📰 EwA News Digest: Sharks on the Move, Substation Controversy, and 50 Years of Conservation

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Mike McGlathery

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Feb 5, 2022, 2:19:29 PMFeb 5
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Hello all,

Mike here with the latest edition of your EwA News Digest.

The arrival of 2022 marks 50 years since the passage of some of America’s most important conservation laws, including the Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Check out a retrospective on how these acts changed our country for the better produced by NOAA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Marine Mammal Commission.

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In our present-day quest for a more sustainable electrical grid, the technological limitations of batteries mean that we need to explore other options for green energy storage. A recent article from The Conversation discusses pumped hydro energy storage, an alternative to batteries that is better equipped to scale to the demands of a fully green grid. As an added plus, pumped hydro does not require a dam to operate and can be sited in places like former strip mines.

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As we at EwA know, climate change is already changing the habits of our local fauna. A recent NOAA article describes migratory shifts being observed in tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier). Warming oceans are causing the sharks to spend more time near the northern end of their range, which happens to be in the waters around Cape Cod.

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A different dramatic shift in populations occurred in California this fall and winter, with the population of overwintering monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) increasing by a hundredfold since last year, with over 247,000 counted. This heartening rebound represents a return to numbers typically seen over the past two decades, but is still a far cry from late 20th century counts, which could top a million. Read about it at Mongabay.

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In the realm of conservation activism, local and national groups are protesting a planned electric substation in East Boston. The proposed site is across the street from one of the area’s only green spaces, and opponents say that the plan represents another unfair environmental burden placed on neighborhoods with largely low-income and nonwhite populations. A non-binding ballot question last year showed broad disapproval of the project among Boston voters, with 84% voting against the project. Read about it at WBUR.

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In Costa Rica, a grassroots scuba group is empowering local youth to become stewards of nearby ocean ecosystems. Ambassadors of the Sea Community Diving Centre offers young people opportunities to participate in projects ranging from seabed restoration and reef monitoring to underwater archaeology. In many scuba hotspots, scuba is an activity accessible almost exclusively to tourists, and this organization is changing that. Read more at The Guardian.

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That’s all for this time. You’ll be getting your next News Digest later in February from our new winter/spring intern, Kayla!

-Mike

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