Maine Voices: Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life

In response to the threat of lawsuits, the National Marine Fisheries Service has pressured Maine into a proposal to reduce, by 50 percent, the number of vertical lines Maine fishermen use to haul their lobster traps. The only problem with this is that there is not one instance where a right whale entanglement and/or death was proven to have been caused by a Maine vertical fishing line.

Most Maine lobster gear is tended much closer to the coast than right whales would normally traverse. There are rare exceptions, but the vast majority of whales travel far offshore through the Gulf of Maine. Most Maine fishermen have never seen a right whale, including fishermen offshore, who already fish long trawls to reduce the number of vertical lines as much as can be safely done.

Maine Voices: Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life –



Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea Observed at Maunakea

The demonstration started 18 days ago by various groups who believe that Maunakea is sacred and say construction atop the mountain will further desecrate the site.  On Tuesday, the governor rescinded an emergency proclamation at Maunakea and the state issued a two-year extension to Sept. 26, 2021 on the deadline to initiate construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope project atop the mountain.

Maui Now : Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea Observed at Maunakea, Jason Momoa Visits


Edible film made from essential oils can protect foods better than plastic

Using low-speed mixing and ultrasonication techniques, the researchers formed coarse emulsions and nanoemulsions, respectively, of both clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum) and oregano (Origanum vulgare). They then added methylcellulose, a type of edible fiber, in order to create film sheets out of the essential oils.

When they applied the edible sheets to preservative-free bread, the team observed a marked decrease in both yeast and mold counts after 15 days, with the smaller-sized particles providing more enhanced preservation. Compared to calcium propionate and plastic, the essential oil sheets maintained the bread’s freshness for longer and did not wear off like conventional preservatives.

…”Leachables from plastics can include everything from leftover monomer building blocks to additives used to make plastic strong or malleable,” reads a report by Chemical & Engineering News, which is published by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“Probably the most infamous leachable from plastics is bisphenol A (BPA), which is used as a building block in polycarbonate bottles and in the epoxy-resin liners of metal cans.”

Edible film made from essential oils can protect foods better than plastic –

The freshness is nice but a few questions…

What is the shelf-life?

What happens when it gets wet?

How complicated and expensive is it to make?

And last but certainly not least, it’s less about the freshness and more about a substitute for plastic packaging.

Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains

While changes in the travel industry have tended to pressure night trains off the market, it’s clear that there is still some appetite for them among travelers. When Germany’s Deutsche Bahn halted its night services in 2017, Austrian Federal Railways took over some of the key routes. The takeover has proved to be a success, with passenger numbers on the services …rising from 1.4 million to 1.6 million between 2017 and 2018, a rise in profits, and talk of expansion. Meanwhile, well-established leisure services such as the London-to-Scotland Caledonian Sleeper continue to thrive.

The overnight train services remain popular because many people actually like them. The duration of travel, of course, is usually far longer than by plane, even when layovers and security are factored in, but there are other compensations. Generally scheduled to leave late evening and arrive before the working day begins, night trains offer the possibility of sleep and more leisurely travel compared to an early-morning rush to the airport. They can also be reasonably priced: On the Vienna-to-Berlin night service, for example, a one-way ticket with a reclining sleeper seat starts at €29 ($32.50), a couchette (a four- or six-person compartment whose bunks fold down into comfortable seating during the day) at €49 ($55), and a single-berth sleeper with private toilet and shower at €139 ($159). If the trip saves you the cost of a hotel room, many people seem to be noting, that’s not a bad deal.

So while the outlook seemed bleak just a few years ago, Sweden’s plan arrives at a time when the sector’s fortunes seem to be brightening once more.

…Getting more people on the rails can only have a positive effect in reducing the carbon footprint of international mobility.

Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains – CityLab


Irish Teen Wins 2019 Google Science Fair For Removing Microplastics From Water

Microplastics are defined as having a diameter of 5nm or less and are too small for filtering or screening during wastewater treatment. Microplastics are often included in soaps, shower gels, and facial scrubs for their ability to exfoliate the skin. Microplastics can also come off clothing during normal washing.

These microplastics then make their way into waterways and are virtually impossible to remove through filtration. Small fish are known to eat microplastics and as larger fish eat smaller fish these microplastics are concentrated into larger fish species that humans consume.

Ferreira used a combination of oil and magnetite powder to create a ferrofluid in the water containing microplastics. The microplastics combined with the ferrofluid which was then extracted.

After the microplastics bound to the ferrofluid, Ferreira used a magnet to remove the solution and leave only water.

