Thursday, September 30, 2010

Something to smile about

"We need to make sacrifices to provide a future for our children and grandchildren."  This article really opened my mind and made me really happy, yet sad at the same time. This one small country, Kiribati, has closed off 150,000 square miles to fishing just to preserve the fish population. Nearly half of their tax revenue comes from fishing, however they are putting the sea before their own needs out of respect. It made me think about how our country makes more than enough from the fishing industry, yet we don't really make any attempts to put an end to the overfishing and destruction that we are causing.

"Kiribati is among the world's poorest countries. It has few natural resources other than fish and copra, the dried meat of coconut. It does however have of some of the world's most pristine coral reefs and healthiest fish stocks, which have now become the basis of its contribution to the well-being of the planet: the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which at 408,250 square kilometers is the largest marine World Heritage site. 

PIPA is part of President Tong's bigger, more ambitious initiative, the Pacific Oceanscape—38.5 million square kilometers (24 million square miles) of ocean, an area larger than the land territories of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined. Over the past two years, President Tong has brought together 16 Pacific Ocean nations to develop the initiative, which seeks to maintain ocean health by improving management of fisheries, protecting and conserving biodiversity, furthering scientific understanding of the marine ecosystem, and reducing the negative impacts of human activities.

President Tong's efforts in the face of incredible adversity has earned him considerable respect in the conservation world. Dr. Greg Stone, Chief Ocean Scientist and Senior Vice President for Marine Conservation at Conservation International, likens him to the "Teddy Roosevelt of Oceans," in that President Tong is doing for oceans what the 26th president did for land conservation in the United States around the turn of the 20th century.

"We must get away from the idea that one person, one action cannot make a difference. One million is 1+1+1 and so on. Every person and every action is important. The Pacific is one ocean. What you throw in the sea in California will end up on our shores. So we need to work together." - President Anote Tong

I wish there were more people like him in our country.

Spirobranchus feeding on a coral colony in Kiribati. So pretty.

Unda da sea

Who knew that coral reefs made sound? According to an article I was reading earlier, scientists are able to tell whether a reef is stressed or healthy based on the sound alone. How cool is that? When I think of ocean sounds I think of whales and dolphin communication, but little did I know that the fish and invertebrates actually produce noises in "clicks" and "grunts." When the sounds are low frequency, there is generally a larger fish population in the reef community, however if the sound is high frequency level there is a larger coral population.

What I really loved is that after studying fish one scientist observed that after weeks of being away from the reefs, fish were returning to find ones to settle into based on the sound. I think it's great that fish assess the situation before finding the neighborhood they wanna chill in. Too funny =)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just a thought

Our world’s oceans not only cover seventy-one percent of the earth’s surfaces, but also contain ninety-seven percent of the earth’s water—the ocean is the central source of life. It maintains the stability of the earth’s climate, provides means of transportation, and draws attention to a great deal of the earth’s population for leisurely purposes. Humankind has the perception that the world’s oceans are infinite and indestructible, but what if people could no longer enjoy a beach getaway on their time off from work or school because the damage to the ocean was too great beyond repair? Something to think about. Below is a powerful video.

Fool's Gold

This has recently become one of my favorite lazy day songs and it's paired with this video. Perfect. The jellyfish at around 2:30 is badass.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oil Wars

This is an extremely interesting article to me. It gets down to the nitty gritty as to what is really going on and the war mankind is fighting with the Earth.

"For decades the exorbitant costs of drilling deep kept commercial rigs close to shore. But shrinking reserves, spiking oil prices, and spectacular offshore discoveries ignited a global rush into deep water. Recent finds in Brazil's Tupi and GuarĂ¡ fields could make that country one of the largest oil producers in the world. Similarly promising deepwater leases off Angola have excited bidding frenzies involving more than 20 companies.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Congress encouraged companies to go deep as early as 1995. That year it passed a law forgiving royalties on deepwater oil fields leased between 1996 and 2000. A fleet of new rigs was soon punching holes all over the Gulf at a cost of up to a million dollars a day each. The number of leases sold in waters half a mile deep or more shot up from around 50 in 1994 to 1,100 in 1997."


"Since the early 2000s, reports from industry and academia warned of the increasing risk of deepwater blowouts, the fallibility of blowout preventers, and the difficulty of stopping a deepwater spill after it started—a special concern given that deepwater wells, because they're under such high pressure, can spout as much as 100,000 barrels a day."

---- "Congressional investigators and industry experts contend that BP cut corners on its cement job. It failed to circulate heavy drilling mud outside the casing before cementing, a practice that helps the cement cure properly. It didn't put in enough centralizers—devices that ensure that the cement forms a complete seal around the casing. And it failed to run a test to see if the cement had bonded properly. Finally, just before the accident, BP replaced the heavy drilling mud in the well with much lighter seawater, as it prepared to finish and disconnect the rig from the well. BP declined to comment on these matters, citing the ongoing investigation."

I wish that it was covered more that the way BP drilled was not legitimate and I get really sad when I read articles such as this. I follow the oil spill quite frequently with the investigative reports on Mother Jones, however, this is becoming a little ridiculous. This article talks more about BP's oil history as well as cites people that used to work for the corporation, which they talk about the lack of experience and the lies they have been feeding the public (YouTube channel, anyone?)

I think this is an absolutely great investigative piece on what is happening. It breaks my heart to know what is going on not only because of how many species have been affected but as well as humankind. Sad panda.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New ideas and new ecosystems

After its ten year long international research program, the Census of Marine Life has released a database, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, a study of marine species in 25 key global ocean areas across the world in which they cataloged the biodiversity and distribution of marine life. 

What caught my attention is the fact that animals such as whales, turtles and walruses only account for about 2 percent of the known species in the 25 areas, whereas crustaceans account for a whopping 20 percent. It broke my heart to read that the "top 5" areas containing the widest range of species are areas such as the Meditteranean, China and the Gulf of Mexico which are also are most some of the most threatened areas in the world due to impacts such as pollution, overfishing and invasive species.

I came across this video and I found it interesting, so I thought I'd share it. The species pictured throughout the video blow my mind. Enjoy.

About Me

My photo
I am a senior at Columbia College as well as an ocean fanatic. Whether it is environmental issues, discoveries of new species or just general news, I have a deep compassion for the sea.