Garbage was at the bottom of the deepest point of the ocean

American explorer made a record dive into the Mariana Trench

Reading time 4 minutes

Victor Vescovo descended into the deepest point of the ocean. His bathyscaphe reached the bottom of the world famous Mariana Trench. The depth of immersion was 16 meters more than in the previous descent in 1960.

Впадина
Mariana Trench – Oceanic Deepwater Chute in the Western Pacific

The American explorer reached the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean, its depth is 11,000 meters.

 

What did the researcher discover?

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, was stunned to find something similar to plastic in the deepest point of the ocean. At this time, he was in a machine specially designed to withstand tremendous pressure. After spending four hours under water, he remembered only rubbish. It was a plastic bag and candy wrappers.

Plastic waste in the ocean, according to UN estimates, reached 100 million tons.

Последнее погружение достигло 10 927 м (35 849 футов) под водой - новый рекорд
The last dive at 10,927 m (35,849 ft) is a new record (Photo: TAMARA STUBBS)

For the last three weeks, Vescovo has dived four times into the Mariana Trench to collect various biological samples and forms of rocky soil. He is the third man who descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The last who tried to do this was Canadian film director James Cameron in 2012, and before that, one of the US Navy lieutenants in the 1960s plunged into the hollow. Vescovo dive was the deepest in history.

The expedition was watched by Atlantic Productions, which collected material for a documentary for the Discovery Channel. Work under pressure, poor visibility and low water temperature made it difficult to shoot. Anthony Geffen, creative director of Atlantic Productions, said it was the hardest shot in his experience.

Виктор Весково провел четыре часа, исследуя дно траншеи
Victor Vescovo spent four hours, exploring the bottom of the trench (Photo: ATLANTIC PRODUCTIONS FOR DISCOVERY)

“Our team had to pioneer new camera systems that could be mounted on the submersible, operate at up to 10,000m below sea level and work with robotic landers with camera systems that would allow us to film Victor’s submersible on the bottom of the ocean. ”

After the completion of the expedition at the end of this year, the team plans to transfer the apparatus to scientific institutions. After, the researchers will be able to use the device in further work.

Swedish truant was nominated for the Nobel Prize

Greta Thunberg's sitting pickets gave impetus to the environmental protest children's movement

Reading time 5 minutes

School strikes for climate, Fridays for the Future, Youth for Climate, Youth Strike 4 Climate – variations of movements of teenagers who want to prevent climatic and environmental disasters. They organize school strikes, trying to convey the idea that knowledge makes no sense if there is no world in which they can be applied.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

The movement started in 2015, when an independent group of pupils and students urged students around the world to skip classes on the first day of COP 21, the Climate Conference, which was held in Paris. Over fifty thousand students from more than a hundred countries took part in the strike on November 30. The movement had three basic requirements: the ubiquitous transition to clean energy, the non-withdrawal of minerals from the earth, the assistance to climate refugees.

Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg.

In 2018, instead of studying, Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg began a single picket in front of the Swedish parliament. She sat in silence, and next was a banner with a slogan, which later became one of the names of the activist movement – “Skolstrejk för klimatet” or “School strikes for climate” in the English version. Its main requirement for the government was a gradual decrease in the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere.

In the interview, Greta said that the idea of ​​strikes for climate came to her after talking about skipping classes because of shooting in US schools. After that, the journalists had a question: can it be possible to skip classes to draw attention to climate problems? She found this idea viable, and she began to implement it. At first, no one responded to her proposal, but after a couple of days, someone kept her company, someone began to bring food to her. She attracted the attention of the media and some members of parliament.

Later, Greta still forced to return to classes. But on Fridays, she still continued to sit in front of Parliament with the same banner. The rumor about her actions went beyond Sweden. Soon, schoolchildren and students all over the world followed her example.

“I do it because no one else takes it. It is my duty to do what I can,” said Greta. “If several children can get into the headlines all over the world just skipping school, just imagine what people can do if they combine their efforts”.

In November 2018, three months after the start of the strike, she was invited to become one of the speakers at TEDxStockholm. At the conference, she spoke about the inconsistency of modern consumer culture, about ignorance, about silence and about the possibility of people starting to change the world for the better. March 14, 2019, Greta was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

On the next Friday, March 15, students and schoolchildren organized an international strike. Tens of thousands of teenagers in different countries appealed to governments and large companies to take a more responsible attitude towards the environment. Young people called it the beginning of active actions to preserve the world in which they are to live.

