Scientists Find Fluoride Causes Hypothyroidism Leading To Depression, Weight Gain, and Worse


The tables are finally starting to turn in regard to the perception that the world has of water fluoridation following the release of at least two reputable studies over the past three years documenting the adverse health effects caused by the chemical.

Researchers from the University of Kent, a public research university based in the United Kingdom, conducted the latest and considerably groundbreaking study on the health effects potentially caused by adding fluoride to the public’s water.

After studying data obtained from nearly every medical practice in England, scientists found that fluoride may be increasing the risk for hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, obesity and depression.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study included the largest population ever analyzed in relation to the adverse health effects caused by water fluoridation.

Recent UK study includes the “largest population ever studied in regard to adverse effects of elevated fluoride exposure”

After collecting data from 99 percent of England’s 8,020 general medical practices, researchers found that the locations with fluoridated water were 30 percent more likely to have high levels of hypothyroidism, compared to areas with low, natural levels of the chemical in the water.

This means that up to 15,000 people could be suffering from depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles, all of which could theoretically be prevented if fluoride were removed from the water, according to The Telegraph.

“Overall, there were 9 percent more cases of underactive thyroid in fluoridated places,” reports Newsweek, which also notes that 10 percent of England’s water is fluoridated compared with nearly 70 percent of America’s.

The science paper also compared the fluoridated city of Birmingham with the city of Manchester, which refrains from fluoridating, and found that doctor’s offices in Birmingham were nearly twice as likely to report high levels of hypothyroidism.

The new report has some experts questioning their stance on water fluoridation.

“The study is an important one because it is large enough to detect differences of potential significance to the health of the population,” said Trevor Sheldon, a medical researcher and dean of the Hill York Medical School who has published numerous studies in this field.

Sheldon, who in the past supported fluoride, admits that the “case for general water fluoridation” is no longer clear.

New fluoride study contradicts last year’s report by Public Health England that states fluoride is “safe and effective” for improving dental health

Released in March of last year, Public Health England’s report states that “there is no evidence of harm to health in fluoridated areas,” and no differences were found between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas in regard to rates of hip fractures, osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), cancers overall, Down’s syndrome births and all other recorded causes of death.

New research, however, suggests that the spike in the number of cases of hypothyroidism in areas such as the West Midlands and the North East of England is “concerning for people living in those areas.”

“The difference between the West Midlands, which fluoridates, and Manchester, which doesn’t was particularly striking. There were nearly double the number of cases in Manchester,” said the study’s lead author Stephen Peckham.

Women 15 times more likely to develop underactive thyroid

“Underactive thyroid is a particularly nasty thing to have and it can lead to other long term health problems. I do think councils need to think again about putting fluoride in the water. There are far safer ways to improve dental health.”

Hypothyroidism is particularly a cause for concern for women, as they’re 15 times more likely than men to develop the condition. Previous studies suggest that fluoride inhibits the thyroid’s ability to use iodine, which is an essential mineral for a healthy thyroid, the master gland in the human body.

 

Sources:
http://www.newsweek.com
http://jech.bmj.com
http://www.telegraph.co.uk
https://www.gov.uk

Advertisements

Toxic emissions down, but people still dying from air pollution – it’s time for something radical


The UK has made much progress in its efforts to clean the air of toxic pollutants, but while the thick, dirty haze of the 1952 great London smog no longer fills the city streets, air pollution remains a silent killer. In the UK, poor air quality is responsible for some 40,000 deaths each year. It has been linked to diseases such as cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia. The health problems from exposure to air pollution are costing the nation more than £20 billion every year.

Dirty air also causes acid rain, which affects historical monuments, land and aquatic systems, and the excessive release of soil nutrients, which stimulates algae growth in lakes and water courses. It can even form a ground-level ozone gas that damages plants, crops and forests.

Getting clean

The latest update to the UK national air pollution statistics shows that there has been a long-term decrease in emissions from power stations, transport, household heating, agriculture and industrial processes.

Over the past four decades, emissions of key pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane organic compounds and particulate matter have fallen by between 66% and 92%. But emissions of ammonia from the agriculture sector rose by 3% between 2015 and 2016. This has been blamed on manure from larger dairy herds and using fertilisers.

Despite the decline in air pollutants, the UK remains in breach of European limits on nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) in 16 cities, mainly due to diesel fumes from road transport. In 2018, London reached its legal air pollution limit for the whole year within one month: on Brixton Road, South London, NO₂ levels exceed average hourly limits 18 times – the maximum allowed under European air quality rules.

Health warning.

A decision on potential legal proceedings against the UK is expected from the European Commission in mid-March.

Trips for free

If air quality is to improve, people must change the way they move around their cities. The UK government intends to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040. The rigging of emission tests by car manufacturers has already resulted in consumers ditching diesel – sale of diesel cars fell by 25% in January 2018 compared with the previous year.

