Extinction and Survival

(Several months of headlines and other notes)

Humanity’s greatest challenges . . . and what’s needed:
1. Climate Crisis . . . Climate Action
2. Biodiversity Loss . . . Habitat, Clean Environment, Species Preservation

Southern resident Orcas

2023-02-19 Tribes Litigate for Salmon Parks on Nootka and Vancouver Islands in British Columbia
Story by Lynda V. Mapes; photography by Erika Schultz and Lauren Frohne, “Salmon Parks: Inside a movement to conserve Pacific Northwest old growth,” Seattle Times, 19 Feb. 2023, Print, A1 & A7-A10; Web, https://projects.seattletimes.com/2023/local/salmon-parks-movement-to-conserve-Pacific-Northwest-old-growth/

            This detail- and picture-filled article reports on tribes trying to save old-growth forest on Nootka Island and Vancouver Island in Canada. If the British Columbia court decides in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Nuchatlaht Nations, “industrial logging would be stopped or greatly restricted to allow the forests to recover and salmon to return to creeks . . . ” (A7).

2023-02-16 Deborah Cramer, “When the Horseshoe Crabs Are Gone, We’ll Be in Trouble,” The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2022, When the Horseshoe Crabs Are Gone, We’ll Be in Trouble             The above New York Times article is not about the Pacific Coast, but I post the headline reference about horseshoe crabs because I have an smell-filled  memory of them from my days as a young Navy man when I first was arrived to the East Coast after being assigned to Newport, Rhode Island. During a visit to Cape Cod, I stopped at beach and was confronted with a powerful stench. As I walked over a hill and crested it, I was greeted by an amazing site: dead horseshoe crabs covering the sand like a dark blanket from the left to the right as far as I could see. Such mass numbers in nature are always incredible sights. I also learned, via an information poster there, that birds migrating thousands of miles stopped on these beaches to fuel up on horseshoe crabs. How amazing this connection of numbers and distances.
     Years later, as a doctor during the war in Iraq, I learned that horseshoe crab blood is used to make the Quick-Clot bandages we distribute to Marines, and later I learned how that blood is used in laboratory testing. I wondered what such mass use was doing to the crabs and the birds, and now, from this New York Times article, I know.
     Horseshoe crabs, which are harvested around the world, have plummeted in number, and so have the migrating birds who depend upon them for food. Some pertinent quotes from the article:
      “Horseshoe crabs have survived five mass extinctions over 475 million years, but today they are gravely threatened worldwide by human exploitation.”
     “In Asia, where horseshoe crabs are killed for food and for their blood, they face extinction from “relentless and unremitting” threats from humans, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which tracks trends in wildlife populations worldwide. Horseshoe crab numbers have plummeted in large swaths of China and are declining rapidly in Vietnam, leaving American horseshoe crabs, also diminished in numbers, to fill the growing gap.
     “The International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers horseshoe crabs in the United States vulnerable to extinction along much of the East Coast and endangered in New England.”
     “Their decline also poses a threat to migratory shorebirds like red knots, which depend on the energy-rich horseshoe crab eggs they consume on beaches in South Carolina and along the Delaware Bay during their spring refueling stops as they head north from Tierra del Fuego, at South America’s southernmost tip, to the Arctic.”

2023-02-05 Pebble Mine in Alaska Stopped
Thank you, President Biden, and thank you, EPA, for having stopped the Pebble Mine in Alaska. As the ad says, the mine threatened the last great salmon runs on Earth, thousands of jobs, the way of life for tribes, and fishermen, sportsmen, and other Alaskans.
⸺ full page paid advertisement in the Seattle Times, 5 Feb. 2023, p. A16. Ad sponsored by many organizations: the Bristol Bay Defense Fund, NRDC, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Wild Salmon Center, Bristol Bay Commercial Fishermen, Businesses for Bristol Bay, Salmon State

2023-01-13 Youth Climate and Conservation Rally
January 13th in Olympia, WA from 10am-1pm!
[MRM note: It’s about climate action, renewable energy, dams, salmon, and orcas]
⸺ source:  WYORCA’s announcement at
https://saveourwildsalmon.salsalabs.org/YouthRallyOlympiaJan13/index.html (accessed 7 Jan. 2023).

2022-12-19  Saving Life on Earth
Catrin Einhorn, “Nearly Every Country Signs On to a Sweeping Deal to Protect Nature,” The New York Times, 19 Dec. 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/19/climate/biodiversity-cop15-montreal-30×30.html?

2022-12-17 Raymond Zhong, “For Planet Earth, This Might Be the Start of a New Age,” The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2022, the Anthropocene
            Scientists are deciding if our time will be labeled the Anthropocene. In his article, Zhong surveys the labeling discussion (and its significance) and gives us a trip through epochs, periods, eras, and eons.

2022-12-13 Gregory Scruggs, “Campaign to expand Olympic wilderness nears finish line after 15 years,” The Seattle Times, 13 Dec. 2022, https://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/after-15-years-campaign-to-expand-olympic-wilderness-nears-finish-line/
     At a time when we must preserve habitat to save us and other species, the Wild Olympics Initiative is one measure that could preserve some of the most precious. Senators Cantwell and Murray of Washington State could make it happen. To see more about the Wild Olympics campaign, please go to https://www.wildolympics.org