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Wormfood – January 27, 2014 – The bitter consequences of oceanic destruction

News > Global News Digest

Oceans are experiencing evolution in reverse, the UN adopts a resolution on online privacy and an oceanographer captured the latest IPCC report in 19 Haiku poems.

Read all about it in this Wormfood. 

Global News: Devolution of the seas

  • Human activities have altered the basic chemistry of the seas in such a way that they are now experiencing  evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago. Pollution, overfishing, the destruction of habitats, and climate change are emptying the oceans and enabling the lowest forms of life, e.g. worms, jellyfish, and toxic fireweed, to regain their dominance.

  • More than three quarters of Earth’s large carnivorous animal species are in decline, a trend that has far-reaching ecological impacts, according to a study published in Science. The effects of what the authors describe as human “persecution” of these predatory animals ripple through the ecosystems and food webs they find themselves atop. 




Energy & Environment: North Korea's rare earth elements

  • North Korea could hold more than twice the known global deposits of rare earth elements, according to a recent geological study. If verified, the discovery would more than double global known sources and be six times the reserves in China, the market leader. Rare earth elements are used electronics such as smartphones and high definition televisions.

  • New scientific papers report surprising findings on carbon sequestration.

    • In forest ecosystems it's not the accumulation of leaf litter that sequesters the most carbon, but rather tree roots and associated mycorrhizal fungi which live in and on tree roots. 
    • Mountains sequester more carbon than previously thought according to this research.
    • It has long been believed that younger trees are better than their older neighbors at absorbing carbon dioxide. But new research finds that old trees are better in sequestering carbon than young trees.
  • Norway, New Zealand and France have the most balanced energy systems according to the World Economic Forum's "Global Energy Architecture Performance Index”. The index takes into account efficiency and economic growth under "affordability," emissions, and level of low-carbon sources under "sustainability," and supply diversity and self-sufficiency under "security." 




Business & Economy:  Conflict-free processors

  • Every new Intel microprocessor will be conflict-free, according to CEO Krzanich. “The world's first conflict-free processors will be validated as not containing minerals sourced from mines that finance fighting in the Congo”, he said. The conflict-free minerals issue is a thorny one for big business, because supply chains lack transparency. It's hard to verify that minerals shipped out of the region are really conflict-free.

  • Who are the richest people on the planet? This interactive visualization shows who they are and how they became rich. 




Science, Technology, & Design: UN resolution for online privacy

  • The United Nations has unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for online privacy to be recognised as a human right. The resolution extends the general human right of privacy to the online world. 

  • Is our technology becoming too complex to understand, and if so, what impact does this have on us?




Urban Environment: Virtual sunrises in Beijing

  • Smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city's natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises

  • A new report shows that 64 percent of Chinese millionaires have either emigrated or plan to emigrate—taking their spending and fortunes with them. The United States is their favorite destination.

  • Oxfam has compiled a global snapshot of 125 countries indicating the best and worst places to eat. The Netherlands, France and Switzerland score highest, while Chad, Ethiopia and Angola score lowest. 




Unexpected and Intriguing: IPCC report captured in Haiku

  • Oceanographer Greg Johnson captured the entire IPCC report (2.000 pages) in 19 illustrated Haiku poems

  • Haribo removed blackface licorice in its ‘Skipper Mix’ after complaints from Swedish customers. The licorice in the Skipper Mix was meant to represent a sailor's trip around the world and some of the people he encountered.




This bi-weekly digest is assembled from items sent to us by Except members. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail merel.segers@except.nl. Read past Wormfood global news reports here.


Except Integrated Sustainability

Merel Segers
Industrial Ecologist & Sustainable Storyteller

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