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OtherPress

To alleviate the problem of articles from other press sources being reposted on this IMC site, this section allows users to link to articles published elsewhere, and to contribute and read comments on those pieces. Have something interesting to post?

 

News :: Children : Environment

World Wildlife Fund 2002 Living Planet Report

From the synopsis -

Wake-up call for Planet Earth as natural resources decline

Tuesday 9 July 2002

Planet Earth is suffering such a rapid loss of its natural resources - its biodiversity - that we are now eating into its capital stocks of forest, fish and fertile soil. That is the stark reality laid out in the latest Living Planet Report, WWF's periodic update on the state of the world's ecosystems, published today.
"In other words," declared Jonathan Loh, the report's author, "humanity now exceeds the planet's capacity to sustain its consumption of renewable resources."

The report is based on WWF's Living Planet Index, which tracks trends in populations of hundreds of species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. It reveals that since 1970, populations of the world's forest species declined by some 15 per cent, marine species populations by 35 per cent and freshwater species populations by a particularly alarming 54 per cent.

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News :: Children : Environment : Peace & War : Urban Development

Creeping Dead Zones

Creeping Dead Zones is not the title of a sequel to a Stephen King novel. "Dead zones" in this context are areas where the bottom water (the water at the sea floor) is anoxic — meaning that it has very low (or completely zero) concentrations of dissolved oxygen. These dead zones are occurring in many areas along the coasts of major continents, and they are spreading over larger areas of the sea floor. Because very few organisms can tolerate the lack of oxygen in these areas, they can destroy the habitat in which numerous organisms make their home.

The cause of anoxic bottom waters is fairly simple: the organic matter produced by phytoplankton at the surface of the ocean (in the euphotic zone) sinks to the bottom (the benthic zone),where it is subject to breakdown by the action of bacteria, a process known as bacterial respiration. The problem is, while phytoplankton use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen during photosynthesis, bacteria use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide during respiration. The oxygen used by bacteria is the oxygen dissolved in the water, and that’s the same oxygen that all of the other oxygen-respiring animals on the bottom (crabs, clams, shrimp, and a host of mud-loving creatures) and swimming in the water (zooplankton, fish) require for life to continue.

The "creeping dead zones" are areas in the ocean where it appears that phytoplankton productivity has been enhanced, or natural water flow has been restricted, leading to increasing bottom water anoxia. If phytoplankton productivity is enhanced, more organic matter is produced, more organic matter sinks to the bottom and is respired by bacteria, and thus more oxygen is consumed. If water flow is restricted, the natural refreshing flow of oxic waters (water with normal dissolved oxygen concentrations) is reduced, so that the remaining oxygen is depleted faster.

Many of the areas where increasing bottom water anoxia has recently been observed are near the mouths of major river systems. While the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) can’t see the bottom of the ocean, it can see the surface, where sediments from rivers mix with ocean waters. The images shown here are SeaWiFS observations of the Mississippi River delta, the Yangtze River mouth in China (The Yangtze River mouth is not currently identified as an area with an associated dead zone, but such conditions could develop there in the future), and the Pearl River mouth in China, near Hong Kong.

The apparent cause of the creeping dead zones is agriculture, specifically fertilizer. While fertilizer is necessary to foster bumper agricultural crops, it also runs off the fields into the streams and rivers of a watershed. When the fertilizer reaches the ocean, it just becomes more nutrients for the phytoplankton, so they do what they do best: they grow and multiply. Which leads to more organic matter reaching the bottom, more bacterial respiration, and more anoxic bottom water.


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News :: Peace & War

Attack claims 2 area GIs

At least 12 people with ties to the Fredericksburg area have now died in Iraq.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

44 Percent Say Restrict Muslims

I have been quiet because I've been on holiday and
travelling. This will continue to be true for another couple of weeks, after which the postings should start flowing yet again.

Cheers,
Nabil

In U.S., 44 Percent Say Restrict Muslims

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Jordanian held after anti-US lecture

The Jordanian authorities have detained a union representative after he delivered a lecture critical of US military and political involvement in the Middle East. Ali Hattar was detained and referred to the state prosecutor after an address he gave this month entitled Why We Boycott America.

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Commentary :: Elections & Legislation

Who Can Afford to "Buy Blue"?

Take a look at BuyBlue.org's "Blue Christmas" campaign list of "red" and "blue" companies, and you'll see that BuyBlue Democrats play right into the hands of Republicans, who have been trading on an idea that the Democratic Party is the party of the coastal "liberal elite" and misrepresenting themselves as the party of mythical "Middle America."

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Commentary :: Labor & Class

Attacking Wal-Mart's Supply Chain

Wal-Mart's zeal to "hold the lowest feasible [inventory] level while avoiding the risks of 'stock outs,'" its competitive advantage, is also the weak link in its anti-union empire.

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Announcement :: Miscellaneous

"Looking at Slavery: Going to the Sources"

The theme of the second issue of History Now, an online journal edited by Carol Berkin, is "Looking at Slavery: Going to the Sources." This issue features articles by Eric Foner, David Blight, Douglas R. Egerton, and Annette Gordon-Reed and contains a significant number of printable primary
sources.

History Now can be found at:

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