fish population

Drive east from Washington and eventually you run smack into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, the massive estuary that stretches from the mouth of the Susquehanna River at Maryland’s northern tip and empties into the Atlantic 200 miles away near Norfolk, Va.

The Chesapeake is home to oysters, clams, and famous Maryland blue crab. It’s the largest estuary in the United States. And for a long time, it was one of the most polluted.

Decades of runoff from grassy suburban yards and farm fields as far north as New York state, plus sewage and other waste dumped by the hundreds of gallons, made the Chesapeake so dirty that by 1983, the crab population had plummeted to just 2 percent of what Capt. John Smith saw when he explored the bay in the 1600s.

For years, people tried to clean it up. States and the federal government spent millions of dollars. The first effort began in 1983 — officially launched by President Ronald Reagan in his 1984 State of the Union Address.

And each time, the cleanup efforts failed. The bay’s health wasn’t getting much better.

By 2009, when the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sued the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to get the EPA to do more to clean up the bay, the Chesapeake’s dead zone was so big it often covered a cubic mile in the summer.

Dead zones form when the water becomes too concentrated with nitrogen and phosphorus — allowing algal blooms to grow and block out sunlight from reaching beneath the water and causing populations of fish and crabs to plummet.

Then, last summer, scientists recorded no dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay. And wildlife was returning, too. The EPA’s new plan seemed to be working.

“When I first heard that spawning sturgeon were back in the bay, my reaction was, ‘Yes! We can get this done,’” says Will Baker, the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s president. “It’s really exciting. You give nature half a chance and she will produce every single time.”

Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones Are Fading, But Proposed EPA Cuts Threaten Success

Photo: Selena Simmons-Duffin/NPR

“Autistic brain as the extreme Homo sapiens brain” hypothesis by me, an autistic biology undergrad
(oh boy will this get long and controversial)

To help you understand this hypothesis, first let me break down some evolutionary concepts. Let’s talk about speciation.

New species appears when two things happen: there is a new trait that gives a population better chances of passing on their genes through procreation in a certain environment (apomorphy: a new, derived trait), and there is reproductive isolation from individuals without that trait. New traits appear through random mutations and most of them are harmful. Useful traits get more and more common with every generation until a population separates and can no longer create fertile offspring with those most closely related to them. Wham, speciation.

This is hard to understand if you aren’t into biology so example. There’s a fish which has more muscle in its fins than all other fishes. That trait is new, it’s extreme and rare. However it allows the fish to move better in shallow water, where it has less competition and more food. It produces a lot of offspring, some of which has the same trait. They continue to live in shallow water and they meet other fish that also live in shallow water. Repeat that many many times and you get a new species of Sarcopterigii (muscle fins! technically that’s us). Apomorohy: more muscle in fins; new environment: shallow water; reproductive isolation: geographical.

Now back to humans. Apomorphies of the genus Homo were things like bipedal locomotion, use of tools, language, and so on, and our new territory was the savanna (as opposed to forests). However we still aren’t a sure what defines our species, Homo sapiens, and where to draw the line between hominids and us. My anthropology professor always laughs when talking about Homo species like habilis or erectus because he doesn’t know whether he should call them “males and females” or “men and women”. We just don’t know what is our defining trait(s).

But we do know that there was something about sapiens that allowed us to outlive all other Homo species, including Neanderthals and Denisovans, and it is obvious that we have a difference. Well I am here to present a thrilling new hypothesis: we will realize what that trait is if we study autistic people, because the autistic brain is the extreme Homo sapiens brain. Just like the fins of fish continued to develop to help it navigate land, human brain continued to develop to adapt to our lifestyle, and that adaptation is autism.

Looking at some common autism traits we notice that a lot of them are neurotypical behaviors taken to extreme. Stimming is extreme fidgeting, special interests are extreme hobbies/interests, routines are extreme schedules/planning habits, sensory processing disorder is extreme sensory perception. Hence the intense world hypothesis.

Looking further, we notice that there are other characteristically human traits that autism takes to extreme: like noticing patterns, memory and imagination. Even further, if we look at developing baby brains, we see that if a child’s prefrontal cortex is growing faster and is bigger than typical, that child is more likely to be later diagnosed as autistic. And prefrontal cortex is the most characteristically human part of our brain!

