Archive for February, 2018

Alaska Oil Spill Blues

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Devastating 3,000 Gallon Spill of Heavy Fuel Oil Near Kodiak

As of March 1, responders have still not been able to get to the site.

What I anticipated to be a glorious day—how could the day after International Polar Bear Day be anything but amazing—began on a sad note as news broke of a devastating spill of heavy fuel oil (HFO) near the southern end of Shuyak Island near Kodiak, Alaska.

On Monday morning, hurricane force winds destroyed a dock holding around 3,000 gallons of tar-like heavy fuel oil. Unfortunately, the spill occurred in designated critical habitat for the endangered northern sea otter and Steller sea lion. It is also home to abundant populations of waterfowl, seabirds, eagles, and a variety of fish species including pacific halibut, pacific cod, pacific herring and more.  Aerial pictures released by the U.S. Coast Guard show a slick of heavy fuel oil spreading on the surface of the ocean, undoubtedly impacted by the extreme currents in the area.

As you know, any oil spill is bad news for our ocean. A spill of heavy fuel oil? That is essentially the worst of the worst. Unlike marine diesel, this kind of fuel is extremely viscous, and breaks down very slowly in marine environments, particularly in colder regions. In a simulated spill scenario in Norway, distillate fuels nearly disappeared from the water surface after three days. Heavy fuel oil remained present more than five times longer.

Bad weather has prevented the U.S. Coast Guard’s response efforts (lead by Alaska Chadux) from arriving at the site. They will have a big challenge on their hands when they do get to Shuyak because there are still no response techniques that will ensure all the oil is removed from the marine environment.

These circumstances are significant because Shuyak is only 50 miles away from a U.S. Coast Guard base. And even with response assets so near, the response team can’t access the spill because of harsh weather. Can you imagine if there was a heavy fuel oil spill in a remote Arctic location under similarly challenging bad weather, with the addition of ice in the mix?

Remoteness, lack of effective response techniques and extremely limited response capacity would make a spill in the Arctic virtually impossible to clean up. For example, if a spill were to occur near Barrow, the nearest major port (Dutch Harbor) is 1,300 miles away by boat, while the nearest permanent USCG station (Kodiak) is a 950-mile flight away. Once responders arrive at the remote spill site (possibly days to weeks later), cleanup attempts may be hindered by intense storms, high waves and sea ice.

At present, around 75%  of marine fuel currently used in the Arctic is heavy fuel oil. For the past two years I have worked to phase out the use and carriage of this bottom of the barrel fuel in Arctic waters. As part of the Clean Arctic Alliance, Ocean Conservancy has also called on the International Maritime Organization to ban its use and carriage for use in the Arctic by 2020. Heavy fuel oil has already been banned in Antarctic waters.

While response teams brave the elements to get to this spill site, I am hoping that they will be able to recover at least some of the oil. It’s a sobering reminder that we need to keep calling for an Arctic free of heavy fuel oil.

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A Conversation with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog about searching for traces of Dr. Roger Arliner Young’s legacy on her alma mater, Howard University’s campus and coming up empty handed. Despite being the first African-American woman to earn her doctorate in zoology, her absence speaks volumes about equity, diversity and inclusion not only within the sciences, but society at large.

As a Roger Arliner Young Marine Conservation Diversity Fellow, I am privileged to have the opportunity to uphold her legacy. Her story is one of perseverance and grit, of overcoming impossible odds and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. For me, it continues to serve as a poignant reminder of all the concealed stories we have yet to uncover.

For this reason, it was an incredible opportunity to be able to speak with Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a recognized and celebrated marine biologist and conservation strategist. It’s not every day that you get the chance to speak with such an inspiring woman of color, particularly as we celebrate Black History Month. Our conversation was illuminating and insightful. Here are some of the highlights:

Emi Okikawa:  What inspired you to pursue a career as a marine biologist/conservation strategist?

Dr. Johnson: Oh gosh. That’s either a really long answer or a really short one. The short answer is the ocean is amazing and I fell totally in love with it when I was a little kid and I saw a coral reef for the first time in the Florida Keys. I just remember holding a sea urchin in my hand and feeling all of its crazy tube feet. I have a soft spot for invertebrates.

The longer answer is that I care about coastal communities. I’m trained in the sciences but I’m not doing scientific research anymore. Instead, I’m using that background to think more about what it means to do ocean conservation through a social justice lens, taking care of coastal communities who are most threatened by overfishing, climate change, pollution, sea level rise and storms. I’m thinking through how we might achieve conservation goals while taking care of these folks—who are mostly poor people and people of color—who are at risk.

