Tag Archives: nature

Newest Climate Threat: The Ocean is Losing Oxygen

Image by NASA

Image by NASA

Shall we call this the “climate threat of the day?” With new evidence arriving daily of alarming trends and discoveries of previously unconfirmed effects from a changing climate, and a more broadly changing planet, it can be hard to keep up. Someone needs to publish a daily calendar with a fill-in-the-blank statement: “The thing that scares me the most today about planetary change is ____________________.”

For example:

The thing that scares me the most today about planetary change is ocean deoxygenation.

What is that? In essence, science has proven, just this week, that the global ocean has less oxygen today than in recent decades. The loss is greater than 2%, according to a new article in Nature by lead author Sunke Schmidtko. The trend has been predicted and demonstrated on local scales, but this composite study is the first to quantify it on a global scale.

The ocean is slowly suffocating, due to changes caused by us. If that much harm could happen within 50 years, I shudder to think what could happen within 500 years.

Wikipedia will need to update its definition of ocean deoxygenation, because it’s now an established observation, instead of a suggestion. [We also have a more immediate need of a sad Planet Ocean emoji. Here’s my sideways text-only version  (:<)  ]

Read more about this study in a Washington Post article by Chris Mooney that states: “The new study underscores once again that some of the most profound consequences of climate change are occurring in the oceans, rather than on land.”

Vision of Fish (karaoke lyrics)

Paracheilinus carpenteri

(sing to the tune of “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey)

(hmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . [crashing waves and seagulls cawing] . . .)

First vertebrate
So slippery
Underwater respiration
In the rivers and lakes and the sea

Body so long
Streamlined and free
Somehow you just keep on swimming
Suspension without gravity

I had a vision of fish
And it was all that ichthyology

Prayed for a bite
Felt a few tugs
Casting my line in the water
Hoping for something I love
There was no bait
There was no hook
And then I dove in the ocean
I’m looking for snapper and schnook

I had a vision of fish
And it was all that ichthyology
I had a vision of fish
And it was all ichthyology

I’ve realized I’m blue, (so blue)
We are one and the same
The water is our food
You’ve got your fins,
I’m dependent on my limbs too
The distance between us is just ballyhoo

You’re vertebrate kind, (yeah)
Deep destiny, (and the water you breathe)
And though separated by fathoms
We are together and free, (swam through the night)
Swam through the night, (so slippery)
So slippery, (slippery)
Knowing the world is my oyster
And all fish are my family (need my family)

I had a vision of fish, [whale & dolphin chirps]
And it was all that ichthyology
I had a vision of fish
And it was all … that ich-thyology

 

Feeling Nature Deficit. Sad!

Last month I bought a “happy lamp” to fill my office cubicle with the light of a fake sun. This form of light therapy is supposed to mimic the effects of sunlight and improve your mood accordingly. The disease it tries to cure is SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, which usually occurs in winter when the days are darker, sunlight is milder, and time indoors seems preferable to braving the cold.

vt01ww1-aspire_standard

Fake ads.

You’ve probably felt it on a rainy day. String together a seemingly endless set of rainy days, and your mood and energy level drop. SAD.

Does the lamp work? Maybe. But I’m not sure that sunlight is the only thing I’m missing. What about fresh air, greenery, water, and wildlife? I’m feeling less SAD and more NAD, or nature deficit disorder.

Unlike SAD, this disorder is not diagnosed clinically, and debate continues about what it really is. The term comes from a journalist’s perspective (author Richard Louv) instead of from experimentation. Grad students, get on this!

Cubes of Death

I have lived in worked in very natural environments and very artificial ones. My current

tron_1982

Cubicle farm, minus the outdoor-farm part.

situation is one of the most artificial, and we joke that it’s a “cubicle farm.” One gray cube blends into another and another, and most of us don’t have a window to light our way. It feels very much like a cage. It is a dead zone. The hallways have zero plants. The windows cannot open, ever. It takes 16 flights of stairs and passing through a security gate before I can take a  breath of fresh air.

Because our office  works on marine conservation, I’m surrounded by photos of fish, whales, and other attractive, natural settings. I’m not sure if the pretty images make things better, or if the extreme contrast makes things feel even more desperate and disconnected.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pepe will walk me.

Today I plan to walk my dog into Rock Creek Park, a lovely, wooded oasis in the middle of Washington, D.C. My dog loves the walk, but really it’s the dog taking me to see the trees and the water.

Why Build What is Given

When I think of the greatest palaces and most impressive places built by humans, nothing comes close to even one flower. Why is that? Why can’t man-made “human nature” replace Nature? Shouldn’t we know best what we need?

Apparently we deceive ourselves into separation from natural inspiration. We build cathedrals for spiritual life, yet these spaces cannot compare to the wonders of nature.

I wish there were a bottle of Nature Supplement that I could drink to fix my deficit. I wish that my happy lamp could replace the Sun. I wish that I could become as free as wild fish, whose avatars hang in my cube. I miss being surrounded by life.