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12/04/2019

Cork City expected to be hit by Gaelforce wind (brass, and percussion!) this Easter break

Cork City expected to be hit by Gaelforce wind (brass, and percussion!) this Easter break

Easter 2019 sees the return of GaelForce, a brass, wind and percussion “eggstravaganza” that offers intensive, free music workshops for young musicians of brass, wind and percussion ages 10 to 18 in Cork City.

Co-funded through the Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership, Gaelforce is run by Music Generation Cork City in partnership with Cork Barrack Street Band and Cork Academy of Music, with support from CIT Cork School of Music.

From Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 April this year, young musicians have the opportunity to learn in specially designed workshops, acquiring the skills and group technique needed to participate in chamber music and large ensembles. Under the guidance of a highly trained team of professional musicians and mentors, participants will see their musical acumen advance at a rate of knots over the course of the three days.

Following the enormous success of Gaelforce 2018, this year’s edition introduces a brand new element: a Mentor Scheme that seeks to provide young musicians ages 14+ with an opportunity to arrange scores and conduct chamber music groups. Successful applicants may even be selected to conduct on concert day!

GaelForce culminates in a public performance which is open to all and which will be presided over by head tutor, Oisín McGill. The concert, expected to feature music from ‘The Greatest Showman’, ‘A Star is Born’, Queen and other favourites, is sure to raise the roof off the Curtis Auditorium on Thursday 18 April, 3.30pm!

To get a glimpse into what to expect on the evening, take a look back at this short video snippet from last year's concert: 

For further information about GaelForce, please contact Oisín McGill (+353 86 335 9307) or Music Generation Cork City:

E: musicgencorkcity@corketb.ie
F: facebook.com/musicgenerationcorkcity

Event information
GaelForce 2019: Brass, Wind and Percussion Workshop Event
Tuesday 16 – Thursday 18 April 2019

Finale Concert: 3.30pm Thursday 18 April 2019, Curtis Auditorium CIT Cork School of Music

Music Generation Cork City is part of Music Generation, Ireland’s national music education programme, initiated by Music Network, co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and locally in partnership with Cork City Council, Cork ETB, The HSE, CIT and UCC.

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1058 EDUCATION How soccer is changing the lives of girls in Kenya February 23 2017 | By: MEGAN IACOBINI DE FAZIO GIRLS COUNT Every gi

238 WATER AND SANITATION How the Ebola outbreak spurred improved access to running water in Liberia 16 November 2018 1:35PM UTC | By: WOMEN'S ADVANCEMENT DEEPLY

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

What we want for women and girls in 2019

8 March 2019 8:42AM UTC | By: MEGAN O’DONNELL

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In 2015, in signing onto the Sustainable Development Goals, world leaders made a promise to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” by 2030. But at this rate, we are nearly 100 years behind schedule.

The latest data from the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take over a century (108 years) to close global gender gaps in health, education, economic opportunity, and political representation. It will take even longer in sub-Saharan Africa – 135 years.

We need to accelerate progress – and 2019 offers us the opportunity to do just that.

What’s needed from world leaders in 2019 to improve the lives of women and girls, and by extension their families, communities, and countries? Here are ONE’s gender equality-focused recommendations for the year:

Recommendation #1: Create a global, independent accountability mechanism, modelled on the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which will track policy change commitments by both governments and private sector actors to promote gender equality.

Part of the reason we’re not moving fast enough in closing gender gaps is because there is a lack of accountability. World leaders must be accountable to meaningfully invest in women and girls.

We need a platform that pushes them to increase ambitions. That platform must also track progress towards concrete, time-bound, measurable outcomes. A new accountability mechanism would provide a space for civil society, governments, and the private sector to discuss, create, and implement commitments collaboratively.

Recommendation #2: Agree to a gender equality financial commitments package. The package must ensure the world is on track to meet critical SDG targets focused on women and girls’ health, education, economic empowerment, and broader well-being.

