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Focus Areas

The Waves of Change program focuses on six areas that most effect the world's oceans today.

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Transforming Ocean Plastic Into Fashion Last Updated on 2014-04-09 15:24:36 As rescuers continue to frantically search for disappeared Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 a thousand miles or so west of Perth, Australia, one thing has become very apparent: The Indian Ocean is full of millions of tons of plastic. Did you know that 3.5 million pieces of plastic enter the oceans 24/7, 365 or the equivalent of 20 million tons a year?                         There's six times more plastic than phytoplankton in all oceans, and according to the UN Environmental Programme a minimum of 46,000 floating pieces of plastic for every square kilometer of Earth's oceans in their entirety. Photo credit: hipmomsgogreen.com   Most plastics entering our oceans breakdown into 'microplastic' or diminutive pieces that resemble confetti, and sealife... More »
World court harpoons Japanese whaling program Last Updated on 2014-04-01 21:08:11 The International Court of Justice in The Hague has dismissed Japan's claims that its whaling program is for scientific research and ordered the country to halt whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.                       Japanese whaling in the Antarctic will temporarily come to an end following a landmark decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The court dismissed Japan's claims their fleets were hunting whales for scientific purposes, citing shortcomings in program design and poor evidence that the program produced scientific data. The world court also slammed Tokyo for failure to explain why Japanese fleets killed far more animals than seemed necessary for data collection. "We are disappointed," said Nori Shikata, spokesman for the Japanese government on this case. "Our... More »
Ocean acidifying 10 times faster than anytime in the last 55 million years, putting polar ecosystems at risk Last Updated on 2014-03-11 09:01:11 An assessment of ocean acidification, presented at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw in November 2013, starkly concluded that acidity is on track to rise 170 percent by the end of this century. As many key species are sensitive to changes in acidity, this would drastically impact ocean ecosystems, with effects especially pronounced in polar regions where the cold waters intensify acidification, and which are home to many organisms that are particularly vulnerable to acidification. The ocean acts as a giant sink for carbon, absorbing 24 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every day. Since industrialization, approximately 30 percent of anthropogenic (human generated) CO2 has been absorbed in this way. In the context of climate change this is incredibly important, as the amount of atmospheric CO2 is directly linked to global temperatures. But as CO2 is absorbed, the pH of the... More »
Conservation biologist: Environmental consequences of Keystone ‘epic’ Last Updated on 2014-02-05 15:45:59                   Conservation biologist Dr. Reese Halter is asked by MSNBC host Craig Melvin to respond to House Speaker John Boehner's call to build the Keystone XL pipleline. Dr. Halter shares what he thinks would be the environmental dangers the Keystone XL pipeline.  Dr. Halter also responds to the water crisis caused by the West Virginia chemical spill.     More »
Multiple ocean stresses threaten "globally significant" marine extinction Last Updated on 2014-01-04 14:54:36     A high-level international workshop convened by IPSO met at the University of Oxford earlier this year. It was the first inter-disciplinary international meeting of marine scientists of its kind and was designed to consider the cumulative impact of multiple stressors on the ocean, including warming, acidification, and overfishing. The 3 day workshop, co-sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), looked at the latest science across different disciplines. The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats — and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history. Delegates called for urgent and... More »