Thursday, September 25, 2008

CA Attorneys Hear Compelling Case to Preserve Sea

We’re taking a break from Hawaii's ongoing dismal economic news --- well-established restaurants closing, double-digit tourism declines --- for a weekend in Monterey, CA with the California Bar Association’s convention. The featured speaker after today’s lunch was National Geographic “Explorer-in-Residence” Dr. Sylvia A. Earle (at right after today’s talk), whose presentation on global climate change’s impact on the sea also included her gentle chastisement of the human species for pillaging ocean life for our dining pleasure.

Earle has spent 6,000 hours below the ocean’s surface and says she doesn’t eat seafood for fear she might recognize a face. Just as humans’ features are unique, fish and animals in the ocean differ from one another, too, she says. Some fish species’ numbers have declined more than 90 percent in recent years, a trend she warns is unsustainable. “Can you imagine feeding the planet with song birds and furry little things?” she asked, which in effect is the scope of what we’re doing with seafood.

Working the OTEC Angle

Anyone remotely connected with ocean research and preservation knows about Earle, whose whimsical "titles" include “Her Deepness” and “The Sturgeon General” thanks to her remarkable career of ocean exploration. We managed a few minutes with her before her talk and mentioned a mutual acquaintance with whom Earle has worked – Charlotte Vick, formerly of Honolulu and now a Texas resident.

Earle knows Hawaii well and seemed genuinely interested in ocean thermal energy conversion “developments” in Hawaii, such as they are, agreeing that OTEC could significantly reduce the Aloha State’s un-aloha-like carbon contribution to the planet’s atmosphere.

The California lawyers gave her a standing O and a warm sendoff as she prepares for meetings tomorrow in Washington, where officials are dealing with another kind of climate change and endangerment.

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