Ocean Greetings  
The Ocean Project provides this e-newsletter as a free service to over 2,500 contacts at zoos, aquariums, museums, conservation organizations, schools, and others involved in our Partner network.

We hope you will find these news updates, resources, events, and opportunities for action useful in your work and life. Please forward widely and encourage colleagues and friends to subscribe!


In This Issue
That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise
Strategies for Change: Motivating Environmentally-friendly Behavior
Massachusetts' Oceans Act of 2008 First in U.S.
Advocates Eye 2009 for Wave of Ocean Bills in U.S. Congress
Environmental Skeptics are Overwhelmingly Politicized
Sea Turtles Make the News!
What Condoms Have to Do With Climate Change
EPA Beach Contamination Data Online
Water and Sustainable Development Expo in Zaragoza
Reminder: AZA Annual Conference in Milwaukee
Reminder: International Aquarium Congress in Shanghai
That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise
Story Image

By Alex Williams
The New York Times - June 15, 2008


Green noise -- static caused by urgent, sometimes vexing or even contradictory information played at too high a volume for too long.

Two years after "An Inconvenient Truth" helped unleash a new tide of environmental activism, green noise pulses through the collective consciousness from all directions. The news media issues dire reports about disappearing polar bears; Web sites feature Brad Pitt arriving at a movie premiere in his hydrogen-powered BMW; bookstore shelves are piled high with titles like "50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth"; shops carry hemp-enriched shampoo and 100-percent organic cotton tampons.

An environmentally conscientious consumer is left to wonder: are low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs better than standard incandescents, even if they contain traces of mercury? Which salad is more earth-friendly, the one made with organic mixed greens trucked from thousands of miles away, or the one with lettuce raised on nearby industrial farms? Should they support nuclear power as a clean alternative to coal?

If even well-intentioned activists are feeling overwhelmed, the average S.U.V. driver must be tuning out. And some environmentalists fear that the public might begin to ignore their message before any meaningful change can be accomplished. For them, it's a time to reassess strategies and streamline their campaigns before it's too late.

Activists and nonprofits must shoulder their share of responsibility, too, for bombarding people with messages. "The groups that are trying to get them to change overwhelm them with information," said Diane Tompkins, a founder of the Curious Company, a market research firm based in San Francisco.

Read the full story.

For more interesting conversation on this topic, check out Dot Earth.

Photo Credit: The New York Times Company.

 

Strategies for Change: Motivating Environmentally-friendly Behavior
Story Image

World Wildlife Fund - April 2008

Weathercocks and Signposts: The Environment Movement at a Crossroads, by Tom Crompton, critically reassesses current approaches to motivating environmentally-friendly behavior change. Current behavior-change strategies are increasingly built upon analogy with product marketing campaigns. They often take as given the 'sovereignty' of consumer choice, and the perceived need to preserve current lifestyles intact. This report constructs a case for a radically different approach. It presents evidence that any adequate strategy for tackling environmental challenges will demand engagement with the values that underlie the decisions we make - and, indeed, with our sense of who we are.

Read the full report or the executive summary.

For additional interesting conversation on this topic, check out ValuingNature.org.

Access some of the best environmental communications research and tools.

 

Massachusetts' Oceans Act of 2008 First in Nation
Story Image

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management - May 28, 2008

In a precedent-setting move for other states, on May 28 at the New England Aquarium, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Oceans Act of 2008. It sets in place the first comprehensive management plan for a state's ocean waters. The law requires that the state develop an ocean management plan by December 31, 2009. The bill was the result of three years of negotiation and collaboration between the lead Senate sponsors, environmental groups, fishing organizations, and other ocean users.

See the full text of the Oceans Act 2008 or for more information on CZM's ocean management efforts, see the Massachusetts Ocean Management Initiative Website.

Learn more about this development from the Mass Ocean Campaign.

Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library.

 

Advocates Eye 2009 for Wave of Oceans Bills
Story Image

By Allison Winter
Environment and Energy Daily - June 11, 2008


Several pieces of ocean legislation on the move in Congress this year are unlikely to make it into law before 2009, senior congressional staff members and oceans advocates say. Ocean advocates assembled for "Capitol Hill Oceans Week" predicted that a shortened, crowded calendar in an election year may leave little room to bring many of their oceans bills to the finish line.

House and Senate staffers predicted some bills could move in the fall but that most of this year's work would be an effort to set things up for the next Congress and the new administration. "It is going to be very difficult to move legislation for the rest of the year, as we get into an election cycle, it is very difficult," said Senate Commerce Committee staff member Kristen Sarri. "A lot of it is laying the groundwork for the next Congress."

Ocean advocates said they would press for final passage for some of the bills as part of the flurry of bills that Congress is likely to take up in its closing weeks after the August break. "It's a presidential election year and we've got a shortened, and let's face it, highly politically charged calendar, so we have to have modest expectations," said Christopher Mann, senior environment officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Lawmakers introduced a tidal wave of oceans initiatives over the past two years, spurred in part by recommendations from the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative and reports from its predecessors, the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

The Bush administration also issued its own ocean action plan in 2004, with a list of 88 goals to be accomplished in the following two to three years. For its part, the administration hopes to finish some of those action items in the last months of Bush's tenure.

Read the full story.

Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library.

 

Environmental Skeptics are Overwhelmingly Politicized
Story Image

By Ben Block
Worldwatch Institute - June 11, 2008


A review of environmental skepticism literature from the past 30 years has found that the vast majority of skeptics, often identified as independent, are directly linked to politically oriented, conservative think tanks.

