Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

The first step to conserving the Great Barrier Reef is understanding what lives there

<p>Look at this photo of two coral skeletons below. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’re the same species, or at least closely related, but looks can be deceiving. These two species diverged tens of millions of years ago, probably earlier than our human lineage split from baboons and macaques.</p> <p>Scientists have traditionally used morphology (size, shape and colour) to identify species and infer their evolutionary history. But most species were first described in the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/027073a0">19th century</a>, and based solely on features of the coral skeleton visible under a microscope.</p> <p>Morphology remains important for species recognition. The problem is we don’t know whether a particular morphological feature reflects species ancestry, or evolved independently.</p> <p>Our new study <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1055790320302165">examined</a> the traditional ideas of coral species and their evolutionary relationships using “<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1755-0998.12736">phylogenomics</a>” – comparing thousands of DNA sequences across coral species.</p> <p><strong>Join 130,000 people who subscribe to free evidence-based news.</strong></p> <p>Get newsletter</p> <p>Our results revealed the diversity and distributions of corals are vastly different to what we previously thought. It shows we still don’t know many fundamental aspects about the corals on Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>And after three mass bleaching events in five years, not having a handle on the basics could mean <a href="http://elibrary.gbrmpa.gov.au/jspui/bitstream/11017/3569/4/Draft-restoration-adaptation-policy.pdf">our attempts to intervene</a> and help coral survive climate change may have unexpected consequences.</p> <p>An international team of scientists have developed a new genetic tool that can help them better understand and ultimately work to save coral reefs.</p> <p><strong>How do we know which species is which?</strong></p> <p>Despite being one of the <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00146.x">best-studied</a> marine ecosystems on Earth, there are fundamental knowledge gaps around the Great Barrier Reef, including:</p> <p>1. how many coral species live there?</p> <p>2. how do we identify them?</p> <p>3. where are they found across the vast Great Barrier Reef ecosystem?</p> <p>Finding the answers to these questions starts with accurate “taxonomy” – the science of naming and classifying living things.</p> <p>Identifying species based on how similar they look may seem straightforward. As Darwin famously said, closely related species often share morphological features because they inherited them from a common ancestor.</p> <p>However, this can be misleading if two unrelated species independently acquire similar features. This process, called convergent evolution, often occurs when different species are faced with similar ecological challenges.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2015/02/06/why-an-ichthyosaur-looks-like-a-dolphin/">classic example</a> of convergent evolution is dolphins and the prehistoric ichthyosaurs. These animals are unrelated, but share many similarities since they both occupy a similar ecological niche.</p> <p>Ichthyosaurs dominated the world’s oceans for millions of years.</p> <p>At the other end of the spectrum, morphology can vary considerably within a single species. An alien taxonomist visiting Earth could be forgiven for describing the Chihuahua and the Irish Wolfhound as two distinct species.</p> <p><strong>Bringing coral taxonomy into the 21st century</strong></p> <p>We used molecular phylogenetics, a field of research that uses variations in DNA sequences to reconstruct genealogies. From corals to humans, molecular phylogenetics has revolutionised our understanding of the origins and evolution of life on Earth.</p> <p>Molecular approaches have <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-31305-4_4">revolutionised</a> our understanding of the diversity and evolution of corals, shedding light on <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature02339">deeper branches</a> in the coral “tree of life”. But within hyper-diverse, ecologically-important coral groups, such as the staghorn corals from the genus <em>Acropora</em>, we are still in the dark.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1055790320302165">Our new technique</a> addresses this by comparing thousands of key regions across coral genomes (the entire genetic code of an organism) to help identify species in this ecologically important group for the first time. This method will also allow us to identify morphological features that do reflect shared ancestry and help us recognise species when diving in the reef.</p> <p>About a quarter of all coral species on the Great Barrier Reef are staghorn corals, and they provide much of the three-dimensional structure fishes and many other coral reef animals rely on, just like trees in a forest.</p> <p>Unfortunately, staghorn corals are also highly susceptible to threats such as thermal bleaching and crown-of-thorns seastar predation. The future of reefs will be heavily influenced by the fate of staghorn corals.</p> <p><strong>The risk of ‘silent extinctions’</strong></p> <p>While we don’t yet know how many coral species occur on the Great Barrier Reef or how widespread they are, many species appear to have far smaller ranges than we previously thought.</p> <p>For example, we now know some of the corals on Lord Howe Island are endemic to only a few reefs in subtropical eastern Australia and <a href="https://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.3626.4.11">occur nowhere else</a>, not even on the Great Barrier Reef. They evolved in isolation and bleach at <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.14772">much lower temperatures</a> than corals on tropical reefs.</p> <p>This means Lord Howe Island’s corals are of far greater conservation concern than currently recognised, because <a href="https://theconversation.com/bleaching-has-struck-the-southernmost-coral-reef-in-the-world-114433">one severe bleaching event</a> could cause the extinction of these species.</p> <p>The risk of “silent extinctions”, where species go extinct without even being noticed, is one of the reasons behind the Australian Academy of Science’s <a href="https://www.science.org.au/support/analysis/decadal-plans-science/discovering-biodiversity-decadal-plan-taxonomy">Decadal Plan for Taxonomy</a>, which has led to the ambitious goal to document all Australian species in the next 25 years.</p> <p><strong>Intervening now may have unexpected consequences</strong></p> <p>In April, the <a href="https://www.gbrrestoration.org/reports#technical-reports">Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program</a> concept feasibility study found 160 possible interventions to help save the Great Barrier Reef. <a href="https://www.gbrrestoration.org/">Proposed interventions</a> include moving corals from warm to cooler waters, introducing genetically-engineered heat-tolerant corals into wild populations, and the harvest and release of coral larvae.</p> <p>What could go wrong? Well-intentioned interventions may inadvertently threaten coral communities, for example, through introduction or movement of diseases within the Great Barrier Reef. <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/c/cane-toad/">Cane toads</a> are a famous example of unintended consequences: introduced in the 1930s to control an insect pest, they are now wreaking havoc on Australian ecosystems.</p> <p>Any intervention affecting the ecology of a system as complex as the Great Barrier Reef requires a precautionary approach to minimise the chance of unintended and potentially negative consequences.</p> <p>What we need, at this time, is far greater investment in fundamental biodiversity research. Without this information, we are not in a position to judge whether particular actions will threaten the resilience of the reef, rather than enhance it.</p> <p><em>Written by Tom Bridge, Andrea Quattrini, Andrew Baird and Peter Crowman. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-first-step-to-conserving-the-great-barrier-reef-is-understanding-what-lives-there-146097">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

5 amazing swimming pools from around the world

<p>You’ll definitely want to add these unbelievable pools to your bucket list once we're allowed to travel again.</p> <p>These pools aren’t your average run-of-the-mill rectangular hotel pools. With jaw-dropping views, unique concepts, and even terrifying experiences, curiosity will definitely get the better of you when it comes to pool time. Here are some of the most unique pools our world has to offer.</p> <p><strong>Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837842/the-blue-lagoon.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a7eedfbcba354178a76e85a1fe9bc1da" /></strong></p> <p>In Grindavik, Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous spots in the country because of its transcendent geothermal features. Heated water is vented naturally from the ground and remains at around 37 degrees Celsius. Some say that the water has healing powers for various skin diseases.</p> <p><strong>San Alfonso del Mar</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837843/san-alfonso-del-mar.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/959e6a7358a0466684d1cf029809f20c" /></strong></p> <p>Chile’s San Alfonso del Mar is a private resort in the beachside city of Algarrobo, and boasts one of the world’s largest man-made swimming pools. Spanning over 1000 metres, the deep end plunges to 35 metres. The annual maintenance fee is said to be over US$3 million.</p> <p><strong>Ubud Hanging Gardens</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837841/ubud-hanging-gardens.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c112f69b256f4d29ba0d96e4d92b7d33" /></strong></p> <p>Sharing its name with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens swimming pool in Ubud is located in a luxurious Balinese resort. The pool clings to a precipitous edge of the densely forested valley, allowing swimmers to overlook the trees from the elevated waters above.</p> <p><strong>SkyPark, Singapore</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837844/skypark-singapore.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/800c1b25927f41caa556aaff97f26b87" /></strong></p> <p>Skypark at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore boasts an infinity pool 55 stories above ground. At the world’s most expensive hotel, the water flows over the edge of the building giving swimmers a jaw-dropping view of the city.</p> <p><strong>Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls, Africa</strong></p> <p><strong><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7837840/devils-pool-at-the-top-of-victoria-falls.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1826629db2144f90a7839aed3af37f78" /></strong></p> <p>At the top of Victoria Falls in Africa, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, this natural formation called Devil’s Pool can safely hold swimmers and give them an amazing view of the natural wonder. A rock wall sits at the edge of the pool preventing the water from pulling swimmers over the side.</p> <p><em>Written by Emma Taubenfeld. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/12-amazing-swimming-pools-from-around-the-world">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our <a href="https://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Mammoth task: the Russian family on a resurrection quest to tackle the climate crisis