After 1,000 tests, the method was 87% effective in removing microplastics of all sorts from water. The most effective microplastic removed was that from a washing machine with the hardest to remove being polypropylene plastics.

Irish Teen Wins 2019 Google Science Fair For Removing Microplastics From Water


Rep. Cheney Accuses Tribes of “Destroying our Western Way of Life” Over Grizzly Protections

Removing protections from the bear, revered as sacred to a multitude of tribes, would have left the grizzly vulnerable to high-dollar trophy hunts and lifted leasing restrictions on some 34,375 square miles. Extractive industry, livestock and logging interests are among those desirous of capitalizing on the area, a region comprised of tribal treaty, reserved rights and ceded lands.

…“I would remind the Congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. That was all Indian Country. Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the US. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?” asked Rodgers.

…Tribal Nations, including the Oglala Sioux Tribe which petitioned for a Congressional inquiry into the influence of multi-national fossil-fuel corporations on FWS’s grizzly delisting decision, previously exposed the role of extractive industry in the process. USFWS engaged multinational oil and gas services group, Amec Foster Wheeler, for the peer review of its grizzly delisting rule that tribes and environmental groups deconstructed in court. Amec Foster Wheeler appointed Halliburton executive Jonathan Lewis as CEO in the same timeframe as USFWS contracted the company.

“That puts ‘harmful to the ecosystem’ into its true context,” responded Rodgers. “The Cheney family’s connections to Halliburton hardly needs elaborating upon,” added Chief Stan Grier, President of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs. 

…“There’s more chance of her father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize than her “Grizzly Bear State Management Act” reaching the House floor,” said Rodgers of Cheney’s bill.

Rep. Cheney Accuses Tribes of “Destroying our Western Way of Life” Over Sacred Grizzly Protections — Native News Online


“We are in great danger”: In Amazon, indigenous Waiapi chief is killed by illegal miners

Illegal gold miners armed with automatic weapons and shotguns, invaded the remote indigenous community of the Waiapi and murdered one of its chiefs in Brazil’s northern Amazon last week

…One of the group’s leaders, Viseni Waiapi, said in an audio message sent to NBC reporters Saturday in Portuguese.

“We are in great danger,” Viseni said. The invaders assaulted women and children and were accompanied by a pit bull as they roamed around several Waiapi villages day and night last week, using special night vision goggles to navigate the area in the dark, he said.

…While waiting two days for the police to arrive, the Waiapi sent a group of their own warriors to guard the villages being invaded and gunshots were heard along the only road that leads into Waiapi territory. By the time police arrived on Sunday, the invaders had fled into the jungle.

…This attack on Waiapi land is one of the latest in a slew of ongoing, and increasingly frequent, invasions and assaults on indigenous territories throughout Brazil by illegal miners, ranchers and loggers.

Currently, there at least 10,000 miners illegally occupying and exploiting Brazil’s indigenous Yanomami land in northern Brazil. These sorts of invasions have increased by 150 percent since Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, took power earlier this year.

…Bolsonaro has repeatedly vowed to allow commercial mining and farming on indigenous lands, which are officially reserved for indigenous people’s exclusive use under Brazil’s Constitution since 1988. 

…Bolsonaro has said that indigenous peoples do not have a culture and has compared them to zoo animals. He has also said they should be assimilated into the public or integrated into the army. Years ago, he suggested that Brazil should have killed off its indigenous peoples, saying “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.”

…These invaders are committing illegal activities and should be arrested, prosecuted and fined, she said, suggesting there be paid federal employees stationed on indigenous lands to help monitor and protect vulnerable groups like the Waiapi. The community remained completely isolated until the 1970s when it was nearly annihilated by a measles outbreak spread by illegal miners who got access through a new road.

Today, there are around 1500 Waiapi living in small thatched roof villages carved out of dense rainforest in Brazil’s northern state of Amapá near French Guiana. The community attributes its resilience to having well demarcated lands, which were officially recognized by the Brazilian government in 1996, and maintaining its traditional ways of living and protecting the rainforest.

…In the meantime, Watson said indigenous groups need GPS equipment, bulletproof vests and radios for their own land defense efforts. “If we do want to save the Amazon rainforest for the benefit of humanity, we have to find better and more immediate ways of supporting the indigenous peoples.”

…Watson said the current situation in Brazil’s Amazon region has become a “war zone” in which indigenous peoples are on the front lines protecting the world’s largest rainforest, which produces 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen. “They’re paying with their lives.”

“We are in great danger”: In Amazon, indigenous Waiapi chief is killed by illegal miners