Additional, targeted financing will be necessary to meet SDG targets related to gender equality across sectors. A gender equality financial commitments package of this kind should focus on breaking the range of barriers facing women and girls and limiting their potential.

Recommendation #3: Allocate at least 85% of overseas development assistance to gender equality. 20% of this should promote gender equality as its primary purpose. At the same time, country governments should adopt gender-responsive budgeting practices.

Outside of a dedicated package of new funds, world leaders must commit to more, as well as better, financing — and do so in a sustained way.

Currently, G7 donors only allocate 49 percent of bilateral aid to programs that focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Of that, just 3.4 percent is principally targeted at closing gender gaps.

Recommendation #4: Commit to progressive laws and policies on gender equality, and develop action plans for implementation under the new OGP-style partnership.

Financing alone won’t be enough to move the needle. It must happen alongside the repeal of discriminatory laws and private sector practices. Gender-responsive laws and policies must be adopted in their place.

To ensure that commitments by countries and the private sector are implemented and impactful, they need to be monitored through an independent and institutionalized accountability mechanism gathering different stakeholders, like the one mentioned above.

In sum, we need world leaders to make ambitious moves to get us on track to achieving global gender equality.

Read our full policy brief and sign our open letter calling on world leaders to take action.

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ENVIRONMENT

Guatemala Is Using 'Bio-Fences' to Curb Plastic Pollution

The country is cleaning up a major river and involving communities in the process.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
An estimated 90% of plastic waste in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers. Guatemala is stepping up to the plate to reduce plastic pollution and protect the environment. Join us in taking action on this issue here.

Guatemala is taking action to improve its waste collection efforts by deploying bio-fences that trap plastic waste, Digital Journal reports.

The country has a poor track record when its comes to waste management, according to The Telegraph. Honduras, its neighboring country, has blamedGuatemala for creating an "environmental disaster" after photographsshowing miles of floating trash off the coast of Roatan, a Honduran island, were released.

While responsibility for the "sea of trash" is likely shared among countries in the region, Guatemala is stepping up to the plate to put solutions into place.

Take Action: Take the Pledge: #SayNoToPlastic

 

 

Two bio-fences, which act as nets for plastic travelling downstream, are being installed in the Motagua River to catch trash and make it easier for communities to collect and dispose of it properly. Along with the bio-fences, Guatemala plans to improve its wastewater treatment facilities and reduce individual use of plastics.

 

Not sitting on the bio-fence when it comes to pollution. Learn more about plastic waste: https://wef.ch/2qYKCbI 

 
 
 
 

Guatemala is "actively fighting plastic pollution through innovation and community participation," Alfonso Alonzo, the country's minister of environment and natural resources, said in a statement.

"The problem of plastic is immense, and it affects all of us ... While the problem of plastic trash is serious on the Pacific coast, it's catastrophic on the Caribbean coast," Colum Muccio, administrative director of the Association for the Rescue and Conservation of Wildlife (ARCAS) Guatemala, told Digital Journal.

Muccio has tracked the path of plastics across Guatemala, finding that rivers are carrying plastic waste hundreds of miles and unloading them on beaches and in other water bodies.

 

"This plastic trash ... stays at the surface of the beach's sand, remaining buried up to half a meter deep," he said.

Many land and marine species are at risk as a result of marine litter. For sea turtles, which live in the region, ingesting pieces of plastic can be deadly.

Read More: This Is the Deadly Ocean Plastic We Should Be Paying Attention To

Guatemala is not the only country dealing with plastic pollution — it's an issue that affects communities and ecosystems around the world.

Up to 13 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year and around 90% of it comes from just 10 rivers, according to a study published in 2017. Reducing plastic in these major rivers by 50% could reduce the amount of waste that flows from river to oceans by 45%.