<p>On the banks of the River Kolyma, deep into the Arctic circle in north-east Siberia, lies a gently rusting Soviet-era tank. It doesn’t look out of place here. After all, just down the river is the hull of a half-sunken ship and the remains of an Aeroflot aeroplane fuselage that met an unfortunate end.</p> <p>The tank isn’t working at the moment – it’s hard to find parts – but until recently, it was driven by a bearded Russian wearing a beret, a cigarette clamped permanently between his jaws, taking a sort of macabre delight in destroying trees and churning up soil.</p> <p>This is Sergey Zimov who, together with his son Nikita, is carrying out an experiment on this scrubby patch of Arctic tundra: they want to restore the prehistoric “mammoth steppe” ecosystem and see if it proves their hypothesis that a grassland grazed by large herbivores has an effect on slowing down – or even reversing – the thawing permafrost.</p> <p>Currently the landscape is mostly larch forest with very low biodiversity. There are no animals, save for the odd moose and millions of mosquitoes. Meanwhile, Arctic temperatures are increasing <a href="https://www.npr.org/2014/12/18/371438087/arctic-is-warming-twice-as-fast-as-world-average">twice as quickly</a> as those in the rest of the planet, and the permafrost that covers 65% of Russia <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0592-8?fbclid=IwAR1GLrQiGpH_25nIjqH_ih4zp24YpbtvhF2nec3bUK8e9Hi8zYaD151Irws">is thawing</a>. Fast. Many of the buildings in the town of Chersky – where the Zimov experiment is based – sport deep cracks (some have collapsed altogether), roads are buckled and the ground is humped and hollowed.</p> <p>The clue to what counts as permafrost is in the name – permanently frozen ground. As with anything frozen, it is liable to thaw if temperatures get too hot. That is precisely what is happening all across the Arctic.</p> <p>Permafrost is difficult to define. It covers almost a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere and sequesters <a href="https://arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card/Report-Card-2019/ArtMID/7916/ArticleID/844/Permafrost-and-the-Global-Carbon-Cycle">double</a> the carbon found in the atmosphere today. When frozen, the microbes that feed on the organic material found in permafrost are “asleep”. When it thaws, they wake up and the anaerobic respiration produced releases greenhouse gases.</p> <p>Officially, it’s soil that has been frozen for two years or more, with an “active layer” that thaws seasonally. But thanks to global warming, permafrost has been thawing with increasing magnitude, with all sorts of disruptive effects. A process called a “<a href="https://epic.awi.de/id/eprint/31461/">thermokarst megaslump</a>” has opened up huge holes across the tundra and the bodies of mammoths are being found with <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/world/europe/russia-siberia-yakutia-permafrost-global-warming.html">greater frequency</a>, their flesh decomposing in the Arctic sun. Strange things are awakening. A couple of years ago, a team of Russian scientists reportedly found <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ancient-roundworms-allegedly-resurrected-russian-permafrost-180969782/">30,000-year-old worms</a> in the permafrost which, upon being warmed up gently in a Moscow laboratory, began to wriggle around.</p> <p>Almost ironically, the mammoths exposed by the thawing of permafrost are what sparked Sergey Zimov’s hypothesis: that large herbivores are necessary to maintain the integrity of permafrost. The Zimovs use their tank to mimic the tread and destructiveness of the woolly mammoth in a 144km² fenced off area they call “<a href="https://pleistocenepark.ru/">Pleistocene Park</a>”.</p> <p>Recreating the mammoth’s former ecosystem might seem like an impossible task given the creature has been extinct for 4,000 years, but for the Zimovs this is a minor detail. They are concerned with ecological processes – the web of connection that produces a functioning ecosystem. The tank will do just fine as a mammoth-stand in, destroying trees and stimulating grass growth in its wake.</p> <p>There are animals in the park that play a similar role. Yakutian horses and reindeer have been purchased from local indigenous herders, and other creatures that haven’t lived in the region for a long time (yak, sheep, Kalmykian cow, musk ox, bison) have come from much further afield. There are around 120 animals in total, although deaths and births happen with regularity. Last summer, Nikita Zimov undertook a perilous journey by truck to transport 12 baby bison all the way from Denmark. The roads are dreadful for most of Northern Siberia, and then they disappear completely. Travelling by barge along the Kolyma is the only way in.</p> <p>A few seasons before that, an expedition to Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean to find musk oxen almost ended in disaster after their boat hit a storm. The discovery on return that all the oxen were males was a particularly frustrating one. The animals in the park roam where they please, encouraged to breed and forage so their behaviours <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/285824">have an effect</a> on the permafrost: trampling compacts ground and keeps it frozen, while grassland reflects solar radiation.</p> <p>Even though the tank remains out of commission, the Zimovs are hoping that soon they won’t need it at all. They’re hoping that one day a mammoth will return to the Arctic.</p> <p><strong>Resurrecting the dead</strong></p> <p>Sometime in the early 2000s, rumblings began in the scientific community of a new form of conservation that would potentially fix a growing problem. What if, instead of fighting what seemed to be an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-event-already-underway-scientists-warn">increasingly losing battle</a> against extinction, you could potentially resurrect an extinct creature through cloning methods?</p> <p>Still reeling from the implications of Dolly the sheep in 1997, in 2003 a team of scientists in Zaragoza, Spain, managed to <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/the-10-minutes-when-scientists-brought-a-species-back-from-extinction/274118/">successfully produce</a> a clone of the extinct Pyrenean ibex, having previously collected genetic material from the last remaining individual of the species. Although the cloned calf only lived for ten minutes, the genie was out of the bottle: extinction didn’t have to be forever.</p> <p>Advances in genetic technology saw the arrival of CRISPR, a type of gene editing software that allowed for swift and cheap splicing of genomes. Now it didn’t matter if you didn’t have a viable cell for cloning – you could simply create a complete genome in a laboratory. This is what happened with <a href="https://reviverestore.org/projects/woolly-mammoth/progress/">the mammoth</a>, whose genome was sequenced in 2015, becoming the first extinct creature to be catalogued.</p> <p>While preserved mammoth bodies are common finds in Siberia, their flesh prevented from decomposition by permafrost, living cells begin to degrade at the point of death so a certain amount of cell degradation is inevitable. But by using CRISPR, a scientist is able to plug, say, the genome of an Asian elephant with the genes that make the physical traits of a mammoth (cold adapted blood, thick hair, small ears). Theoretically, if that genome was implanted into an egg and then fertilised, the Asian elephant in question would give birth to a mammoth, albeit one that is genetically a hybrid.</p> <p>De-extincting the mammoth in the future is a possibility, but the follow up question must surely be: what does one do with such a creature? Enter the Pleistocene Park. The vast expanse of tundra and cold temperatures, not to mention the ready-made connotations with a similar de-extinction “project”, Jurassic Park, mean it is the obvious place for any newly “resurrected” (hybridised, to be exact) mammoth to go.</p> <p>All this talk of restoration, rebirth and resurrection raises further questions: one of them being the ethical implications of “playing God”. But the other, larger question regards the role of humanity on the planet. We are now <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01641-5">unofficially</a> living in the Anthropocene – a new epoch that designates humans as top geological agents, leaving our mark in the rock and influencing just about every planetary process. Most of our actions are not positive ones, evidenced by the tide of environmental destruction, global warming and explosive levels of extinction left in our wake.</p> <p>Would resurrecting the mammoth be a way for humans to right past wrongs, or would it be an extension of the power and control we wield over a ravaged planet?</p> <p><strong>‘We are as gods’</strong></p> <p>I visited the Pleistocene Park in the summer of 2018 to attempt to answer this question. The mammoth is a bit of a thorny conversation topic to the Zimovs. Yes, Sergey Zimov strides around the tundra wearing a t-shirt sporting a stylised cartoon of the massive hairy elephant, but his son is quick to shoot me down when I ask about their level of involvement in de-extinction.</p> <p>“You have a lot of people believing in God,” he says. “And they don’t like this mammoth return. So I try and use it to bring attention to the park, but I don’t want any of the criticism!” But the relationship between de-extinction scientists and the park is difficult to ignore. A few weeks after I leave the park, the Zimovs are visited by the geneticist <a href="https://wyss.harvard.edu/team/core-faculty/george-church/">George Church</a>, probably the biggest proponent of mammoth de-extinction, and <a href="http://sb.longnow.org/SB_homepage/Home.html">Stewart Brand</a>, lifelong environmentalist and now supporter of what is termed a “good Anthropocene” (the idea that humans should use their power to benevolently steward the planet). “We are as gods,” Brand <a href="https://www.edge.org/conversation/stewart_brand-we-are-as-gods-and-have-to-get-good-at-it#:%7E:text=Stewart%20Brand%20Talks%20About%20His%20Ecopragmatist%20Manifesto&amp;text=Forty%20years%20ago%2C%20I%20could,to%20get%20good%20at%20it">famously quipped</a>: “And we have to get good at it.”</p> <p>I’m sceptical of this viewpoint. The Anthropocene concept is a <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthropocene-doesnt-exist-and-species-of-the-future-will-not-recognise-it-111762">flattening one</a>: it categorises all humans as the same, separated from nature, wreaking havoc on a lifeless Earth. It distributes blame equally, rather than directed towards the worst polluters. It ignores the uneven and ongoing effects of climate change on different parts of the globe. Planetary stewardship – no matter how benevolent – reinforces this idea. It suggests things can, and should, be controlled.</p> <p>But I don’t see much evidence of this control during my time at the park. The first day I’m taken there (it’s a 30 minute boat ride away from the science station that houses visitors) Nikita Zimov is informed by his rangers that the herd of musk oxen hasn’t been seen for days so he heads into the undergrowth to find the animals. I’m left alone, surrounded by flooded plains, no animals to be seen save for a blind yak.</p> <p>A few days later, the permafrost tunnel floods. A sort of underground laboratory dug to house permafrost cores, scientific equipment and frozen fish, it was supposedly placed at a high enough level that the annual floodwaters of the Kolyma would never reach the entrance - until they did. We spend a day pumping the water out and dislodging the items that had stuck fast to the frozen ceiling. A little way down the river, the expensive scientific equipment owned by a well-funded contingent of German permafrost scientists is submerged under water.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Zimovs are furious about the 12 baby bison they have purchased from an Alaskan herder, still stuck in their pen. They’re unable to find a pilot willing to fly them over in the creaky, old DC-4 plane they have found. Everything that seemingly can go wrong, does go wrong. The Pleistocene Park is showing encouraging signs of becoming a grassland ecosystem, and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60938-y?sf232308455=1">initial tests</a> show the permafrost is thawing less within the park’s boundaries.</p> <p>But on the summer solstice (a swelteringly hot June day in the Arctic) we take a drill and some thaw depth probes to do some readings outside of the park, and the prognosis for the permafrost is not good. “We are fighting global warming,” Nikita Zimov says. “But global warming is fighting back.”</p> <p><strong>Tusk hunts</strong></p> <p>When permafrost makes the news, it’s never good. In early June, a fuel tank at the Norilsk power plant in Siberia <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52977740">collapsed</a> because of thawing permafrost and 17,500 tonnes of diesel spilled into the river. A lot of people live and work on top of permafrost in Russia, and at the time of the Soviet Union, thousands of people were lured to the Arctic on the promise of highly paid jobs and cheap houses as part of a plan to “master the North”. Now the Soviet Union is long gone, along with all the perks, and thawing permafrost is making Arctic life very difficult.</p> <p>A sort of black-market industry has emerged, with groups of men heading out onto the tundra for months at a time to look for mammoth bodies that thawing permafrost has exposed. <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2013/04/tracking-mammoths1/">They’re after the tusks</a> that can be sold for a hefty profit to China, by far the world’s top market for ivory goods. These tusk hunts are often dangerous, with the men using illegal high-powered water cannons to blast holes and tunnels in permafrost, hundreds of miles away from towns or hospitals. Those who find a tusk have struck white gold, but those that don’t (most of them) will lose money.</p> <p>There’s another tension too. To many Siberian indigenous groups, the mammoth is a sacred beast and mustn’t be disturbed – to do so could mean death. Tusk hunters face an often-agonising decision: to betray their belief system or to feed their family.</p> <p>I became aware of an uneasy relationship between tusk hunters and scientists when I visited the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, where I spent the winter in 2018. Yakutsk is the world’s coldest and largest city built on permafrost, and it has no roads in or out – in the summer you take the plane, in the winter the frozen rivers become ice roads and a thriving trucking network ferries supplies to and from the Arctic towns.</p> <p>The Mammoth Museum and the Melnikov Permafrost Institute are institutions dedicated to understanding permafrost and tundra flora and fauna. This includes the mammoth. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the funding for these institutions has dried up. The scientists at the permafrost institute can only wait for international researchers with big grants to show up.</p> <p>The museum has struck up an awkward partnership with a biotechnology company in Seoul, South Korea. Sooam Biotech is known for <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/08/dog-cloning-animal-sooam-hwang">cloning pets</a> (most famously, Barbara Streisand’s dog) and has made no secret of its desire to clone a mammoth. The Mammoth Museum is informed of any mammoth finds by tusk hunters and Sooam Biotech is offered first dibs on collecting genetic material from the body. In exchange, Sooam Biotech has financed a state-of-the-art laboratory and equipment for the museum.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Yakutian government has recently passed <a href="https://phys.org/news/2018-12-siberian-region-permafrost-planet.html">a law that protects permafrost</a>, enshrining the rights of Yakuts to live on top of solid ground. This law is mostly symbolic. Permafrost thaw is a result of global warming, yet it is Arctic Siberia that bears the brunt.</p> <p>These smaller, messier permafrost interactions say something important. The Pleistocene Park and the designs of scientists wanting to resurrect the mammoth work very much within a global narrative. The <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/907484977/pleistocene-park-an-ice-age-ecosystem-to-save-the">promotional material</a> for the park involve references to “the world’s best plan” and “saving the world”. Similarly to the way the Anthropocene concept flattens humanity, constructing the Earth on a purely global scale produces a potential future catastrophe that hasn’t happened yet. Think about any Hollywood disaster movie – we must do something to prevent it.</p> <p>Curating apocalypse in this way means the more local catastrophic events become seen as harbingers of a threat to come, rather than catastrophes in their own right. Permafrost makes the news as a “<a href="https://eos.org/articles/the-ticking-time-bomb-of-arctic-permafrost#:%7E:text=An%20Arctic%20ecosystem%20is%20in,than%20a%20decade%20to%20recover.">ticking time bomb</a>”, something that will blow up unless we do something about it. Yet the people who live in the Arctic, particularly indigenous groups and fragile communities like Chersky, are already dealing with an apocalypse and have been for some time.</p> <p>The unpredictability of permafrost – now very much impermanent – challenges those proponents of a good Anthropocene who believe we can control the planet.</p> <p><strong>Putting life on ice</strong></p> <p>Freezing, being frozen, staying frozen – they all suggest a period of stasis, of suspension. Permafrost itself indicates permanence, but that can no longer be said to be true. What to do, when the planet is warming and the Arctic is warming even faster? Build freezers, that’s what.</p> <p>Cryobanks have emerged in the past decade, often attached to museums, as a response to the rapid rise in species extinction. They offer a way to put “life on ice”, stored safely away until something can be done, be that captive breeding or de-extinction. Many of these projects have eschatological overtones – the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/technology/the-lazarus-project-scientists-quest-for-deextinction-20150417-1mng6g.html">Lazarus Project</a>, <a href="https://www.frozenark.org/">The Frozen Ark</a> – and suggest that control can somehow be regained by turning the temperature down.</p> <p>The 42,000-year-old horse lying in Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum is dead. I can smell it. Its body had been found a few months earlier in a permafrost bank, and had been frozen in the museum’s freezer ever since. The horse has been so well preserved, it looks like it’s merely sleeping. A delegation from the pet cloning company Sooam Biotech is visiting Yakutsk to take samples, and I’ve been invited along to view the autopsy.</p> <p>The head of the delegation, and CEO of the company, is Hwang Woo-Suk – a once disgraced South Korean veterinary scientist who made <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892198/">headlines in 2005</a> when he claimed he had cloned human cells. He hadn’t, and went from the pride of South Korea to a laughing stock overnight while claiming he had been deceived by a former colleague in the process. A few years later he began showing up in Yakutsk looking for mammoths and other prehistoric creatures. His pet cloning company makes him rich, but cloning a mammoth would bring global fame again.</p> <p>The Anthropocene may be the time of the human, but really it is the time of certain humans, or certain actions. Actions have consequences. The warming of the Arctic and the thawing of permafrost is but one of these consequences. The reaction to this, to attempt to regain control of planetary processes, whether this be through resurrecting the mammoth or restoring its habitat, is indicative of a commitment to a good Anthropocene that aims to continue human dominance on the Earth.</p> <p>Having lived on top of permafrost, felt my feet sink into the mushy ground and rolled a ball of it between my fingers like putty, I remain doubtful any of this will work. What impact the Pleistocene Park may have on the permafrost around it is negated thousands of miles away by yet another thermokarst megaslump or another Arctic wildfire. While Nikita Zimov is philosophical about this, saying “it’s better to walk rather than to sit and wait for death”, it’s difficult to imagine the park ever reaching a point where it can mitigate permafrost thaw across the world. The mammoth, should it ever be resurrected, would surely exist as a curio rather than a thriving species, a monument to the hubris of playing God.</p> <p>Those advocating a good Anthropocene mean well, but a much deeper state change is needed. The continuous layer of permafrost in Arctic Siberia is showing signs of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment/2018/08/exclusive-some-arctic-ground-no-longer-freezing-even-winter">becoming discontinuous</a> through thaw. Discontinuity, I think, must also be our path. We need to halt and refuse the destructive practices that have underpinned the last century and beyond if there’s to be any hope of doing better in the future.</p> <p>Discontinuity isn’t just a state of being, it is also a state of mind. The warming of the Arctic and the thawing of permafrost are huge concerns, yes, but attempts to force control of an increasingly out of control situation might well produce terrible gods rather than benevolent ones. Resurrecting mammoths – playing god – speaks to a doubling down of the mastery implied by the Anthropocene moniker.</p> <p>Discontinuity, conversely, allows for the creativity in thinking of futures that relinquish destructive human dominance. The Pleistocene Park may be one of these futures, or it may not be. The point is, by becoming discontinuous, we become attuned to a radical openness that allows for thinking differently – ethically, collectively, progressively – about our role as humans on a discontinuous Earth.</p> <p><em>Written by Charlotte Wrigley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/mammoth-task-the-russian-family-on-a-resurrection-quest-to-tackle-the-climate-crisis-138142">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Remote-work visas will shape the future of work, travel and citizenship

<p>During lockdown, travel was not only a distant dream, it was unlawful. Some even <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-is-a-once-in-a-lifetime-chance-to-reshape-how-we-travel-134764">predicted</a> that how we travel would change forever. Those in power that broke travel bans <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-the-dominic-cummings-affair-damage-boris-johnson-in-the-long-term-heres-what-history-tells-us-139514">caused scandals</a>. The empty skies and <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-should-give-us-hope-that-we-are-able-to-tackle-the-climate-crisis-133174">hopes</a> that climate change could be tackled were a silver lining, of sorts. COVID-19 has certainly made travel morally divisive.</p> <p>Amid these anxieties, many countries eased lockdown restrictions at the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-532061480">exact time</a> the summer holiday season traditionally began. Many avoided flying, opting for staycations, and in mid-August 2020, global flights were <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104036/novel-coronavirus-weekly-flights-change-airlines-region/">down 47%</a> on the previous year. Even so, hundreds of thousands still holidayed abroad, only then to be caught out by sudden quarantine measures.</p> <p>In mid-August for example, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53773914">160,000 British holiday makers</a> were still in France when quarantine measures were imposed. On August 22, Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago were added to the UK’s <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53871078">quarantine list</a>, then Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53937997">the week after</a> – causing continued confusion and panic.</p> <p>This insistence on travelling abroad, with ensuing rushes to race home, has prompted much <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/europe-travel-coronavirus/2020/08/20/a426b6e4-e23e-11ea-82d8-5e55d47e90ca_story.html">tut-tutting</a>. Some have predicted travel and tourism may cause winter lockdowns. Flight shaming is already a <a href="https://theconversation.com/flight-shaming-how-to-spread-the-campaign-that-made-swedes-give-up-flying-for-good-133842">cultural sport</a> in Sweden, and vacation shaming has even become <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/europe-travel-coronavirus/2020/08/20/a426b6e4-e23e-11ea-82d8-5e55d47e90ca_story.html">a thing</a> in the US.</p> <p>Amid these moral panics, Barbados has reframed the conversation about travel by launching a “<a href="https://www.barbadoswelcomestamp.bb/">Barbados Welcome Stamp</a>” which allows visitors to stay and work remotely for up to 12 months.</p> <p>Prime Minister Mia Mottley explained the new visa has been prompted by COVID-19 making short-term visits difficult due to time-consuming testing and the potential for quarantine. But this isn’t a problem if you can visit for a few months and work through quarantine with the beach on your doorstep. This trend is rapidly spreading to other countries. <a href="https://forms.gov.bm/work-from-bermuda/">Bermuda</a>, <a href="https://e-resident.gov.ee/nomadvisa/">Estonia</a> and <a href="https://stopcov.ge/en/News/Article/Gov't_to_allow_int'l_citizens_to_work_remotely_from_Georgia">Georgia</a> have all launched remote work-friendly visas.</p> <p>I think these moves by smaller nations may change how we work and holiday forever. It could also change how many think about citizenship.</p> <p><strong>Digital nomads</strong></p> <p>This new take on visas and border controls may seem novel, but the idea of working remotely in paradise is not new. <a href="https://theconversation.com/digital-nomads-what-its-really-like-to-work-while-travelling-the-world-99345">Digital nomads</a> - often millennials engaged in mobile-friendly jobs such as e-commerce, copywriting and design - have been working in exotic destinations for the last decade. The <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/11597145/Living-and-working-in-paradise-the-rise-of-the-digital-nomad.html">mainstream press</a> started covering them in the mid-2010s.</p> <p>Fascinated by this, I started <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40558-020-00172-4">researching</a> the digital nomad lifestyle five years ago – and haven’t stopped. In 2015, digital nomads were seen as a niche but rising trend. Then COVID-19 paused the <a href="https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/has-covid-19-ruined-the-digital-nomad-ecf6772afda2">dream</a>. Digital nomad Marcus Dace was working in Bali when COVID-19 struck. His travel insurance was invalidated, and he’s now in a flat near Bristol wondering when he can travel.</p> <p>Dace’s story is common. He told me: “At least 50% of the nomads I knew returned to their home countries because of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/">CDC</a> and <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office">Foreign Office</a> guidance.” Now this new burst of visa and border policy announcements has pulled digital nomads back into the <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-be-a-digital-nomad-and-work-remotely-while-travelling-the-world-vn09rd7j6">headlines</a>.</p> <p>So, will the lines between digital nomads and remote workers <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-workplace-trends-will-shape-life-after-lockdown-138077">blur?</a> COVID-19 might still be making international travel difficult. But remote work – the other foundation of digital nomadism – is now firmly in the mainstream. So much so that remote work is considered by many to be <a href="https://theconversation.com/remote-working-the-new-normal-for-many-but-it-comes-with-hidden-risks-new-research-133989">here to stay</a>.</p> <p>Before COVID-19, office workers were geographically tethered to their offices, and it was mainly business travellers and the lucky few digital nomads who were able to take their work with them and travel while working. Since the start of the pandemic, many digital nomads had to work in a single location, and office workers have become remote workers – giving them a glimpse of the digital nomad lifestyle.</p> <p>COVID-19 has upended other old certainties. Before the pandemic, digital nomads would tell me that they <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40558-020-00172-4">despised</a> being thought of as tourists. This is perhaps unsurprising: tourism was viewed as an escape from work. And other established norms have toppled: homes became offices, <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-coronavirus-how-seasonal-migration-and-empty-centres-might-change-our-cities-139439">city centres emptied</a>, and workers looked to <a href="https://www.rightmove.co.uk/press-centre/village-enquiries-double-as-city-dwellers-escape-to-the-country/">escape to the country</a>.</p> <p>Given this rate of change, it’s not such a leap of faith to accept tourist locations as remote work destinations.</p> <p><strong>A Japanese businessman predicted this</strong></p> <p>The idea of tourist destinations touting themselves as workplaces is not new. Japanese technologist <a href="https://ethw.org/Tsugio_Makimoto">Tsugio Makimoto</a> <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Digital+Nomad-p-9780471974994">predicted</a> the digital nomad phenomenon in 1997, decades before millennials Instagrammed themselves working remotely in Bali. He prophesied that the rise of remote working would force nation states “to compete for citizens”, and that digital nomadism would prompt “declines in materialism and nationalism”.</p> <p>Before COVID-19 – with populism and nationalism <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-new-right-how-a-frenchman-born-150-years-ago-inspired-the-extreme-nationalism-behind-brexit-and-donald-trump-117277">on the rise</a> – Makimoto’s prophecy seemed outlandish. Yet COVID-19 has turned <a href="https://theconversation.com/overtourism-a-growing-global-problem-100029">over-tourism</a> into under-tourism. And with a growing list of countries launching schemes, it seems nations are starting to “compete” for remote workers as well as tourists.</p> <p>The latest development is the Croatian government discussing a <a href="https://www.total-croatia-news.com/lifestyle/45869-croatian-bureaucracy-2-0">digital-nomad visa</a> – further upping the stakes. The effects of these changes are hard to predict. Will local businesses benefit more from long-term visitors than from hordes of cruise ship visitors swarming in for a day? Or will an influx of remote workers create Airbnb hotspots, <a href="https://qz.com/quartzy/1574182/ahead-of-its-ipo-what-even-is-airbnb-anymore/">pricing locals out</a> of popular destinations?</p> <p><strong>It’s down to employers</strong></p> <p>The real question is whether employers allow workers to switch country. It sounds far-fetched, but Google staff can already work remote until <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/08/21/salesforce-joins-google-and-facebook-in-extending-work-from-home-to-next-summer/">summer 2021</a>. Twitter and 17 other companies have <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354872">announced</a> employees can work remotely indefinitely.</p> <p>I’ve interviewed European workers in the UK during COVID-19 and some have been allowed to work remotely from home countries to be near family. At Microsoft’s <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/event/new-future-of-work/">The New Future of Work</a> conference, it was clear that most major companies were mobilising task forces and would launch <a href="https://theconversation.com/remote-working-is-here-to-stay-but-that-doesnt-mean-the-end-of-offices-or-city-centres-145414">new flexible working policies</a> in autumn 2020.</p> <p>Countries like Barbados will surely be watching closely to see which companies could be the first to launch employment contracts allowing workers to move countries. If this happens, the unspoken <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract#:%7E:text=The%20theory%20of%20an%20implicit,legitimacy%20to%20such%20a%20government">social contract</a> between employers and employees - that workers must stay in the same country – will be broken. Instead of booking a vacation, you might be soon booking a workcation.</p> <p><em>Written by Dave Cook. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/remote-work-visas-will-shape-the-future-of-work-travel-and-citizenship-145078">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Cruises are back! But here's what they look like in a COVID-19 world