So what I see is that a lot of autistic traits are Homo sapiens traits taken to the next level, and it might come from increased prefrontal cortex growth as well as more local connections between neurons. So arguably a lot of things that were Homo sapiens apomorphies just went further to better suit our new society with all the tool making, hunting, gathering, agriculture, art, science and religion.

Now I hear you saying “but Mattie, humans are very social and autism is a social disability!”. Well yeah, you’re right: social interaction problems are major autism criteria. However I’d like to talk about why that is the case. Autistics struggle with social protocol, which is supposedly a set of unspoken rules of existing in human society that relies on ability to read certain cues like facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and so on. And yes the majority of autistics suck at that.

But you know what? So do allistics! I know it sounds counterintuitive but social protocol is shit. It is constantly changing, imprecise, highly dependent on time and culture and impossible to define. It’s just sloppy. Allistics think they are masters of reading social cues but in reality they are making a ton of guesses. Research shows that cognitive empathy (subconscious guesses based on all that body language and stuff) is worse than conscious analyses, meaning that I, an autistic person who has to use conscious analyses to understand others, is technically better at it than an allistic person who uses cognitive empathy.

Allistics get away with this because they are the majority. When everyone’s bad at something together, there’s no way of telling you’re bad at it. They are flexible and go with the flow and they don’t see how illogical and sloppy social protocol is. But still, miscommunication is the most common comedy trope and there’s always so much misunderstanding in society, which means it is not perfect.

Autistics however seek structure, predictability and order. Sloppy and illogical isn’t good enough for us. Our brains just can’t find patterns in that mess of social cues. So if we were the majority, we would not get away with hints and subsequent miscommunication. I think we would develop a much more structured and well-defined social protocol which would leave much less room for misinterpretation and ensure better communication. Maybe we would have a system of gestures and hand signs to communicate different things, maybe we would use technology, maybe our language would change to accommodate it. Either way, if we were the majority, there would be no social disability.

Now you may ask, well if autistics are extreme humans, why haven’t we replaced allistics as a phenotype more suited for life in our environment? Well, civilization happened and natural selection went to hell. Now we don’t change to fit the environment, we change the environment to fit us. And because the autistic neurotype was still that extreme, rare, “weird fish with muscly fins” population, we got screwed over. Allistics - the majority - built a world which was great for them and incredibly bad for us. It became especially prominent from the rise of industrial revolution, and even more prominent in the last hundred years, which is when it was described for the first time and is now diagnosed in like 1-2% of the population.

I don’t think autism has a chance to become more common now, because due to ableism and other reasons we are less likely to procreate. Autistics aren’t gonna create a new species either because we have no reproductive isolation now. The only thing we can do is to change the environment through education and accommodation to make it better for us, and maybe autism will stop being a disability some day.

However I think it is important to study autism, and not with a purpose of preventing us from being born, but because it may reveal the truth about the nature of humanity and show us what might have happened to our species if it wasn’t for civilization. In my opinion it is just fascinating and it might finally prove why we need accommodation for autism and how to do it the best. Until then, these are just random thoughts of a nerd obsessed with biology.

If you have any thoughts about this, please let me know.

This question I have with Zootopia’s residence and the overall world of the movie.

How come the animals presented in Zootopia are filled with nothing but mammals and not with other types of animals like reptiles,birds ape,monkeys and insects as well as amphibians and fish living among them? I mean with all the talk about celebrating different kinds of animals it feels sort of half full since it doesn’t have other types of animals besides the furry kind presented here. I mean people have been griping about Disney using the same basic Disney design for it’s female characters yet I’m sitting here wondering why is it that we’re not seeing snakes and gators walking around the jungle district.

I’m thinking it could be the CGI budget but if someone knows the real reason for this and whatever or not it’ll be explored in future stories of Zootopia let me know because it’s a question I’ve been having since the first few clips and trailers shot out for the movie.

