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What Can I Do

Roger Payne Needs Your Help to Write A Declaration of Interdependence

By | FEB15, Ocean Alliance News, Roger Payne | No Comments

Dear all,

My January wish for this, the month of the year in which I turn 80, is that you will help write a Declaration of Interdependence that the world can subscribe to. There have been dozens of previous such declarations but none that I feel focus strongly enough on the crucial importance of non-human species, or on such not-so-obvious things as the fact that the health of terrestrial life depends on the health of ocean life (and vice versa). Read More

Roger Payne is Dedicating His 80th Year to Changing the Fate of Our Oceans

By | FEB15, Ocean Alliance News, Roger Payne | No Comments

50 years ago when I first became concerned about their fate, whales were being hastened towards extinction by whaling. There was no Save-the-Whales movement; in fact, whales seldom crossed anyone’s mind.

 When Scott McVay and I discovered the powerfully lovely songs of humpback whales I saw them as a way to capture the world’s interest in the plight of whales, and I put all of my efforts into stopping the criminal act that turned whales into cat food and cosmetics.

As time passed the movement succeeded in greatly reducing whaling. But a new threat to whales soon emerged that was potentially worse than whaling: ocean pollution. It was caused by the compounds we synthesize to enjoy “better living” through chemistry.

I later realized that it was not pollution alone but many other interconnecting, interacting, positive feedback loops that threatened whales plus many other ocean species—for example: the buildup of CO2 creates ocean acidification which destroys plankton.

In short, my life has carried me from the specific to the general, and what started as an effort to stop a single fatal force from destroying a species has become an effort to stop dozens of forces from destroying life in all its forms, both in the ocean and on the land.

Thanks to global warming and ocean acidification there has never been a more urgent need for action—never a greater need to put all of our time, effort and treasure into changing the way that we and our fellow humans conduct our lives. Life on Earth and civilization as we know it hang in the balance.

In spite of how scary this situation is it also has a hugely positive side: for it offers our generation the most singular opportunity for greatness ever offered to any generation in history. If we seize that opportunity and act we will be admired and loved above all future generations.

Please join me in pledging to dedicate all of our efforts in the next decade to working to change the fate of the oceans.

Each month in this my 80th year I will announce another of my goals and dreams, and describe why I think it is important to whales, to the ocean, and to all life. I will also describe ways in which you can help achieve that dream.

My dream for January comes from what I consider to be the most consequential scientific discovery of the past 100 years—the slow realization that all species are interdependent. This means that the future of each species depends on the future of a great many other species. From this simple natural law we see that it is not possible to save just a single species, unless we also protect the lives of the hundreds of species on which that species’ life depends.

From this it follows that the welfare of some non-human species is as important to the survival of humans as it is to the survival of the non-human species. If we fail to recognize that fact we will have no future—at least none that you or I would care to experience.

My January wish, therefore, is to create a Declaration of Interdependence for nations to ratify. There have been several such declarations previously but none that focused strongly enough on the health of the ocean and on non-human species. I will post a draft of such a declaration on my birthday so you can suggest changes before we send it out in its final form. Ever since 1776 we in America have valued independence; what we must now learn to value even more is our interdependence with the rest of life. It is our only way to reach the future.

– Dr. Roger Payne, President and Founder of Ocean Alliance

The Whale Guitar Visits Ocean Alliance

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

It’s amazing how you can help whales and our oceans just by using your own personal talents. Jen Long discovered this when she embarked on the Whale Guitar Project. A designer from Providence, Rhode Island, Jen and a group of like-minded individuals–William Schaff, Rachel Rosenkrantz-Riemer and Gwen Forrester, designed and built a remarkable instrument inspired by Moby-Dick and in the style of scrimshaw with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for ocean conservation. We were honored last year when Jen informed us that she wanted to bring Ocean Alliance into the project after following our work. Considering our organization was built on the discovery that humpback whales sing songs, we have always been passionate about the relationship between art, science, and conservation.

Jen Long with the Whale GuitarThe Whale Guitar Project has had some exciting stops along the way, including the recent Moby-Dick Marathon Reading at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where the guitar was on display and played for those who had gathered to read the classic novel aloud from start to finish.

We were thrilled this week to have Jen and the Whale Guitar visit our headquarters, the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA, and Jen was kind enough to give the staff an impromptu concert. We look forward to building on our partnership this year with more performances and we thank Jen and her talented team for sharing their time and skills for the benefit of our ocean.

 

Roger Payne Asks You to Buy Less Stuff

By | Ocean Alliance News, Roger Payne | No Comments

Dear Friends,

My organization, Ocean Alliance, has for years, distanced itself from the use of mass mailings, or as we call it…junk mail. As effective as it seems to be, it is no good for the environment to be mailing tons of paperwork, most of which gets thrown away. However, through this much more environmentally friendly message, I hope to reach you with an important message.

