This week’s environment round up is dominated by one day in the calendar, and a pretty big one at that. World Endangered Species Day 2016. Running parallel, a new development in, of all things, people’s drinking that is aimed at protecting sea life had a viral spiral across the internet. So it’s safe to say, it was a pretty cool week.
Endangered Species Day 2016
The day aimed to highlight those creatures around the world that are at the most risk, be it from poaching, changing environment or habitat destruction. In order to make such a difference, many events were organised around the world and many column inches, broadcast minutes and radio rants given over to it. Two animals and one animal family seemed to take the spotlight though, out of the 10,000+ endangered species on the IUCN’s Red List. Those were the Rhino, the Gorilla and the world’s birds.
In addition, plants were held in a higher regard and in more attention than usual for an awareness day, as they’re often overlooked and taken for granted when the topic of environment and conservation comes up.
In an effort to raise the profile of these creatures, the day is marked by events and gatherings that are designed to inform, teach and entertain as well as raise awareness. These events included an annual youth art competition run by the Endangered Species Coalition, the entrants of which boast some pretty darn talented artists!
Alongside gorillas and rhinos, a few other highly endangered animals were given special attention. Recently the population of Vaquita, a small porpoise only found in the gulf of California, has been threatened still further, causing Mexican authorities to ban fishing in the area. The small porpoise is often a bycatch of fishing in the area to such an extent that their total population is below 50.
As for the gorilla and rhino, they’ve long been a focus of conservation given their high profile stature. Gorilla numbers in the wild are shockingly low, though not as low as the Vaquita. The mighty mountain gorilla numbers less than 600 with rhinos not being far behind. With these two animals, poaching poses the biggest risk.
The sheer number of endangered species means that this day in the calendar grows in importance yearly. This year saw a far greater spread of awareness than ever before, including getting a lot of zoos across the United States to take part. Endangered Species Day 2017 hopes to be even bigger.
Edible Can Holders
Plastic pollution in the oceans has long been a cause for great concern. The media is littered with images of animals caught in, choked by or attempting to eat bits of floating debris. Some of those more graphic images really do drive home the great tragedy some of the oceans creatures have faced.
Now though, a little solution has arrived to try an solve the problem of one of the most infamous plastic pollutants.
We’ve long been encouraged to cut or break the circles on those plastic holders that keep cans together, so that when (not if, when) they find their way into the oceans they don’t turn into a noose for the neck of a turtle or seabird. Of course that doesn’t stop them being eaten.
To solve this issue, a brewery in Miami has invented the edible six-pack ring. The idea being that they know full well where those plastic bits end up, so why not make them beneficial to the place they get dumped rather than cause more harm. Instead of plastic, the rings are made of barley and wheat remnants from the brewing process that is dried. Though barley and wheat are not a natural food for turtles and whatever other animal might eat these rings, they’re not harmful like the plastic is. In addition, on the off chance that those rings aren’t picked up for dinner by some passing ocean creature, they’ll simply break down and biodegrade, disappearing into the ocean eco-system entirely. Cool hey.
The rings have been proof tested thoroughly and the brewery now hopes to use them on all its products that are packaged in that fashion.
This week’s environment news is full of good stories, for a change. You have a day in the calendar that pricks up everyone’s ears about the plight of thousands of animals, raising money, awareness and understanding in the process. And you have a small company doing their little bit to help out the environment, in an ingenious way that could catch on a make a big difference. With this topic, the more weeks of mostly good news, the better.
By Guy Bezant - Online Journalism Intern
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