Dear Members and Friends,
In August 2013, humanity, with its unbridled consumption, has exceeded the regenerative capacity of the Earth. This information has not mademuch noise and we continue to consume, in the mistaken belief that technology will save us. However, the only way to change our world begins with the lowering of our consumption at all levels. Don’t believe that shale gas is a solution to our energy future : we are going to explain how this is an illusion.
Another aspect of our overconsumption is the invasion of our waste. We have already talked about the pollution of the oceans in our Newsletter n°5. Let’s see how much time it takes for them to decca in nature.... And let’s try to reduce them and don’t throw them away anywhere!
Other medium that is being depleted: the oceans, i.e. the 2/3 of our planet. A study just asserts that it was feared: our oceans are sick. At the same time, a good initiative from the Pitcairn Islands: where there is a project of creation of the largest marine protected area in the world. Unfortunately, in Baja California, 3 rare animals have stranded in 8 days.
In France, the 3rd International Congress of marine protected areas (IMPAC3) was held in Marseille: lyrics, writings but what are the actions to be taken, from when and how??
Still in France, amateur fishing collected more than 20 000 tones of fish in 2012.
To end on an optimiste note, in France, in the Pyrenees, a video of the bear Hvala showing to her two cubs how to behave with a tree.
Finally some dates in our Agenda and, for our Pink Book, a baby olinguito. To learn more ...
Fracking and Shale Gas
Source : AFP
Early October, 2013, the French Constitutional Council had to take a decision concerning the issue of the exploitation of shale gas in France. On October, 11th, an estoppel was addressed to industrials by the Constitutional Council, confirming the ban on hydraulic fracturing in force since 2011 in France. However, if the law provides for the prohibition of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, it does not prohibit exploration neither experimentation.
At the occasion of the International Day against “fracking” on 19/10/13, street demonstrations were held in several cities in France against the exploration and exploitation of shale gas. Of course, the recent decision of the Constitutional Council was well received, but we must not lower our guard. In fact, the article 2 of the Jacob Act of July 2011 is not challenged and drilling for experimentation and exploration are still allowed, and the drilling permits have not been removed.
How does it work ?
The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially successful applications were in 1949.
The hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is the fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid to extract hydrocarbons, to create small fractures (typically less than 1mm), along which fluids such as gas, petroleum and brine water may migrate to the well.
A well-bore is drilled at depth of 1000 to 4000 meters (indeed!) ; it is consolidated by a concrete shuttering. The wells may be vertical, horizontal or inclined. It also happens that fracking is practiced near the surface.
An explosive charge is then placed to fracture shale, where is the gas.
A fracturing fluid, a mixture of water, sand and chemical solvents, is sent under very high pressure (600 bar) into the well to crack and micro-crack the rock. The sand keeps the cracks open. The gas is removed to the surface.
What happens to the fracturing fluid? 50 to 70% remain in the shale layer, the rest rises through the well. Of course, sometimes the shuttering of concrete cracks under the pressure and the gas AND the liquid escape from well through porous rocks, possibly to the groundwater ...
On the surface, the ballet of trucks begins. Trucks (up to 200 in the Marcellus Basin in the United States) evacuate the recovered fracturing liquid and the gas. Heavy infrastructure is needed : the gas storing (storage and transportation of gas by pipeline), the sand and water storage, but it is also necessary to have a system of “de-pollution” of materials used.
A well-done animation:http://app.owni.fr/gaz/
The destruction of the environment
The gas and the fracturing fluid which have not been channeled must find a way out: the gas rises in the pipes running water, the running water is charged of chemical substances (sometimes radioactive) from the fracturing fluid, the gas escapes from river beds, the air quality deteriorates ... Many risks to nature and human health , one being inseparable from the other. Is that all worth it ?
And do not be fooled: the matter is the one of our energy consumption, specifically the carbon energy responsible for global warming. By drilling these wells, we are destroying our environment, and we are only postponing the inevitable deadline of the end of fossil energy resources, and our necessary questioning.
In this regard, we recommend an animated film about thirty minutes that clearly outlines the question of our mode of exploitation of fossil fuels and natural resources, its impact at the global level and the impasse in which leads us to our current growth model :
There’s no tomorrow»
done by Dermot O’Connor
What are the estimated shale gas reserves and what does it correspond? The only figures available globally are those of the U.S. EIA (US Energy Information Administration), and these are based on a compilation of studies that generate controversy.
