Green Water Increase in Lakes and Oceans, EPA Leader Thinks Climate Change Will Benefit Humans and The Queen Bans Plastic Straws

By February 9, 2018 Ocean Talk
Great Lakes Eutrophication, Climate Change Warming, Plastic Pollution

speakupforblue_podcast

Transcript

Note: The transcript is generated from an AI machine and may not be completely accurate.

Links to the Stories:
1) Great Lakes and Mediterranean Sea under high levels of Eutrophication
2) EPA Head, Scott Pruitt, says Climate Change will be good for humans

Hey everybody welcome back to this big blue pod cast. I’m your host Andrew Lewin. Today’s Ocean talk Friday I am very very excited. We have Lin Morissette who is on the program. She’s going to give us her opinions on the articles that we’re going to cover. But first before we do I want to talk to you about. The IMCC5, International Marine Conservation Congress. It’s happening this June from June 24th to June 29th and abstract submissions are open. It’s in Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia. You have to be there. This is a place that just brings a lot of people together and it is it’s not just the people it’s the type of people that come you end up making calls like lifelong colleagues and lifelong friends. And don’t just take it from me but take it from our very own Nathan Johnson. I asked him to do a little something about his first experience at IMCC4. So here he is talking about IMCC5. Check this out.

Hey Everyone, it’s Nate from the speaker from Blue podcast I want to just take some time to give a quick pitch for the IMCC 5 or the International Marine Conservation Congress. It’s happening from June 24th to the 29th in Sarawak Malaysia. This is the fifth International Marine Conservation Congress of the Society for Conservation Biology hosted and it really brings together quite personally the widest variety of marine conservation people that I’ve ever seen under one roof. You folks from academia from the NGO world private industry government you have entrepreneurs writers science communicators. Marketers practitioners funders I could go on and on but people from so many different walks of life and so many different industries coming together all to discuss how we can better protect and manage our oceans. The first one that I attended was AMCC for in 2016 and I met some fantastic people folks who are now considered good friends. And it really helped me position my own career and helped me get to where I am professionally as well. So if any of this piques your interest definitely check out IMCC5 on Twitter and I’ll link you to the Web site which has information on the conference registration travel grants flight information all that good stuff. It’s definitely worth your time.

See he knows what he’s talking about. He knows what he likes. He knows what he wants. He knows what’s good for his career if you know it’s good for your career you want to share information you want to sort of push the marine conservation field along. You want to push the boundaries you want to see what goes on in these conferences. Build your network and just enjoy great presentations great people and the Great Place of Malaysia. I can’t wait to go submit abstracts go to IMCC5 dot com to go and there on the home page there’s a little place to submit your Abstract get your employer to get you over there if you’re a student there are travel grants for everything you can just go take a look. I am CC five dot com. It’s going to be a great place guys we got a great show for you tonight or today I should say tonight we’re recording tonight but today is going to be a lot of fun but we’re going to talk about a lot of things we’re untouchable plastic we’re going to talk about Scott Pruitt the head of the EPA and the blandish things that he said this time. We’re also going to talk about the Great Lakes and the ocean and they have something in common right now which is not a good thanks. We’re going to talk about that on today’s episode and don’t forget this is the start of a conversation. Go to Facebook go to the Facebook group join if you haven’t joined. Speak up for blue dot com for its last group.

Let’s get started with the show. If you are sick of hearing of the WTO not knowing what to do. You’re in the right place. If you want to meet people working to protect the ocean then you’re in the right place. If you want to find out how you can get involved you are in the right place. This is a podcast and I’m here to empower you to live better.

Hey everybody welcome back to another exciting episode of the Speak Up For blue podcast. I’m your host Andrew Lewin founders speak out for blue dot com marine ecologist and self-proclaimed ocean painter and today people it is ocean talk Friday. What do we love to do on ocean talk Friday. We love to bring on our friend my friend Dr. Lynn multistep.

Linda how are you doing. Hi I’m doing great. It’s always a pleasure. I’m so happy when we ocean Friday together.

It’s so much fun right. We get to talk about the ocean like you have if we get to do it every day but we get to talk about the ocean. It’s always. So. So we’ve got a great show today and we’re going to talk about some things you want to talk about. A lot of initiatives that are going on about plastic. Are all the Banning’s drugs that we’re going to end the show on that. Because I feel that that’s the good news of today what has to end with something positive. Always had the buzz of it I love it. I love that idea. But we’re going to go on with something a little bit more drastic but we need to talk about it and that is it. There was an article in and this is interesting so I get my articles I get my stories from Flipboard. I’m not sure if you ever use the every line of Flipboard amazing right now though on my mobile app I just go and I start searching through stories and you know it’s it knows enough it knows me enough now that it knows to just give me the regular stories right. Like the ocean stories are that wives learns through the process rather sure it does kind of scary at the same time. But but very good at this. So I just get basically I just get sports politics and ocean stuff which is kind of cool. And and I do get I have to admit I do have a little bit of a guilty pleasure I get some celebrity gossip.

