Yes, this is an aerial photograph of 35,000 walruses
Pacific walrus that can’t find sea ice for resting in Arctic waters are coming ashore in record numbers. Unlike seals, walruses cannot swim indefinitely and must rest. As temperatures warm in summer, the edge of the sea ice recedes north. Females and their young ride the edge of the sea ice into the Chukchi Sea, the body of water north of the Bering Strait. Unfortunately, in recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond shallow continental shelf waters and into Arctic Ocean water, where depths exceed 2 miles and walruses cannot dive to the bottom for food.
“It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic program. “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”
“California has burned through its wildfire-fighting budget — $209 million — just as it faces what is historically the worst of the fire season. And the state already has tapped into its reserves, pulling out $70 million more to combat drought-fueled blazes. Although California routinely blows through its budget for fighting wildfires, this year the state set aside more money than usual. Now, less than three months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the budget, his administration is tapping into reserves intended as a cushion for unexpected costs like natural disasters. Some of the costs of fighting state wildfires will be reimbursed by the federal government. But those funds are running low.
The California Department of Fire and Forestry has responded to 4,974 fires from Jan. 1 to Sept. 20, which is 1,203 more than average, according to state statistics, which apply to non-U.S. Forest land. Southern California, meanwhile, is only now entering the traditional start of its fall wildfire season, which is notorious for strong Santa Ana winds that have fanned destructive fires in the past.”
‘The world populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, far faster than previously thought, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday. The conservation group’s Living Planet Report, published every two years, said humans’ demands were now 50 percent more than nature can bear, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than Earth can recover. “This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live,” Ken Norris, Director of Science at the Zoological Society of London, said in a statement.”
A wealthy Chinese business tycoon Huang Nubo bid on land within the arctic circle, worrying other countries in the region about his intentions. He assures that he is only interested in more southern land for the building of a resort. However, such assurances have done little to calm a frenzy of speculation about China seeking a permanent foothold in the Arctic, a region of growing geopolitical and economic significance as global warming opens new and cheaper shipping routes from Asia and also expands the prospects for exploiting the Arctic’s abundant natural resources.
“For anyone interested in geopolitics, this is the region to follow in years to come,” said Willy Ostreng, the president of the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research. The Arctic region, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, holds around 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its natural gas, reserves that have been untouched because of the difficulty and high cost of their development.
“The Greendex is a quantitative study of 18,000 consumers in a total of 18 countries (14 in 2008, 17 in 2009 through 2012) asked about energy consumption and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental concerns. A group of international experts helped determine the behaviors that were most critical to investigate.”
Although the survey says we’re eating better as a whole, it has also shown that more developed countries like Japan, the UK, Australia, and the US, are more heavily entrenched in their eating habits and most unwilling to change. On the bright side, consumers in five developing countries with a total of 1.8 billion people—Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, and India—all have a keen appetite and a great potential for change. Many consumers in those countries, when given information about how their habits affect the environment, indicated that they were open to altering their behavior in ways that would contribute to a more sustainable planet.