Biomass by sea and by land

Posted Posted in TopStory, Uncategorized

The ocean provides for us. It provides the air we breathe from photosynthesizing algae, the seafood we buy and sell, and the recreational tourism and educational opportunities which are boundless for business owners and educational networks. How much time do we spend thinking about, or informing others, about what the ocean gives us? Did you know the ocean may one day provide a sustainable form of renewable energy? There is incredible research being conducted and many results already shared in the scientific community about garnering alternative energy sources from the ocean, especially that of using algae as a biofuel.

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The horizons of funding, studying, and collaborating about sustainable and renewable energy sources have grown consistently within the last two decades. Researchers from many esteemed universities such as MIT, Kansas State University, UC San Diego, Texas A&M, and Colorado State University, plus many more, are actively seeking solutions to meet the demand of finding these energy sources and establishing sustainable supply chains from extraction to sale.

 

“New research could help with the large-scale cultivation and manufacturing of oil-rich algae in oceans for biofuel.” (ScienceDaily)

 

“Photosynthetic marine algae are attractive targets for the production of biofuels and bio-products because they have the ability to capture and fix carbon dioxide using solar energy and they grow in seawater, thereby minimizing fresh water usage.” (ScienceDirect)

What the research referenced above explains is crucial to how we stand up for the protection of ocean health, whether we live on the coastline or not. Amazing amounts of biomass exist in our world’s oceans, just as a forest does. These varieties of biomass are the frontier of renewable energy research and practice. In fact, scientists and educators from our state’s very own Colorado State University are part of a regional alliance called Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR). Focused on researching how forest biomass can serve as feedstock for biofuels, BANR looks at ways beetle-killed tree biomass can contribute to a sustainable regional renewable energy industry.

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BANR is funded by the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Coordinated Agricultural Projects through Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (USDA-NIFA AFRI CAP) grants. Say that 3x fast! These are currently 7 funded grant projects across the US. How proud we can be of CSU leading collaboration of this national and global initiative in our own backyard! 

 

So – what’s the connection between oceans and forests, you may ask? Why bother writing about the two in the same blog post about sustainable energy? I’m glad you asked!  If you look back to the first paragraph of this post, I think you can easily replace oceans with forest, and algae with trees, and seafood with timber, and so on. Our seas and our lands are bound intrinsically to humans as a resource – what we do to explore, learn from, and sustain them is up to us.

 

If you are an interested in attending a conference this May in Seattle about Biofuels and Energy Literacy, please see more at:  NARA Conference, SeaTac, May 3-4,2016  

More information about the excellent projects and organizations referenced in this post can be found at the following:

Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies 

USDA-NIFA AFRI CAP grant programs

 

 

Sarah Burgess is currently working as a Research Naturalist for University Wisconsin-Extension, and looks forward to transitioning back to the Rockies later this summer. Her thoughts and musings can be followed at BurgessAdventures.

Campaigning to Support Our Sharks

Posted Posted in Ocean Ambassadors, TopStory

Ocean Ambassadors is changing their game! We have proudly partnered with loveanimals.org, a campaign to save the sharks!

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Loveanimals.org is a crowdfunding campaign, #LoveSharks, launches to encourage shark enthusiasts and others following Shark Week to donate to online fundraising campaigns for nonprofit organizations working with sharks. Crowdfunding websiteLoveAnimals.org is hosting the campaign: http://www.loveanimals.org/lovesharks/

 

The organizations participating have joined together to raise money for shark conservation. Individual donors can support important projects to: organize a grassroots movement towards stronger shark bycatch rule enforcement, ignite an inland ocean protection movement, protect threatened thresher sharks, and to protest shark finning.

 

“Thousands of people participate in Shark Week every year,” said Dr Rob Moir of Ocean River Institute. “The #LoveSharks campaign aims to inspire caring people to donate to groups like ours – impacting shark conservation like never before.”

 

Launched in 2013, LoveAnimals.org helps non-profits raise money for animal projects by hosting free crowdfunding campaigns. Unlike many other crowdfunding websites, LoveAnimals.org is a non-profit organization and takes no administrative fees.

 

“Most animal nonprofits struggle to raise enough money to cover their operating budgets, let alone fund critically needed projects,” said Sarah Timms, founder of LoveAnimals.org. “LoveAnimals.org is a nonprofit, too, and our mission is to increase giving to animal nonprofits by empowering individuals to help animals.”

 

Social media is a key component of the campaign, and organizations are asking supporters to share with the hashtag #LoveSharks.

 

The #LoveSharks campaign can be found here: http://www.loveanimals.org/lovesharks

 

#LoveSharks benefits:

 

Media Contact: Jenny Brown, (512) 782-4438, jennyb@loveanimals.org

 

Follow LoveAnimals.org on Facebook andTwitter.

 

Launched in 2013, LoveAnimals.org is a free crowdfunding website that helps animal nonprofits connect with donors to raise money for critically needed projects. Learn more at:www.LoveAnimals.org

Join the Ocean Ambassadors Certification Program and Lovanimals.org in sharing our love for sharks by donating! 

