and with most of the residents evacuated, the fire now burned unchecked. Across the canyon, the main body of the wildfire prowled outside town; closer in, fires flared at random in the residential streets, as houses or stands of trees were ignited by burning ash carried on the wind.

To get a better sense of the destruction, I hiked to the top of Point Dume, a promontory near my house that also lent its name to the neighborhood. Soon I spotted flames nearby and drove to them, hoping to stop them before they spread. There was an older couple sleeping in their S.U.V. at the foot of the hill. They had just lost their home after a 42-hour battle to save it.

Minutes later three trucks arrived, packed with young men, their faces covered in rags and particle masks. The drivers, unmasked, had the hard, strained faces of men in combat. I was overjoyed. They arrived with shovels and buckets — the meager weapons they could scavenge to save what remained of Malibu from the flames. They were less excited to see me, standing there with one leg still covered in bandages from my accident, equipped with a vintage convertible that was not exactly the ideal vehicle for the circumstances. Despite their skepticism, they let me join them. As night fell, I followed the group down into the smoke and water of a nearby gully. We were a ragged silent patrol, in a landscape of charred sand, distant fires, smoking vehicles and black water. It felt more like a patrol in Afghanistan than my California neighborhood.

Using barrier-breaching techniques I remembered from my Marine Corps training, I moved in front of the group, breaking through fences so we could get to the fire. We toiled past midnight, breaking four shovels in the process. Beau Biglow, a fourth-generation Malibu resident, had been fighting the fires for days and was falling asleep midstride. The guys’ Vans sneaker soles melted from the heat.

We slept at a nearby trailer park, falling across every horizontal surface in a home that had been evacuated by the family of one of our group. It felt like the end of so many patrols I had been on in Afghanistan. The dead sleep, the hangman humor, the stale-urine smell of combat. For the first time, our masks came off, and we exchanged names. We were all from the Point Dume neighborhood, and soon local residents who stayed behind began calling us the Point Dume Bombers, after a crew of Malibu surfers who looked after their local beaches in the 1970s. We resolved to protect the neighborhood from any more fires.

The following morning, more fires burned, but we acquired an important new weapon to fight them. One of the guys worked in film production and was able to get his hands on the high-end radios that they use while filming. Soon we had organized into three teams and I was serving as an observer from atop Point Dume, overlooking the neighborhood and the ocean, directing the Bombers by radio to fires and flare-ups I spotted. When I served as a radio operator in the Marines, our ability to communicate in the mountains of Afghanistan saved us countless times. With our radios, we could see beyond the ridgelines by talking to aircraft and other units. As the fire crept around Malibu, hiding in gullies and bluffs, I knew we would need that same type of coordination if we were to protect our homes and track the flames as they snaked through the dry hills around us. I realized my military skill set had real value here. The other Bombers worked tirelessly, without pause or complaint, with only the occasional request for cigarettes. Often our three teams were responding to different threats simultaneously.

Every Bomber had his own reason for being there. Lyon Herron had nothing to do until his chemotherapy ended. Jackson Winner saw the news in New York and jumped on a plane home, then a boat from Marina del Rey. Finding the piers closed by the evacuation order, he plunged into the ocean just beyond the surf line and swam ashore. C.J. Keossaian flew in and used back roads to sneak past the police barricades, and Sam McGee — well, Sam never left, before or during the fire. In the group, which swelled to 25, some had already lost their homes. Nobody was paid and no one had a motivation beyond feeling bound to help his hometown.

Over the next few days, the work shifted from fighting the fire to distributing aid to local residents. With the roads blocked by the police and the commercial pier closed off by the Coast Guard, supplies were brought into Malibu by boat but couldn’t be ferried all the way onto shore. Half the Bombers helped unload the boats by surfboard, kayak and dinghy. Open propellers chopped the water around them, gasoline ate away their wet suits, and fire planes, swooping down to refill their buckets, bisected their shore runs. I watched, holding my breath, from my observation post. In the Marines I was trained to coordinate fire support from aircraft and naval artillery, so now I tried to deconflict the inbound boats and the landing fire planes, much as I did when trying to keep aircraft staggered at thousands of feet as they lined up for bombing runs near friendly ground forces.

