The Earthshot Prize – 5 Challenges for the next decade

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The Earthshot Prize – 5 Challenges for the next decade

Protect & Restore Nature

By 2030 we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing not shrinking – on our planet.

Clean our Air

By 2030 we choose to ensure that everyone in the world breathes clean healthy air – at the World Organisation Standard or better.

Revive our Oceans

By 2030 we choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations.

Build A Waste Free World

By 2030 we choose to build a world where nothing goes to waste, where the leftovers of one process becomes the raw materials of the next – just like they do in nature.

Fix our Climate

By 2030 we choose to fix the world’s climate by cutting out carbon: building a carbon-neutral economy that lets every culture, community, and country thrive. Carbon in the atmosphere is making our planet warmer, to levels that threaten all life on Earth. But it is not too late; if we act now, we can make the world a better, more sustainable home for everyone.

We will combat climate change by removing more carbon from the atmosphere than we put into it and ensuring all countries reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. We will build defences to protect innocent people from climate driven disasters and crises.

Microplastics – New study estimates there is at least 10x more in Atlantic ocean

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Microplastics – New study estimates there is at least 10x more in Atlantic ocean

Why are these types of studies important?

Microplastics, along with other pollutants, are dramatically affecting our wildlife on the land and in the sea. Without these studies, we would not know the damage that has been done to the oceans by pollution over time – the disturbing issue is that the damage we are seeing today is not from yesterday but decades ago. The Editor

The mass of ‘invisible’ microplastics found in the upper waters of the Atlantic Ocean is approximately 12- 21 million tonnes, according to research published in the journal Nature Communications.

Significantly, this figure is only for three of the most common types of plastic litter in a limited size range. Yet, it is comparable in magnitude to estimates of all plastic waste that has entered the Atlantic Ocean over the past 65 years: 17 million tonnes.

This suggests that the supply of plastic to the ocean has been substantially underestimated.

The lead author of the paper, Dr Katsiaryna Pabortsava from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), said “Previously, we couldn’t balance the mass of floating plastic we observed with the mass we thought had entered the ocean since 1950.

This is because earlier studies hadn’t been measuring the concentrations of ‘invisible’ microplastic particles beneath the ocean surface. Our research is the first to have done this across the entire Atlantic, from the UK to the Falklands.

The Atlantic Ocean might hold about 200 million tonnes of Microplastics

Co-author, Professor Richard Lampitt, also from the NOC, added “if we assume that the concentration of microplastics we measured at around 200 metres deep is representative of that in the water mass to the seafloor below with an average depth of about 3000 metres, then the Atlantic Ocean might hold about 200 million tonnes of plastic litter in this limited polymer type and size category.

This is much more than is thought to have been supplied. “

 “In order to determine the dangers of plastic contamination to the environment and to humans, we need good estimates of the amount and characteristics of this material, how it enters the ocean, how it degrades, and then how toxic it is at these concentrations.

This paper demonstrates that scientists have had a totally inadequate understanding of even the simplest of these factors, how much is there, and it would seem our estimates of how much is dumped into the ocean has been massively underestimated”.

Pabortsava and Lampitt collected their seawater samples during the 26th Atlantic Meridional Transect expedition in September to November 2016.

They filtered large volumes of seawater at three selected depths in the top 200 metres and detected and identified plastic contaminants using state-of-the-art spectroscopic imaging technique. Their study focussed on polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, which are commercially most prominent and also most littered plastic types.   

This study builds on the NOC’s cutting-edge research into marine plastic contamination, which aims to better understand the magnitude and persistence of exposure to plastics and the potential harms it can cause.

This work was supported by the EU H2020 AtlantOS programme and the NOC.

The AMT programme was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council National Capability as funding to Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the NOC.

We must act now to stop plastics getting into our oceans – otherwise, this cycle will continue to grow.

The Earthshot prize – Decade of Action to Repair the Earth

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The Earthshot prize – Decade of Action to Repair the Earth

You know things are starting to hot-up about Climate Change with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — headed by Prince William and Kate Middleton launch “The Earthshot Prize”

“The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve.” — The Duke of Cambridge @EarthshotPrize

The Earthshot Prize is a multi-million pound prize for “visionaries” working to solve “Earth’s greatest environmental problems,” from climate change to air pollution. It will be awarded to five winners, every year, for the next 10 years. The goal is to provide “at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030.”