Every once in a while all of our celebrity gossip. But you know it’s something that you know you get so you get these these you get stories from you know the Guardian and things like that. But you don’t always get stories from sites that you know you always read. This one is from an dark dot org. It’s called truth beauty and science as the tagline. And it came up with like an essay an opinion on eutrophication climate change and our oceans and lakes and it really focused in on the Mediterranean Ocean and the Great Lakes and the Mount of unification that’s been seen happening in the Great Lakes and the Mediterranean Sea. Both of these water bodies have been seeing some some increases in eutrophication lately especially in Lake Erie for the Great Lakes and the Mediterranean Sea. I guess it’s along the coast but there has been some major this article goes through some major things.

It talks about the history of the Mediterranean Sea and 1000 years ago or the Mediterranean Sea became severely oxygen starved between 300 and 1500 metres and lost all oxygen or became anoxic below that it wasn’t warming that caused the auctions decline then as it is happening today in today’s ocean. But the amplification of the African monsoon which drove intense flooding of the Nile river full of nutrients from decomposing organic matter. So that was back then. Now we’re seeing warming and we’re seeing anoxic conditions sort of come back. To these areas where you get a lot of dead zones and I’ve had episodes where I’ve talked about dead zones on this podcast and that I really focus in on the Mississippi River dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico dead zone because I’ve had actual experience working in now water body as part of a team for basic like six six or seven months. But essentially what happens is you get an influx of nutrients into streams and that they are all empty in those streams all empty into the water body whether it be the Great Lakes whether it be the Mediterranean Sea it doesn’t matter all that stuff comes out in the spring you get this phytoplankton bloom because you get the heat from the spring you get the nutrients coming in. It feeds the phytoplankton the sunlight and the heat. Just makes this phytoplankton bloom and you get this massive bloom. Now depending on the mixing.

And the wind factor usually in the spring it’s OK. But once the summer hits the phytoplankton die. Because they have a short lifespan the fireplace die they sink to the bottom. And unless that water body is well mixed. You can get a real problem because once that phytoplankton sinks the bacteria at the bottom of the waterbed or the ocean or the water column essentially break down the phytoplankton and then they use up oxygen when they break it down. Now there’s a lot of phytoplankton there you’re using more and more oxygen and if that water doesn’t mix from the bottom to the top like a lot of places in the summer especially tropical areas where the wind dies down which is what causes a lot of it which causes the mixing then that oxygen that auction deplete part just stays there in a lot of times it stays within the one point five metre area of like just one point five metres above the ground in that area for all. For most of the summer when you get this what we call a dead zone quote unquote dead zone which means oxygen depleted below what life can actually handle. Now over the long term if that happens you know you’re not going to get any reproduction down there. You know things don’t develop down there things can die or they become survival mode so you get lower reproduction rates. It’s just not a good sign for anything whether it doesn’t matter whether you’re in freshwater or in the ocean salt water in the ocean. So I think you need.

You know we need to really be aware of that and the article that I that I looked at last time and I think this is very similar is a very similar thing that there’s two factors that are really contributing to. Dead zones in the ocean. One is on an overall basis is climate change and what happens is as the waters heat they hold less oxygen. So colder waters hold more oxygen because that’s where it is oxygen rich but warm waters hold less options are using less oxygen in the water. Then you have nutrients which really. Start to take away the oxygen based on what I just explained earlier and we’re seeing that especially along the coastlines and so a lot of the coastlines will have dead zones. Now there has been an increase in dead zones all around the world and especially in the Mediterranean and especially in Lake Erie in the Great Lakes. But you know what.

Go ahead. I just read something earlier and you know that’s one of the points I made for every kind of issue in terms of marine conservation. But there is no way more and more these these trends and these kind of issues that we have in terms of enthronement happening everywhere. So when I am I’m hearing in along the coast of the St. Lawrence in Quebec and I talk about ocean acidification or dead zones for example. Well now I can come up with studies that shows that even in my area there are some some of the dead zones. So there is no way anymore. So that’s that’s super interesting in the way in the sense that it’s great to have a global thinking and a global overview of what’s happening on the planet. You have to always keep in mind that. Yeah as long as that like with the fact that we can document these things better for some areas more and more you can basically have an example of a local example of all that.

Absolutely. And it really comes down to you know having monitoring programs in the coastal areas to ensure that your coast is not going through this type of dead zone thing is you identify a property. Now what’s interesting in this article is they go through the history of Lake Erie and back in the 1970s eutrophication fuelled enormous plumes of cyanobacteria where it with the warm shallow waters of Lake Erie is a western basin. So winds and currents drove them eastward into the Central Basin and Cleveland suburban and urban sprawl. And so you’ve got a lot of you know back in the 70s you just had major eutrophication but a lot of it was from these point sources. So from sewage outfalls and just different discharges that were going right into the right into the Great Lakes. Now of course you remember well as we grew up Linda we heard Lake Erie at one point set itself on fire because it was so toxic. But it also went through a lot of changes. And because you know governments got together Canadian and American side and they had a binational agreement and they came up and said look we need to manage these points sources to decrease the amount of pollution that goes into the water. Lake Erie got clean within the 80s and the 90s Lake area was clean. Then the major problem had been destroyed.