In contrast, sales of electric vehicles are growing – though this trend will need to accelerate if 60% of all new cars and vans are to be electric by 2030, as the UK Committee on Climate Change hopes. While electric vehicles will improve air quality by reducing NO₂ emissions, they still produce half of all transport-related particulate matter emissions because of the fine particles released from their brakes, clutches and tyres, as well as the dust thrown up from the roads.

Having fewer cars on the roads would be even better than having cleaner cars. Attitudes may be changing, alongside the rise of the sharing economy. Younger people are using apps to take part in car club schemes, ride-sharing and car-sharing as a way of opting out of the expense and hassle of owning a car. But there’s also a clear need to provide infrastructure that encourages more walking, cycling and public transport.

If the British people want a more radical solution, then they could consider making public transport in cities free. This is already happening in Seoul on days with severe pollution. Germany is reported to be mulling over plans to make public transport free to address air pollution and reduce the number of private cars.

But this doesn’t always work as planned: one analysis of a fare-free public transport scheme in Tallin found that the increase in use was largely from people who normally walk, rather than drive a car.

While the overall drop in air pollutants is welcome, the UK needs to make further progress to ensure that everyone can breathe clean air.

London air pollution is restricting children’s lung development – new research


Air pollution is known to contribute to early deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular disease. There is also mounting evidence to show that breathing polluted air increases the risk of dementia. Children are vulnerable, too: exposure to air pollution has been associated with babies being born underweight, as well as poorer cognitive development and lung function during childhood.

Cities including London are looking to tackle the social, economic and environmental costs of air pollution by improving urban air quality using low emission zones. In these zones, the most polluting vehicles are restricted from entering, or drivers are penalised to encourage them to take up lower emission technologies. London’s low emission zone was rolled out in four stages from February 2008 to January 2012, affecting mainly heavy and light goods vehicles, such as delivery trucks and vans.

But our new research, involving more than 2,000 children in four of London’s inner-city boroughs, reveals that while these measures are beginning to improve air quality, they do not yet protect children from the harmful effects of air pollution. It is the most detailed assessment of how a low emission zone has performed to date.

Young lungs

Our study focused mainly on the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, but also included primary schools in the City of London and Greenwich. All of these areas experienced high levels of air pollution from traffic, and exceeded the annual EU limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂). What’s more, they have a very young demographic and are among the UK’s most deprived areas.

Between 2008-9 and 2013-14, we measured changes to air pollution concentrations in London, while also conducting a detailed examination of children’s lung function and respiratory symptoms in these areas.

Every year for five years, we measured the lung function in separate groups of 400 children, aged eight to nine years old. We then considered these measurements alongside the children’s estimated exposure to air pollution, which took into account where they lived, and the periods they spent at home and at school.

Our findings confirmed that long-term exposure to urban air pollution is related to smaller lung volumes among children. The average exposure for all children over the five years of our study was 40.7 micrograms of NO₂ per cubic metre of air, which was equivalent to a reduction in lung volume of approximately 5%.

A long-term effect. Shutterstock.

Changes of this magnitude would not be of immediate clinical significance; the children would be unaware of them and they would not affect their daily lives. But our results show that children’s lungs are not developing as well as they could. This is important, because failure to attain optimal lung growth by adulthood often leads to poor health in later life.

Over the course of the study, we also observed some evidence of a reduction in rhinitis (a constant runny nose). But we found no reduction in asthma symptoms, nor in the proportion of children with underdeveloped lungs.

Air pollution falls

While the introduction of the low emission zone did relatively little to improve children’s respiratory health, we did find positive signs that it was beginning to reduce pollution. Using data from the London Air Quality Network – which monitors air pollution – we detected small reductions in concentrations of NO₂, although overall levels of the pollutant remained very high in the areas we looked at.

The maximum reduction in NO₂ concentrations we detected amounted to seven micrograms per cubic metre over the five years of our study, or roughly 1.4 micrograms per cubic metre each year. For context, the EU limit for NO₂ concentrations is 40 micrograms per cubic metre. Background levels of NO₂ for inner city London, where our study was located, decreased from 50 micrograms to 45 micrograms per cubic metre, over five years. NO₂ concentrations by the roadside experienced a greater reduction, from 75 micrograms to 68 micrograms per cubic metre, over the course of our study.

By the end of our study in 2013-14, large areas of central London still weren’t compliant with EU air quality standards – and won’t be for some time at this rate of change.

We didn’t detect significant reductions in the level of particulate matter over the course of our study. But this could be because a much larger proportion of particulate matter pollution comes from tyre and brake wear, rather than tail pipe emissions, as well as other sources, so small changes due to the low emission zone would have been hard to quantify.