Below is information from their website:

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announces the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.


A set of unique challenges, rooted in science, will aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies and solutions.

Just as the moonshot that John F. Kennedy proposed in the 1960s catalysed new technology such as the MRI scanner and satellite dishes, we want our Earthshot challenges to create a new wave of ambition and innovation around finding ways to help save the planet.

The challenges will be a chance for everyone’s voice to be heard, we want to motivate and inspire a new generation of thinkers, leaders and dreamers .

Our prizes will reward progress across all sectors of industry and society, not just technology.

The prizes could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations – scientists, activists, economists, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries – anyone who is making a substantial development or outstanding contribution to solving our environmental challenges.

So this is a message to all of us – time to take this issue seriously.

Can science and tourism save the reef?

Environment News World

Can science and tourism save the reef?

The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risk Report was dominated by climate change and environmental disasters, and the world has recently watched this play out across the globe, from cyclones battering Mozambique to extreme flooding in the US Midwest. Heat waves have been hotter, droughts have been dryer and storm surges have been higher. Temperature records have been repeatedly smashed across the planet.

Queensland, home to the Great Barrier Reef, has seen bushfires, extreme heatwaves, a tropical cyclone, record rainfall and extreme flooding in the last nine months alone.

Yet climate experts believe that all this is just the precursor to something far worse. According to a 2018 study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities have currently caused around 1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. At this level, coral reefs have been hit hard by heat stress and have experienced large-scale mortalities.

“In the last three years alone (2016–2018), large coral reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) have lost as much as 50% of their shallow water corals,” the IPCC study reports.

But if global warming rises by an additional degree (to 2°C above pre-industrial levels), the study says, there will be unprecedented consequences: 99% of coral reefs across the world’s tropical and sub-tropical oceans will disappear. And even if countries around the world adhere to the Paris Agreement (to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels), the world will still lose 70–90% of reef-building corals compared to today.

These are sobering statistics, which hit home even harder when you see the evidence for yourself.

Dive in the northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, north of Townsville, and you may be greeted by ghostly swathes of pure white staghorn coral, likely bleached in one of the back-to-back bleaching events caused by rising sea temperatures in 2016 and 2017.

Elsewhere you might see thick clusters of purplish-blue or reddish-grey crown-of-thorns starfish, covered in venomous barbs. These starfish occur naturally in low numbers on the Great Barrier and other coral reefs, and play a part in the reef ecosystem by helping to maintain coral species diversity. However, recent years have seen an explosion in their numbers, likely caused by overfishing of their natural predators or increased nutrients in the water due to agricultural runoff into the ocean.

When outbreaks occur, crown-of-thorns starfish are no longer just feeding on the coral, but stripping entire reefs bare.

Read more of this article, it again shows how the environment is changing, whether it be through our intervention or not, the facts are the planet is warming and we need to start to think of creative ways to protect the wonders of our planet. Click here to read more from BBC Travel 

Sir David Attenborough praises plastic-free Glastonbury Festival

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Sir David Attenborough praises plastic-free Glastonbury Festival

Sir David Attenborough has made a surprise appearance at Glastonbury Festival. The renowned UK broadcaster and historian, 93, thanked attendees for making the music festival plastic-free.

There are legends, then there is David Attenborough

Richard Hayes

He said: “There was one sequence in Blue Planet II which everyone seems to remember. It was one in which we showed what plastic has done to the creatures that live in the ocean.

“It had an extraordinary effect, and now this great festival has gone plastic-free. It means more than a million bottles of water have not been drunk by you in plastic.”

Sir David also previewed part of his new BBC television series Seven Worlds, One Planet, before Australian singer Kylie Minogue was due to perform.

Space – The final frontier

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Space – The final frontier

Last week I had the pleasure of watching “The First Man” on iTunes and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed, what a time of bravery, skill and  development of technology. After watching, it got me thinking. Have we really progressed far in exploration of space since 1969? At the time I felt – not really.

But then I remember seeing this video of Chris Hadfield singing “Space Oddity” in space on youtube. What really got to me was that in this video -there is no special effects, no computer graphics, nothing visually added just Chris is singing in space (watch for the scene when he plays in front of the window – that is actually Earth) on the International Space Station.

I have read his book and loved the way he described life on the space station, I recommend it.

So I guess we have come a long way….