Ayana Johnson

Emi:  What were the pivotal moments in your academic/professional career that led you to where you are today?

Dr. Johnson: The first real moment was studying abroad in the Caribbean and evaluating a marine protected area to see if it was actually helping the community and the local fishermen. It was an opportunity to think about the socioeconomics of ocean conservation in a quantitative way. That solidified for me the idea that ocean conservation is a multidisciplinary, fascinating puzzle.

There was another big moment with the different movements that are burgeoning right now, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or the Women’s March, support for immigrants or Standing Rock. This last year has been a moment where you reevaluate what you’re spending your time on. We’ve been forced to consider big issues we care about and think about whether we’re making a difference through our work. And for me the outcome of that introspection was that I doubled down on approaching conservation through this lens of supporting at-risk communities.

Emi: What’s the biggest challenge that we face when integrating equity, diversity and inclusion into environmental NGOs or conservation organizations in general?

Dr. Johnson: I think that organizations are going to have to make a very deliberate effort. It definitely requires some thought and some strategy on the part of the organization, not just for recruitment, but thinking about how to create environments where people would actually be comfortable staying. It’s about retention too.

Emi:  Do you have any advice in amplifying your voice and message?

Dr. Johnson: Think about who might be interested who aren’t the usual suspects? How can you talk about the ocean in a broader context? It’s not just about the ocean. It’s not just about marine life—even though I’m madly in love with octopuses. It’s about connecting the dots and helping people to understand how ocean conservation is actually related to the issues they care about. We all need healthy oceans. We need to focus on building relationships with different organizations and individuals who have that overlapping intersectionality.

Emi: Finally, on a more optimistic note, what is something that gives you hope for the future?

Dr. Johnson: I feel like corporations are starting to step up and do more to reform their practices without regulation being required, which is great because there’s certainly not a lot of top down regulation happening in the U.S. right now. And we’re seeing a lot of corporations start to do their part because they’ve been pushed by NGOs. For example, Ocean Conservancy’s work on the Trash Free Seas Alliance® and pushing for plastic reduction. Those things give me hope.

Ayana Johnson

To learn more about Dr. Johnson’s work and perspectives:

  1. How to Use the Ocean Without Using it Up, TED talk
  2. 6 Lessons for Effective Science-based Ocean Conservation, National Geographic Blog
  3. Top 20 Ocean Conservation Wins of 2017, National Geographic blog
  4. The Shuri Effect: A Generation of Black Scientists?, Scientific American blog
  5. Find her on Twitter @ayanaeliza and Instagram @ayana.elizabeth

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Thrive Prepares for New Album ‘Be Love’ This Spring

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Hailing from Santa Cruz, CA, the alternative pop-reggae trio Thrive are gearing up to release their third and forthcoming album Be Love – the band announced they are completing post production and mixing with the acclaimed E.N Young at Imperial Sound Recording Studio. The record is expected to feature 13 new tracks and will be released in the Spring.

Thrive’s music can sneak up on listeners in different ways, incorporating much more than just reggae influences. With the mighty fine trumpeting from Dan Herrera, the trio gets an extra wave of musical styles including funk, jazz and soul, ultimately intertwining itself with their reggae-centric sound. Moments of acoustic delight are also put on display from vocalist and guitarist Aaron Borowitz (check out the intro from “So Beautiful” on their first album Gratitude Attitude), and Kenneth Rogers keeps steady rhythm on the drums to complete the “Thriving Music” package.

Be Love was recorded individually and collectively between Borowitz and Rogers, and was recorded at home after investing in some new gear with some added help from Evan Lombardi and Two Rivers Studio in Gualala, CA. The new album will feature Jay Spaker (Double Tiger, John Brown’s Body) and Stephen Newland (Rootz Underground). Borowitz also mentioned that more details are forthcoming of the possibility for additional guest features. I

To follow-up to 2013’s Relentless, Thrive has assembled what they describe to The Pier as a culmination of their musical career to date: “This will be Thrives 4th studio release and 3rd full length album. It feels like a lifetime of experiences all leading up to this album. Some of these songs have been in the works for a long time, and others were written more recently. But the theme of positivity and personal growth is constant throughout the entire album, and we’re excited to show everyone how we’ve grown as a band.”

