Last week I heard an encouraging environmental story. For many years any news story related to the environment was one of doom and gloom. But last week it was exciting.
Humpback whales have made a comeback. In NYC! There has been many sightings of whales, dolphins and seals in the harbor and waterways around the city. The water is cleaner and less contaminated. Schools of fish and smaller organisms fill the harbor and rivers.
According to Popular Science magazine website:
“Because of the improvement of the water quality, algae and zooplankton have multiplied, giving good food for the menhaden [a small oily forager fish beloved by whales], which have returned in numbers that the fishermen say they have not seen in their lifetimes,” Paul L. Sieswerda told PopSci. Once a curator at the New York Aquarium, Sieswerda has since founded Gotham Whales, an organization that conducts tours and monitors the presence of whales, seals, and dolphins in NYC. “Our surveys show an exponential increase in the number of whales since 2011 when we first began our studies," he said. "Prior to that, whales were only seen intermittently."
I remember talking about ecology in my eighth grade science class. The teacher had friends in the NYPD who told him that if there was an investigation that required a dive into the Hudson or any of the surrounding waterways, no one could enter the water with any cuts or abrasions. The slightest opening in one's skin could be potentially dangerous or lethal because of the toxins in the water.
What a far cry from today.
I am encouraged because the cleanliness of the water has turned around in my lifetime. When the reports came out in the 1960's and 70's, who would've believed that change could happen? The turn around for the whales required both the habitat to be improved and safe guarding the population through legislation with the whaling industry. We may not have personally changed the habitat for whales, but our awareness of not dumping into city water ways or our decision to support or not support an industry or manufacture which honors or ruins the environment, does.
Our biology major son has said that if we, world wide collective, would reduce the consumption of fish and consequently the fisherman would reduce the over fishing practices, that in five years we could reverse the problem of species annihilation and gaps in the food chain in the seas. Our oceans could return to a healthy balance.
When everyone makes a small change or sacrifice, big things happen. Small or large, it is all interconnected.
I find it interesting that one of the largest creatures, the whale, ingests some of the smallest creatures, plankton, for fuel and food. It is because the habitat for the algae, zooplankton, and small fish have improved that the larger creatures have come back. Small impacts the large.
What about you? Hear any good news stories lately? What do you do, small or large, that has consequences on the environment? Have you noticed any changes? What small change can you make today in your life? Environmentally? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?
The whales story is more than just about the environment. It is a reminder to all of us that small change can have a big impact.
There is a photographer who spends most of his time capturing these beautiful water behemoths around NYC. Click here to see his amazing photos.