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Archive for June, 2015

One of my dad’s favorite poems.

“Sea-Fever”

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield (1878-1967)

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Posted this recently, but in honor of Shark Week, I’ll repost!

Hammerhead Shark

 

Why am I writing about or even care about sharks when I live in the middle of Colorado?

1. My father was a marine scientist and loved the ocean and all things therein. I inherited that love from him.

2. Movies, books, stories and mythology which inaccurately portray animals (wolves, for example) and other wildlife (sharks) perpetuate misinformation, engendering paranoia and fear which leads to hysteria and prejudice and ultimately the killing, sometimes the mass annihilation, of entire species.

For the record, humans do infinitely more harm to sharks than they do to us. There are on average 2-3 fatalities caused by sharks every year, approximately 65 injuries. Humans kill as many as 76 MILLION SHARKS A YEAR!

That’s

76

MILLION.

3. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of its water. Oceans and lakes play an integral role in many of the Earth’s systems including climate and weather. Oceans support the existence of nearly 50% of all the earth’s species. 50%! (For us math whizzes: that’s HALF.) There are 3.5 million square miles of coastal and deep ocean water. Oceans are key to transportation and recreation, and their resources hold the potential for cures to many diseases and other things we can’t even imagine or fathom (no pun intended).

4. Oceans are cool!

5. Sharks are the ultimate COOL!

What’s the point of all of this?

What happens to our oceans and their inhabitants happens to all of us. Oceans should matter to everyone.

Even people living in the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from the nearest ocean.

Even people in Colorado.

Still not convinced?

I learned from a neat graphic I saw recently (written/compiled by Sam Polcer and Alician Buchl Perez) that the world’s largest shark sanctuary was recently established in the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific. (Don’t have a clue where the Marshall Islands are? Look it up!)

Palau, a tiny island nation in the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles east of the Philippines and 2000(!) miles south of Tokyo, has 130 different species of sharks. Palau also has its own shark sanctuary.

According to this graphic, in Palau a single shark brings in an estimated $1.9 million to the tourist economy over the lifetime of the shark. Every year, shark ecotourism brings in $18 million to Palau making up 8% of the national Gross Domestic Product. Shark diving brings $24.7 million to Spain’s Canary Islands and $40 million to the Indo-Pacific region.

But sharks are caught and killed at an alarming rate solely to harvest the fins from which shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy, is made. What’s that shark worth once it’s caught and brought ashore? About $108.

$1.9 million vs. $108.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Oil and mining and drilling companies, politicians and their ilk spout as fact that conservation, responsible harvesting of our natural resources and the advancement of renewable forms of energy are bad for us and only cost money and destroy jobs. They keep telling us it’s good for all of us for them to harvest with impunity, destroy entire ecosystems, wipe entire species off the face of the Earth, drill and slash and mine and cut and dig as if there’s an endless supply and as if the destruction and use and misuse isn’t killing the entire world, including all of us.

And we, like sheep, BELIEVE THEM! (Insert head slap here)

But taking care of the Earth and its inhabitants (um, that would be YOU and ME) can only be good and beneficial and positive. For all of us. In so many ways.

So

Up with SHARKS!

Down with shark fin soup!

Pass it on!!

Seriously!

Besides…

…does anyone REALLY like shark fin soup?

Today is World Oceans Day. Celebrate oceans. Nurture them!  Protect them!

For more information about the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, please visit their website: http://www.noaa.org

For more information about Ocean Conservancy, please visit their website: www.oceanconservancy.org.

For more information about World Oceans Day, please visit their website at http://www.worldoceansday.org.

 

W

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