Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Pro from Dover

Sooty Shearwater Keeping the Rhythm

Sometimes you just have to bring in the pro. 

Here is a great way to get your mind around the news that bluefin tuna, irradiated in Japan as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, was recently caught in California.  The fish is safe to eat radiation-wise, but the news speaks to the marvelous span of nature.

Carl Safina, author and marine biologist, articulates it beautifully.  There's a reason he won the 2012 Orion Book Award and many other accolades.

"We talked about migrations, about birds called sooty shearwaters and how they breed in New Zealand, fly past Japan, fly through Alaskan waters, come down the coast of California, cross the tropics and go all the way back to New Zealand -- every year.  We talked of the albatrosses that I've seen breeding on tiny mid-Pacific atolls, capable of gliding hundreds of miles without flapping and commanding the whole ocean in their quest for food.  And of the 1,000-pound leatherback turtles that breed in Indonesia, then migrate past Japan to feed in the jellyfish grounds off California and Oregon, taking more than a year, stroke upon stroke in the trackless sea in storm and calm alike, to make the round-trip.

I thought of the ageless mystery of all this, the profound miracle, the quiet patience of the planet.  I thought of these animals playing their ancient rhythms to the music of the spheres, keeping time to the faith of Earth.  I thought of how they struggle to survive against such long natural odds, such high background levels of death.  Of how many fall naturally to disease, to predators, to accidents, but how enough have lived these countless millions of years to make all the difference, to be with us as we've arrived to join their voyage.  I thought of their newly acquired, safe-to-eat radiation, their mercury burdens, and the fishing hooks and nets we send their way.  Of trade-offs made and balances foregone.  And I thought, this world, wondrous so far beyond comprehension, and, verily, so f*cked up.

The saving grace: the creatures don't understand.  The tragedy: neither do we."

Read Carl's full Huffington Post.

Image: Martin Garner, Birding Frontiers


M.L. said...

Agreed. Stunning insight. The grace and the tragedy: neither do we.

Mike Misner said...

Thanks ML.

JenKlopp said...

so eloquently put. I often think about how I, as a human, can appreciate this wonder but am also painfully aware how I'm contributing to its destruction.

Mike Misner said...

Thanks for the comment Jen. It's confounding. The wonder of the oceans feels timeless and more powerful than anything we could muster, it is the power of life after all. Yet here is the greatest slow death ever on our hands.