An examination of some statistics that show steps China is taking to confront the climate crisis.

Nanshan Cultural Tourist Zone in Sanya, China. Credit: Denny Ryanto @runninghead

We are in an odd place in time, betwixt and befuddled by politics and pandemic, wherein we realize that we must change, but are stifled by the inertia of past actions that won’t give over lightly to the future. The United Nations and coalitions of governments agree in principle, but not in practice; set goals that they cannot, or will not meet; and move forward into the tide of change with best intent and eccentric advance, wishful thinking and hopeful determination that might still not be equal to the urgency and force of the challenge to change.

I have talked…


Migrants face dangerous sea crossings, deadly detention centers and a disengaged government

By Holly Pate and Charlotte Norsworthy, The Outlaw Ocean Project

MSF rescue on May 5 2016 rescuing 123 people and transferring them to an Italian ship. Credit: Anna Surinyach

In April, a rickety, wooden boat carrying roughly 130 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no survivors. This tragic incident has become a grim, seasonal occurrence, with more than 350 similar deaths already this year.

The worst is yet to come, as migration researchers predict that 2021 promises to be the deadliest year yet. Partly this bleak forecast is the result of EU countries arresting search and rescue ships that were previously saving migrants at sea during these perilous crossings.

But the deeper reason for this ongoing humanitarian crisis…


A review of the integrated sustainable management of coasts and oceans and the ways in which we view and value Nature with examples of projects globally using ecosystem service accounting to preserve places and biodiversity.

For many years we have discussed the concept of ecosystem service analysis: the monetization of Nature’s contribution to the global asset base, as both profit and loss, as an imperative improvement to the balance sheet of modern civilization. We have failed ourselves in two primary ways: first, by our measure of progress only in the form of goods and services that we produce and consume without limit; and, second, by our indifference to the comparable value of natural resources, the cost of their degradation and loss, omitted from the calculus of our financial and social well-being. …


Looking at the social, environmental, demographic and economic trends, as well as a review of the integrated sustainable management of coasts and oceans as driven by science, technology and innovation

Last month, the United Nations announced the publication of The 2nd UN World Ocean Assessment, presented as “the only comprehensive global analysis that looks at social, environmental, demographic and economic trends affecting the state of the ocean, a review of integrated sustainable management of coasts and the ocean, driven by science, technology and innovation.”

The announcement described the first World Ocean Assessment (aka World Ocean Assessment I), released in 2015, as a warning “that many areas of the ocean had been seriously degraded, mostly due to the failure to deal with the pressures caused by human activities, including fishing, aquaculture…


An encyclopedic catalog for Nature as a way to provide guidance and explanations for how life works

We have been discussing the ocean genome, the compendium of genetic value embedded in ocean species and the water column itself. In past editions, we discussed the extant activity already present in the form of genomic research and commercial applications, as well as the emerging medicinal discoveries with powerful implication for the future of human health. In this discussion I am relying on a paper published in August 2020 in Nature Sustainability, an academic journal, with authors from the Stockholm Resilience Center and other university researchers from Japan, South Africa, the US and UK.

The critical issue, as always, is…


An encyclopedic catalog for Nature as a way to provide guidance and explanations for how life works

We are discussing the ocean genome, that is, the full catalogue of chemical and biological information contained in the DNA of all ocean species and floating free in the ocean water column. For this edition, I am relying on an article from Nature Sustainability, an academic journal, that describes in fulsome detail the research and implication resulting from species study and description, genetic sampling coastwise and in the deep sea, the potential commercial benefits, and prospects for future conservation and equity.

In last week’s edition I outlined the reality of commercial interests already invested in ocean genetics in the context…


As the climate crisis grows, there is a growing movement among international lawyers, environmentalists and world leaders who say that ecocide — the widespread destruction of the environment — would serve as a “moral red line” for the planet.

by Nicholas Kusnetz, Katie Surma and Yuliya Talmazan

This article first appeared in Inside Climate News on April 7, 2021

In 1948, after Nazi Germany exterminated millions of Jews and other minorities during World War II, the United Nations adopted a convention establishing a new crime so heinous it demanded collective action. Genocide, the nations declared, was “condemned by the civilized world” and justified intervention in the affairs of sovereign states.

Now, a small but growing number of world leaders including Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron have begun citing an offense they say poses a similar threat to…


An encyclopedic catalog for Nature as a way to provide guidance and explanations for how life works

In the coming weeks we are exploring some simple strategies for living on and with the Earth: fresh approaches, new technologies, novel ideas, and viable alternatives in an oceanic flow, introducing examples of ingenuity, invention, possibility and systematic engagement with the ocean.

One of the most revolutionary events of the modern era was the discovery of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, defined “as a molecule composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and RNA, its single-stranded…


How to simplify our strategy for living

In the coming weeks we will explore some simple strategies for living on and with the Earth: fresh approaches, new technologies, novel ideas, and viable alternatives in an oceanic flow, introducing examples of ingenuity, invention, possibility and systematic engagement with the ocean.

Observing the ocean is to look for systems, myriad details in flux, be it animal, vegetable, or data number, a microscopic part of a complex unit, each unit again a part of a system more complex. …


The new Blue Economy is falling prey to the “business as usual” operations of The Ocean 100 — the largest trans-national companies that account for the most profits from the ocean while also generating the most emissions, waste and other pollutants to the ocean. Current economic activity is not meeting the requirements for economic growth and improved livelihoods while simultaneously preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem, though the Ocean 100 companies could be a force for change of the Blue Economy with help from public awareness and consumer pressure.

Definition One: The Blue Economy, according to the World Bank

World Ocean Observatory

Dedicated to sharing information about ocean issues: climate to trade, culture to governance. The sea connects all things. Online at WorldOceanObservatory.org.

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