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‘Surprised, No. Disgusted, Yes’: Study Shows Deepwater Horizon Oil Spread Much Further Than Previously Known

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BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster
Photo Credit: Common Dreams

Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Ten years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster sent hundreds of millions of gallons of oil across the Gulf of Mexico, researchers say the reach of the damage was far more significant than previously thought.

In a study published Wednesday in Science, Claire Paris-Limouzy and Igal Berenshtein of the University of Miami revealed that a significant amount of oil was never picked up in satellite images or captured by barriers that were meant to stop the spread.

“Our results change established perceptions about the consequences of oil spills by showing that toxic and invisible oil can extend beyond the satellite footprint at potentially lethal and sub-lethal concentrations to a wide range of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Paris-Limouzy.

The “invisible oil” spread across an area roughly 30% larger than the 92,500 square miles experts previously believed it had reached, the study says.

“Researchers dubbed it ‘invisible oil,’ concentrated below the water’s surface and toxic enough to destroy 50% of the marine life it encountered.” https://t.co/NlXYNsDiq2

— Wallace McKelvey (@wjmckelvey) February 12, 2020

“I think it kind of changes the way you think about oil spills,” Berenshtein told the Washington Post. “People have to change the way they see this so that they know there’s this invisible and toxic component of oil that changes marine life.”

The ocean protection group Blue Frontier Campaign expressed “disgust” at the revelation—but not surprise.

“Are we surprised, no. disgusted, yes. Time to get off fossil fuel and on to renewables.” Sea Party 2020! https://t.co/mdjYVchv6t

— Blue Frontier Campaign (@Blue_Frontier) February 12, 2020

Since the 2010 blowout and platform explosion, which killed 11 people, scientists have estimated that the disaster spewed 210 million gallons of oil over the course of five months, with oil reaching Florida and Texas.

Much of the spilled oil that Berenshtein and Paris-Limouzy detected in their research, using a model that allowed them to trace oil in the Gulf from its source, spread below the water’s surface and became toxic enough over time to destroy 50% of the marine life it came across.

“When you have oil combined with ultraviolent sunlight it becomes two times more toxic than oil alone,” Paris-Limouzy told the Post. “Oil becomes toxic at very low concentrations.”

Experts vastly underestimated the extent to which marine life was harmed, the researchers said.

The research was released as the Trump administration prepares to open up the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans to oil and gas leases and to expand leasing in the Gulf.

Time to get off fossil fuel and on to renewables,” wrote the Blue Frontier Campaign.

About the Author

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

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Environment

What Is Humanity Capable Of? This Man Got 152 Million Mangrove Trees Planted In 10 Years

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What Is Humanity Capable Of? This Man Got 152 Million Mangrove Trees Planted In 10 Years
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Haidar el Ali, who once served as Senegal’s Minister of Environment, led a program that has successfully planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta of souther Senegal over the past decade. This represents one of the largest reforestation projects the world has ever seen.  He’s been planting since 2009, and the success of the project truly goes to show what the human race is capable of, let alone one person.

As most of you reading this know, forests are one of the most exploited habitats on our planet, and a number of industries are responsible for their rapid destruction. Animal agriculture, alone, for example, makes up the large majority of amazon deforestation. It’s linked to 75% of historic deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Nearly a third of biodiversity loss to date has been linked to animal agriculture. According to some estimates,  27% – more than a quarter – of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues. (source)

To truly begin exploring how new ideas can be implemented practically, watch the following video we recently put out: Regenerate: beyond The CO2 Narrative

Deforestation is a tragedy that plagues our world, and it’s something that can be solved as we have the potential as one human race to initiate large scale tree planting and reforestation, and this example from Senegal is a great example of that.

In a video interview with BBC, Haidar described how the original mangrove forest in Southern Senegal was disrupted in the 80s and 90s as the nation began to build roads which diverted or ended the flow of rivers. “At the time there were no environmental impact studies, of course.” After this he described lumbermen who clear-cut the mangroves, and then goes on to explain that the salt from sea water ended up coming in as a result and poisoning nearby rice fields. This really got peoples attention to the point where they began thinking about replacing what had been lost.

The truth is, the human race has a tremendous amount of potential. All we hear from politicians and mainstream media seems to be nothing but talk, without the implementation of actual solutions. They’ve been doing this for years, yet you have people like Ali out there who are actually getting things done without access to the resources that the world’s elite have access to. If one man can do something as tremendous as this, imagine if the most wealthiest people in the world came together, pooled their resources and started something similar? It seems that ideas are always given, and conferences are always held and initiatives are always started, but nothing ever seems to get done when it comes to the political sphere. Countries agree to enter into certain accords that really do nothing for the planet, and crisis’ like climate change and pandemics, for example, always seem to be used for the elite to somehow profit off of them.