On June 10th, 2013, the agency has delivered its latest study. It reviews 137 deposits in 41 countries: in total, the estimation is of 345 billion barrels the amount of technically recoverable shale oil, ten times more than its 2011’s estimate. Is it enough to justify the massive drilling undertaken in the USA, at the expense of the people’s health ? Reserves of shale gas are reassessed 10% to 207,000 billion m3. Anything can happen when you read that China would be the world’s richest countries in shale gas (31 500 billion m3) and the third for the shale oil (32 billion barrels). The United States, themselves, would be located in 4th place for gas and oil for the second. Argentina, Russia, Algeria, Canada and Mexico are also on the list.
￼Source: U.S. basins from U.S. Energy Information Administration and United States Geological Survey; other basins from Advanced Resources International (ARI) based on data from various published studies.
Rate of recovery and productivity ... not so good
Only the exploration and production tests allow to determine both the productivity of each drilling - the quantity of hydrocarbons - and the recovery rate, which measures the portion of technically recoverable deposit. On the average, the EIA estimates this last between 20 and 30%, based on the characteristics of the American rocks. But for the IFPEN, it could be less than 10% in the Parisian Basin, or even zero in some places.
For example, Poland, to which the EIA had dangled raw and actuarial estimates (in 2011, deposits were estimated to 5,300 billion m3), was disillusioned after thirty exploratory drillings on three sites. The reserves were revised downward in March 2012, divided by ten by the National Institute of Geology and the giant Exxon Mobil withdrew from the country.
Even in the USA, the only country which operates on a large scale gas and oil shale, the productivity and the recovery rates are still struggling. With other factors involved, such as the cost of extraction and the opposition of a part of the opinion, there is no guarantee that the U.S. will be able to still derive much benefit from their basement.
And then, if you still prefer to believe in the future of shale gas, given our “runaway energy consumption”, these reserves are going to ensure our energy needs just for a few years, at the cost of destroying the very long term our environment.
How quickly degrade naturally our waste?
Source : consoglobe.com
You have been told already many times, it has been repeated: please, do not throw garbage in the street or in the wild! Cigarette, match, chewing gum, cans or other tissues remain, sometimes they stay there a very long time.
Worldwide, 4,300 billion cigarette butsare thrown into the streets every year, 137,000 butts per second. So, our Earth is it a trash?
Here is a selection of objects or products with their “natural life cycle”: how long do they degrade without external intervention in nature?
Life time of the waste that are the fastest ««biodegradable»
Toilet paper : 2 weeks to 5 months !!!!!
Core of an apple: : 1 to 5 months
Paper tissue : 3 months
Fruit peel : from 3 to 6 months
Newspaper : from 6 to 12 months
Milk carton : up to 5 months
Matches : 6 months
Waste that degrade between 12 months to 10 years
Cigarette butt: 1 to 5 years
Bus or metro ticket: about 1 year
Wool glove or sock : 1 year
Candy wrapper : 5 years
Chewing-gum: 5 years
Oil drain : 5 to 10 years
Wooden plank (painted) : 13 to 15 years
- A cigarette butt may alone to pollute 500 liters, 1 m3 of snow is polluted by 1 cigarette butt.
- One liter of oil can cover 1,000 m² of water and preventing the oxygenation of the underwater fauna and flora for several years. Rejected in the sewage system, waste oil clogs the filters in treatment plants and water disrupts the biological treatment process.
Waste degrading between 10 to 1000 years
Cesium 137 : 30 years
Tin can : 50 years
Polystyrene container / object : 50 to 80 years
Plastic lighter : 100 years
Steel cans : 100 years
Alu cans : 10 to 100 years
Rubber tire: 100 years
Aluminum box : 100 to 500 years
Ink cartridge : 400 to 1000 years
Mercury battery : 200 years
Disposable diaper : 400 to 450 years
Sanitary pad /tampon : 400 to 450 years
Plastic bag : 450 years
Fishnet : 600 years
Life time of the most resistant waste
Plastic bottle : 100 à 1000 years
Telephone card : 1000 years
Ski pass : 1000 years
Expanded polystyrene : 1000 years
Glass: 4000 to 5000 years
Life time of nuclear waste
Iode 131 : 8 days
Iode 125 : 60 days
Radium 226 : 1600 years
Carbone 14 : 5700 years
Plutonium 239 : 24 000 years
Potassium 40 : 1,3 billion years
Uranium 238 : 4,5 billion years (actual age of the Earth..)
