Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
At the southernmost tip of South America, ten thousand gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the sea off the coast of Chile’s Patagonia, in one of the most pristine areas of the world. The oil spill originated at a terminal on Guarello Island, which lies approximately 1,700 miles south of Santiago. The Chilean Navy confirmed the spill on Saturday — it was reported by CAP mining, who said in a statement that the spill is now being contained. The spill had spread into the South Pacific Ocean where the Navy is currently working to stem it. Despite the size of the spill — approximately 40,000 liters (10,600 gallons) — as of Sunday, some 15,000 liters have been successfully contained.
Why This Matters: It is a terrible tragedy that this pristine and highly sensitive area that is so important ecologically has been damaged by a spill — because there is no such thing as a total clean up. Oil spills will always occur – they are an unavoidable risk when drilling for oil and gas. The only way to ensure their demise is the elimination of natural gas and oil drilling in the first place. And despite knowing of the disastrous environmental effects of oil spills, the Trump administration is making moves to open almost all of America’s coastal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling – giving companies more than a billion acres off the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts. That is a bad decision and hopefully can be reversed before drilling would actually begin in the ocean.
Teeming With Life: Patagonia is a biodiversity hotspot and an area with limited accessibility. The effects of the spill could be especially devastating here considering the pristine nature of the waters, as well as be much harder to clean up.
Oil spills threaten these communities by blocking light needed by ecosystems through the leftover residue on the waters surface, as well as by releasing toxins in the ocean.
As stated by Greenpeace Chile Director Matías Asun “It is an area of great richness of marine mammals, like whales and dolphins, which could see themselves seriously affected in their habitat given that when coming to the surface to breathe they could meet this layer of oil.”
A new study warns that climate change “velocity” in the deep ocean — the rate at which species’ range shifts in order to remain at their preferred temperature — is greater than at the surface even if we mitigate climate change, and particularly at depths below 600 and 3000 feet.
Why This Matters: The differences in water temperature increases at different depths in the water column could cause major disruptions in food webs as species that rely on each other for survival will have to adapt at different velocities, thus having major impacts on the distribution and abundance of ocean wildlife.
We already know that microplastics (bits that are less than 5 mm) are omnipresent in the ocean, but now scientists believe that previous estimates about how much plastic is in the ocean are actually way too low.
Why This Matters: Microplastic is more abundant than the tiniest and one of the most abundant life forms in the ocean — zooplankton — if these estimates are correct.
By David Helvarg and Jason Scorse As we enter another hurricane season in the midst of a global pandemic, there are growing calls to respond to the climate emergency at the scale we’ve responded to COVID-19. Yet many climate solutions being proposed fail to address the 71 percent of the planet that’s blue. In early […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.