Wolves in Wyoming are once again being protected under the Endangered Species Act, just two years after those protections were taken away. A federal judge’s ruling last week found the state’s management plan for the animal “inadequate and un-enforceable.” In February, NPR’s Nate Rott took a comprehensive look at the wolf situation in the Western U.S.
Photo credit: David Gilkey/NPR
I see these petitions around Colorado too, and the logic is slightly compelling. Predators serve a purpose in ecosystems.
In 2005, I swam in the Southern Ocean, just off Antarctica. It was cold — very cold — when I swam over a graveyard of whale bones near an old whaling factory. As far as I could see, there were bleached white bones piled up on the seafloor. Man hunted whales almost to the point of extinction, not seeming to care that we could lose one of the wonders of the sea forever. It is the coldness of the water that preserves the bones and makes it look as if they were left there yesterday, but I like to think they are there as a reminder of man’s potential for folly.
Fortunately, in 1986 most countries ceased commercial whaling, and some whale populations have made a spectacular recovery. Whales like the Southern right were brought back from the brink of extinction. Their numbers are now increasing 7 percent year after year. If we can do it with one species, surely we can do it for entire ecosystems. We just need to give them the space to recover.
Marine protected areas, which are like national parks for the seas, are the best way to make that happen. In the Red Sea, I saw no coral and no fish. It looked like an underwater desert. But then, a little more than a mile later, I swam into a protected area, where fishing had been restricted. It was a sea as it was meant to be: rich and colorful and teeming with abundant life.
We need far more of these protected areas. They allow the habitat to recover from overfishing and pollution, which helps fish stocks recover. When we create them, we protect the coral, which protects the shoreline and provides shelter for fish. They become places people want to visit for ecotourism. They are good for the world economy, for the health of the oceans, for every person living on this planet.
This year in the Aegean I swam over tires and trash. In a few years, I hope to return, and swim over thriving coral reefs.
“Swimming Through Garbage" - Lewis Pugh
I don’t love you because you’re beautiful; I don’t love you because you’re good to me; I don’t love you because you make me feel like a man. …I love you because you know who I am.
—Emerson Hart, You Know Who I Am.
That’s a pretty striking idea. The “I am” in all things in immensely powerful and deep. If you know who I am, it says a lot about me and you. That speaks about a really profound thought, and this tickles me :)
Plankton are microscopic organisms drifting in oceans, seas, and bodies of fresh water. The word “zooplankton” is derived from the Greek zoon meaning “animal”, and planktos meaning “wanderer” or “drifter”. So, zooplankton are small drifting animals.
Zooplankton are the food supply on which almost all larger aquatic organisms ultimately depend. The scientists in this photo are sampling zooplankton from under the ice in the Canadian arctic.
Image Rights: Doug Barber © Zooplankton sampling in the Amundsen Gulf (Arctic Ocean). Do not reproduce without permission
Think you need a massive film crew and a fleet of support vehicles to make a sick mountain bike film? Think again. In eight days, with only the gear they could carry on their own backs, Joey Schusler and two of his buddies filmed Huayhuash, the most stunning mountain bike film of the year so far.
World War I left many soldiers with disfiguring scars. So American artist Anna Coleman Ladd set up her own studio in Paris and set to work sculpting new faces for those who had lost a piece of theirs in trench warfare.
Ladd started by getting to know the men: their quirks, daily habits, what their siblings looked like, the limited facial expressions they were still capable of. Then, she would choose an expression. For some, that expression would be the only one they could wear.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art has just posted a collection of Ladd’s papers online — photos, letters, diaries and other texts documenting her work.
Photo: American Red Cross/Anna Coleman Ladd papers/Archives of American Art/Smithsonian Institution