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Travel agent Valeria Belardi was anxious as she prepared for her seven-day Mediterranean cruise in a world where COVID-19 is rampant.</p> <p>She was one of 3,000 pioneering cruise passengers onboard the MSC Grandiosa, which is the first cruise liner to return to the Mediterranean after the shutdown of the cruising industry.</p> <p>The voyage was a different experience, as there was constant COVID-19 testing, social distancing, hand sanitising and temperature checks, but according to Belardi, it was "relaxing and enjoyable".</p> <p>While MSC Cruises wouldn't confirm exact numbers, the Grandiosa was operating at about 60 per cent of its 6,300 passenger capacity.</p> <p>Belardi on board the cruise liner enjoyed pre-packaged snacks, swims in the pool and trips to the spa.</p> <p>"I think cruises could be the safest holiday, right now," said Belardi to <a rel="noopener" href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/future-of-cruising-coronavirus/index.html" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink"><em>CNN</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Before boarding, passengers are tested for COVID-19 via a primary antigen test and a secondary molecular test.</p> <p>MSC Cruises representative Luca Biondolillo told CNN that one embarking passenger tested positive at both stages.</p> <p>"In accordance with the protocol, the passenger, as well as his travelling party, were denied boarding," said Biondolillo.</p> <p>"Additionally, other passengers who had reached the ship with the same van were denied boarding as they were close contacts of the one passenger who tested positive."</p> <p>The cruise involved day trips, with sightseeing in Malta and the Sicilian city of Palermo.</p> <p>However, the trips and excursions are pre-planned and tightly controlled. One family broke the rules during a port stop, who were denied reboarding the ship.</p> <p>"The health and safety protocols are put in place for the benefit of every single person," Biondolillo said. "There can be no breaking of the rules.</p> <p>"These people risked jeopardizing everybody else's holidays and health."</p> <p>Cruise operators are desperate to figure out a solution to travelling that keeps people safe.</p> <p>"We know that for every 1% drop in cruising that occurs worldwide, up to 9,100 jobs can be lost," Bari Golin-Blaugrund, a spokeswoman for industry body Cruise Lines International Association, told CNN.</p> <p>Golin-Blaugrund says CLIA is confident that cruising will recover as demand is already being seen for 2021 vacations and beyond, but, she says, with most cruise operations still suspended, that means up to 2,500 jobs being lost per day.</p> <p>"By the end of September, the worldwide impact will be $77 billion, 518,000 jobs and $23 billion in wages lost."</p> <p>Cruise lines are now finding themselves with excess ships, with Carnival Corporation announcing plans to remove at least six cruise ships from its fleet. The company has since posted a $4.4 billion loss for the second quarter of 2020.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Holland America also announced plans to offload four of its 14 ships: Amsterdam, Maasdam, Rotterdam and Veendam.</p> <p>"It's always difficult to see any ship leave the fleet, especially those that have a long and storied history with our company," said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK, in a <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.hollandamerica.com/blog/topics/news/four-ships-to-leave-the-holland-america-line-fleet-in-2020/" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink">statement.</a></p> <p>Former crew members are not eager to return to cruise liners without it returning to normal either.</p> <p>Austrian dancer Conny Seidler has been keeping an eye on the cruise industry, but she's not sure about the new regulations.</p> <p>"I understand all the precautions and everything -- there is a reason behind it. But for me, it takes away all the reasons why people would go and work on the ship," Seidler tells CNN. </p> <p>"Because you would go on a ship because you want to travel the world, you want to see places."</p> <p>"People from poorer countries come to the ship to earn money and send it back home," she adds. </p> <p>"But what keeps those people sane, if you never go out, is you go to the gym or you go and socialize with your friends in the crew bar, these kind of things and that's all kind of been taken away."</p> </div> </div> </div>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

How COVID-19 could impact travel for years to come

<p>In late 2019, <a href="https://www.iata.org/en/about/">the International Air Transport Association (IATA)</a> published its <a href="https://www.iata.org/contentassets/36695cd211574052b3820044111b56de/airline-industry-economic-performance-dec19-report.pdf">“Economic Performance of the Airline Industry</a>” report. It contained a 2020 forecast of 4.1 per cent growth in global air traffic demand and net post-tax profits for North American airlines of US$16.5 billion.</p> <p><a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/consumer-business/us-consumer-2019-us-travel-and-hospitality-outlook.pdf">Travel industry consulting firms</a> predicted the continuing pattern of travel growth across all of the major components of travel including hotels, cruises and surface travel as well as air. The forecast for travel was sunny, with few clouds on the horizon.</p> <p>Fast forward to the summer of 2020, and the IATA is forecasting the worst financial performance in the history of commercial aviation, <a href="https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/speeches/2020-06-24-01/">predicting a global loss of US$84 billion</a>. And the aerospace industry supporting airlines with equipment parts and services pronounced that 2020 is <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52468882">the gravest crisis the industry has ever known.</a></p> <p><strong>Permanent changes?</strong></p> <p>Let’s review the lessons being learned by the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic and how travel might be different as the world deals with the aftermath.</p> <p>Travel has evolved significantly in the past six months since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will likely <a href="https://www.chicagobusiness.com/opinion/virus-will-make-everything-you-hate-about-flying-worse">be a number of current initiatives in passenger and facility hygiene and sanitation</a> that will stay in place post-pandemic.</p> <p>The woes of cruise ship operators, in the meantime, will continue as travellers continue to remain wary of travel in confined spaces.</p> <p>Public health officials have identified <a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-aviation-guidance-for-operators#social-distancing">three societal practices that are key to controlling the spread of COVID-19</a>, each of which have an impact on the allure of travel — social distancing of two metres, frequent and intense hand-washing to reduce the risk of hand-borne transmission of the virus to the face, and face coverings in confined spaces.</p> <p>While it’s generally accepted that the minimum social distancing cannot be maintained while travelling in today’s commercial aircraft, some carriers — <a href="https://www.citynews1130.com/2020/07/03/air-canada-physical-distancing-flight/">though not all, including Air Canada</a> — have adopted <a href="https://news.delta.com/delta-blocking-middle-seats-pausing-automatic-advance-upgrades-and-more-enable-more-space-safer">a policy of leaving an open seat beside a passenger</a>.</p> <p><strong>Empty middle seats</strong></p> <p>This initiative has attracted the attention of both public health officials as well air transport executives and associations, resulting in <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-merkley-to-propose-bill-blocking-middle-seats-on-planes-2020-7">an attempts by an American legislator to regulate empty middle seats on flights</a>. Airline executives have predicted a <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/travel/ryanair-ceo-middle-seats-idiotic-airline-fly">dire financial impact</a> from this attempt to ease crowding on airliners.</p> <p>Quarantines are also being used by authorities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 from travellers arriving from jurisdictions that have a higher level of virus cases.</p> <p>These quarantines range <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/do-you-have-quarantine-after-flying-california-1518697">from in-country travel bans among states or provinces</a> to <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/12233400/spain-quarantine-travel-ban-france-germany-holidays/">national quarantines for travellers arriving from high-risk regions</a>. Typical quarantine provisions can range from seven days to 14 days of self-isolation, with some authorities imposing <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/03/17/alarming-coronavirus-surveillance-bracelets-now-in-peoples-homes-heres-what-they-do/#358eaa174533">strict adherence through personal monitoring systems</a>.</p> <p>Travellers’ health concerns are being reinforced by public health officials <a href="https://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/USP_Public-health_final-letter-shutdowns_V2.pdf">who are advocating for a return to lockdowns</a> and advisories to refrain from travel, including from the top infectious disease expert in the United States, Anthony Fauci, <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/anthony-fauci-tells-marketwatch-i-would-not-get-on-a-plane-or-eat-inside-a-restaurant-2020-07-24">who has raised concerns about the risks of getting on an aircraft</a>. The debate between <a href="https://winnipeg.citynews.ca/2020/05/04/taking-temperatures-to-screen-for-covid-19/">public health officials and airline executives will undoubtedly remain tense</a> as the world continues to grapple with the first wave, and in some places a second wave, of COVID-19 outbreaks.</p> <p><strong>‘Travel bubbles’</strong></p> <p>A growing number of countries have allowed the travel industry to <a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors#countries-and-territories-with-no-self-isolation-on-arrival-in-england">promote “travel bubbles” and “corona corridors” as first steps</a> to jumpstart air travel and tourism. These measures involve agreements with neighbouring regions that allow for travel across borders for non-essential trips without quarantining upon arrival.</p> <p>But there’s still the risk that such efforts will be short-lived given <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/25/reimposition-quarantine-hits-spain-struggling-tourism-sector">the resurgence of COVID-19 and the subsequent reimposition of quarantine practices in various parts of the world, including Spain</a>.</p> <p>The need to develop an <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/digital-contact-tracing.pdf">effective contact tracing platform</a> that would have global connectivity has been broached, but it remains in the discussion stage only. Issues such as <a href="http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20200609000957">personal information rights and general distribution of location data have raised privacy concerns in a number of countries</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.icao.int/about-icao/Pages/default.aspx">International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)</a> has recommended several data-sharing practices, but the UN body also acknowledges <a href="https://www.icao.int/covid/cart/Pages/CART-Take-off.aspx">that a global, harmonized deployment ought to be a guiding principle to successfully contain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic</a>.</p> <p>IATA has also <a href="https://www.iata.org/contentassets/f1163430bba94512a583eb6d6b24aa56/covid-medical-evidence-for-strategies-200609.pdf">produced a set of guidelines for a gradual return of air services</a></p> <p>The consensus among public health officials and travel industry executives is that travel <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenrobinsonjacobs/2020/07/23/american-southwest-see-3-billion-in-red-ink-as-coronavirus-fears-keep-passengers-grounded/#34db0e9e31c3">will continue to stagnate until a COVID-19 vaccine is effectively administered globally</a>.</p> <p>But questions remain.</p> <p><strong>Will the industry survive until a vaccine?</strong></p> <p>How long until there’s a vaccine, and can the travel industry survive until then?</p> <p>What role should governments play in ensuring the survival of the travel industry as it waits for the vaccine?</p> <p>Will public health pressure be sufficient to overcome the reticence to share personal contact movement and information?</p> <p>As the world progresses towards a COVID-19 vaccine and the eventual control of the virus, the travel industry will most certainly <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/06/15/11-ways-pandemic-will-change-travel/">face demands from the travelling public to maintain several of the current safety and hygiene initiatives</a>.</p> <p>Cleanliness and sanitization will become the norm. Touchless interactions will proliferate, and technology will reduce human interaction.</p> <p>Will the joy and exhilaration of travel return? Yes, but with a <a href="https://explaincovid.org/other/think-about-flying-on-an-airplane">new value proposition built around safe and secure travel</a>. Much like air travel changed after 9/11 with security screening, so will COVID-19 change our demands for a safe, clean travel experience.</p> <p><em>Written by John Gradek. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-covid-19-could-impact-travel-for-years-to-come-142971">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Coronavirus risks in public bathrooms: What goes into the toilet doesn’t always stay there