The route forward

Evidence from elsewhere shows that improving air quality can help ensure children’s lungs develop normally. In California, the long-running Children’s Health Study found that driving down pollution does reduce the proportion of children with clinically small lungs – though it’s pertinent to note that NO₂ concentrations in their study in the mid-1990s were already lower than those in London today.

Our findings should encourage local and national governments to take more ambitious actions to improve air quality, and ultimately public health. The ultra-low emission zone, which will be introduced in central London on April 8, 2019, seems a positive move towards this end.

The scheme, which will be expanded to the boundaries set by the North and South circular roads in October 2021, targets most vehicles in London – not just a small fraction of the fleet. The low emission zone seems to be the right treatment – now it’s time to increase the dose.

Air pollution may be making us less intelligent


Long-term exposure to air pollution was linked to cognitive decline in elderly people.

Not only is air pollution bad for our lungs and heart, it turns out it could actually be making us less intelligent, too. A recent study found that in elderly people living in China, long-term exposure to air pollution may hinder cognitive performance (things like our ability to pay attention, to recall past knowledge and generate new information) in verbal and maths tests. As people age, the link between air pollution and their mental decline becomes stronger. The study also found men and less educated people were especially at risk, though the reason why is currently unknown.

We already have compelling evidence that air pollution – especially the tiniest, invisible particulates in pollution – damages the brain in both humans and animals. Traffic pollution is associated with dementia, delinquent behaviour in adolescents, and stunted brain development in children who attend highly polluted schools.

In animals, mice exposed to urban air pollution for four months showed reduced brain function and inflammatory responses in major brain regions. This meant the brain tissues changed in response to the harmful stimuli produced by the pollution.

We don’t yet know which aspects of the air pollution particulate “cocktail” (such as the size, number or composition of particles) contribute most to reported brain deterioration. However, there’s evidence that nanoscale pollution particles might be one cause.

These particles are around 2,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, and can be moved around the body via the bloodstream after being inhaled. They may even reach the brain directly through the olfactory nerves that give the brain information about smell. This would let the particles bypass the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from harmful things circulating in the bloodstream.

Postmortem brain samples from people exposed to high levels of air pollution while living in Mexico City and Manchester, UK, displayed the typical signs of Alzheimer’s disease. These included clumps of abnormal protein fragments (plaques) between nerve cells, inflammation, and an abundance of metal-rich nanoparticles (including iron, copper, nickel, platinum, and cobalt) in the brain.

Automobiles are a major cause of the world’s air pollution.

The metal-rich nanoparticles found in these brain samples are similar to those found everywhere in urban air pollution, which form from burning oil and other fuel, and wear in engines and brakes. These toxic nanoparticles are often associated with other hazardous compounds, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons that occur naturally in fossil fuels, and can cause kidney and liver damage, and cancer.

Repeatedly inhaling nanoparticles found in air pollution may have a number of negative effects on the brain, including chronic inflammation of the brain’s nerve cells. When we inhale air pollution, it may activate the brain’s immune cells, the microglia. Breathing air pollution may constantly activate the killing response in immune cells, which can allow dangerous molecules, known as reactive oxygen species, to form more often. High levels of these molecules could cause cell damage and cell death.

The presence of iron found in air pollution may speed up this process. Iron-rich (magnetite) nanoparticles are directly associated with plaques in the brain. Magnetite nanoparticles can also increase the toxicity of the abnormal proteins found at the centre of the plaques. Postmortem analysis of brains from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients shows that microglial activation is common in these neurodegenerative diseases.


The latest study of the link between air pollution and declining intelligence, alongside the evidence we already have for the link between air pollution and dementia, makes the case for cutting down air pollution even more compelling. A combination of changes to vehicle technology, regulation and policy could provide a practical way to reduce the health burden of air pollution globally.

However, there are some things we can do to protect ourselves. Driving less and walking or cycling more can reduce pollution. If you have to use a car, driving smoothly without fierce acceleration or braking, and avoiding travel during rush hours, can reduce emissions. Keeping windows closed and recirculating air in the car might help to reduce pollution exposure during traffic jams as well.

Reducing vehicle use by walking or cycling instead could have a major impact on air pollution levels.

But young children are among the most vulnerable because their brains are still developing. Many schools are located close to major roads, so substantially reducing air pollution is necessary. Planting specific tree species that are good at capturing particulates along roads or around schools could help.

Indoor pollution can also cause health problems, so ventilation is needed while cooking. Open fires (both indoors and outdoors) are a significant source of particulate pollution, with woodburning stoves producing a large percentage of outdoor air pollution in the winter. Using dry, well-seasoned wood, and an efficient ecodesign-rated stove is essential if you don’t want to pollute the atmosphere around your home. If you live in a naturally-ventilated house next to a busy road, using living spaces at the back of the house or upstairs will reduce your pollution exposure daily.