Greta Tunberg talks about protest marches around the world on her Twitter account.

 

The world’s largest coral reef can turn into a trash

Australia approved dumping of sludge near the Great Barrier Reef

Reading time 4 minutes

Australia plans to dump a million tons of sludge on the Great Barrier Reef. Despite strict waste disposal laws, the administration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMPA) approved this. It was found a loophole: the ban does not apply to materials obtained during port works. Industrial waste raises from the seabed near the port of Hay Point, one of the country’s main sources of income and the world’s largest exporter of coal.

Угольный терминал Хэй-Пойнт к югу от Маккая
Coal Terminal Hay Point South of Mackay

Due to environmental concerns, in 2015, the federal government banned waste disposal near the reef. But the ban concerned only dredging. Maintenance work in ports intended to clear shipping lanes is not prohibited.

Larisa Waters, a Queensland senator and deputy leader of the Green Party, called on the marine park administration to revoke the license to work. “The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,” said The Guardian. The senator added that dumping one million tons of sludge into the waters of a World Heritage site will turn the reef into a garbage dump.

Грязная вода угрожает Большому Барьерному рифу
Dirty water threatens Great Barrier Reef

According to Dr. Simon Boksoll from the National Oceanographic Center of Southampton, this is “another nail in the coffin” for the Great Barrier Reef listed as a World Heritage Site. Climate change affects this reef. The doctor thinks: “If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect.”

The sediment is dangerous because it envelops the corals. Coral lives in symbiosis with algae. Thanks to algae, the corals normally feed and retain their color. Without this symbiosis, coral can die.

The North Queensland Bulk Harbor Corporation said the release of sludge would have a negligible impact on the environment. In a statement published on the Internet, the corporation claims that a catastrophe will not happen. The company’s reports show that risks will be predominantly low with some temporary short-term consequences.

Риф уже потерял 30% кораллов из-за глобального потепления
Reef has already lost 30% of corals due to global warming

Dr. Boxall explains that exposure can be reduced by throwing sludge far from shore. But despite this, the sediment will still contain a large amount of harmful substances. “If it is thrown into shallow water, the sludge will strangle marine life,” he said. According to Boxall, it is important that the procedure is correct. “It will cost more money, but this is not an environmental problem, it is a problem of the port authorities.”

Last year, Australia pledged $ 500 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef, which has already lost 30% of its coral. Corals began to discolor. One of the reasons is the global rise in ocean temperature.

Balenciaga and Farfetch collaborated to save animals

The brands will donate a part of their profit from a new collection to The International Union for Conservation of Nature

Reading time 4 minutes

Balenciaga fashion house released a new collection for e-tailer Farfetch dedicated to rare animal species. The main goal of this collaboration between the famous French brand and the biggest online platform is to demonstrate endangered species.

New collection from Balenciaga

This exclusive capsule collection consists of clothes, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children. The clothes are illustrated with Large Pandas, Asian Elephants, North White Rhinoceros and Blue Whales — these species are threatened with extinction right now. While creating this limited edition, the brand did not use leather, fur and down materials. The collection is also complimented by popular models presented in new colors and materials.

A North White Rhinoceros on a shirt from Balenciaga

A presentation of the new clothing line played a big role for Balenciaga fashion house. For the lookbook, two leading luxury companies decided to hold a creative photoshoot. The models were photographed with natural landscapes on the background — this way the designers wanted to stress the acute problem of preserving the environment. To make the album for the collection, the brand blurred the background on all photos in order to emphasise the fragility of nature. While the rare representatives of fauna are depicted clearly.

The lookbook of the exclusive collection from Balenciaga

The fashion house expresses its concern with the current ecological situation. CEO of the label, Cédric Charbit, encourages all fashion connoisseurs to support organizations aiming to save rare animal species. A part of a profit from sales of the limited collection will be donated to The International Union for Conservation of Nature — the Swiss charity organization. Moreover, Cédric Charbit mentioned that Balenciaga shares with the organization the same values.

The lookbook of the exclusive collection from Balenciaga

According to José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, the brand Balenciaga is very popular among users of the online platform. He considers this partnership pretty advantageous, because it will bring new clients. The e-tailer represented exclusive wear which can be purchased only through the company’s web site.