Thrive – Be Love Tracklist
Thrive-Be-Love-Cover1.) Be Love
2.) Nurture The Heart
3.) You Alone
4.) Trust
5.) Waiting
6.) Soft Spoken Man
7.) All Of My Life (Featuring Jay Spaker of John Brown’s Body)
8.) Ganja Tree (Featuring Stephen Newland of Rootz Underground)
9.) Teardrops
10.) Humble
11.) Nay Sayer
12.) Project
13.) Not Enemies

Thrive has already released their first single from the forthcoming record entitled “Not Enemies” – the band dropped the track via youtube on January 29 which can be seen below! For an added blast from the past, check out their track “Just Fine” featuring Rebelution’s lead vocalist and guitarist Eric Rachmany from their most recent release Relentless below as well.

Watch: Thrive – “Not Enemies” (official lyric video)

Related Links:
Thrive Website
Thrive Facebook

Article By: Brian Glaser

Listen: Thrive – “Just Fine” (featuring Eric Rachmany)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 12:47 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Soul Rebel Project to Release New Album ‘Inspiration’

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Gloucester, MA based rock-reggae quartet Soul Rebel Project have kept a tight ship since their founding in 2010, promoting their live show and positive music across the greater Boston area and beyond. The Caribbean inspired up-and-coming group are gearing up for the release of their forthcoming third studio album Inspiration via VP Records – the album is expected to drop March 23rd.

Soul Rebel Project began their musical journey eight years ago, and have often cited their music is a cross between Collie Buddz, Rebelution and Matisyahu. Across the course of their many live performances,Soul-Rebel-Project-Inspiration they’ve shared the stage with Sean Paul, Toots and the Maytals, Barrington Levy, Lee Scratch Perry and more. But SRP is set to break new ground in their journey and have set their sights on the release and success on their next album Inspiration.

The album is expected to feature 11 tracks, with an overarching theme of what they describe to The Pier as “love, unity and solidarity.” The record was recorded in Rowley, MA at Phillips Studio.

Here’s what the group shared with The Pier: “The production value and effort put into this album is something we are very proud of. The writing on this album expresses the varying styles of all the members and captures our sound very well. Our core four members come from different musical backgrounds including jazz, rock and hip hop and this album does a good job of bringing all the elements in while maintaining the reggae feel. This release is very different in terms of compositions from our last album.”

When speaking with The Pier, SRP also notated that there are a few specific songs such as “Dub Boat” and “Pure Love” that exemplify how they tried to push their boundaries on this record. The band has already dropped their first exclusive single from the forthcoming release, entitled “Unity” featuring Kenyatta Hill. Also expected to be on the record is an additional single that was released in 2015 with “Positive Thinking.” Their newest addition, “Unity,” was debuted on BBC Radio 1 earlier this month and can be fired up via the soundcloud below!

Related Links:
Soul Rebel Project Facebook
Soul Rebel Project Twitter

Article By: Brian Glaser

Listen: Soul Rebel Project – “Positive Thinking”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 2:03 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Blue Planet II Recap: Coasts

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Most people interact with the oceans through the coasts. Beaches, from the white sands of the Florida Keys to rocky stretches of California coastline, are the windows to the expanse of the rest of the sea. In its 6th installment, BBC’s Blue Planet II focuses on the creatures and ecosystem that occupy this space between land and water. It explores the difficulties that come with living a life in flux, and the ingenious ways that animals have adapted to these circumstances.

Personally, this was probably my favorite episode yet, due in no small part to my love of the moon. The first part of “Coasts” focuses on the creatures that based their lives around the tides and features incredible footage of my favorite celestial body.

“As the moon circles our planet, the seas rise and fall… creating the most constantly dynamic landscapes on earth,” Attenborough explains.

© Blue Planet II/BBC

Indeed, the episode quickly shows just how dynamic these ecosystems can be. Time-lapse footage of a rock pool that seems like a haven of calm reveals the intensity of life in these enclaves. Starfish slowly suck up unsuspecting limpets. Anemones swallow shells whole. And moray eels, the one ocean creature that consistently haunts my nightmares, fight crabs that leap across the rocks.

© Blue Planet II/BBC

The tides create a life of surprising intensity, but no story in this episode is as intense as one of a little bird trying to feed his family. In “Coasts,” the puffin makes its Blue Planet II debut. I don’t know if there has ever been an animal more immediately charming than the puffin. They mate for life! They were the cutest part of the latest Star Wars! Their chicks are called PUFFLINGS! What could be more adorable?!

