Is SeaWorld fun? Many of us, especially those of us who grew up on the West Coast, have formative memories of seeing the whales at SeaWorld. The animals leap and twirl to aahs and oohs from the audience. People are splashed by the massive waves; families watch the trainers hold out fish for the whales to jump for; and generally, the company conveys a vision of happy, beautiful and immense mammals cohabiting entertainingly with what seem like their human protectors.
This bucolic scene could not be further from the truth. While anti-orca exploitation has been around for some years, it has generally been seen as a fringe movement. In fact there’s a Portlandia segment making gentle fun of orca enthusiasts who seek to set them free. But more and more awareness is breaking into the mainstream: that lovely, leaping orca is actually being held in downright abusive conditions.
Indeed, orca confinement, even at such well-branded locations as SeaWorld, is abusive in the extreme. To start with, orcas are under threat: the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the entity that determines an animal’s conservation status, warns that we need more study of orca vulnerability; our own government is now concerned enough about the status of the orcas in the Salish Sea near Washington State’s San Juan Islands that it has listed that population as endangered.
Seeing these animals in the wild is unforgettable. Ms. Wolf watched the orcas swim when she visited the San Juan Islands; Ms. Anderson also remembers them in the wild with appreciation. While her family could never afford to go to Sea World, or to similar Marine parks, she was raised to respect nature and watched orcas at play from the beach near her home. It was not until she did a Baywatch episode at Sea World that she saw the prison camps in which these magnificent creatures were kept. “It broke my heart,” she recounts.
Imprisoning orcas in this way leads them to actually live shorter lives: Orcas forced to live in captivity live less than half as long as do orcas left in the wild. In addition to killing orcas at a younger age, captivity is rife with unnatural experiences that damage them in many ways: for example, these animals typically swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild, but in captivity they can only float listlessly or swim in circles, denied meaningful enrichment or any semblance of natural movement. This lack of proper exercise causes the animals’ bodies to become deformed; indeed this inactivity collapses their dorsal fins.
In fact, the anxiety that afflicts these whales is so high that SeaWorld’s own records actually show that they drug their orcas with diazepam, the generic name for Valium. Obviously, any animal that needs anxiety medication in order to behave “normally” in captivity should not be held captive in the first place.
All of this stress adds up, and has caused some of the whales in captivity to lash out. Several people around the world have been either killed or seriously injured by orcas held captive for performance purposes. The documentary Blackfish highlights the story of a whale named Tilikum, who killed a trainer during his captivity in Canada, at a park called Sealand. This was before Tilikum was purchased by SeaWorld. Unsurprisingly but tragically, the whale killed two more people subsequent上海419网
Todd Stern, the chief U.S. negotiator here, must be ruing the day in 2007 when he wrote those lines to former President George Bush complaining about the reliance on unwieldy 200 nations plus negotiations to resolve complex global governance issues.
But Stern found himself this week repeating the exercise, and honestly, with less success than the Bush Administration.
Rio+20 has wound down to its dismal formal end. A good measure of the decline of governmental ambition in the last several years was the contrast between the negotiating sweetener Secretary of State Clinton brought to help move Copenhagen along 2.5 years ago — a $10 billion U.S. commitment to climate funding — and her announcement at the close of this Global Sustainability Conference.
Officially, Clinton was committing the United States to $2 billion in support for UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, but in reality the only hard, new funds on the table were a $20 million pledge to support energy access for the poor. Since energy access has been getting overall short shrift from most of the players on Energy For All the U.S. commitment — designed to leverage substantially larger sums of private money — was welcome. But it was clearly tokenism — and did little to make up, for example, for the U.S. unwillingness to commit to action on the gradual extinction of the oceans through overfishing for another three years.
