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Lionfish Light The Way

picture of a Red Lionfish

The Red Lionfish, with its graceful fins and venomous spines, is creating a very serious problem since its invasion of the Gulf and Mediterranean waters.

As some of you may know, the Lionfish is a warm-water species from the Indo-Pacific waters.  Sporting venomous spines, they are a generalist, eating everything from fish nearly half their size, to crustaceans, shrimp, etc.  Having been introduced in the early 1990’s off the coast of Florida, they are taking over the Gulf and Caribbean waters.  Their venomous spines are an adaptation that indigenous species have no means of dealing with.  Their presence has been devastating to an already challenged ecosystem.  Starting from that one spot in Florida, and tracing back genetically to just 6 or 8 females released into the Gulf’s waters, they now cover a vast range, covering the entire Gulf and Caribbean region (see image further below.  As generalists, they are destroying the balances of nature, consuming and growing unchecked.  Sturdy, these beautiful fish are akin to the red-tailed hawks of North America; they can live on most anything and thrive in many conditions.  Their only bottleneck now is cooler waters; They don’t seem able to withstand waters further north, so spreading to the UK along the Gulf Stream is unlikely.  Read more

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Ocean Armageddon

Dr. Steve Best’s spot-on, thought-provoking blog post, “Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok,” prompted this, my reply:

The bad part is that it doesn’t take a perfect storm and domino effects to make the planet uninhabitable for today’s earthlings.  It takes just a small fraction of that.  While some may suggest that THIS scientist is spewing doom and gloom, it’s an apt and fair assessment.

Consider the recent weather, the extremes that caused people to stop using “Global Warming” and call it Climate Change.  These seemingly capricious swings are already making this planet uninhabitable for those in flood and drought areas, in places of extreme heat or cold, and creating radical changes in places like Greenland as the ice melts.  In science-fiction worlds, we see human ingenuity compensating.  In that speculative fiction universe, mankind develops new ways to live within the harsher climate.  But that’s only for the rich.  The everyman, the villager, the lower class (even in urban areas) doesn’t possess the resources to have such housing, transportation, etc.  It’s great to say “Well, we’ll just live in air conditioning, as they do in Dubai.”  But Dubai has the money (from oil, how ironic) to pay for those comforts.  The upper mucky-muck in the UAE doesn’t even pay for electricity.  What will the everyman do?  He will suffer, and he will die, and his wife and children with him. Read more

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A Human Issue

It is often said that the killing of dolphins in Taiji and whales in Antarctic waters is a matter for the Japanese to handle.  Similarly, the Danes say that the people of the Faroe Islands must decide to stop killing pilot “whales” (which are actually large dolphins).  These may seem apt excuses, and may even seem to make sense, given a perfunctory glance.  But such boundaries and distinctions are artificial, man-made, and ultimately invalid.

This is the amazing transformation performed by whaling

Whaling turns this majestic being into this corpse, and they don’t even need the meat.

The killing of dolphins and whales is not a matter of national sovereignty, any more than human rights are a state-by-state issue.  This is a HUMAN behavior; humans are doing these killings, so it is up to we humans to police ourselves, regardless of what nationality those humans may give themselves.  Wherever such slaughters may be happening, it is up to fellow humans to stop it. Read more