The eutrophication started to happen again and now it’s at probably the same level if not more of it than it was in the 70s and now they’re saying it’s not because of the point sources but it’s because of the non-point sources it’s the fertilizers and the nutrients that are used on on farmland. And especially in Lake Erie there’s a lot of farmland rich farmland and. You know that all that fertilizer is coming in from non-point source so you can’t really manage it at a point when you have you know something at the end of the pipe. You know engineers usually manage to pipe. Yeah exactly engineers will go to the regular and say what what do you want that number to be like what the what’s the the phosphorus number. What’s the nature and the number you want to be at the end of that pipe and the regulators give it and they say okay we’re going to we’re going to fix it. So it becomes that number or below that numbers boobs problem solved. Non-point sources you don’t know where they’re entering from. And it’s very hard to manage. So that’s what we’re going through right now in the Great Lakes and because we’re getting a lot of unification we’re going to get a lot of dead zones from that especially in the summer so these are big problems. But for me. Linda I know you probably feel the same way. This is something that could be managed. Right. And I think it’s something that could be cleaned up pretty quickly through proper management proper planning. I’ve done some work on the Great Lakes and I find the planning. Of the Great Lakes is not done very well. It’s very disconnected in what I mean by that is there are a lot of monitoring programs there are a lot of people involved there’s a lot of policymakers involved.

But there are lots of provinces or states involved as well. So a lot yeah there’s a lot of challenges to work together and make these ways of managing that cannot be necessarily all the same. Like I completely agree and I think.

You know. You know with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the they’re coming up with a need they had they just renewed the agreement. They’re coming up with new programs are coming up with a framework and nearshore framework to really manage the oceans and really manage the Great Lakes. But it’s really still not enough there’s not really one major plan. Like almost like a Marine Spatial Plan but for the Great Lakes plan just sort of designating areas for certain and for certain activities just like you would in a marine reserve. So certain activities whether it be industrial whether it be environmental protection or anything like that. And just because there’s not really legislation to do that in the Great Lakes which is really weird. I mean I think that is one of the major problems the other thing is you’re right there is up there I think there are seven states that border along the Great Lakes there’s one province instead of Ontario that has the borders along the Great Lakes but. Most of it in the States is very it’s very state oriented like it’s a number of different states. Now they’re working well together but it’s a lot of different departments and I’ve worked in that situation before with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and there’s a lot of people involved but they’re all adamant about doing it. Now of course with. The way. The governments are acting right now it becomes very difficult. EPA has used which is usually like Environment Canada.

It’s kind of equivalent to Environment Canada where they manage the planning activities have really taken a step back and we didn’t know really where they’re at right now with that. But you know it’s this government in the U.S. is very pro industry so it can be very difficult to sort of clean up. Anything and get management resources and environmental regulations when you have when we’re going to talk about a second person in charge of the EPA who you know doesn’t really believe that the that the EPA is there to stop businesses which is which is going to be very difficult to manage when you’re trying to manage the environment so. But what are your opinions on this line like what do you think needs to be done especially for the Great Lakes that’s more home for us. What do you think needs to be done. Well first of all I think you know it’s I always talked about this but we can be optimistic in the sense that.

It was way worse than that especially in Lake Erie and then we proved that we can the hence and treat it like make the situation better. So I think one of the challenge is probably that kind of working together. And you know it’s already something to put seven different states to work together because some of these matters are are managed at the state level. But then you have two different countries and especially now with the different governments that we have. It’s it’s challenging but at the same time it’s great in the sense that you know I can get the point. That is for some people economy is way more important and they can see most end run mental moves or issues like like a threat for the economy. It’s not everyone who wakes up in the morning wanting to save the oceans or wanting to save the planet and that’s OK. But you know having that. Instead of seeing the challenging we can kind of twist this as opportunities. And I think having these different kinds of states or governments that might not have all the same goals are all the same priorities could be a way to. It’s challenging but in the same at the same time it could be a way to see the different angles of the issue and come up with something creative in terms of solutions. So yeah there’s always a way to. See a positive side on everything. And I think that’s it. And what makes me really. Sort of enthusiastic about it even though it’s it’s worrying.

And as I said it’s happening everywhere and this is a good example in the Great Lakes but I think we could basically talk about any area of the world and it would be the same. But what makes me optimistic is that it would work. It was worth worst and we managed after the 1990s to make the situation better. So yeah.

Yeah. That makes sense I mean. You know it takes a while to fix because there’s so many people involved. It’s going to take a while for it to work. You know and I think these things take time. But definitely the studies that come out I think this was an article in Science. The has come out really help us identify where the problems are.

And it’s really important to have these studies to help us you know remind us of the problems that we are seeing because of with that like we don’t know the point of entry so that that urge to actually do more research about making sure we understand the dynamics of the ecosystem and even though we cannot pinpoint exactly where it comes from we need to know how it affects the mechanics of the whole ecosystem in the food web and everything. Yeah. No I completely agree.

