Marine protected areas or no-take zones are areas designated by government where no extractive activity is allowed by law. Such activity includes hunting, fishing, logging, mining and drilling. These zones do not just apply to areas of water on certain oceans but also to bodies of water on land such as certain lakes or rivers. Unfortunately, these zones are often rare as sporting or commercial fishing often make up a large percentage of industry for coastal areas. No-take zones are often used to protect the spawning grounds for different marine life to prevent population extinction and conserve wildlife.
Due to current issues such as overfishing, the surreal amount of plastic in the ocean and decaying coral reefs; the importance of these protected areas are becoming more necessary as we progress through the 21st century. Therefore, it is integral that the benefits of these zones are understood so that we can increase their use and help protect marine life from further degradation.
One of the major benefits of marine protected areas is obviously the increase in population size for all marine life. With nature allowed to reinstate itself, a healthy ecosystem is allowed to reform for the most part. These pockets of sustainable life help repair an ocean which is currently being riddled with plastic and overfished.
Some may feel that this is a considerable loss for the fishing industry or unfair to isolated fishing villages with no other source of livelihood. However, this is not the case at all. In time, as the population sizes grow in these marine protected areas, spill over occurs where different populations of marine life start to migrate. Therefore, allowing the continued fishing of these different species in the non-protected areas whilst also allowing a sustainable area to thrive.
Currently, only 2.7% of the ocean globally is protected. Protected areas are sporadically increasing however, with areas such as the Great Barrier Reef to smaller areas consisting in and around the United Kingdom. An atlas overview of the different areas can be found here.
In summary, as information on climate change continues to spread, one thing that is certain is that we need to start living more cooperatively with nature because if we continue to progress destructively without thought for other life then this will ultimately be the very thing which stops our progression altogether.
There is a rising concern among parents and teachers with children experiencing what has been deemed Eco-anxiety. If you would like to learn more about this phenomenon, more detail can be found in a previous post.
In recent news, people are looking into ways to help alleviate this anxiety and create a more assured confidence in the next generation. National Geographic has provided a list of different solutions others may want to try if they know children experiencing this type of anxiety:
Community activities – This can help bring people together and share ideas or inspirations into the small changes than can do to help the planet and alleviate their own anxiety.
Being prepared – Assure them that nations put plans in place for natural disasters caused by climate change and other phenomenon.
Discuss what we can do – Reassure them that officials and scientists worldwide are tirelessly researching and discussing different solutions to the many complex problems climate change presents.
Learning and experience – Teaching children about the wonders of the natural world whilst taking them on days out in woodlands or national parks can help inspire and create a passion for learning about the environment whilst developing a strong attachment to nature.
The past decade has witnessed an increased use of drone technology within different environmental roles. From farmers to scientists, drones are now being used to reduce farming costs or help survey plant and animal populations in remote areas. Below is a short list consisting of the different tasks drones can be used to help the environment and scientific research.
Reducing the cost of farming
Drones can help with farming tasks such as planting, crop spraying, monitoring and irrigation. Increasing the success rates of planting crops whilst also decreasing planting costs. In terms of crop spraying, drones can reduce the amount amount of chemicals that work their way into ground water whilst completing the task up to five times faster than traditional machinery.
Renewable energy maintenance
Inspecting tall structures such as wind turbines are another way drones help reduce risk and increase efficiency. Drones are now used to help with maintenance surveys and collect data on solar panel installation as well.
Drones can also help map and collect data on areas which may be hard to reach for people on the ground. For example, environmental scientists are using drones to help survey mangroves, coral reefs and tropical rainforests. Making the task more efficient and also safer for the researchers involved.
Drone technology is also used to monitor wildlife movement, track population numbers and survey habitats. This method makes it a lot easier for ecologists to get a more accurate number of a certain species whilst reducing the risks of interfering with the animals themselves.
Finally, drones are also used to help prevent and assess natural disasters such as wildfires or typhoons. For example, In the Philippines during 2013 drones were used to assess the damage of a typhoon and help migrate people whilst finding the most ideal places for reconstruction.
NASA are working on a new satellite which will be used to track hazards as well as measure the rates at which land ice is melting. Their new project will help provide more accurate data and estimations for scientists and engineers to use to act upon this information.
