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Hello, this is Nicolas, and today we're diving into the deep sea to see how better exploration technologies could make waves in ocean conservation.

Coming back to the surface, we learn about how the UN moved to put the Great Barrier Reef on its endangered list.

And staying with the ocean theme, our growing need for electrical components and batteries risks putting a strain on the seafloor.

photo journaliste

Nicolas Camut, Geneva

23.06.2021


Science and Tech News


Photo article

When exploring the bottom of the oceans, today’s oceanographers use unmanned underwater vehicles – here at the bottom of the Pacific, Hawaii, 2015. (Credits: Flickr/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research)

🌊 🔦 Deep ocean exploration. The world's oceans cover nearly two thirds of the Earth's surface, yet less than one per cent of the seafloor has been monitored by scientists. Even if better technologies have allowed for greater exploration of the seabed in recent years, this lack of data makes conservation efforts difficult, say oceanographers.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening


Science and diplomacy reads by GESDA


Photo article

(Credit: Ifremer)

With our growing digital economies, the needs for special metals to build electronic components and batteries are growing. The ocean floor abounds with so-called polymetallic nodules, consisting of layers of ore that have built up around bits of marine debris, such as ancient shark teeth. Exploiting those resources might be tempting, but this might also go with profoundly modifying the deep ocean ecosystem. And this while those first layers of water are packed with macro-and microorganisms which carry until now unknown characteristics and properties, that could even be useful to develop new pharmaceutical drugs or new materials.

The new gold rush to the seabed polymetallic nodules must then be balanced with the possible moral obligation to not destroy a specific environment without at least having shed some light on its darkness to study it. But as this great New Yorker article (see below) puts it, while “under international law, countries control the waters within two hundred miles of their shores, beyond that, the oceans and all they contain are considered ‘the common heritage of mankind.’ “ It is of utmost importance to protect it before any damage is done – even if our next smartphone generation is at stake.

--Olivier Dessibourg

The deep sea is filled with treasure, but it comes at a price. We’ve barely explored the darkest realm of the ocean. With the rare-metal mining on the rise, we’re already destroying it.

The New Yorker (EN) (EN)

CRISPR treatment for blood diseases shows curative promise in small study. 22 patients with inherited blood disorders were free of severe pain and the need for transfusions months after receiving an experimental genome-editing medicine.

STAT+ (EN)

Can industry decarbonise steelmaking? Major steelmakers and disruptive start-ups look to hydrogen and renewable electricity to make green steel.

Chemical & Engineering News (EN)

Experts doubt ethical AI design will be broadly adopted as the norm within the next decade. A majority worries that the evolution of artificial intelligence by 2030 will continue to be primarily focused on optimising profits and social control.

Pew Research Center (EN)

UNESCO report highlights need for greater investment, diversity in science. There is still a long way to go before science fully contributes to the goal of achieving a more sustainable future for all people and the planet.

UN News (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.


CALENDAR


📌 29 June | Can AI save the fashion industry? Perhaps, as multiple signs point to the success of using artificial intelligence in greening the industry. The session dives into how it’s being used now, where the industry is headed, and what challenges and risks lie ahead.

AI For Good (EN)

📌 30 June | DigitHarium events: From food to Wifi, connectivity as aid. Establishing digital connectivity in humanitarian settings has shown how people have better access to information and opportunities. The event puts the spotlight on digital connectivity, and asks how humanitarians can keep such technologies safe to use.

ICRC (EN)

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