Some of the Point Dume Bombers working to extinguish a fire.Credit…Jack Platner

On the afternoon of Nov. 13, the fifth day under evacuation, a call came over the radio about a reckless driver. Another call quickly followed. I took down the vehicle’s description: a lifted Ford pickup, from the 1990s, tan. A third call for help reported that the truck had run someone off the road. I dialed 9-1-1 again and again, but there was no cell reception. My stomach tightened as panicked calls came in from the aid station we had set up at the bottom of the hill. The driver, a man clearly under the influence, was demanding fuel and behaving aggressively. When he was told to calm down and wait his turn, he only became more enraged. Over the radio, a voice yelled: “He says he is going to kill everyone.”

The vehicle came into sight at the bottom of the hill, speeding down the center line of a two-way road. I watched in horror as the driver stopped in the middle of the road, lurched out of the cab of his truck and ran toward an elderly woman. He changed his mind and got back into his truck, but by that time I was already sprinting down the hill. I was tired and limping, but I had my .45 pistol, a sidearm that I kept around from my time in the Marines. This relic from my past life suddenly had renewed importance.

I got down to the road just as the pickup slewed off into a narrow private drive. I tried to intercept the man’s rampage by persuading a passing car to block the driveway, hemming in the man’s truck so he couldn’t use it as a 4,000-pound weapon. I braced behind the passer-by’s car hood, as the man — at least 6 feet tall, heavyset, well into his 40s — bellowed and threatened to kill us.

He returned to his vehicle, retrieved something from inside, then began slowly walking toward me. My hand went to the pistol in my waistband. Would I have to shoot this man? Malibu, a beachside paradise, had devolved almost completely into the Helmand River Valley.

During my time in the Marine Corps, I learned how easily minds could break; the best of men were one bad day away from being monsters. And killing — even killing monsters — comes with no guarantees, except in its hold on memory. I ordered the man to stop. I pleaded. He darted into the parked car, turning our barricade into another deadly threat. I was torn between the powerful impulse to act and a moral duty not to harm. We made eye contact, and he seemed to have a change of heart. Maybe I had helped him see reason, or maybe he saw the police approaching. He took his hands from the wheel and went back to his truck. The police cruisers screeched up, officers poured out and the man was arrested. I walked away, relieved and somehow ashamed.

The next morning, no fires burned on Point Dume. It had been five days since the Woolsey Fire swept into Malibu. Still, I kept my watch on that hilltop, and the crew kept up their patrols and supply runs. But at 3 p.m., our radio network buzzed with orders of a mandatory pause on all Point Dume Bomber operations: The surf was up.

The battle had ended. Our deployment was over. By the end, it felt like I had found another tribe, nearly a decade after I had driven through the gates of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for the last time. Twenty-three of us paddled out into the Pacific Ocean, under the cliffs of Malibu. “It’s as if the fire never happened,” one of the others remarked. We laughed hysterically as we washed for the first time in almost a week. We shook with cold. We were alive.

I knew this was brotherhood, and I knew it would end. I savored it consciously — the warm blanket of safety, the sense of common purpose and the glowing admiration that ran from one man to the next.

From left: Paul Bakken, Alex Midler, Andrew Jacobson and Ryland Lancaster sorting through the rubble at Keegan Gibbs’s childhood home.Credit…Keegan Gibbs

The evacuation order was in place for 10 days in our part of Malibu, but as the danger abated, law and local residents returned, and our spirits plummeted. I felt the approach of the same dark cloud that hovered inches above my head between deployments. When the breathless crush of crisis and action is over, there’s time to recognize the enormity of the damage that has been done and your helplessness to repair it.

For many of us, seeing Malibu in ruins and being unable to fix it was too much. Almost all the Bombers left town, at least for a while. I flew to New York, where I confided the fear, doubt and horror of the week to my closest friend, this time knowing that I wasn’t sharing these truths to help her understand, but for myself. I slept better then.

