The Earth’s oceans often come with some impressive statistics. Water covers 71 percent of the planet’s surface, and our seas and rivers home to 50-80 percent of our biodiversity. But our oceans and waterways often come with some less desirable statistics: there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, one third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction and the ocean is warming at a rate of around 0.15 to 0.20°C per decade.
But, some of the solutions to these issues can perhaps also be found at sea. At RESET, we covered a number of innovative technologies intimately connected to our oceans and rivers.
As humans tamed rivers and waterways, they also intruded into the natural cycles of many fish species. Hydroelectric dams in particular have often blocked traditional migration and spawning routes. Solutions such as fish-ladders have been devised, but how effective are they actually? The ‘Fitbit for Fish’ wants to find out just how stressful these new journeys are for the fish who make them.
One side-effect of there being less whales, is there being less whale poo. But it turns out whale excrement plays a fundamental and important role in the natural cycle of the ocean. A laboratory is now using bio-mimicry to add artificial whale faeces to the seas.
Ocean dumping is not usually seen as a potential way to help the planet, but one project is doing just that. By sinking corn waste deep into the ocean, where it will take centuries to decompose, researchers hope to lock carbon away for the long term. But could there be a danger of the ocean depths becoming the Earth’s new trash heap?
Offshore wind has the potential to become a huge energy resource. But tapping into it comes with many issues. Although the wind is more reliable over the seas and oceans, its also stronger and potentially dangerous to turbines. A new radical design to turbine looks to change this.