Today on Planet 100: Sunburned Whales (Video)
Today, on Planet 100, whales suffer from sunburns, Annie Leonard tells the story of electronics, and Jack Johnson fights plastic pollution with song.Sunburned Whales
Some whale species off the Mexican coast are showing signs of severe sunburn most likely caused by the ozone layer's decreased ability to block UV rays.
Whales are particularly vulnerable to the sun damage in part because they need to spend extended periods of time on the ocean's surface to breathe, socialize, and feed their young. Since they don't have fur or feathers, that effectively means they sunbathe naked. Or a lead researcher Laura Martinez-Levasseur, puts it: "Humans can put on clothes or sunglasses—whales can't."
As with humans, the lighter-skinned whales seemed to have the most difficulty with the sun. The fear is that skin damage will lead to skin cancer.
The Story of Electronics
Annie Leonard, creator of 2007's "The Story of Stuff," has since tackled bottled water, cosmetics and cap and trade.
Her latest eco expose, The Story of Electronics, looks at the problem of e-waste. Leonard argues that the profit motive that has led to cheap, hard-to-repair and hard-to-upgrade gadgets. By requiring electronics manufacturers to accept broken or unwanted electronics—and handle all the costs of recycling and disposing of them.
Leonard thinks they will then be incentivized to build longer-lasting, more easily repaired and more easily upgradeable devices.
Jack Gives Back
Green musician Jack Johnson joined the fight to stop plastic pollution with a song. The video was filmed for the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance dedicated to spreading awareness about plastic's harmful environmental effects, and was part of the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch, which challenges participants to refuse single use and disposable plastics.