So, are you ready to take care of your waste and to review your consumption?
And do not forget that everything that is thrown into the street, ends in the sea !
WORLD : Our oceans are sick
Source : AFP
This classification has been developed by U.S. and Canadian researchers, who studied 171 exclusive economic zones (EEZ), extending 200 nautical miles from the coast, and are of the responsibility of coastal countries.
The researchers studied ten different themes, such as the availability of food, the water quality, the artisanal fishing, the capacity for carbon sequestration, tourism and biodiversity.
Benjamin Halpern (University of California), one of the leaders of the study, told AFP that it was “the first time that are directly combined so many different dimensions such as social, economic-ecological, political - that define a healthy ocean.”
“This is an important tool to assess where we are and where we want to go”, he said.
Alright, we have the tools, but do we know exactly where we want to go?...
The study, published in October 2013, shows a often poor status of our oceans.
Taking into consideration the classification of water quality, Jarvis Island, a small uninhabited South Pacific territory belonging to the United States, is the first with a score of 86 points out of 100, in conjunction with other Pacific uninhabited islands.
“Obviously, the human presence has a substantial negative impact on the ocean, and the scores are inversely related to coastal population”, notes the study, published in the scientific journal Nature. And nearly half the world’s population lives near the coast ...
At the top of the charts , the Seychelles, one of the few developing countries that are ranked in the «top 12». There are also Surinam, and Germany ranked 4th, ahead of countries inhabited with a score of 73 out of 100. These two countries are closely followed by French Polynesia (72 out ver 100). France obtains 66 out of 100, just behind Russia (67) and the French Antilles (54).
Poland and Singapore can be found at the bottom of the ladder. Eleven African countries occupy the last places in the ranking, with scores of 42-36, Sierra Leone being red lantern.
UNITED KINGDOM : the largest marine protected area to be created at the Picairn Islands
Source : ABC radio Australia
These four Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, with an area of 47 km2 are the only British overseas territory in the South Pacific, halfway between New Zealand and Chile.
Although probably the most remote and least populated, the Pitcairn Islands have a large project: creating the largest marine reserve in the world. The deputy mayor of Pitcairn recently went to London to convince the authorities to place under the protection of all waters around four islands, i.e. 836,000 km2.
The Pitcairn Council unanimously voted in favor of this project and is waiting for the green light from the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Governor of Pitcairn in New Zealand.
According to ABC Radio Australia , the mayor of Pitcairn Mike Warren confirmed that the idea of a huge marine park was taken for the sake of the environment and also to attract tourists : “Actually we live on a budget support. And our budget is 95% dependent of the UK. It would be nice if we can manage ourselves. And we believe that the creation of a protected area is a step in this direction. But we would also protect the waters of Pitcairn and of the other three islands. If you live on Pitcairn today , you could watch the ocean through the window and the ocean is absolutely everything blue. We would like to protect it. We would also protect all marine life. Last year , a group of National Geographic came to Pitcairn. They took some great underwater photos that clearly show the purity of the waters of Pitcairn. Those are the two reasons why we would like the waters around Pitcairn to be protected.”
According to the organization Global Ocean Legacy: “The island waters are frequented by a large and varied wildlife including complex populations of hard and soft corals home to hundreds of species of fish, including two unique species: fish-soldier and an endemic Chaetodon fish species. This unspoiled and secluded environment also attracts large migratory animals such as graceful green sea turtle (EN) and the elusive sei whale (EN).”
This is probably due to its very low population (between 50 and 55 people representing 9 families) that the Pitcairn Islands are able to maintain a marine heritage of such wealth. One question : who will help Pitcairn people to control and protect the huge marine area ?
BAJA CALIFORNIA : 3 strandings in 8 days
Sunday, 10/13/2013, an instructor of the Marine Institute Catalina found, while she was snorkeling, the carcass of a 6m oarfish in the Bay of Santa Catalina Island in Baja California. According to the Institute, the oarfish can reach more than 15 m, making it the longest bony fish in the world.
This rare animal, snake-shaped, has a long dorsal fin and purple eyes saucer-shaped.
Two days later, 25 miles beyond the canal in Venice Beach, this is a very rare beaked whale 5m and 2 tons that was found beached. It would be a Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens) or a Stejneger’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri).
