A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
AltaSea has scheduled some exciting Live Chats and Webinars over the coming weeks. We hope you will join us for one or all! To sign up for these free online events, please follow the links below.
AltaSea & LAEDC: Latest Cutting-Edge Tech Companies Are All Wet – Thursday, July 16 at 10:00am
AltaSea, Milken Institute & Santa Monica College: Mobilizing an Ocean Economy Workforce in California – Friday, July 17 at 11:00am
Live Chat with Dr. Geraldine Knatz: A Century of Marine Science at the Port of Los Angeles – Friday, July 17 at 1:00pm
Live Chat with Dr. Roberta Marinelli: Seafloor Ecology and BioGeoChemistry – Friday, July 31 at 12:00pm
HERE’S THE BLUE DEAL
5 Ways the Ocean Can Save the Planet (AltaSea)
Less than a year ago, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change communicated to policy makers that the health of the ocean was suffering from global warming. But the ocean, is not a victim, and it does not benefit humans to view it that way. Doing so makes us less empowered to correct the situation according to The High Level Panel for A Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP), a group of science and policy experts.
The HLP concluded that the ocean is the solution to climate change, having the ability to reduce both global warming and the rise in global temperature due to the release of excess carbon compounds (greenhouse gases) that trap warm air near the Earth’s surface. The Paris Climate Agreement warned that temperatures should not increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial (before 1850 – 1900) levels. Temperatures above this level would disrupt natural and human systems.
But how can the ocean combat this issue? Organizations, like AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, are the answer. The HLP highlighted five ways that people working together can harness the ocean to save the planet.
There are many organizations fighting for a better earth and a better future. One of these is the Center for the Blue Economy at Middlebury Institute. Their mission is to promote a sustainable, resilient ocean and coastal economy (the “Blue Economy”) through leadership in research, analysis, and education. Their research focuses on the economics of climate change adaptation in coastal regions and helping organizations manage the changing nature of economic relationships with the oceans and coasts.
Recently, the Center for the Blue Economy partnered with Blue Frontier to address a need to put oceans and coasts front and center in climate solutions. While there are calls to rally around a “Green New Deal,” those calls must also rally around a “Blue New Deal.” These two organizations have created the Ocean Climate Action Plan to provide a template for some of the first ocean climate legislation and policy actions in U.S. history.
Climate change has been a hot topic over the past decade. Many scientific groups and activists have made projections for climate change in the future. One of these projections is that by 2030 the global temperature will increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius. Over the past decade, we have been unable to halt or decrease the Earth’s increasing temperature, even with a strong group of climate change activists. With Covid-19 affecting human activity, the world has perceived a short-term change in what looks to be a step in the “right” direction. What people are actually witnessing is a reduction in pollution, not a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
Too Big To Fail? (AltaSea)
The ocean plays a major role in the survival of our planet for well-known reasons, such as the ability to slow global warming by trapping harmful carbon compounds or the ability to release vast quantities of oxygen. But if the ocean fails, our health will be affected in direct and indirect ways. Regardless of whether we live near or far from the beach, we interact with the ocean individually on a daily basis.
Most people eat a variety of seafood ranging from fish to shellfish to seaweed. For example, wakame is a popular seaweed, sometimes called a sea vegetable, used in seaweed salads; agar contains a polysaccharide used to make gelatin; and emulsifiers from seaweed are used to give foods, such as ice cream, a rich creamy texture.
The Great Wonders Beyond the Great Reef (The New York Times)
What lies off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea? The region was mostly unexplored and uncharted until a recent expedition searched its dark waters, uncovering an abundance of life, weird geologic features and spectacular deep corals. The deepest forays reached down more than a mile.
The expedition was organized by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, founded by Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google, and his wife, Wendy. Its centerpiece was a ship, nearly the length of a football field, that could map the remote seabed with beams of sound and deploy tethered and autonomous robots to capture close-up images of the inky depths.