Not only are these puffins adorable, they’re also brave. Living in the crevasses of the towering cliffs created by wave erosion, the puffin must fly 50 kilometers into the open water to catch fish for its chicks. In one of the most memorable chase scenes yet, an arctic skua attempts to steal the fish right out of the father puffin’s mouth as he makes the long journey back to his nest. It’s a nail biter with real stakes: there’s a puffling at home that needs that fish. In the end, he makes it, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get emotional watching the family reunite.

© Blue Planet II/BBC

However, there’s a deeper threat to the puffins beyond the skua. Attenborough explains that in some places where fish numbers are in decline, many puffins find it hard to get enough food for their families. Though puffins are found primarily around Arctic waters, overfishing in all coastal areas can have an impact on their ability to find food. It’s vital to create sustainable fisheries all over the world so that creatures—and that includes us humans!—that live along the coasts can thrive.

The end of the episode takes viewers to the cities that now dominate many coasts. From the towering skyline of Manila to the shores of Palm Beach, it’s almost odd to see these human settlements after weeks of experiencing unfamiliar ocean terrains. And yet, it’s in cities like these that most people experience the ocean. In next week’s finale, Blue Planet II will explore the consequences of human actions on the ocean. Join Ocean Conservancy for a Facebook Live on February 28th as we host a special event with BBC America to celebrate Blue Planet II. We’ll discuss the series with BBC producer Mark Brownlow, founder of EarthEcho Philippe Cousteau, and Ocean Conservancy CEO Janis Searles Jones. Follow along with the hashtags #BluePlanet2 and #OurOcean.

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Interview: Hollie Cook

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It was not easy connecting with Hollie Cook to complete this interview. Fresh off the release of Vessel of Love, her third full length album released Jan. 26th via Merger Records, and the promotional engagements that go along with a Billboard charting record made it tricky to schedule. Add to that London’s no phone zones, some technical difficulties with Skype, the time difference and I began to think this interview was not going to happen. After the 20 minutes we spoke, I was more than happy it did.

It was 5:00PM in London when we connected. Hollie’s accent and soft voice make polite chit chat sound soothing, even when coming through a sometimes garbled Skype connection that left me straining to follow bits of our conversation. Hollie is a pleasure to speak with, a true artist with a natural talent and voice that can be called one of a kind.

Although Hollie considers her music to be “tropical pop,” she has one of the most unique and haunting voices in Reggae. She comes from a deep lineage of music — her father was Paul Cook of the infamous Sex Pistols, her mother was a backup singer for the Culture Club, and was part of the last lineup of the Slits which was an all-female British punk/reggae band. She would be justified in having a sharp and tough attitude considering her lineage, Father a Sex Pistol and Mother a singer for the Culture Club, but she is as pleasant as can be.

Interview: Hollie Cook

The Pier: Thank you so much for joining me today, Hollie, it is an absolute honor to be talking with you. I read that you were in somewhat of a creative block prior to going into the studio for this album — How did you go about the writing process for this record?
Hollie Cook: As always, I am kind of seeking inspiration and getting ideas together, not necessarily fully formed songs. When I did sit down to write songs, I was kind of struggling for a really long time. So I figured that I would kind of just surrender to that and allow myself to go through whatever it was I needed to go through. I literally just sat still for a bit and then there is nothing quite like — I guess I got bored. I got bored very, very HollieCookquickly. That kind of gave me the kick I needed. I needed to accept where I was creatively and allow myself to rest, to process. Then I was a bit worried if it was going to come out. It was a high-pressure situation, like being in the studio and having decided to finally make an album, to like really get things going, and thankfully it worked.

I would say it definitely worked. Did I read that you had members from the ORB collaborate on the album?
Yeah, So Youth (Martin Glover record producer and bassist of Killing Joke) is a long-time collaborator with the ORB and he is usually working with many artists, all at the same time. There are always various pieces of music that kind of go unused, or he has ideas for things that don’t necessarily get finished. He had an instrumental demo that he thought would be interesting, so he brought Alex (Alex Patterson of the Orb) for a day and we worked on that together, which was amazing, actually, because it was a completely different kind of artist for me to be working with and that was the song “Far From Me” which is the largest departure, sonically, from what people are used to hearing (from Hollie cook).

Were there songs you left off the record?
Yeah, actually, another ORB collaboration that ended up not getting used. It didn’t quite fit with the rest of the album, and there were a few others. I thought that 10 was a nice even number of tracks.

