News and Research Stories

August 27, 2012

New measure of ocean health for nature and humans

Scott Doney, Rashid Sumaila

photo: Rasilon

When measuring ocean health, both nature and people need to be treated as integrated parts of marine systems. To this end, Scott Doney (2004) and Rashid Sumaila (2009) helped create a comprehensive index to assess the benefits of healthy oceans to humans. While most ecosystem assessments focus on the negative impacts of humans on nature, this index considers people as a major part of the solution, and seeks to offer a better system for thinking about how to manage the ocean. Doney hopes that it "will get people to think about tradeoffs and establish a healthy dialog about the future of the ocean."

August 16, 2012

Sustainable seafood: healthy for people and oceans

Leah Gerber

Sustainable seafood is good both for the ocean environment and human health. In the first analysis of its kind, Leah Gerber (2011) and her colleagues brought together several types of sustainability rankings, along with species-specific health metrics, including omega-3 fatty acid and mercury content. The team hopes that the results will help inform consumers about the health risks and benefits of different seafood choices, while addressing the ecological impacts of fishing and fish farming. “We want to help people choose fish that are both eco-friendly and healthy,” Gerber says.

August 9, 2012

Canada's energy strategy: decision-making needed for the long haul

Joe Arvai

For Joe Arvai (2011), an energy strategy provides decision-making support in the way a financial planner helps clients with investments. Under circumstances where each decision-maker has different objectives and tolerance for risk, it's critical to have a mechanism for making difficult and interrelated choices over time, rather than focusing on a particular outcome at a single point. To be a world leader in energy strategy, Canada needs to build a more sensible, credible and defensible decision-making process instead of focusing on a single energy development approach, Arvai says.

July 31, 2012

"Homegrown" fuels for economy and sustainability

Madhu Khanna

A policy promoting cost-effective, low-carbon "homegrown" fuels as alternatives to oil could benefit the US economy as well as the environment. Madhu Khanna (2009) and her colleagues propose a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which would provide flexibility to energy companies to meet national carbon reduction targets using any mix of fuels they want. Recognizing that the scientific consensus on climate change cannot motivate all stakeholders, they highlight the standard as "a major win for American consumers, businesses, and farmers, with large positive effects on our economy and our national security in the long run."

July 26, 2012

Call for swift action to save the Antarctic

Diana Wall

photo: Jens Bludau

Experts in everything on the Antarctic terrestrial and marine environments, including Diana Wall (1999), got together for the first time, and have articulated issues of urgency in the region. Stress on Antarctic ecosystems and species are increasing due to climate change and growing interest in the region's resources. The group emphasizes the need for better ways to use scientific information and speedy decision-making in the policy arena to address these challenges. All Antarctic visitors, operators, and national programs must take action, they say.