It’s time to ask the question, do our ‘leaders’ really have the intention to change our world for the better? Are our global organizations and politicians put in place to tackle these issues really making planet Earth a priority?

It’s hard to imagine that we couldn’t change this planet and clean it up in the blink of an eye if it actually were a priority.

If we can shut down the planet for months due to an outbreak, why can’t we do the same to make sure everybody is fed? Why can’t we do the same to spark a massive global reforestation campaign? Why are there so many barriers and obstacles to implementing solutions that can help change our world? The solutions are abundant and available, so one should ask themselves, if the solutions to our problems aren’t the issue, what is? Something to think about…

This article (What Is Humanity Capable Of? This Man Got 152 Million Mangrove Trees Planted In 10 Years) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Animal World

While Hiking In Norway, Photographer Captures Extremely Rare White Baby Reindeer

“He came very close to me, and we looked at each other straight in the eyes.”

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While Hiking In Norway, Photographer Captures Extremely Rare White Baby Reindeer
Photo Credit: Getty

Jade Small, The Mind Unleashed

If it’s a snowy wonderland you’re after, the Nordics in winter are indeed spectacular and blessed with magnificent scenery. And if you’re lucky, you might spot some interesting and sometimes rare wildlife.

During a hike near Oslo in Norway, wildlife enthusiast photographer Mads Nordsveen was fortunate to have an unusual experience with a rare animal two winters ago.

Nordsveen explained:

“I was walking in the mountains looking for nice landscapes for my travel photography when out of nowhere I saw this adorable animal.”

The adorable animal happened to be a very well camouflaged baby deer, as white as the snow surrounding it. According to Nordsveen it made no attempt to hide and even seemed to pose for some pictures.

It seems both Nordsveen and little deer were surprised and curious about the strange creature they encountered.

The photographer was also delighted to meet the little one:

“He came very close to me, and we looked at each other straight in the eyes,” he recalled, “After some minutes the mother of the white deer came out of trees just behind. It walked around for some minutes before running back to its mother. It was very magical and a fairy tale moment.”

People have been captivated by white deer, probably since the first one was spotted likely millennia ago. These mysterious, ghostly creatures were featured in folklore, myths, and superstition and are considered to be sacred.

One persistent legend warns that a hunter killing a white deer will have bad luck for a long time and this idea appears to be universal among hunting cultures. In his book, Kudu, writer Peter Flack notes that hunters across Africa believe misfortune, perhaps even death, will befall any hunter who kills a white antelope, while those who see the mysterious white deer would be blessed with luck.

According to Dr Nicholas Tyler, from the Centre for Saami Studies at the University of Tromso in Norway, white reindeer are rare but easy to spot in summer, when most photographs of them are taken. While white reindeer have an uncommon genetic mutation that strips their fur of pigment giving them great camouflage in the snow, they have dark pigmentation in their eyes and antlers and as such are not classified as albino.

On the other hand, Jerry Haigh, a professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada has spent time studying the reindeer herds of Northern Mongolia. Haigh discovered that white reindeer are ‘’quite common’’ in the herds cared for by the nomadic Dukha community.

In recent years, with advanced technology enabling surveillance in areas difficult to access, more examples of wild species’ babies born without pigment have been found, although many seldom survive in the wild due to either being an easy target for predators or being rejected by the mother or herd.

One animal being born with white fur in a species whose fur is usually not white is often incorrectly referred to as albino when they likely have a different condition.

More Info: Instagram | Website 

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Environment

Photographs Capture A Rare Sight-Frozen Waves Of Dream Lake In Colorado

Colorado landscape photographer Eric Gross seeks out the unique and often unseen wonders in nature.

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Photographs Capture A Rare Sight-Frozen Waves Of Dream Lake In Colorado
Photo Credit: Joseph Nicéphore

Jade Small, The Mind Unleashed

I wonder if Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who took the first photograph in 1826 from an upstairs window of the Niépce’s estate in the Burgundy region of France, could ever have imagined that in the future billions of people would be carrying a camera in their hands every day. That first image is a moment in history frozen in time, never to be repeated, as all photographs essentially are.

Colorado landscape photographer Eric Gross seeks out the unique and often unseen wonders in nature on his travels in North America and the world. In February, without having to travel to the other end of the world, Gross happened to capture the ultimate moment frozen in time, almost on his doorstep, at Dream Lake in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

Gross decided to explore a more isolated area of the lake when he arrived, hoping to find an exceptional view.

“While much of the lake was simply bumpy, one small section near the shore actually had what looked like frozen waves with sharp edges, hard curves, and steep sides. I couldn’t explain what I was seeing, so while trying to imagine how ‘frozen waves’ could occur, I started shooting. And shooting, and shooting,” Gross said.

It was a case of learning on the go, and he soon found a technique that gave him the unique perspective he was looking for and fired his excitement for more. Not surprisingly, after his amazing shoot in February, he was back at the lake in March for more, after which his photos of the frozen lake started trending and making headlines soon after he posted them.