Finally, what’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Keeping your brain active and stimulated, eating a good diet rich in antioxidants, and keeping fit and active can all build up resilience. But as we don’t yet know exactly the mechanisms by which pollution causes damage to our brains – and how, if possible, their effects might be reversed – the best way we can protect ourselves is to reduce or avoid pollution exposure as much as possible.

Fluoride is a neurotoxin that damages your brain


Image: Fluoride is a neurotoxin that damages your brain

For many people, fluoride has become a fact of life. The addition of fluoride to public water supplies en masse has made avoiding exposure to this toxin very difficult. While proponents of fluoride say that this “mineral” is essential for dental health, the truth is that fluoride is not an essential nutrient. Human beings do not need to consume fluoride to be healthy — and in fact, you are much better off without it.

While it is true that fluoride can be found in the Earth’s crust, the fluoride used in dental products and tap water is not derived from the Earth. Instead, water fluoridation relies on chemicals known as “silicofluorides.” These are byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry — and municipalities nationwide allow these chemicals to be dumped into the water supply for the explicit purpose of human consumption.

Fluoride is not the benign substance overzealous globalists would like for you to believe; it is a dangerous, neurotoxic substance that has been decried as a “soft kill” tactic of the global elite. At the very least, it’s a documented threat to human health.

Fluoride is toxic to your brain

While the CDC claims that water fluoridation is “one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century,” science shows that simply isn’t true. The CDC’s own data have shown that water fluoridation is contributing to increased rates of dental fluorosis (DF). In mild cases, DF appears as nothing more than white spots on the teeth, but more advanced cases can be disfiguring with severe damage to the tooth enamel. Statistics from 2004 indicate that 41 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 15 have dental fluorosis — a 400 percent increase in just 60 years.

Mother Nature’s micronutrient secret: Organic Broccoli Sprout Capsules now available, delivering 280mg of high-density nutrition, including the extraordinary “sulforaphane” and “glucosinolate” nutrients found only in cruciferous healing foods. Every lot laboratory tested. See availability here.

As you might surmise, fluoride’s deleterious effects do not end with damage to tooth enamel.

As Be Brain Fit reports, a recently published study in The Lancet recommended that fluoride be re-classified as a developmental neurotoxin — similar to lead, mercury, or arsenic.

Scientists have repeatedly documented evidence that suggests fluoride consumption reduces IQ in children. A study conducted in Mexico City, by scientists from the University of TorontoUniversity of MichiganHarvardMcGill, and the national public health agency of Mexico, recently confirmed again that fluoride exposure negatively effects kids’ brains. 

“It found an average loss of 5 to 6 IQ points among children of mothers with urine fluoride levels of 1.5 mg/L compared to those with 0.5 mg/L. For an entire population, such a loss would be expected to halve the number of geniuses in society and double the number of mentally handicapped,” PR Newswire reports.

Fluoride isn’t just making people dumb

The neurotoxic compound isn’t just lowering people’s IQs — it’s doing far more than that. Recently published research has also linked fluoride exposure to an increased risk of ADHD. The researchers stated that there is a growing body of evidence which clearly demonstrates that fetuses are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of fluoride, and that their findings are right in line with that belief: Fluoride harms developing children.

Some evidence has also indicated that fluoride may be an indirect cause of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s believed that when aluminum and fluoride combine, fluoride helps transport aluminum across the blood-brain barrier. Be Brain Fit notes that aluminum fluoride in the brain has been linked to Alzheimer’s, as well.

Fluoride has been associated with a host of other issues, including nervous system degeneration and decreased pineal gland function. Beyond the fact that fluoride is clearly not good for you, water fluoridation is a questionable endeavor, if for no other reason than for the fact that the government has no business in mass medicating the people via the water supply.

Go Green for the Holidays


Make sustainable holiday choices when you are shopping, traveling, sending cards, decorating, and choosing gifts. When you save energy and resources, you protect the environment and safeguard health both now and for the future.

2017 calendar

Are you one of those organized people who are already prepared for the coming winter holidays? Or do you still have plans to make and gifts to buy? Either way, why not take a second look at some of your usual holiday activities to see if you can make them more “sustainable?”

Sustainability is the responsible use of environmental resources in the present so that future generations will have enough to meet their needs. This is a lofty goal; how can any one person make a difference in reaching it? You may not realize that you are already working toward sustainability if you reuse and recycle; compost; walk, bike, take transit, or drive low-emission vehicles; conserve water and electricity; join community clean-up efforts; or otherwise save resources.

The more people who participate in these energy- and resource-saving activities, the greater effect they will have on our planet. And a sustainable planet will result in better health and longer lives for the people and animals that live on it.