This joint project between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation has revolutionary aspirations:
‘By tracking subtle changes in Earth’s surface, it will spot warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions, help to monitor groundwater supplies, track the melt rate of ice sheets tied to sea level rise, and observe shifts in the distribution of vegetation around the world. Monitoring these kinds of changes in the planet’s surface over nearly the entire globe hasn’t been done before’ – http://www.climate.nasa.gov
This is hopefully going to be a big step forward into how we collect data from Earth and also the measures we can take to put large-scale action into motion.
A recent strategy to repopulate forests uses drones to plant seeds at a safer and faster way than humans can. In different parts of the world, organisations are using drones to restore forests damaged by wildfires and other consequences of climate change.
This short video summaries what is taking place in the United States and the process which takes place. This company’s website gives a more detailed look into how they operate.
In the UK, organisations are using drone planting techniques in order to solve the issue of Ash dieback. Ash dieback is common in most parts of Europe and is a fungal disease which often spreads from tree to tree. Therefore, the seed spreading drone program aims to help repopulate forests with healthier trees.
One UK tech company, Dendra, is aiming to plant 500 billion trees by 2060. This idea could help restore forests which are being lost to deforestation due to organisations profiteering from the newly cleared land, for example the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
In Myanmar people are tweaking the technology to plant mangrove trees along coastal areas and places hard to reach on foot. This new innovative design looks promising as not only are the drones used to plant trees at much higher rates and in places hard to reach, they are also used to help scan sections of woodland and provide information on specific areas of forests.
The next global climate change summit which is scheduled to take place later this year is reportedly focusing on those most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
‘The Climate and Development Ministerial will bring together countries and partners to work on solutions to the flooding, drought and extreme temperatures faced by many developing countries, as well as opportunities for energy access, cleaner air and smarter cities’ – http://www.gov.uk
The UK government is also subjecting more funding and focus into engineering a greener future, focused on minimising carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy schemes.
Climate change is now a subject people can study at university. This has emerged as a whole new area one can study at different universities around the UK. The course is specifically tailored to tackling climate change and focus on aspects from the impact of scientific mechanisms to the social aspects. This is a great step forward as now the younger generation can be more equipped with dealing with their future and this incentives more people to work within the environmental sector to tackle the issues surrounding climate change.
A case study conducted on the islands of New Zealand have found that species which inhabit these islands are at risk of extinction due to causes such as the invasion of non-native species. The researchers also noted that conservation efforts must tackle indirect threats as these pose as much of a risk as the immediate threats. They warn that conservation efforts can easily be reversed or harmful conditions being exacerbated by global environmental change.
Spreading the message and having the best intentions is a start but without action no important change can happen in the limited window we have left. There are many different ways different companies take action on climate change, some as a case of greenwashing, but others have more honest intentions.
As well as companies, nations also have a responsibility to the environment, Climate Action Tracker helps track each country and determines whether it is on track with the 2015 Paris Agreement. Furthermore, I have picked out some interesting companies that are directly linked to conservation and climate action.
They take action on environmental harm and climate change in a multitude of different ways, one of those being boulder drops into the ocean. By dropping large boulders into the ocean, this creates a barrier from industrial fishing ships, as a result protecting marine life and ecosystems.
Currently scheduled to hold many forums and summits throughout the year tackling the key issues surrounding climate change. Also, they raise the questions on what action can be taken against these issues and the most efficient ways to achieve these actions.
Rewilding Britain are actively involved in rewilding and conservation by supporting landowners, publishing research and petitions for policy change. They are a small company which only started five years ago but provide a lot in terms of information and action.
Conservation international focus primarily on the conservation of wild areas and restoring biodiversity to deprived areas of land. Their goals include reducing carbon in the atmosphere, secure ecosystems which act as carbon traps, ensure all mangroves are protected and protecting rainforests. They work in countries such as Kenya, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.
It has been found that the abundant and resilient seagrass which populates sea beds across the oceans are now at risk of depleting due to global warming. Studies and news articles have now made it abundantly clear that a foundation of many marine ecosystems is now at risk of disappearing due to the increasing temperature of the Earth and its atmosphere.