<p>Most public restrooms are grungy in the best of times. Now, we have the coronavirus risk to contend with, too. There are lots of risks – dirty sinks and door handles, airborne particles and other people in small, enclosed spaces who may or may not be breathing out the coronavirus.</p> <p>So, how do you stay safe when you’re away from home and you’ve really got to go?</p> <p>As a medical doctor and epidemiologist, I study infectious diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract. Here are four things to pay attention to when it comes to any public restroom.</p> <p><strong>What goes into the toilet doesn’t always stay there</strong></p> <p>Have you ever thought about what happens when you flush a toilet?</p> <p>Scientists who worry about disease transmission in hospitals have, and their findings are worth remembering when you’re in a public restroom.</p> <p>All that bubbling, swirling and splashing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02786826.2013.814911">can aerosolize fecal waste</a>, sending tiny particles airborne. A <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-018-0301-9">study on hospital bathrooms</a> found that the amount of those particles spiked after a toilet was flushed, and the concentration in the air remained high 30 minutes later. It didn’t matter if the test was done right next to the toilet or 3 feet away. Second and third flushes continued to spread particles. Another study, published June 16, simulated toilet plumes from flushing and also found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0013318">a large number of particles rose above the toilet seat</a> and lingered in the air. The scientists’ advice: close the lid before flushing.</p> <p>Researchers have found that the new coronavirus, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30083-2">SARS-CoV-2, can be shed in feces for up to a month</a> after the illness. That’s longer than in respiratory samples, though how much of that time the virus could be causing infections and whether the virus has infected humans through fecal waste <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html">isn’t yet known</a>.</p> <p><strong>Surfaces can harbor the virus, so wash up</strong></p> <p>The aerosols generated when <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2006874117">someone infected with coronavirus coughs or even talks</a> can be inhaled, of course, but they also settle out on surrounding surfaces, such as bathroom counter tops.</p> <p>To stay safe, be extra careful and touch as little as possible in public restrooms, including door handles. Whatever you do, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/02/well/live/coronavirus-spread-transmission-face-touching-hands.html">don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth</a> after touching these surfaces – your mucous membranes are the coronavirus’s entryway into your body.</p> <p>When you’re done, <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-hand-washing-really-is-as-important-as-doctors-say-132840">thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water</a>, and maybe <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/jam.13014">skip the hot-air hand dryer</a>, which can also create aerosols and blow them toward you.</p> <p>Carrying face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes with you can help you be prepared, particularly if the facilities lack soap or running water.</p> <p><strong>Enclosed spaces are a problem</strong></p> <p>The air in an enclosed space like a public restroom can have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30245-9">coronavirus particles in it for several hours</a> after someone infectious with COVID-19 was there.</p> <p>Scientists still don’t know how <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-we-do-and-do-not-know-about-covid-19s-infectious-dose-and-viral-load-135991">much of the virus you have to take in</a> to become infected, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Limiting the amount of time spent in any enclosed indoor space – restrooms and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-lower-your-coronavirus-risk-while-eating-out-restaurant-advice-from-an-infectious-disease-expert-138925">restaurants</a> included – can reduce the potential for getting sick from the coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>Wear a mask, and walk out if others aren’t</strong></p> <p>One of the more insidious characteristics of the new coronavirus is that someone infected with the virus can be spreading it <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25774/chapter/1#3">two to three days before they show any symptoms</a>. Some people don’t show symptoms at all, but they can still be infectious for days.</p> <p>Based on surveillance during the Princess cruise ship outbreak in Yokohama, Japan, <a href="http://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.10.2000180">15 to 20% of the people tested positive</a> for the coronavirus had no symptoms. <a href="http://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.10182">Data from Wuhan, China</a>, put the number of asymptomatic cases at closer to 40%.</p> <p>Keeping <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa189">at least 6 feet away from others</a> and wearing a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0843-2">mask can help you avoid spreading the coronavirus</a> if you’re asymptomatic and don’t realize it. They can also help protect you, though social distancing in small public restrooms isn’t always possible.</p> <p>If someone else is in the restroom without a mask on, the best advice is to walk out. It isn’t worth the risk.</p> <p><em>Written by William Petri. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-goes-into-the-toilet-doesnt-always-stay-there-and-other-coronavirus-risks-in-public-bathrooms-139637">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Antarctica without windchill and the Louvre without queues: How to travel the world from home

<p>SpaceX’s recent <a href="https://theconversation.com/spacexs-historic-launch-gives-australias-booming-space-industry-more-room-to-fly-139760">Falcon 9 rocket launch</a> proves humanity has come leaps and bounds in its effort to reach other worlds. But now there’s a quicker, safer and environmentally friendlier way to travel to the centre of the galaxy – and you can do it too.</p> <p><a href="https://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2020/gcenter/">NASA</a> has co-developed a free virtual reality (VR) adventure providing 500 years of travel around the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The experience is available to download from two major VR stores, <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/1240350/Galactic_Center_VR/">Steam</a> and <a href="https://www.viveport.com/21f8b24c-783b-4af2-8e81-a63a14553721">Viewport</a>, in a non-collapsed star system near you.</p> <p>And this kind of spacefaring may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of virtual travel and tourism.</p> <p><strong>The virtual travel bug</strong></p> <p>Simply speaking, VR refers to technology that immerses users in a computer-generated world that removes them from reality. Augmented Reality (AR), however, aims to superimpose virtual imagery over a user’s view of the real world. Pokémon Go is a popular AR game.</p> <p>VR-based tourism has a longer history than you might think. In the 1850s, it involved staring at <a href="https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/stereo/background.html">stereographs</a> with a <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/sterographs-original-virtual-reality-180964771/">stereoscope</a>. With this invention, viewers looked at slightly different images through each eye, which were then assembled by the brain to make a new image providing the illusion of spatial depth (in other words, a 3D effect).</p> <p>A century later, 1950s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama">Cinerama</a> widescreen viewing inspired cinematic travel though its large, curved screens and multiple cameras.</p> <p>The 1960s <a href="https://www.engadget.com/2014-02-16-morton-heiligs-sensorama-simulator.html">Sensorama</a> foretold a shiny future of multimodal immersive cinematic experiences, playing 3D films with sound, scents and wind to immerse users. In <a href="https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/history.html">VR circles</a>, Ivan Sutherland became famous for inventing the head-mounted display, as well as augmented reality (AR).</p> <p>Travel restrictions under COVID-19 <a href="https://www.ft.com/virtualtravel">present an opportunity</a> for virtual reality travel to finally take off.</p> <p>In an era of lockdowns and social distancing, we could use VR to travel to remote, distant or even no longer existing places. Remote tourism is here (the <a href="https://www.remote-tourism.com/">Faroe Islands</a> offers a great example), and interest in VR tourism is <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2020/03/18/virtual-reality-and-tourism-whats-already-happening-is-it-the-future/#5b39a26228a6">blossoming</a>.</p> <p><strong>VR comes in many forms</strong></p> <p>The word “virtual” can refer to an immersive 3D experience, but also 360° panorama photographs and movies (a <a href="https://wiki.panotools.org/Panorama_formats">cylinder, sphere or cube of photographs</a>).</p> <p>What is deemed “virtual” varies greatly across different devices and platforms. Let’s look at some of the ways this term is applied.</p> <p><strong>Desktop virtual environments</strong>: these are computer-based 3D environments on a flat screen, without the spatial immersion of VR platforms.</p> <p><strong>Cinematic VR</strong>: these are phone-based panoramic environments. Many desktop experiences of 360° movies or images can be conveyed in low-cost <a href="https://arvr.google.com/cardboard/">stereoscopic VR through smartphones</a>. Google Street view can be viewed in <a href="https://www.blog.google/products/google-vr/get-closer-look-street-view-google-earth-vr/">Google VR</a> on Android and <a href="https://3g.co.uk/guides/what-smartphones-work-with-virtual-reality">some Apple</a> smartphones, but it’s not real VR.</p> <p><strong>Head-mounted displays</strong>: HMDs such as <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-Google-Cardboard/">Google Cardboard</a> and <a href="https://arvr.google.com/daydream/smartphonevr/">Google Daydream</a> are what many people think of when they hear “virtual reality”. Some HMDs are self-contained, not requiring connection to a computer or console. Arguably, the market is <a href="https://3dinsider.com/oculus-vs-htc-vive-vs-psvr/">dominated</a> by the Oculus range owned by Facebook, the HTC Vive range, and PlayStation VR.</p> <p><strong>VR in a pandemic</strong></p> <p>In a post-coronavirus age, device sharing is problematic. HMDs aren’t easy to clean and VR software can quickly become obsolete, with new headsets sometimes not running two-year-old software. Users also have to deal with costly updates, eyestrain, and having to share displays that sat on someone else’s face.</p> <p>Developing and sharing content across different devices can be a nightmare but there are increasingly <a href="https://www.vrtourviewer.com/">simple</a> and effective ways to create <a href="https://www.pocket-lint.com/ar-vr/news/google/142054-google-arcore-android-s-equivalent-to-apple-arkit-explained">AR</a> and VR content, despite a bewildering range of platforms and equipment (there are more than <a href="https://www.archives.gov/files/applied-research/ncsa/8-an-overview-of-3d-data-content-file-formats-and-viewers.pdf">140 3D file formats</a>).</p> <p>Despite this, many VR projects are not preserved – including <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/8/2425">virtual heritage</a> projects! Even for the largest HMD companies, supplies can be <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/20/21177442/half-life-alyx-vr-headset-compatible-valve-oculus-rift-quest-htc-steamvr-available">limited</a>.</p> <p><strong>Places you can virtually visit now</strong></p> <p>Nonetheless, there are plenty of VR programs available to help relieve lockdown boredom, with many sites <a href="https://www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/best-virtual-reality-apps/">offering</a> <a href="https://www.lifewire.com/virtual-reality-tourism-4129394">lists</a> of their favourite picks.</p> <p>The Street View app for Google Daydream and Cardboard provides a “virtual tour” of <a href="https://chernobyl-city.com/virtual-tour/">Chernobyl</a>. <a href="https://earth.google.com/web/@-10.50049963,35.75744511,1062.93460117a,116.59974009d,35y,0h,0t,0r/data=CisSKRIgMzczNGFmOTk5MTIzMTFlOTliOTNjYmE2MDYxMWYzYzMiBXNwbC0w">Google Earth</a> and <a href="https://earth.google.com/web/@-10.50049963,35.75744511,1062.93460117a,116.59974009d,35y,0h,0t,0r/data=CgQSAggB">Google Earth Voyager</a> feature travel sections, too.</p> <p><a href="https://arvr.google.com/earth/">Google Earth VR</a> is available on the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/348250/Google_Earth_VR/">HTC Vive</a> and <a href="https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1513995308673845/">Oculus Rift</a>. <a href="https://www.vrfocus.com/tag/tourism/">VRfocus</a> also has an interesting travel section. You can virtually explore <a href="https://grandtour.myswitzerland.com/">Switzerland</a> or <a href="https://www.virtualyosemite.org/">Yosemite</a>.</p> <p>Or you may want to stay in Australia. Australian company <a href="http://whitesparkpictures.com.au/">White Spark Pictures’</a> Cinematic/360 experience of <a href="https://www.dneg.com/antarctica_vr/">Antarctica</a> tours museums. Melbourne-based company <a href="https://www.lithodomosvr.com/">Lithodomos</a> brings “the ancient world to life” and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=no.hallingdata.hiddenar&amp;hl=en_AU">Hidden AR</a> offers mythical augmented reality.</p> <p>Other links to check out include:</p> <ul> <li>the Guardian’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/mar/23/10-of-the-worlds-best-virtual-museum-and-art-gallery-tours">review</a> of the world’s best virtual museum and art gallery tours</li> <li><a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/">Google Arts and Culture’s</a> virtual tours and online exhibits from myriad <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en">museums and galleries</a>, as well as scavenger hunts – including at <a href="https://artsandculture.google.com/project/virtual-tours">the British Museum</a></li> <li>the Louvre’s <a href="https://arts.vive.com/us/articles/projects/art-photography/mona_lisa_beyond_the_glass/">Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass</a></li> <li>the <a href="https://store.steampowered.com/app/515020/The_VR_Museum_of_Fine_Art/">VR Museum of Fine Art</a>.</li> <li>Europeana’s <a href="https://teachwitheuropeana.eun.org/stories-of-implementation/implementation-of-vintage-vr-soi-hr-109/">vintage stereo VR</a> and <a href="https://pro.europeana.eu/data/vintage-stereoscope-cards">examples</a> of how to create stories and <a href="https://teachwitheuropeana.eun.org/learning-scenarios/vintage-vr-ls-es-14/">lessons</a> with stereosonic VR prints</li> <li>The Smithsonian’s <a href="https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour">virtual tour</a> and downloadable <a href="https://3d.si.edu/">3D artefacts</a>, including a tour of a <a href="https://airandspace.si.edu/vrhangar">hangar</a> from the National Air and Space Museum</li> <li><a href="https://sketchfab.com/museums">Sketchfab</a>’s cultural heritage section which can be accessed through <a href="https://sketchfab.com/virtual-reality">VR headsets or Google Cardboard-enabled smartphones</a>. There’s also a places and travel <a href="https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/categories/places-travel?date=week&amp;sort_by=-likeCount">section</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Escapism through gaming</strong></p> <p>There are also VR games with which you can:</p> <ul> <li>escape inside a physical exhibition of Assassin’s Creed – <a href="https://uploadvr.com/preview-e3-2018-assassins-creed-vr-wireless/">Temple of Anubis VR</a></li> <li>travel through New Orleans, <a href="https://store.playstation.com/en-au/product/EP2397-CUSA18498_00-TWDSSSTDEDITION0">but with zombies</a></li> <li>tour medieval fantasy worlds via <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B072MZ3NLC?tag=georiot-au-default-22&amp;th=1&amp;psc=1&amp;ascsubtag=trd-3438856826073335000-22">Skyrim VR</a></li> <li>explore alien worlds with <a href="https://www.playstation.com/en-au/games/no-mans-sky-ps4/">No Man’s Sky</a> on PlayStation VR</li> <li>watch Amazonian <a href="https://www.viveport.com/6792ef3d-0775-4ab4-b3d3-3d9c15b64d47">shamans</a>, or</li> <li>explore <a href="https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/vr/">Minecraft</a> in VR.</li> </ul> <p>VR can show your outer space, and also convey interpretations of <a href="https://www.viveport.com/1edac723-2fed-4e56-b509-b0b8e796ba81">time and space</a>. With it, there is vast potential for travelling to infinity and beyond.</p> <p><em>Written by Erik Malcolm Champion. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/antarctica-without-windchill-the-louvre-without-queues-how-to-travel-the-world-from-home-140174">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Climate explained: does your driving speed make any difference to your car’s emissions?

<p><strong><em>Does reducing speed reduce emissions from the average car?</em></strong></p> <p>Every car has an optimal speed range that results in minimum fuel consumption, but this range differs between vehicle types, design and age.</p> <p>Typically it looks like this graph below: fuel consumption rises from about 80km/h, partly because air resistance increases.</p> <p>But speed is only one factor. No matter what car you are driving, you can reduce fuel consumption (and therefore emissions) by driving more smoothly.</p> <p>This includes anticipating corners and avoiding sudden braking, taking the foot off the accelerator just before reaching the peak of a hill and cruising over it, and removing roof racks or bull bars and heavier items from inside when they are not needed to make the car lighter and more streamlined.</p> <p><strong>Driving wisely</strong></p> <p>In New Zealand, <a href="https://www.aa.co.nz/about/newsroom/media-releases/events/aa-energywise-rally-starts-with-a-rush/">EnergyWise rallies</a> used to be run over a 1200km course around the North Island. They were designed to demonstrate how much fuel could be saved through good driving habits.</p> <p>The competing drivers had to reach each destination within a certain time period. Cruising too slowly at 60-70km/h on straight roads in a 100km/h zone just to save fuel was not an option (also because driving too slowly on open roads can contribute to accidents).</p> <p>The optimum average speed (for both professional and average drivers) was typically around 80km/h. The key to saving fuel was driving smoothly.</p> <p>In the first rally in 2002, the Massey University entry was a brand new diesel-fuelled Volkswagen Golf (kindly loaned by VW NZ), running on 100% biodiesel made from waste animal fat (as Z Energy has been <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/05/02/106691/biofuels-z-energys-tortuous-carbon-solution">producing</a>).</p> <p>A car running on fossil diesel emits about 2.7kg of carbon dioxide per litre and a petrol car produces 2.3kg per litre. Using biofuels to displace diesel or petrol can reduce emissions by up to 90% per kilometre if the biofuel is made from animal fat from a meat works. The amount varies depending on the source of the biofuel (sugarcane, wheat, oilseed rape). And of course it would be unacceptable if biofuel crops were replacing food crops or forests.</p> <p>Regardless of the car, drivers can reduce fuel consumption by 15-20% by improving driving habits alone – reducing emissions and saving money at the same time.</p> <p><strong>Fuel efficiency</strong></p> <p>When you are thinking of replacing your car, taking into account fuel efficiency is another important way to save on fuel costs and reduce emissions.</p> <p>Many countries, including the US, Japan, China and nations within the European Union, have had fuel efficiency standards for more than a decade. This has driven car manufacturers to design ever <a href="http://www.climatechangeauthority.gov.au/files/files/Light%20Vehicle%20Report/CCA_TransportReport_Appendices.WEB.pdf">more fuel-efficient vehicles</a>.</p> <p>Most light-duty vehicles sold globally are subject to these standards. But Australia and New Zealand have both dragged the chain in this regard, partly because most vehicles are imported.</p> <p>New Zealand also remains hesitant about introducing a “<a href="https://www.consumer.org.nz/articles/government-announces-consultation-light-vehicle-fleet-feebate">feebate</a>” scheme, which proposes a fee on imported high-emission cars to make imported hybrids, electric cars and other efficient vehicles cheaper with a subsidy.</p> <p>In New Zealand, driving an <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-why-switching-to-electric-transport-makes-sense-even-if-electricity-is-not-fully-renewable-136502">electric car results in low emissions</a> because electricity generation is 85% renewable. In Australia, which still relies on coal-fired power, electric cars are responsible for higher emissions unless they are recharged through a local renewable electricity supply.</p> <p>Fuel and electricity prices will inevitably rise. But whether we drive a petrol or electric car, we can all shield ourselves from some of those future price rises by driving more efficiently and less speedily.</p> <p><em>Written by Ralph Sims. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-does-your-driving-speed-make-any-difference-to-your-cars-emissions-140246">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Sun, sand and uncertainty: The promise and peril of a Pacific tourism bubble