For many of us, our priority during the holidays is time spent with family and friends. But the holidays can also be a time when we spend too much and create too much waste.

Living Christmas treeConsider buying a living tree you can plant outside or keep as a houseplant after the holidays.

Recyclable giftsGive gifts that are durable, energy-efficient, recyclable, or made of natural products.

Homemade goodsMake your own gifts: knit, sew, bake, build, or create art; make calendars using your own photographs or a recipe book with favorite recipes.

Edible fruit arrangementEat healthy and sustainable foods.

Consider these statistics:

  • Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
  • If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • About 35% of Americans have an unused Christmas present collecting dust in their closets.

If you want to incorporate sustainability into your holiday celebrations, we have a list of suggestions for you. Some of them may spark your creativity—and even be fun!

Decorate with items that are energy-efficient and durable.

  • Buy an artificial tree that you can use for years to come; make the most energy efficient choice. Safety and energy-efficiency should always be considered first.
  • Contact your state cooperative extension service to find out about trees grown in your area or trees grown in ways that keep forests healthy and safe.
  • Buy a living tree you can plant outside or keep as a houseplant after the holidays.
  • Dispose of your tree at a chipping facility or return it to the environment in other eco-friendly ways.

Use energy efficiently.

  • Consider using few or no lights in your holiday decorations.
  • Decorate with more energy efficient LED strings.
  • Plug your decorative indoor and outdoor lights into a timer to save electricity.
  • Decorate creatively and inexpensively with natural materials from your yard or with items you already own.
  • Save money and resources by making your own gifts.

Use fewer resources when you shop, give presents, and wrap gifts.

  • Shop online. Take your own bags on shopping trips. Keep them in the car so they’re always available.
  • Conserve energy when shopping by combining several trips in one, using mass transit, or carpooling.
  • Give gifts that are durable, energy-efficient, recyclable, or made of natural products. Purchase gifts that are fair-trade, locally made or grown, or organically grown.
  • Support your local economy by buying from local merchants, craft shows, or antique shops.
  • Make your own gifts: knit, sew, bake, build, or create art; make calendars using your own photographs or a recipe book with favorite recipes.
  • Give in ways that also support your community: tickets to local theater performances, concerts, sports events, local attractions; museum memberships; gift certificates for a massage at a local spa, horseback riding, or a rock climbing lesson.
  • Give your time and skill—coupons for household chores, meals, gardning, cleaning, window washing, car detailing, scheduled dog walks, or lessons in computer or smartphone use for senior citizens.
  • Donate to a charity or service organization in the name of a friend of relative who supports that cause.
  • Use creative materials for gift wrap:
    • Scarves, fabric, handkerchiefs
    • Old maps, sheet music, advertisement
    • Reusable tins, baking pans, or other home or garden items.
    • Send email cards or make your own.
    • Buy cards made from “post-consumer” content and printed in non-toxic inks.
    • Reuse the fronts of old cards as holiday postcards or gift tags.
    • Give cards that are eco-friendly.
  • Consider alternatives to battery-powered toys. If you must provide batteries for a gift, be sure to buy rechargeable ones. If you are giving electronics, choose energy-saving items.

Eat sustainable food and avoid disposable containers and extra packaging.

  • Research sustainable food choices in your area, and buy locally if possible.
  • Buy snacks and beverages in bulk to avoid extra packaging.
  • Serve food with washable utensils, plates, and glasses, rather than disposable items.
  • Make homemade eggnog, hot chocolate or iced tea in large quantities.

Why not choose a few of these ideas that will be easy for you to incorporate into your holiday celebration? Not only will you contribute to sustainability and health, but chances are you will also simplify your life. And you may get more of what we all need at this time of year—time to enjoy family and friends and to focus on the joys of the season.

Saving the Seas: New Technologies to Protect the Ocean


The ocean covers more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface. The Pacific alone is more than 60 million square miles. And yet, technologists are often focused on their home turf, populating roads with Ubers, equipping cities with wireless access points, and covering the land with cellular base stations.

Thus far, the 321,003,271 cubic miles of ocean on Earth have experienced more technological harm than benefit. Over-fishing, plastic waste, oil spills, raw sewage dumping, illegal whaling, and climate change have all taken a toll.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way. New and developing technologies could lead to a more responsible ocean economy.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a private-sector-led partnership that hopes to leverage the latest science and technology in order to address global challenges and ensure better outcomes for our oceans. Unlike clusters organized around a single sector, this partnership is applying innovation to various ocean industries, such as marine renewable energies, fisheries, oil and gas, and shipbuilding. In November, the Canadian federal government announced it would inject up to $153 million into these efforts, along with matching corporate funds.

