Tag: South Pacific

U.S. Creates Largest Protected Area in the World ~ 3X Larger than California


Photo of fish swimming in the Palmyra Atoll.
A school of fish swims under the water around Palmyra Atoll, in an area of the Pacific that is already part of a marine sanctuary.
Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic



By Brian Clark Howard




NEW YORK—The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will create the largest marine reserve in the world by expanding an existing monument around U.S.-controlled islands and atolls in the central Pacific.


The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will now be nearly 490,000 square miles, nearly three times the size of California and six times larger than its previous size. Commercial fishing, dumping, and mining will be prohibited in the reserve, but recreational fishing will be allowed with permits, and boaters may visit the area.


The protected area that Secretary of State John Kerry announced this morning is actually smaller than the 782,000 square miles that the president initially considered. But environmentalists, preservationists, and conservation groups that had pushed for the expansion called President Barack Obama's designation a historic victory in their efforts to limit the impact of fishing, drilling, and other activities that threaten some of the world's most species-rich waters.

Map of the pacific remote islands.
MAGGIE SMITH, NG STAFF. SOURCES: U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE; USGS; MARINE CONSERVATION INSTITUTE


"What has happened is extraordinary. It is history making. There is a lot of reason we should be celebrating right now," said Elliott Norse, founder and chief scientist of the Seattle-based Marine Conservation Institute.


Enric Sala, an ocean scientist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, called the newly expanded monument "a great example of marine protection."


During the past several years, Sala and National Geographic's Pristine Seas project—which aims to explore, survey, and protect several of the last wild places in the world's oceans—have been key players in expeditions to the region that helped to put a spotlight on its biodiversity. Sala also met with White House officials to make the scientific case for expanding the Pacific Remote Islands monument. 


Photo of a sea anemone providing cover for a transparent shrimp in Kingman Reef, Pacific Ocean.
Tentacles of a sea anemone provide cover for a transparent shrimp in Kingman Reef, which is part of the existing marine sanctuary. Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic Creative


In announcing the expansion of protected marine areas, Kerry said, “We’re committed to protecting more of the world's ocean. Today, one to three percent of the ocean is protected, that's it. That's why President Obama will sign a proclamation today that will create one of the largest maritime protected areas in the world. It will be protected in perpetuity.”

Michael Boots, chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality, made clear that by expanding protected areas, the administration sought to balance the need to preserve a range of marine species with concerns from the fishing industry, which had warned about the economic impact of curtailing deep-sea fishing areas.

"We thought [the monument decision] was a good way to balance what the science was telling us was important to protect and the needs of those who use the area," Boots said.


The administration said in a statement late Wednesday that "expanding the monument will more fully protect the deep coral reefs, seamounts, and marine ecosystems unique to this part of the world, which are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification."


In June, when he first announced his intent to expand the monument, Obama said, "I'm using my authority as president to protect some of our nation's most pristine marine monuments, just like we do on land."


The June announcement was followed by a public comment period and further analysis by the White House, officials said. Thousands of people submitted comments, with many conservation groups and scientists offering their support. Some fishing and cannery groups, as well as a few members of the U.S. Congress opposed the expansion, citing the potential a loss of commercial fishing grounds. 


Norse said that the newly protected areas will safeguard endangered seabirds and other key species, including five endangered sea turtle species (such as loggerheads and leatherbacks), sooty terns and other terns, silky sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks, beaked whales, manta rays, red-tailed tropic birds, and deep-sea corals.

The expanded monument will help ensure that "there are some places that are as pristine as possible for as long as possible," Norse said. "I think a hundred years from now, people will be praising Barack Obama for having the vision to protect the Pacific remote islands."


"A Big Step"


Obama's Democratic administration is building on a national monument that was first created by his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, suggesting that "ocean protection may be one of the last bipartisan issues" in the politically divided United States, says David Helvarg, the author of several books on the ocean and the founder of the advocacy group Blue Frontier Campaign.

Democratic and Republican presidents going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican who served from 1901 to 1909, have used the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate national monuments. The law requires simply that an area be unique and considered worthy of protection for future generations. This is the 12th time Obama has used his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect environmental areas.

The area being protected by the administration will expand the protected areas from 50 miles offshore to 200 miles offshore around three areas—Wake Island, Johnston Atoll, and Jarvis Island—the maximum reach of the United States’ exclusive economic zone. The current 50-mile offshore protections around the Howland and Baker islands, and Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll, will not change.


"Although 71 percent of our planet is covered with saltwater, we have protected much more of the land than the ocean," Helvarg said. But the newly expanded monument is a big step in the right direction, he added.

