The wonders of the world’s oceans will be on show in venues all over Britain in September and October at the International Ocean film festival. Originally from Australia, the festival features a selection of 11 of the world’s most captivating ocean-themed short films, put together into a two-hour evening of divers, surfers, swimmers and sea creatures. To whet your appetite, check out stills from a selection of the films. The festival starts on 4 September in Truro, Cornwall, and will tour 17 towns and cities until 30 October. For tickets, times and venues see oceanfilmfestival.co.uk
Duct Tape Surfing
Eighteen years ago, a car accident left Pascale Honore paralysed from the waist down. Fascinated by the ocean, Pascale dreamed of being able to surf. With the help of a roll of duct tape and Tyron Swan, a friend of her son who is a big wave surfer and professional diver, her dream eventually became a reality. …
Jürg Bischoff, Orumiyeh Heute, 19. August 2014, 05:30
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Der Urmia-See im Nordwesten Irans ist auf ein Drittel seiner ursprünglichen Oberfläche geschrumpft. Nun wurde ein Plan ausgearbeitet, um das einmalige Ökosystem zu retten.
Hinter dem Bahnhof von Sharafkhaneh liegen zerstreut ein paar verlassene einstöckige Häuser. Aus einem Garten voller Unkraut ragt etwas weiter weg ein grosser, leerer Hotelkasten. Dann kommt das Seeufer, von dem aus ein Damm, dann ein mehrere hundert Meter langer hölzerner Steg in den See hinausführt. Doch von Wasser ist nichts zu sehen, die Holzpfosten stecken in grauem, festem Sand. Weiter draussen wird das grelle Sonnenlicht zwar reflektiert, doch ist nicht auszumachen, ob es Wasser oder Salz ist, das die Spiegelung hervorruft. Die Saison im einstigen Badeort ist vorbei…
Locals are reporting a noticeable spike in shark sightings off the coast of Southern California this summer. Experts believe a variety of factors are contributing to the increased number of sightings, including clearer water causing more visibility.
But the spike isn’t just about more people looking for sharks. There actually have been more sharks, and experts say it’s because of the weather.
We’ve had near 70 degree water here in Southern California,” Dave Bater, a marine biologist, told KTLA 5. “This is [also] a place that’s full of baby shark food, which is small fishes.”
Because these animals don’t attack unless provoked, officials stated that there shouldn’t be any cause for Alarm.
Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Construction of U.S. Military Airstrip in Japan That Would Destroy Habitat of Endangered Okinawa Dugongs
Marine base threatens survival of manatee relative
Dugongs are gentle marine mammals related to manatees and have been celebrated as “sirens” that bring friendly warnings of tsunamis. Recent surveys have only been able to conclude that at least three dugongs remain in Okinawa.
Photo courtesy of Matthijs Rouw
Basic respect demands that the United States make every effort not to harm another country’s cultural heritage. U.S. and international law require the same.
Managing Attorney, Earthjustice
July 31, 2014
San Francisco, CA —American and Japanese conservation groups today asked a U.S. federal court to halt construction of a U.S. military airstrip in Okinawa, Japan that would pave over some of the last remaining habitat for endangered Okinawa dugongs, ancient cultural icons for the Okinawan people. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, is the latest in a long-running controversy over the expansion of a U.S. Marine air base at Okinawa’s Henoko Bay. Preliminary construction on the base began earlier this year.Dugongs are gentle marine mammals related to manatees that have long been revered by native Okinawans, even celebrated as “sirens” that bring friendly warnings of tsunamis. The dugong is listed as an object of national cultural significance under Japan’s Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, the equivalent of the U.S. National Historic Protection Act. Under this act and international law, the United States must take into account the effect of its actions and avoid or mitigate any harm to places or things of cultural significance to another country.
“Our folktales tell us that gods from Niraikanai [afar] come to our islands riding on the backs of dugongs and the dugongs ensure the abundance of food from the sea,” said Takuma Higashionna, an Okinawan scuba-diving guide who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Today, leaving their feeding trails in the construction site, I believe, our dugongs are warning us that this sea will no longer provide us with such abundance if the base is constructed. The U.S. government must realize that the Okinawa dugong is a treasure for Okinawa and for the world.”
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment has listed dugongs as “critically endangered,” and the animals are also on the U.S. endangered species list. In 1997, it was estimated that there may have been as few as 50 Okinawa dugongs left in the world; more recent surveys have only been able to conclude that at least three dugongs remain in Okinawa. Although the Defense Department acknowledges that this information is “not sufficient,” and despite the precariously low dugong population even under the most conservative estimates, the Defense Department has authorized construction of the new base.
The Nature Conservation Society of Japan reported earlier this month that it had found more than 110 locations around the site of the proposed airstrips where dugongs had fed on seagrass this spring and summer.
“Okinawa dugongs can only live in shallow waters and are at high risk of going extinct. These gentle animals are adored by both locals and tourists. Paving over some of the last places they survive will not only likely be a death sentence for them, it will be a deep cultural loss for the Okinawan people,” said Peter Galvin, director of programs at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Today’s legal filing, which supplements a suit filed in 2003, seeks to require the U.S. Department of Defense to stop construction activities on the new airstrip until it conducts an in-depth analysis aimed at avoiding or mitigating harm the expansion will cause for the Okinawa dugong. In April 2014, the Defense Department concluded that its activities would not harm the dugong, but that conclusion did not consider all possible effects of the new airstrip and ignored important facts. In addition, the department excluded the public, including local dugong experts, from its analysis.
