Industry News Roundup: May Week III

May 20, 2024

Reintroducing Grizzlies to the North Cascades

In the remote village of Newhalem, near North Cascades National Park, a heated debate is unfolding over the proposed reintroduction of grizzly bears.

Federal agencies have presented three plans, aiming to establish an initial group of 25 bears over five to ten years, with a long-term goal of 200 bears within 60 to 100 years.

These bears would be transported from other regions in the US and British Columbia.

One Upper Skagit Indian Tribe Elder emphasized the deep historical connection between his tribe and the grizzlies, who roamed these lands for millennia before being wiped out by fur trappers and hunters in the 19th century.

Public reaction is mixed, with ranchers and locals fearing for their livestock and safety, while others value wilderness preservation.

The debate highlights divergent views on ecosystem membership and the role of apex predators. Proponents argue that reintroducing grizzlies could restore ecological balance, as they help disperse seeds and aerate soil, contributing to biodiversity.

Although translocating grizzlies is challenging, past efforts in similar ecosystems have succeeded.

Despite the logistics and potential conflicts, many believe that the North Cascades’ lush vegetation could provide ample food for the bears, making this a viable plan for ecological restoration.

Should agencies hibernate on it a little longer, or is that bearable?

Source The Well Done Foundation | Workers filling in the oil well.

Source The Well Done Foundation | Workers filling in the oil well.

High School Students Tackle Orphaned Oil Wells

A group of high school students from Gary, NC, is on a mission to tackle climate change, one plugged well at a time.

Orphaned oil and gas wells are notorious for leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas that exacerbates climate change. With approximately 3.9 million aging wells in the US and at least 126,000 classified as abandoned, community and non-governmental efforts are vital.

Inspired by an AP environmental science class, these students realized that individual actions can significantly reduce methane emissions from abandoned wells.

They successfully raised $11,000 to plug a methane-leaking oil well on a horse farm in Ohio.

Collaborating with the Well Done Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to sealing orphaned wells, their project marked the 45th well capped by the foundation.

The family who purchased the property in 2016 were unaware of the hazardous well beneath their land.

Thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Well Done Foundation, the well was sealed, representing a significant victory in the fight against orphaned wells.

Now, the group is preparing to raise funds for a second well this summer.

Manhattanhenge: A Spectacular Urban Phenomenon

Twice a year, New Yorkers and visitors experience the awe-inspiring phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge.

During this event, the setting sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s street grid, creating a stunning visual as it dips below the horizon framed by towering skyscrapers.

This unique occurrence attracts photographers and onlookers alike, all eager to capture the breathtaking moment.

The term “Manhattanhenge” was coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in a 1997 article, inspired by his visit to Stonehenge. However, unlike the ancient builders of Stonehenge, the planners of Manhattan’s grid never intended to align with the sun; it was pure coincidence.

Manhattanhenge takes place approximately three weeks before and after the summer solstice. On May 28 and July 13, the sun will be half above and half below the horizon at the moment of alignment. On May 29 and July 12, the entire sun appears to hover between buildings before sinking into the New Jersey horizon across the Hudson River.

Similar phenomena occur in other grid-lined cities, like Chicagohenge and Baltimorehenge. But Manhattanhenge steals the spotlight with its awe-inspiring infrastructure and seamless Hudson River views, turning it into an urban sunset show.

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