In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to thank the Los Angeles Times for publishing the Pulitzer prize-winning Altered Oceans Series, the articles that changed my life. On July 30, 2006, the first in the series ran titled “A Primeval Tide of Toxins” and I was riveted. It was the reading equivalent of watching a train wreck, the information was horrifying, but told so skillfully by reporters Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling that I just couldn’t stop.
The first article details how the chemistry of the oceans are changing from all the nasty pesticides and pollutants we are letting drain into our beautiful blue seas. But that was just the beginning, the next four articles in the series that ran described even more devastation. “Sentinels Under Attack” revealed the fatal effects of domoic acid (toxic algae) and the rise of marine mammal deaths in California. Then the third article took a look at the increasing number of red tides along Florida’s coast, causing severe health problems for humans and their pets just from breathing the air.
The fourth article was the first time I read about the Pacific garbage patch, a colossal island of trash floating in the ocean. And the fifth and final article detailed the increasing acidity of the ocean and its potential to wipe out many types of marine life. The entire series was eye-opening and brought the stark reality of the oceans to life in a way that truly resonated with me.
After reading these articles I knew I had to do something to help. But with such complex and overwhelming issues where does one person begin? For me, I slowly started to transition my career into work related to helping the oceans and eventually I launched this blog to raise the profiles of the many animals that call the ocean home. I think that if people can better appreciate the amazing attributes and unique characteristics of ocean animals, then they will take steps to save them.