And that’s great. That’s our first story. Let’s get it to the next story. OK so this is an interesting one like I mentioned before Scott Pruitt who is the head of the EPA. You know he’s taken it a little bit of a turn in terms of what he thinks of climate change or what he calls global warming. In the past he’s denied global warming or he’s denied not necessarily that the Earth is warming. He’s denied the fact that. Humans have had an effect on the earth.

What he just doesn’t deny that the earth was round was spherical. No I’ve never seen that not bad. To be honest it wouldn’t surprise me if he did but he’s changed his tune lately because now. He says that he’s not necessarily denying that global warming or climate change or whatever he wants to call it but he’s saying that actually he thinks that.

The world the earth warming will actually benefit more than than anything. The that the temperature that are that are predicted in the future are essentially just just good news. Yeah they’re just well he’s just saying like he doesn’t believe that he doesn’t believe that we can predict the temperature in 2100. He doesn’t believe that in 100 years he doesn’t think that these models and the scientific models can actually predict what the sea level is going to be like. He just he’s taking away the science he’s just like yeah well it’s actually going to be good for us and I think what he means by that is that. There’s going to be a lot more melting of ice there’s going to be a lot more so the North. Is going to free is going to unfreeze the South is going on for him and for him the way he thinks and I’m and I’m just thinking for him right now and this is the way I’m thinking is that he probably thinks that if we go north and so that will be easier to exploit natural resources because that’s what he’s all about in the past he was a lawyer thing for. I think it was Oklahoma.

Or something like that somewhere in the south. But he sued the EPA for a number of time because he thought that they were sticking their hands in business that they shouldn’t be and he represented I think he was the attorney general for Alabama or Oklahoma somewhere down south. And he sued the EPA because he thought that they were very overprotecting there too much in the environment when they were and they were stopping natural resource development from happening. And that was that was against you know the Constitution and they shouldn’t be doing that.

I’m not sure if you ever won. I don’t think he ever won but now he’s the head of the EPA. This is a guy who says that the EPA should not exist in the past and now he’s the head of BPA.

And during that time he has taken advisory boards and he’s taken scientific highly regarded scientific experts off those advisory boards and replaced them with industry professionals. Now I don’t have a problem with putting industry professionals on advisory boards for the EPA. I think it’s actually a great thing you bring all the stakeholders together. But that doesn’t mean that you take those of the scientific experts and you and you remove them. You still need the scientific experts experts.

And not just because they’re experts because they know the information that’s going on they know that they’re in the know they have a big network of people within science and they know the science. And I think that’s really important. But these guys don’t care about them. But now he’s just changed his tune he’s basically saying well you know. He says we know humans have flourished during times of warming trends. There are assumptions made that because the climate is warming that is necessarily that is necessarily a bad thing. So he’s trying to say that look it’s not all bad. We’re never really in the article here in the garden they never really say that it’s. It’s it’s a what. What is going to benefit. But he just won’t he’s just basically saying no we’re going to flourish in this because it’s going to be warmer and warmer is better. Well he must be he must not be watching the news because warmer wildfires and the way that you are so polite. Yeah I’ll try to be but I mean you know there’s wildfires on the west coast of the U.S. Puerto Rico is still without power and is devastated a number of other islands are also devastated like 90 percent of their buildings are on the ground.

Dominika same Artane those types of islands. You know we’re seeing flooding where we’ve never seen before these we’ve seen increases of a hurricane which is causing terrible damage and loss of life. And trillions of dollars.

To repair the damage that these storms caused. Science has pointed to the fact that these are caused by climate change and this guy thinks that climate change. Is going to be a benefit to humans. But he hasn’t really said why. Now something else that I think is very interesting.

I’ll get your opinions there but I want to know. I know your feelings on this. Perusing the I said that you know this is such a political situation that he wants to have a debate. Between like democratic. Scientists. And Republican scientists. To debate whether the on the merit of climate change. You know is climate change caused by humans because what he says is that you know there are always a lot of these Republican politicians that are part of the administration are the Trump administration are basically saying a lot of stuff saying that well look the science doesn’t necessarily point to humans that are actually you know are actually causing climate change whereas there’s a number of evidence that’s been published and made apparent that.

You know it is. And so he wants to have a debate.

On TV. He wants to have a debate about that which I think is kind of fun.

And then we have of course good old Trump who went on TV a couple of weeks ago and basically said that you know climate change is bogus it’s a hoax. Apparently the ice sheets are setting records and the amount of ice on mountains or the ice caps are setting records. But he never actually mentioned if those records were high or low and people were quick to say that’s just a small detail he just didn’t say if they’re high or low. Right. It’s like. I don’t know. It’s just you know it’s like I could say Oh yeah well you know the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL have won a lot of Stanley Cups. Sure they have but they haven’t won the last like 60 some odd years. So. What’s really the last like 40 years. So you know let’s just look at it from a real perspective here. You know this administration just doesn’t.