Even before this conference began, major players were signaling their frustration with governmental processes. John Kornerup Bang, climate chief adviser at the global shipping company AP Moller Maersk, said a month ago, “The biggest challenge is not lack of technical solutions or lack of knowledge about the situation. The biggest challenge is the ability of countries to reach agreement.” And Microsoft announced, in a startling breakthrough, that it would impose a carbon tax on all of its own internal emissions — and then use the proceeds to make itself carbon neutral. This fascinating mechanism could demonstrate that with price signals the net cost of reducing carbon may indeed be very small, since now every one of Microsoft’s operating entities has an incentive to waste not a single ton of carbon. Microsoft’s sustainability director, Rob Bernard, pointed out, “While governments have an important role to play, we hope that there is an advantage to moving faster than them.”
And Clinton and Microsoft were not the only players trying ends runs around the UN’s negotiating process. While the formal communiqué’s emerging from the Rio+20 Conference give an almost slighting reference to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy For All leadership, initiative and its goals, that is not preventing an alliance of the willing from emerging within the somewhat tattered, overly formal UN umbrella.
Saudi Arabia may have exercised its sovereign right to shut down significant UN statements — even non-binding ones — in favor of renewable energy, but its Persian Gulf neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, hosted a high-level reception for the Secretary General which felt, for all the world, as if the UN family had embraced clean energy access — except for the countries conspicuous by their absence.
Former Undersecretary of State and Senator Tim Wirth made clear in his remarks that the hallmark of the new Secretary General was new approaches, new emphases — women, public — private partnerships, clean energy access. Chad Holliday who leads Moon’s High Level Advisory Group in partnership with Sierra Leone’s Kandeh Yumkella was even clearer — for him, the Energy for All initiative is at its core about new public-private partnerships.
And New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, hosting a day long event for the C40 global cities initiative he leads for climate solutions, made it clear that he wasn’t ceding the field to either corporations or individual governments. Noting the sluggish pace of the multinational negotiations, Bloomberg said cities “aren’t arguing with each other. We’re going out there and making progress.”
Civil society is taking new approaches as well. An event by the Sierra Club, the Carbon War Room and Greenpeace, on the opportunity presented by distributed renewable energy to meet the needs of the world’s two billion poorest people while simultaneously creating an irresistible momentum behind a clean low carbon future, spent zero energy discussing the formal negotiating text — instead a diversity of clean energy entrepreneurs, leaders from Greenpeace India, myself and Sun Edison founder Jigar Shah debated the best bottom-up business strategies for providing energy to the 2 billion people at the base of the pyramid before governments and fossil fuel energy monopolies could possibly reach them.
One very exciting — and for me personally poignant opportunity — is posed by the leadership of the Chief Minister of Bihar State in India, Nitish Kumar. Kumar won a resounding re-election on a single campaign promise — providing electricity for the 85 percent of his state’s 100 million people who lack it. But Bihar has no coal, natural gas or oil, little hydro, and no vast deserts or mountains for centralized wind and solar. What the state has is a lot of sunshine and distributed bio-mass, so the only way Kumar can deliver on his pledge is with distributed renewable energy.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dedicating a solar facility in his home village
Forty-five years ago I spent two years in a small village on the southern edge of Bihar — and actually met my first solar power expert, an Indian scientist in a neighboring town. But Bihar then, and for 40 years until Kumar came to office five years ago, was legendarily India’s basket case. Now it boasts enormous annual growth in GDP. If it can be electrifi上海龙凤足浴发廊
Feb 4 (Reuters) – Eleven railway cars carrying ethanol fuel derailed on Wednesday in a remote location north of Dubuque, Iowa, and three of them caught on fire, Canadian Pacific (CP) railway said.
There were no injuries in the accident involving an eastbound 81-car freight train, said Jeremy Berry, spokesman for the railway.
A total of 12 railway cars derailed, and 11 of those were carrying ethanol, Canadian Pacific said in a satement.
The railway did not confirm reports in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald that three cars had fallen into the Mississippi River. The waterway is frozen or near-frozen and there is no river traffic in the area, an Army Corps of Engin爱上海论坛