Plastic straws might have quickly become this summer’s bogeyman, with bans by Starbucks, hotel chains, resorts and some big cities. But as this week’s TipSheet points out, straws are only a part of the massive marine litter problem facing the world’s oceans. Here’s how to put recent straw bans into broader perspective.
Australia & Oceania
"HANGA ROA, Easter Island — The human bones lay baking in the sun. It wasn’t the first time Hetereki Huke had stumbled upon an open grave like this one. For years, the swelling waves had broken open platform after platform containing ancient remains."
While environmental themes were less prominent at the Sundance Film Festival this year, our correspondent JoAnn Valenti unearthed ecological messages from documentaries that explore the emergence of climate change refugees in the face of sea level rise, the escape from modernity into wilderness and the confrontation of environmental threats by young innovators.
"Joleah Lamb began her career as a coral biologist on the Great Barrier Reef. Every now and then she’d note a scrap of plastic as she swam through. But when she started studying reefs in Asia, she came across a completely different level of detritus."
"Male sea turtles are disappearing from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef."
"The Great Barrier Reef is literally being eaten alive. Deadly starfish are feasting on parts of the world’s largest reef system, which is already threatened by rising ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said on Friday."
"Coral bred in one part of the Great Barrier Reef was successfully transplanted into another area, Australian scientists said Sunday, in a project they hope could restore damaged ecosystems around the world."
"Rising seas caused by climate change are seeping inside a United States nuclear waste dump on a remote and low-lying Pacific atoll, flushing out radioactive substances left behind from some of the world’s largest atomic weapons tests."
"The people of Kiribati face a choice: Move to land in another country or try to build resilience off the coconut trade — for as long as their islands are livable."
"Vanuatu has launched a Dunkirk-style evacuation on the northern island of Ambae as a flotilla of boats rescues islanders from an erupting volcano that has polluted many of the island’s sources of drinking water."