I fuckin hate saying shit like this. I hate it. but if you’re going to say how sad you are that we have lost half of the world’s population of fish since 1970, why do you still eat fish? if you’re worried about the fact that by 2020, 3/4th of the world’s wildlife will be gone, why the fuck are you not vegan? if you are against animal testing, why do you still use makeup brands that test on animals? if you say that you love animals, why do you eat them?
actions mean so much more than words, it’s so important to prove yourself. it isn’t hard. it is not that hard.


Almost 31% of the world’s fish populations are overfished, and another 58% are fished at the maximum sustainable level. Wild fish simply can’t reproduce as fast as 7 billion people can eat them.

So what does it look like to give fish a break and let them recover? Protection can take many forms. In national waters, governments can set limits about how, when, where, and how much fishing occurs, with restrictions on certain boats and equipment. Harmful practices, such as bottom trawling, can be banned altogether, and we can establish marine reserves closed to all fishing to help ecosystems restore themselves. There’s also a role for consumer awareness and boycotts to reduce wasteful practices, like shark finning, and push fishing industries towards more sustainable practices. Past interventions have successfully helped depleted fish populations recover. 

We need to end overfishing. Ecosystems, food security, jobs, economies, and coastal cultures all depend on it.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Will the ocean ever run out of fish? - Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Jennifer Jacquet

Animation by Anton Bogaty

What are scientists up to in your national marine sanctuaries?

In Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, researchers are kicking off an expedition to explore the sanctuary’s deep-sea ecosystems!

Using a remotely operated vehicle, scientists from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will explore the sanctuary’s deep-water ecosystems. Photo: Charleston Lab

Located off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects remarkable biodiversity, productive ecosystems, and sensitive species and habitats. But more than a quarter of this ocean treasure remains unmapped and little-explored. This month, a research expedition will change that.

Throughout April and May, a team of NOAA-led researchers will explore the sanctuary’s deep seafloor environment. Deep-sea environments like those in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary provide nurseries and habitat for commercially-important species such as lobster, squid, and sea urchins. Some deep coral reefs may also produce chemicals that could be key to the next generation of medicines. However, these habitats are under threat. The two-week cruise on board the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada will shine a light on how these ecosystems are impacted by a variety of stresses facing them, such as ocean acidification.

When we burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When the ocean absorbs this carbon dioxide, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH and the amounts of available calcium carbonate minerals. This is known as ocean acidification. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms, including deep-sea corals.

Lophelia pertusa (white coral at left and lower-right) is a deep-sea coral that is sensitive to ocean acidification. Photo: NOAA

2014 survey results indicate that corals in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are already experiencing effects from ocean acidification, and waters in this area are projected to become even more acidic. Corals support extensive fish and invertebrate populations, including commercially-fished species, so it is important to monitor the potentially harmful effects ocean acidification has on deep-sea corals. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the ocean acidification team will collect samples of Lophelia pertusa, a stony reef-building deep-sea coral found in the sanctuary. Researchers will also monitor water chemistry in and around reefs to help measure local effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions and to assess this ecosystem’s overall vulnerability to ocean acidification.

Keep reading

i was looking up paleo substitutions because i wanted to cook some stuff; and while i agree with most of the basics of paleo, like supporting local grass fed and free range meat and eggs and eating local organic vegetables (tho i dont have the money to practice what i believe unfortunately :/), and staying away from dairy and sugar and grains has defo helped me lose weight, i never understood the “we gotta do what paleolithic man used to do!!!”when there’s no environmental or health reason behind it, like this:

first of all, farming fish IS the hard way, since it requires more money and attention to raise a fish farm. and secondly, commercial fishing in the wild is leading to over-fishing, and fish populations in the ocean can’t keep up with our consumption. fish farms are more sustainable and regulated and don’t have an impact on wild animal populations and ecology

rodrigobera04  asked:

How do you think an exclusively male species would reproduce?

If you asked me a weak ago I would of said I have no idea, but apparently there is a population of fish that do it

These fish use females of related species to mate with, but the resulting offspring end up being all clones of the male.

