More than a meme

(Also not just an excuse to post sloth pics because who needs an excuse to post sloth pics?)

If you missed this article in the NY Times on Monday, there is something very important you need to know about sloths and moths and algae. And it’s this: they’re friends. They get along. They help each other out. 

Why does this matter? Perhaps it only matters to those that find biology and symbiosis fascinating, but it does remind us that there is so much we’re still learning about the natural world and its myriad, ingenious methods of survival.

I just hope mother nature has enough tricks up her sleeve to survive her biggest threat…us.

sloth moth algae relationship

Volunteering Update

Only three weeks into my New Year’s resolution the ball is rolling so fast I’m struggling to keep in front of it, kinda like this scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark (just imagine I’m Indiana Jones):

You get the picture!

Here’s a quick look at how things are tracking on the volunteer front:

 ♦ Checked a box to say that I’d be interested in volunteering with the Wilderness Society, and was contacted over the phone a few days later for an interview ♦ Went for the interview, where I was given a brief overview of the organisation & the types of volunteer work available in light of my skills and experience ♦ Emailed through my CV and some examples of past communication work ♦ Have been invited to attend an induction day to get a greater understanding of the current campaigns (awaiting date confirmation) ♦  Really hoping that I might get to work on designing some print materials for these guys!

 

♦  Registered to attend the next Wildlife Victoria Information Session, which goes for 2 hrs and outlines the different volunteer roles  ♦  After reading the brief descriptions on their website, I think I want to start by being a Wildlife Volunteer Transporter, for a set period each weekend ♦  One day I’d love to assist with the rehabilitation of wildlife, but as this tends to be a full-time job I think I’d best leave that until the retirement years!

 

♦  One volunteer day already completed at Edgar’s, & the next is in the works! ♦  I also discovered that our local farm (the Collingwood Children’s Farm) accepts volunteers too, so onto the to-do list it goes.

The most gripping reality TV show you’ve never seen.

Whale Wars Poster
If you thought Breaking Bad had its share of heart-in-your-throat, edge-of-your-seat moments, and have been left wanting at the end of its five season reign, then have I got a worthy replacement for you. Sure, there’s not a meth lab in sight – in fact, there’s not much at all on the surface of Antarctic waters, except for the tips of icebergs disintegrating in super-slow motion, the occasional seal, and the barnacled faces of ‘the client’: the whales. Oh, and an entire Japanese whaling fleet.

In this good guys/bad guys docu-drama, called Whale Wars, the faceless fisherman on board the massive harpoon ships – representatives of a multi-million-dollar meat industry – are the enemy ants. Their Queen and mothership: the Nisshin Maru…a factory vessel designed to accept slaughtered whales, butcher them, and package them for sale back in Japan.

Out to stop the killing are the Sea Shepherds – an unpaid crew of mostly unskilled volunteers lead by Captain Paul Watson. They aim to be the spanner (or prop-fouler) in the works (engine) of the Japanese whaling industry’s annual whale hunt.

Sea Shepherd says the whalers are violating an international ban on commercial whaling.

The Whalers say they’re legally killing whales for scientific research.

(Both claim to have the law on their side).

It really is a David and Goliath battle, but the Sea Shepherds have one all-important attribute the whalers don’t: their crew are willing to risk their lives to save a whale. The Whalers, no matter how much they’re being paid, will not risk their safety to kill one.

Sea Shepherd Crew
Members of the Sea Shepherd crew with Captain Paul Watson (left)

Downsides: Yes, it’s a bit he says/she says, and with no other witnesses to the conflict down at the frozen bottom of the world, you have to make up your own mind as to who to believe. Although if you honestly think that the ‘Institute for Cetacean Research’ has anything to do with scientific study, please send me your credit card details and $10,000 cash and I’ll prove to you that Santa Claus is real!

But in all seriousness, for a documentary to be accurate and unbiased, you need to be able to see both sides of the story. Each season, the film crew asks for permission to board the whaling fleet’s vessels to film scenes for Whale Wars, but unsurprisingly, they are yet to be granted access.

What you DO see: Real-life oceanic warfare. Near-death situations. The most magical and inhospitable environment known to man (on this planet anyway). Inexperienced crew – possibly the biggest threat to the Sea Shepherd campaign and lives of those on board in the early seasons (along with super-storm cells and routine technological malfunctions). But best of all, you see regular people risking everything to stand up for what they believe in, doing a job no government is prepared to do. And if that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

sea4

Sea Shepherd Seasons 1-6 were screened on Animal Planet (season 6 comprised of a special two hour episode). Spin-offs include Whale Wars: Viking Shores, Seal Wars and Operation Bluefin.

Quote of the Day

Kayapo National Geographic Tribesmen

Portraits of two Kayapo men, Ynhire and Pukatire  |  Photographs by Martin Schoeller

The first Kayapo encounters with the grimy Brazilian banknotes led to the coining of their evocative word for money: pe-o caprin, or “sad leaves.” More and more sad leaves were a part of Kayapo life, especially in villages close to towns on the Brazilian frontier.

From a National Geographic article about arguably the Amazon’s most successful tribe.