These toothed cetaceans look like big dolphins ranging in size from 4m to 12m, with a weight of 1 and 10 tones. We know almost nothing about these animals that usually live far offshore in deep water. There is very little or no observation at sea.
The mammal is under study at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Scientists conduct analyzes of the animal and proceed to the species identification.
Dave Janiger prepares to deliver the beaked whale to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Photo by Alisa-Schulman-Janiger
On Friday, 18/10/2013, another 5m long oarfish was found stranded on the beach near Oceanside, California, by students from elementary school. Aquatic giants usually live more than 1000/1500 meters deep. According to Japanese tradition, the fishermen believe that these animals have close links with earthquakes. In finding them on the beach they would be like an alarm warning of an earthquake.
Indeed, several reports in the months that followed the earthquake of 8.8 magnitude in Chile in 2010, a year before the earthquake of magnitude 9 in March 2011 that shook Japan, several regalecs called “Messengers of God maritime palace” in Japanese, have washed up or were captured near the epicenter of the earthquake off the coast of Honshu.
We do not know the reason for these repeated stranding, in so little time, but we doubt whether it be a coincidence. Would it be the result of Navy’s maneuvers off the coast? An underwater earthquake the San Andreas? Some deep offshore explorations? The destruction of the seabed?
A reader on the Facebook page “ABC News 10” speculated that the cause was radiation from Japan ", in reference to the tsunami generated the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Scientists will try to find a possible explanation. To be continued ...
FRANCE : The 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) in Ajaccio
Sources : Impac3.org, Le Monde
1500 people from 87 countries met at the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) that held in Marseille from 21 to 25 October 2013. The Congress has been prolonged on October, 26th and 27th, by a meeting of Ministers of 19 nations representing all the world’s oceans, around the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in Ajaccio.
Despite the commitments made at the IMPAC2 in 2009 in Washington, the general findings on biodiversity remain a concern: a growing number of marine species listed on the IUCN Red List.
The IMPAC: a recent history
2005 : the 1st International Conference on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) was held in Australia (Geelong). It is the emergence of MPAs as an essential tools for the Marine Environment Protection and the management of activities.
2009 : The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA ONMS) in Washington, organizes the IMPAC2. An edition that reflects the growing role of public agencies in the establishment and management of MPAs.
2013 : The Congress turns to Europe and the Mediterranean, known as the «AMP Lab».
The IMPAC3 participants have reiterated their commitment to achieving the objectives of the Aïchi Convention on Biological Diversity, including the objective N°11, which provides for protection by 2020 at least 10% of the oceans.
For the record, “Aichi Biodiversity Targets” (twenty in number) are the new “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020” for the planet, adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2010. The objectives are to:
- Reduce by at least half, or where possible close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests;
- Set a goal of protecting biodiversity for 17% of terrestrial and inland waters and 10% of coastal and marine areas. Governments also undertake to restore at least 15% of degraded areas and make a special effort to reduce distressing pressures on coral reefs.
From a qualitative point of view, the Aichi targets ask for marine protected areas to be “in an ecologically representative network, well connected and effectively and equitably managed.” This is still not the case for all less than 3% of AMP: only some marine parks, reserves and other areas, vulnerable to preserve, that actually have a management plan and sufficient resources can enforce their regulations on and under water.
Yet ministers like to recall that “The health of the oceans is essential for the maintenance of life on the entire planet,” but what do they do?
“The sea is not eternal, the regulation of the High Seas is inevitable,” said the MP for Haute-Corse Paul Giacobbi (PRG), Chairman of the Board of the French Agency for Marine Protected Areas. Certainly, so what?
To create and manage “high sea” protected marine areas, substantial changes in the legal context is necessary. 64% of the oceans are beyond national jurisdiction, and the status of the high seas is the subject of international discussions. These areas are rich in biodiversity ... but also in fossil and mineral resources. The IMPAC has asked the international community (uh, who is it precisely ?) to adopt, before the end of 2014, the decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations will that will launch the negotiation of an agreement to implement conservation and sustainable management of marine biodiversity in areas that are not covered by national courts.
One more decision to come in order to begin to consider taking relevant decisions ... and yet it seems that there is urgency...
Twenty countries have launched on this occasion an urgent appeal for the preservation of marine biodiversity and the accelerated development of Marine Protected Areas in high seas. And what will they do, when they will go back home? What are we going to do, while staying at home?
