Daily Archives: April 14, 2015

Who, What, Why: Why did giant fish hurl themselves at rowers?

  • 14 April 2015

Giant Asian carp were filmed propelling themselves through the air at a college rowing team in Missouri, US. Why were they doing it, asks Tom Heyden.

They’ve been called the “Terminators of the fish world”. They’ve been accused of “bludgeoning boaters”. It’s fair to say Asian carp have attracted a pretty bad reputation. And when an innocent team of young rowers are apparently ambushed by them, perhaps that’s understandable. The scenes look like a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, resembling some sort of aquatic apocalypse.

The biggest Asian carp can weigh more than 100lbs (45kg) and stretch 4ft long, explains Viv Shears, the director of VS Fisheries. “Imagine if one of those hits you,” he says. “There’s certainly been cases of people being knocked out of boats [or] knocked unconsciousness.” Incidents like these have not helped the Asian carp’s public image. “Gang of Flying Asian Carp Mount Aerial Attack,” was how one article reported the video.

The answer

  • They jump out of the water not to attack but to escape perceived danger
  • These powerful but non-predatory fish typically feed near the surface

But the ferocious terminology can be somewhat misleading. “It’s not an aggressive attack, it’s an escape mechanism,” explains Shears. The carp get spooked by a boat’s movement, triggering a fight or flight reaction, he says. And given their lack of any killer instinct, adds Shears, they opt for the latter. “Often the quickest way out of that situation is to go airborne.” The first carp to jump at the perceived predator then sparks the sort of mass anxiety attack reminiscent of a Tom and Jerry scene involving a room full of mousetraps.

Food-Matters
Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Arctic Resilience Report

Welcome to the Arctic Resilience Report’s website!

Photo credit: Ulf Molau

The Arctic region is changing rapidly, in ways that could dramatically affect people’s lives and ecosystems. Climate change is a major concern, but rapid economic development and social transformation could also make significant impacts.

Some changes may be gradual, but there may also be large and sudden shifts. For those charged with managing natural resources and public policy in the region, it is crucial to identify potential thresholds to prepare effectively for an uncertain future.

The Arctic Resilience Report is a science-based assessment that aims to better understand the integrated impacts of change in the Arctic. Its goals are to:

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Sustainability at Harvard Impact Report

We’re Measuring Our Impact to Build a Better Future

Harvard is dedicated to providing our community of students, faculty, and staff with a deeper understanding of the complexity of sustainability challenges so they can be ready to address those challenges wherever their lives may lead.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Naomi Klein explains “polluter pays”


WGBHForum

Published on Apr 13, 2015

In a conversation in October 2014 about her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Naomi Klein suggests that we must adopt the polluter pays method of holding fossil fuel extraction companies accountable and ultimately reducing fuel consumption, similar to the actions taken against big tobacco companies.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate Intervention

250 Intervention-250

http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/reports-in-brief/climate-intervention-brief-final.pdf

Climate intervention is no substitute for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and adaptation efforts aimed at reducing the negative consequences of climate change. However, as our planet enters a period of changing climate never before experienced in recorded human history, interest is growing in the potential for deliberate intervention in the climate system to counter climate change. This study assesses the potential impacts, benefits, and costs of two different proposed classes of climate intervention: (1) carbon dioxide removal and (2) albedo modification (reflecting sunlight). Carbon dioxide removal strategies address a key driver of climate change, but research is needed to fully assess if any of these technologies could be appropriate for large-scale deployment. Albedo modification strategies could rapidly cool the planet’s surface but pose envi­ronmental and other risks that are not well understood and therefore should not be deployed at climate-altering scales; more research is needed to determine if albedo modification approaches could be viable in the future.

Resources

E120, e130,
climate-intervention-brief-final.pdf

Another tragic day off the Italian coast: 400 migrants die, witnesses report

E120, e130, e145.

Thom Hartmann on Science & Green News; April 14, 2015

E120, e130, e145