Any plans to release the other Orb collaboration?
[Hollie Pauses]… Umm, it might end up being an ORB song, but not a Hollie cook song.

I want to talk a little about your background. Everyone knows about your connection with The Slits, but how did that come about? I read that originally you were called in to sing on some tracks and then started performing live and the rest is history — Is that pretty much accurate?
Yeah that is pretty accurate. Ari Up (lead singer for the Slits) would just show up, as she would frequently do through the years, in London out of nowhere like the Hurricane she was, and she was calling around to all her friends that had daughters cause she always has very strong song ideas in her head and I guess she knew she wanted a chorus of girls to sing on a particular song, a new Slits song. I kind of very haphazardly ended in the studio, God I don’t remember when that was, that was like 10 years ago. And I have known Ari forever and it was really cool, it all felt quite normal in a weird way and she liked what I did. She said: “You should come and play with us when we play live!” So I ended up jumping into the band for a few shows which ended up being a few years of touring and recording an album, so that’s literally how the story went. I started as backing singer and moved to vocals and keys.

[Laughing] Oh god no… I have relinquished my very limited key playing to actual professionals.
HollieCook_GardenAre you playing any keys on Vessel of Love?

In a recent interview you said the music industry needs to hire, sign and book more women artists, which is absolutely true — Two questions about that: 1. Because you were in the Slits (all female band) at a young age, did you feel that there was a lot of female artists because of that experience? and 2. When did you realize the lack of women in the industry?
Well the thing is, women kind of magnetize more women, I guess. Also, when I was in the Slits, we always played with up and coming female groups, well not always, but lots of female groups worked with female publicists, tour managers, etc. It wasn’t necessarily an absolute requirement by any means, but it is how it ended up to be.

I would say it is more since I have not been in an all-female band. I was looking for a female manager a couple of years ago and found that difficult. It some ways, it does feel like there are a ton of women out there, and I have had women in my band before, but it’s always been a bit outnumbered. It doesn’t necessarily feel deliberate, and I think it is definitely changing. It is being spoken about a lot more which is making a big difference. I have friends in my age group who are in the industry and have created spaces and workshops for other young women to get involved in, and feel really a part of it all. It is a space created for women by women, there is strength in numbers so it just gives young women more confidence in the industry. So there are a lot of really positive changes in that area of the industry.

What advice would you give to a young woman starting out in the music industry?
Be unfazed. Be as confident in yourself as you can be. There is no reason for a woman to feel less capable because they are one of a few. Being outnumbered is not something that should deter you. I guess because I came from being surrounded by such strong women, I have very rarely been fazed, even in a situation where I was the only woman in the room. It was not a lesson that I was taught very literally, it was very much just naturally happening around me.

The melodies in your music are phenomenal. I think anyone on first listen is going to hear these beautiful spooky vocal melodies — How are you writing these melodies? Do they just come to you? Or are you sitting at a keyboard and writing?
They do come to me. Every now and again I have to work a little harder on them, but my main focus when I am writing is melody. I am extremely melody driven. For the most part, melody will come before lyrics. The melody can almost write the song and dictate what the song will be about. I am just a big fan of unusual song structures and things that don’t sound usual. I was a big fan of Bjork and Portishead as a kid and have always been a fan of the weirder melodies in the world.

Are you singing all the parts, including the harmonies?
It is all me this time, which is really fun. I feel like I am a very frustrated backup vocalist [laughing]. One of my dreams is to be a backing singer in a three-part harmony group.

Hollie Cook_Vessel of Love
Like the modern I-Threes?

You are coming to the US in March, what can US fans expect from your live show?
I just try and have a really good time. I really like positive energy and I can’t take myself seriously at all, so I am very much a “silly billy” on stage. I feed off the smiling faces, and I just like to make people smile, as cheesy as that may sound, but it’s just about being positive. I am also very much excited to announce that I will be bringing my UK band with me as well, so you will be getting the true London Hollie Cook experience.

I saw a band I really like called the Far East that is playing a show with you as well…
Yes… Maddie Ruthless is a friend of a friend and I am really excited to play with them.

Another band we love is The Skints. You have worked with them in some way as well, correct?
Well, we’re all kinda music besties at home. We’re all from London and pretty much running in the same social groups, and we’ve been on tour together. Of course we have all worked with Prince Fatty as well, so that is where the friendship started. We all hang out and go to each other shows. I think they are great.

