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December 2022 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

'tis the season to read about the latest ocean science research!

DECEMBER 16: RESEARCH SUMMARY - UNTAPPED TOURISM POTENTIAL

Basking sharks are the second largest species of shark and are considered Endangered by the International Union for the Consevation of Nature (IUCN), partially due to boat collisions and bycatch mortality. In Ireland and the UK, basking sharks gather in the summer which is also the height of the tourism season.


A recent survey of people in Donegal, Ireland found that people who supported shark conservation also believed that others would be willing to pay to view basking sharks on a shark tour. The results of this survey indicate that there’s an untapped market for basking shark tourism and subsequent conservation in Donegal!


The researchers in charge of the survey also found that very few people (7% of survey respondents) knew that they could report a basking shark sighting to local research groups.



DECEMBER 19: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - SPOT A SHARK?

Did you know that you can report a basking shark sighting? Basking shark sightings are one of the best ways for researchers to gather information about basking sharks. Depending on where you are in the world, there should be a local group that you can report your sighting! Some examples of places you can report a sighting include The Shark Trust in the UK, the Big Fish Lab in Oregon (on the west coast of the US), and the Irish Basking Shark Group in Ireland.


Not sure if you’re looking at a basking shark or a great white? Check out our quick guide on how to spot the difference. You can also check out some resources from the groups we listed above!


DECEMBER 19: RESEARCH SUMMARY - ICY SPICY

In this Antarctic study, researchers looked at the influence glacier calving has on regional shelf marine mixing. Their findings show that calving fuels tsunamigenesis, which is a more effective mixer than even wind and tide action. As the climate continues to warm, we will see less glacial activity which will lead to less marine mixing. This loss in nutrient dispersal will most likely cause significant negative effects in the years to come.

John Bozinov (@johnbozinov)

DECEMBER 23: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - HAPPIER HOLIDAYS

Wondering what you can do this holiday to save the polar icebergs by reducing your carbon emissions? RECYCLE OR REUSE EVERYTHING YOU CAN. Making new plastics and papers drives up factory carbon emissions. You can actually recycle most wrapping paper (as long as it doesn’t have glitter or metallic flakes on it), cardboard boxes, gift wrap boxes, hard plastic wrappers, and similar! When in doubt, just do a quick google search to see if your city can recycle it. If not, think about what you can do to reuse! Glittery and metallic wrapping papers can be reused for birthdays or other holidays, boxes can be used for storage, and plastics can be used for crafting. Any little bit helps make a difference.


DECEMBER 28: RESEARCH SUMMARY - OPTIMISM OPPORTUNITIES

As 2022 wraps up, let’s share some of the conservation wins this year!

  • Global Climate Conference COP27 agreed to finance a “loss and damages” fund to help countries in the Global South recover from climate-induced losses, a breakthrough step towards justice for these nations.

  • A study on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawai’i demonstrated that when fish populations in a protected area thrive, they spill into nearby areas. Big win for the protections!

  • The Inflation Reduction Act passed in the US in August invests $369 billion in clean energy projects and incentives for energy-efficient technology.

  • The EPA proposed the first official step of regulating leaded aviation fuel, the top cause of lead in the air in the US.

  • The Department of Energy is set to review energy efficiency standards for 20 categories of consumer and commercial equipment. This is estimated to save consumers and businesses $650 billion in utility bills by 2050 and prevents between 970 and 1800 million tons of carbon over that period.

  • In March, the UN agreed to negotiate a global treaty by 2024 that would curb the flow of plastics by requiring countries to clean up their plastic pollution.

  • California has also passed a law that aims to reduce production of plastics and requires certain types of packaging to be recyclable or compostable in the next 10 years!

  • Solar power in Europe has grown by almost 50% this year alone!

  • Important ocean legislation was successfully added to the National Defense Authorization Act package. The bill updates national priorities for ocean mapping and exploration, ends the shark fin trade in the US, furthers reef protections, and much more!

2022 has been an optimistic year, and these are just a small selection of the environmental wins.


DECEMBER 30: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - SELF CARE IS OCEAN-MINDED

Team member Zach stands sipping a cup of tea and holding a journal.

Coming into the new year, make sure YOUR habits and lifestyle are sustainable too! Fighting for a better future requires that you take care of yourself as well! So as we enter the new year, make sure you’re getting some rest, check in with loved ones, and perhaps spend some time on a pet project.



We talk a lot about sustainability in systems and in communities, but it’s also important to make sure that the way you treat yourself is sustainable.




Thank you so much for sticking with us in 2022, here’s to a blue 2023!

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