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HEALTH

This powerful activist and mentor is fighting HIV stigma in Uganda

5 February 2019 2:24PM UTC | By: PRUDENCE NYAMISHANA

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

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We first introduced you to Robinah in 2016, and now we’re catching up with her to see what her life has been like since she revealed her HIV status to her classmates and began her journey as an HIV/AIDS activist.

When Robinah Babirye was ten years old, her mother sat down with her and her twin sister Eva and told them they were both HIV positive. Robinah was devastated.

Now 25, Robinah sees that moment as a beginning, sparking what has become an incredible journey into HIV activism work.

Untitled-design-14.png

Robinah started her journey as an HIV activist with a photo on Facebook (left). Four years later, she’s achieved more than ever (right).

She took the first step on Facebook. One morning, she decided it was time to tell the world about her status. She wore a t-shirt with an inscription that said HIV Positive, took a photo, posted it on her Facebook page and waited for the responses to come.

To her relief, they were overwhelmingly supportive and she has been unstoppable since. Now Robinah is well-known in Uganda as a powerful advocate for HIV patients and vulnerable girls. She won the crown as Uganda’s Miss Young Positive, graduated from Kyambogo University in December 2016, works with school outreach programs, and uses media, film and music to amplify her cause.

Her first film with her twin sister Eva, Don’t Dare Touch, premiered in Côte d’Ivoire in 2017 during the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa. The movie addresses issues faced by HIV-discordant couples, prevention of mother to child HIV transmission, stigma and treatment. The audience loved it so much they wanted more, and now a series is in the works.

IMG_9364.jpgRobinah works with the African Young Positives Network and volunteers with the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV to carry out training and community outreach programs, such as the Young Positive Beauty Pageant and the People in Need Agency (PINA) Uganda, an organisation for whom she was originally a pioneer beneficiary.

Through PINA, Robinah dedicates much of her time to mentoring younger HIV advocates. “I have to give back,” she says.

Robinah-1.pngTo date, she has mentored more than 45 girls in Kalangala Island and Kasenyi Landing Site on Lake Victoria and recently teamed up with two of her mentees, 19-year-old Winnie Nansamba and 21-year-old Ritah Nansamba, to establish the Roof and Equip Winnie campaign. They are now working to establish services for child survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking in Lake Victoria’s Ssese Islands.

“Some of the girls [on the islands] have been sexually violated multiple times, others by their close relatives. Others have been trafficked from the mainland to the islands,” Robinah says.

IMG_9357.jpgAnother of her mentees, Fionah, won a scholarship last summer to attend the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.

“When I listened to Robinah share her story, I decided to come out,“ Fionah says. “She is such a wonderful mentor she even recommended me to attend the conference in Amsterdam.”

Next on Robinah’s agenda is a plan to build a rehabilitation center for girls who are survivors of sexual violence. Designed to be a safe haven for survivors to talk about their experiences and challenges, the center will offer post-traumatic care, psychosocial support, counselling and treatment, and will work with survivors to rebuild their self-esteem.

Robinah-2.png“We also plan to have vocational training facilities to skill them for financial empowerment,” Robinah says, adding that she hopes the empowered girls will become change agents for others, do away with toxic cultural constructs and break the cycle of poverty.

What matters most to her, she says, is inspiring others in her work, even when she encounters challenges.

“I think about the people who look up to me and I wonder what will happen to them if I give up now,” she says. “So, I keep going.”

Join Robinah in the fight against HIV by adding your name now and asking world leaders to back the Global Fund.

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MEMBERS IN ACTION

And they’re off… ONE Champions in Senegal and Mali

12 April 2019 5:41PM UTC | By: MELANIE RHODES

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It’s official, we have 25 new ONE Champions in Senegal and Mali! These incredible volunteers will be lobbying policy makers, rallying support for campaigns, and mobilising the public.

25 new ONE Champions in Senegal and Mali.

25 new ONE Champions in Senegal and Mali.