They just don’t get it. And they’re going to deny deny deny or try and. You know distract as much as possible from the actual issues so that you can get all of their policies through. So Lynn what’s what’s your opinion on this on this bogus guy.

That’s right that was my opinion just decides oh no. But you know. Well you know my background in fact since my master’s degrees in the system modeling. I know about models and. I mean not to trust models and especially climate models and the way they are built is is. Such an easy argument to use when you don’t know how it works. And you know it’s. It’s easy to say I don’t believe in the models but. The basic first step when you do any kind of modeling and I that ecosystem modeling but you know it’s true for climate models and everything is to quantify the level the level of uncertainty about. Every simulation and prediction you’re making. And it’s just a prediction but it comes with the worst case scenario and a best case scenario. And you know usually when you for example when you’re modeling to predict or to simulate a trend in time then you will just have. A line on a graph showing like okay in 2075 it’s gonna be three point six two. It’s a band of possible values. So it’s it’s just like mothering 101. So. Even when the mother is not completely right. You get you get a sense of that addressing the uncertainty of the model. And every time they are talking about these climate models it come it it comes with that. Acknowledgement that there is uncertainty around the predictions. But. Even with them like even with that uncertainty. A trend is a trend. I mean you can’t have a worst case scenario in the best case scenario.

But even in the best case scenario here climate change even in the best case scenario exists for real. So. It’s such an easy and and not useful argument to say we don’t believe in these models. And plus there are many models. You know they saw so much want to make sure that they are not completely out with their predictions that they use different models with different assumptions and they all come to the same kind of eye. It will come to the exact same values. What will happen in 2015 or 20 54. But it all goes in the same direction and that direction is climate change. Climate is changing and the temperature on global warming warning exists. And. And. Another thing that is so easy and kind of childish is to act I could say oh I have lots of snow this year in my my backyard. So climate change doesn’t exist because wow I never saw I never saw that much snow. It’s not as simple as that. And you know some people like these kind of people that are a day ahead of really important organizations should know better than that.

Yeah I think it’s also I mean it’s the difference between weather and climate. Exactly. A weather change is more on the day to day kind of thing where climate is a more long term trend and people don’t understand it and it doesn’t matter who you are. You know if you if you don’t understand those two terms it’s really easy to cast doubt on climate change but it’s just a lack of understanding and this is why we do podcasts like this is to educate people on the differences of those so that when a politician does pull that kind of stuff like one of the senators I think are from Alabama or Oklahoma. And I always get those two mixed up but brought a snowball into the Senate saying hey it’s snowing out here and I just had this huge there’s so much snow in Washington. You know he didn’t look at the map for the world and looked at how high the temperature was above normal for the. And of course he does it during a time where it was like the highest temperature in three years in a row.

Yeah. Higher and higher. So I think it’s it’s a lack of education on it from people and not just like not a formal education just No it’s not for lack of education it’s a lack of will to actually understand like it.

They don’t want to see it. It’s not as if they don’t have the opportunity or access to debt that they close their eyes on it.

Yeah I think yeah it’s true. I think the politicians do. I think. When you talk about the general public I really do because I’ve talked to a couple of people like. You know I remember talking to a friend of mine she was like oh look the weather is you know it’s cold and they keep talking about global warming and I explained I said global warming is not necessarily in times like during the winter you’re always going to get warming over the overall trend are going to get warming. Well the tides are going to get colder now. But if you look at the entire map of the entire world you will see a warming general warming certain places you’re going to see cooling but most of the place you’re going to see a warming and the end. And it’s a change in weather patterns and that’s what’s changing the world. It’s going to change not only just the environment but change. And that’s where again the politicians they just don’t want to add money and then they were here and they were here listen to you for sure and I think also you’re getting people like this in an administration that is that is a stubborn Administration because they’re saying we need to go this way. With fossil fuels. And we can’t go any other way. It’s all fossil fuels are nothing. And I think the stubborn part is they won’t change their mind like another government like if a government came in and said Look. You know we need to really address this. Like when Obama first came into his.

His presidency the first term he wasn’t necessarily all for climate change. He never really had a lot of policies when he first came in until like late in his first and in the second that he really started to listen to the scientists and understand what that was. Now of course he was trying to get out of a recession so I’m sure he was busy with other things but the facts are there. The point is he’s remained focused on listening to the experts that were in the government and outside the government within the U.S.. Because they’re very good. And listening to what they had to say. And he not only listened to the expert he listened to the Naval of the naval people like the military. He listened to you know the scientific societies listen to all those people who then basically made a conclusion based off of that drum is silencing the scientists. And and and basically taking away the programs that fight climate change are supposed to help reduce climate change. And and and doubling down on coal and other food you know deleterious fossil fuels for the for the environment because he just doesn’t care and his administration is definitely a reflection of his lack of care for the MRM. Well you know I think just to add that a famous quote that he once said in order to get heard by the government that is in place right now in the U.S. I think you have to grab them by the pocket of talk money with them and then they will listen but like they don’t care about the environment and.

