The Year of Lessons Learned

I started the year full of high hopes. I was finally retired and going to enjoy myself and do the things I wanted to do. The year started fine with me returning to faithful church attendance. I had mentioned before that I spent forty-two years in the world of IT.  Actually when I first started the official name was Data Processing. As a long time member of that professional community, I can say a person does not have anything like a healthy life. For twenty years I worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and then had a week off. So, in reality, I worked 26 weeks a year, with holidays and vacation. A young man’s game for a while. However, the opportunities to attend church often aren’t great. Then I worked 18 years in which I worked 3 and 1/2 days, twelve hours a day. Because a more significant part of that was spent work Wednesday – Saturday. So on my second weekend of retirement, I returned to church service and felt everything was going to be alright. I was back at my spiritual home.

I started this blog to pursue my writing interests.  I am a graduate of Long  Ridge Writers Group, where I learned to write non-fiction and fiction. I intended to write short stories and develop characters for other short stories. However, Donald Trump became President of our country and has torn asunder everything I believe in. I have lived in one of the most racist cities in the nations for sixty-six years. I held on to the belief that all people are created equal, not so much as because our founding document says so, but the Bible states that God created man in his image.

When I was a boy, my father instilled a love of nature. We watched the Wonderful World of Disney religiously. I loved the exceptional time-lapsed photography of fauna. And the individual heartwarming stories. That is why I have such a love of nature and environment.  I do not have any degrees in conservation or environmental studies, but I do believe we are undergoing a climate change. After all hasn’t the world gone through these changes over many millions of years. For earthlings, this climate change is man-made. A reasonable person should understand that after nearly fifty decades of belching carbon dioxide into the atmosphere some damage had to be sustained. Mainly we have done everything we could to eradicate trees from our environment. This is natures air cleaner. We owe the future generations an effort to turn this around.

I am committing myself to making an effort by posting whatever I learn about God’s gift to us; this planet,  why it is important we make an effort to save parts of it from our own undoing. Of course, there are two purposes for this to improve my writing and to inform you the reader. I will also be writing some general fiction too. Of course, to do all this, I am going to have to stay healthy by not breaking fingers and coming down with pneumonia.

 

The Impact of Off-Shore Drilling

When I do research for a writing project such as this, I imagine myself as a wide-eyed child learning about his world. This project originated as I was remembering such television shows such as Flipper, the Free Willie movies, and videos of whales crashing through ocean waves. The question came to me what would happen to these creatures.

The Learning Started

zooplankton
Tiny zooplankton, like these crustaceans, is an important food source for larger ocean animals.
Photo Credit: Credit: NOAA Photo Library

The term zooplankton describes any animal that can’t swim against current and drifts on the sea. There are 7000 species. The most well known is Krill. These shrimp-like creatures feed baleen whales, fish, and seabirds.

There are species of plankton that begin life floating as something but later evolved into something entirely different. Baby fish, shellfish, and Black Marlin. The Black Marlin can weigh as much as a thousand pounds and accelerate to 80 miles per hour. There are siphonophores which are drifting invertebrates that can grow a hundred feet long. Whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, and snorkelers are called nekton. These animals can float against the current.

Most humans do not think of plankton let alone their importance zooplankton are hard to relate too. None of the 7000 species are cuddly like dogs, cats, or long-eared bunny rabbits. Some don’t even have a face, but they have worth.  These little are lunch for anchovies, herring, and sardines which feed bigger fish, marine mammals, and sharks. Without the foundation of the food chain, the more massive sea creatures would not live either.

For oil and gas to be found the searchers plan to use seismic air guns would blast compressed air into the seabed which would kill significant amounts of zooplankton. The scientist has evidence that airgun blasts affect other animals even when what the blasts are set at a lower level frequency.  The evidence shows that blasting affects communication, feeding, and breeding of whales.  One question remains to be answered: What about the displacement and reduction of the catch rates of popular and commercially important species.

Because the evidence remains unclear what the far-reaching effects of airgun blasting on zooplankton. So in March 2015, the much-needed tests were performed off the southern coast of Tasmania. Before, during and after the tests nets full of zooplankton were collected. Before the trial, 19% of the zooplankton were found dead of natural causes. After the tests, the death toll was at 32%, and this included baby krill and Ceopods which are crustaceans. The death toll stayed high at least a kilometer away from the boat. It turns out the test although noteworthy did not prove impact.

Looking Into the Future

If we assume that seismic testing does kill plankton, then environmentalist must hope high-level predators would be drawn in first. If the zooplankton doesn’t bounce back quickly, then the result would be starvation for the countries that rely on the ocean for food. Further testing on computers have predicted that zooplankton will bounce back quickly in the tropic, but their rate of recovery north of the equator is unknown.

The concerns over the testing off the Tasmanian coast can be found elsewhere. While there are different species of plankton, they share physical similarities and are all affected by seismic airgun blasts.

Zooplankton being at the bottom of the food chain feed whales and fish. Of the commercial species, lobsters and oysters start as larvae drifting in the currents. Commercial fishermen will suffer if the proposed air gun blasting does decrease these favorite foods.

Finally, we should consider this “oil and gas were once considered zooplankton adrift at sea and as the new study shows air gun blasting to find these fuels may threaten the very creatures that made them.

 

My Stand

Like a lot of other Americans, I believe the GOP tax cut is heinous, and I do think taxes should be cut. In my particular case, I worked 42 years and most of that time was paycheck to paycheck. I have seen trickle down economics instituted twice, and it didn’t work either time. This package, what can you expect from stone cold people, whose primary goal is to deprive the less fortunate of life. I would like to remind the morality party even Jesus Christ ministered to the poor and sick.

I would rather see the government require two steps that they would have to meet. First, require that the corporations bring the outsourced jobs back to the United States. Secondly, bring back their profits that they have hidden so they can be taxed and fine.  I would prefer that they would have cut the taxes of the 1% and kept the estate tax, What happens to Trump’s promise of taxing corporations for moving jobs outside the country. At least with this tax package, we won’t have to build a wall, the immigrants will flock back to Mexico for work. Then maybe they’ll construct a fence to keep Americans out.

The headline has been rampant with news stories about the GOP being upset with Robert Mueller’s investigation. One story I read was that the GOP accused investigators of not liking Trump. Imagine the criminal castigating the police officer for shooting at him. “You’re supposed to love me.”

Finally, the depletion of our resources concerns me. Who is Trump selling the oil and coal too when the rest of the world is trending toward renewable energy. These natural resources that he and his comrades are so eagerly depleting were the same resource need for the allied effort against the Axis powers in the 1940s. We may need these resources to stop Putin.