Enforcing fishing bans in the monument will be a big challenge, Kerry acknowledged. "Agreements won't matter if no one is enforcing them," he said. "It's going to take training and resources."
Kerry said one measure that could help deter illegal fishing in the region, as well as around the world, would be to implement the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty that requires member nations to prevent illegally caught fish from entering the market. Eleven nations or parties have ratified the agreement, but a total of 25 must sign before the treaty will take effect.

"Our goal is to get this done this year," Kerry said.


Meanwhile, efforts to preserve more biologically diverse waters continue.


This week, National Geographic Society announced that it is dramatically expanding its campaign to help protect marine areas, with a goal of persuading governments to officially safeguard more than 770,000 square miles.


The plan, announced by former President Bill Clinton, includes programs that target the Seychelles—an archipelago in the Indian Ocean—northern Greenland, and South America's Patagonia region. The program builds on National Geographic's Pristine Seas project, which has financed ten scientific expeditions to remote areas of ocean around the world, including in the South Pacific and off Africa, Russia, and South America.

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February 2012: Ascending to New Heights

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a message from Polaris channeled by Talyaa Liera

Saturday, 4 February, 2012  (posted 7 February, 2012)

If you are beginning this month is a state of despair, you are not alone. Many are walking this road with you. Not on...

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Bruce Cathie – In or Out of Harmony?

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Source: www.bibliotecapleyades.net

One summer evening in 1952, a young New Zealand pilot and several friends stood outside at an Auckland airfield watching what could only be described as a UFO.

For Bruce Cathie it marked the ...

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2012: Unlocking Your Humanity, The Year Ahead

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a message from Polaris channeled by Talyaa Liera

Friday, 30 December, 2011  (posted 29 December, 2011)

2012. Twenty. Twelve.

A whole lot of energy has been placed into those words. The number. The date. The year Ever...

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Celebrate the Season, Celebrate Life!

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a message from Goddess of Creation channeled by Shelly Dressel

Sunday, 18 December, 2011  (posted 29 December, 2011)

You will find that this journey was filled with many levels of energy. As we began in the All That Is, ...

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Sheldan Nidle – May 10, 2011

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May 10, 2011

9 Oc, 8 Moan, 7 Ik

Selamat Jarin! We return! The Ascended Masters continue to assert themselves on your world! Our Earth allies, with their divine help, are readying for the grand transformations that are shor...

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September 2010: Decisions, decisions…

a message from Polaris channeled by Karen Murphy

Friday, 3 September, 2010

This month brings a sense of making a decision. Choice. Black, or white? Here, or there? Should I stay or should I...

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March 2010 – Finding Your Peace Within Chaos

The theme for the month of March is Chaos.

March is a month of seeming contradiction. You are perhaps familiar with the adage that March “comes in like a lion and out like a lamb”? This is a reference to weather but could also be applied to the winds of change permeating your very existence. In other words, what appears calm on the surface is seething and roiling underneath, and what appears chaotic is in actuality forming a new, more stable foundation.


Let us examine our theme of Chaos. When defined, one finds that chaos is in actuality quite structured.  In other words, it is unpredictability within a highly defined and perhaps rigid set of rules. Would you not say that this is your world, in part? In your universe there are certain rules within which, at times, there is certain unpredictability. Even the very appearance of individuals within the human race is subject to this: there is a general set of ‘rules’ (DNA structure, for example) within which there are endless – and seemingly unpredictable – variations. Chromosomal abnormalities. Cancer markers that are never triggered into actual cancer. Endless variations in size, color, personality and other peculiarities of the human manifestation that don’t seem subject to any rules. This is the hallmark of your world – this seeming contradiction – yet many of you have endless difficulty with the fluidity of choices available to you at any given time.

This seeming contradiction is part of what is going to be becoming stronger and more apparent as time goes by. How will this manifest in ways easily perceivable?

Physical manifestation of energetic chaos

1. Increased weather “events”. We have talked before about climate changes and extreme weather, have we not? You may expect, subject to region, further such extreme events over many areas, some widespread.  Drought is beginning this month across parts of India, Africa, and the southwestern part of the US. At the same time, extra precipitation is expected across much of western and southern Europe, the South Pacific, the central and Eastern US, the Caribbean, and much of South America. This precipitation could arise in the form of hurricane-like weather. Or other extreme events.

2. Earthquakes and volcanic activity. As above, so below. Look for increased visibility and awareness of Pacific Rim (especially the South Pacific, also possibly Alaska) activity this month as well as isolated earthquakes in areas not generally known for them (central US, eastern Europe). It is likely that a fairly devastating quake takes place in a populated area within the next 60-90 days.

