The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea…Isak Dinesen

From Endangered Earth: “There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction. This is up from 16,118 last year. This includes both endangered animals and endangered plants.

The species endangered include one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70% of the world’s assessed plants on the 2007 IUCN Red List are in jeopardy of extinction. The total number of extinct species has reached 785 and a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. In the last 500 years, human activity has forced over 800 species into extinction.

The current rate of extinction appears to be hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of times higher than the background rate. It is difficult to be precise because most of the endangered species which are becoming disappearing species have never been identified by scientists.”

The loss of a beloved friend has US thinking about where we go from here.

We’re old enough to get cranky about the old days and old ways, but young enough to have hope. Hope for the past, hope for the future, and seeking a present that pulls with it to propel this planet to a healthy sustainable future.


Floating schoolhouse, designed by NLÉ

Winning design from the Design Museum London–Designs of the Year finalists for 2014. This schoolhouse is a prototype structure designed by NLÉ for the historical lagoon-dwelling community of Makoko. Its innovative design is intended to accommodate social and physical changes due to global warming and increasing African urbanization.


Foldscope, designed by the bioengineering Team headed by Manu Prakash, Stanford University

A Stanford University research team designed a pocket-sized microscope for malaria research. The Foldscope is assembled from a sheet of paper, and costs approx. $2 to manufacture. Foldscope is constructed from a single piece of cardboard, with all the necessary parts including optics (inexpensive mini-spherical lens), an LED and mirror built-in. Construction is as simple as tearing each part from the template and matching the pieces based on color.

A sample is mounted onto a standard microscope slide and placed between the paper layers of the microscope. The user then holds the sample up to their eye and uses their thumb and forefinger to adjust focus by flexing and sliding the paper platform. Magnification achieved is 2000x that of the human eye.

Prakash: “These are literally built out of paper, tape and glue, and they are as good as research microscopes that you can buy…I wanted to make the best possible disease-detection instrument that we could almost distribute for free.”


Macrobrachium leptodactylus

A freshwater shrimp (Macrobrachium leptodactylus) from Indonesia found once in 1888 and never since has been declared extinct as of 2013. The area where the shrimp was discovered has been victim to habitat degradation and urbanization. 28% of freshwater shrimp are threatened with extinction; ten percent are used for human consumption.

Jonas Dahlberg's memorial design

Jonas Dahlberg’s memorial design

Artist Jonas Dahlberg has been selected to create official memorials at the sites of the 2011 Norwegian massacres carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik. Using the landscape and vista as his statement, the 43-year-old artist has sliced a three-and-a-half-metre-wide slit into the Sørbråten peninsula, which faces the island of Utøya where Breivik killed 69 people. It marks a “symbolic wound” in the landscape. One hundred cubic metres of the stone cut from Sørbråten will be transferred to the governmental quarter in Oslo, where another memorial will mark the spot where a car bomb was detonated.

There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish. ~John Keats

La nascita di Venere, painting by Sandro Botticelli

La nascita di Venere, painting by Sandro Botticelli

I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. ~Sir Isaac Newton

Drake's Bay CA, oysterbeds, photograph by Kim Steele

Drake’s Bay CA, oysterbeds, photograph by Kim Steele

This post is dedicated to the legacy and memory of Rena Obernolte. The origin of the name Rena is Hebrew, meaning “Melody” and  “Peace.”

As a mother, partner, friend, and as a scientist, Rena excelled far beyond her important environmental work. Rena was a Marine Biologist with a Bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Biology from UCSB; and a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from SJSU. Marine repopulation in numerous places in the U.S. is a reality due to the work of Rena, her partner Bud Abbott, and her world of aquatic ecology.

There was only one Rena. From those of us who had the privilege of being part of these happiest years of your life, the beauty of your time here and your voice…

Never, ever to be forgotten…


Rena Obernolte, at work in San Rafael Bay, CA


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