To a certain extent I can say that I can accept that some people don’t have the same priorities that I have. And that’s OK. We need to figure out a way to find that common ground and get hurt. And I think the only way right now with the government in place is to talk money. Put a dollar sign on that. You know. Why I think it’s also. It’s also.

They’re not listening. I don’t think this this this. Administration is going to listen. To that aspect. I think where you’re going to get it is you’re going to you’re going to get to the Congress people and the senators Republican or Democrat because there are Republicans who are very much for the environment. And so I think that’s where you’re going to get it and that’s where you’re going to make the change. Of course with this 2018 midterm election coming up. You know hopefully it will be more democratic so that will be harder to pass through these policies. Now of course the president has the authority to do executive orders. So we’ll see how that kind of comes comes in place. But. You know I think I think this is going to be a very hard four years or three more years before this next election coming up to get anything through. What you could do is work on congresspeople and senators to try and stop things because there seems to be a resistance within those two governments. It doesn’t matter what party against some of the part the president’s plan. So let’s see how that happens but it’s going to be a fight. There’s no doubt it’s going to be a fight. And until someone else is in power whether it be Republican or Democrat like Trump’s adminstration.

It’s just going to be a struggle. It’s going to be a big struggle but yet.

That’s our story. I’ve got to end it there. And you know I know. Yes sorry you finished. I’ll finish it out with something that I read far on the March 4 science Facebook page last Friday a week ago because it was Groundhog Day and it’s only in America do we accept weather prediction from a rodent but deny climate change evidence from scientists. Yes. Only in America.

It’s true. Yeah I still think you know you and I being Canadian I still think it happens in Canada. I still think there’s a staunch group of people in Canada who are saying this stuff is bogus. And luckily the administration that’s right now the Liberals are not that they don’t represent those people and they’re represented the rest of the country and then they’re saying climate change is the big thing to do about whether they’re doing everything they can. That’s another thing. At. Least they’re not they’re not what the Conservatives were before before they were in power. So it’s going to be very interesting. Let’s go on to our last story because it’s a little bit more uplifting now when we every time we talk about. Plastic pollution when it’s never a good thing. Right. It’s never good. However.

I feel like you and I have been seeing a turning of the tide so to speak in terms of the way governments are approaching plastic. So why don’t you go ahead and sort of finish that off and sort of explain what I mean.

Well you know we’re going to have a host in Canada the next G7 meeting. In the end the. There was an announcement. I think it was yesterday and not a long time ago saying that candidates pushing G7 nation to sign the no plastic pledge to save the world’s ocean. And I know it’s going to be talked about quite a lot at the next G7 meeting next summer. And there’s a wave right now that is spreading like everywhere in the world to. Start with plastic straws and go like we did like we saw a great effort that was done by many countries and many industry to. First of all there was many different great efforts but it’s still great to highlight. So when the band The microbeads in all the cosmetic products to reduce the micro plastics that was great and now I think you can up anywhere in the world you can buy. Any kind of cosmetic products that includes these microbeads that are like scrubbing. Lotions and things like that. That was a good thing a good step. And then we did like the plastic bags ban or what. It’s still debated but at least there’s a will to address the plastic bags thing. And we’re getting there. But one thing that is happening right now and I think it’s one of the most efficient thing in terms of impact. Is all these cities going strong.

It started in Seattle and they kind of took them the title of a famous movie called Sleepless in Seattle and they did a trial in Seattle and love and they brought in all their big team sports teams so the Mariners the baseball team the hockey team everyone liked what went on board other restaurant and the business network that were in Seattle. They all went it. Well you know once you get like a big team like the Mariners for example I guess it’s kind of easy to get more people on board. You know it’s a really good move that they made. But. Yeah it starts in Seattle and they decided there to ban plastic straws. And then. There are lots of other initiatives like that that are just emerging right now. And you know why I think it’s because plastics straws is one of them easiest thing. To. To eliminate or to like change your behavior about it. It’s not everyone who’s willing to do like the Zero Waste kind of living. And that’s OK. I mean you know everybody. Can make an effort to the level of what they are able to do in it. And we know we need to respect that. But removing straws or going’s Troilus is really easy. And. Plastic straws are probably them. The object that has like that is the useless thing compared to the impact like when you do the ratio of use usefulness versus impact and the mental impact. It’s probably the use that the thing that is less useful on Earth because the average time that way that the average life of a plastic straw is 10 minutes. Right. And in terms of impact on marine fauna it’s devastating because it’s hot.

It has like the perfect shape or color to look like a prey for for species that are going for food. So if getting ingested it gets too like the. Nose of sea turtles. We also saw that video and pictures. So it has it’s the perfect kind of shape and color and size to be really dangerous for the oceans. Yeah and it’s plastic. And at the same time it’s really useless. And. One reason why I think that big wave of going strong this works is that in the end it’s kind of easy to change your habits and behavior and get rid of that. I mean. Asking someone to use them. I have no. Something that is not in plastic but that was really useful like I don’t know going from the Ziploc bags for example to these are you. Sort of bags that can keep your sandwich but are really usable is more trouble than to get rid of the plastic straws because you can just not use it at all. And if you really really needs us need a straw. There’s no tentative but you don’t. It’s one of the few cases where you don’t even need the battery additive you just need to not use it. Yeah.