<p>Pacific nations have largely <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&amp;objectid=12328702">avoided</a> the worst health effects of COVID-19, but its economic impact has been devastating. With the tourism tap turned off, unemployment has soared while GDP has plummeted.</p> <p>In recent weeks, Fiji Airways laid off 775 employees and souvenir business Jack’s of Fiji laid off 500. In Vanuatu 70% of tourism workers have lost their jobs. Cook Islands is estimated to have experienced a <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/18/1177034/an-island-in-debt">60% drop in GDP</a> in the past three months.</p> <p>In response, many are calling for the Pacific to be included in the proposed <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/121727144/coronavirus-transtasman-travel-bubble-date-down-to-australians-winston-peters-says">trans-Tasman travel corridor</a>. Such calls have come from <a href="https://devpolicy.org/vanuatu-a-tourism-sector-perspective-on-potential-recovery-from-covid-19-and-tc-harold-20200506-1/">tourism operators</a>, <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/418156/pressure-mounts-on-nz-and-aust-to-include-pacific-in-bubble">politicians</a> and at least one <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/ideasroom/2020/05/28/1205479/nz-pacific-islands-bubble-should-come-first">health expert</a>.</p> <p>Quarantine concerns aside, there is economic logic to this. Australians and New Zealanders make up <a href="http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2019/06/tourism-sector-achieves-3-16-million-visitor-arrivals-in-18/">more than 50%</a> of travellers to the region. Some countries are massively dependent: two-thirds of visitors to Fiji and three-quarters of visitors to Cook Islands are Aussies and Kiwis.</p> <p>Cook Islands has budgeted NZ$140 million for economic recovery, but this will increase the tiny nation’s debt. Prime Minister Henry Puna has <a href="https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2020/06/cook-islands-prime-minister-calls-for-pacific-bubble-as-soon-as-new-zealand-enters-covid-19-alert-level-1.html">argued for</a> a limited tourism bubble as soon as New Zealand relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions to alert level 1. Cook Islands News editor Jonathan Milne <a href="https://player.whooshkaa.com/coronavirus-nz?episode=665993">estimates</a> 75-80% of the population is “desperate to get the tourists back”.</p> <p>A Pacific bubble would undoubtedly help economic recovery. But this merely highlights how <a href="https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/impact-of-covid-19-on-tourism-in-small-island-developing-states/">vulnerable</a> these island economies have become. Tourism <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337854342_Development_and_change_Reflections_on_tourism_in_the_South_Pacific">accounts</a> for between 10% and 70% of GDP and up to one in four jobs across the South Pacific.</p> <p>The pressure to reopen borders is understandable. But we argue that a tourism bubble cannot be looked at in isolation. It should be part of a broader strategy to diversify economies and enhance linkages (e.g. between agriculture and tourism, to put more local food on restaurant menus), especially in those countries that are most perilously dependent on tourism.</p> <p><strong>Over-dependence on tourism is a trap</strong></p> <p>Pacific nations such as Vanuatu and Fiji have recovered quickly from past crises such as the GFC, cyclones and coups because of the continuity of tourism. COVID-19 has turned that upside down.</p> <p>People are coping in the short term by reviving subsistence farming, fishing and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/08/two-piglets-for-a-kayak-fiji-returns-to-barter-system-as-covid-19-hits-economy">bartering</a> for goods and services. Many are still suffering, however, due to limited state welfare systems.</p> <p>In Fiji’s case, the government has taken the drastic step of allowing laid-off or temporarily unemployed workers to withdraw from their superannuation savings in the National Provident Fund. Retirement funds have also been used to <a href="https://www.fijivillage.com/news/We-need-Fiji-Airways-to-come-back-strongly-for-the-future-of-the-country---Koroi-48r5xf/">lend FJ$53.6 million</a> to the struggling national carrier, Fiji Airways.</p> <p>Fiji has taken on more debt to cope. Its debt-to-GDP ratio, which ideally should sit below 40% for developing economies, has risen from 48.9% before the pandemic to 60.9%. It’s likely to <a href="http://www.economy.gov.fj/images/Budget/budgetdocuments/supplements/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf">increase further</a>.</p> <p>High debt, lack of economic diversity and dependence on tourism put the Fijian economy in a very vulnerable position. Recovery will take a long time, probably requiring assistance from the country’s main trading partners. In the meantime, Fiji is pinning hopes on joining a New Zealand-Australia <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/416392/fiji-keen-to-join-nz-australia-travel-bubble">travel bubble</a>.</p> <p><strong>Out of crisis comes opportunity</strong></p> <p>Supporting Pacific states to recover is an opportunity for New Zealand and Australia to put their respective Pacific <a href="https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/about-us/mfat-annual-reports/mfat-annual-report-2018-19/case-study-the-pacific-reset-a-year-on/">Reset</a> and <a href="https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/pacific/Pages/the-pacific">Step-Up</a> policies into practice. If building more reciprocal, equitable relationships with Pacific states is the goal, now is the time to ensure economic recovery also strengthens their socio-economic, environmental and political infrastructures.</p> <p>Economic well-being within the Pacific region is already closely linked to New Zealand and Australia through seasonal workers in horticulture and viticulture, remittance payments, trade and travel. But for many years there has been a major trade imbalance in favour of New Zealand and Australia. Shifting that balance beyond the recovery phase will involve facilitating long-term resilience and sustainable development in the region.</p> <p>A good place to start would be the recent United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific <a href="https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/Policy%20brief_MPFD_Combating%20COVID-19%20in%20Asia%20and%20the%20Pacific%20updated.pdf">report</a> on recovering from COVID-19. Its recommendations include such measures as implementing social protection programs, integrating climate action into plans to revive economies, and encouraging more socially and environmentally responsible businesses.</p> <p>This is about more than altruism – enlightened self-interest should also drive the New Zealand and Australian agenda. Any longer-term economic downturn in the South Pacific, due in part to over-reliance on tourism, could lead to instability in the region. There is a clear <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/the-next-economic-crisis-could-cause-a-global-conflict-heres-why">link</a> between serious economic crises and social unrest.</p> <p>At a broader level, the pandemic is already <a href="https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Coronavirus-gives-China-an-edge-as-it-expands-sway-in-the-Pacific">entrenching</a> Chinese regional influence: loans from China make up 62% of Tonga’s total foreign borrowing; for Vanuatu the figure is 43%; for Samoa 39%.</p> <p>China is taking the initiative through what some call “<a href="https://devpolicy.org/chinas-coronavirus-covid-19-diplomacy-in-the-pacific-20200527-1/">COVID-19 diplomacy</a>”. This involves funding pandemic stimulus packages and offering aid and investment throughout the Pacific, including drafting a <a href="https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/free-trade-agreement-talks-underway-between-fiji-and-china/">free trade agreement</a> with Fiji.</p> <p>That is not to say Chinese investment in Pacific economies won’t do good. Rather, it is an argument for thinking beyond the immediate benefits of a travel bubble. By realigning their development priorities, Australia and New Zealand can help the Pacific build a better, more sustainable future.</p> <p><em>Written by Regina Scheyvens and Apisalome Movono. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/sun-sand-and-uncertainty-the-promise-and-peril-of-a-pacific-tourism-bubble-139661">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Climate change is the most important mission for universities of the 21st century

<p>Universities are confronting the possibility of <a href="https://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/3392469/Australian-Universities-COVID-19-Financial-Management.pdf">profound sector-wide transformation</a> due to the continuing effects of COVID-19. It is prompting much needed debate about what such transformation should look like and what kind of system is in the public interest.</p> <p>This is now an urgent conversation. If universities want a say in what the future of higher education will look like, they will need to generate ideas quickly and in a way that attracts wide public support.</p> <p>This will involve articulating their unique role as embedded, future-regarding, ethical generators of crucial knowledge and skills, well-equipped to handle coming contingencies and helping others do the same.</p> <p>And this means higher education changes are entangled with another major force for transformation – climate change.</p> <p>How can universities credibly claim to be preparing young people for their futures, or to be working with employers, if they do not take into account the kind of world they are helping to bring about?</p> <p><strong>A vital role in a climate changed world</strong></p> <p>Whether indexed by the continual climb in <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heat-and-humidity-are-already-reaching-the-limits-of-human-tolerance/">extreme heat and humidity</a>, the <a href="http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/">melting of Arctic ice</a>, the eruption of <a href="https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/australian-bushfires-why-they-are-unprecedented">unprecedented mega-fire events</a> or the <a href="https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/">rapid degradation of ecosystems</a> and <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/05/26/2008198117">disruption of human settlements</a>, climate change is here.</p> <p>It is rapidly exacerbating environmental and social stress across the globe, as well as directly and indirectly impacting all institutions and areas of life. And worse still, global greenhouse gas concentrations are moving in exactly the opposite direction to what we need, with <a href="https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html">carbon emissions growing by 2.0% in 2019, the fastest growth for seven years</a>.</p> <p>Much-needed transitions towards low carbon and well-adapted systems are emerging. But they are too piecemeal and slow relative to what is needed to avoid large scale <a href="https://www.deepsouthchallenge.co.nz/projects/climate-change-cascade-effect">cascading</a> and <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/compound-costs-how-climate-change-damages-australias-economy/">compounding impacts to our planet</a>.</p> <p>Universities, along with all other parts of our society, will feel the effects of climate change. The cost of the devastation at the Australian National University due to the summer’s fires and hailstorm, for instance, is estimated to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-27/coronavirus-hail-bushfires-cause-225m-loss-at-anu/12290522">be A$75 million dollars</a>.</p> <p>Failure to appropriately adapt to the increasing likelihood of such events <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0715-2">threatens to undermine research of all sorts</a>.</p> <p>Whether due to climate impacts (such as <a href="https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/09/06/npr-coastal-labs-studying-increased-flooding-consider-moving-due-to-increased-floodin">the effects of sea level rise on coastal laboratories</a>) or policy and market shifts away from carbon-intensive activities (such as coal powered energy), research investments face the risk of becoming <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-stranded-assets-matter-and-should-not-be-dismissed-51939">stranded assets</a>. Not only could expensive infrastructure and equipment be rendered redundant, but certain skills, capabilities and projects could too.</p> <p>Universities are key to enabling Australian society to transition to a safer and lower emissions pathway. They are needed to provide the knowledge, skills and technologies for this positive transition. And they are also needed to <a href="https://climateoutreach.org/system-change-vs-behaviour-change-is-a-false-choice-covid-19-shows-how-theyre-connected/">foster the social dialogue and build the broad public mandate</a> to get there.</p> <p>This means old ideas of universities as isolated and values-free zones, and newer notions of them as cheap consultants to the private sector, fundamentally fail to fulfil the role universities now need to play.</p> <p>They must become public good, mission-driven organisations devoted to rapidly progressing human understanding and action on the largest threat there has ever been, to what they are taken to represent and advance – human civilisation.</p> <p><strong>Universities must become more sustainable…</strong></p> <p>Inaction will erode the trust on which universities rely, especially among the key constituencies universities are meant to serve – young people and the private, community and public sectors.</p> <p><a href="https://globalclimatestrike.net/">Students</a>, <a href="https://www.asyousow.org/report/clean200-2019-q1">businesses</a>, <a href="https://en.unesco.org/events/climate-change-and-ngos-eight-international-forum-ngos-official-partnership-unesco">not-for-profit organisations</a> and certain <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/climate-change-report-card-co2-emissions/">governments</a> are already acting far more forcefully than universities, even as the latter claim to be intellectual leaders.</p> <p>Who universities invest in, fund, partner with and teach, and how, will increasingly be judged through a climate change lens. All actors in the fossil fuel value chain – including <a href="https://www.marketforces.org.au/marsh-mclennan-present-greenwash-at-agm/">insurance brokers</a> and <a href="https://gofossilfree.org/australia/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/09/ExposeTheTies_digital.pdf?_ga=2.89096216.248025022.1590905170-1969762787.1590905170">researchers</a> – are coming under pressure to stop facilitating a form of production that enriches a few while endangering all.</p> <p>Networks such as the <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/03/universities-form-global-network-climate-change">International Universities Climate Alliance</a>, the <a href="http://www.gauc.net/about/about.html">Global Alliance of Universities on Climate</a> and <a href="https://www.acts.asn.au/">Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability</a> are pushing for change in and by the sector.</p> <p>In 2019, <a href="https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190710141435609">three global university networks organised an open letter</a> signed by more than 7,000 higher and further education institutions. It called for the sector to reduce emissions and invest in climate change research, teaching and outreach. Even more have signed the <a href="https://www.sdgaccord.org/climateletter">SDG (sustainable development goals) Accord’s climate emergency declaration</a>, which calls for:</p> <ul> <li>mobilising more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation</li> <li>committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest</li> <li>increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programs.</li> </ul> <p>Some universities are already starting to build aspects of climate change into their operations. Most prominent have been efforts to divest university finances from direct support of fossil fuels. While some institutions are still dragging their feet, the University of California has announced it will <a href="https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-19/uc-fossil-fuel-divest-climate-change">fully divest </a> its US$126 billion endowment from fossil fuels.</p> <p>Pressure is similarly growing for <a href="https://unisuperdivest.org/">Unisuper to stop investing</a> Australian university staff superannuation into corporations that endanger the very future staff are saving for.</p> <p>University campuses are being refigured as sites of energy production and consumption. <a href="https://www.strathmore.edu/serc/">Strathmore University in Kenya </a>and <a href="https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2019/nov/rmit-leads-the-way-on-renewable-energy">RMIT University in Australia</a> are among those who produce their own renewable energy.</p> <p>Although <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-universities-are-not-walking-the-talk-on-going-low-carbon-72411">few universities are working towards absolute reductions in emissions</a>, or have appropriate climate adaptation plans, initiatives such as the <a href="https://www.timeshighereducation.com/student/best-universities/top-universities-climate-action">Times Higher Education Impact Index</a> are increasing interest in visible climate action.</p> <p><strong>… and they must change teaching and research</strong></p> <p>Teaching and research too must change. University students can <a href="https://study.curtin.edu.au/offering/course-pg-masters-of-environment-and-climate-emergency--mc-envclm/">choose programs and optional modules dedicated to climate change</a>. But this isn’t enough. Climate change has to be integrated in all disciplines.</p> <p>It is essential universities do not quarantine climate change as some kind of specialist topic. A <a href="https://journals.aom.org/doi/full/10.5465/amp.2018.0183.summary">recent analysis of management studies</a> found a profound lack of engagement across the discipline with the implications of climate change.</p> <p>As Cornell University’s Professor of Engineering Anthony Ingraffea argues, when it comes to educating the future generation, <a href="https://www.enr.com/articles/48389-a-call-to-action-for-engineers-on-climate-change">“doing the right thing on climate change should be baked into an engineer’s DNA”</a>.</p> <p>This means recognising the strong overlap between work that has instrumental value for climate change action and work that celebrates the intrinsic value of human understanding. The intellectual and social challenges presented by climate change are perhaps the greatest justification yet for why we need open-minded, open-ended exploration and dialogue of the sort universities can provide.</p> <p>Universities produce the knowledge galvanising others to act. It is time for them to act too. It is time for all of us who work in or with universities to reappraise our institutions in light of the changes needed, the changes coming, and the changes already here.</p> <p>This is the public mission of universities in the 21st century. And it is the most pressing mission there is.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Richards and Tamson Pietsch. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-the-most-important-mission-for-universities-of-the-21st-century-139214"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Turn off the porch light: 6 easy ways to stop light pollution from harming our wildlife