ONE Champions

ONE Champions are young people who are passionate about sustainable development. Many of them are the leaders of tomorrow, who have been working in their communities to drive positive change.

By becoming a ONE Champion, they’re able to take their activism to the next level. ONE helps them hone their campaigning and advocacy skills, increase their understanding of the issues, and share and debate new ideas. They gain experience and connections to take back to their local communities and learn valuable life skills along the way.

Coumba Ka told us why being a Champion is so important to her: “As a young Muslim girl, the ONE Champions program is giving me a voice, a platform to defend my convictions that girls can speak up, they can contribute to the development of their societies, their countries, the development of the world.”

Coumba Ka (left) collects her ONE Champion certificate from Oulie Keita, ONE Director Francophone West Africa (right).

Coumba Ka (left) collects her ONE Champion certificate from Oulie Keita, ONE Director Francophone West Africa (right).

Bootcamp

There was no relaxing for the Champions after they made it through selection. It was straight off to bootcamp in Dakar, Senegal. Over three days, they got to know ONE and each other a lot better.

Oulie Keita, Regional Director of ONE in Francophone West Africa, welcomed everyone. Lots of ONE staff, including CEO Gayle Smith, dropped by (in person and digitally) to say hi and talk about ONE. Folks from ONE France highlighted the incredible work Youth Ambassadors are doing in Europe.

ONE Champions with staff from ONE and Executive Director of Goree Institute at bootcamp.

ONE Champions with staff from ONE and Executive Director of Goree Institute at bootcamp (second right).

The Champions learned about the political landscape in Senegal and Mali and how ONE lobbies and influences national policy. They gained insight into how ONE uses social and traditional media – learning how to use pop culture to spread the message. They got tips on public speaking and brushed up on their video-making skills.

The bootcamp was also a great opportunity to share opinions and debate the issues. They talked with government officials and people from other civil society organisations. Dr Ibrahima Kampo, from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, led a vibrant discussion about young people and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Ibrahima Kampo, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, talks about young people and the SDGs.

Dr Ibrahima Kampo, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, talks about young people and the SDGs.

Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and beyond

ONE Champions began in Nigeria 3 years ago and has gone from strength to strength. This year, there will be 50 Champions from across the country.

Wadi Ben Hirki, a Nigerian Champion in 2017, joined the bootcamp and had a lot of great advice. “When you get the opportunity to serve and amplify your voice, do it well! It’s less about the title and more about the responsibility. ONE has played a great role in changing my mindset (and) giving me a platform to advocate for equity and justice.”

Wadi Ben Hirki, shares her experience of being a ONE Champion, Nigeria.

Wadi Ben Hirki, shares her experience of being a ONE Champion, Nigeria.

An exciting year ahead

The Champions have a busy year ahead. Quality education for girls is a top priority for everyone. While in Mali, they’ll be making sure that a Land Tenure Act becomes reality – and 15% of irrigated land is allocated to women and young people. In Senegal, they’ll be putting pressure on decision makers to be open and transparent, and campaigning for funding for women and young people in Agriculture.

By the end of bootcamp, the 25 new Champions were trained-up and raring to go. It’s going to be an exciting year!

  • ONEChampionsStaff_slideshow
Samuel Kouly Sylla (left), Marieme Soda Ndiaye (center), Marie Jeanne Diouf (right) ONE Champions, Senegal. Current SlideONE Champions and ONE staff at bootcamp.Current Slide Current SlideAissata Bocoum, ONE Champion, Mali. Current SlideONE Champions at bootcamp. Current SlideONE Champions at bootcamp.Previous Slide◀︎Next Slide▶︎

Stay up to date with ONE’s work in Senegal and Mali by following us on Facebook & Twitter

ONE Champions and ONE staff at bootcamp.

