Environment

Plastic Bags – Bane of the Earth
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Turtle Eating a Plastic Bag Let's talk about plastic bags. It's something that everybody uses but it's time that we stop using them now. It's estimated that the world uses 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags a year. In the US alone, they estimate that it takes 12,000,000 million barrels of oil are required to produce the 100 billion plastic bags used each year. (Source: reusablebags.com) When I used to work at a major outdoor store in Toronto, I was constantly amazed the large numbers of people who requested bags to carry home their freshly purchased knapsack. What's with that? They looked at me like I had two heads when I suggested that they just put it on their back... It's super important that we start to educate our students about making sure they don't allow plastic bags to get into our waterways. Two articles showed up in the press today about animals ingesting plastic bags and dying slow horrible deaths. Here is one on a giant turtle in Australia and another one about 2 pounds of plastic bags found in a minke whale found dead in the UK. For those who missed it a couple of months ago, we posted a piece about the so-called, Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's an area twice the size of Texas that is completely filled with around 3 million tons of floating pieces of plastic. More info and teaching resources: Plastics in our Oceans and Waterways
Directly from the things-you-don't-want-to-run-into file: Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the UK issued a warning to all vessels in the Pentland Firth to beware of a huge fishing net that was lost overboard from a fishing boat. It is about the length of six football (soccer for us North Americans) fields. Already one fishing boat has been caught in the net and had to be cut out and towed back to harbour. More info: bbc.co.uk Photo by Jupiter Images

Skaha Bluffs Access Secured - Forever
Thursday, 07 February 2008

This has nothing to do with paddling or even anything to do with water but it is a great success story that it needs to be shared. Canada's largest retail cooperative, Mountain Equipment Co-Op announced yesterday (Feb 6) that they were able to officially secure the purchase of Skaha Bluffs in British Columbia's South Okanagan. The local climbing community has worked for years to secure public access to the Bluffs. Mountain Equipment Co-op and The Land Conservancy (TLC) joined the effort in 2006. With financial support from the province of BC, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Climber's Access Society, and other partners, TLC closed the $5.2 million deal on January 16, 2008. The landowner was interested in selling the 750 acres that the bluffs were part of. There was great concern that the area would be developed cutting off access for all. More info: The Land Conservancy

How do Crocs digest animal’s whole?
Tuesday, 05 February 2008

New research has revealed how Crocodiles are able to eat snakes, buffalo, cattle and even people and digest them. The secret behind it is a heart valve that crocs control neurologically, which lets blood bypass the lungs and flow through a special aorta straight to the stomach, enabling them to secrete gastric acid at rates 10 times faster than those measured in any other animal.
A series of storms last week has causes a pile of rare and wild stuff to wash up on Oregon coast beaches. Beachcombers have found everything from cute little critters like sharks to ugly gooey things like jellyfish. Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium in Oregon made a very rare find when they found a long-beaked common dolphin. They said the staff have never seen one wash up before. More info: beachconnection.net
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