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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Maiden Voyage

So this here is Living Oceans Society's new blog. My name is John, and I'm honored to be the guy tasked with not mucking this up.

You're busy, I'm busy, so I'll get to the point: oceans are amazing things. They are where things like this guy  live, where this guy used to live, where Kevin Costner's career went to die:

And, incredibly, where it also may be reborn.

Bizarre! And the mystery of the oceans extends even beyond its yin-yang relationship with Kevin Costner's fortunes. We know so little about oceans that virtually every day brings some new insight or discovery into their workings - or about how we are thoroughly fouling them up. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to keep up on these new developments, and that is what we will share on this blog - the latest oceans news and discoveries, whether they be fascinating, heartbreaking, frustrating, encouraging, or just really, really cool.

Also, FYI - for those of you looking for details like complete sentences and minimal use of the word "ain't":  This blog has an older and more responsible sibling in Jennifer Lash's blog, which will cover emerging oceans policy issues with a degree of depth, insight, and gravitas that you're just not going to find at Water Blogged. Sorry. Here at WB we simply aspire to not spill coffee on the keyboard whilst posting and anything beyond that is a considered an unexpected victory and likely a reason to take the rest of the day off in celebration.

On that's nearly the end of the post and the keyboard is dry. It's a beautiful day here in Sointula - the sun is shining and I can hear oystercatchers outside the office window - so I should get going.

Before I go, I'll leave you with this: a new study suggests that humans caused the mass extinction of woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and other large mammals approximately 10,000 years ago by tipping their food web out of balance. In other words, humans didn't kill off those animals - we just altered the food web, and the resulting disruption had such severe cascading effects that it drove many species to complete extinction.

This, to me, is a chilling revelation, a faint yet cold gust of stale and dust-laden air from our past. It reminds us that what we do does have consequences, and these consequences may not be linear or reversible and can be as stark as the reduction of mammoths and saber-tooth cats from massive, powerful, and dominant species to nothing more than piles of dusty bones and sightless skulls in countless anonymous museum storage rooms. So, as you go about the rest of your day, I ask you to reflect on this study, and on the dramatic decline of large marine fish during your lifetime, and to consider: if Paleolithic hunters, armed with crude weapons and feeding only a small fraction of today's population, potentially destabilized their terrestrial environment so much so that it caused the extinction of those ancient beasts, can we hope to prevent a similar overall impact on our oceans? Or is it inevitable?

And on that cheery note, I smash a bottle of ice tea across the bow of this blog and away we go!


  1. Very exciting to see not only one but two new LOS blogs come out of the gate.

    Looking forward to lots of interesting posts!

  2. Will there be home brew recipes?