Thursday, February 15th
Crossing the Drake Passage: Day 1
Today we are in the middle of crossing the Drake Passage. It is a little over 600 miles wide from South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It will take us about 2 days to cross!
The Drake Passage has the reputation for being the roughest sea-passage in the world. We had read stories about how rough the water can be and how high the waves could be crashing into the expedition ships. The Drake Passage is the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern seas. We were fortunate that the Drake wasn’t bad at all but there were passengers not feeling well.
Nicky, our ship photographer, gave a talk about editing our photos and what programs she uses for her photo editing. Then D.J., our geologist, gave a very important talk on Global Warming. He also had a handout of resources and things we could do to help! We’ve included his handout below because this is SO important for all of us! Please take some time and read over the organizations and suggestions that are in his handout.
compiled 2018 by djaffe
Grassroots Organizations with whom you can share in doing good:
350.org An international campaign dedicated to fighting climate change, 350.org gets its name from
the maximum level of atmospheric carbon dioxide — 350 parts per million (ppm) — that
climate scientists agree will maintain our planet’s long-term ecological health.
Earth Policy Institute This group, founded by internationally renowned environmentalist Lester Brown, based in
Washington, D.C., produces authoritative reports on global issues, as well as detailed
roadmaps for how to solve interconnected environmental and social challenges.
Friends of the Earth
Whether via exposing corruption in Keystone XL pipeline proposals or persuading
thousands of grocery stores not to carry genetically modified salmon, this nonprofit is a
hard-hitting voice pressing for change locally, on the global stage, and politically in the halls
Union of Concerned
This alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists uses scientific analysis — not
political calculations or corporate hype — to push for responsible changes in government
policy, corporate practices and consumer choices.
This nonprofit, headquartered in Cornucopia, WI., supports sustainable agriculture and
often challenges Big Ag and even the USDA — and wins.
The NRDC uses law, science and the support of 1.4 million members and online activists to
protect wild places and foster a safe and healthy environment for both people and wildlife.
Since its foundation in 1951, this global conservation group has safeguarded more than 115
million acres of land from development. The Conservancy works with landowners,
communities and businesses to achieve conservation goals.
Organic Seed Alliance The leading organic seed institution in the United States, this group conducts organic plantbreeding
and seed-production research, educates farmers, and advocates for national
policies that strengthen and protect organic seed systems.
The Environment Group branch of the Pew Charitable Trusts is a global organization that
advises international policymakers on many crucial environmental issues, which it divides
into three categories: ocean, land and energy.
Sierra Club The Sierra Club, founded in 1892, has an impressive, storied history and is one of the oldest
and largest grass-roots environmental organizations in the United States. The group’s
website is a hub of opportunities to participate in all sorts of environmental campaigns,
from rallying against fracking to opposing carbon pollution.
compiled 2018 by djaffe
Ten Ways to Reduce Burning Fossil Fuels
Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,
and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. You can help to reduce the
demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely.
The following is a list of 10 steps YOU can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Buying products with minimal packaging will help to reduce waste. By recycling
half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning: Adding insulation to your walls and installing weather stripping or
caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the
amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home. Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night
or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Install a programmable thermostat
because setting it just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of
carbon dioxide each year.
3. Replace Your Light Bulbs: Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact florescent light
(CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of
the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70
percent less heat. If every Canadian family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90
billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.
4. Drive Less and Drive Smart: Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking
are great forms of exercise. Explore the local public transportation system and check out options for
carpooling to work or school. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example,
keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of
gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products: Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models.
6. Use Less Hot Water: Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating
blanket if it is more than 15 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of
carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy
required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most
7. Use the “Off” Switch: Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a
room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, stereo and
computer when you’re not using them. Turn off the water when you’re not using it. For example, while
brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it
8. Plant a Tree: If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off
oxygen. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.
9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company: Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to
help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility
companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.
10. Encourage Others to Conserve: Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your
friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish
programs and policies that are good for the environment.
compiled 2018 by djaffe
While we’re at it, Ten Ways to Support Our Oceans
1. Ask for sustainable seafood: Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind the fish counter know that
sustainable seafood is important to you.
2. Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup: Volunteers remove trash from
beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that
keep trash out of our oceans in the first place.
3. Reduce (revisited): Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they
provide a good opportunity for reducing waste—consider items with less, reusable or recyclable
4. Reuse (revisited): More than 60% of the litter collected during the International Coastal Cleanup
consists of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs and food containers.
5. Recycle (yep…again): If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to
see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.
6. Be a green boater: Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big
difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents and sewage. Bring your trash back to
shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program, Good Mate!
7. Reduce your carbon “finprint”: Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change—absorbing half
the CO2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Using mass transit, carpool and find other ways to
reduce your carbon footprint.
8. Take only pictures: Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals.
9. Prevent contaminated runoff: No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use
chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products
and take proper care of spilled oil
10. Vote Green: Urge your representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protext our ocean.
Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion with others!
CHECK OUT: https://whatsyourimpact.org/fight-climate-change/spread-the-word
This afternoon Jimmy, a marine biologist, gave a presentation on the “Biology of Whales” and Miko, also a marine biologist, gave a presentation on “Frozen Ends- the Arctic and the Antarctic”.
The highlight this afternoon was viewing a partial solar eclipse! A couple on our expedition knew there was going to be an eclipse today and brought glasses for all of us to share so we could view it! We’re very lucky these passengers were aware of it! It was about a 30% eclipse of the sun by the moon. It was visible in the southern South American and areas of Antarctica. Below are a couple of pictures from the eclipse. The first picture is from the ship’s photographer and the second is from one of the passengers!
My picture from the eclipse doesn’t show much more than the clouds. I didn’t have any filter for taking a direct picture! It does show some interesting cloud cover.
After our daily briefing and dinner, we had the “Drake Talks”! They are a much shorter version of the very popular TED talks. These were given by passengers on our voyage. They each had 5 minutes to talk and 3 minutes for questions from the audience. Nine passengers bravely shared their stories. It was informative and a fun evening!
Even though it was a day at sea, we were busy out on deck or listening to the various presentations!