Thanks to the Los Angeles Times Altered Oceans Series

A blue ocean is not always a healthy ocean

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.

If you missed the Altered Ocean Series, never fear, the Los Angeles Times still has it posted online. I highly recommend reading the series, it might just change your life.

Comments

  1. warren gross says

    Ms. Kraft,

    As if the above LA Times article is not enough bad news, I am currently reading the kindle edition of “The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America”. It illustrates how the loss of these once very numerous phytoplankton-eating fish has been the one of the major causes of the proliferation of algae blooms and the ‘slime’ referred to in “Altered Oceans”. In addition, the menhaden have been the primary food fish for the larger fish and the seabirds, also being rapidly depleted. I guess the moral of the story might be: grow a vegetable garden, you will probably need it.

    Warren Gross

    • Carolyn Kraft says

      Hi Warren,

      Thanks so much for mentioning “The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America,” it looks like a great read and I haven’t heard of it before, I just added it to my birthday list. Yes, there are many sad things going on in our oceans today. Despite hundreds of fishing regulations, there are still many fish facing tough times. I don’t eat fish any more, I know too much. I think growing a vegetable garden is an excellent idea, just make sure the water source for your garden is clean. So many things to think about!

      Thanks for taking time to read about the state of our oceans, the more we all know the better off we all are.

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