By the time I returned home, there had been attempted suicides and several overdoses among the survivors of the Malibu fire. When the holiday season arrived, it was like holidays after the apocalypse. But the Bombers met up at the top of Point Dume for Christmas, complete with a tree and a small generator to power some lights. After that, we got back to the slow, gradual business of rebuilding our lives. We each had houses to work on, family to help, relationships to tend. The Bombers still got together regularly, and strange as it sounds, it often wouldn’t take long for somebody to say, “I miss the fire, man.”


Here’s Justin Trudeau just the other week announcing something nice for the environment. Image via The Canadian Press



Only one day after declaring a climate emergency, Canada has approved the expansion of a massive pipeline that will increase oil production in Alberta and release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

On Monday night, Canada’s parliament passed a motion brought forward by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna calling climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” and requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments.

On Tuesday, in a move condemned by environmentalists, Justin Trudeau’s cabinet approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX).

Trudeau said he was elected on a plan to grow the middle class and fight climate change, two goals he said were not at odds. “We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future,” he said.

“This project has the potential to create thousands of solid middle class jobs for Canadians,” he said.

Trudeau made a commitment that every dollar earned from the expansion project will be invested in Canada’s transition to green energy. A senior official said that amounts to about $500 million per year once oil starts flowing through the pipeline.

The project will proceed subject to 156 binding conditions from the regulator, the National Energy Board.

All 129 First Nations along the pipeline route will receive invitations later this week to join a government engagement process toward their “economic participation” in the project, a senior official said.

In response, First Nations leaders in B.C. reiterated their opposition to the project. Tsleil Waututh community member Will George said in a statement, “No matter who approves it, this pipeline will not be built.” Pipeline opponents promised to “occupy the highway” this Saturday.

Construction will start in 2019, but an exact timeline will depend on permits, according to a senior official.

“The timing is ironic for sure,” said Cat Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network. “We’re continuing to have a conversation about addressing climate change in Canada while skirting around the elephant in the room, which is emissions from oil and gas.”

It’s not yet possible to say whether Canada will or won’t meet our Paris commitments, but the government’s own numbers show that we’re 79 megatons of greenhouse gases away from our 2030 emissions reductions targets. It’s a “significant gap,” Abreu said. “And that gap is, according to the modeling, in large part thanks to emissions from the oil and gas sector.” She said Canada will have a hard time meeting its Paris targets “without seriously addressing emissions from the oil and gas sector.”

Cabinet’s approval of the expansion will mean new jobs in pipeline construction, plus heated protests along the route in B.C., and a flurry of fresh legal challenges against the government. It will also allow Trudeau to enter the fall election saying he found a way to export Alberta oil from the west coast, where it can potentially fetch a higher price. The project would increase the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline from 300,000 barrels of bitumen per day to 890,000.

It’s the second time Trudeau has approved the expansion.

He first gave it the green light in November 2016, but last August a Federal Court of Appeal decision quashed that approval, ruling that the government failed to properly consult First Nations along the pipeline route, and the National Energy Board, the regulator, made a “critical error” in excluding marine tanker traffic from its review. In response, the government launched new consultations with First Nations, and the NEB released a report finding that marine traffic would have “significant” negative effects on killer whales, but concluded it should go ahead anyway.

According to a Crown consultation report released Tuesday, the government has promised to accommodate First Nations by enhancing spill prevention, ensuring quieter vessels, and monitoring cumulative effects, among other measures. The report concludes the government met its duty to consult, as set out by the Federal Court of Appeal. In a letter released Tuesday, former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, who oversaw the consultations, said they had reinforced his hope for “fair and equitable reconciliation.”

Pipeline worker Tyler Moss said pipeline construction business is already “busy busy” and he’s turning down jobs. Even without the expansion, there are new liquefied natural gas projects to build in northern B.C. But he said he wants the expansion to go forward for the “overall health” of the oil and gas sector.

