The Shackleton Expedition

July 19, 1999 | Tags: Antarctica

Sir Ernest Shackleton was one of the greatest Antarctic explorers of our time and the story of his fateful voyage on the Endurance and how he and his crew of 27 survived nearly two years on the Antarctic ice is an inspiration to any visitor to this isolated region.

On the following pages, naturalist and lecturer Carmen Field shares with us the fascinating history of the expedition and offers historical insights on Shackleton points of interest you can visit on our upcoming voyage to South Georgia Island. Her husband, artist and naturalist Conrad Field, provides an artistic perspective, complemented by stunning South Georgia photography by Peter Harrison and Shirley Metz.

A Talk with Dr. Paul Ehrlich

July 19, 1999 | Tags: Uncategorized

Kathy Ricketts Reitinger, July 1999

In 1965, as a young biologist at Stanford University, Dr. Paul Ehrlich traveled around the world on a sabbatical research trip to study the taxonomy, evolution and ecology of butterflies -- the focus of his scientific career. Ironically, he found that the native flora and fauna on even the most remote tropical islands had been damaged or destroyed by humans to make way for agriculture and housing. In addition, the cities of Third World countries he visited were alarmingly overcrowded and impoverished. Three years later, he published The Population Bomb, a revolutionary book which predicted worldwide famine and widespread disaster if the current rates of population growth were not slowed. Thirty years later, the global population growth has slowed and it seems possible that we will be able to eventually control and stabilize population.

Zegrahm News recently traveled to Stanford University to discuss with Dr. Ehrlich his current feelings about the world's population and his predictions about our future on the planet.

You introduced the equation, I=PAT, which illustrates the impact of any human group upon the environment: Impact = Population x Affluence (consumption) x Technology. When you first proposed this equation, you felt that "P" was the most critical in controlling and reducing human impact on the Earth. Do you still think that population growth is the most critical problem facing us today?

Not anymore. Although the world is still vastly overpopulated, the past 30 years have shown that population can be controlled. People can be convinced that it may be in their best interest to produce smaller families. However, no one has any idea of how to convince humanity that it is in their best interest to consume less, instead of more. Even if 'P' is reduced, the steady rise of 'A' in the Impact Equation means that our crushing impact on the Earth will continue to increase."

In your work, you manage to string enough statistics and stories together to form a horrifying picture: humankind rapidly creating our own demise in the assumption that our Earth and its resources will provide an unlimited supply of space and sustenance. You manage very successfully to "shake people awake" to what is happening throughout the world. What can be done to stop this demise?

Don't have families with more than one or two children. Encourage religious institutions to support birth control and family planning; encourage politicians to support the same. Reduce consumption.

People may not be as interested in driving their big, fuel-guzzling cars if it costs them $5+ per gallon at the gas station. They might think twice before filling their huge bathtubs or watering their lawns daily if the costs of water and natural gas triple. They may not insist upon meat every day if the prices reflect the true cost in terms of the Earth's resources.

In a nutshell, do as much as you can, in whatever arena you can.

Interview with Dr. Sylvia Earle

October 20, 1998

I've heard a lot of discussion about the Sustainable Seas Expeditions. What are the objectives of these expeditions?

This project is a three-way partnership, coordinated by the National Geographic Society in cooperation with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and supported by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. We have set out to elevate the status of marine sanctuaries to that of national parks. We want people to understand the importance of protecting the diversity of life in the ocean. The Sustainable Seas Expeditions will use two manned submersibles, capable of exploring to 2,000 feet or more, to document the twelve marine sanctuaries in North America. Our goal is to change the way people think about the ocean, to emphasize the need for protected areas and to develop an ethic of ocean stewardship.

In what way will the Sustainable Seas Project be active here in the Florida Keys?

We plan to implement this work with sanctuary managers and scientists who are already engaged in research in each of the twelve sanctuaries, in order to cooperate with them and provide equipment that will extend the range of research capability down to 2,000 feet. The company providing the submersibles is a Vancouver-based operation called Nuytco, the same firm that Zegrahm and DeepEx are working with on your forthcoming DeepSea Voyages programs.

Both literally and figuratively, we hope to provide greater depth to the ongoing studies, as well as to implement some new ones. It is essential to develop a yardstick to measure change over time (in the marine environment) starting from now and going forward, but also, looking backwards. We will extract biological data from archival records made by people who have been doing research over the past few decades. This archival information will focus on the marine sanctuaries in the United States but at the same time we will encourage others to do the same internationally. This type of a database will give us a perspective of what has happened in the last century and a better understanding of where we are headed in the next century.

The most desirable thing we can strive for is some measure of stability. The last thing we want is to find our natural systems in a chaotic state, with no predictability on which way they are going. Whether we're talking about fish populations, wetlands, water temperature or the health of our coral reefs, we must understand how these natural systems work and what the triggering factors are in order to develop wise management policies.

What is the significance of the year of the ocean?

