Today SkyTruth, Google and Oceana launched the public Beta of Global Fishing Watch, which is a new online technology platform that gives anyone in the world access to track and monitor the activities of the world’s largest commercial fishing vessels in near real-time free of charge.
By providing the first free global view of commercial fishing*, Global Fishing Watch delivers a powerful and unprecedented tool that can help to rebuild fish stocks and protect our oceans, which are threatened by global overfishing, illegal fishing and habitat destruction. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., an international gathering of ocean leaders hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.
The product of a partnership between Oceana, SkyTruth and Google, Global Fishing Watch is an intuitive and free interactive online tool that shows the apparent fishing activity of 35,000 (and counting) commercial fishing vessels operating throughout the world. The platform is regularly updated to show vessel tracks and fishing activity from January 1, 2012 through three days prior to present time. By sharing this critical information publically for the first time, Global Fishing Watch will have immeasurable and wide-ranging positive impacts on ocean health. From allowing fishery managers to better understand and manage fishing activity in their waters to aiding enforcement agencies in deterring illegal fishing, Global Fishing Watch is a powerful tool to help restore our oceans.
“Global Fishing Watch will revolutionise the way the world views commercial fishing,” said Jacqueline Savitz, Vice President for the United States and Global Fishing Watch at Oceana.
Now, in the hands of everyone, this free tool can be used by governments, journalists, citizens, researchers and the seafood industry.
“It will allow governments to track suspicious vessels, enforce rules and reduce seafood fraud. Journalists and everyday citizens will be able to identify behaviour that may be related to illegal fishing or overfishing. Global Fishing Watch is a powerful tool in the fight against illegal fishing and has tremendous potential to preserve and protect our world’s delicate marine ecosystem for generations to come.”
Global Fishing Watch uses public broadcast data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS), collected by satellite and terrestrial receivers, to show the movement of vessels over time. Every day, more than 20 million data points are added to AIS. Global Fishing Watch uses this information to track vessel movement and classify it as “fishing” or “non-fishing” activity.
“Working with Oceana and Google has enabled us to take a good idea and build it into something that will improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the planet,” said John Amos, President and Founder of SkyTruth. “Global Fishing Watch will catalyse the science, policy-making and public pressure necessary to make our oceans sustainable.”
Global Fishing Watch is collaborating with governments, private industry, and scientific and international agencies to enable additional transparency and sustainability policies. Indonesia, a leader in fisheries reform and management, has committed to making all of their registered fishing vessels with trackers public to the world through the platform because they believe so strongly in transparency. Trace Register, the leading traceability solution provider for the global seafood industry, is working with Global Fishing Watch to enable its customers to verify that their seafood was legally and responsibly produced.
Armed with new global datasets and access to massive cloud computing resources, leading scientific institutions around the world are collaborating in the Global Fishing Watch Research Program to model economic, environmental, policy and climate change implications on fisheries. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is exploring new methodologies to more accurately report global vessel registries and fishery statistics and will be proposing transparency tools to support States in improving their monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities.
“While many of the environmental trends in the ocean can be sobering, the combination of cloud computing, machine learning, and massive data is enabling new tools to visualise, understand and potentially reverse these trends,” said Brian Sullivan, Sr. Program Manager at Google Ocean & Earth Outreach. “We are excited to contribute a Google-scale approach toward ocean sustainability and public awareness.”
Funding partners for Global Fishing Watch include the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Marisla Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Wyss Foundation, The Waterloo Foundation and Adessium Foundation.
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.