A family of Sperm whales swimming through the waters near the island of Dominica, which is one of the main topics of this week's Eco-Friendly news issue.
May 20, 2024
weekly eco news

Whale Language, Seaweed Farming, Clothing Recycling: Initiatives and Solutions Inspiring Action and Change - 26th Issue

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Scientists Get Closer to Decoding “Whale Language”

A family of Sperm whales swim in the waters near Dominica.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping scientists better understand how sperm whales communicate with each other. These highly sociable marine mammals produce a series of rapid clicks; NPR’s Lauren Sommer describes the clicks as a combination of “Morse code and popcorn popping.”

But what do they mean? By recording those vocalizations and analyzing their patterns, researchers have discovered what they’re labeling as a “sperm whale phonetic alphabet.” In a paper published by the journal Nature Communications, the researchers detailed how they used advanced computer algorithms to detect patterns in the clicks. The repetitive patterns—“codas”—seem to be distinct in the same way syllables and words are for us humans.

By attempting to decode the building blocks of whale language, these researchers hope to gain stronger insights into the behaviors of sperm whales and the ongoing threats they face, which could be key to helping protect them.

SailGP vs Plastic Joins the Fight Against Plastic Pollution

Australian SailGP Team, which is partnered with Parley in efforts against plastic pollution, on sail boat during race.

The Australian SailGP Team has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to raise awareness about plastic pollution and the devastating effects it has on the oceans and their delicate ecosystems. Their interactive community hub invites people to learn about the global plastic crisis and all the ways they can get involved to help keep more plastic away from the shores and out of the water.

SailGP’s website published a news article regarding the initiative; in it, Parley for the Oceans CEO Cyrill Gutsch says:

"Sailors know the seas - and they know the impacts of plastics and climate change are real. Who better to push for the transformation away from fossil fuels than problem-solvers who are already at the helm and collaborating with the elements?”

Trashie’s Take Back Bag Program Continues to Combat Textile Waste

Person placing clothing they no longer wear in recycling container to combat textile pollution.

It’s becoming increasingly easier for consumers to recycle their clothing should they prefer not to donate it. Recycling is ideal for clothing that will most likely get thrown away by the employees working at donation centers (think socks that have lost their “solemates,” or shirts with holes or stains).

Organic clothing company MATE the Label and sock and apparel brand Bombas incentivize customers to purchase a Take Back Bag through their partnership with Trashie. Trashie’s Take Back Bag makes it possible for consumers to fill their bags with any and all types of unwanted clothes, including shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, bras, socks, sheets, towels, and handbags.

The clothing can be from any brand and in any condition; the only stipulation is that everything should be washed. The bag comes with a pre-paid shipping label and once it’s registered and then shipped via USPS, consumers can enjoy the feeling of knowing that their unwanted textiles won’t end up in a landfill. Plus, they can earn rewards through Trashie or receive a shopping credit from the company from which they purchased the bag.

Biden Administration Expands Two National Monuments in California

Hiker on peak of the Devil's backbone located in The San Gabriel Mountains National Park.

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument—both located in California—will both be expanded in a move that puts President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history, according to The White House. These important expansions add protections to nearly 120,000 acres of land. Vice President Kamala Harris stated:

“These expansions will increase access to nature, boost our outdoor economy, and honor areas of significance to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples as we continue to safeguard our public lands for all Americans and for generations to come.”

World Wildlife Fund Debuts Film About Worldwide Seaweed Farming

Seaweed farmers busy with harvesting crops in farm located on Lembongan Indonesia.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) debuted its film “Portraits of a seaweed farmer: Ana Borrero” on May 15. The film, which can be viewed on WWF’s website or on their YouTube channel, allows viewers to learn more about this powerful crop and the farmers who are responsible for growing it.

In the 10-minute film, Ana Borrero, a farmer with Seaweed Solutions, explains how she’s proud to be part of a solution aiming to combat the climate crisis (seaweed reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere). This film is the first in a series designed to provide:

“an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of three seaweed farmers.”

WWF has noted that the other films will be released throughout the summer.