Otherwise there wouldn’t be much else they could be able to do, unless you has something like a starfish that have seperate sexes and can also reproduce non sexually/eggless (like an entire new cloned individual regenerating from a torn arm). Hypothetically there could be a species that can reproduce through budding as well as have sexual organs, but for some reason female individuals of the species died off and now the remaining population is entirely male that rely exclusivly on budding to reproduce.


The meme makes one error and a conservative estimate on the population of Tenochtitlan. We’ve done personal research on the calculation method they use to calculate the population of Mexico. We’ve concluded that it is very feasible and quite possible that it was close to 500,000 people just in the city of Tenochtitlan. That isn’ counting all the satellite or suburban areas around the city that ultimately was part of the metropolis of Tenochtitlan.  AND…. that the people of Mexico Tenochtitlan were NOT “AZTECS”. They came from the Aztecs, but had changed their name long before they had even establish the city. The people of Mexico Tenochtitlan, were the Mexica, pronounce MEH-SHEE-KAH. Or Mexicans in English, and Mexicanos in Spanish. Same word, different languages. Hence why this page is named “Mexicans wake up” and NOT “Aztecs wake up”.  Edited due to confusion the meme provided. 4/20/15 T. “How on earth would you feed a city of over 200,000 people when the land around you was a swampy lake? Seems like an impossible task, but the Aztec managed it by creating floating gardens known as chinampas, then they farmed them intensively. These ingenious creations were built up from the lake bed by piling layers of mud, decaying vegetation and reeds. This was a great way of recycling waste from the capital city Tenochtitlan. Each garden was framed and held together by wooden poles bound by reeds and then anchored to the lake floor with finely pruned willow trees. The Aztecs also dredged mud from the base of the canals which both kept the waterways clear and rejuvenate the nutrient levels in the gardens. A variety of crops were grown, most commonly maize or corn, beans, chillies, squash, tomatoes, edible greens such as quelite and amaranth. Colourful flowers were also grown, essential produce for religious festivals and ceremonies. Each plot was systematically planned, the effective use of seedbeds allowed continuous planting and harvesting of crops. Between each garden was a canal which enabled canoe transport. Fish and birds populated the water and were an additional source of food.”

inopinion  asked:

Your comment on the shark post made me curious: if some/all sharks were eliminated from the oceans what would the food chain collapse look like? How long would it take? And what would that mean for the health of the planet and people?

From what I understand, if sharks were eliminated from the ocean, the fish that sharks prey on would increase drastically in number, which would, for a short while, seem to be a good thing. However, as the large predator fish population grew this would dramatically cut back on the small fish population, which eventually would cause the large predator fish to die off quickly from starvation, as there’s not enough food to go around. As this happens their gene pool shrinks and suitable mates become few and far between as they have to travel farther to find food.

The mass die off of large fish would then cause an explosion of small fish, which would make the large fish population that survives very healthy, but again only for a short while as the small fish use up their resources and also have a mass die off. Not only would this effect the fish chain, but also marine mammals and birds, which most would only feel when the small fish began to thrive and then die off. Sharks keep fish populations in check so that over population doesn’t cause a starvation die off of both large and small fish. Apex predators like sharks are extremely important animals, similar to how the removal and reintroduction of wolves changed Yellowstone park.

It would go so far even as to cause a bloom in phytoplankton, which would flood the atmosphere and water with oxygen, eventually using up all the carbon dioxide and then also haveing a mass die off after a time, and as the largest producer of our world’s oxygen, we rely heavily on the presence of sharks and the ocean to survive, which is why these animals are so important.

One could argue that whale and dolphin populations would benefit from this change and might take the shark’s place, but whales and dolphins don’t reproduce fast enough to keep the fish population in check and it would be within only a generation or two of their reproduction that things would become out of control and even a boom in cetacean populations globally wouldn’t save the trophic cascade from occurring.