“TMX is still a huge project and if it does [get approved] I’d be happy to work in the mountains for one of the bigger outfits.”

As for the looming climate crisis, Moss said the shift toward green energy can’t happen overnight. “If our country has money from our resources, we’ve got better options for investing in green energy.”

“That’s like saying we need to keep selling cigarettes to have money to fight cancer,” said Eugene Kung, lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, and lead on the First Nations case against the pipeline.

Kung said he and other lawyers plan to review cabinet’s rationale, looking for opportunities to challenge it in court. New legal challenges may not stop the pipeline completely, but they could delay it enough that it becomes financially difficult to justify building, he said.

“It could be a stranded asset long before it’s paid off,” Kung said, pointing to a recent Bank of Canada review that identified climate change as a vulnerability to our financial system, posing both physical risks from extreme weather events and transition risks from adapting to a lower-carbon global economy.

The question of whether there’s actually a business case for the expansion has hung over the project since Canada officially bought it last August for $4.5 billion.On June 11, a former Liberal environment minister sent letters to six members of Trudeau’s cabinet saying the expansion has no business case. “There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen,” David Anderson wrote, according to the Canadian Press.

“I don’t think of it as a business case,” said Trevor Tombe, associate economics professor at the University of Calgary. “Pipelines, once they’re constructed, are really boring assets.” They’re like a utility, with a regulated rate of return from one year to the next, he said.

“The question is only whether they will be utilized at sufficient capacity to recoup the construction cost,” he said. “In this case, the projections for Alberta oil are such that there’s little doubt that the oil will be shipped if the pipeline is built, so in that sense, there will be a return on the dollars invested in the pipe.”

On the other hand, the case for public ownership is weak, he said. The government only bought the pipeline under enormous pressure from the previous owner, Kinder Morgan, which had threatened to pull out in the face of court challenges and regulatory hurdles.

Trudeau has been clear that the government plans to sell the pipeline. Tombe said it’ll be easy to sell it once it’s built, but it’s not clear if it will fetch a high enough price to recoup various costs including construction. “Time will tell,” he said.

Meanwhile, along the pipeline route in B.C., some First Nations groups are preparing to fight construction on the ground.

Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society sent a video showing four tiny houses parked along a highway near the site of a proposed “man camp,” where workers building the pipeline will live. She contends the pipeline infringes on her First Nation’s rights, and believes man camps pose a threat to Indigenous women. Her group blocked the road to the proposed man camp in anticipation of the pipeline’s approval.

“Yes, we’re here blockading, and TMX will never get built,” she said.

She said she was about to give her sister a stick-and-poke warrior tattoo “to get ready for battle.”













Mike Pompeo surprised everyone in a speech at an international conference on the Arctic region, stating that it is at the “forefront of opportunity and abundance”


Contrary to the warnings made by various organizations about the catastrophic effects that climate change is producing in the Arctic region, the US Secretary of State sees above all new opportunities. For Mike Pompeo, that region is “at the forefront of opportunity and abundance” thanks to reduced sea ice and the natural resources it has.

According to Pompeo, in a speech on Monday in Finland, during a meeting of the ministerial council of the Arctic countries, which includes the US, the reduction of sea ice makes the region “an arena of global power and competition” “due to new avenues of passage opening new trade routes.

For example, reducing ice will reduce travel between Asia and the West to 20 days. “The Arctic sea lanes could become the Suez and Panama Canal of the 21st Century,” he said, quoted by CNN.

Pompeo’s political discourse on the Arctic focused on the threats posed by Russia and China to the region. The US Secretary of State stated that the United States will compete for influence in the Arctic and counter any attempt by the other two powers to dominate this strategic location.

According to the Washington Post, China has invested about 80 billion euros in the Arctic since 2012. The US secretary of state has shown distrust of the intentions of the Asian giant’s investment because of the country’s “predatory activities” in other regions. “Do we want the Arctic Ocean to become a new South China Sea, full of militarization and territorial claims?” he asked the diplomats present.