<p>As winter approaches, marine turtle nesting in the far north of Australia <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/2eb379de-931b-4547-8bcc-f96c73065f54/files/national-light-pollution-guidelines-wildlife.pdf">will peak</a>. When these baby turtles hatch at night, they crawl from the sand to the sea, using the relative brightness of the horizon and the natural slope of the beach as their guide.</p> <p>But when artificial lights outshine the moon and the sea, these hatchlings become disorientated. This leaves them vulnerable to predators, exhaustion and even traffic if they head in the wrong direction.</p> <p>Baby turtles are one small part of the larger, often overlooked, story of how light pollution harms wildlife across the <a href="https://theconversation.com/getting-smarter-about-city-lights-is-good-for-us-and-nature-too-69556">land</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/bright-city-lights-are-keeping-ocean-predators-awake-and-hungry-68965">underwater</a>.</p> <p>Green Turtle’s Battle For Survival | Planet Earth | BBC Earth.</p> <p>Today, more than 80% of people – and 99% of North American and European human populations – <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/6/e1600377">live under light-polluted skies</a>. We have transformed the night-time environment over substantial portions of the Earth’s surface in a very short time, relative to evolutionary timescales. Most wildlife hasn’t had time to adjust.</p> <p>In January, Australia released the <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/national-light-pollution-guidelines-wildlife">National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife</a>. These guidelines provide a framework for assessing and managing the impacts of artificial light.</p> <p>The guidelines also identify practical solutions that can be used globally to manage light pollution, both by managers and practitioners, and by anyone in control of a light switch.</p> <p>The guidelines outline six easy steps anyone can follow to minimise light pollution without compromising our own safety.</p> <p>Although light pollution is a global problem and true darkness is hard to come by, we can all do our part to reduce its impacts on wildlife by changing how we use and think about light at night.</p> <p><strong>1. Start with natural darkness. Only add light for a specific purpose</strong></p> <p>Natural darkness should be the default at night. Artificial light should only be used if it’s needed for a specific purpose, and it should only be turned on for the necessary period of time.</p> <p>This means it’s okay to have your veranda light on to help you find your keys, but the light doesn’t need to stay on all night.</p> <p>Similarly, indoor lighting can also contribute to light pollution, so turning lights off in empty office buildings at night, or in your home before you go to sleep, is also important.</p> <p><strong>2. Use smart lighting controls</strong></p> <p>Advances in smart control technology make it easy to manage how much light you use, and adaptive controls make meeting the goals of Step 1 more feasible.</p> <p>Investing in smart controls and LED technology means you can remotely manage your lights, set timers or dimmers, activate motion sensor lighting, and even control the colour of the light emitted.</p> <p>These smart controls should be used to activate artificial light at night only when needed, and to minimise light when not needed.</p> <p><strong>3. Keep lights close to the ground, directed and shielded</strong></p> <p>Any light that spills outside the specific area intended to be lit is unnecessary light.</p> <p>Light spilling upward contributes directly to artificial sky glow – the glow you see over urban areas from cumulative sources of light. Both sky glow and light spilling into adjacent areas on the ground can disrupt wildlife.</p> <p>Installing <a href="https://www.ledlightexpert.com/Light-Shields-Explained--Outdoor-Parking-Lot-Light-Shielding_b_42.html">light shields</a> allow you to direct the light downward, which significantly reduces sky glow, and to direct the light towards the specific target area. Light shields are recommended for any outdoor lighting installations.</p> <p><strong>4. Use the lowest intensity lighting</strong></p> <p>When deciding how much light you need, consider the intensity of the light produced (lumens), rather than the energy required to make it (watts).</p> <p>LEDs, for example, are often considered an “environmentally friendly” option because they’re relatively energy efficient. But because of their energy efficiency, LEDs produce between two and five times as much light as incandescent bulbs for the same amount of energy consumption.</p> <p>So, while LED lights save energy, the increased intensity of the light can lead to greater impacts on wildlife, if not managed properly.</p> <p><strong>5. Use non-reflective, dark-coloured surfaces.</strong></p> <p>Sky glow has been shown to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep01722">mask lunar light rhythms</a> of wildlife, interfering with the celestial navigation and migration of <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/313/5788/837">birds</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/424033a">insects</a>.</p> <p>Highly polished, shiny, or light-coloured surfaces – such as structures painted white, or polished marble – are good at reflecting light and so contribute more to sky glow than darker, non-reflective surfaces.</p> <p>Choosing darker coloured paint or materials for outdoor features will help reduce your contribution to light pollution.</p> <p><strong>6. Use lights with reduced or filtered blue, violet and ultra-violet wavelengths</strong></p> <p>Most animals are sensitive to short-wavelength light, which creates blue and violet colours. These short wavelengths are known to suppress melatonin production, which is known to disrupt sleep and interfere with circadian rhythms of many animals, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/11/22/6400/htm">including humans</a>.</p> <p>Choosing lighting options with little or no short wavelength (400-500 nanometres) violet or blue light will help to avoid unintended harmful effects on wildlife.</p> <p>For example, compact fluorescent and LED lights have a high amount of short wavelength light, compared low or high-pressure sodium, metal halide, and halogen light sources.</p> <p><em>Written by Emily fobert, Katherine Dafforn and Mariana Mayer-Pinto. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/turn-off-the-porch-light-6-easy-ways-to-stop-light-pollution-from-harming-our-wildlife-132595">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Be still, my beating wings: Hunters kill migrating birds on their 10,000km journey to Australia

<p>It is low tide at the end of the wet season in Broome, Western Australia. Shorebirds feeding voraciously on worms and clams suddenly get restless.</p> <p>Chattering loudly they take flight, circling up over Roebuck Bay then heading off for their northern breeding grounds more than 10,000 km away. I marvel at the epic journey ahead, and wonder how these birds will fare.</p> <p>In my former role as an assistant warden at the Broome Bird Observatory, I had the privilege of watching shorebirds, such as the bar-tailed godwit, set off on their annual migration.</p> <p>I’m now a conservation researcher at the University of Queensland, focusing on birds. Populations of migratory shorebirds are in sharp decline, and some are threatened with extinction.</p> <p>We know the destruction of coastal habitats for infrastructure development has <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14895">taken a big toll on these amazing birds</a>. But a study I conducted with a large international team, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320719311036">which has just been published</a>, suggests hunting is also a likely key threat.</p> <p><strong>What are migratory shorebirds?</strong></p> <p>Worldwide, there are 139 migratory shorebird species. About 75 species breed at high latitudes across Asia, Europe, and North America then migrate south in a yearly cycle.</p> <p>Some 61 migratory shorebird species occur in the Asia-Pacific, within the so-called East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This corridor includes 22 countries – from breeding grounds as far north as Alaska and Siberia to non-breeding grounds as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand. In between are counties in Asia’s east and southeast, such as South Korea and Vietnam.</p> <p>The bar-tailed godwits I used to observe at Roebuck Bay breed in Russia’s Arctic circle. They’re among about 36 migratory shorebird species to visit Australia each year, <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/da31ad38-f874-4746-a971-5510527694a4/files/revision-east-asian-australasian-flyway-population-sept-2016.pdf">amounting to more than two million birds</a>.</p> <p>They primarily arrive towards the end of the year in all states and territories – visiting coastal areas such as Moreton Bay in Queensland, Eighty Mile Beach in Western Australia, and Corner Inlet in Victoria.</p> <p>Numbers of migratory shorebirds have been falling for many species in the flyway. The trends have been detected since the 1970s <a href="https://www.publish.csiro.au/MU/MU15056">using citizen science data sets</a>.</p> <p>Five of the 61 migratory shorebird species in this flyway are globally threatened. Two travel to Australia: the great knot and far eastern curlew.</p> <p>Threats to these birds are many. They include the <a href="http://decision-point.com.au/article/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place/">loss of their critical habitats</a> along their migration path, <a href="https://theconversation.com/contested-spaces-saving-nature-when-our-beaches-have-gone-to-the-dogs-72078">off-leash dogs disturbing them on Australian beaches</a>, and climate change likely <a href="https://theconversation.com/arctic-birds-face-disappearing-breeding-grounds-as-climate-warms-62656">contracting their breeding grounds</a>.</p> <p><strong>And what about hunting?</strong></p> <p>During their migration, shorebirds stop to rest and feed along a network of wetlands and mudflats. They appear predictably and in large numbers at certain sites, making them relatively easy targets for hunters.</p> <p>Estimating the extent to which birds are hunted over large areas was like completing a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spent many months scouring the literature, obtaining data and reports from colleagues then carefully assembling the pieces.</p> <p>We discovered that since the 1970s, three-quarters of all migratory shorebird species in the flyway have been hunted at some point. This includes almost all those visiting Australia and four of the five globally threatened species.</p> <p>Some records relate to historical hunting that has since been banned. For example the Latham’s snipe, a shorebird that breeds in Japan, was legally hunted in Australia until the 1980s. All migratory shorebirds are now legally protected from hunting in Australia.</p> <p>We found evidence that hunting of migratory shorebirds has occurred in 14 countries, including New Zealand and Japan, with most recent records concentrated in southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, and the northern breeding grounds, such as the US.</p> <p>For a further eight, such as Mongolia and South Korea, we could not determine whether hunting has ever occurred.</p> <p>Our research suggests hunting has likely exceeded sustainable limits in some instances. Hunting has also been pervasive – spanning vast areas over many years and involving many species.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>The motivations of hunters vary across the flyway, according to needs, norms, and cultural traditions. For instance, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/condor/article-abstract/121/2/duz023/5523065?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Native Americans in Alaska</a> hunt shorebirds as a food source after winter, and <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c1a9e03f407b482a158da87/t/5c42eb8e8a922d3a72d42879/1547889551203/Chowdury-Sonadia.pdf">low-income people in Southeast Asia hunt and sell them</a>.</p> <p>National governments, supported by NGOs and researchers, must find the right balance between conservation and other needs, such as food security.</p> <p>Efforts to address hunting are already underway. This includes mechanisms such as the <a href="https://www.cms.int/en/taskforce/ittea">United Nations Convention</a> on Migratory Species and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway <a href="https://www.eaaflyway.net/task-force-on-illegal-hunting-taking-and-trade-of-migratory-waterbirds/">Partnership</a>. Other efforts involve helping hunters find <a href="https://www.birdlife.org/asia/news/targeting-hunters-save-spoon-billed-sandpiper">alternative livelihoods</a>.</p> <p>Our understanding of hunting as a potential threat is hindered by a lack of coordinated monitoring across the Asia-Pacific.</p> <p>Additional surveys by BirdLife International, as well as <a href="https://cpree.princeton.edu/research/biodiversity/saving-endangered-species">university researchers</a>, is underway in southeast Asia, China, and Russia. Improving hunting assessments, and coordination between them, is essential. Without it, we are acting in the dark.</p> <p><em>The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Richard A. Fuller (University of Queensland), Professor Tiffany H. Morrison (James Cook University), Dr Bradley Woodworth (University of Queensland), Dr Taej Mundkur (Wetlands International), Dr Ding Li Yong (BirdLife International-Asia), and Professor James E.M. Watson (University of Queensland).</em></p> <p><em>Written by Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/be-still-my-beating-wings-hunters-kill-migrating-birds-on-their-10-000km-journey-to-australia-138382">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

The coronavirus survival challenge for NZ tourism: affordability and sustainability

<p>Until a trans-Tasman travel bubble is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/trans-tasman-bubble-coronavirus-what-might-happen-next/12212580">established</a>, there is little doubt the New Zealand tourism industry will <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413845/covid-19-domestic-travellers-eyed-to-keep-tourism-sector-viable-after-lockdown">rely entirely</a> on domestic travel post-COVID-19.</p> <p>Without underplaying the impact the pandemic will have on discretionary spending in both countries, however, there may be a silver lining to the crisis.</p> <p>New Zealand is in the fortunate position of having an <a href="https://tia.org.nz/about-the-industry/quick-facts-and-figures/">already strong</a> domestic tourism sector. Domestic tourists spent NZ$23.7 billion annually (or NZ$65 million a day) pre-COVID-19, compared to a total spend of NZ$12.7 billion (or NZ$47 million a day) by international visitors. <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">Research</a> pre-COVID-19 showed 65% of New Zealanders wanted to explore more of their country, a figure expected to increase.</p> <p>True, New Zealanders generally don’t have the deep pockets international tourists have. Their higher overall spend is a reflection of their numbers, not their bank balances. But with the big ticket tourist attractions now missing the bigger spenders, the market will rule.</p> <p>Regional tourism organisations, attractions and operators may need to rethink their offerings and their pricing. While tramping the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/things-to-do/walking-and-tramping/great-walks/">great walks</a> may be perfectly affordable for a family of four, taking the family on a whale watch, a bungy jump or a cruise on Milford Sound may not be – especially as parts of one big holiday. Indeed, it has been found that <a href="https://openrepository.aut.ac.nz/handle/10292/11857">price</a> is the major decision-making factor for 30% of New Zealanders when it comes to holidays.</p> <p>So this is also an opportunity to give New Zealanders back a piece of the summer pie – not only for the COVID-19 recovery but in the longer term. Summers have tended to be characterised by a large influx of international tourists, with Kiwis settling for shoulder seasons (and unfavourable weather) to tramp the famous tracks when they are <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99088942/tourists-outnumber-new-zealanders-on-the-great-walks--and-the-gaps-growing">less crowded</a>.</p> <p>But domestic tourists who have grown accustomed to off-peak holidays away from high-cost destinations will soon tip the scales. Now is the time for operators to win back their hearts.</p> <p>With New Zealand’s gradual easing of its strict lockdown (possibly to the stage of allowing non-essential travel by mid-May), tourism can clearly support the economic revival of local communities. The challenge is how to reinvent New Zealand tourism as an initially purely domestic industry.</p> <p>Overall, only a handful of New Zealand destinations have depended entirely on international tourists. These also happen to be the places most heavily associated with overtourism in the past. Given that the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14616688.2020.1759131">growth model</a> driven by short-term, dollars-first business thinking has led to an <a href="https://www.noted.co.nz/money/money-economy/nz-tourists-should-we-limit-number-visitors">unsustainable</a> tourism market, might this also be a chance to restore some equilibrium?</p> <p>That will mean no more killing the goose that lays the <a href="https://www.pce.parliament.nz/publications/pristine-popular-imperilled-the-environmental-consequences-of-projected-tourism-growth">golden egg</a>. Some hotspots, such as the <a href="https://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/">Tongariro Alpine Crossing</a> and <a href="https://www.thecoromandel.com/activities/must-do/hot-water-beach/">Coromandel’s Hot Water Beach</a> may be managed by restricting visitor numbers.</p> <p>Such strategies have long been in place in other places, such as the <a href="https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/milford-track/">booking requirement</a> for the Milford Track. We have also seen tremendous problems associated with too many cruise ships in too small places. Akaroa is a prime example, and limiting both the number of visits and the size of vessels may be a feasible <a href="https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018685520">future strategy</a>.</p> <p>As part of our own research (yet to be published) into the pressing issues of overtourism we conducted interviews with various tourism stakeholders around New Zealand, including city and regional councils, the Department of Conservation, residents and operators. This took place just before New Zealand’s strictest lockdown level was imposed, without any real foreknowledge of the eventual economic impact of COVID-19.</p> <p>Nonetheless, our interviewees shared very similar sentiments when it came to how the industry can evolve sustainably only if New Zealanders themselves embrace the behaviours they expect (and sometimes demand) of foreign tourists. According to our subjects, too many Kiwis still hold on to a past when the country’s population was half its current size and SUVs and large motorhomes didn’t crowd the roads and parking lots.</p> <p>Initiatives such as the <a href="https://tiakinewzealand.com/">Tiaki Promise</a>, which promote environmental and cultural sensitivity to tourists, have largely targeted international visitors. These now need to turn the lens inwards so that Kiwis become better ambassadors within their own backyard.</p> <p>Kiwis love their country, but they will now need to truly discover what it has to offer, not only for a weekend of tramping or a quick getaway, but for their main summer holiday. And they will have to become better kaitiaki (or guardians) of their homeland in the process.</p> <p>The absence of international tourists will be a huge challenge, but also an opportunity. If we get it right, when those foreign visitors are allowed to return (most likely at first from Australia) we will have found ways to grow – or limit – their numbers and their expectations so that our tourism industry can thrive as well as survive.</p> <p><em>Written by Sabrina Seeler and Michael Lueck. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coronavirus-survival-challenge-for-nz-tourism-affordability-and-sustainability-137256">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Fleas to flu to coronavirus: how ‘death ships’ spread disease through the ages