The study, published in this month's issue of Environmental Politics, analyzed books written between 1972 and 2005 that deny the urgency of environmental protection. The researchers found that more than 92 percent of the skeptical authors were in some way affiliated to conservative think tanks - non-profit research and advocacy organizations that promote core conservative ideals.

While many environmental skeptics are known to work for these think tanks, the study is the first to provide a quantitative analysis of the relationship. The popular media often regard environmental skeptics as independent experts, despite their connection to industry-funded campaigns that seek to de-legitimize sound environmental science reports, especially on climate change, says lead author Peter Jacques, an environmental politics professor at the University of Central Florida.

"A lot of skeptics might say they are independent voices, but it's clear there is an organization behind the skeptical discourse," Jacques said. "If not for conservative think tanks, we wouldn't be having this same discussion; we wouldn't be hung up on whether climate change is real."

The review analyzed 141 books, which the authors consider the largest compilation of the environmental skepticism genre and the majority of all English-language skepticism books. An author was "affiliated" to a think tank if the organization published the book or if the author ever - before or after the book was published - held a position with the organization, wrote for an organization's publications, or delivered lectures sponsored by the organization.

Read the full story from Worldwatch Institute.

Download a PDF of the full study, "The organization of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental skepticism."

Photo Credit: The Ovi Magazine.

 

Sea Turtles Make the News!
Story Image By Andrew C. Revkin
New York Times - June 12, 2008


For the first time since the 1930's, federal biologists confirmed that a leatherback sea turtle has nested on a Texas beach, at the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi.

Last Friday, staff conducting a beach patrol found turtle tracks and a few exposed eggs. They were thought at first to be those of a green turtle. But the eggs and the width of the tracks, more than six feet across, were later determined by a park biologist, Cynthia Rubio, to be from a leatherback. The giant, ancient, endangered turtles, some the size of a Smart Car, have until now only been known to nest in four spots in the United States - with about three dozen females a year laying eggs on beaches along the east coast of Florida and slightly larger nesting populations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is evidence of nesting in North Carolina as well.

June also saw a champion in the "Great Turtle Race," in which students and turtle fans tracked the meanderings of 11 radio-tagged leatherbacks in the Pacific Ocean. The first to reach the International Date Line was a turtle named Saphira II, sponsored by the Bullis Charter School of Los Altos, Calif.

To view the race or get involved, visit: The Great Sea Turtle Race II.

Access some of the best websites on sea turtle conservation.

Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library.

 
What Condoms Have to Do with Climate Change
Story Image

By Brian Walsh
TIME - May 12, 2008


Population is the essential multiplier for any number of human ills.

The sudden spike in both food and fuel prices is raising concerns that we may not be able to grow forever, that even with the best technological innovation, the planet may have limits. It's becoming increasingly clear that if we can't curb carbon emissions in a world of 6.8 billion, it may be impossible to do when there are 9 billion of us. And while population growth has slowed drastically in many countries in Western Europe and in Japan, where women are having fewer and fewer babies, it's still rising in much of the developed world -- and for that matter, in the United States. "You really can't talk about the supply and demand imbalance that is sending energy and food prices up without acknowledging that we are adding 78 million people each year, the equivalent of a new Idaho every week," says Engleman.

What can we do about population? State-mandated birth control is essentially unfair -- and a policy no American government would ever support. But in his new book, Engleman makes the argument that the government doesn't need to get involved. The key to limiting population growth, he says, is to give control over procreation to women. In society after society, even in countries where large families have always been the norm, when women take control over family size, birth rates shrink. "They don't have to be coerced," says Engleman. "This will happen as long as women are in charge."

For the U.S., the best option is vigorous foreign aid that helps make contraception safe, reliable and accessible in every country -- too often women in the developing world who want to use contraception, can't get it. "The funding for contraception aid has been stagnant for decades," says Engleman. "Americans need to influence their government to get behind this." If we don't, we may find out very soon just what the limits of the Earth are. It's not just feminism to support population control -- it's environmentalism.

Read the full story.

Access some of the best websites on population issues.

 

EPA Beach Contamination Data Online
Story Image

With beach season upon us in the northern hemisphere, it's a good time to review the US EPA's recently released beach data from last year!

EPA announced May 29, that its assembled data on beach closings in 2007 is available online. Approximately 1/3 of 3,600 monitored beaches had to be closed at least once last year due to contamination.  Get full EPA 2007 Swimming Season National Summary.

Find your beach in the Great Lakes, along the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic coasts, and for five US territories.

Learn more about beaches and how to protect them.

Prevent the extinction of experience! This month's Seas the Day conservation action theme is about getting outdoors and exploring more.

Photo Credit: NOAA Photo Library.

 

Water and Sustainable Development Expo in Zaragoza
Story Image

The International Expo in Zaragoza, scheduled to take place from June 11 to September 14, 2008, will focus on the issue of water as an increasingly scarce and indispensable resource, as well as methods to improve its management and availability. Organizers expect that the event will draw six million visitors and the participation of 70 to 90 countries in addition to international organizations.

Visit the Water Festival's website.

Access some of the best websites on freshwater and watershed.

 

Reminder: AZA Annual Conference
Story Image

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) 84th annual conference will take place September 15th - 18th, 2008 in Milwaukee, hosted by the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Get more information about the 2008 AZA national conference.
 

Reminder: International Aquarium Congress in Shanghai
Story Image

The International Aquarium Congress (IAC) is an important and prestigious event for the public aquarium industry held every four years. The IAC gathers professionals from public aquariums all around the world to share and learn about new developments in conservation, research, technology, management and other related issues for the industry.

The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is organizing the 7th IAC to be held October 20th - 24th, 2008 at the Shanghai International Convention Center. The Ocean Project will be there and hope you will make the event, too!

To learn more, visit the IAC 2008 website.