Oceans

Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

CONTINUE READING

Deferred Planetary Maintenance

It’s easy to put off long-term problems when there’s a crisis.  Much too easy, actually.

Long-term problems get short shrift in a crisis. That’s true of infrastructure repair; it’s also true of climate change.  Like deferred maintenance, climate change just gets bigger the longer it’s put off. I often see the fruits of deferred maintenance on the Berkeley campus. Building conditions are a huge problem at Berkeley. Whenever there’s a …

CONTINUE READING

Conference on the Ocean’s Role in Sustainable Food Production

U.C. Davis Will Host Cutting-Edge Event on September 16-17, 2019

U.C. Davis’ Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute, in conjunction with the UCD School of Law’s California Environmental Law & Policy Center, will host an important and timely conference on September 16-17, 2019.  “The Ocean’s Role in Sustainable Food Production” will offer an in-depth, interdisciplinary look at current scientific, economic, social, legal and governance issues surrounding …

CONTINUE READING

Single-Use Plastics Need Comprehensive Federal Legislation

Less than 10 percent of the world’s plastic waste is recycled. Photo credit: Bo Eide, Flickr

Despite state and local action, more effective reduction of single-use plastics must come from Congress.

Editor’s note: this article was originally published in The Regulatory Review on February 13, 2019. Plastic pollution appears to be arising ever more frequently in the news. Companies like Starbucks have announced voluntary steps to rid their stores of plastic straws. China is wielding its “National Sword” policy, which places restrictions on the amount and type of plastic waste it …

CONTINUE READING

Plastics and our Future

How to turn off the plastics spout?

Kudos to National Geographic for its stunner of an issue on plastics and the environmental harms they cause. As this latest report and many other recent stories make clear, we are drowning in plastics. Bits of plastic have been found in beer, in major brands of bottled water, in 75% of deep sea fish, in …

CONTINUE READING

The science of the Anthropocene

Human impacts on global natural systems are large and diverse

Climate change is well known now as a major impact of humans on the planet.  But climate change is only one of a wide range of ways in which humans are dramatically changing natural systems at the regional, continental and planetary levels. For instance, greenhouse gas emissions are the driver of anthropogenic climate change.  But …

CONTINUE READING

Obama Administration Releases National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

Yesterday, the National Ocean Council released the Obama Administration’s much anticipated plan for implementing the National Ocean Policy.  The newly released National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan identifies practical, efficient, and responsible actions that Federal agencies will take to support healthy, productive, and resilient ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters, thriving coastal communities, and a robust, …

CONTINUE READING

Poll Shows Vast Majority of Americans Favor Sea-Level Rise Adaptation. Now, Time to Start Planning.

Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and the Center for Ocean Solutions recently released the results of a survey finding that the majority of Americans favor proactive sea-level rise adaptation actions. According to the survey results (margin of error: +/- 4.9% at the 95 percent confidence level), 82 percent of the Americans surveyed said …

CONTINUE READING

What’s New on the Seven Seas?

The scientific journal Nature reports on two recent research findings.  One is bad news.  I think the other is good news, but not everyone will agree. The first report (the bad news) is a reminder that ecological harm is a cumulative process: The [new] study suggests that the cold weather was the first of three …

CONTINUE READING

Preserving U.S. Fisheries: A Bipartisan Pipe Dream?

President Obama’s call in his 2012 State of the Union address for a new spirit of bipartisanship brought to mind a recent Washington Post article on current federal efforts to preserve U.S. fisheries. In what qualifies as a rare “good news” story involving federal environmental policy, that article reports that the Obama Administration is poised to …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING