Plant-based Motor Oil Can Fight Ocean Pollution

Plant-based Motor Oil Can Fight Ocean Pollution

Motor oil leaks from the engines of eco-friendly hybrids and gas-guzzling SUVs onto our roadways, where rain washes it into lakes, rivers and oceans. Every year 10 billion gallons of petroleum-based motor oil and other industrial lubricants are released into our oceans and environment globally from human activity. Nearly 40% of pollution in America’s waterways is caused by used motor oil. How can you change this? Go Green! Support non-toxic, environmentally friendly plant-based motor oil to protect the environment and us. Replacing petroleum-based oils with safer, cleaner alternatives could dramatically protect and improve the quality of our vital water resources and protect us from having these harmful pollutants enter our body. Once upon a time, bio-based motor oils were unimaginable. Today, scientific advancements have made this petroleum alternative a reality. A recent study showed that bio-based lubricants – from field crop to engine – would reduce greenhouse gas emission by more than 88% compared to petroleum-based motor oil lubricants. Replacing petroleum based lubricating oil with a renewable alternative would be the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. If used, plant-based motor oil lubricants could minimize this environmental pollution related to motor oil. Both the environment and the consumer benefits – its keeps engines cleaner, it may require fewer oil changes and the price will likely be cheaper than the petroleum-based, fully synthetic oil currently on the market – with the same great performance! However, currently there are no political or market-based incentives for major motor oil manufacturers to provide consumers with a bio-based alternative. We need support from consumers, NGOs and the environmentally conscious public to...
A High-Seas Escape

A High-Seas Escape

It wasn’t an emigrant looking for economic freedom lying there on a Florida beach, but instead plastic trash hightailing it out of Chavez’s Venezuela. Is this a sign of a bigger problem offshore? This transatlantic ocean cruiser found washed ashore in the Atlantic waters off North Palm Beach, Florida, was a plastic soda bottle produced by Pepsi-Cola of Venezuela (producto de Pepsi-Cola Venezuela C.A.). Along its northerly journey out of the Caribbean Sea, it likely drifted north into the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Straits, between Mexico and Cuba, before hitching a ride in the Florida Straits and onto the Gulf Stream. Along the way it picked up oceanic passengers, namely gooseneck barnacles looking for a suitable oceanic drifter to call its home. By the looks of it after finally washing ashore, the bottle had quite an adventurous tale to tell. Today, plastic bottles and other unsightly plastic trash inhabit all oceans on Earth and originate from every distant corner of the planet. Our global plastic problem has gained some worldwide notoriety, most notable in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” in waters off California and Japan where our plastic world is piling up in the middle of the ocean. Although data is scare on the extent of the global marine litter problem, the United Nations Environment Programme says that despite the raising global attention to the issue, our global marine litter problem is mounting with “some 8 million items of marine litter entering the oceans every day and “over 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of ocean surface.” This recent Bolivarianism defector that washed...
Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

More than 700 dead penguins have washed up on Brazil’s beaches since June, including more than 500 this week along the Rio Grande do Sul coast in southern Brazil. According to today’s CNN report, the Brazilian Center for Coastal Studies concluded that these Magellanic penguins died of natural causes. I would disagree that these iconic seabirds, named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, are dying from natural causes. Over the last decade, scientists have observed these seabirds traveling longer distances to find food. With their distinctive white bands that loops around their eyes and down the side of the neck, these birds typically migrate in the winter months from their breeding grounds off the coasts of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands to the waters off southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Northern Argentina in search of food. However, human competition for their main food staples – anchovy, sardines, and squid– as well as changes in the ocean conditions due to climate change and oil pollution, are having a real effect on these animals’ ability to survive. Ocean Indicator Species All Washed Up at Rio+20 This June, along Rio de Janeiro’s famed Ipanema Beach, I witnessed a lone starved baby penguin, far off track in search of food, warmth and rest. This was a particularly interesting find, since the Rio+20 Earth Summit was happening only a few miles away. The juvenile penguin I saw was likely starving to death and headed ashore because it was cold and wanted to be more comfortable and rest, according to University of Washington Conservation Biologist Dee Boersma. “Penguins are good indicators of ocean health because they depend...
Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, opened the Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue today as moderator of a panel of 10 international ocean experts sitting on stage alongside 10 recommendations critical to advance global ocean management. “Oceans are considered too big to fail, but in fact they are failing,“ said panelist Richard Delaney of the Global Ocean Forum at the start of the public discussion organized by the Brazilian government. Each panelist acknowledged the myriad problems facing the oceans – from ocean acidification, unsustainable and illegal fishing to land- and marine-based pollution – with an eye toward sending a strong message to the United Nations delegates charged with producing a final political document on June 22 at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. We are drawing down on our natural assets,” said Her Deepness Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We now have the knowledge and need to take action while we still have time.” All panelists emphasized the urgent need to utilize science and technology to help mitigate the negative environmental impacts that are degrading the oceans. Others conveyed the need for a strong international global framework to protect the high seas and its biodiversity, which is the 68% of ocean areas not under national jurisdictions or currently protected by international policies. The global blue economy is losing 10-20 million tons of fish a year from ocean mismanagement, according to British Columbia University professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila. His recent study shows that ocean conservation’s return on investment is $3-7 per dollar spent. “The economics are there, we just need the political will,” said Sumalia, who considers fish as an...
Ocean Trash: A Dose of Reality and Psychology

Ocean Trash: A Dose of Reality and Psychology

In an effort to share my outrage with the world, I took my newly found trash — the “Stars and Stripes” fishing bait box – to the internet. What I discovered is that our society, however ashamed of it, enables these offenders. If ocean conservationists want to tackle this problem in the real world, we need to reach beyond the current message and audience to find real-world solutions. A dose of psychology might help us face reality. Here’s the response I received when I took my litter campaign to the internet and my assessment of it. “Sometimes the bait boxes blow overboard and can’t be retrieved. Let’s hope this was just an accident, not intentional littering.” In my armchair psychological opinion, this is an enabler’s response. The term “enabler” is described as “third parties who take responsibility, blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct.” What this reply says to me is “Oh, it’s not their fault, it’s the environment’s fault.” Should we be blaming third parties (or a gust of wind) for the intentional act of a single person? No and I won’t accept this excuse. This box clearly didn’t blow off a boat. It was in perfect condition, sitting on the rocks overlooking the gorgeous blue ocean waiting for its proper disposal. And, how often do boxes fly off boats anyway? Is this a problem that can be fixed? I tried to share my outrage directly with “Stars and Stripes” but I cannot find them on the internet. I’m not outraged at “Stars and Stripes,” in fact, I wanted to commend them for including the responsible...

Can You Read: Please Keep Our Oceans Clean!

This is the sad and ironic scene I discovered while in The Florida Keys last weekend. Obviously this was not an effective message for one “Stars and Stripes” fishing bait...