Congrats for making it through the longest Jan in history. I don’t know about you but this month was tough. Hopefully this ocean digest brightens up the start of your Feb.
There was So. Much. News this week. To squeeze it all into this week’s edition, there are more stories split across more categories. Love it? Prefer the shorter digest? Let me know!
Before we get going, I need to know which of the Bernie memes was your favourite. It’s not ocean-related but personally I just can’t get enough of this gem…
OK, with that important announcement out of the way, let’s crack on with some news.
Seeing the other side: Most of us are aware of the positive environmental steps President Biden has already taken including the executive order pausing new offshore oil and gas leasing (Quartz) and promising to protect 30% of USA’s lands and oceans by 2030 (Nat Geo). But is it enough? Here’s an eye-opening look at how Biden’s climate agenda is at odds with aspirations of the USA’s Indigenous peoples (Guardian)
Oh dear, Boris: The UK’s Environmental Bill will be delayed by at least six months (Daily Telegraph)
Climate Change Committee: has written a letter saying the UK government’s planning approval for a Cumbrian coal mine gives a “negative impression” of the country’s climate priorities. During the year the UK is hosting COP26 no less.
England’s ‘national rainforests’: Also in the UK, legislation will prevent the burning of heather and vegetation to protect England’s peatlands (Gov.uk)
Coral Spawning Database: This exciting new resource gives scientists open access to more than 40 years' information about coral spawning (Phys.org)
Whaley cool news: Tenerife-La Gomera has become Europe’s first Whale Heritage Site. This World Cetacean Alliance scheme encourages the travel sector to adopt sustainable wildlife practices
Calving rates decline: There’s been a decrease in the reproductive success of humpback whales in the north Atlantic, likely due to the climate crisis (Guardian)
Rice’s whale: Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, a new species of baleen whale has been identified… and it’s already endangered (The Hill)
Ray-ly worrying: Oceanic shark and ray populations have seen a 71% decline in global abundance over the past 50 years. (Project AWARE)
Global Fund for Coral Reefs: Exciting to hear the commitment of the fund to invest $500 million over 10 years to protect reefs and local communities that rely on them (UNDP)
Extended range: The Critically Endangered shorttail nurse shark has been found in Mozambican waters - that’s a range extension of 2,000km! (WCS)
New poll: Americans overwhelmingly support ending illegal fishing (Oceana)
Overfishing: Advice from the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission could allow the overfishing of yellowfin tuna to continue until 2023 (Blue Marine Foundation)
Baby Got Leatherback: The Djibouti Whale Shark Project has documented a leatherback sea turtle in Djibouti waters for the first time. Could the site be more important for this species than previously thought? (Shark Research Institute)
Un-Bee-Lievably Important: Remember our worries about bees and pesticides? The Wildlife Trusts are planning a legal challenge of the government’s decision to allow the use of banned chemical Thiamethoxam
City-zen science: Cities contribute 80% to global GDP but account for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. So the World Economic Forum has created BiodiverCities by 2030 to help cities grow while shifting towards nature-positive frameworks.
Sustainability, climate & more…
Beat the Microbead: Did you know about 80% of hand sanitisers contain microbeads? Check those labels, peeps! (Beat the Microbead)
It’s getting hot in here: Remember the first edition of Baleen talked about ocean temperatures reaching a record high? (ABC) Well, it’s not just the ocean feeling the heat. The entire planet is hotter than it’s been for 12,000 years! (MSN)
Get packing: Supermarket chain Waitrose has plans to integrate packaging-free items into its regular aisles. Sweet! (Retail Gazette)
Cool opportunities & dates for the diary
#OceanChangemakers: Are you an innovator contributing to the sustainable development of the ocean economy? Entries to this World Ocean Initiative Challenge close on Feb 5th! Go, go, go!
Great Scot! A new £2.5 million fund will help Scottish marine tourism businesses prepare for 2021 (VisitScotland). Applications open tomorrow (2 Feb 21)
#FishFree: Who’s taking part in #FishFreeFebruary? The challenge starts today!
The deep dive: resources
If you’re thinking: “OK this is great but I want MORE” here are a few resources that might float your boat:
Sea Beyond the Blue: This UBS guide for ocean philanthropists has comprehensive guidance for impactful marine philanthropy. At 64 pages, it’s hefty but worth a read
Climate Litigation: Recently, climate litigation cases have spiked: these cases are key for keeping governments on task in the fight against climate change (UNEP). The full report has a summary of the most significant cases and future predictions
The People’s Climate Vote: UNDP has conducted the largest ever survey of public opinion on climate change. Insights in the full report.
🐳🐳 Thanks for helping to grow the pod 🐳🐳
I’m so chuffed with all the feedback and shares so far - thanks and keep ‘em coming! If you’re enjoying Baleen, share it to show your support. Let’s make this a megapod!
Have a lovely week and see you soon!
& don’t forget: I’m available for writing commissions and comms consultancy so get in touch if you’d like to chat about working together… I’ll be holding my breath 🤓