Your artwork has this Tiki Zombie vibe, what drove the artwork?
I really like colorful but dark imagery, if that makes sense? I have always been quite drawn to tropical kind of cartoon illustration visuals. Also, I have always wanted to fulfill my own cartoon fantasy, so I got to do that on my album which is really cool.

In preparing for the interview, I was listening to a lot of the New Age Steppers, specifically the stuff with Ari Up, which is a hidden gem. That whole album is great…
It’s fantastic and always been a source of inspiration for me…

Perfect that was going to be my question so you answered that. Any plans to do Vessel of Love as a dub release?
I think that there is definitely going to be some dubs at some point. It won’t all be with one producer. I have been speaking to a couple of people and will hopefully be able to realize some of the dubbier elements of the record, later in the year.


Watch: Hollie Cook – “Survive”

Related Links:
Hollie Cook Website
Hollie Cook Facebook

Interview by: Tommy Dubs

Watch: Hollie Cook – “Stay Alive”

Listen: Hollie Cook – “Freefalling”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 at 12:05 am and is filed under Exclusive Interviews, Topic Articles.
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The Bering Strait Region: One Step Closer to Safer Shipping in the Arctic

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I’ve just returned to Alaska from a very successful meeting in London where the international community discussed important measures that mitigate potential safety and environmental risks of increasing vessel traffic in the Arctic. I’m excited to share with you that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will continue to work towards implementing two-way shipping routes and areas to be avoided (ATBAs) for the Bering Strait region. Both these measures will help safeguard this important region from the increased dangers posed by increased shipping.

The Bering Strait region

Located between Alaska and Russia, the Bering Strait is the only marine gateway between the icy Arctic and the Pacific Ocean. The northern Bering Sea region is central to the food security of many indigenous residents of Western Alaska, as its waters provide habitat for an astonishing abundance of fish, birds and marine mammals. At its narrowest point, the strait is only 53 miles wide. But as Arctic sea ice continues to melt at unprecedented rates, more and more ships are traveling through this region. With increasing ship traffic comes more noise and water pollution, and a higher risk of ship strikes on whales and damaging oil spills—including spills of toxic and long-lasting heavy fuel oil.

Two-way vessel traffic routes

Last week the IMO considered a joint U.S. and Russia proposal to establish two-way vessel traffic routes through the ecologically rich Bering Strait. While focused primarily on maritime safety, by encouraging ships to travel in known, well-charted regions significantly offshore, the designation of these routes also enhances environmental protection by reducing the risk of vessel incidents—incidents that may endanger lives, lead to devastating oil spills, or impact the subsistence way of life of local communities.

Areas to be avoided

Three ATBAs in the northern Bering Sea were also considered for approval. As the name implies, “Areas to be Avoided” are used to help ensure that vessels stay away from areas of the ocean that may be especially dangerous for navigation. These ATBAs warn vessels to steer clear of three islands in the region (St. Lawrence, Nunavik and King Island) that contain dangerous shoal waters on their coasts, are environmentally sensitive and are important to subsistence activities.


After speeches in support of the measures by the U.S., Russia, and Ocean Conservancy (as part of the Clean Shipping Coalition) and its non-governmental organizational partners, a group of experts reviewed the safety, navigation efficiency and environmental protection merits of the two-way routes and ATBAs. After careful consideration, the experts approved the requested measures, with a reduction in the size of the St. Lawrence ATBA.

The U.S. originally proposed an ATBA that would have both increased navigational safety and protected marine habitat in a large area south of St. Lawrence Island. Unfortunately, the IMO declined to include the greater extent of these southern waters when it approved the St. Lawrence Island ATBA. Despite the ecological importance of the area, some IMO members felt that it was inappropriate to designate such a large area in the absence of more direct concerns about navigation and ship safety.

Although the St. Lawrence Island ATBA could have been bigger, the subcommittee’s approval of three new ATBAs in the Bering Strait region is a major step forward. While the joint U.S. Russia proposal and the routing measures have not yet officially been adopted by the IMO, their consideration and approval at last week’s meeting were vital in ensuring their most likely final approval in May.

A bright outlook for the Bering Strait

I left London with a sense of accomplishment in knowing that the Bering Strait region is now a step closer to implementing ships routing measures that will better protect the safety of mariners, subsistence activities, and the marine environment of the Bering Strait region. Stay tuned for more information on the potential final approval of these measures in May 2018!