A so-so, even disappointing result
The ending Ministerial Conference has adopted a joint statement: the Message of Ajaccio that supposed to reaffirm the commitment of the signatories states to build a coherent network of MPAs, determined by scientific criteria and covering 10% of the oceans by 2020. But everyone has not signed ... And the most influential states have not signed : the United States and Canada do not want the implementation of international regulatory tools, and Japan, Norway, Iceland and Korea do not want their fishing to be limited by quotas ...
For its part, France has announced plans to spend on projects of marine environmental protection, through the French Funds for Global Environment and the French Development Agency, some € 20 million for the next two years. Three million will be dedicated to the Mediterranean, 3.7 million in West Africa, 5.5 million in the Indian Ocean (Mozambique Channel and TAAF), 1 million in the Caribbean and to 6.5 million in Pacific. Already, the Minister of Ecology announced the creation of the marine park in the Arcachon Basin.
This exchange day in Corsica was an opportunity to make emerged some new ideas. And the representative of the Government of Seychelles suggested swapping the debt of his country against the introduction of a large GPA around the archipelago. Why not? It is not known what was the answer ....
Wooden language obliges, the ministers call for dialogue with all users of the sea and the fisheries stakeholders, initiatives of civil society that support the scientific work. “They look especially to all those who could overcome the restriction of public budgets: the Global Environment Facility and other major donors. They also rely on”innovative partnerships with the private sector." But who have sufficient funds? Not NGOs environment ....
And what are the counterparts available to these sponsors?...
FRANCE : More than 20,000 tons of sea-buses and and whiting caught by amateurs in 2012
Source : AFP
Sea fishing enthusiasts are 1.3 million in France, and they have nothing to envy to the performance of professionals: in 2012, they captured some 20,400 tones of fish and shellfish - mainly sea-bass - an Ifremer study said last October, 2013.
Of these catches, three quarters were kept (the rest is returned to the water), i.e. “5% of the samples of professional fishing, with a production estimated at 310 000 tones,” said the French Research Institute for the sea exploitation.
With 9 million fishing trips per year, on a boat or from the shore, “recreational” fishermen have mainly captured sea bass (3,200 tons), followed by mackerel, pollack, squid, whiting and dorados.
According to the study conducted between 2011 and 2013, the typical fisherman is a man (73%), aged 40-64 years (more than half of them). He devoted himself mainly to his hobby in the summer and spends an average of 146 euros per year for equipment and 1,000 euros per year for his boat (only 25% of fishermen have one).
This study was conducted by the polling institute BVA, by phone, in 16,000 homes in France and a panel of 180 recreational fishermen at sea.
FRANCE : the female bear Hvala and her cubs borned in 2013 in the Pyrénées
Source : Equipe Ours - Réseau Ours Brun
Wednesday 12/04/13 : The internationale day of Cheetah
Thanks to Laurie Marker and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the December 4th as “the International Day of the Cheetah.” The cheetah is the fastest and the oldest of the big cats. He survived three million years of glaciation and periods of global warming. However, its survival is threatened, more than ever, due to conflicts between it and the man and the destruction of its habitat.
The cheetah could disappear from the wild within less than 10 years. December, the 4 is an opportunity to celebrate the cheetah and acting, especially by talking around you, and for this magnificent big cat to have the last chance to win the most important race of his story: that of survival. (thank you to AmisFélins).
Saturday 13/12/07 : Forum on the Sea jobs in Paris from 10:00 am to 6:00pm. Free entrance. Institut océanographique « Maison des Océans » - 195, rue Saint-Jacques 75005 Paris.
The salon will offer college students and high school students, passionate about Oceanographic Sciences, go to meet professionals from the sea, across a wide range of schools and training organizations.
More info on :www.institut-ocean.org
A possible gift:
the Marc Giraud’s books
COLOMBIA : an Olinguito baby found in La Mesenia Reserve Forest
Scientists trekking deep in Colombia’s La Mesenia Reserve Forest recently spotted a young olinguito, as big as a kitten, a mammal that was just confirmed as a new species in August. The Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) is of the racoon family Procyonidae that live in montane forests in the Andes of Western Colombia and Ecuador. Kinkajous resemble olingos, but are not closely related. The animal is an omnivorous frugivore that eats mainly fruits, but also insects and nectar. The Olinguitos appear to be strictly arboreal and are nocturnal. They probably produce a single offspring at a time. Males et females are of the same size.
Up today, 19 Olinguitos were studied. They measured from 660 to 820 mm length.
Isn’t he cute ?