Love our sharks, please.
-Mod Fluke

Premise: A far-flung future civilization, due to massively depleted fish populations, begins genetically engineering “sea hybrids,” fisherpeople who live in the lightless depths harvesting ancient fish and shipping them back to the surface. Their society develops independent of the surface due to physical separation, centered on the notion of hunting – ever-greater catches, eventually developing into genetically engineering new populations of ever-more-dangerous fish to catch for entertainment and status. The ultimate result, thanks to the ubiquity of notions vis-a-vis The Most Dangerous Game, is that the Deep Ones engineer another population of Deep Ones, cultivating their culture (such as it is) to ensure a constant war of assassination and espionage in the depths. Even after the surface develops new methods of food production and recalls its Deep One populations – unaware of the deadly game of cat and mouse thing, as well as the distinction between hunters and hunted, since the breeds rapidly became interchangeable and began to hunt mutually – they continue playing, in a much more expansive and vicious environment.

In the cyberpunk future, Deep Ones are considered the world’s best spies, assassins and mercenaries, for the simple reason that each one was born to and lives a life constantly concerned with being murdered by total strangers also permanently concerned by the prospect of being murdered or murdering others.


Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)

The gharial, also known as the gavial, and the fish-eating crocodile, is a crocodilian of the family Gavialidae, native to the Indian Subcontinent. The global gharial population is estimated at less than 235 individuals, which are threatened by loss of riverine habitat, depletion of fish resources and use of fishing nets. As the population has declined drastically in the past 70 years, the gharial is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. The gharial is one of the longest of all living crocodilians, measuring up to 6.25 m (20.5 ft). With 110 sharp interdigitated teeth in its long thin snout it is well adapted to catching fish, its main diet. The male has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot known as ghara. 

anonymous asked:

I don't understand how vegan doesnt harm life on earth? Plants die? Your causing deforestation for your farming needs? If you care so much about animals why are you allowing their homes to be torn down because your hungry? Your causing more damage than needed. You eating a steak is one cow Out of millions But you eating a tropical fruit kills thousands of animals natural habitat. You vegetarians and vegans are the reason half our oxygen will be depleted, your breathing and your habits .js

First of all, what you need to understand is that just by you being human you’re impacting negatively this planet and its ecosystem. Being vegan just means that you’re trying to minimize the harm we inflict upon this planet and its earthlings. 

Now, let’s break this down: 

Your causing deforestation for your farming needs?

Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:

  • Vegan: 1/6th acre
  • Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
  • Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan

“If you care so much about animals why are you allowing their homes to be torn down because your hungry? Your causing more damage than needed. You eating a steak is one cow Out of millions But you eating a tropical fruit kills thousands of animals natural habitat. ”

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction.  Animal agriculture is responsible of 51% of the entire gas emissions that are affecting the planet, raising the temperature levels. Understand that the animal agriculture uses a lot of fresh water for animals that are going to be killed just for a stake.

One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months worth of showers. No matter how they were raised, it doesn’t matter if they were grass fed or if they were in a factory farm.

It takes 1000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.

“You vegetarians and vegans are the reason half our oxygen will be depleted, your breathing and your habits .”

As vegans we actually:

Reduce global warming

  • Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gasses are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. As a result, they are overlooking the fact that the single most important step an individual can take to reduce global warming [faster than any other means] is to adopt a vegetarian diet.1
  • In its 2006 report, the United Nations said raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gasses than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.2

Avoid excessive CO2 production

  • According to the UN Report, when emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases.3

Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production

  • Cows and sheep are responsible for 37% of the total methane (23 times as warming as CO2) generated by human activity.4 With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority
  • The livestock industry generates 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.5
  • The livestock industry also generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 300 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.6
  • In addition to having the advantage of immediately reducing global warming, shifting away from methane-emitting food sources is much easier than cutting carbon dioxide7:
  • First, greenhouse gas reductions through a vegetarian diet are limitless. In principle, even 100% reduction could be achieved with little negative impact. In contrast, similar cuts in carbon dioxide are impossible without devastating effects on the economy. Even the most ambitious carbon dioxide reduction strategies fall short of cutting emissions by half.
  • Second, a shift in diet can lower greenhouse gas emissions much more quickly than shifts away from the fossil fuel burning technologies that emit carbon dioxide. The turnover rate for most ruminant farm animals is one or two years, which means that decreases in meat consumption would result in an almost immediate drop in methane emissions. The turnover rate for cars and power plants, on the other hand, can be decades. Even if cheap, zero-emission fuel sources were available today, they would take many years to build and slowly replace the massive infrastructure our economy depends upon today.
  • Similarly, unlike carbon dioxide which can remain in the air for more than a century, methane cycles out of the atmosphere in just eight years. Therefore, lower methane emissions translate to cooling of the earth quickly.