The year of the ocean is a national, as well as an international, effort to celebrate the relationship between humankind and the seas. It has taken a number of directions. On an international scale, there is a World Ocean Expo in Lisbon, with pavilions from many different countries. The Ocean Expo is like a world fair, but it's all about the oceans. A new aquarium has opened in connection with the Expo. Jean-Michael Cousteau and I are the spokespersons for the U.S.

On a national scale, there was an oceans conference in Monterey in June. That conference was unprecedented, with approximately 500 invited individuals from all over the country representing the many aspects of the ocean community: industry, science, conservation, technology, scientists as well as President Clinton, the First Lady and Vice President Al Gore.

You could feel the energy about raising public awareness about the oceans. It seems that at last there really is concern about the oceans on a national scale, that a wave of momentum has been created that will carry on into the next century. We have an opportunity now to do for the oceans in the 21st century what the 20th century has done for space. We must elevate the importance of the oceans and recognize that everything on this planet is absolutely governed by them.

Here is just one of the ways that sea and space come together: think about setting up housekeeping on Mars or in a spacecraft -- the key is water. We have been indifferent about the state of the oceans. I hope that what I am sensing during this Year of the Ocean is a real "Sea Change" of attitude.

What can adventure travelers do with regard to the year of ocean?

Education and understanding are two critical elements in the concept of the year of the ocean. This is where Zegrahm comes in. The expeditions you offer are important, because there is nothing like being there. It is widely acknowledged that one picture is worth a thousand words, but there is no question that one experience is worth a thousand pictures.

Interview with Dr. Sylvia Earle

October 19, 1998 | Tags: Uncategorized

I've heard a lot of discussion about the Sustainable Seas Expeditions. What are the objectives of these expeditions?

This project is a three-way partnership, coordinated by the National Geographic Society in cooperation with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and supported by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. We have set out to elevate the status of marine sanctuaries to that of national parks. We want people to understand the importance of protecting the diversity of life in the ocean. The Sustainable Seas Expeditions will use two manned submersibles, capable of exploring to 2,000 feet or more, to document the twelve marine sanctuaries in North America. Our goal is to change the way people think about the ocean, to emphasize the need for protected areas and to develop an ethic of ocean stewardship.

In what way will the Sustainable Seas Project be active here in the Florida Keys?

We plan to implement this work with sanctuary managers and scientists who are already engaged in research in each of the twelve sanctuaries, in order to cooperate with them and provide equipment that will extend the range of research capability down to 2,000 feet. The company providing the submersibles is a Vancouver-based operation called Nuytco, the same firm that Zegrahm and DeepEx are working with on your forthcoming DeepSea Voyages programs.

Both literally and figuratively, we hope to provide greater depth to the ongoing studies, as well as to implement some new ones. It is essential to develop a yardstick to measure change over time (in the marine environment) starting from now and going forward, but also, looking backwards. We will extract biological data from archival records made by people who have been doing research over the past few decades. This archival information will focus on the marine sanctuaries in the United States but at the same time we will encourage others to do the same internationally. This type of a database will give us a perspective of what has happened in the last century and a better understanding of where we are headed in the next century.

The most desirable thing we can strive for is some measure of stability. The last thing we want is to find our natural systems in a chaotic state, with no predictability on which way they are going. Whether we're talking about fish populations, wetlands, water temperature or the health of our coral reefs, we must understand how these natural systems work and what the triggering factors are in order to develop wise management policies.

What is the significance of the year of the ocean?

The year of the ocean is a national, as well as an international, effort to celebrate the relationship between humankind and the seas. It has taken a number of directions. On an international scale, there is a World Ocean Expo in Lisbon, with pavilions from many different countries. The Ocean Expo is like a world fair, but it's all about the oceans. A new aquarium has opened in connection with the Expo. Jean-Michael Cousteau and I are the spokespersons for the U.S.

On a national scale, there was an oceans conference in Monterey in June. That conference was unprecedented, with approximately 500 invited individuals from all over the country representing the many aspects of the ocean community: industry, science, conservation, technology, scientists as well as President Clinton, the First Lady and Vice President Al Gore.

You could feel the energy about raising public awareness about the oceans. It seems that at last there really is concern about the oceans on a national scale, that a wave of momentum has been created that will carry on into the next century. We have an opportunity now to do for the oceans in the 21st century what the 20th century has done for space. We must elevate the importance of the oceans and recognize that everything on this planet is absolutely governed by them.

Here is just one of the ways that sea and space come together: think about setting up housekeeping on Mars or in a spacecraft -- the key is water. We have been indifferent about the state of the oceans. I hope that what I am sensing during this Year of the Ocean is a real "Sea Change" of attitude.

What can adventure travelers do with regard to the year of ocean?

Education and understanding are two critical elements in the concept of the year of the ocean. This is where Zegrahm comes in. The expeditions you offer are important, because there is nothing like being there. It is widely acknowledged that one picture is worth a thousand words, but there is no question that one experience is worth a thousand pictures.