Ocean Currents » olympics http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 31 Aug 2016 20:32:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 An Olympic-sized Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/08/17/an-olympic-sized-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/08/17/an-olympic-sized-cleanup/#comments Wed, 17 Aug 2016 14:00:32 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12629

The Olympics is a special time when people from all over the world gather together to cheer on their country’s top athletes in an amazing array of sports.

I can’t help but think of the similarities between the Olympics and Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. They both span the globe in participation, bring people together, and are very competitive (I always try to pick up more trash than my friends, and I know you do too!)

Will you join us for this year’s Cleanup on Saturday, September 17? The Cleanup is only one month away—and we promise that you don’t have to train or be an athlete to participate.

The Cleanup is truly Olympic in size! Each year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers gather in countries around the globe to remove millions of pounds of trash from our coasts. I’m proud to be part of the amazing team that ensures the Cleanup occurs year after year.

But, we can’t do it alone. We need champions like YOU to dive in and join us this year.

We have an easy-to-use map where you can search the globe and find a Cleanup near you!

And, this year we have “upped our game” by having a new way to make your Cleanup more exciting than ever. Earn your own medals by tracking the trash you collect with our new app, Clean Swell. The more trash you collect, the more badges you earn. The app is free and available to download on both iOS and Android systems.

Go for GOLD by downloading Clean Swell AND joining a Cleanup near you!

]]> http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/08/17/an-olympic-sized-cleanup/feed/ 0 World’s Best Ocean Athletes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/08/02/worlds-best-ocean-athletes/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/08/02/worlds-best-ocean-athletes/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 13:00:00 +0000 Erin Spencer http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12511

All eyes are on Brazil this month, but you won’t find all of the world’s top athletes in Rio. Some of the fastest, strongest and flashiest athletes live under the water—and aren’t afraid to show off. From manta rays to blue whales, check out ocean athletes who could challenge the top Olympic gold medalists.

Fastest Swimmer: Sailfish 

Michael Phelps may be one of the greatest athletes in the world, but he’s no match for the speedy sailfish. Where the 22-time medalist clocks in at about 4.4 miles per hour, the sailfish can leap out of the water over 15 times faster, reaching speeds of 68 miles per hour or more. They’re even fast enough to give cheetahs a run for their money: The iconic mammal reaches speeds over 60 miles per hour when hunting prey.

So what makes the sailfish such a speed demon? It’s all about streamlining. Unlike many other species, the sailfish’s skin has little swirling vortices that allow them to be covered by a thin bubble of air instead of water. This reduces drag in the water, allowing their powerful, 10-foot-long bodies to hurtle through the ocean at staggering speeds.

Heaviest Lifter: Blue Whale 

There’s no question that blue whales have size on their side—they hold the record as the largest mammal to have ever lived on earth. While we measure Olympic weightlifters by the pound, we weigh blue whales by the ton: Blue whales can weigh in at 200 tons, or about the weight of 33 elephants. Their tongue alone can weigh as much as an elephant!

Although they typically cruise at about five miles an hour, they can reach speeds of over 20 miles an hour by using their powerful bodies to propel them through the ocean. And their massive strength comes from an unexpected source: They almost exclusively feed on tiny animals called krill, consuming about four tons of the shrimp-like creatures a day.

Flashiest Acrobat: Manta Ray 

There’s a reason Olympic gymnastics is a crowd favorite—audiences love to watch athletes leap, tumble and flip their way to the podium. People are drawn to “flying” manta rays for the same reason.

These animals are famous for their acrobatic feats. With a “wing span” of up to 23 feet, manta rays use their powerful fins to leap out of the water, likely as a way to impress a potential mate, escape predators or communicate with other manta rays. They’ve also been observed barrel rolling backwards to feast on plankton, flipping themselves over and over until they’ve had their fill.

Farthest Flier: Arctic Tern 

Although there will likely be records broken this Olympic season, no one will come close to the far-flying Arctic tern. Just this year, an Arctic tern from the Farne Islands, in England, logged the longest migration ever recorded. This tiny bird’s journey to Antarctica and back was recorded as a total of 59,650 miles—that’s more than twice the circumference of the planet. Since Arctic terns can live between 15 and 30 years, the record-breaking bird could fly nearly 1.8 million miles over its lifetime. That is the rough equivalent of four round trips to the moon! Now that is undoubtedly gold-medal worthy.

Best Team Player: Bottlenose Dolphin

A winning Olympic team needs dedication, communication and coordination—something bottlenose dolphins know quite well. Dolphins live in tight-knit units called pods. These social groups are quite complex, and juvenile dolphins must learn the dynamics of the team in order to fit in.

Bottlenose dolphins use teamwork to catch their prey. Dolphins will sometimes encircle a school of fish to force them together, then take turns darting forward to feed. They will also coordinate to herd schools of fish to shallow water near sand bars and shorelines to make it easier to hunt, all the while communicating with squeaks and whistles.

As you watch the Olympics over the next two weeks, be sure to think of the wonders of the ocean and the amazing athletes that call the ocean home!

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Going for the Green at the London 2012 Games http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/08/going-for-the-green-at-the-london-2012-games/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/08/going-for-the-green-at-the-london-2012-games/#comments Wed, 08 Aug 2012 18:31:46 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2085

Credit: jellybeanz flickr stream (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Every four years the largest gathering of athletes, spectators and media converge to witness the greatest athletes on the planet compete in the Summer Olympiad. It’s difficult for most of us to grasp the skill, strength, endurance, devotion and sacrifice that each Olympian demonstrates, but at the London 2012 Olympic Games the athletes are not the only ones performing impressive feats. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)  embarked on an equally impressive mission: to make the London 2012 Summer Games the most sustainable Olympic Games to date. Central to this mission is the goal of achieving Zero Waste.

London 2012 is the first summer Games to aim to send zero waste directly to the landfill. With almost 15,000 athletes, 11 million ticket-holders and hundreds of thousands of reporters and media exploring the city and attending Olympic venues, recognizing this goal is a gargantuan task. During the planning process, LOGOC employed a waste hierarchy to govern disposal of materials. They avoided the lowest ranking, “disposable,” and aimed for materials they could reuse or recycle. “Preventing/Avoiding” ranked at the top of the hierarchy.

As a result of this structure, not a single item of trash from the Olympic park will go directly into a landfill; instead, every item of trash will be used as a renewable or recyclable resource. This policy has governed all aspects of planning of the including construction of Olympic Stadium, where 90% of waste generated was diverted from landfills via recycling or reuse.

Food waste has not been overlooked either. An estimated 14 million meals will be served during the Games and anything not eaten will go to compost. The footprint of the food itself was also considered and all 82 million tonnes of seafood consumed at Olympic Village have been certified sustainable to demonstrate its affordability and achievability. The ultimate goal is to name London a ‘Sustainable Fish City.’

On the world’s biggest stage with all eyes watching, London has taken on a trash challenge to show the world that reducing our waste is not a lofty, blue-sky goal. As the Thirtieth Olympiad begins winding down, we eagerly await the final trash tally to see if LOCOG achieved its zero waste goals. Regardless of the outcome, we should all commend the LOCOG for trying to deliver a Zero Waste Games that demonstrates exemplary resource management practices and promotes long-term behavioral change on a stage with unrivaled culture and consumption.

Succeed or Fail, when the closing ceremonies come to an end  the LOCOG will have left an important legacy for environmental sustainability for the United Kingdom, the Olympic Games and countries around the world.

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