Pompeo also warned of Russia’s intentions in the Arctic as the country began a major military expansion campaign. “We know that Russian territorial ambitions can become violent,” he said, pointing to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The Secretary of State listed during his speech some of the region’s natural resources as: “13% of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30% undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, abundance of fishing, diamonds and millions of square kilometers of unexplored resources. ”


Despite this strategic interest in the region, the US Global Change Research Program points to the loss of sea ice as a negative. The loss increases the risk of erosion along the coasts and alters the presence of marine species in certain areas, which may affect trade in fish and consequently the economies of some coastal cities.

The changing habitat of the animals may prove dangerous, for example, the 52 polar bears that invaded a Russian village and terrorized the inhabitants for months. The animals, due to the increasing melting of the Arctic and the loss of habitat, saw the need to get closer to the population to look for food.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in March 2019 that “since satellite measurements began in the late 1970s, the extent of Arctic ice has declined in every month and virtually all regions, with the exception of the Sea of Bering during the winter “.

Also a report from the National Data Center on Snow and Ice pointed out a new record level of sea ice loss. The figures show that last April there were 89,000 square miles less than in April 2018. The study also points out that of all Arctic ice only 1.2% is over four years old.


The US secretary of state commended the American view on the struggle for the environment and said that Trump is “committed to achieving resources in environmentally responsible ways.” The speech was made on the same day that a UN report warned that one million species were at risk of extinction due to human action, including climate change.

For Pompeo, America is the world leader in caring for the environment. “The United States is achieving reductions in the American way: through scientific work, through technology, through the building of secure energy infrastructures and through our economic growth, and we are doing this so as not to stifle development with costly regulations that they only create more risks to the environment”.

When asked about climate change, something he chose not to address in his speech, the Secretary of State said that his view and President Trump’s “put all the emphasis on results.”




The Eastern monarch is in trouble, and this is the time to help (no science degree is required).

NASHVILLE – The chrysalis of a monarch butterfly is one of the most beautiful things in nature. Brilliant emerald green and sprinkled with gold, it is an exquisite jewel that contains an even more exquisite promise.

The day before a monarch emerges, its chrysalis becomes dark, almost black, but if you keep a light on, you can see the shape of the orange wings alive inside. The wings are lined with black veins like stained glass windows in a cathedral. They are still strongly bent, but hold, in miniature, the shape of the wings of an adult butterfly. At this stage, it is possible to determine the sex of the butterfly even

before it leaves the chrysalis, simply by observing the thickness of those black veins that frame the bent wings.

I have been trying to cultivate monarchs in my family room for two summers, with mixed results. Last year, some of my mail order caterpillars formed a chrysalis and none survived to become a butterfly. This year I have had better luck: after seeing a monarch laying eggs in the milkweed in my own garden, not once but twice this season, I brought some eggs inside to protect them from predators. I launched seven healthy butterflies in June and four more last week, a perfect record of survival from egg to butterfly. But I do not know how many eggs were hatched in the garden, or how many of t


that were born survived. Even with their bright yellow

stripes, monarch caterpillars are adept at camouflage.

As a species, the Eastern Monarch, an iconic butterfly that migrates 3,000 miles every year, is in serious trouble. A changing climate is part of the problem, which endangers the Mexican wintering areas of the monarch and engenders extreme weather events that can destroy millions of migratory butterflies. And pesticide drift can poison caterpillars even when they are not the target pest.

The caterpillars of the monarch are never directed, in fact, because the monarchs are important pollinators that do not eat crops or damage the gardens. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed, which was once omnipresent along US roads and on the margins between fields on small farms. The greatest danger to the monarch butterfly is the disappearance of milkweed due to the destruction of habitat and the widespread use of herbicides, such as Roundup, both in commercial farms and in state highway departments.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, which advocates adding the monarch to the federal list of endangered species, the population of the monarch of North America has fallen more than 80 percent in the last two decades. This year, the migratory population of the butterfly, about 93 million, was significantly lower than a year ago. And scientists believe that the population needs to reach at least 225 million to avoid extinction.