Sailing Ship Sets Marine Plastic Recovery Record (The Maritime Executive)
The motor-sailing cargo ship Kwai docked Tuesday at the port of Honolulu, bringing home a catch of more than 100 tons of fishing nets and consumer plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (also known as the Gyre). It represents the largest single cleanup at sea in the Gyre to date, and it is more than twice the Kwai’s haul from last year.
When the Kwai arrived in Honolulu, she completed a 48-day at sea clean-up mission that began at Hilo on May 4. She only got under way after a three week self- imposed quarantine period to ensure the health of crew members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the expedition, Kwai’s crew collected waste with the help of specialized GPS satellite trackers, which were previously attached to drifting nets by volunteer yachts and ships. The ocean often sorts debris, so a tagged fishing net can lead to other nets and a density of debris. Drones and lookouts help the ship’s crew to hone in on the debris. They recover the litter, bag it and store it in the ship’s cargo hold for later recycling and repurposing.
SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS
The theme of last month’s World Oceans Day was “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean,” the phrasing of which is at once broad and defined. How is the ocean not sustainable, and why is innovation needed to save it? The answers to these questions are manifold and point to private sectors (businesses, nonprofits and NGOs) as having the most impact in the short and long term.
For starters, the rate at which ocean resources are used for business is much greater than our activities to offset the resulting impacts. The combined assets of the ocean economy, including fishery, tourism, trade and transportation (the on-sea shipping of goods), amount to an annual gross product of $2.5 trillion, while the damages could cost us $428 billion annually by 2050.
In June, the European Commission published “The EU Blue Economy Report 2020”, providing an overview of the performance of the EU economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment. With a turnover of €750 billion in 2018, the EU blue economy is in good health. There were also 5 million people working in the blue economy sector in 2018, representing a significant increase of 11.6% compared to the year before. Although sectors such as coastal and marine tourism, as well as fisheries and aquaculture are severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the blue economy as a whole presents a huge potential in terms of its contribution to a green recovery.
New ASU mapping tool shows holistic view of water in Arizona (Arizona State University)
Water is a critical issue in Arizona, and a new water-mapping tool created by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University has collected a vast array of maps and data sets to show a wide-ranging view of water in the state.
The Arizona Water Blueprint visualizes information on groundwater, rivers, agricultural irrigation, dams, ocean desalination, critical species and other concepts that are important not only to policymakers but also to any Arizonan concerned about water.
The first-of-its-kind map creates a holistic view of water in Arizona that was missing, according to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy.
“We’re in a lot of meetings about water planning and water resources at various levels, and we often see how this blueprint will make the conversation much more informed,” she said.
The Aquarium’s Free Lectures Make a Splash (NBC Los Angeles)
Taking a brief mind vacation?
It’s always a lovely thing, and allowed, and highly recommended, even if you’re sitting on your couch.
Or perhaps “especially” is the word here, as in “especially when you’re on your couch.”
But there is a way to enhance the classic mind vacation, and give it a bit of depth, even literally, in terms of ocean-based knowledge.
The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Online Academy can help us out with that, and we don’t even need to slip into a wetsuit or a pair of waterwings.
We can take a deep dive by signing up for a free virtual lecture, the sort of talk that builds on our knowledge and curiosity about a host of nature-cool topics.
Incubator for Ocean Exploration Companies Docks at Port of Los Angeles (Spectrum News 1)
Calm waters near the docks at the Port of Los Angeles have become a gateway for startups like Rustom Jehangir’s Blue Robotics to test out their remotely operated vehicles and underwater drones like their BlueROV2.
Jehangir’s company is one of many that’s headed underwater for a chance to be part of the future ocean or blue economy that’s not stopping for COVID-19.
“People often say that robots are really good at dull, dangerous, and dirty things and this is definitely the case. There’s lots of underwater applications that are dull, dirty or dangerous. This can protect divers or just keep a better eye on them,” Jehangir said.
Before any COVID restrictions were in place, Jehangir moved his company into the AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles — a 185,000 sq. ft. warehouse space docked on the harbor for start-up businesses in this industry to share ideas, data and inspiration for the future of ocean sustainability.