<p>One of the haunting images of this pandemic will be stationary cruise ships – deadly carriers of COVID-19 – at anchor in harbours and unwanted. Docked in ports and feared.</p> <p>The news of the dramatic spread of the virus on the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1632">Diamond Princess</a> from early February made the news real for many Australians who’d enjoyed holidays on the seas. Quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, over 700 of the ship’s crew and passengers became infected. To date, <a href="https://www.cruisemapper.com/accidents/Diamond-Princess-534">14 deaths</a> have been recorded.</p> <p>The Diamond Princess’s sister ship, the Ruby Princess, brought the pandemic to Australian shores. Now under <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/police-to-probe-second-ruby-princess-voyage-as-part-of-criminal-investigation-20200417-p54kpo.html">criminal investigation</a>, the events of the Ruby Princess forced a spotlight on the petri dish cruise ships can become. The ship has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/may/05/ruby-princess-was-initially-refused-permission-to-dock-over-coronavirus-fears-inquiry-told">linked to 21 deaths</a>.</p> <p>History shows the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29737663">devastating role ships can play</a> in transmitting viruses across vast continents and over many centuries.</p> <p><strong>Rats in the ranks</strong></p> <p>Merchant ships carrying rats with infected fleas were transmitters of the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/past/article-abstract/244/1/3/5532056?redirectedFrom=fulltext">Plague of Justinian</a> (541-542 AD) that devastated the Byzantine Empire.</p> <p>Ships carrying grain from Egypt were home to flea-infested rats that fed off the granaries. Contantinople was especially inflicted, with estimates as high as <a href="https://www.history.com/news/microbe-behind-black-death-also-caused-devastating-plague-800-years-earlier">5,000 casualties a day</a>. Globally, up to 50 million people are estimated to have been killed – half the world’s population.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">Black Death</a> was also carried by rats on merchant ships through the trade routes of Europe. It struck Europe in 1347, when 12 ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina.</p> <p>Subsequently called “death ships”, those on board were either dead or sick. Soon, the Black Death spread to ports around the world, such as Marseilles, Rome and Florence, and by 1348 had reached London with devastating impact.</p> <p>The Italian writer, poet and scholar, Giovanni Boccaccio, <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/black-death-oh-father-why-have-you-abandoned-me/">wrote</a> how terror swept through Florence with relatives deserting infected family members. Almost inconceivably, he wrote, “fathers and mothers refused to nurse their own children, as though they did not belong to them”.</p> <p>Ships started being <a href="https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/plague-black-death-quarantine-history-how-stop-spread/">turned away</a> from European ports in 1347. Venice was the first city to close, with those permitted to enter forced into a 40-day quarantine: the word “quarantine” derives from the Italian <em>quarantena</em>, or 40 days.</p> <p>By January 1349, mass graves proliferated outside of London to bury the increasing numbers of dead.</p> <p>Army and naval ships, as well as travellers around the globe, also carried cholera pandemics throughout the 19th century. In the first pandemic <a href="https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-cholera">in 1817</a>, British army and navy ships are believed to have spread cholera beyond India where the outbreaks originated.</p> <p>By the 1820s, cholera had spread throughout Asia, reaching Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan through shipping. British troops spread it to the Persian Gulf, eventually moving through Turkey and Syria.</p> <p>Subsequent outbreaks from the 1820s through to the 1860s relied on trade and troops to spread the disease across continents.</p> <p><strong>At war with the Spanish Flu</strong></p> <p>The Spanish influenza of 1918-1919 was originally carried by soldiers on overcrowded troop ships during the first world war. The rate of transmission on these ships was rapid, and soldiers died in large numbers.</p> <p>One New Zealand rifleman <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1811.AD1811">wrote</a> in his diary in September 1918:</p> <p><em>More deaths and burials total now 42. A crying shame but it is only to be expected when human beings are herded together the way they have been on this boat.</em></p> <p>The flu was transmitted throughout Europe in France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. Three-quarters of French troops and over half of British troops fell ill in 1918. Hundreds of thousands of US soldiers travelling on troop ships across the Atlantic and back provided the perfect conditions for transmission.</p> <p><strong>The fate of cruising</strong></p> <p>A new and lethal carrier in the 21st century has emerged in the pleasure industry of cruise ships. The <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2020/01/20/state-of-the-cruise-industry-smooth-sailing-into-the-2020s/#364b397665fa">explosion</a> of cruise holidays in the past 20 years has led to a proliferation of luxury liners plying the seas.</p> <p>Like historical pandemics, the current crisis shares the characteristic of rapid spread through ships.</p> <p>The unknown is in what form cruise ships will continue to operate. Unlike the port-to-port trade and armed forces that carried viruses across continents centuries ago, the services cruise lines offer are non-essential.</p> <p>Whatever happens, the global spread of COVID-19 reminds us “death ships” are an enduring feature of the history of pandemics.</p> <p><em>Written by Joy Damousi. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/fleas-to-flu-to-coronavirus-how-death-ships-spread-disease-through-the-ages-137061">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Dinner to die for: how fish use their spines to fend off hungry seals

<p>What price are you willing to pay for food?</p> <p>For most of us, that’s a question about money. But what if the cost were actual pain, injury and death? For some seals and dolphins, this a real risk when hunting.</p> <p>We took a <a href="https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03473">close look</a> at a New Zealand (or long-nosed) fur seal that stranded at Cape Conran in southeastern Australia, and discovered it had numerous severe facial injuries. These wounds were all caused by fish spines, and they show the high price these animals are willing to pay in pursuit of a meal.</p> <p><strong>Victim or perpetrator?</strong></p> <p>When the unfortunate seal was first spotted dead on the beach, it was clear something was amiss: the animal was emaciated, and had a large fish spine stuck in its cheek.</p> <p>A team of scientists from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Museums Victoria and Monash University decided to investigate, and took a CT scan of the seal’s head. The results were striking: fish spines had penetrated not just both cheeks, but also the nose and jaw muscles.</p> <p>On closer examination, we also found ten stab wounds, likely from further fish spines that had been pulled out. The wounds were spread all over the face and throat, and at least some appear to have festered. They may have made feeding difficult, and ultimately may have caused the animal to starve.</p> <p>These wounds were likely not the result of unprovoked attacks. They were probably inflicted by prey that simply did not want to be eaten.</p> <p><strong>How to fight off a hungry seal … or at least teach it a lesson</strong></p> <p>Many fish species have evolved elaborate defence systems against predators, such as venomous spines that can inflict painful wounds.</p> <p>Our seal appears to have been done in by two species of cartilaginous fish. One was the elusive <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_ghostshark">Australian ghostshark</a> (also known as elephant fish), a distant relative of true sharks that has a large serrated spine on its back.</p> <p>The other was a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urolophidae">stingaree</a>: a type of small stingray with a venomous tail barb that can be whipped around like a scorpion’s tail. Its sting is normally aimed at would-be predators, but sometimes also catches the feet of unwary humans.</p> <p><strong>How to eat a spiky fish</strong></p> <p>Until recently, most of what we knew about the diet New Zealand fur seals was based on bony remains left in their poo. This technique largely overlooks cartilaginous fish, whose skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone. As a result, we didn’t realise fur seals target these creatures.</p> <p>New <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12686-016-0560-9">studies of the DNA of devoured prey</a> in the seals’ scats now suggest they commonly feed on ghostsharks. Stingarees and other rays are less common, but evidently still form part of their diet. So how do the seals handle such dangerous prey on a regular basis?</p> <p>It all comes down to table manners. Ghostsharks and rays are too large to be swallowed whole, and hence must be broken into smaller chunks first. Fur seals achieve this by violently shaking their prey at the water’s surface, largely because <a href="https://theconversation.com/sharp-claws-helped-ancient-seals-conquer-the-oceans-92828">their flippers are no longer capable of grasping and tearing</a>.</p> <p>Fur seals can eat small fish whole, but need to tear large prey into edible chunks.</p> <p>Shaking a fish in the right way (for example by gripping it at the soft belly) may allow seals to kill and consume it without getting impaled. Nevertheless, some risk remains, whether because of struggling prey, poor technique, or simply bad luck. The wounds on our seal’s cheeks suggest that it may accidentally have slapped itself with a ghostshark spine while trying to tear it apart.</p> <p><strong>Fish spines – a common problem?</strong></p> <p>One of the challenges we face as scientists is knowing how to interpret isolated observations. Are fish spines a common problem for fur seals, or was our individual just particularly unlucky? We don’t know.</p> <p>New techniques like analysing DNA from scats means that we are only just beginning to get a better idea of the full range of prey marine mammals target. Likewise, medical imaging techniques such as CT scanning are rarely applied to marine mammal strandings, and injuries like the ones in our seal may often go unnoticed.</p> <p>Nevertheless, fish spine injuries have been observed in other ocean predators, including dolphins, killer whales, and rays. One wedgefish described in <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.170674">another recent study</a> had as many as 62 spines embedded in its jaw! Now that we know what to look for, we may finally get a better idea of how common such injuries really are.</p> <p>For now, this extraordinary example vividly demonstrates the choices and dangers wild animals face as they try to make a living. For our seal, the seafood ultimately won, but we will never know if the fish that killed it got away, or if the wounds they left are evidence of the seal’s last meal.</p> <p><em>Written by David Hocking, Felix Georg Marx, Silke Cleuren and William Parker. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/dinner-to-die-for-how-fish-use-their-spines-to-fend-off-hungry-seals-133627">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

3 ways nature in the city can do you good – even in self-isolation

<p>Spending time at the beach or taking a <a href="https://theconversation.com/reducing-stress-at-work-is-a-walk-in-the-park-57634">walk in the park</a> can help us recover from the mental and physical impacts of life’s stresses. But physical distancing measures to contain COVID-19 have included closing <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/21/bondi-beach-closed-down-after-crowds-defy-ban-on-gatherings-of-more-than-500-people">beaches</a>, <a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-australia-why-playgrounds-outdoor-gyms-had-to-close/news-story/a89cfc97d6352263c994b0d2e0b797bb">playgrounds</a> and <a href="https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/city-file/article/royal-botanic-gardens-close-due-coronavirus">parks</a>, adding to the challenges to our mental health. When we stay home to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-has-australia-really-flattened-the-curve-of-coronavirus-until-we-keep-better-records-we-dont-know-136252">flatten the curve</a>, how can we help ourselves by taking advantage of the benefits associated with nature?</p> <p>The <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">evidence for nature supporting human well-being</a> has grown in recent decades. We researched the links between nature and urban residents’ well-being and found there are benefits of nature that we can still enjoy now, even in lockdown. Our findings point to some of the ways we can improve our well-being by engaging with everyday nature close to home.</p> <p><strong>1. A room with a view</strong></p> <p>We <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3">reviewed the evidence</a>, collected <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">survey data</a> on self-reported well-being and biodiversity indicators, and organised <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, to better understand participants’ relationship with urban nature.</p> <p>If you’re stuck at home, the good news is there is plenty of research that suggests <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/00139160121973115">a view through a window</a> of vegetation or a body of water can provide a micro-break. A view of nature through a window has even <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402">aided hospital patients’ recovery</a> from surgery. A short, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.04.003">40-second glance at a green roof</a> supports cognitive restoration better than a view of concrete.</p> <p>Our research found urban residents had greater self-reported well-being when they had nature nearby or visible from their homes. Participants valued a view of vegetated areas – green space – and bodies of water – blue space. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">One participant said</a>:</p> <p><em>I could live in something that was pretty grim if it had a balcony that looked out [at nature].</em></p> <p>Participants in our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">focus groups</a> also highlighted the importance of seeing changes in the natural world, such as change in the weather or the seasons. Even if your view does not have a lot of vegetation or water, a view of the sky can allow engagement with nature’s dynamism.</p> <p>A view out a window at nature’s dynamism can improve our well-being. Lucy Taylor, Author provided</p> <p><strong>2. Gardening – indoors and out</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky enough to have a yard or balcony, now may be a good time to do some gardening. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.007">Gardening can offer benefits</a> such as reductions in stress, anxiety and depression. As a physical activity, gardening can also improve physical fitness and support weight loss.</p> <p>Gardens can also provide <a href="https://theconversation.com/bandbs-for-birds-and-bees-transform-your-garden-or-balcony-into-a-wildlife-haven-129907">habitat for wildlife</a>, potentially introducing you to new plants, pollinating insects and birds. <a href="https://theconversation.com/biodiversity-and-our-brains-how-ecology-and-mental-health-go-together-in-our-cities-126760">Urban biodiversity benefits us</a> too.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between gardening and self-reported well-being. If you don’t have a yard, gardening on a balcony or tending to indoor plants also has benefits. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-017-0702-1">One participant explained</a>:</p> <p><em>Having a small vegetable garden and flowers in pots makes me feel happy and content … It is wonderful to see things grow in the city.</em></p> <p>Gardening in a yard, on a balcony, or even tending indoor plants does us good. Peter Lead, Author provided</p> <p><strong>3. Green exercise</strong></p> <p>We know exercise is good for physical fitness and <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-your-mental-health-deteriorating-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-heres-what-to-look-out-for-134827">mental health</a>. “Green exercise”, or exercise that takes place in and around nature, can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/es903183r">improve your mood and self-esteem</a>.</p> <p>Our study found strong links between how often urban residents exercised and their self-reported well-being. One participant described how important green exercise is to them:</p> <p><em>Being able to walk my dog down at the beach or go up into the hills is a great stress relief and keeps me fit and healthy and, best of all, it’s free.</em></p> <p>Another participant described <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00910-5">exercising in a public park</a>:</p> <p><em>I feel significantly calmer, [my] breathing rate goes down. I love the feel of that moist air going into my lungs from all the trees and I really do feel different.</em></p> <p>To limit infection, residents of cities around the world are subject to a range of national and local constraints on when and how they leave the house to exercise. It is important to follow physical distancing guidelines, but it is also <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-04/coronavirus-queensland-exercise-safety/12115924">important to exercise</a> rather than be both isolated and sedentary.</p> <p><strong>Urban nature now and for the future</strong></p> <p>Nature can support our well-being now, when we all could use the help, but we need to protect it. <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1060902">Climate change talks have been postponed</a> because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is clear climate change has not stalled, even taking into account <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-changes-brought-on-by-coronavirus-could-help-tackle-climate-change-133509">the effect of lockdown on emissions</a>.</p> <p>There are lasting ways to <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-must-fight-climate-change-like-its-world-war-iii-here-are-4-potent-weapons-to-deploy-131052">reduce our emissions</a> and create <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-the-blueprint-for-liveable-low-carbon-cities-we-just-need-to-use-it-121615">low-carbon</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-another-hot-summer-here-are-6-ways-to-cool-our-cities-in-future-110817">cooler cities</a>. And the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-what-the-coronavirus-pandemic-can-teach-us-about-tackling-climate-change-134399">earlier we act, the better the outcomes</a> will be.</p> <p>If you have a yard, <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-solution-to-cut-extreme-heat-by-up-to-6-degrees-is-in-our-own-backyards-133082">planting trees</a> might be a good lockdown activity now and will ultimately <a href="https://theconversation.com/here-are-5-practical-ways-trees-can-help-us-survive-climate-change-129753">benefit your future</a>.</p> <p>Taking time to notice nature – via a glance outside, <a href="https://theconversation.com/running-out-of-things-to-do-in-isolation-get-back-in-the-garden-with-these-ideas-from-4-experts-134229">tending plants in pots or gardens</a>, or via green exercise – will improve your well-being. Appreciating nature and having access to it has never been so important.</p> <p><em>Written by Lucy Taylor, Dieter Hochuli and Erin Leckey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-ways-nature-in-the-city-can-do-you-good-even-in-self-isolation-133150">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Brexit: how the UK is preparing to secure its seas outside the EU

