Earth Focus: Tackling Ocean Challenges

Tackling Ocean Challenges

Oceans support life, yet they are overfished, polluted, and, with global climate change, are becoming increasingly acidic.

The XPrize Ocean Initiative seeks to solve some of these critical threats by bringing in teams from around the world for high-profile competitions to find the best new technologies and stimulate investment in research and development. After the massive Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Wendy Schmidt Oil Clean up XCHALLENGE in 2011 awarded $1.4 million to a team that demonstrated an oil recovery cleanup rate four times greater than the industry's previous best recovery rate.

A second $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is spurring innovators to develop accurate and affordable pH sensors to deepen our understanding of ocean acidification, which threatens the growth of shellfish and coral reefs. Click HERE about the Montana team of chemists and engineers who won the two grand prizes of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE in 2015.

 

For more information on the issue and what you can do, visit our Oceans page.

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Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Dairy Alternatives: Rethinking Milk In California and Kenya

The realities of milk production are forcing dairy communities across the globe to rethink the dairy production process. In this episode, we travel to a village in Kenya where the commercialization of camel milk is proving a sustainable solution in the face of drought. In Northern California, the heart of the U.S. dairy industry is finding innovative alternatives to limit the use of water and manure emissions.

Lighting A Path: Embracing Solar Power In California and Zanzibar

Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. At the Barefoot College in Zanzibar, Muslim women who have traditionally been marginalized in the workforce are learning solar installation and bringing it back to their villages, which are primarily powered by candles and paraffin lamps. In East Los Angeles, formerly incarcerated individuals are finding green job opportunities as they transition underserved communities into solar power.

Dying Oceans: Abalone Restoration In California

The ocean is a sponge for all the greenhouse gas emissions we produce, and entire aquatic ecosystems are beginning to collapse. Off the coast of California, the disappearing abalone population is raising flags about ocean health and the lasting impact of rising sea temperatures, acidification and pollution. Various teams of scientists, volunteers and businesspeople are collaborating to protect underwater species threatened by the invasion of sea urchins.

Fueling Change: Oil Extraction in Alaska and California

The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it. In Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, powerful native communities are at odds over an oil exploration and drilling plan that will boost their economy but have long-term consequences on native species and their environment. In California’s Kern County, the mayors of two neighboring towns face off on the economic benefits and health risks of oil production and their vastly different visions for the most sustainable path to the future.

Avocado Wars: The Battle Over Water Rights In Chile

The popular demand for avocados, once considered an “exotic” item, is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile. Lying within one of the largest avocado producing regions in the country, Petorca avocado plantations are in a battle over water rights, where claims of illegal water diversion are creating civil unrest.