British scientists sound the alarm: coffee can disappear

Arabica and other popular sorts are at risk

Reading time 4 minutes

Mankind faces a caffeine deficiency, as 60% of coffee plantations are at risk and may disappear forever. Scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew have shown that more than a half of the coffee types can be destroyed if deforestation and global warming are continuing. The problem of diseases of coffee trees will also exacerbate.

Coffee Plantation in Ethiopia

One of the most disturbing news for coffee lovers is the threat of the Arabica disappearance. Grown in Ethiopia, this species currently provides more than a half of the world’s coffee supply.

Coffee plants are demanding to the environment, and only a certain combination of temperature and precipitation allows the beans to mature, maintaining their taste and aroma. Yet farmers are increasingly complaining that changing weather conditions, as well as new types of pests and diseases, are affecting their crops.

«Given the importance of Arabica to the world community, we have to put a lot of effort into determining the amount of risk on which the further existence of coffee in the wild depends on,»- said Dr. Theddeus Woldemariam Gol, a representative of the environment and coffee forests in Addis Ababa.

The farmer checks the quality of the coffee tree

The problem of the coffee disappearance makes professionals look for ways to minimize risks. Scientists from the «World Coffee Research»organization have created several projects that, in their opinion, can save coffee trees from extinction. For example, there is a project to create a gene bank for conservation the genetic diversity of coffee. Another strategy is to create a database with information on the resistance, yield and coffee beans resistance of various varieties to pests and diseases while growing in different conditions. The third is the creation of a «tastes catalog» in which new coffees, developed by manufacturers, are being evaluated. But even on the organization’s website, experts admit that «there are serious gaps in our knowledge of how to aid coffee growers to adapt to changes».

Ethiopian children are sorting through the coffee beans on the coffee plantation

Molly Harriss Olson, an executive director of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, said that she was particularly concerned about the situation of producers of coffee and the effect of warming temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions on the crop.

 

«Coffee supports the activity of 125 million people around the world, including the poor in developing countries», – she said, referring to the report of the International Coffee Organization. «If we don’t do anything about this in the near future, the consequences for people will be absolutely destructive».

Hand over rags – get discounts

Well-known brands take things for recycling

Reading time 5 minutes

The beginning of the new year is a great time to sort out your clothes and throw unnecessary things. But the old clothes and other goods can be handed over to the store, for which you will receive a nice bonus. We will tell you where you can give away different things and get a discount for it.

H&M
H&M shop

The H&M company advocates for eco-friendly fashion and launched a worldwide campaign to gather and recycle things «Garment Collection».

The brand accepts any home textiles and clothing, including knitted accessories, underwear, tights, socks and stockings. You can bring things in any condition: hand over the torn pillow and frippery lone sock.

Clothing in a good condition is sent to second hand stores and charities, from textiles that are no longer suitable for use,  rags and wipes for cleaning are produced, decrepit things are recycled to create shock-absorbing and insulating fibers. H&M directs income to the implementation of social projects.

For each package of clothes that you bring to the store, you will be given a coupon for a 15% discount. One buyer can give unlimited number of products for recycling, but you can get only two vouchers per day for the purchase of a new thing. Now H&M issues coupons, which are valid until January 31, 2019.

MONKI
MONKI shop

MONKI brand is struggling with fast fashion and encourages its customers to take the way of reasonable and environmentally friendly consumption. In 2017, the official channel of the brand released a video instruction for lazy people, in which the company gives advice on an environmentally friendly lifestyle, and also tells why you should send unnecessary things for recycling and reuse.

Any home textiles and clothes are accepted in the shops, except footwear, accessories, products from natural and artificial leather, fur and latex. For one delivered package you will receive a voucher that gives a 15% discount on any item in the check. The rules are the same as in H&M.

By 2030, MONKI plans to create all the clothes of the brand from recycled materials.

Store addresses and contacts can be found on MONKI’s social media page.

IKEA
IKEA bedroom design

IKEA stores promote an environmentally friendly way of life at home: you can always hand over the batteries or buy products that help save water and energy. In 2017, the company launched a service for the reception and recycling of bed linen.

IKEA accepts sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers of all sizes and materials. You will not be able to hand over to the store blankets, pillows, bedspreads and completely spoiled bed linen. Brand transfers collected products to the Fund for those in need – «Vtoroe dyhanie» (New lease of life). The company gives a 15% discount on the purchase of a new set for all buyers participating in the campaign.