Raising monarchs in a climate controlled family room is a fascinating hobby, but it is not the way to save the species. The butterflies that I launched this year, even combined with the thousands and thousands of butterflies released by dedicated monarchist administrators across the country, will make little difference in a population that is still far below sustainable numbers. What the monarch needs to survive is more milkweed.

As Laurel Wamsley of NPR, the public radio network, recently reported, a new project at the Field Museum in Chicago aims to help by planting milkweed in urban areas along one of the main migration corridors of the monarch. A team led by Abigail Derby Lewis, a senior conservation ecologist at the museum, investigated possible planting sites in Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Pablo. They discovered something surprising: there is already a large amount of milkweed growing in the cities: 41 million plants.

And there was plenty of space to duplicate that number, particularly if more people planted milkweed in their own patios and flowerbeds. “In many ways, if you sow it, they will come,” Dr. Lewis told NPR. “It’s a wonderful, almost instantaneous, gratification that people feel and are empowered to make a difference.”

There are many varieties of milkweed, so it is best to choose the ones that suit your region and growing conditions: some varieties perform well in full sun and can tolerate drought, while others prefer swampy conditions. Perhaps against intuition, the fall is the best time to plant milkweed because the roots have time to grow in depth and settle down before the plants are stressed by the summer heat. (For information on which varieties to plant in your area and where to find seeds, see Monarch Watch, here).

I had to try several varieties before deciding for two that do not require pampering or care. Ultimately, the monarchs came and laid eggs in my garden. Each female monarch puts up to 500 eggs in its short life because, as with most insects, survival depends on waste. The caterpillars of the monarch can prey on predators, parasites and diseases, but if there is enough milkweed to support them, at least some of the caterpillars will eventually survive to form a chrysalis.

Last week, he had released 10 healthy monarchs, but he had not yet seen a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. It is amazing to see a hatching of caterpillar eggs (the baby is so small that a magnifying glass is needed to make sure that an eclosion is really happening), and it is equally amazing to see how a mature caterpillar contorts itself when shrugging. of your skin and forms a chrysalis. But the miracle of all miracles must be the emergency itself, and it happens so quickly that it is easy to miss.

Finally, last Monday, with the last chrysalis of the year, I saw it.

What a gift it was to see a monarch butterfly pierce its shell, crawl and spread its wings. What an unspeakable gift to watch as his proboscis unfolds, to watch how his delicate legs cling to the pupated chrysalis, while the fluid fills his wings and begins to take the shape of the most recognizable butterfly in the world.

Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the southern United States.


source by: ecoportal.

At this moment in the United States, there are around 2 million homes with solar panels. Taking into account that there are around 90 million single-family homes, that does not seem like much. But consider this: we are now on track to add a million new solar systems every year. It took a while to get here, but solar energy is increasingly becoming a popular choice to boost the Home of the Future.

The number of solar-powered homes “will improve pretty fast,” says Justin Baca, vice president of markets and research for the Solar Energy Industries Association. Panels are getting cheaper, growth is happening at double-digit rates every year, and some key politicians are getting excited: California recently approved the requirement that new homes include solar panels.

Of course, not all states are as lucky with the weather as California, but several solar companies say they are beginning to expand beyond Golden State and Florida. Anne Hoskins, policy director at Sunrun, the nation’s largest residential solar installation company, says the company is growing in states like Wisconsin and Illinois. David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, says his company has many solar customers in New England. Baca points out that Maryland and the Carolinas are starting to have more solar panels, and New Hampshire and Vermont have a lot when you consider the size of the states.

Most houses with solar panels are still connected to the traditional electricity grid. Cloudy days (and eclipses) will occur, and that’s when it will be useful to be connected. Normally, when the system produces more energy than necessary, they export to the network. And when they produce less, they take from the network. The costs are based on consumption, says Baca. It is assumed that you should not export much more than you consume, so systems tend to be designed to be a little smaller than what is needed for 100 percent. (Usually, they will point to 80 to 90 percent of solar energy).

