Sustainability Science
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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
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Cheap solar cells made from shrimp shells

Researchers at QMUL have successfully created electricity-generating solar-cells with chemicals found the shells of shrimps and other crustaceans for the first time.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting!

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Dumped WWII Chemical Munitions Still Affecting Fish

EUROPE - Thousands of tonnes of chemical warfare agents were dumped into the Baltic Sea after the Second World War. A recent study has shown that fish caught near the dumping grounds show high levels of genetic and cell damage, revealing the long legacy of these toxic substances.
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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, July 12, 2014 8:13 PM

This is particularly interesting and an increasing venue for exploring ecotoxicity.  Our historic approach of looking for PAHs or some other substance has often missed the big story that persistent compounds can have effects upon populations and ecosystems long after the compound itself my have decayed or broken down to sub-detection levels.  Population and genetic structure is the natural place to look for this.  But even so, being able to detect impacts from seven decades ago is impressive.

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California Salmon Will Get a Free Ride to the Ocean—In Tanker Trucks

California Salmon Will Get a Free Ride to the Ocean—In Tanker Trucks | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
If the salmon won't come to the ocean, then the ocean will come to the salmon. Well, not quite: Tanker trucks will take them there. Such are the extreme measures in California this spring, as drought forces major salmon hatcheries to funnel their fish into tanker trucks and ride them straight to the Pacific.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

No drought = no water = no fish.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, March 14, 2014 11:34 AM

Is the fact that we need to move our salmon via trucks instead of rivers (er...I mean the few rivers that aren't dammed up) a sign that something wrong?

 

Yep.

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Biotech ethical and legal challenges topic of CSUCI series

A monthly series that begins Thursday at CSU Channel Islands will explore the ethical dilemmas and legal considerations in the biotechnology industry.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I'm a panelist on the May 1 discussion of genetically engineered salmon.

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Coffee and the consumer: can McDonald's mainstream sustainability?

Coffee and the consumer: can McDonald's mainstream sustainability? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
McDonald's promotes certified espresso and fish for the first time in the US, saying consumers are finally starting to care
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It is certainly true that we "can't have sustainability without the consumer" as McDonald's is arguing.  And while it is true that they have not altered their seafood sourcing of late and are "merely" labeling their items, we have to realize how key this is.  

 

We have been surveying McDonald's (and hundreds of other establishments for going on nearly a decade now) as to their seafood offerings.  It doesn't matter how sustainable your offerings are; if your answer to the question of "where does this come from?" is "I don't know" you are an impediment.  Providing the consumer with detailed information is more than a marketing ploy.  It is the first step.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, December 29, 2013 1:26 AM

It is certainly true that we "can't have sustainability without the consumer" as McDonald's is arguing.  And while it is true that they have not altered their seafood sourcing of late and are "merely" labeling their items, we have to realize how key this is.  

 

We have been surveying McDonald's (and hundreds of other establishments) for going on nearly a decade now as to their seafood offerings.  It doesn't matter how sustainable your offerings are; if your answer to the question of "where does this come from?" is "I don't know" you are an impediment.  Providing the consumer with detailed information is more than a marketing ploy.  It is the first step.

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Why Some Chefs Just Can't Quit Serving Bluefin Tuna

Why Some Chefs Just Can't Quit Serving Bluefin Tuna | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Japanese sushi chefs often can't resist bluefin tuna on offer. Some American chefs can't either, even though conservation groups and marine biologists have been badgering them about bluefin for years.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I am not one for banning all of everything. But there are certain things that I actively choose not to eat for ecological or ethical reasons. And Ahi (bluefin and big eye) Tuna has now entered into that realm for me.

These time are always very interesting to me: swearing off gas-powered personal vehicles, blood diamonds, drinking too many drinks on a Friday night, etc. When the facts are in that we really need to do something different to be responsible adults and members of our larger community can be difficult. It should be that the more "first world problem-y" the issue is, the easier it should be to quit or change our behavior. After all, we are not talking here about a choice of feeding our family or going hungry. But it seems the psychology of such "superficial" changes vs. more consequential/truly difficult choices is much more similar than it is distinct. This posting is a great example of that.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 8, 2015 1:24 AM

I am not one for banning all of everything.  But there are certain things that I actively choose not to eat for ecological or ethical reasons.  But I am not one to stop eating all fish simply because we are not properly managing some (or the majority of) stocks.  But Ahi (bluefin and big eye) Tuna has now entered into that realm for me.  This is very sad for me.  I think of the seafood I used to eat when I was younger and it is not what I eat now.  

 

Most conspicuously, abalone is no longer part of my diet unless I pick up a few small steaks from my mariculture friends' farms.  That was literally what my extended family built parts of our summers around when I was a child: men popped, kids transported them up the cliffs, and the ladies pounded the steaks so that all had frozen abalone steaks for the year.  Now it is not only illegal to harvest abs here in my region of California, but there literally are none to be had.  Victims of overfishing, elevated sea temperatures, Rickettsia-like infections, etc.

 

These times are always very interesting to me: swearing off gas-powered personal vehicles, blood diamonds, drinking too many drinks on a Friday night, etc.  When the facts are in that we really need to do something different to be responsible adults and members of our larger community, follow through can be difficult.  It should be that the more "first world problem-y" the issue is, the easier it should be to quit or change our behavior.  After all, we are not talking here about a choice of feeding our family or going hungry.  But it seems the psychology of such "superficial" changes vs. more consequential/truly difficult choices is much more similar than it is distinct.  This posting is a great example of that.

 

See also: http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/01/06/tri-marine-consensus-and-enforcement-of-tuna-protection-measures-must-improve/

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Ocean Garbage: Why People Are Eating Their Own Garbage

Ocean Garbage: Why People Are Eating Their Own Garbage | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

This is a nice little info graphic which might have some utility/good images for folks making outreach presentations.

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Kroger, Safeway say no to GM salmon | Undercurrent News

Kroger, Safeway say no to GM salmon | Undercurrent News | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

US retail chains Kroger and Safeway have reportedly made up their minds not to sell Aquabounty salmon, regardless of a pending decision by the US Food and Drug Administration, reported Food Safety News.

 

The decision was released by a coalition of food safety, consumer, health and fishing groups.

 

The two grocery chains are now part of more than 9,000 stores across the country that have rejected carrying Aquabounty’s genetically modified Aquadvantage salmon — regardless of whether the FDA approves it for public consumption, which it has not yet officially done.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, March 10, 2014 12:36 PM

More pushback on GMO salmon.

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California Coastal Commission approves aquaculture facility off Long Beach shore

The California Coastal Commission on Wednesday approved the state’s first aquaculture farm to be located in federal waters about eight miles offshore of Long Beach.Known as Catalina Sea Ranch,
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This effort offers the opoprtunity to supply shellfish to local So Cal markets with markedly reduced carbon footprints.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 11, 2014 11:27 AM

Our first mariculture facility in federal waters off of the California coast.  Cool beans!

 

While the cltivation of non-native species is normally a red flag, in this case the cat is long, long out of the bag across the entire west coast.  As such, this was a non-issue.

 

While California has lots of good intentions with our strong environmental laws, they have in many instances acted to quash innovation and coastal-dependent industries (this is why, for example, we have no offshore alternative energy production...even though we design and create systems that get installed in Oregon, Mexico, etc.).

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NOAA Report Provides a Snapshot of U.S. Marine Protected Areas

NOAA Report Provides a Snapshot of U.S. Marine Protected Areas | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
NOAA's National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center recently released a new report on the state of MPAs in the United States.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Overview of U.S. MPAs

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