According to Gross, the weather was by far the most difficult part of his photo-shoot at the lake. He explained:

“After that first bluebird February day gave me an image I loved, I knew I had to go back and try again with more planning. I tried to go for a sunset shoot the following week, but this location, being at 9,905 feet in elevation, battered me with over 40mph snow coming directly at me down the valley, even though it was not snowing at the trailhead at 9,400 feet,” he continued: “I hiked the next morning, where again, it was sunny at the trailhead, but after the 1 mile trip to the lake, it was far too windy with nearly whiteout conditions to take any photographs. On my fourth and fifth trips, I was able to actually use my camera.”

Most nature photographers seem to have unbelievable patience and can do attitude when it comes to getting that perfect shot and thankfully Gross has experience in hiking and climbing in all sorts of weather conditions. And on this trip he also learned some lessons:

“What I learned from this experience is that for most locations, there is simply no way to plan a foreground for an image. It requires going to the site and walking around, possibly for hours, to find something interesting enough to take up half the image. Even on the carved ice, I have dozens of images from different pockets that aren’t nearly as compelling as the best ones, which showed that moving just a few inches can have an enormous impact on the image’s foreground.”

Gross has this to say of the future:

“As some hype built around these images and the lake itself, it became apparent that an interesting foreground, combined with a beautiful landscape background, is my ultimate prize. As CoViD-19 has shuttered some areas and effectively locked me out of some opportunities before winter ends, my plan now is to put my boots to the ground a lot more often, looking for the most interesting foregrounds, instead of focusing more on dramatic mountain peaks.”

With that in mind and being homebound for the time being, Gross has started making a list of past images taken from across North America which he hopes to retake, using his newly discovered artistic eye and perspective for foreground.

You can find more of his work on his websiteFacebook, and Instagram page.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animal World

Photographer Captures One In A Million Photo, But Doesn’t Realize It Until He Gets Home

Daniel Biber, a wildlife photographer from Germany, happened to be in the right place at the right time.

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Photographer Captures One In A Million Photo, But Doesn’t Realize It Until He Gets Home
Photo Credit: Daniel Biber

Jade Small, The Mind Unleashed

Just taking a walk in nature can be enough to wash away stress. Nature is never stagnant and those with a keen eye may discover something delightful or observe something awesome that will bring back the sparkle in their eyes.

While we often marvel at the amazing photographs and videos taken by professional wildlife photographers in particular, in addition to having cool equipment and a good eye, they are usually extremely patient and prepared to travel to remote locations and wait, and wait some more for what could truly be that “once in a lifetime” shot.

Daniel Biber, a professional wildlife photographer from Hilzingen in Germany, happened to be in the right place at the right time all thanks to his patience and commitment to returning day after day to the scene where he had witnessed a natural phenomenon but had failed to capture that special shot he was aiming for every time.

The place was Spain’s Costa Brava in the north-eastern part of the country and the phenomenon was the gathering of an unbelievably large flock of starlings. Just before sunset they would start shape-shifting as they flew. Murmuration, as it is called, is in itself not an unusual occurrence but the exceptionally large number of birds over the Costa Brava at that time, moving and twisting in what seemed like a coordinated, single organism, morphing from one shape into another in a matter of seconds, was indeed extraordinary.

…if you look closely at this photo… underneath the bird’s head there is a woman’s head !! What an amazing photo!…

Clare Ennew paylaştı: 21 Mart 2020 Cumartesi

The startling’s shape-shifting swirling and twisting are most likely a natural tactic to confuse predators such as falcons and hawks looking for an easy meal before nightfall. Biber described the event as almost supernatural as the birds turned themselves into shapes resembling a giant bird—apparently thumbing their beaks at the predator as if indicating ‘’we are bigger than you.’’

Biber’s patience had indeed paid off on this day. He had tried for several days and failed to capture the starlings in full flow.

“I’ve tried to photograph the starlings but it never worked out as well as I hoped for,” he said. “I eventually drove to the spot every day for four days in a row in order to capture them. I picked a spot where I thought they would turn up and picked a matching foreground and backdrop in order to put them in a scene.”

Photo Credit: Daniel Biber

Mind Bending Nature paylaştı: 21 Şubat 2020 Cuma

The unique photo earned Biber a prize in an international photography competition. Although at the time, he had no idea that just how unique the shots he captured were. “Only when I checked the pictures on the computer later, I realized what formation the starlings had created,” he told the Daily Mail“I was so concentrated on taking pictures at the time that I hadn’t realized that the starling murmuration had created a giant bird in the sky.”

It is definitely worth the wait to experience the surprising and amazing sights nature reveals, often when we least expect them. Whether your adventures into nature are short of more leisurely, enjoy every minute and remember, keep an eye open for those delightful surprises.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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