I can recall the economists, bureaucrats and investors rejoicing loudly and proudly when the Commerce Department announced that U.S. exports were rising overall, as much as $28.8 billion higher than the year before. But what the department made less noise about and even failed to mention in many instances, was the rising tide of imports, which were up as much or more, around $26.4 billion between the year 2007 and 2008.

I also read an article explaining that the nation’s seaports, airports, railways and highways were still faced with moving an additional $40 billion worth of stuff in and out across our borders, on top of the $330 billion worth of stuff that’s already going in and out each month. These figures omit the increases in the import cost that comes from rising oil prices, which is a huge factor.

But imports of consumer and industrial goods continue to dominate over exports in our trade balance. This is what is called a “trade deficit”. We make and export far less than we import and consume and this has had a huge impact on our economy and current inability to pull ourselves out of the recession. And the need for imports just keeps rising as our capacity to manufacture those items keeps disappearing. The hauling, sorting and delivering of all these foreign-made goods has evolved into a fast-growing, high-tech, high-profit industry. On that end, those that profit from this business are hard pressed to slow it down or correct the imbalance and this is also a huge part of our current picture.

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From The Ocean Project:

The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport, and now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.

But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea.

There can be no doubt that our world is getting warmer. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years. By examining growth rings from trees and ice cores drilled in Antarctica, scientists have determined that the past decade was the warmest in more than four centuries, and that the current rate of warming is probably unprecedented in at least 10,000 years. In 1992, the more than 2500 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the warming is caused at least in part by emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use. As the world warms, the outlook for marine wildlife looks bleak unless we can turn down the heat by reducing concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

The startling changes already beginning to affect marine life may turn out to be merely the tip of iceberg. Global warming is predicted to worsen rapidly, with average annual temperatures expected to increase by about 3 degrees C by the middle of the next century. Changes of this speed and magnitude could set off a chain reaction in marine ecosystems with truly appalling consequences for life in the sea and for human communities that depend on it. However, if we act now to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power stations and from vehicle exhausts, we stand a good chance of slowing the warming and helping to save a healthy ocean for future generations.

To read more about this serious issue, go to: The Facts .

To sign a petition for the U.N. to designate this day, June 8, as World Oceans Day worldwide go HERE .


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This has been a huge issue for quite awhile now, with attention drawn to the numbers of fish in decline and the habitual overfishing for profit. I can remember a time here in my hometown when we could fish for whatever we wanted to, no quotas, no questions asked. But there were Trout and Redfish in the rivers and canals. Today, you are hard pressed to find either fish that is longer than a few inches. All the big guys are gone and all that’s left are their babies. It’s questionable how many of the newborns survive.

Now, this issue has spread out onto the world stage. The EU Ministers have now agreed to some changes in the fishing quotas, expanding the Cod quotas by 30% on the one hand and then limiting catches for other species with the other. The quotas have come about as a compromise between environmental groups and fishermen. The environmental groups are alarmed as they watch fish just disappear from the oceans, rivers and lakes. But fishermen are suffering a mighty struggle for survival with reduced catches, competitive markets and shrinking quotas.

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I have another cool method of generating energy. There are researchers who are trying to harvest energy from various sources that are now working with a power generator that works in slow moving currents where traditional turbines have not worked effectively. This means that tidal streams and slow moving rivers in the US could generate something like 140 BILLION killowatt-hours per year or about 3.5% of our entire electricity demand. This is all according to the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute).

In the past, most efforts to tap energy from slow moving current have used underwater windmills that use the force of the lift to turn their blades. This is because we have usually tapped air for energy and use it support boats and other water devices. But when you watch the way fish use water to propel themselves, you realize that they create vortices in the water that allow them to push off and propel themselves forward. This is why they are currently referring to this application as fish as fuel. But it has nothing to do with using actual fish as a source of fuel. Nobody is grinding up fish and putting it in an engine somewhere.

When researchers realized that these natural vortices could be used to drive generators, a new concept for creating energy emerged. A group of researchers have now created a machine called the VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy) and yes I know it sounds sort of funky and even kinda geeky. But the cylinders in this new machine oscillate up and down in actual moving water. This is a first. It is especially exciting because the device works naturally in the marine environment and is non invasive.

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This is fascinating stuff and I just have to present it. It seems that a team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming. This is absolutely amazing but they are offering some convincing findings in their research. Imagine such a thing; an end to global warming. Just like that.

The researchers making this claim, working from aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Doesn’t this seem like the Earth cleaning itself? Is it possible that it actually does this?

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A 25 year study by Welsh scientists has recently concluded and suggests climate change might be hampering the recovery of Earth’s rivers from the effects of acid rainfall.

This research study was conducted by Cardiff University Professor Steve Ormerod and biosciences researcher Isabelle Durance. The effort was undertaken in Wales and studied 14 middle-Wales rivers, involving the assessment of the number and variety of insects present each year in these rivers. The scientists said they also measured concentrations of acid and other aspects of stream chemistry.

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Bluefin Tuna. You know what they are. They are delicious, they cherished, they are expensive. And in huge demand worldwide. The Japanese, in particular, prize them above all other fish for use in sushi and sashimi. But so great is the Japanese demand that it is driving fisherman to pursue catches that go well beyond what scientists consider to be safe limits. In this effort, they are also driving the Bluefin Tuna towards commercial extinction.

It is imperative that we make every effort to save this fish, however, a vital opportunity to pull the bluefin back from the brink was missed when the official body charged with preventing the stock from collapsing agreed to allow catch quotas for 2009 far higher than its own scientists recommended. Does this anger you? It should. Even with a chorus of protests and expressed dismay from conservationists, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas ( ICCAT), meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, endorsed a total allowable catch (TAC) of 22,000 tonnes for next year – while ICCAT’s own scientists had recommended a TAC ranging from 8,500 to 15,000 tonnes per year, warning there were real risks of the fishery collapsing otherwise.

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