<p>Four dinghies carrying 53 migrants who tried to cross the English Channel from France were intercepted by British and French authorities <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-52207869">in early April</a>. The crossings are a reminder of the importance of maritime security and safety to the UK.</p> <p>Brexit has led to many uncertainties, including over the governance of the UK’s seas in the future. Withdrawal from EU regulations at the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 2020 raises questions over how to face the difficult task of managing maritime risks which are currently managed alongside the EU.</p> <p>Uncertainty has also spurred new government efforts by shining a light on the need to secure UK waters, something we’ve written about in <a href="http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/policybristol/briefings-and-reports-pdfs/SafeSeas%20report_v5.pdf">a new report</a>.</p> <p>The UK faces <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322813/20140623-40221_national-maritime-strat-Cm_8829_accessible.pdf">rapidly evolving risks</a> to its shipping lanes, fishing grounds and marine infrastructure. These risks include <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/722074/fisheries-wp-consult-document.pdf">illegal fishing</a>, human trafficking, <a href="https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/173-national-strategic-assessment-of-serious-and-organised-crime-2018/file">organised crime such as smuggling</a>, <a href="https://rm.coe.int/the-united-kingdom-s-strategy-for-countering-terrorism-june-2018/16808b05f3">terrorism</a>, and the potential for protests <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/04/greenpeace-banned-from-protesting-on-shell-north-sea-oil-rigs">at sea</a>.</p> <p>Terrorist attacks could cause significant loss of life if targeted against ferries and cruise liners. Illegal fishing could affect <a href="https://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/SeafishGuidetoIUU07-2016.pdf">the livelihoods of fishers and marine biodiversity</a>, while other risks could have an impact on the wider economy in a context where <a href="https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/why-ports-are-crucial-britains-future/">95% of Britain’s trade</a> flows via the ocean.</p> <p>These risks tend to interlink with each other in ways that are increasingly well documented in other regions of the world. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016578361400143X">In Somalia</a>, for example, local fishers losing their stock as a result of illegal fishing have <a href="https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2442.pdf">turned to piracy</a>. What unintended consequences of new risks might appear in UK waters is still not fully understood.</p> <p>Maritime security threats can also take place simultaneously. Without greater understanding of these risks, it’s difficult to know which should be prioritised.</p> <p><strong>Added complication of Brexit</strong></p> <p>These issues have been complicated by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">UK’s withdrawal from the EU</a>. During the current transition period the UK manages its waters within a wider EU maritime governance framework and under EU regulations, as it did while it was an EU member. While the UK isn’t expected to cease all cooperation with the EU when this comes to an end, it will be required to depend more on national enforcement and regulations.</p> <p>This shift is most visible in the fisheries sector. As part of the EU, British fisheries were managed under the Common Fisheries Policy meaning both UK and EU fishing boats had access to quotas in UK waters. Such arrangements are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X17307376">likely to come to an end</a> with the UK choosing to regulate its own waters.</p> <p>UK ports are also a hotspot for change as they seem likely to withdraw from EU port legislation. This could lead to <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/308/pdfs/uksiem_20190308_en.pdf">new national regulatory</a> challenges such as a need to balance harmonisation with the EU with the pursual of British priorities like the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/freeports-consultation">creation of freeports</a>, aimed to give British trade a competitive edge.</p> <p>Taking sole responsibility is made difficult by other complicating factors. In the UK, different risks are managed by <a href="https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2018-02-23.HL5857.h">different government agencies</a>, with problems of jurisdictional overlap.</p> <p>Depending where it takes place, multiple agencies could be involved in illegal fishing, for example. This could include the Marine Management Organisation, Marine Scotland, and the Royal Navy’s Fishery Protection Squadron. Other agencies may contribute boats or intelligence, such as the National Maritime Information Centre, Border Force and the National Crime Agency.</p> <p>Yet, a common understanding of the threats and consistent communication between departments <a href="http://www.safeseas.net/a-moment-of-opportunity-britain-and-the-maritime-security-challenge/">is lacking in some areas</a>. This is more of a problem for devolved issues such as fisheries, which add even more authorities, departments and agencies to the picture. The relationships between these different organisations are likely to be further tested by the <a href="https://blog.oup.com/2019/10/brexits-challenge-maritime-security/">challenges posed by Brexit</a>.</p> <p><strong>Opportunity for reform</strong></p> <p>But Brexit also offers the UK an opportunity to improve its maritime security. The leak of <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/831199/20190802_Latest_Yellowhammer_Planning_assumptions_CDL.pdf">Operation Yellowhammer</a> in 2019 raised the public profile of maritime issues such as delayed freight in ports, the illegal entry of EU fishing boats into UK waters and potential clashes between fishing vessels. This came at a time where there were high profile landings of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-46358700">illegal migrants along the south coast of the UK</a>, while Operation Yellowhammer warned of stretched maritime enforcement capabilities.</p> <p>The UK has started off well. In 2019, the UK government created the <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2019-09-05/debates/CAD11F2C-9E6C-4092-9417-C34D68330187/MaritimeSecurity">Joint Maritime Security Centre</a> (JMSC) to coordinate all the different agencies involved and foster interaction between them. The JMSC conducted a joint UK maritime security exercise at the end of 2019, highlighting how coordination can improve enforcement. It is also preparing a new UK maritime security strategy.</p> <p>Interactions between the different government agencies involved in managing the risks to the UK seas need to become more frequent and overcome existing divides to create habits of cooperation and communication. Other groups such as fishing communities need to be included in deliberations. Transparency and information sharing in the process of drafting a new maritime security strategy can help to identify common goals, encourage involvement, and establish a shared basis for action.</p> <p>A review of resources would also be worthwhile to identify the means the UK has to secure its waters, what gaps exist, and how these means can best be shared.</p> <p><em>Written by Scott Edwards and Timothy Edmunds. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/brexit-how-the-uk-is-preparing-to-secure-its-seas-outside-the-eu-133548">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month

<p>While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.</p> <p>Our research, published today in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/GCB.15083">Global Change Biology</a>, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first-hand.</p> <p>Antarctica may be isolated from other continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/conveyor.html">global ocean conveyor belt</a>, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.</p> <p>Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a ‘canary in the mine’, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>A heatwave in the coldest place on Earth</strong></p> <p>Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/ice-free-areas-are-hot-property-in-antarctica">important biodiversity hotspots</a> for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates.</p> <p>This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heat wave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5°C. On January 24, its highest <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml">maximum of 9.2°C</a> was recorded, almost 7°C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.</p> <p>The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes.</p> <p>By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-reported/">maximum temperature of 18.4°C</a> was recorded on February 6 at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Peninsula - almost 1°C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/%202020/feb/13/antarctic-temperature-rises-above-20c-firsttime-record/">20.75°C was reported</a> at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the Peninsula.</p> <p><strong>What caused the heatwave?</strong></p> <p>The pace of warming from global climate change has been generally slower in East Antarctica compared with West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is in part due to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051">ozone hole</a>, which has occurred in spring over Antarctica since the late 1970s.</p> <p>The hole has tended to strengthen jet stream winds over the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043">Southern Ocean</a> promoting a generally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00787-x">more ‘positive’ state</a> of the Southern Annular Mode in summer. This means the Southern Ocean’s westerly wind belt has tended to stay close to Antarctica at that time of year creating a seasonal ‘shield’, reducing the transfer of warm air from the Earth’s temperate regions to Antarctica.</p> <p>But during the spring of 2019 a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">strong warming of the stratosphere</a> over Antarctica significantly reduced the size of the ozone hole. This helped to support a more ‘negative’ state of the Southern Annular Mode and weakened the shield.</p> <p>Other factors in late 2019 may have also helped to warm Antarctica. The Indian Ocean Dipole was in a strong ‘positive’ state due to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">late retreat of the Indian monsoon</a>. This meant that water in the western Indian Ocean was warmer than normal. Air rising from this and other warm ocean patches in the Pacific Ocean provided energy sources that altered the path of weather systems and helped to disturb and warm the stratosphere.</p> <p><strong>Is a warming Antarctica good or bad?</strong></p> <p>Localised flooding appeared to benefit some Vestfold Hills’ moss banks which were previously very <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0280-0">drought-stressed</a>. Prior to the flood event, most mosses were grey and moribund, but one month later many moss shoots were green.</p> <p>Given the generally cold conditions of Antarctica, the warmth may have benefited the flora (mosses, lichens and two vascular plants), and microbes and invertebrates, but only where liquid water formed. Areas in the Vestfold Hills away from the flooding became more drought-stressed over the summer.</p> <p>High temperatures may have caused heat stress in some organisms. Antarctic mosses and lichens are often dark in colour, allowing sunlight to be absorbed to create warm microclimates. This is a great strategy when temperatures are just above freezing, but heat stress can occur once 10°C is exceeded.</p> <p>On King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, our measurements showed that in January 2019 moss surface temperatures only exceeded 14°C for 3% of the time, but in 2020 this increased fourfold (to 12% of the time).</p> <p>Based on our experience from previous anomalous hot Antarctic summers, we can expect many biological impacts, positive and negative, in coming years. The most recent event highlights the connectedness of our climate systems: from the surface to the stratosphere, and from the monsoon tropics to the southernmost continent.</p> <p>Under climate change, extreme events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, and Antarctica is not immune.</p> <p>If you’ve been let go and then retrospectively un-sacked, you are also guaranteed to get at least $1,500 per fortnight, which in that case might be less than you were being paid, but will be more than the $1,115 you would have got on Newstart (which has been renamed JobSeeker Payment).</p> <p>If you remain employed, and are on more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer will have to pay you your full regular wage. Employers won’t be able to cut it to $1,500 per fortnight.</p> <p>To get it, most employers will have to have suffered a 30% decline in their turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago. Big employers (turnover of $1 billion or more) will have to have suffered a 50% decline. Big banks won’t be eligible.</p> <p>Self-employed Australians will also be eligible where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30% decline in turnover. Among these will be musicians and performers out of work because large gatherings have been cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Half the Australian workforce</strong></p> <p>The payment isn’t perfect. It will only be paid in respect of wages from March 30, and the money won’t be handed over until the start of May – the Tax Office systems can’t work any faster – but it will provide more support than almost anyone expected.</p> <p>Its scope is apparent when you consider the size of Australia’s workforce.</p> <p>Before the coronavirus hit in February, 13 million of Australia’s 25 million residents were in jobs. This payment will go to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job">six million</a> of them.</p> <p>Without putting too fine a point on it, for the next six months, the government will be the paymaster to almost <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0">half</a> the Australian workforce.</p> <p>Announcing the payment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unprecedented times called for unprecedented action. He said the payment was more generous than New Zealand’s, broader than Britain’s, and more comprehensive than Canada’s, claims about which there is dispute.</p> <p>But for Australia, it is completely without precedent.</p> <p><em>Written by Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana Kind and Sharon Robinson. Reviewed by Emma Kucelj. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/anatomy-of-a-heatwave-how-antarctica-recorded-a-20-75-c-day-last-month-134550"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Why marine protected areas are often not where they should be

<p>There’s no denying the grandeur and allure of a nature reserve or marine protected area. The concept is easy to understand: limit human activity there and marine ecosystems will thrive.</p> <p>But while the number of marine protected areas is increasing, so too is the number of threatened species, and the health of marine ecosystems is <a href="https://ipbes.net/global-assessment">in decline</a>.</p> <p>Why? <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">Our research</a> shows it’s because marine protected areas are often placed where there’s already low human activity, rather than in places with high biodiversity that need it most.</p> <p><strong>Not where they should be</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the world’s protected areas, in both terrestrial and marine environments, are placed in locations with no form of manageable human activity or development occurring, such as fishing or infrastructure. These places are often remote, such as in the centres of oceans.</p> <p>And where marine protected areas have been increasing, they’re placed where <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">pressures cannot be managed</a>, such as areas where there is increased ocean acidification or dispersed pollution.</p> <p>But biodiversity is often highest in the places with human activity – we use these locations in the ocean to generate income and livelihoods, from tourism to fishing. This includes coastal areas in the tropics, such as the Coral Triangle (across six countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia), which has almost <a href="https://ccafs.cgiar.org/publications/marine-protected-areas-coral-triangle-progress-issues-and-options">2,000 marine protected areas</a>, yet is <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-seagrass-in-indonesias-marine-protected-areas-is-still-under-threat-125875">also home</a> to one of the largest shipping routes in the world and high fishing activity.</p> <p>What’s more, many marine industries are already regulated through licences and quotas, so it’s hard to establish a new marine protected area that adds a different type of management on top of what already exists.</p> <p>This leaves us with an important paradox: the places where biodiversity is under the most pressure are also the places humanity is most reluctant to relinquish, due to their social or economic value. Because of those values, people and industry resist changes to behaviour, leaving governments to try to find solutions that avoid conflict.</p> <p><strong>Lessons from the fishing industry</strong></p> <p>How can we resolve the paradox of marine protected areas? A strategy used in the fishing industry may show the way.</p> <p>Fisheries have had experience in going beyond the limits of sustainability and then stepping back, changing their approach to managing species and ecosystems for better sustainability, while still protecting economic, social and environmental values.</p> <p>In the past, many of the world’s fisheries regularly exceeded the sustainable limit of catches, and many species such as <a href="https://www.ccsbt.org/en/content/latest-stock-assessment">southern bluefin tuna</a> declined significantly in number. But <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/4/2218">strong rules around how a fishery should operate</a> mean declines have since been reversed.</p> <p>So how did they do it? In recent decades, many of the world’s large-scale fisheries implemented formal “harvest strategies”. These strategies can flip downward trends of marine species in places not designated a marine protected area.</p> <p>Harvest strategies have three steps. First is pre-agreed monitoring of species and ecosystems by fishers, regulators and other stakeholders. Second, regulators and scientists assess their impact on the species and ecosystems. And last, all stakeholders agree to put management measures in place to improve the status of the monitored species and ecosystems.</p> <p>These measures may include changing how fishing is done or how much is done. It’s a commonsense strategy that’s delivered <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-parks-and-fishery-management-whats-the-best-way-to-protect-fish-66274">successful results</a> with many fished species either recovering or recovered.</p> <p>In Australia, the federal government introduced a <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/fisheries/domestic/harvest-strategy-policy.docx">formal harvest strategy policy</a> to manage fisheries in 2007. It was evaluated in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/71/2/195/788673">2014</a>, and the report found many (but not all) fish stocks are no longer overfished. This includes species such as orange roughy and southern bluefin tuna in Australia, which were overfished but are no longer so.</p> <p>But unfortunately, this positive trend has not been replicated for biodiversity hit by the combinations of other human activities such as coastal development, transport, oil and gas extraction and marine debris.</p> <p><strong>A consistent strategy</strong></p> <p>We need to adapt the experience from fisheries and apply a single, formal, transparent and agreed <em>biodiversity</em> strategy that outlines sustainable management objectives for the places we can’t put marine protected areas.</p> <p>This would look like a harvest strategy, but be applied more broadly to threatened species and ecosystems. What might be sustainable from a single species point of view as used in the fisheries might not sustainable for multiple species.</p> <p>This would mean for our threatened species, we would be monitoring their status, assessing whether the <em>total</em> population was changing and agreeing on when and how we would change the way that they are impacted.</p> <p>Such a strategy would also allow monitoring of whole marine ecosystems, even when information is limited. Information on trends in species and ecosystems often exists, but is hidden as commercial-in-confidence or kept privately within government, research or commercial organisations.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>Still, a lack of data shouldn’t limit decision making. Experience in fisheries without much data shows even rules of thumb can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2014.11.005">effective management tools</a>. Rules of thumb can include simple measures like gear restrictions or spatial or temporal closures that don’t change through time.</p> <p>Moving forward, all stakeholders need to agree to implement the key parts of harvest strategies for all marine places with high biodiversity that aren’t protected. This will complement existing marine protected area networks without limiting economic activity, while also delivering social and environmental outcomes that support human well-being.</p> <p>Our marine ecosystems provide fish, enjoyment, resources and and simple beauty. They must survive for generations to come.</p> <p><em>Written by Piers Dunstan, Natalie Downing, Simone Stevenson and Skipton Woolley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-marine-protected-areas-are-often-not-where-they-should-be-133076">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

Cruising