YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
New research from the University of Exeter in England has found that being near the ocean can actually boost mental health, especially among low-income households. The study, published in the journal Health and Place, analyzed results from 26,000 adults and compared how close these respondents lived to the coast. What they found is that adults who lived less than a kilometer from the ocean reported better mental health than those living 50km or more inland.
"We need to help policy makers understand how to maximize the wellbeing benefits of 'blue' spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments," comments Dr. Mathew White, an environmental psychologist involved in the research.
Driving is not just an air pollution and climate change problem: it just might be the largest contributor of microplastics in California coastal waters. That is one of many new findings, released Wednesday, from the most comprehensive study to date on microplastics in California. Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion particles, much of them tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year, an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and other plastics.
A decade on, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has left an abyssal wasteland, researchers have found. A team from the Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON) sent a ROV down 6,000 feet at the site, transmitting a live feed to reveal the first images taken since 2010. “Nothing prepared us for what we saw” they reported – a slick black wasteland, empty of all its usual life. Instead, the area has been taken over by strange crabs and shrimp, either tumor-ridden or eerily languid, as if sleepwalking. It’s clear that the site is toxic, and may be irrevocably marred.
Scientists have warned that existing levels of tuna fishing are unsustainable after researchers found that global catches have increased more than 1000% over the past 60 years. A study in the journal Fisheries Research estimated that about 6m tonnes of tuna are now caught annually, a rate that “risks driving tuna populations to unsustainable levels and possible extinction”.
A massive iceberg has split from an ice shelf in Antarctica, prompting both awe and concern around the world. Measuring 610 square miles, iceberg D28 is slightly larger than O’ahu, Hawai’i, but its departure from the ice shelf is not due to climate change. Atmospheric warming has contributed to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, but this particular break is a natural event.
Header image by Mathyas Kurmann