For years, many locals have protested and opposed the base-expansion plan for Okinawa, where 20 percent of the island is already occupied by U.S. military.
Today’s lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the U.S. organizations Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network; the Japanese organizations Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation and the Save the Dugong Foundation; and three Japanese individuals.
“Basic respect demands that the United States make every effort not to harm another country’s cultural heritage. U.S. and international law require the same,” said Earthjustice attorney Martin Wagner. “The Defense Department should not allow this project to go forward without making every effort to understand and minimize its effects on the dugong. That means fully understanding the state of the entire Okinawan dugong population, how it depends on the seagrass beds around the proposed airstrip, and how construction and operation of the base might harm it. To ensure that no relevant information is excluded, the process and all related information must be fully open to the public.”
Alors que le nombre d’habitants sur la planète s’accroît de façon exponentielle, l’eau potable devient une denrée de plus en plus rare. Les grandes entreprises, telle Nestlé, tirent profit du marché de l’or bleu et imposent leur prix à ce bien de première consommation, nécessaire à toute vie humaine. La bataille pour un droit à l’eau et à l’assainissement est ainsi amorcée.
Nestlé et le business de l’eau en bouteille
Comment transformer de l’eau en or ? Une entreprise détient la recette : Nestlé, multinationale basée en Suisse, leader mondial de l’agroalimentaire, grâce notamment au commerce de l’eau en bouteille, dont elle possède plus de 70 marques partout dans le monde. Une enquête édifiante.
Un documentaire de Urs Schnell (France, Suisse, Allemagne –…
As the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, approaches, activist Ric O’Barry is getting ready for a four-hour interrogation by Japanese police and immigration officials when he arrives in the country.
The grilling has become part a gruesome Kabuki that plays out every year as fishermen in Taiji herd hundreds of dolphins into a cove and slaughter them, sparing only a few young animals that will be sold to aquariums for six-figure prices. The mercury-contaminated meat from the dead dolphins, meanwhile, ends up in supermarkets and restaurants across Asia.
It’s been five years since O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer, focused the world’s attention on Taiji in The Cove, the Academy Award–winning documentary that has now been seen by millions of people in more than 45 countries, according to the film’s producers.
“It was and continues to be successful,” said O’Barry. “People all over the world have seen the movie. New people see it every day.”
O’Barry said that he and his Dolphin Project cove monitors will be in Taiji from Sept. 1 until the dolphin-killing season ends in March or April.
“I can’t share the details of what, where, and when,” he said. “Your article will be read by my detractors in Japan before I get in the country.”
As the countdown begins, TakePart is launching a new Cove campaign to draw attention to the continuing carnage.
Japan, O’Barry said, is where The Cove’s message needs to be heard the most.
“The success of the movie outside Japan doesn’t help those of us who are working inside Japan,” he said. “In order for the Japanese to step up, they would need access to information that we Westerners take for granted. They need to see The Cove more than any country on Earth.”
This will be O’Barry’s 12th consecutive year in Taiji, he said, “and I will continue to return until they stop or I drop.”
The film’s director, Louie Psihoyos, also said the film’s impact continues to be felt.
“Countries are now banning the import of wild dolphins for dolphin shows. Vancouver has banned the aquarium’s breeding program,” he said. “The National Aquarium in Baltimore is shutting down their displays. Southwest Airlines is repainting their orca-painted planes after announcing their breakup with SeaWorld.”
Most significantly, “Taiji is killing 60 percent less dolphins,” Psihoyos said.
The film’s influence has spilled over into the captive killer whale debate.
“The Cove and now Blackfish have spawned a movement that reverberates through the world today,” said Psihoyos, referring to the 2013 documentary about the treatment of captive orcas at SeaWorld. “Just this morning I awoke to the news that SeaWorld’s stock plummeted some 30 percent. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”
The director’s organization, Oceanic Preservation Society, mailed copies of both documentaries to every board member at the top 10 investment firms holding SeaWorld stock. The company on Wednesday said attendance at its parks has fallen in part because of media attention surrounding proposed legislation in California to ban killer whale shows in that state.
“The idea is that once you see these films you can’t unsee them,” Psihoyos said. “And once you see a film like The Cove it’s impossible to hold stock in a company like SeaWorld without feeling like a whore.”
Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, believes the film laid the foundation for the continuing backlash against SeaWorld.
“Blackfish wouldn’t have hit the public as hard as they did if we hadn’t already had The Cove,” she said.
Courtney Vail, campaigns and programs manager at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, also praised the film but added a caveat.
“Despite all the international attention, dolphins and small whales continue to be subjected to extreme cruelty in Taiji,” Vail said. “But as more and more individuals within Japan become aware of and engaged in the issue, there is always hope for an eventual end to this cruel practice.”
Psihoyos acknowledged that his film doesn’t wield the power to stop the slaughter, but that doesn’t diminish its contributions.
“Some people think The Cove was a failure because they’re still killing dolphins in Taiji, but you never know where change will occur,” he said.
“It’s a totally different world than it was five years ago,” he added. “An informed public is the captive dolphin industry’s worst nightmare.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.