Yeah I completely agree. I mean it’s like when we started that with the whole plastic bag thing right people started banning plastic bags and freaked out and went to anyone. When people are like what are we going to do in the meantime. Well there’s alternatives you can just get a reusable bag like a cloth bag or something that you can use over and over and over again and guess what it actually you more. You still need a bag. That’s true I completely agree but I think it’s the same sort of mindset as we were just so conditioned.

To take the plastic bags that were at the grocery store and we just didn’t care how many we had.

Right. Because like you know then there’s the whole science of how do you pack a bag properly. Don’t just throw your breads in with your milk and stuff because your bread is going to get crushed and all that kind of stuff. And when but when you have like these plastic bags or even these like coolers like we have a cooler which is amazing it’s like this box. It folds up when you’re not using it. It’s a box it’s like it keeps everything cool so. So you have to do it when you’re at work. Sometimes my wife goes to lunch time at work and she puts in this cooler and stays and you know it stays in the fridge or it stays in her trunk of the car during the winter and stays cool. It’s nice to have an A but I think it’s still the same mindset. We were just so used to having plastic bags.

And it’s even easier with plastic straws like because you have two choices You either change your behavior to just not to use it at all. Or you get for you go for the alternative. But there’s something that you and this is why I think it was easy for like the Mariners for example or whatever like the sport the big sports and things to go with it and make like a big coming out about that and a commitment about that because in the end in terms of involvement it’s not too bad. I mean yeah it’s not as as it’s not as if they were asking people to stop using their car or to do something like this. And now with Noctis so great for now it is up to them like marine debris breeze like go yeah. So it’s in the top 10. Trent. Oh yeah the ocean and its use it’s useless and it’s really easy. While it’s really easy it’s way easier than many other things to to change in terms of behavior. And we showed in the past that we could change things that are much more difficult than that and it’s not like it’s changing now. So going for that straws I think in terms of of marketing when you want to do something and look really good for enrolment like doing that kind of commitment is. Somehow he easy and the impact is real and the impact is great.

Yeah. Well I’ll tell you a little story when I went away to Mexico last week and I mentioned this on the podcast on Wednesday is the one thing that I noticed in abundance of plastic pollution. There wasn’t much on the beach but there was some the ones that it was the most because you’re in all inclusiveness or straws and every drink was straws on the beach and they were clear straws. They are hard to find to pick up. And of course they get they get buried in the sand and then uncovered and so forth. So you’re right. I completely agree. That’s one of the things that we see the most because they’re used so much thrown away they can easily be lifted by wind and out of a dumpster or whatever it’s in. Now. This is something that you know I think it really I love the fact like you keep mentioning that the Seattle story because they start talking about like big venues like sporting events you know whether it be the Seattle Seahawks or the Seattle Mariners these are big events that hold like you know tens of thousands of people.

And you know what. This week this week the queen of England which is our queen in Canada still she just went with that trend and she officially declared that she was for all these initial initiatives banning plastics plastic straws not only in U.K. but she just mentioned that she was aware of that and it was a true problem and she made a statement that it was it we needed to go there.

So yeah. And so like yeah and people are falling into it I think but I think what we need to do is there needs to be that top level you know the Queen and the prime minister and even Catherine McKenna who’s the environment minister for for Canada. She’s she’s the one that spearheading this G7 blanket ban on plastic straws or plastics in general single use plastics. But I think what we need to do from our perspective is work with. Local establishments and maybe even bigger establishments because what happens is and I’ve talked to a couple of waiters and waitresses who have been in the service industry for years. And what they notice is that if they like. So I know a couple of people are part of this big blue group who’ve actually said when they they don’t give Strozzi automatic. They may wait for people to ask and a lot of times people don’t even as they just drink they just think it’s that they don’t care. Yeah some people do ask and she said sometimes it affects their tip if they don’t. If you don’t give it to them which is interesting because that’s that conditioning again. But if you if you work with the spouse and say hey you know if you don’t use straws you know we can put up this plaque or something and you can you can it. Like you said it’s one of those things that’s a big PR statement a positive PR statement saying and this is why we’re benefits and it’s easy. You don’t need to do it especially in like you know developing or developed countries.

You don’t you don’t need it because there’s no real danger of bacteria on the glasses or anything like that. It’s very minimal. Now one thing I should say to it you know you talked about the U.K. and how the queen just talked about ditching classic straw.

She did that in the the cafes in royal residences which was plastic straws at all. So it was out and in again in terms of PR like like I give her like tribute. I give her a tribute to it to the move that she made. But. Technically it was not that big of a deal to do and it was huge PR and huge PR impact.