IKEA publishes reports on environmental and social activities on the official page.

Pochards should survive!

World’s rarest bird is being saved in Madagascar

Reading time 4 minutes

An international group of researchers released into wild artificially grown birds in the area of North Madagascar. Two dozen of Madagascan pochards should be a step towards recovery of the species believed to be extinct for 15 years. The pochard’s rescue can also be beneficial in protecting swamps of Madagascar.

Why is this species endangered?
The duck found a new home on a remote lake of Madagascar. Ph: WWT

Pochards were believed to be extinct for 15 years. But in 2006 a small flock of birds was found on one of the remote lakes of Madagascar. There were the last 25 Madagascan pochards on Earth. Their habitats were polluted, the remaining birds were found in a remote untouched swamp. Rob Shaw, the director of The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust company (WWT), explained on BBC News that these ducks tried to survive in the environment which was not suitable for them. Their shelter was too deep and cold for pochards’ vital activity. Rob Shaw underlined that other parts of Madagascar can be dangerous for these birds, because of accumulation of precipitation, pollution, thoughtless agricultural practices. This set of problems creates an unfavorable environment for Madagascan pochards.

How the species was saved
One of the key moments is raising in captivity. Ph: WWT

This painstaking work took more than a decade. An international team consisting of WWT, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and The Peregrine Fund members saved the eggs of Madagascan pochards and raised the birds in captivity.

To protect the ducks, on Lake Sofia were installed floating enclosures. Then the team investigated Madagascar’s territory on order to find a perfect place for pochards. The team worked closely with local communities living around the lake and using its water, fish, and plants.

To protect the ducks, on Lake Sofia were installed floating enclosures. Ph: WWT

Nigel Jarrett from WWT explained: «It takes a village to raise a child, so the old African proverb goes – but in this case it has taken a village to raise a duck. We have been preparing for this moment for over a decade. Working with local communities to solve the issues which were driving this bird to extinction has been essential to giving the pochard a chance of survival.»

The team believes that the return of a bird being on verge of extinction will serve as an example of how communities can preserve wildlife even in areas with the poorest populations.

 

Saved Alba: freedom with the risk of life

The albino orangutan returns to the wild

Reading time 5 minutes

The infrequent orangutan albino was saved from inhabitants of one of villages in the Borneo Island last year.  The other day, after successful rehabilitation, female was released back into the wild nature but the threat of animal’s life  remains.

Альба
Альбу выпускают на волю

The Kalimantan Central agency of preservation the natural recourses (BKSDA) and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Fund (BOSF) saved Alba at the beginning of 2017. She was captured by inhabitants of Tanggiranga, remote village in the Indonesian part of Borneo. Alba had a stress, dehydration and suffered from parasitic worms. The animal was taken to Nyaru Menteng orangutan rehabilitation centre.  

Alba was planned to be released into the wild nature in a few month, but her recovery convalescence took more time than it was expected. As an albino, she is susceptible to many diseases, she has poor eyesight and hearing, oversensitiveness to the light and predisposition to skin cancer. Alba is the only known albino orangutan in a history of this species. 

According to BOSF, Alba together with Kika, other rehabilitated orangutan female (not albino), were released to Borneo national park (BBBR). Originally, BOSF planned to surround a 5 hectares of the forest area and keep Alba under constant observation, but ultimately it was decided that orangutan should move freely in its natural habitat. 

«Thanks to intensive care provided by our special veterinary team and tutors of Nyaru Menteng Orangutan rehabilitation centre, Alba recovered and showed excellent skills of ascension and socialising», — noted BOSF in the statement. 

Транспортировка орангутангов происходила в специальных клетках
Транспортировка орангутанов происходила в специальных клетках

After hard 16-hour travel by land and the river, which Alba and Kika spent in the cages, BOSF team arrived into the BBBR National Park. BOSF published the video showed Alba and Kika’s travel. 

Currently Alba actively moves in the forest area, usually at the hight of 115 feet (35 metres). Her fast adaptation to the forest life is not surprising, as she doesn’t have the «inferiority complex» and feel herself confident in comparison with the other orangutans, said veterinarian Agus Fatoni to the Associated Press. 

Альба в естественной среде
Альба в естественной среде

Albuanadela has a tracking bracelet, and she will regularly be examined by the medical team  within the next six months. Environmentalists are concerned about her health, but they are even more concerned about potential poachers: Alba with her white wool and blue eyes is really vulnerable. The national park staff and nature conservation agencies organized the patrol in this area, however they recognize that opportunities for this purpose are limited.

«It’s really big adventure, but we hope that we will manage to implement this project successfully», — said BOSF executive director Dzhamartin Sikhit soon after Alba’s  releasing into the wild nature. 

Rescue of a rare giraffe species in Africa

Eight West African giraffes have been transferred to the Gadabedja protected area in Niger

Reading time 4 minutes

Until now, there were no giraffes from West Africa in the Gadabedji biosphere reserve in Niger. These animals still need protection. Illegal hunting, climate change and habitat loss all contributed to the decline in population size. According to the Nigerian publication, eight giraffes were moved to the reserve, this is the first such case for the West African subspecies.  

Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)
Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)

In accordance with the initiative of the Nigerian authorities, eight giraffes were caught approximately 60 km south-east of the city of Niamey. There, these animals share their habitat with local communities and compete with humans for natural resources. Often, giraffes come into conflict with people who manage their pastures. Because of this, some individuals go to restless areas on the border with Mali. 

Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах
Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах

The animals were placed in enclosures for three weeks to prepare for the upcoming journey in special trailers. Then they were transported to a new place of residence in the central part of Niger. 

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), over the past 30 years, the number of giraffes has declined throughout the African continent. The West African giraffe subspecies was once common in many countries, including Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, but is now only preserved in Niger. In the nineties of the twentieth century, only 49 individuals remained in the wild, and in 2008 the subspecies was listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as endangered.    

Западноафриканские жирафы - самый малочисленный подвид
Западноафриканские жирафы – самый малочисленный подвид

The efforts of the Niger Government in collaboration with local and international partners have led to the revival of the West African giraffe. Since 2005, conservation efforts in Niger have also intensified thanks to the Giraffe Conservation Fund (GCF) and the Sahara Foundation for Nature Conservation.   

Currently, the population size has increased to 600 individuals, and last month this subspecies was reduced by the IUCN to the category of “vulnerable”. Environmentalists believe that the relocation of eight giraffes is a key step in the development of Gadabedzhi as the leading reserve in Niger. They hope that this will help revive the population of the West African giraffe.

Elephants transmit information through the ground

Researchers found out that animals use signals similar to seismic

Reading time 4 minutes

While using instruments intended to detection of earthquakes, Oxford scientists Bet Mortimer and Tarje Nissen-Meyer discovered that various kinds of elephants activities – walking, running, sniffing, grunting – сreate different seismic signals in the ground. According to the research published in Current biology magazine, in several cases these vibrations are distributing through the ground much longer than through the air enabling animals to feel each other even over long distances.

Study’s author Dr.Mortimer

Earlier studies demonstrated that elephants capture ground fluctuations by their body. For instance, elephants were noticed running away to the uplands in the moments preceding tsunami emergence. The elephant feeling a threat began to stomp in order to avert others. The study expands the understanding of how animals can communicate. Beside, it provides new possibilities for researchers and ecologists who would like to observe animals remotely. This method can be fruitful for the save the species. «This information can be used as a strategy of remote monitoring», – Dr.Mortimer said.

An African battalion struggling with poachers

Despite the international affords to prohibit trade of elephant bones tens of thousands of african elephants are proceeding to die because of their tusks every year.

In order to hold the study scientists established devices known as geophones near the place of living of Kenia wild elephants. Like seismographs geophones convert soil fluctuations into measurable electronic signals, yet they are better to use in field work. With the help of these instruments researchers will presumably be able to pursue and defend animals.

Elephants are able to recognize hooves and fluctuations of the herd over several kilometres distance

Due to the fact that elephants live in complicated and spatially divided communities, animals use long-range communication in order to survive. The ground vibrations can be used for warning each other of danger and for partners seeking during very short period of mating. Supposing that elephants not only bring on distinct vibrations in various activities but also are able to perceive these signals from huge distances, scientists are intending to learn how to use these signals.

Vibrations created by elephants can be found and recognized on almost four miles in optimal conditions. However, any noise impact, even automobile noise, sharply decreases the ability to find and recognize these vibrations.