Save large amounts of water

  • Estimates of the water required to produce a kilo of beef vary, from 13,000 liters8 up to 100,000 liters9. Whichever figure you use, the damage is plain when you consider that the water required to produce a kilo of wheat is somewhere between 1,000-2,000 liters.

Avoid further pollution of our streams/rivers/oceans

  • Pollution of our waterways is caused by animal waste, antibiotics and hormones entering the water cycle alongside chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers, and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.
  • Manure, or waste water containing manure, severely harms river and stream ecosystems. Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the United States. Since factory farms don’t have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do, this concentrated slop ends up polluting our water, destroying our topsoil, and contaminating our air.10
  • Once factory farm pollutants—including nitrogen, phosphorus, antibiotics, and pesticides—reach the waterways they cause a great deal of damage to aquatic and human life. Algal blooms are a particular problem, blocking waterways, using up oxygen as they decompose and killing the natural populations of fish.11
  • • In large amounts, animal waste can present major problems to the waterways and their surrounding environment. More than 2 billion tons of animal manure was produced worldwide during the late 1990s. Assuming average nitrogen content of around 5%, this makes 100 million tons of nitrogen12 finding its way into our water system.

Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest

  • Thirty percent of the earth’s entire land surface—a massive 70% of all agricultural land—is used for rearing farmed animals. Much of this is grazing land that otherwise would host natural habitats such as valuable rainforests. And, of the entire world’s land suitable for growing crops that would otherwise directly feed humans, a third of it is used to produce feed for farmed animals.13
  • Livestock farming can lead to overgrazing causing soil erosion, desertification and deforestation14. Twenty percent of the world’s grazing land has already been designated as degraded due to the rearing of animals for their meat.15
  • Livestock production is responsible for 70% of deforestation in the Amazon region of Latin America, where rainforests are being cleared to create new pastures.16
  • Deforestation increases greenhouse gas emissions by releasing carbon previously stored in the trees. It is also a major driver in the loss of biodiversity – a pressing concern when one considers the fact that just a few species of livestock now account for about 20% of total terrestrial animal biomass.17

Reduce destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species

  • The livestock industry is responsible for widespread deforestation and cultivation of vast tracks of land. Wide-spread cultivation of the land ruins animals’ natural habitat and forces millions of them to be evicted from their homes each year, causing long-term harm to our wildlife.

Reduce use of antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemicals

  • Farmed animals and fish are fed a wide variety of drugs to fatten them faster and to keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. These drugs enter the human food chain through direct consumption or through pollution of our waterways.
  • The effect on humans of consuming low levels of these drugs during a lifetime is unknown but could be serious. Antibiotics given to farmed animals include penicillin, erythromycin, and inorganic arsenic (the most toxic form of arsenic).
  • Antibiotics contain significant amounts of the most carcinogenic form of arsenic. USDA researchers have found that “…eating two ounces of chicken per day—the equivalent of a third to a half of a boneless breast—exposes a consumer to 3 to 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic, the element’s most toxic form.” Daily exposure to low doses of arsenic can cause cancer, dementia, neurological problems, and other ailments in humans. 18
  • Antibiotics reduce the amount of bacteria in animals’ intestines and preventing infection, to which crowded, stressed animals are predisposed. Routine antibiotic use leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thereby reducing antibiotics’ effectiveness when treating people suffering from food poisoning or other infectious diseases. 19
  • Farmers give hormones to animals to increase growth and productivity. Widely used in the United States, these hormones are known to cause several types of cancer and reproductive dysfunction in humans.20 While U.S. farmers claim that using hormones to promote growth is safe, the European Union has prohibited this practice since 1995.21
  • Fish farming contributes directly to the pollution of our waterways:
  • Large numbers of fish kept long-term in a single location produces a significant amount of feces concentrated in a small location, which can enter local waterways.
  • Because of parasite problems, some aquaculture operators frequently use strong antibiotic drugs to keep the fish alive. Many fish still die prematurely at rates of up to 30%.22 The residual presence of these drugs in human food products has become controversial because the use of antibiotics in food production is thought to increase the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in human diseases.
  • These drugs enter the food chain through direct consumption of the farmed fish itself and through the highly concentrated feces deposits that contaminate water supplies. Reports indicate that Scottish salmon farms alone have breached pollution limits more than 400 times in the past 3 years.23