Save our Sharks

Posted Posted in TopStory

Duhhh nuh. Duhhh nuh.  It’s Shark Week and we’re vouching to save our sharks! These beautiful creatures may look scary to the outsider, but they make for amazing companions on our deep-sea dives!

 

Dangers of sharks

Many people assume that sharks are one of the most dangerous predators on Earth. If you go into more research, you’ll find that out of the 480 (and counting) species of sharks, only four of them are considered dangerous. These four species are the great white, tiger shark, bull shark, and oceanic white tip. That means that less than one percent (0.83% to be exact)- of these sharks are dangerous- and only if you provoke them!  If you’re diving or swimming in sharky waters, be sure to stay calm! Remember: sharks don’t have arms- they get to know their surroundings by poking their heads around. We’re in their territory- be respectful!

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Why sharks are being killed

There are many reasons why sharks are being killed. They threaten humans with their aggressive behavior. Another reason is shark fin is seen as a delicacy in some European countries, as well as shark oils being used in many products. What is interesting about shark fin soup is that the fin isn’t used for the taste of the soup, rather it is used as a thickening agent for the broth. That is a lot of shark waste for a small bowl of soup! When fisherman aren’t decapitating sharks solely for their fins, they may be collecting cartilage, which can be found in pills and powders of health-related issues such as, asthma, eczema, hemorrhoids, etc. In order to determine whether your medication has to contribute to the declining of shark populations, look for chondroitin on your ingredients label. Sadly, these aren’t the only reasons sharks are being hunted. Another is for their liver, which is used in anti-aging creams, lotions, deodorants, hair conditioners and many other beauty products. These products include shark-based squalene, although many companies have vowed to switch to vegetable-based, so be sure to do your research before purchasing your beauty products! Not only are we unknowingly supporting the sharking industry while getting ready for a date, but we may also be eating it! Shark may be combined with other whitefish products for foods such as fish patties and fish sticks! Depending on the type of purse or shoes you’re wearing on your date, you may even be wearing shark! Many high-end designers like Jimmy Choo have used sharkskin as leather as it is unusually durable. Over 10 shark species are being used for this type of material, and can even be used by companies such as Nike! That’s not all. The use of sharks has extended to our pets- it has been found in pet supplements, specifically for joint health, and even chews toys. (Maybe your dog is as tough as it thinks it is- chewing away at shark parts)

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Impacts on sharks

Aside from declining shark populations, there are many other reasons that shark hunting is a problem. The stability of marine ecosystems is declining due to the fact that sharks are an apex predator.  Foreign fishing vessels that will capture other marine organisms and possibly damage those populations as well are invading local, pristine waters. These fishing vessels that capture sharks only us 1% of the shark (the fin/ cartilage), while the rest of the shark is thrown away and unused. In fact, while finning, the shark is captured and kept aside the boat. The fisherman will then cut the fin off and the shark will sink to the bottom, unable to swim.

 

What we can do

Spread the word! Help campaigns all around the world save the sharks! Go to loveanimals.org and support any of the campaign’s being presented to help save the sharks! Our campaign is to raise money for our Ocean Ambassador Certification Program to educate our new Ambassadors about sharks!

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Ocean Ambassador aims to “Make Waves” with Jewelry

Posted Posted in Ocean Ambassadors

The Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO)  is fortunate to have many talented and creative Ocean Ambassadors (OA) working on OA projects that support and generate awareness for COCO. One of these Ambassadors is the feature of this week’s blog, Jesse Berggren. Jesse works at Swoon Jewelry Studios, where she makes jewelry. For her OA project, she is creating beautiful pieces that will benefit COCO.

The goal of the Make Waves Collection is to fundraise for COCO by selling as many as possible, with 20% of the sales being donated directly to COCO. Additionally, Jesse hopes the pieces will raise ocean awareness by being a conversation starter. To that end, she is including a little informational card that will go with each piece that states COCO’s mission.

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Green.Beer.Fest: a chance to celebrate craft beer and clean water!

Posted Posted in Event, Ocean Ambassadors

Coming from New Hampshire, I was familiar with a slogan from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) that said “Clean Water, Tasty Beer.” Many local breweries were on board and used this slogan to promote advocacy for clean water. When I came to Colorado, I was excited to see this same attitude applied in many local breweries.

On September 27th, 2014, Green.Beer.Fest kicked off its second year. This fest is a “day long Colorado craft beer, creative mashup, and indie music festival hosted in Boulder, Colorado” that celebrates “clean water and all its uses from farming to Colorado craft beer.”

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Bringing the Beach to Colorado…

Posted Posted in Ocean Ambassadors

You might be wondering why there is an “Ocean Coalition” in Colorado, and furthermore why they are spouting out newly trained “Ocean Ambassadors” armed with the knowledge and skills to go out into the community to address “ocean issues.” I know that sea level rise is problem, but Colorado isn’t exactly ocean-front property yet…

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