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Local resilience succeeding against a global ocean of threats

By Nicanor Requena and Leobihildo Tamai      

Whether you enter tropical seas as a tourist or a researcher, or to ensure your family’s sustenance and sense of place as we do, two divergent trends loom on the horizon. First, our coral reefs provide an astonishingly rich source of biodiversity, protein, jobs and income, and can for generations to come. But second, they face existential threats.

As native Belizeans, we know what’s at stake. Respected marine scientist Dr. John Bruno just delivered the latest diagnosis following his many summers visiting our backyard. Twice-daily surveys showed him irreversible degradation of the western hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Worldwide, reefs are under siege from sediment, plastic, algae, polluted runoff, hypoxic zones, invasive species, and perhaps most importantly, overfishing. Worse still, a changing global climate has made tropical waters hotter and more acidic, transforming some reefs into bleached and barren coral graveyards.

Interview with National Geographic Society’s Dr. Aurora Elmore

By Reaganne Hansford

It all started with a question: Why? Why, with the state of today’s world, do you still care? This question could be asked to anyone, at any point in our Earth’s history, and the answer would be interesting. So I decided to ask the people who are usually the ones asking this three-letter word, employees of National Geographic, “Why?”

Tragic Murder of Prominent Conservationist a Grave Blow to Defense of the Living Planet

Wayne Lotter’s life mission was to protect elephants and dismantle the illegal ivory market. He had known for some time that he was a target. Wealthy people in high places that had benefitted for decades from the poaching of illegal wildlife in Tanzania were very angry. Despite the danger, he bravely chose to continue to fight ‘the war’ as he always called it. He was tragically murdered this week in a ‘hit’ that police are investigating. 

Monitoring macroinvertebrates on the Galapagos ‘Enchanted Islands’

My experience with the ecological monitoring 2017

By Camila Arnés Urgellés

It was 5:30am when the motor of the Queen Mabel ship was turned off after navigating all night towards Punta Moreno, our first stop in the west of the archipelago. The sun still wasn’t out and we were getting ready for our first dive of the day. A cold breeze swept against us as we propelled ourselves by Zodiac toward the first dive site, but I was more overcome by the excitement of knowing that soon I would be below the water, immersed by this enchanted place. “Ready, one, two, three…” was our signal to enter the water at the same time. While I descended, I could see a garden of corals, algae, fish, turtles and stars of thousands of colors. Having only started my volunteer program at the Charles Darwin Foundation less than three months ago, I could not believe that this was going to be my work-site for a week…

Viewing the Solar Eclipse—in 1937

By Melissa Sagen “Like a hungry small boy sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, an astronomer at a total eclipse of the sun is there to get all he can while he has the chance. The boy is determined to stuff himself with as much turkey as possible while it lasts, and the astronomer is eager…

The River Runs Through Us

By Abbie Gascho Landis I stand, dripping, in Alabama’s Paint Rock River, and what looks like a rock in my hand is alive. She is a native freshwater mussel called a snuffbox. Her apricot-sized shell meets in a blunted edge, forming a curving triangle, which is mottled yellowish and dark brown. I have lifted her…

Romanian bears and wolves: to kill or not to kill, that is the question

By Masha Kalinina, International Trade Policy Specialist, Humane Society International, and Gabriel Paun, Biologist and President of Agent Green Romania

On Monday, footage surfaced in international media of brown bears “besieging” a Romanian village. The clip shows the animals scavenging for food in trash bins, walking through the town, and running past bewildered pedestrians. Unfortunately, images like these can invoke fear among the public and play very well into the hands of those who seek to justify the slaughter of bears (and other carnivores) in Romania.

Remembering Lady Liuwa, the ‘Last Lioness’ of Zambia’s Liuwa Plain

Posted by African Parks A legendary lioness fondly known as ‘Lady Liuwa’, that lived in Liuwa Plain National Park in Zambia, died of natural causes on August 9, 2017, just one day before World Lion Day. African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages national parks and protected areas across Africa, has been managing Liuwa Plain…

Remembering Lady Liuwa

By Rob Reid, African Parks It doesn’t matter how much you know about lions, or what you think you know about them, how many scientific publications you’ve read, nor how much time you’ve spent with them.  They will always surprise you.  None more so than a very beautiful lady that I’ve known for the last three years.…

It’s Japan’s turn to save the African elephant

Japan is one of the largest remaining ivory markets in the world with more ivory manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers than any country. The Japanese government needs to step up to the plate and join the international effort to combat wildlife trafficking by closing its domestic ivory market.

Crossing the Okavango Delta: 2017

I can see a hippo just over the top popping up for air and snorting every few minutes in the river. I can’t tell how many birds I am listening to. I could be in a tree on a perfect summer day anywhere, but it’s winter and I’m in Botswana.

Why zoos must become places for compassionate conservation

By Jo-Anne McArthur

There will always be a need for places where we can care for animals or practice compassionate conservation—places where the goal is protection and not human entertainment. These places exist and we need more of them. Sanctuaries, wildlife centers, conservation areas: where the needs of animals native to the geography and compatible with the climate are met; where humane education takes place, rather than the model of display and objectification currently in practice.

Messages on a Rock: How Our National Monuments Help Define Us

In coming weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected to visit New Mexico to tour the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as part of the administration’s hostile review of monuments in the West (the review ends Aug. 23). Despite overwhelming public support in New Mexico for the two monuments, not all of the state’s elected officials are on board. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez recently wrote to Zinke that she supports the review of the two monuments “to analyze whether the designations make the best sense for New Mexico.”

I hope Secretary Zinke gets a chance to hike into the canyon and float the river. I hope he speaks to the many New Mexicans—from tribal leaders and ranchers to local mayors and business owners—who strongly support this monument and see it as part of their cultural identity.

Can São Paulo Avoid the Abyss of New York City in the 1970s?

By Alexandros Washburn and Philip Yang

São Paulo is the New York of the 1970s. The Cracolândia, the Campos Elíseos, Vila Leopoldina, and other central neighborhoods live the same problems with crime, drugs, homelessness, prostitution that Times Square, Bowery and Hell’s Kitchen experienced 40 years ago. The conflicts and dismay that mark São Paulo’s urban life today are identical to the violence and discouragement that prevailed among New Yorkers in the period that is seen as the gloomiest and most dangerous in the history of the Big Apple.

Is there any sign that São Paulo can follow the same path of recovery that New York pursued from the late 1970s onwards, in a process that reinvigorated the quality of public life and brought New York back to being one of the most lively and dynamic cities on the planet in one generation? We think so.

Hōkūleʻa Returns Home

This marks the first time in history that a Polynesian voyaging canoe has sailed around the world. The crew used ancient Polynesian wayfinding techniques, observing the stars, ocean, winds, birds and other signs of nature as mapping points for direction.