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Mon, 20 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Planet enters 'ecological debt'

Rising consumption of natural resources means that humans began "eating the planet" on 9 October, a study suggests.

The date symbolised the day of the year when people's demands exceeded the Earth's ability to supply resources and absorb the demands placed upon it.

The figures' authors said the world first "ecological debt day" fell on 19 December 1987, but economic growth had seen it fall earlier each year.

The data was produced by a US-based think-tank, Global Footprint Network.


Marine Scientists Report Massive "Dead Zones"

Rising tides of untreated sewage and plastic debris are seriously threatening marine life and habitat around the globe, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned in a report Wednesday. The number of ocean "dead zones" has grown from 150 in 2004 to about 200 today, said Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesperson.

"These are becoming more common in developing countries," Nuttall told IPS from Nairobi, Kenya.

Dead zones can encompass areas of ocean 100,000 square kms in size where little can live because there is no oxygen left in the water. Nitrogen pollution, mainly from farm fertilisers and sewage, produces blooms of algae that absorb all of the oxygen in the water.


Strong 6.2 earthquake strikes near Tonga

SYDNEY, Australia - A strong earthquake struck under the sea floor near the South Pacific nation of Tonga on Monday, theU.S. Geological Survey said. No damage or tsunami threat was reported.

The magnitude-6.2 temblor hit shortly before 2 a.m. six miles under the sear floor about 170 miles south of Nuku'alofa, Tonga's capital, the USGS said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which maintains an ocean-wide wave warning system, did not issue a tsunami warning bulletin.


Rising seas could leave millions homeless in Asia

SYDNEY - Millions of people could become homeless in the Asia-Pacific region by 2070 due to rising sea levels, with Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, China and Pacific islands most at risk, says Australia's top scientific body.

A climate change report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) found global warming in the Asia Pacific region could cause sea levels to rise by up to 16 cm (six inches) by 2030 and up to 50 cm (19 inches) by 2070.

Rising temperatures will also result in increased rainfall during the summer monsoon season in Asia and could cause more intense tropical storms, inundating low-lying coastal villages.


Volcano erupts in Papua New Guinea

RABAUL, Papua New Guinea, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The small village of Rabaul on Papua New Guinea's New Britain Island has been spared extensive damage from a potentially devastating volcanic eruption.


Humpback whale washed ashore on Long Beach

LONG BEACH - State parks officials have hired a contractor to bury a 50-foot humpback whale that washed up on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Cape Disappointment State Park says a crew will bury it on the beach Friday after it's examined by scientists from Cascadia Research.

Long Beach residents have been stopping at the beach to look at the carcass since it washed ashore Wednesday about a half mile south of Klipsan beach.

Humpbacks usually swim 10 to 20 miles off the coast.


Rains forces Va. evacuations; 2 dead

RICHMOND, Va. - A storm that dropped as much as 9 inches of rain forced the evacuation Saturday of about 100 people in a six-block section of the capital, caused scattered flooding in the southeastern part of the state and likely contributed to the death of two fishermen.

Ferry service across the James River was temporarily suspended because of high waters; one ferry returned to service Saturday afternoon. In southeast Virginia's Isle of Wight, officials evacuated about three dozen people and reported widespread flooding after at least 8 inches of rain since Friday.

"We have more roads out than we can keep track of," said Don Robertson, a spokesman for the county. "We have some bridges that are out (and) a lot of flash flood conditions."


Haze disrupts air travel in Malaysia's Sarawak state

Smog from fires raging on Indonesia's side of Borneo island has disrupted air traffic in neighbouring Malaysia's Sarawak state which is choking under unhealthy levels of haze.

The haze situation in peninsular Malaysia is also worsening, with five states facing Indonesia's Sumatra island now hit by unhealthy air quality.


Natural disaster due: expert

New Zealand is a country coming apart at the seams. Or, more accurately, subducting at the seams of two continental plates, making it periodically shake, crumble, explode and prone to tsunamis.

As part of Te Papa's Earth Rocks event on Labour Weekend the museum has organised a panel of experts to answer the public's questions about how best to survive the earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes or landslides that come with our geology.


Climate report seen setting out scary scenarios

LONDON - Climate campaigners said on Tuesday they expected a British government report on the global costs of climate change to make it clear that major concerted action was needed now.

The full report, an outline of which will be presented by former World Bank chief economist Nick Stern to a closed-door meeting of G8 environment ministers in Mexico later on Tuesday, is expected to be published later this month.

"The central message is that the problem is urgent, we have the technology to start addressing it now, we need to start addressing it now and there is no excuse for delay," Greenpeace climate change campaigner Steve Sawyer told Reuters.