A couple of weeks ago on May 17 we heard and saw Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Jeremy Jackson talk about and show us the shockingly overfished, overheated, and polluted state of our oceans today and how they have been so for long before BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, with indicators that things will get much worse.
Though he’s been a contract photojournalist for National Geographic Magazine since 1998, Brian Skerry has spent the past three decades telling the stories of the ocean. His images portray not only the aesthetic wonder of the ocean but display an intense journalistic drive for relevance.
In another TED talk posted only a couple of days ago Skerry “brings to light the many pressing issues facing our oceans and its inhabitants. Typically spending eight months of the year in the field, he often faces extreme conditions to capture his subjects. He has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats and dived beneath the Arctic ice to get his shot. He has spent over 10,000 hours underwater.”
Spend 16 minutes with Skerry here and let him share some of his stories of the oceans and show you more of the beauty and natural treasures our society seems so bent on wrecking and losing.
Yesterday I took my camera to see the three new lion cubs at the Bronx Zoo. The diary is called Friday Evening Photo Blogging: Lion Cubs Today! I can hardly tell Moxie and her mama Sukari apart but I got some great photos of Moxie playing loving sister to three 25 pound cubs. Now the stars of the zoo are Nala, Adamma and Shani;
What hasn’t changed is that both Bloomberg and Paterson are still screwing the zoo and many cultural institutions. This year much harder than last.
See below for what actions we the people have left.
A few here who enjoy my flower fluff from the New York Botanical Garden might be surprised to learn that I live just a couple of blocks from another Botanical Garden. Wave Hill has a view that is similar to my many sunset diaries. Wave Hill is a truly fascinating legacy and this is a good time to remember some American who once held a deep respect for nature.
The Wave Hill grounds were not opened to the public until 1960 but before becoming the newcomer to public gardens, this New York City oasis had a long and very rich history as a private garden. The perfect location, rolling hills down to the Hudson River and vistas of the Palisades also holds two historic houses. Wave Hill was once the residence of “Darwin’s Bulldog” Thomas Henry Huxley and Theodore Roosevelt spent summers there in his teen years. Both Mark Twain and Arturo Toscanini lived and were inspired by the sights and sounds of Wave Hill.
Below are some photos from this spring at Wave Hill and a few little stories about this New York City respite that seems so far from New York City.
Over the past few weeks since the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe has put the oceans and the environment at the center of our consciousness again, we’ve been hearing a lot about what the oil leak is doing to the Gulf of Mexico.
We need to end the hidden government subsidies for fossil fuels and make sure their true cost, including climate change, is built into them.
Moreover, we should be generating electricity from alternative sources or natural gas (of which we have a lot) and then moving to electric and hybrid automobiles. (Natural gas burns cleaner than petroleum or coal and is probably a necessary bridge fuel to the alternatives). Going to electric vehicles powered by natural gas, wind and solar plants would be cheaper than rebuilding all the gas stations in the country. Coal should be banned altogether and its use made a hanging crime.
And, we should be matching every penny of the cost of the Gulf clean-up with a huge government Manhattan project on solar energy.
The environmental and economic costs of the oil spill are enormous, but they are tiny compared to the costs of actually burning the oil and spilling more masses of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you’re not alarmed about your future, it is because you have bought the cover-up of climate change, just as Obama bought a cover-up when he believed what he was told about the unlikelihood of oil spills from ocean platforms.
But something else which should probably be concerning us all is the condition our oceans are in, and have been in for many years, even prior to the oil gusher. We live in a much smaller and more fragile world than we tend to think we do, and our decades long mistreatment of our environment, our rivers, lakes and oceans, the dwindling fish and large ocean mammal populations are all very serious concerns.
Jeremy Jackson is the Ritter Professor of Oceanography and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Painting pictures of changing marine environments, particularly coral reefs and the Isthmus of Panama, Jackson’s research captures the extreme environmental decline of the oceans that has accelerated in the past 200 years.
Jackson’s current work focuses on the future of the world’s oceans, given overfishing, habitat destruction and ocean warming, which have fundamentally changed marine ecosystems and led to “the rise of slime.” Although Jackson’s work describes grim circumstances, even garnering him the nickname Dr. Doom, he believes that successful management and conservation strategies can renew the ocean’s health.
In this 18 minute talk from TED.com, Professor Jackson lays out the shocking state of our ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse.
The Gulf of Mexico Foundation‘s website says it was “founded in 1990 by citizens concerned with the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico.” Its site shows it has sponsored conservation and educational programs and partnered with the likes of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The site also says the group represents a “wide range of interests,” including “agriculture, business, fisheries, industry, tourism, and the environment.”
But as it turns out, industry appears to be the most represented of those interests.
And, there are real opportunities to be had from taking on those challenges in smart ways…
Sadly, too much attention is given to those who deceive about the challenges and distort the implications of the options before us.
Best-seller lists, the air waves, oped pages, and blog posts have been filled with Steven Levitt’s and Steven Dubner’s shallow, truthiness-laden Superfreakonomics. The continued attention feeds on itself, as ignoring the deceptions and the mediocre interviews booked due to the authors’ Super(freaky)star status has the problem of giving it credence due to non-truthful truthiness and misleading mediocrity on the critical issue of climate change science and other issues. There essentially innumerable works more worthy of our attention and engagement, even if we constrain ourselves simply to books also published in 2009.
I apologize for the short and rushed essay, but I really want you to take action (something anyone can easily do) on this issue that is near and dear to me.
The Pennsylvania Senate’s proposed budget, SB 850, would cut the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s budget so much that they might have to close about 35 state parks. With 117 state parks in PA, that’s a huge chunk, and chances are there would be a state park near you closing if you live in Pennsylvania.
Just wanted to pass along this email I got from the NRDC, so anyone who didn’t know about Obama’s Interior Secretary Salazar’s plan to allow wolf hunting to commence in May can take action.
In just a few weeks, the mass killing of wolves could begin in
Idaho and Montana — and not even newborn wolf pups and their
nursing mothers will be spared.
Please don’t miss this opportunity to speak out before this slaughter unfolds. On May 4, the wolf’s federal protection will be lifted, and hunters and government agents will be free to open fire. After that, the states will launch
public hunts, targeting wolves.
Time is critical, so please take a moment to act now to call off what may become a disaster to the survival prospects of wolves living in and around Yellowstone National Park and the Norther Rockies.