And what’s interesting too is I just looked on Instagram because I remember you remember we talked about before we interview before we started. I said somebody had said that there’s something big going on with that Marriott International has announced that it will didn’t plastic straws in all 60 of its U.K. hotels. So because U.K. is putting such a push and maybe even inspired by the queen you know Marriott International is doing this and hopefully internationally they do this because I know the Marriott in Grand Cayman is right on Seven Mile Beach which means it’s right on one of the largest tourist beaches in the world. Yeah. And so if they start taking away that this is by an Instagram account plastic free Grand Cayman. who’s been on the program before. This is something that’s that we need to to continue to do work with hotels to do this because I think that the the the above pressure is there and the PR. Like you said the positive PR initiative or the positive PR are a why is there as well. And I think it’s something that’s great because if you don’t have straws you don’t have to buy straws. It’s cheaper. You don’t have you know extras or you can buy an alternative if you really wanted to to make it look classy whether it be glass or paper or something like that. So I think I think we’re seeing this big turn of the tide. Yes firms of getting plastic out or at least the real culprits.

We see microbeads being no plastic bags starting to be very good and plastic straws are starting to get there too and I think it’s because it’s so ingrained in our culture around the world. I think you know if you look around at everything in my office there’s a lot of plastic like not single use but plastic. Everything is made from plastic.

So yeah. You know one last thing about that and you know I know like our listeners are from all over the world then I want to say is that you don’t need to be from Seattle or Vancouver or Montreal that’s getting there as well. I come from a really small town which is which Scott Muskie in eastern Quebec and that I was having a radio Chronicle about that last Wednesday. And today I met with a friend who owns one of the trendiest restaurant in the. And she just said you know it’s the enrolment week next weekend and whiskey is like the end rum and festival. And we just decided in our restaurant to go strapless. And I said I was just like yay. And I mean of course it’s not like the Queen of England’s residences and things like that. But everybody who talks about that locally can make a difference and you know it’s one of the biggest restaurant in my hometown. And they are doing ditching the straw and starting next weekend. And the. So if it can happen everywhere at any kind of level. But one thing that I want our listeners to maybe come up with some ideas with. Because she told me she was I was super. Super excited that she because she told me about that and she was really proud to go for that. And you know she felt she was making a change for the environment. But technically she owns a restaurant.

And she was just wondering what to do with the straws that we have that she has like she has boxes of straws that now she just decided not to use anymore to make that statement. But what do you do with these trials that already exist. And you know it’s it’s just a question that I just throw at you guys all the listeners because yeah well maybe go in day care centre and make them like material for four Crassus or I don’t know. I just don’t know what to say to that.

Yeah no I agree it’s a difficult situation when you when you come into that because you know you wonder what is the best.

What is that like. It could you just like. Send it back to the company or just troll with me. Yeah. It’s a tricky thing. But in the end you know it’s it’s it’s a happy property. Yeah.

No absolutely it definitely is a happy problem as you say and it’s something that we could. It’s always a discussion that’s the question of the day guys. What do you do if everything’s banned all the plastic. What do you do with the surplus straws. You make art out of them that they last longer?

I’m really excited to see if some some people who went with them say that because I variously it’s it’s really great and it shouldn’t be a break to that trend of going’s trolleybus. But. Seriously what do we do with this trons that there already exists. Your restaurant you have 10 boxes of straws really for your stock and you’re like the running of your restaurant what are you doing with that day you decide to go try this. Yeah I completely I completely agree.

This is great. I think we’re gonna end it there because I think we could probably go on about this the whole time but that’s a great question to end on. So for everybody who’s who’s out there.

Thank you very much for listening. We really appreciate it. And of course if you guys want to talk about any of these topics you can do it on our Facebook group. Speak up for blue dot com for its last group. All you do is use your Facebook account request to join it as a private group. Answer the optional questions if you’d like. And then join and then just go at it go at it like you want it. By the way I will be going to life today in the group I’m going to be trying to do that Monday to Friday from now on. So I’m not sure what time is it going to be playing around with the times but it’s going to be a lot of fun. So stay tuned in that group too to look at that’s another benefit of going to the group for free by the way. So and of course speaking of free and speaking of supporting you want to support the podcast you can go to patreon on our patron campaign. Speak up for blue dot com for its US patron Haiti. You U.N. and you can put in a monthly contribution any amount counts. We really appreciate it.

And don’t forget I have z5 AMCC five dot com going and submit your Abstract to the IMCC5 International Marine Conservation Congress that will be happening in the Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia. It’s going to be the best place to be. And yourself. You are going there right. I am going. I’m so jealous. I can’t wait is going to be a lot of fun. But that’s our show for today. Lynn thank you very much. I really appreciate you to join us again. This has been this has been awesome. It’s a lot of fun every time we have you on so that’s fun. Yeah right on. And everybody else. Thank you very much for for tuning in you have been listening to the Speak Up For Blue Podcast. On behalf of myself and Dr. Lyne Morissette. Thank you very much. Have a great weekend. Have a great Friday. Happy Conservation.

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