Reduce ecological footprint

  • By choosing a vegetarian diet instead of one loaded with animal products, individuals can dramatically reduce the amount of land, water, and oil resources that they consume and the amount of pollution they otherwise might cause. Of course, reducing one’s ecological footprint should also mean causing less harm to the Earth’s non-human inhabitants. By switching to a vegetarian diet, each person can save more than 100 animals each year from the horrific cruelty of the meat industry24.

Help ensure environmental sustainability

  • There were approximately 6.5 billion people living on earth in 20052526 , and as the world’s population continues to grow, our requirement for food will also increase. Worldwide food production requires 30% of the total soil available, 20% of fossil fuel energy and a major part of the fresh water flow27. Raising cattle is one of the most damaging components of agriculture28. In addition to their gaseous emissions and manure products, it causes the most environmental damage of any non-human species through over-grazing, soil erosion, desertification and tropical deforestation. Studies on world food security estimate that an affluent diet containing meat requires up to 3 times as many resources as a vegetarian diet29.
  • Global production of meat has increased dramatically from 130 million tones in the late 1970s to 230 million tones in the year 200030. Meat is now the single largest source of animal protein in all affluent nations31 and demand for animal flesh is expected to more than double by the year 205032. In order to meet this growing appetite, animals will no doubt be reared more intensively and cheaply with factory farming and aquaculture (fish farming) causing further pollution, water demand and land usage. If nothing is done, the environmental impact of meat production can only increase.
  • Adopting a vegetarian diet is an important tool to achieve environmental sustainability.

So, yeah, maybe you should re-evaluate your life choices; I mean, if you’re truly concerned about everything you mentioned, then adopt a plant-based diet and be coherent. Actions speak louder than words. 


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Headlines were made earlier this year when it was announced that a “secret” dolphin facility was under construction deep in the Arizona desert. Several animal rights activist groups were quick to condemn the very idea of the facility, creating petitions and protesting with the slogan: “dolphins don’t belong in the desert.” 

But what does this phrase really mean? These animals obviously aren’t going to be thrown into a sand dune nor are they going to be fed a diet of fresh frozen cacti. In reality the dolphins aren’t going to be interacting with much outside of their 925,000 gallon habitat. Moreover this state-of-the-art enclosure was built quite creatively to ensure that the desert stays far away from the dolphins’ little oasis. Several shade structures have been built to protect surfacing dolphins from prolonged exposure to the harsh Arizona sun. And about those ridiculous desert temperature swings, well the dolphin habitat has both heaters and chillers to keep it comfortably within the 70′s all year long. But let’s not forget about the coolest aspect of this habitat: Dolphinaris Arizona will be one of the first dolphin exhibits with pools that can be transformed from indoors to outdoors and back again. Two of the pools in the habitat can be enclosed with the help of a sliding glass panel, thus ensuring that the dolphins are safe from climate hazards such as severe dust storms. In many ways, the dolphins in this facility will be in better shape than those in environments closer to their home range, such as the hurricane-prone Floridian coast. 