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ENVIRONMENT

Spain Plans to Reach 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

They're closing down coal plants to invest in wind farms.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
If countries don’t rapidly transition to renewable energy economies, the consequences of climate change could have devastating global impacts. Spain is setting an example with an ambitious new plan to leave fossil fuels behind. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Spain committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 on Wednesday, quickly becoming a leader in the Paris climate agreement, according to the Guardian.

The country will also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by 90% compared to 1990 levels.

“By planning on going carbon neutral, Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonisation,” Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, told the Guardian.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Actúa: Firma

 
 
 
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If the worst consequences of climate change are to be averted, nearly every country in the world has to pursue a fully renewable energy future. Currently, however, very few countries have precisely detailed how they plan to get there. Some countries, like the US, are actively going in the opposite direction.

Spain has broken from the pack with its latest announcement.

The country intends to create 3,000 megawatts’ worth of solar and wind energy every year over the next decade, which is enough to power an additional 4.5 million households per year. That same amount of energy would power only 1.5 million households in the US or Canada, which use far more energy per capita on average.

Read More: 5 Things You Can Do Now in Response to the UN's Terrifying New Climate Report

In 2017, Spain generated 33.7% of its electricity from renewable sources, with wind farms accounting for 19.7% the energy total, and solar accounting for 5.4%.

The country currently gets the bulk of its electricity from nuclear power plants, which do not generate greenhouse gas emissions, but are not renewable like solar and wind and consume enormous amounts of water for cooling purposes.  

As far as fossil fuel sources go, Spain gets 17.4% from coal and 13.8% from natural gas.

The country announced that it will no longer issue licenses for new fossil fuel ventures, according to the Guardian. It will also dedicate 20% of the government budget to climate change mitigation measures, which could range from investing in renewable energy to expanding green spaces.

Read More: Humans Could Face Extinction if We Don't Protect Biodiversity: UN

Spain has focused on making cities more green in recent years by allowing pedestrians to reclaim large chunks of urban spaces.

While the country has made efforts to limit car use in the past, its latest announcement does not include measures for the phasing out fossil fuel vehicles. Other countries like France, the United Kingdom, and India have vowed to get rid of petroleum and diesel-based cars in the decades ahead.

Read More: The Ozone Layer Is on Track to Make a Full Recovery

The new announcement also says that energy efficiency will increase by 35% over the next 11 years, coal mines will be phased out, and workers in the fossil fuel industry will be retrained for clean energy jobs.

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Kenyan women have found a way to buy land, and make a profit
340
AGRICULTURE

Kenyan women have found a way to buy land, and make a profit

21 January 2019 4:52PM UTC | By: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

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This story was originally reported by Kagondu Njagi and edited by Robert Carmichael for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

For the women of Tuluroba village’s self-help group, the goal was simple: use their combined savings to buy cattle, fatten them and sell them to the beef industry for slaughter.

But there was a problem.

“We had no land to graze the cattle. Nor could we obtain a loan from a bank to buy land, because as women we do not own title deeds,” said Fatuma Wario, who chairs the 13-strong group.

That is common. Few women in Kenya have land title documents, and few are getting them: since 2013, less than 2 percent of issued titles have gone to women, the Kenya Land Alliance, a non-profit, said in March 2018.

And because getting a loan from a mainstream bank requires collateral – typically in the form of a land title document – most women are locked out of the chance to start a business.

In the end, the women of the HoriJabesa group borrowed money from an institution that loans money to women’s groups without requiring land title. Instead, the cash from their savings underwrites the loan.

In Wario’s case, that meant switching their savings account to the bank that was prepared to extend a $1,000 loan. Using that money and some of their savings, “we bought cattle and hired land to graze our stock”.

That was in 2017. Doing so meant the group could rent 10 acres (4 hectares) of pasture at a cost of 30,000 Kenyan shillings (US$300) annually.

Interest on the loan is 12 percent per year. In their first year they earned $10,000 from their investment – with each fattened head of cattle bringing in a US$30 profit.

