(book chapter in On Active Grounds) This book considers the themes of agency and time through the burgeoning, interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities. Fourteen essays and a photo album cover topics such as environmental practices and history, temporal literacy, graphic novels, ecocinema, ecomusicology, animal studies, Indigeneity, wolf reintroduction, environmental history, green conservatism, and social-ecological systems change. The book also speaks to the growing concern regarding environmental issues in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. This collection is organized as a written and visual appeal to issues such as time (how much is left?) and agency (who is active? what can be done? what does and does not work?). It describes problems and suggests solutions. On Active Grounds is unique in its explicit and twinned emphasis on time and agency in the context of the Environmental Humanities and a requisite interdisciplinarity.
I provide a selected survey of the literature on the effects of climate change on the biophysics and ecology of marine ecosystems and the fisheries that depend on them. First, I discuss the effects of warming, ocean acidification and deoxygenation on marine life. Second, I describe how the projected changes in the biophysics of the ocean is likely to affect the economics and management of ocean fisheries.
Analysis that link hydrological processes with oceanographic dispersion offer a promising approach for assessing impacts of land-based activities on marine ecosystems. However, such an analysis has not yet been customised to quantify specific pressures from mining activities on marine biodiversity including those from spillages resulting from tailing dam failure. Here, using a Brazilian catchment in which a tailing dam collapsed (Doce river) as a case study, we provide a modelling approach to assess the impacts on key ecosystems and marine protected areas subjected to two exposure regimes: (i) a pulse disturbance event for the period 2015–2016, following the immediate release of sediments after dam burst, which witnessed an average increase of 88% in sediment exports; and (ii) a press disturbance phase for the period 2017–2029, when impacts are sustained over time by sediments along the river’s course. We integrated four components into impact assessments: hydrological modelling, coastal-circulation modelling, ecosystem mapping, and biological sensitivities. The results showed that pulse disturbance causes sharp increases in the amount of sediments entering the coastal area, exposing key sensitive ecosystems to pollution (e.g. rhodolith beds), highlighting an urgent need for developing restoration strategies for these areas. The intensity of impacts will diminish over time but the total area of sensitive ecosystems at risk are predicted to be enlarged. We determined monitoring and restoration priorities by evaluating and comparing the extent to which sensitive ecosystems within marine protected areas were exposed to disturbances. The information obtained in this study will allow the optimization of recovery efforts in the marine area affected, and valuation of ecosystem services lost.
The Paris Agreement aims to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on ecological and social systems. Using an ensemble of climate-marine ecosystem and economic models, we explore the effects of implementing the Agreement on fish, fishers, and seafood consumers worldwide. We find that implementing the Agreement could protect millions of metric tons in annual worldwide catch of top revenue-generating fish species, as well as billions of dollars annually of fishers’ revenues, seafood workers’ income, and household seafood expenditure. Further, our analysis predicts that 75% of maritime countries would benefit from this protection, and that ~90% of this protected catch would occur within the territorial waters of developing countries. Thus, implementing the Paris Agreement could prove to be crucial for the future of the world’s ocean ecosystems and economies.