3. Discoveries of genetic aberrations or new species are likely to be found in the animal kingdom. Animals and plants are, of course, subject to this chaotic energy as are people and the earth as a whole. While it is true that the animals, plant, and mineral kingdoms respond to such change with greater apparent aplomb, change affects all. What will be likely, then, are overt and tangible effects to the energetic shifts, resulting the “new” species, flocks of “deformed” species found regionally, or other similar discoveries.

Intrapersonal manifestation of energetic chaos

1. People “snapping.” This can be on a low level (increased arguments between spouses and children) or on a wider level (employees ‘going postal’, random attacks, mob situations, etc). It can be helpful to remember that this is occurring worldwide, not just in your neighborhood, and that the statistical likelihood of being a part of such an occurrence is relatively low. If this is a fear for you, please try the following:

Standing near a table or waist high horizontal surface, stand with feet hip width apart while your hands rest on this surface.

Take a moment to breathe and remember your particular fears surrounding this potential occurrence. Imagine while you do so that the charkas in your hands and feet are opening fully to embrace the energy of your planet: your home, the Earth. 

Feel the enormous loving energy pouring in to you now through your hands and feet. Your hands may feel warm and tingling. Feel the pulsating aliveness of your planet, the place you call home and that you, along with billions of others, are creating. Feel the love inherent in this energy of your creation. Feel the safety inherent in this energy of your creation.

Draw this energy, along with the live connected to it, up through your hands, feet, arms, and legs. Allow the energy to meet and mix in your root chakra. Feel your center of consciousness drop a few inches as you do so. Feel any tightness on your heart area now dissipate. Feel the immense sense of perpetual, eternal safety wrap your being in a soft, warm blanket. Feel how this sense of safety was created by you, along with billions of others, in the creation of your world as you know it to be. Remember that you carry with you a bubble that includes this sense of safety and protection.

Feel it now and rest in your ability to re-create this sense any time you wish.

2. Relationship hurdles. This is a huge month of growth for people involved in all sorts of relationships.  Long-held patterns may be released this month. Expect things to re-surface so they can be released.

Welcome these issues rather than attempting to submerge them again.

Those who are less self-aware will have greater difficulties relationship-wise this month, but if it is your practice to be aware of these patterns, then you should have little difficulty allowing them to simply drift away into the winds of change that surround you. Understanding, too, that any seeming surface disruption is for many a sign of healing underneath that is long-lasting and permanent in nature. This relates to all sorts pf relationships, from intimate connections to family dynamics to work relationships, as well as the relationship to Self that each of you possesses. Again, look for outward conflict as a sign of inner healing and change.

3. Spiritual depth. For those of you seeking greater self awareness, this is a month in which you can easily accelerate your growth. We would caution against becoming stuck in linear terms to describe such growth (‘evolving’, ‘moving forward’, ‘ascension’, etc), but at the same time there are exponential possibilities this month that will allow you great enhancement of whatever path you are presently choosing and such terms can be useful in this manner.

Practices to assist in flowing with, not against, the energy of Chaos

You can, of course, enhance your sensation of flow in relation to the energy that is around you at this time. This is not, of course, to allow you to “control” your experience or outcome, but is more designed to help you feel movement in a pleasurable way.

1. Practice an energy movement exercise. This could be tai chi, qigung, or some forms of yoga or meditation – anything where energy is consciously and deliberately moved through the body. This is very much a month in which to let go of conscious thought and allow your other wisdom (of the body, of the soul) to surface. Even if you have mental resistance against such exercises – and we would suggest daily use to enhance the effects – this is a case where “just doing it” is the most helpful approach. A side benefit, of course, is that after 30 days of such practice is becomes a habit, which in our perception would only continue to be beneficial.

2. Drink water. More than ever, this is an important practice. Pure, filtered water, preferably from a source local to you, is best. A liter per 50 pounds of body weight.

3. Breathe. Again, this is such a basic practice that is welcome at any time. Try simply breathing as fully as possible when you first awaken. Not only are you more relaxed at this time, making it easier to actually “get” a full, deep breath, but it will help create the tone for the day and energize and fully awaken your body. Spending 3-4 minutes in contemplative, deep breathing upon awakening will greatly enhance your abilities to flow with this month’s energy.

In addition to these practices, we suggest going within to seek answers to long-held questions. We are, of course, available to those who seek our advice and will continue to make our presence known to an ever-increasing number, but we also support your abilities to seek the inner guidance that is always inside you.

May you rest in the seeming contradictions.

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