A lesson from biology and a reason for pushing a sustainable future
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

January 14, 2010

              While studying Bottlenose dolphins in Peru I learned a valuable lesson from the whole experience of scientific study. Our purpose was to photograph dorsal fins of each bottlenose dolphin we encountered and identify it. When this is done over a 3-year period, one will re-photograph the same individuals many times within the 200km area we were studying. When re-photographed, we learn habitat ranges of individuals, which ones are found together, areas of sparse populations and dense ones, which raise question of why are they there? Food? Habitat? Needless to say the study can answer a lot of questions.                    

 But what effort is put into the study? To photograph 1500 animals with hundreds of photographs taken each day and then translated; that days work takes over a week to process. This is a lot of work and a time consuming process. This is research. The amount of gas, lodging, food, and statistics involved with any true scientific work is mind-boggling.

            Then what is it for? Why do we do it? We do it to answer questions like how many of these animals are there? What areas are important to protect? These are important ecological questions. But there is an important gap I observe at the moment between this ecological scientific community answering these important questions and getting the results of these answers into the correct hands. If the research is published, fantastic, we increase our records and understanding of the world. But when literature is not delivered like the thousands of papers published in journals each month, we have a serious gap, and a serious problem.

            In many ways this is what I have observed in Peru. A project aimed at answering the questions we need answered and those answers falling of def ears. In that sense the research feels as if it were a history project. We had this many dolphins at this moment and here is the proof, as it remains as fleeting as the paper it is printed upon.

            Meanwhile, pouching, rampant pollution such as the plastic bag, bad fishing practices and construction of large factories in ecologically sensitive areas continues. This is where sustainability has entered my life. To do something, anything is a step towards real results on many levels. Help fishermen learn good practices, teach children not to pollute, to reuse. It’s simple, if we educate and practice a sustainable livelihood, we will save our resources, habitats, and ecological wonders to be studied forever into the future.

Although this will certainly deviate me here and there from my passion of Marine Biology, it has also opened the doors to a new one.

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