THOUSANDS BENEFIT

The first step for Wario’s group was to become a partner with the Program for Rural Outreach of Financial Innovations and Technologies PROFIT, which is funded by the U.N International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

David Kanda, an adviser at the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation who has seen the impact PROFIT has had on women like Wario, said about 60 women’s groups in eastern Kenya alone were benefiting from the PROFIT program.

“Apart from livestock enterprises, the programme also supports women to do poultry and bee-keeping on hired land.”

The programme began in December 2010 and is scheduled to run until June this year. After that, it will be evaluated with an eye to continuing it, an official from AGRA said.

Getting a loan requires that the person be an active member of an agribusiness network. She can then apply to a farmer-lending institution for a loan as an individual – in which case her share in the agribusiness network is her collateral – or with her group, as Wario’s collective did.

The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), a government agency, is one such lending institution.

To date, said Millicent Omukaga, AFC’s head of operations, more than 40,000 women in Kenya have benefited from non-collaterised loans. None of those loans has gone bad.

“Our aim is to double the number … of women beneficiaries. But the overall aim is to see them financially empowered so that they can fight for their land rights.”

GRASS BOUNTY

That has proven the case for Mabel Katindi, a widow who lives in Kathiani village in Machakos county, 195 kilometres south of Wario’s village.

The 42-year-old lost her husband a decade ago. Since then she has had to fight off relatives trying to chase her and her three children from the one-acre plot she inherited.

The problem is that her late husband did not have a title deed. As it is ancestral land, it fell under one title deed held by the eldest member of his family, she said.

And without title, Katindi could not get a loan to finance money-earning ventures on her acre.

“Our land is not very good for growing food crops because the rains are not enough. Feeding my children alone has been the most difficult task,” she said.

But after joining the local women’s organisation in 2017, Katindi learned that, as an active member of the agribusiness group, she could use her share to apply for a loan.

In March of that year she borrowed 50,000 shillings from a savings and credit cooperative, and used that to plant drought-resistant brachiaria grass on half an acre of her land.

The grass has thrived, she said.

“Demand for the grass is very high because it makes cattle produce a lot of milk. It also does not require a lot of rain to grow,” said Katindi.

Each bale of grass earns up to 300 shillings, with the half-acre generating 100 bales each year. She uses the other half-acre to grow staple foods for the family.

“My children are all in school. I do not have to worry about feeding them,” Katindi said, adding that the financial returns from the loan had also helped to mend relations with her late husband’s family.

“I even use some of my money to support the relatives who wanted to chase me away from the land.”

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organisations highlighted.

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ENVIRONMENT

5 Marine Animals Will Go Extinct If We Don't Act Now

From Narwhal whales to green sea turtles, countless marine animals are in trouble.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The oceans provide food, play a vital role in regulating the earth’s climate and are essential to global commerce. The United Nations Global Goal 14 calls on countries to protect the oceans from further degradation. You can take action on this issue here.

As wildfires burn to new heights, hurricanes swell to monstrous sizes, and droughts strip previously verdant landscapes of life, climate change sometimes seems like it’s only happening on land.

But it’s the oceans that are undergoing the most dramatic changes, even if their fate is largely out of sight. In fact, the oceans have absorbed 93% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and it was recently discovered that the oceans have taken in 60% more heat than was previously thought.

The oceans also act as carbon sinks, absorbing around 26% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activities. As this excess carbon dissolves, it causes ocean waters to change pH levels and acidify, becoming harsher for sea creatures in the process.  

Take Action: Commit to Reduce Your Plastic Waste and #UnplasticthePlanet

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En asociación con: Flow Alkaline Spring Water

And it’s not just climate change that’s turning thriving aquatic ecosystems into barren habitats, either.

Plastic pollution has reached the most remote oceans, industrial pollution releases a steady flow of heavy toxins into waterways, noise pollution drives some animals to suicide, and overfishing raids fish and other animal populations.