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Rebelution Reveal Details for New Album ‘Free Rein’

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Perhaps one of the Most Anticipated Albums of 2018 is none other than the forthcoming sixth full-length studio album from Rebelution. The Isla Vista quartet announced that their new record, entitled Free Rein, will hit the physical and virtual shelves on June 15 via Easy Star Records / 87 Music – the album is expected to feature 12 new tracks.

Rebelution is at the pinnacle of reggae-rock, and they’ve been sitting there quite comfortably for several years. With a history of presenting ground-breaking and instrumentally sound music in conjunction with trademark vocals from lead singer and collaboration extraordinaire Rebelution_2017Eric Rachmany, the GRAMMY nominated four-piece has moved into a territory where they comfortably sell out their shows as well as headline top-tier music festivals.

[Related: Rebelution Announces 2019 Festival in Jamaica]

The hype has been mounting for their next release, as 2016’s Falling Into Place received plenty of well-deserved support, featuring 11 tracks. While they are in the midst of wrapping up their 2018 Winter Greens Tour with support from Raging Fyah, they’ve also announced the inaugural edition of their “Bright Side Festival” – a destination music festival in Jamaica at an all-inclusive resort that will also feature The Green, Raging Fyah and DJ Mackle.

As for the album itself, Rebelution has stated that they couldn’t be more excited for fans to hear their new music. In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Eric Rachmany shared some details behind the overall theme and excitement the band is sharing for their forthcoming release:
“It’s definitely my favorite album we’ve ever done, by far. “We had the pleasure of working with a couple producers (Don Corleon, Winta James) and the rest of the album was produced by ourselves. This album really came from the heart, we’re very proud of it.”

[Related: Rebelution Announces Summer 2018 Tour with Stephen Marley]

Fans will start to get acclimated to various tastes and teasers of Free Rein — the band recently announced that the release of their first single “Celebrate” will be the first of several to drop prior to June 15, as they will be releasing a new single on the last Friday of every month leading up to the drop of Free Rein in its entirety. Make sure to pre-order the album to get your free download of “Celebrate” on iTunes by clicking HERE!

Rebelution – Free Rein Tracklist:
Rebelution---Free-Rein-Album-Cover1.) Celebrate
2.) City Life
3.) Legend
4.) Settle Down Easy
5.) Take on Anything
6.) Patience
7.) Rise on Top
8.) Trap Door
9.) Good Day
10.) Healing
11.) More Energy
12.) Constellation

Watch: Rebelution – “Celebrate” Official Lyric Video

Related Links:
Exclusive Rebelution Blog
Rebelution Website
Rebelution Facebook

Article By: Brian Glaser
Photo By: David Norris

Watch: Rebelution Winter Greens Tour 2018

This entry was posted on Monday, February 26th, 2018 at 10:24 am and is filed under Daily News, easy star records, Rebelution.
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Homebuyers tour Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach

Posted in Jimmy Buffett News | Comments Off on Homebuyers tour Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach

From the Daytona Beach News Journal: “Homebuyers get their first peek at Latitude Margaritaville model homes

The planned 6,900-home Jimmy Buffett-themed Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach is the first of several 55-and-older communities that developer Minto Communities and Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings company are teaming up to create in multiple states.

The community is being marketed as a real-life version of the fictional Margaritaville described in Buffett’s 1977 signature tune of the same name where the life is laid-back and filled with music and where that “frozen concoction that helps me hang on” is plentiful.

“Everything here is about food, fun and music,” said Bill Bullock, senior vice president of Minto Communities. “It’s all about the lifestyle and the fun that is going to be had. That’s why we chose to do this event as a street party.”

Bullock said later that 2,637 people went through the models Saturday.

The homes all have wide open floor plans with high ceilings. When walking in the front door of any of the models, the back patio is immediately visible with each house having the option of a backyard pool.

“They all have big kitchens and islands because it’s the gathering place,” Bullock said. “It’s all about having fun in the home.”

The bright, pastel-colored Old Florida/Key West-style homes and “villa” townhomes are being offered at starting prices ranging from the low $200,000s to the mid-$300,000s. A monthly homeowners fee includes lawn maintenance care and all amenities with the exception of food and beverage purchases.

The first phase of Latitude Margaritaville will also include a 33-acre town center with an array of amenities including a bandshell and town square area that will feature live music and special events, including dances, a bar and restaurant and a resort-style pool that will include cabanas, tiki huts and lawn games, fitness and activities centers, pet spa, walking trails and pickleball, tennis and bocce ball courts. This is set to be completed in early 2019.