So what does the phrase “dolphins don’t belong in the desert” really mean after all? Considering the fact that this new habitat has been designed to keep its resident animals cool, wet and comfortable, I’m not quite sure. We have to face it, the location of this facility isn’t going to be affecting these animals’ welfare. Instead, it’s a rather ingenious method of connecting a population hundreds of miles from the coast with an ocean strangled by the run-off of their green, sparkling suburbs. CO2 emissions pumping out of cars deep in the heart of Arizona are making their way to the sea and mixing with saltwater, bleaching corals and dissolving the shells of countless oceanic creatures. It’s hip Scottsdale restaurants and run-of-the-mill grocery stores, along with their counterparts across the country, whose insatiable desire for seafood are depleting fish populations thousands of miles away. So if this new dolphin facility turns a few Arizona kids destined to be accountants into future marine biologists or makes a few Scottsdale retirees develop a passion for sustainable living, we’ll see that this location is more of a bonus than a drawback. Rather than “not belonging in the desert,” it seems that the dry, hot Arizona desert is the perfect home for a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. 

11th September 1973: Salvador Allende overthrown in US-backed Coup

Salvador Allende, a Marxist and member of the Socialist Party of Chile, ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he finally won in a close three-way race. Upon assuming power he began to implement programs of nationalisation of industries including copper mining and banking, government administration of the health care & educational systems, free milk for children in the schools and shanty towns of Chile, and land redistribution.

Some of his policies included rights to social security granted to all part-time workers, 55,000 volunteers were sent to the south of the country to teach writing and reading skills and provide medical attention to a sector of the population that had previously been ignored, introduction of an obligatory minimum wage for workers of all ages including apprentices, a campaign against illiteracy, democratisation of univeristy education and establishment of the Women’s Secretariat to improve women’s rights & gender equality. These policies had a huge positive impact, for instance average real wages rose by 22.3% during 1971, an 89% rise in university enrollments between 1970 and 1973 and the proportion of children under the age of 6 with some form of malnutrition fell by 17%. See here for a comprehensive list.

A number of factors contributed to animosity in Chile, including racial tensions between the poor descendants of indigenous people - who supported Allende’s reforms - and the white elite, inflation, a severe fall in the price of copper (Chile’s largest export), a 24-day strike led by truckers, whom the Chileand economy was dependant upon, the domination of the Chilean congress by the Christian Democratic Party (who were becoming more and more right-wing), as well as CIA intervention and economic terrorism spearheaded by the US.

From 1962 through 1964, the CIA spent $3 million on anti-Allende propaganda. In 1970, Richard Nixon, then President of the USA (pictured above) authorised the spending of $10 million to stop Allende coming to power. The United States attempted to rig the 1970 election, financed opposition parties, encouraged the Chilean military to perform a coup & provided them with weapons and supported strikes to de-stabalise the Chilean economy. In addition ITT gave $700,000 to Allende’s conservative opponent, Jorge Alessandri, with help from the CIA on how to channel the money safely. ITT president Harold Geneen also offered $1 million to the CIA to help defeat Allende in the elections. In contrast to this, Soviet economic support to Chile included over $100 million in credit, three fishing ships which distributed 17,000 tons of frozen fish to the population, factories (as help after the 1971 earthquake), 3,100 tractors, 74,000 tons of wheat and more than a million tins of condensed milk.

Allende’s leftist policies and friendly relations with the Soviet Union were seen as a spread of communism to Latin America by the US. On September 11th, 1973 the democratically elected Allende was overthrown in the US-backed coup. Earlier that month, Allende had proposed solving the constitutional crisis with a plebiscite, however this was never seen through. His speech outlining such a solution was scheduled for 11th September, the day of the coup, but couldn’t be delivered. La Moneda Palace was shelled by artillery & missile fire, and Allende committed suicide with an assault rifle. 60 people died as a result of the fighting that day. Chilean security forces sustained 162 dead in the three following months as a result of continued resistance against the newly formed military dictatorship.

His successor, Augusto Pinochet (pictured above), was the head of a military dictatorship that lasted until 1990. During his rule 1,200-3,200 were murdered, 80,000 people were forcibly interned and as many as 30,000 were tortured. Trade Unions were banned along with all opposing political parties, social security was privatised, economic inequality & unemployment rose dramatically, GDP per capita dropped from ~$6,000 in 1973 to ~$4,200 in 1975, again dropping with the 1982 monetary crisis and only returning to pre-coup levels in 1987. 56% of people voted against his presidency in 1988, and by the time of his death in 2006 300 criminal charges were pending against him including human rigts violations, tax evasion and embezzlement of $28 million.