How Virginia Can Step Up To Combat Climate Change

(image by Frank Friedrichs)  Much is in flux on the federal level.  Few policy shifts have been as pronounced as those on energy and the environment.  Recent protests marking Trump’s first 100 days in office were in response to the administration’s tone and stance on climate change.  Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, recently stated his belief that carbon emissions were not a primary driver … Continue reading How Virginia Can Step Up To Combat Climate Change

Watermen vs. Scientists: Overfishing in Maryland

(Image by Justin Brito) In May 2016, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland quietly allowed a controversial new bill into law. The bill, the Sustainable Oyster Population and Fisheries Act of 2016, requires the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) to study a sustainable harvest rate for the public oyster fishery. The quietness by which this … Continue reading Watermen vs. Scientists: Overfishing in Maryland

Pass H.R. 3546 – “Big Cats and Public Safety Act”

(image by Roger Smith

by Geoff Horsfield

With the beginning of the 119th Congress, the House should act to pass the “Big Cats and Public Safety Act.” The Act would amend the Lacy Act, one of the federal government’s leading pieces of animal and environmental protection and enforcement legislation. The Big Cats and Public Safety Act expands protections for wild animals, such as tigers and lions, currently held in captivity in the United States, protects human health, and limits the interstate and international trade in exotic animal parts. This bipartisan bill deserves due consideration this session.  Continue reading “Pass H.R. 3546 – “Big Cats and Public Safety Act””

Could Iceland Become the UK’s Big Green Power Plant?

(image by David Selbold

by Adam Windram 

In October 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans[1] to explore building a 750-mile underwater cable to import renewable electricity from Iceland. Although this plan has been around for some time (Iceland and the U.K. signed a memorandum of understanding for an undersea cable project in 2012, but the concept of connecting Iceland to the rest of Europe has been kicked around for 60 years), progress has been slow due to concerns about technical feasibility, and fears in the UK and Iceland that the project will cause electricity prices to rise, and fail to create Icelandic jobs. However, research by Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s largest hydropower electricity utility and the organization largely responsible for bringing the idea from pie-in-the-sky to possible, suggests that the project (called IceLink) may be economically beneficial in the long run, as electricity prices in Europe have risen in recent years and there is higher demand for renewable electricity. Continue reading “Could Iceland Become the UK’s Big Green Power Plant?”

Hook, Line, Sinker, and No Fish

(image by Justin Brito

by Scott McClinton 

Put bluntly, over-fishing is a massive problem. One of the central tenants of this issue is the way that the misused resource itself, the fish stocks, are treated as common pool resources with open access for all to exploit. In either the high seas or in national waters, fish are allowed to be caught by a wide array and number of people, and are considered “non-excludable.” But every fish caught decreases the total available catch, meaning the good is also “rival.” Therefore, a unique situation is created where every individual in the fishery has the motive to take as many fish as they can (before their competitors take it) even though over-fishing hurts everyone. Continue reading “Hook, Line, Sinker, and No Fish”

“It Takes a Village” (and a Government) to Raise a Mangrove: Protecting the Trees and Local Subsistence Farming

(image by David Seibold

by Scott McClinton

From the tiger laden Sundarbans of India to the dark reservas extrevistas of Ecuador, from the shining coasts of Eritrea to tropical Brazilian shores, mangroves represent more than just a distinctive, unique, salt loving tree. Mangroves are a way of life for many individuals across the globe—a precarious way of life. At near constant threat of the overuse and destruction so readily seen in many environmental settings, mangroves and their often subsistent communities require policies and oversight as unique as they are in order to foster the type of long term sustainability the communities that live off of them hope to see. Continue reading ““It Takes a Village” (and a Government) to Raise a Mangrove: Protecting the Trees and Local Subsistence Farming”

Pirates, Policy, and Pollock: A Primer on the Problems and Policy Surrounding IUU Fishing

(image by Theophilos Papadopoulos

by Carolyn Iwicki

When the average American sits down to enjoy seafood—be it sushi, fish n’ chips, or the catch of the day at the local restaurant—they probably aren’t too concerned about where their meal came from, let alone who caught it and how. This consumer disconnect and lack of public investment in seafood sustainability makes business all the easier for IUU fishermen, better known as “pirate” or “black market” fishermen. IUU fishing—short for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing—is commonly described as any fishing activity that either takes place where regulations do not exist or violates existing domestic and international fisheries regulations. This illicit fishing is both economically and environmentally destructive, as the critical overharvest of wild fisheries threatens to collapse fish stocks, taking legitimate fishermen’s jobs as well. While it is hard to accurately define the size of the global IUU fish market, we do know that it’s big business.  Within the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that about 20-32 percent of imported, wild-caught seafood comes from IUU catches. This illicit catch is valued between $1.3-2.1 billion, and represents a large chuck of the $16.5 billion total U.S. seafood market. Continue reading “Pirates, Policy, and Pollock: A Primer on the Problems and Policy Surrounding IUU Fishing”