Also planned is a private oceanfront beach club that will be built in Ormond-by-the-Sea and will be accessible via a loop shuttle.

Since sales began in November, more than 200 homes have been purchased. Bullock said he expects his company will build more than 300 homes this year, with plans to ramp up construction even further in subsequent years.


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What We Do (and Don’t) Know About the Arctic: A Deeper Look at a Remarkable Ecosystem

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on What We Do (and Don’t) Know About the Arctic: A Deeper Look at a Remarkable Ecosystem

By some accounts, the Arctic Ocean remains a largely blank area on the map. Yes, we have charted the contours of the seafloor, and, yes, we map the extent of its sea ice throughout the year. But what lies between the bottom and the top of the sea?

The recent international agreement to prevent unregulated fishing in the international waters of the Arctic Ocean is based, in part, on the fact that we know next to nothing about the fishes that live there. We don’t know how many there are, we don’t know much about their life cycle, we don’t know how they use different habitats. We certainly don’t know how all that will change as sea ice continues to retreat and the waters continue to warm.

That being said, we know far more than we used to about the Arctic. In ancient times and through the Victorian Era, a persistent geographic fantasy placed a lush, ice-free oasis around the North Pole, past the barrier of ice and snow that explorers encountered when heading north. The long, spiral tusk of the narwhal, an Arctic icon today, was mistaken by medieval European courts as evidence for the existence of unicorns.

Today, we recognize the Arctic for its role in regulating the Earth’s climate. Arctic and subarctic seas provide over a tenth of the world’s fish catches. Arctic marine mammals are known throughout the world for what they actually are, not how they fit into ancient myths. And there is increasing awareness surrounding Arctic cultures, taking them on their own terms, rather than as exemplars of human development. Indeed, the rest of the world is slowly catching up with the depth of understanding and appreciation by which Inuit, Saami, Chukchi and others have thrived in places where most of us would be hard pressed to last a day.

Becca Robbins GisclairBecca Robbins Gisclair
© Becca Robbins Gisclair

Perhaps the question of what we know is less an abstract reckoning of accumulated facts, and more a matter of whether we are able to make good decisions. A hunter going out onto the sea ice needs to be able to recognize danger and to identify promising places to find prey. The harsh reality is that hunters who made poor decisions did not return. That risk remains for many Arctic coastal residents. And new risks have been added, as industrial activity reaches farther and farther north.

How might shipping disturb or damage Arctic ecosystems? What can be done to reduce the effects of offshore oil and gas activity? These are the types of questions we need to be able to answer if we are going to conserve the Arctic, especially at a time of increasing stress from climate change. We will never know enough to provide definitive answers. We will continue to work in uncertainty, with gaps in understanding, in the expectation that surprises await.

With that in mind, caution is essential. Acting in the absence of knowledge is no different than running with a blindfold on, hoping for the best despite ample prior experience to the contrary. The burden should not be to prove that human actions will cause harm, but instead to demonstrate why those actions are not likely to damage Arctic ecosystems and affect those who depend on them. Adequate knowledge is that which allows us a realistic appraisal of the risks our actions entail, so that we can make informed decisions.

This is not to say that nothing can be done in the Arctic. Such a stance is unrealistic and also contrary to the needs of Arctic residents, who need work and income just like the rest of us. Instead, the Arctic should be home to a knowledge economy and a knowledge environment, in the sense that we should invest in learning what we can. In that way, we can identify opportunities that arise and avoid long-term harm caused by myopic pursuit of short-term gain.

The bowhead whale is the longest-lived mammal on the planet and has provided sustenance for Iñupiaq and Yupik whalers in Alaska for centuries. In the latter half of the 19th century, the bowhead was nearly wiped out in the quest for whale oil and baleen, or “whalebone.” Profits were high but fleeting. Commercial whalers willingly turned a blind eye to the increasing scarcity of the whales. Fortunately, the market for whale products collapsed before the whales did.

NGS Picture ID:1273596NGS Picture ID:1273596
© Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Creative

Today, the bowhead population in Alaska continues to rise, continuing to provide nourishment. Several decades of intensive scientific research, conducted in partnership with the Iñupiaq and Yupik whalers, has made the bowhead one of the best understood whales on Earth, despite living year-round in remote, icy waters. This is what we know how to do in the Arctic and should be our inspiration and our standard for what we do next.

Henry Huntington, the Arctic Science Director for Ocean Conservancy, expands on the topic of this blog in this recent article in the journal Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development.

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