Tag Archives: ocean

Great Barrier Reef in Trouble


The Business Insider reported back in January of this year that the Great Barrier Reef has been opened to dumping of dredge waste inside protected national park areas of the Reef as well as a coal port expansion.

The Reef is already in poor health and faces many challenges. The additional stress of waste being added to the waters and then a coal port expansion on top of that risks major destruction for the animals and plants that depend on the Reef and its unique environment. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has tried to say that the waste dump and port expansion will not harm the Reef in any way:

According to GBRMPA, the dumping will not significantly affect the Reef.

“It’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” Dr Russell Reichelt, Authority Chairman, said in a news release. (Source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5847/20140201/australian-government-approves-dumping-dredged-waste-great-barrier-reef-marine.htm)

However, this is a very short-term view, and disregards the fact that the Reef is in poor condition as it is. How anyone thinks dumping additional soil and silt into an already fragile environment will not have an impact is beyond logic. The expansion of the coal port also means an increase in shipping traffic along the Reef. The Reef is supposed to be protected, as it is listed as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has made public statements that condemn the decision and has submitted a report to the World Heritage Committee stating the Reef could potentially be downgraded to a status of “In Danger”. UNESCO has also urged the government of Australia to reconsider. However, as of the time of this post, I have not been able to find any news articles that have the government’s response or any news of a change in the decision.

As if this weren’t enough to cause alarm, there is another project planned to take place in the same rough location. Australia also plans to build a huge natural gas export terminal at Abbot Point, which is in the same region as the coal port expansion project. The dredging for the natural gas terminal would amount to about 800,000 tonnes of dredging–an enormous amount that is certain to have an impact on the Reef and the ecosystem. They plan to dump all of that soil and silt onto land, which is better than dumping it elsewhere in the Reef, but also brings the risk of potential harm to areas on land, depending on where this dredged material is being dumped.

I urge everyone who believes in protecting the environment to take action. Speak out, either in person or online. Sign petitions if you’re able. Work spells, if that is what you do. Write to influential people and demand their action to protect valuable ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

To sign petitions or contribute money to legal funds organized to fight these decisions, check out the following links: Save the Reef, Reef Fighting Fund through GetUp!, Fight for the Reef legal fund, Sounds for the Reef,

Additional news sources about the decision:
Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/australia-permits-coal-port-dredge-dumping-near-barrier-reef.html

RT News: http://rt.com/news/156100-unesco-barrier-reef-dumping/

 

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Weekly Deity: Aegir


Aegir is the Norse god of the sea. He has dominion over the oceans and the waves, and throws great parties for the gods.  His secondary domains of divine influence are brewing and hospitality.

Attributes

Most likely bearded, Aegir was probably shown as a well-muscled middle-aged man.  He was probably tall, since his father Fornjot was a Giant.  It’s possible he was crowned with seaweed.  He likely would have been shown around or in water, or with his children, but no other attributes are given for Aegir.

Mythology

I couldn’t find any specific myths in which we is the primary character, but he is mentioned sidelong in other myths, and this is how we know of him.  He appears in Snorri Sturrluson’s Edda, the most complete collection of Norse myths available.

What is known about Aegir is that his father was a Giant.  His siblings include Logi, the fire Giant, and Kari, the wind Giant.  Although they’re called Giants, these figures are also deities.  Aegir’s wife was Ran, goddess of the sea.  They had nine daughters, all different kinds of waves, such as pitching wave, surging wave, blood-red wave, etc. (they did have real names, of course: Bara, Blodughadda, Bylgja, Dufa, Hefring, Himinglaeva, Hronn, Kolga, Unnr).  Aegir and his family lived under the sea on or near an island called Hlesey.

Aegir once threw a great party for the gods, for which he and his daughters brewed the ale.  The enormous cauldron was provided by Thor, and there is a whole story about how Thor retrieved this special cauldron.  This tradition of Aegir throwing a party every year is where his secondary domains of hospitality and brewing come from.

Light and Dark Sides

On the positive side, Aegir seems like a really cool guy.  He throws the gods an awesome party, volunteering to make the ale for them, and runs his oceans just fun.  All in all, he seems pretty nice.  Without other myths to go by, there isn’t any proof for a Dark side, but we can speculate on what his Dark side would be like.  Considering that the names of most of his daughters are names of dangerous waves (chilling, surging, grasping, etc.) I think we can conclude that Aegir’s Dark side is expressed through his children–the oceans can be dangerous places that mankind could have trouble with and definitely would die in.  Oceans can be wild, uncontrollable, and unpredictable, and I think that is Aegir’s Dark side–the natural counterpart to his calm, loving, laughable Light side.

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