In The Name Of Hope

By Daniel de la Calle

There Ocean Acidification news this week is about the impact it might have in the reproduction and growth of squid.
In the years since A Sea Change was conceived the list of threatened species has only grown, with every new study painting a somber picture for the future of fish, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, krill, mammals…, but for this, my last contribution to the blog, I choose to bring you a handful of optimistic news about our potential to do good and bring positive change; I myself live at times under a dark cloud and forget that human ingenuity and determination can produce outstandingly positive results:

1 How can a dark cloud feel so heavy? How much does a cloud weigh anyway?:
The average cloud has a volume of around 1km3 and a density of roughly 1kg per m3 (0.4 per cent lower than that of the surrounding air, allowing them to float). After doing the math you will see that the typical cloud weighs around a million tones and therefore feels heavy because it IS.

2 A new carbon capture technique promises to produce hydrogen fuel while offsetting Ocean Acidification:
Scientists from the Institute of Marine Science at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed at laboratory scale a system that uses “the acidity normally produced in saline water electrolysis to accelerate silicate mineral dissolution while producing hydrogen fuel and other gases.  The resulting electrolyte solution was shown to be significantly elevated in hydroxide concentration, and it strongly absorbed and retained atmospheric carbon dioxide.”  And not just this, the researchers also believe that the carbonate and bicarbonate that is produced in this process could also mitigate Ocean Acidification in the same fashion anti-acids neutralize excess acid in the stomach.
We not only found a way to remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing valuable hydrogen, we also suggest that we can help save marine ecosystems with this new technique,” says Rau, the lead author of a paper on the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

3 We could be on the verge of a new era in which we truly communicate with dolphins and possibly other mammal species.
For 28 years, Denise Herzing has spent five months each summer living with a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins, following three generations of family relationships and behaviors. It’s clear they are communicating with one another — but is it language? Could humans use it too? She shares a fascinating new experiment to test this idea.”
TED Talk by Denise Herzing:

4 In 2012 solar jobs in the USA were more numerous than “ranchers in Texas, actors in California and coal miners nationally“:
California, the state that the Hollywood film industry calls home, can boast 43,700 paying jobs in the solar industry in 2012, versus only 32,300 paid actors. Texas clocked in with 3,200 solar jobs, in comparison to the state’s 270 to 2,410 ranchers. And across the entire nation, 119,000 Americans were employed by the solar industry in 2012, versus only 87,500 by the coal mining industry.

5 “How to Power the World without Fossil Fuels”:
Mark Jacobson believes he can produce the power we need globally exclusively with wind, water and solar energy. You can read about it in THIS ARTICLE published a few weeks ago in Scientific American.

6 After a few days in the currently flooded Amazon jungle I want to finish with another TED Talk, this one by one of the best living photographers, Brazilian Sebastião Salgado telling the story of his life’s work and our ability to destroy and heal.
Economics PhD Sebastião Salgado only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects beautifully capture the human side of a global story that all too often involves death, destruction or decay. Here, he tells a deeply personal story of the craft that nearly killed him, and shows breathtaking images from his latest work, Genesis, which documents the world’s forgotten people and places.
TED Talk by Sebastião Salgado:

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