These are just some of the problems facing underwater animals. For the thousands of species living in the oceans, unique threats crop up all the time and drive animals closer to extinction.

Here are five animals that have become threatened in recent years, and the main force that is threatening them.


Narwhal Whales: Climate Change

 

 

With a harpoon-like tooth jutting out of their heads, Narwhal whales kind of look like aquatic unicorns.

And like unicorns, they could one day become the stuff of fantasy.

Narwhals live in Arctic waters and spend up to five months a year under ice, where they hunt for fish and come up for air in between cracks that emerge above. As Arctic ice melt accelerates, fishing and other vessels are entering their feeding grounds and capturing large amounts of fish, diminishing the Narwhals food supply. These boats are also filling Arctic waters with unprecedented levels of noise pollution, which causes extreme stress in the animals.

Further, orca whales are swimming farther North to take advantage of the warmer waters and have begun hunting Narwhals in greater numbers for longer periods of the year.


Green Sea Turtle: Bycatch, Habitat Loss, Plastic

Green Sea Turtle.png

Green sea turtles can live up to 80 years in the wild, swimming from island to island, and grazing on seaweed and algae.

In recent years, however, the life expectancy of these turles has sharply dropped because of fishing bycatch, plastic pollution, egg harvesting, and a declining habitat.

As fishing vessels drop massive trawling nets into the water, much more than the intended catch gets ensnared. Hundreds of thousands of turtles die each year after becoming ensnared in fishing nets.

Plastic pollution, which fills the oceans at a rate of up to 13 million tons per year, is another threat to these turtles. A recent study found that accidentally ingesting a piece causes a turtle to become 20% more likely to die.

On shore, turtle eggs are being harvested for human consumption at dangerous rates, and egg-laying habitats are disappearing as humans take over more coastlines around the world.  


Whale Shark: Poaching

toa-heftiba-270774-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Last year, a Chinese fishing vessel was detained near the Galapagos Islands, a marine sanctuary off-limits to human activity, and Ecuadorian authorities found more than 6,600 sharks on board.

The sharks were likely destined to be used for shark fin soup, a delicacy served primarily in China and Vietnam.

Demand for the soup has brought some shark species close to extinction, including the whale shark. In the past several decades, some shark populations have declined by an estimated 95% as part of a global annual catch of up to 100 million sharks.


Krill: Warming Waters, Overfishing

 

As tiny as they are, krill are foundational to marine food chains, providing a crucial source of nutrients for a variety of species.

Krill live in Antarctic waters, where they take advantage of ice cover in colder months to scavenge food and grow in a protected area. As ice melt increases in the region, krill habitats are diminishing and some populations are dropping by as much as 80%.

Krill are also threatened by fishing vessels that are moving into the region that want to catch large quantities of krill to use as animal feed. Greenpeace and other environmental groups are currently working to enact a global moratorium on the fishing of krill in newly opened waters.

If krill disappeared, it would cause devastating chain reactions throughout marine ecosystems.


Coral: Warming Waters Due to Climate Change

Great Barrier Reef2.jpgImage: Flickr/GreensMPs

Coral reefs are visually dazzling structures that happen to foster some of the most vibrant ecosystems in the oceans. Thousands of species from fish to turtles to algae depend on coral reef for sustenance and protection.

As greenhouse gas emissions continue to drive up global temperatures, oceans are absorbing most of the excess heat, which causes marine heat waves harmful to coral. When ocean temperatures rise two degrees Celsius above normal, coral are at risk of undergoing a potentially fatal phenomenon called bleaching.

Bleaching happens when hot temperatures shock coral and cause it to expel the symbiotic organisms that give it color and nutrients, turning the organism bone white. Coral reefs can generally recover from isolated bleaching events, but when they happen in successive years, they become fatal.

And that’s what is happening. By mid century, all of the world’s coral could be destroyed.

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