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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

World of Wonder

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, April 20, 2018/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, space science, birds, marine life, sustainability, art and design, environment, climate change

We live in a 'world of wonder' and it's worth remembering not just on Earth Day but year round.

The 2018 Earth Day theme is "end plastic pollution", a existential objective. However, this will require efforts ranging across, science, technology, recycling, business management, law, and plastic alternatives that fit with a globalized trading environment. Scientific discoveries like a new plastic-eating enzyme offer great hope but it hasn't been scaled-up to meet current problems yet. Oceanic gyres of plastic, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now approach the size of California, or Texas, and France. The discarded plastics in this vast space already affects sea birds, turtles, marine mammals and has also begun entering the food-chain as microscopic plastic beads when ingested by fish. These atomized particels have the potential to become endochrine disruptors when eaten by animals or people due to their petrochemical constituents. A great deal of work lies ahead and many creative ideas will be needed. Entrepreneurial enterprises like Ecover and Seabins in Europe show promise and but they need to be vastly expanded. Many more such projects are needed at commerical scale to address the existing discarded ocean plastic problem.

Other efforts offer hope to restore degraded landscapes and depleted species. Such projects whether, large or small, can demonstrate how resilient environments can be when dedicated attention is applied. Three examples can illustrate:

in the Australian outback, a new technological approach is being applied by Aboriginal rangers with the help of  ecologists to eliminate feral cats that have descimimated native wildlife species; on California's Anacapa Island, part of Channel Islands National Park, the restoration of seabird populations required a similar strategy to eliminate introduce rats that prayed on nesting birds:

while on the vast Tibetan Plateau (the Third pole), Buddhist monks are engaging herders to gather rubbish on grasslands that is polluting headwaters of vital rivers. Their efforts are a good example of environmental protection arising from their religious treachings of compassion for all living things.

Earth Day should be celebrated but it also should be an opportunity to reflect that we do live on a 'world of wonder' as the master acoustic musican and songwriter, Darrell Scott sang:

WHB

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