I don’t need to ask if you’re new to Baleen because, well, I’m new to Baleen too. Thank you so much for joining the pod - I’m so excited to see how many of you have subscribed already. It’s really blown me away!
You might have signed up to find out what’s been going on in the conservation world over the last couple of weeks or you’re just intrigued what’s this all about…
Either way, there’s lots of interesting environmental news to share so, without further ado, let’s dive in!
The green (or blue!) stories you need to know
Top stories you don’t want to miss
When I was first curating the news I wanted to share, I thought I’d leave out the stuff you’ve probably seen and just highlight things that might have gone under the radar.
But you know that expression “unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know about XXX”? Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve been taking much comfort in hiding under my rock recently. Some days, the only way to avoid the dreaded c-word is to ignore the news altogether. (Don’t worry: I’m going to try to keep Baleen a pandemic-free zone… consider it carefully cleaned with anti-bac wipes!).
So, just in case you’ve been hibernating too, here’s my roundup of top environmental stories to hit the headlines:
Cornwall, UK, is to host the G7 summit this summer (BBC). There’s a nice overview of what the G7 is here.
Bottom trawling is taking place in 98% of UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas, according to a shocking MCS report. (Oceanographic). Full protection of MPAs isn’t just an issue in the UK. 75% of Australia’s marine protected areas are only partially protected. (The Conversation)
& 10 things that might have cruised under the radar
Some (ocean) giant news: Having lived and volunteered with MMF in Mozambique, I was over the moon to hear the country has a new commercial fishing law to protect threatened species including whale sharks and mantas. I’m writing about it for Resurgence & Ecologist magazine - watch this space (or peek at the press release). Well done team MMF!
Shrunken testicles: When I was planning the first issue of Baleen, I did not expect it would include the phrase ‘shrunken testicles’ but there you go; life is full of surprises. PCBs (banned industrial chemicals) may still be affecting the fertility of cetaceans. (BBC)
Synchronised swimming: A new study has discovered electric eels work together to shock their prey in sync! (Nature.com)
Turn it off: I hate video calls (we always managed fine on regular phonecalls, thank you very much). So, I’m delighted to have a genuine excuse to avoid video when I’m still in my joggers and haven’t brushed my hair: Turning off your video during a Zoom call can reduce your carbon footprint by 96%! (E&T)
Hot topic: A new study revealed that ocean temperatures reached a record high in 2020 as a result of climate change. (ABC) Don’t worry, I’ve snuck this in the middle as a bit of a s**t sandwich… read on for more positive news!
B̶y̶e̶ ̶b̶y̶e̶ Hello birdie: For some reason, I’m kinda scared of birds (their feet freak me out). BUT I was thrilled to hear BirdLife International’s news that seabird deaths in Namibia have been reduced by 98%. That’s about 22,000 birds saved each year!
The latest round of Sea-Changers grants have a strong education focus: funding projects including MCS’ ‘Cool Seas’ Scottish education programme, the Scottish Seabird Centre’s ‘Meet the Scientist’ events and more… Full details coming soon on their website.
Out of this world: Fabien Cousteau is building an underwater space station! It will be the largest underwater research habitat ever created. (The Scuba News)
Pawprint shared a helpful roundup of 2020’s best sustainability reports. Disclaimer, it might take a while to get through them all.
What is regenerative travel? An insight into the latest buzzword in travel. (Forbes)
A few things you can do
If you’ve made it this far (well done) and you’re thinking “This is all very well, Mel, but what can I actually do to help?”, you’re in luck. Here are a few things you can do to to make a difference:
Stop ocean threads: Did you know our clothes are made of millions of tiny fibres (often plastics) which can shed in the wash and end up in the ocean? MCS is calling for lesislation to fit microfibre filters in all new washing machines. Sign the petition here.
#FishFreeFebruary: If you’re concerned about the impact your diet might be having on our oceans, why not give Fish Free February a go?
It’s a petition sandwich: SAS is calling on the UK government to prioritise the ocean in its climate negotiations at the upcoming #COP26. Sign here.
Dream job alert
So, you know how I’ve spent 10+ years building up my career to get into marine conservation communications? Well, that’s all great but the Kent Wildlife Trust is looking for Britain’s first ever bison ranger so I think I need to rethink my career plans! OK, I’m not really going to apply but YOU should (mainly because I’d really like to come and visit!). Find out more here and apply here.
So what now?
Thanks for making it to the end of the first “official” edition of Baleen.
If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends and ask them to sign up.
If you didn’t, I’d love to hear your feedback so I can improve future newsletters. Positive feedback also welcome ;)
If you’re an editor and any stories jumped out at you, I’m available for writing commissions. Hit me up!
Got a tip off of news that didn’t make it in this week? I’m always on the lookout for great stories and new papers to write about so please share yours!
Thanks again! Have a lovely week and see you next time!