But that does not mean that being 100% out of the network is not possible, says Bywater. Energy storage is key when it comes to renewable energy at any scale; you want to have security There are some different ways to store energy, but the one that is most useful for the home is to use a lithium-ion battery, similar to your phone’s, but much, much larger. These can be connected to the solar panel system and store energy during sunny days. Then, they come into operation when the clouds appear.

Although solar energy is cheaper and increasingly popular, the industry faces some obstacles. Permits and inspection regimes are fragmented, explains Baca. Different jurisdictions and local governments have different versions of the building code, and all interpret them differently. “That generates a very fragmented and inconsistent process that makes companies have to worry about the installation of solar energy,” he says. For example, they could sell to a homeowner who is excited about the panels. But the process of obtaining permits takes three months, and then the client gets frustrated and cancels. So, although the California legislation was a victory for the solar industry, it could be the atypical place. Politics is still a bottleneck.

If solar power becomes ubiquitous, we’re likely to see it integrated with smart home energy management systems, predicts Bywater. These will regulate the household battery by using different sensors and solar panels. “The real trick is for the system to know how to make someone feel comfortable and how to be aggressive in conserving energy,” he says. You must know the optimal temperature of the home and how to change it according to the rates of the public services and the time of day to save money.

Ultimately, says Baca, “we are personally waiting for a day when solar energy is as ubiquitous as alternating current.” Very few places had air conditioners when the technology was available for the first time, and now it is rare to find a builder who creates a new house without that. “People think that something is missing when it is not there,” he says. “I think it’s where we go with solar energy, and I hope we’ll see it sooner rather than later.”



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A judge declared Yellowstone Grizzly as a threatened species..



US Justice has again declared the grizzly bear of Yellowstone as an endangered species, after the government withdrew it from the list last year on the grounds that it had reached a self-sufficient population opening the door to its hunt.
The US Government then argued that the conservation efforts of the bears in Yellowstone National Park, which covers part of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, in the west of the country, had paid off and that the population of these animals had multiplied by four in the last four decades, from 136 to 700.
However, federal judge Dana Christensen, with a court in Montana, ruled Monday that removing the yellowstone grizzly from the list of endangered species without taking into account the other populations of the country was an “illogical” decision.
Despite their undeniable growth, the Yellowstone bears are still isolated from the other large population of this animal in the US, south of the Canadian border, in the Glacier National Park (Montana), making them still vulnerable.
The Fish and Wildlife Service explained, in a statement, that it is studying the court ruling, which will now allow the management of Yellowstone bears to return to federal hands after they relapsed last year into the states.
However, the agency said its decision to remove it from the list of threatened species was based “on a rigorous interpretation of the law and was based on the best available science.”


source by:/eco-sitio

As marine mammals evolved to make water their primary habitat, they lost the ability to make a protein that defends humans and other land-dwelling mammals from the neurotoxic effects of a popular man-made pesticide, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Credit: R. Bonde, US Geological Survey

As marine mammals evolved to make water their primary habitat, they lost the ability to make a protein that defends humans and other land-dwelling mammals from the neurotoxic effects of a popular human-made pesticide, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The implications of this discovery, announced today in Science, led researchers to call for monitoring our waterways to learn more about the impact of pesticides and agricultural run-off on marine mammals, such as dolphins, manatees, seals and whales. The research also may shed further light on the function of the gene encoding this protein in humans.

“We need to determine if marine mammals are, indeed, at an elevated risk of serious neurological damage from these pesticides because they biologically lack the ability to break them down, or if they’ve somehow adapted to avoid such damage in an as-yet undiscovered way,” said senior author Nathan L. Clark, Ph.D., associate professor in Pitt’s Department of Computational and Systems Biology, and the Pittsburgh Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine. “Either way, this is the kind of serendipitous finding that results from curiosity-driven scientific research. It is helping us to understand what our genes are doing and the impact the environment can have on them.”

