Thursday, July 31, 2008

253. On Fishing ...

I've been reading more and more to educate myself about our oceans. I favor conservation, and I'm now more convinced than ever that the responsible thing to do, for conservation, for moral reasons, and as citizens of the world, is to establish a national marine monument around the three northern islands of the CNMI.

There is a very good article in the April 2007 National Geographic. It covers some of the same ground as in the thoroughly researched book, THE UNNATURAL HISTORY OF THE SEA by Callum Roberts. Both point to several important aspects of the discussion about our oceans and the marine life there.

* Fishing, as practiced now, causes terrible damage to our marine environments and is exterminating species of ocean life at an alarming rate.

* The degradation of our marine habitats causes a phenomenon of "shifting baselines" where we come to accept as normal what we have/see, and forget about the past, what really was normal and existed. We tend to think those stories told by older generations of "the big one" caught or that got away are exaggerations, but the scientific evidence shows that predator species were bigger in the past, and there were more of them.

* Current strategies for "sustainable fisheries" aren't working. If we don't do something now, drastically, we will lose about 90% of our marine life by 2050. And the effect of degradation of our coral reefs and other marine habitats has on climate change, global warming, and our very existence, will be harsh.

* There are seven steps we (as governments, as policy-makers, as enforcers) could take that would save our oceans.
1. Reduce the amount of fishing.
2. Eliminate politicians from much of the fishery management decision-making.
3. Eliminate catch quotas.
4. Require fishers to keep what they catch (no more throwing over the "by-catch"-returning dead sea creatures that aren't what you wanted)
5. Use the best available fishing technology to reduce bycatch.
6. Ban or restrict the most damaging fishing gear (bottom trawls, in particular).
7. Create marine sanctuaries that put 20% to 40% of the ocean beyond harm-no take zones.

* And as individuals, there are a few things we can do. Namely choose seafoods caught using sustainable methods. There are sustainable fisheries, with their catch labeled by the Marine Stewardship Council. The labels look like this:

Or check out what are good choices here or here.


252. Cited! Well, getting there...

I've been to busy and lazy to blog much lately. But here's the latest news about Karl Rove and the contempt citation...

And this interesting bit:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

250. Children's Book Review Column

In case you missed it in the Marianas Variety on July 4th, my most recent children's book review column is now on-line here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

249. A Bit on Vocabulary

Ken Phillips has an interesting post on "Proper English" with some links to phrase finder sites. Beware. You can easily lose track of time playing around on those.

I've been reading a lot of murder mysteries lately as part of my summer pseudo-vacation. (I'm still working every day. But it's summer and feels like I should be on vacation.) Some of the modern ones are pure claptrap, not really worth the time. But when you're vacationing, time isn't a concern, so I read on.

But one thin volume that I borrowed from Ruth Tighe was a decidedly British mystery, written in the early 1970's. An Awkward Lie, by the Scottish writer Michael Innes (a/k/a J.I.M. Stewart ), had me digging deep into my memory for words I haven't heard for a while, and in some cases had me reaching for my dictionary.

Here are some of the words and phrases I found interesting, refreshing, humorous, or just puzzling.

saloon (used for a car)

distinguo (I still don't have a good definition for this. I'm guessing it's latin or latinate, and just means "as distinguished from" or something like that.)

miching malicho
tiro (more familiar to me as tyro)
barrows (not the wheel kind)
Bunn (I still haven't found a satisfactory definition for this word, as used in the novel.)


I'm sorry to say that, before dictionary, I only knew seven of these words. Ah, the joys of vacation reading.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

248. Passing It Along

I received this notice from PSS Board member Lucia Blanco-Maratita and I'm passing it along:

Greetings, friends and colleagues:

Could you please spread the word through your contacts and friends who may be interested (or who may know someone who may be interested) that the Commissioner of Education position for the Public School System is now open.

Information about the position is available at the PSS website at