It has been projected that the “ocean economy” will more than double in size by 2030. Although there is money to be made, there is also, if you’ll pardon the pun, an ocean of untapped data. That data could enhance predictions, risk characterization, and operational performance. The Ocean Supercluster partnership also claims that its innovation investments will enhance sustainability by lowering carbon footprints, strengthening environmental monitoring and protection, and improving resource management and energy efficiency.

Below are some of the crucial areas where technology is changing the ocean economy.

Oil Spill Tracking

The oil and gas industry is one of high risk, and technological tools are essential when things go awry. Companies like Advisian and MetOcean Telematics have devised oil spill tracking buoys with integrated antennas and power. A group of these floating transceivers can be deployed by air. They send back accurate, real-time tracking of the ocean’s surface—mapping currents, oil spills, and other phenomena.

These transceivers contribute to a better understanding of the global impact of industry. The Iridium satellite system proves particularly useful in remote regions: a drifter operating in Iridium-only mode can have a lifespan up to one year, extending its applications to marine research.

Fish Farm Sensors

The Ocean Supercluster is looking into opportunities for customizing underwater sensors to provide real-time data for monitoring fish and their environments in fish farms.

New sensors, data management, and visualization systems allow fish farmers to plan and maximize feeding times, thereby improving conditions and profits. However, fish farming remains controversial. It has been suggested that aquaculture operations sometimes inadvertently act as disease and parasite accelerators due to the high density, lack of mobility, and low genetic diversity of farmed fish. Some scientists and activists also contend that open-net fish farms threaten wild populations by spreading viruses.

Communication Systems

The standards for long-distance offshore marine communication systems have changed over time. Current radio telecommunication technologies have improved safety and logistical operations. The systems also remain functional in high heat and other emergency situations. Progress will likely continue in this direction, preventing collisions and allowing goods to reach markets all around the world.

Technavio market research analysts have predicted that the global marine communication systems market could grow at a CAGR of more than 8 percent by 2021. Old submarine communications systems have been replaced with wireless technologies such as Li-F i and 5G NR. Additionally, new communications systems can convert text into Morse code, which increases the ease of transmitting messages.

Communications improvements have also been felt within the tourism industry as cruise industry operators increasingly provide onboard internet and mobile services.

Autonomous Vehicles

The Ocean Supercluster is looking into autonomous vehicles to improve the inspection and maintenance of large marine assets, such as ships, oil platforms, and industrial infrastructure. Although the media has paid a lot of attention to the self-driving cars attempting to roam our asphalt, the same revolution is happening on the water.

With the emergence of unmanned and autonomous surface vessels, it isn’t obvious what the maritime sector should classify as a “ship.” This raises significant questions about international regulations and liabilities. The Shipowners’ Club, a marine insurer founded in 1855, has recommended that the existing frameworks be amended in order to accommodate the emergence of these radical new technologies.

Autonomous underwater vehicles or gliders are also able to measure oceanographic parameters like temperature, salinity, and pressure. Some of these vehicles function by using small changes in buoyancy and wings to achieve forward motion.

Ice Tracking Technology

Ice trackers can serve as an early warning system to oil platforms, letting them know if treacherous icebergs are approaching. Rutter’s sigma S6 system works by enhancing radar capabilities with multi-layered processing. The hazard of floating ice is more threatening than in previous years due to global warming.

Fortunately, remote sensing technology allows workers to prepare well in advance, reducing the chances of disaster and environmental pollution. Sometimes, vessels are actually able to strategically maneuver around icebergs in order to change the direction of the ice.

The Future of our Oceans

The ocean is a shared resource, transcending all boundaries and sovereignties, and it is vulnerable to exploitation. Without shared data and sustainable techniques, the ocean might continue to suffer under human impact. Ideally, emerging technologies geared towards safeguarding it will be developed sustainably and collaboratively, allowing us to thrive alongside our oceans.

This is the ‘last generation’ that can save nature, WWF says


Global wildlife populations have fallen by 60% in just over four decades, as accelerating pollution, deforestation, climate change and other manmade factors have created a “mindblowing” crisis, the World Wildlife Fund has warned in a damning new report.

The total numbers of more than 4,000 mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian species declined rapidly between 1970 and 2014, the Living Planet Report 2018 says.
Current rates of species extinction are now up to 1,000 times higher than before human involvement in animal ecosystems became a factor.
The proportion of the planet’s land that is free from human impact is projected to drop from a quarter to a tenth by 2050, as habitat removal, hunting, pollution, disease and climate change continue to spread, the organization added.
The group has called for an international treaty, modeled on the Paris climate agreement, to be drafted to protect wildlife and reverse human impacts on nature.
It warned that current efforts to protect the natural world are not keeping up with the speed of manmade destruction.
The crisis is “unprecedented in its speed, in its scale and because it is single-handed,” said Marco Lambertini, the WWF’s director general. “It’s mindblowing. … We’re talking about 40 years. It’s not even a blink of an eye compared to the history of life on Earth.”
“Now that we have the power to control and even damage nature, we continue to (use) it as if we were the hunters and gatherers of 20,000 years ago, with the technology of the 21st century,” he added. “We’re still taking nature for granted, and it has to stop.”
WWF UK Chief Executive Tanya Steele added in a statement, “We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.”
The report also found that 90% of seabirds have plastics in their stomachs, compared with 5% in 1960, while about half of the world’s shallow-water corals have been lost in the past three decades.
Animal life dropped the most rapidly in tropical areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, with an 89% fall in populations since 1970, while species that rely on freshwater habitats, like frogs and river fish, declined in population by 83%.