Clark and lead author Wynn K. Meyer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in his laboratory, knew from previous research by other scientists that some genes behind smelling and tasting lost their function during the evolution of marine mammals. They set out to see what other genes conserved in land-dwelling mammals had lost function in marine mammals.

By analyzing DNA sequences from five species of marine mammals and 53 species of terrestrial mammals, the team found that Paraoxonase 1 (PON1), was the gene that best matched the pattern of losing function in marine mammals while retaining function in all terrestrial mammals. PON1 even beat out several genes responsible for smell and taste, senses that marine mammals don’t rely on much.

In humans and other terrestrial mammals, PON1 reduces cellular damage caused by unstable oxygen atoms. It also protects us from organophosphates, some of which are pesticides that kill insects — which lack PON1 — by disrupting their neurological systems.

Clark and Meyer worked with Joseph Gaspard, Ph.D., director of science and conservation at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and Robert K. Bonde, Ph.D., now a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, to obtain marine mammal blood samples from U.S. and international scientists and conservation biologists. Collaborators at the University of Washington reacted blood samples from several marine mammals with an organophosphate byproduct and observed what happened. The blood did not break down the organophosphate byproduct the way it does in land mammals, indicating that, unless a different biological mechanism is protecting the marine mammals, they would be susceptible to “organophosphate poisoning,” a form of poisoning that results from the buildup of chemical signals in the body, especially the brain.

In an attempt to learn why marine mammals lost PON1 function, the researchers traced back when the function was lost in three different groups of marine mammals. Whales and dolphins lost it soon after they split from their common ancestor with hippopotamuses 53 million years ago; manatees lost it after their split from their common ancestor with elephants 64 million years ago. But some seals likely lost PON1 function more recently, at most 21 million years ago and possibly in very recent times.

“The big question is, why did they lose function at PON1 in the first place?” said Meyer. “It’s hard to tell whether it was no longer necessary or whether it was preventing them from adapting to a marine environment. We know that ancient marine environments didn’t have organophosphate pesticides, so we think the loss might instead be related to PON1’s role in responding to the extreme oxidative stress generated by long periods of diving and rapid resurfacing. If we can figure out why these species don’t have functional PON1, we might learn more about the function of PON1 in human health, while also uncovering potential clues to help protect marine mammals most at risk.”

As an example of the potential real-world consequences of losing function at PON1, the researchers explain in their scientific manuscript that in Florida, “agricultural use of organophosphate pesticides is common and runoff can drain into manatee habitats. In Brevard County, where 70 percent of Atlantic Coast manatees are estimated to migrate or seasonally reside, agricultural lands frequently abut manatee protection zones and waterways.”

The scientists believe the next step is to launch a study that directly observes marine mammals during and shortly after periods of excess agricultural organophosphate run-off. Such a project would require increased monitoring of marine mammal habitats, as well as testing of tissues from deceased marine mammals for evidence of organophosphate exposure. The most recent estimate the research team could find of organophosphate levels in manatee habitats in Florida is a decade old, Clark said.

“Marine mammals, such as manatees or bottlenose dolphins, are sentinel species — the canary in the coal mine,” said Clark. “If you follow their health, it will tell you a lot about potential environmental issues that could eventually affect humans.”

Additional authors on this research include Jerrica Jamison, Raghavendran Partha, M.Tech., Amanda Kowalczyk, B.S., Charles Kronk, B.S., and Maria Chikina, Ph.D., all of Pitt; Rebecca Richter, B.S., Judit Marsillach, Ph.D., and Clement E. Furlong, Ph.D., all of the University of Washington; Stacy E. Woods, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Johns Hopkins University; Daniel E. Crocker, Ph.D., of Sonoma State University; and Janet M. Lanyon, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland.

This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01HG009299, U54 HG008540 and T32 EB009403. Collaborators were supported by funds from the Biotechnology Research Gift Fund, University of Washington, Division of Medical Genetics, and by grant 16SDG30300009 from the American Heart Association. Marine mammal samples were collected with funds from the Winifred Violet Scott Charitable Trust, the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences