The reality is that much of the plastic tossed into bins ends up in landfills, or it gets shipped overseas to countries that lack infrastructure to deal with it properly.
…Plastic was never recycled at a high level, and it’s even worse since 2018, when China closed its doors to imported mixed plastic waste. U.S. recyclers have shifted exports to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, but those countries lack the capacity to handle the volume we’re sending, which has brought them new environmental problems.
Moreover, despite our willingness to move plastic waste around the world, only about 9% of the plastic ever made has actually been recycled. We just keep making more of the stuff. If your bathtub was overflowing, you wouldn’t immediately reach for a mop — you’d first turn off the tap. That’s what we need to do with single-use plastics.
…It’s not that there isn’t still a role for recycling in efforts to reduce trash. Cans, bottles, paper and cardboard are highly recyclable.
But we need to be more realistic about the kinds of plastic that can be effectively collected, processed and then reused. Single-stream recycling, which co-mingles different materials for collection, is convenient, but it leads to increased contamination and thus lower quality recyclables.
Even with increased investment in sorting, recycling will never be able keep up with all of the new types of plastics on the market or the ever-increasing flow of plastic waste.
Between 2002 and 2014, six mass strandings took place in Greece, the Canary Islands and Almería in southeastern Spain, but the dead whales did not appear to be malnourished or sick. However, they displayed “abundant gas bubbles” throughout their veins, blood clots in multiple organs and microscopic hemorrhages “of varying severity” in body tissues.
Beached whales may have experienced “a fight or flight response” that overrode a key diving adaptation: the lowering of heart rate, which reduces oxygen consumption and prevents nitrogen accumulation. The result was hemorrhages and “massive bubble formation in their tissues,” de Quirós explained.
These symptoms of decompression sickness likely afflicted the whales after they were spooked by sonic blasts, according to the study.
There’s now an official Green New Deal. Here’s what’s in it.
A close look at the fights it picks and the fights it avoids.
European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate. The increase in trees and vegetation across an area the size of France resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, according to the study.
Carbon levels changed enough to cool the Earth by 1610, researchers found.
…”The ice cores showed that there was a larger dip in CO2 (than usual) in 1610, which was caused by the land and not the oceans,” said Alexander Koch, lead author of the study.
A small shift in temperatures — about a 10th of a degree in the 17th century — led to colder winters, frosty summers and failing harvests, Koch said.
Magnetic north’s routine plod has shifted into high gear, sending it galloping across the Northern Hemisphere—and no one can entirely explain why.
The changes have been so large that scientists began working on an emergency update for the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical system that lays the foundations for navigation, from cell phones and ships to commercial airlines.
…“Things are acting very strangely at high latitude,” says Livermore, who notes that this increase seemed to coincide with a strengthening jet in the planet’s liquid outer core. Though the events could be linked, it’s not yet possible to say for sure.
… The north magnetic pole seems to be controlled by two patches of magnetic field, he explains, one under northern Canada and one under Siberia. Historically, the one under northern Canada seems to have been stronger, keeping the magnetic pole in its clutches. But recently, that seems to have changed.
“The Siberian patch looks like it’s winning the battle,” he says. “It’s sort of pulling the magnetic field all the way across to its side of the geographic pole.”
…This may be a result of a jet within the core smearing and thus weakening the magnetic field under Canada, he says. The jet’s increase in speed seems to have coincided with the last few decades of the magnetic pole zipping north.