Methods of destruction

The report outlines the various ways in which human activities have led to losses in animal populations.
Species highlighted include African elephants, which declined in number in Tanzania by 60% in just five years between 2009 and 2014, mainly due to ivory poaching.
Deforestation in Borneo, designed to make way for timber and palm oil plantations, led to the loss of 100,000 orangutans between 1999 and 2015, the report estimated.
And the number of polar bears is expected to decline by 30% by 2050 as global warming causes Arctic ice to melt, making their habitats increasingly precarious.
Wildlife is not just “nice to have,” the report said, warning that human health, food and medicine supplies, as well as global financial stability, are all damaged by declines in wildlife and nature.
The welfare of up to 3 billion people who rely on wildlife to eat and work has reduced because of land degradation, and services relying on nature are worth around $125 trillion globally, the report said.
“The collapse of wildlife populations over the last half-century is a shocking measure of humanity’s impact on our planet,” John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said in response to the report, joining WWF in calling for “urgent action from world leaders.”
“From the decline of orangutans due to deforestation for palm oil to the ruinous impact of climate change on Arctic habitats to plastic pollution destroying marine wildlife, we cannot continue with business as usual,” he added.

‘A global deal’

International action is needed over the next two years in order to stem the tide of natural destruction, the organization noted, urging world governments and businesses to strike a deal similar to the 2016 Paris agreement for climate change.
“If we want a world with orangutans and puffins, clean air and enough food for everyone, we need urgent action from our leaders and a new global deal for nature and people that kick starts a global program of recovery,” Steele said in her statement.

He can hear species disappearing

He can hear species disappearing 05:40
The WWF has urged the 196 member nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity to consider a range of targets when they meet in Egypt in late November.
It also encouraged a deal to be struck at the 75th United Nations General Assembly in 2020.
The group is pushing for “a target that should be equivalent to the 2 degrees target (to limit global temperature rises) of the Paris agreement, and we still have to work out what the target is,” Lambertini said.
“There is a limit to what we can destroy, and there is a minimum amount of nature that we need to preserve,” Lambertini added, noting in the study that the international community has a “rapidly closing window for action.”

The theory of evolution has its origins in the Galápagos.


Now climate change is rapidly heating the ocean here.
Darwin’s creatures are threatened.

ALCEDO VOLCANO, Galápagos — When the clouds break, the equatorial sun bears down on the crater of this steaming volcano, revealing a watery landscape where the theory of evolution began to be conceived.

Across a shallow strip of sea lies the island of Santiago, where Charles Darwin once sighted marine iguanas, the only lizard that scours the ocean for food. Finches, the product of slow generational flux, dart by. Now, in the era of climate change, they might be no match for the whims of natural selection.

In the struggle against extinction on these islands, Darwin saw a blueprint for the origin of every species, including humans.

Yet not even Darwin could have imagined what awaited the Galápagos, where the stage is set for perhaps the greatest evolutionary test yet.

Marine iguanas on Fernandina Island.

As climate change warms the world’s oceans, these islands are a crucible. And scientists are worried. Not only do the Galápagos sit at the intersection of three ocean currents, they are in the cross hairs of one of the world’s most destructive weather patterns, El Niño, which causes rapid, extreme ocean heating across the Eastern Pacific tropics.

Research published in 2014 by more than a dozen climate scientists warned that rising ocean temperatures were making El Niño both more frequent and more intense. Unesco, the United Nations educational and cultural agency, now warns the Galápagos Islands are one of the places most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

“You can see them laying one or two eggs and being attacked by the ants,” said Christian Sevilla, a conservationist at the national park here. “They’re just throwing off the rest of the eggs as they walk off trying to escape, with the ants still biting at their legs.”

(Not without irony, Darwin was a predator of the tortoises well before the ants were. “The young tortoises make excellent soup,” he wrote in 1839.)

Mr. Sevilla and other workers at the park are now considering mitigation efforts to try to protect threatened species from the more frequent El Niño events that have come with climate change. The park already has a program to breed giant tortoises in captivity.

The UN’s latest climate meeting ends positively


But there is a lot more to do if global warming is to be stopped

HOSTING COP24, the latest of the UN’s annual climate summits, in Katowice was meant to symbolise the transition from an old, dirty world to a new, clean one. Spiritually, the city is the home of Poland’s coal miners. Today, it is replete with besuited management consultants and bearded baristas. The venue itself was on top of a disused mine in the city centre.

Ahead of the two-week powwow, which concluded on December 15th, many feared the meeting would instead highlight the unresolved contradictions involved in that transition. So it came as a relief when nearly 14,000 delegates from 195 countries managed—more or less, and a day late—to achieve the gathering’s main objective: a “rule book” for putting into practice the Paris agreement of 2015, which commits the world to keeping global warming “well below” 2°C relative to pre-industrial times, and preferably within 1.5°C.

This outcome was far from assured. Setting an abstract goal, as governments had in Paris, is simpler than agreeing on how to go about reaching it. Technicalities—what counts as a reduction in emissions, who monitors countries’ progress and so on—can be politically thorny. Poland’s right-wing government, which presided over the talks, lacks both friends (alienated by, among other things, its anti-democratic attacks on judicial independence) and green credentials. Observers were braced for a diplomatic debacle.

Implementing the judgment of Paris

The summit got off to an inauspicious start. At the outset Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, declared that his country cannot reasonably be expected to give up its 200 years’ worth of coal reserves. In France, his opposite number, Emmanuel Macron, caved in to massive protests and suspended a planned fuel-tax rise intended to help curb greenhouse-gas emissions from transport. Days earlier, Brazil had withdrawn its offer to host next year’s summit after Jair Bolsonaro, the president-elect who takes office in January and who would love to follow his American counterpart, Donald Trump, out of the Paris deal, said his government had no interest.

Despite these early setbacks, negotiators resolved most of 2,800-odd points of contention in the rule book’s pre-summit draft. Michal Kurtyka, the amiable Polish bureaucrat who chaired the proceedings, turned apparent haplessness into a virtue, by leaving delegates space to thrash out their differences.

Poor countries won firmer assurances that rich ones would help pay for their efforts to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions and to adapt to rising sea levels and fiercer floods, droughts, storms and other climate-related problems. The rich world, for its part, cajoled China into accepting uniform guidelines for tallying those emissions. Thus stripped of their most powerful voice, other developing countries reluctantly followed suit. If any cannot meet the standards, they must explain why and present a plan to make amends. This concession, long demanded by the Americans, may not persuade Mr Trump to keep the United States in the deal. But it could make things easier for any successor who wished to re-enter it after Mr Trump has left office.

Besides haggling over the rules, a handful of countries—including big polluters such as Ukraine—used the jamboree to announce plans for more ambitious “nationally determined contributions” (or NDCs, as the voluntary pledges countries submit under the Paris deal are known). The city councils of Melbourne and Sydney, in Australia, joined a growing number of national and local governments intent on phasing out coal. So did Israel and Senegal. In the wake of Brazil’s desertion, Chile stepped in to organise next year’s summit, which convention dictates should happen in Latin America. The Paris compact has thus not come apart at the seams.

Predictably, for negotiations that need to balance the interest of nearly 200 parties, no one leaves Katowice entirely happy. Vulnerable countries, such as small island states imperilled by rising seas, worry that the findings of a recent UN-backed scientific report outlining the dire consequences of another half a degree of warming, on top of the 1°C which has happened since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, have been underplayed. Rich countries grumble that poor ones can still get away with emitting too much carbon dioxide.

Mr Kurtyka was also unable, because of Brazilian objections, to break an impasse on carbon trading. This is an arrangement that allows big belchers of CO{-2} to offset emissions by paying others to forgo some of theirs. Brazil balked at proposals intended to prevent double-counting in such trading, because it believed they penalised its large stockpile of carbon-trading instruments, such as promises not to chop down patches of the Amazon. As a result, the issue has been kicked into the long cassava.

The direction of travel is, nevertheless, correct. Earlier in the meeting Ottmar Edenhofer, a veteran German climate policymaker who is director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, had feared that Katowice would mark “the beginning of the end of the Paris agreement”. For all its shortcomings, the compromise which emerged is not that.

But after all is said and done, the 2°C goal (let alone the 1.5°C aspiration) still remains a distant prospect. The current set of NDCs puts the world on course for more or less 3°C of warming—and Kiribati and the Marshall Islands at risk of submersion. Campaigners, who spiced up the stodgy talks with a dash of sit-ins and marches, were right to decry the lack of ambition as unequal to the task of sparing future generations from climate catastrophe. The rule book is itself no nostrum for the planet’s man-made fever. The only real medicine would be firmer commitment to decarbonising economies. And, as Mr Macron is finding, that medicine can be bitter.