As we look to the future this holiday season, we might as well revisit that well-worn phrase:  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I think comedian George Carlin was correct, with his ironic statement – “Life is all about trying to find a place to keep all of our stuff – while we go out and get more stuff!” Unfortunately, the holiday season, once about family gatherings, having fun with friends and cherishing your loved ones, has begun to revolve around material “Stuff.”

According to a report by Harris Interactive, of the US adults who receive holiday gifts, 83% (more than 4 in 5) do not want the gifts. After they are opened, these presents and the packaging they come in simply become more “Stuff,” most of which is thrown away. So I encourage you this holiday season to think about all of the “Stuff” you are purchasing, including the packaging it comes in.

Basic Whale AdoptionInstead of buying “Stuff,” why not instead Go Green & Buy Blue? A whale adoption from Ocean Alliance fits that bill perfectly. By purchasing a whale adoption for a loved one, you can inspire and educate, while supporting Ocean Alliance’s ongoing whale and ocean pollution research devoted to protecting whales and their ocean world (…and you keep all of the packaging materials out of the oceans.)

One of the strongest tools for conserving the environment is the collective purchasing power of concerned consumers like you – if we stop buying single-use or overly packaged products, companies will stop wasting those resources.

So, please, flex your buying muscles this holiday season. Go Green & Buy Blue!

You can adopt a humpback whale here.

With very best wishes for the season,

Roger Payne

You Can Help Save the Paint Factory

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments
Clean up at our headquarters, the former Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory has been a protracted and ongoing process. The birthplace of marine bottom paint, the site was contaminated with large amounts of copper, lead, chromium, arsenic and asbestos. We have invested almost 1 million dollars into clean-up and remediation so far. Currently, a clean utility corridor for the site is in the works–the $200K needed for this project came from the EPA in the form of a brownfields grant.  We expect to have to invest at least another half a million dollars into the site before we can claim that it is fully cleaned up.

Read More

New CD Release – “Voyages of the Odyssey: Acoustic Adventures”

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

This holiday season our whale adoption packages are being revamped with new treats for your whale lover. We’re excited to announce the release of a new sound recording called “Voyages of the Odyssey: Acoustic Adventures,” the first since “Songs of the Humpback Whale” and “Deep Voices,” which includes humpback whale songs recorded in the Seychelles during the Voyage of the Odyssey 2000-2005, plus melon-headed whales, pseudorcas (false killer whales), and sperm whales recorded in the Gulf of Mexico. This new cd will be included in all whale adoption packages. The new adoption packages will be ready for ordering next week, so stay tuned and #GoGreenBuyBlue!

Put Plastic in Its Place – Vote Yes on 2 in MA

By | Ocean Alliance News, Pollution | No Comments

Next Tuesday Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to put litter in its place. Living and working in a coastal community, we are all too aware of the plastics ending up in our waterways. We’ve conducted many shoreline clean-ups at our headquarters on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA, and on area beaches, and one of the most common items we come across is plastic water bottles. What if Massachusetts residents had an incentive to collect those bottles and return them? Read More

A New Addition to Our Research Programs

By | aug14, Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Last Saturday night a sailboat called Sabatico quietly sailed into Gloucester harbor and anchored off Eastern Point.  This 44ft ketch is Ocean Alliance’s latest addition to our research programs.

In May of this year, while the RV Odyssey was hauled out of the water in Key West, Florida, we met a gentleman called D.M. Barry.  Mr. Barry had just returned from a trip to Mexico aboard his 44 ft Pearson ketch Sabatico.  He was curious as to what work this large red sailboat with people swarming all over it was engaged in.  He first met Dan Albani on the docks who talked to him about our work and then he got into an extensive conversation with Dan Haefner.  Both Dans suggested to Mr. Barry that Ocean Alliance could put his vessel to good use and both were as surprised as I was when he called me up three weeks later and offered to donate his sailboat to Ocean Alliance.

Iain Kerr on WhaleSongI have enjoyed my conversations with Mr. Barry enormously; he has had a varied and interesting career, he loves the wild world, and seems to grab life and enjoy the ride.  An entrepreneur, pilot and boat captain, Mr. Barry now lives in Montana.  He has been saddened by the fact that he could not do all that he used to do at sea as a younger man and felt that this was a good time to follow a different route than full-time boat ownership.  We welcome him as a new member of the Ocean Alliance family and look forward to him visiting us in New England and seeing the Sabatico put to work as a research vessel.

This type of generous offer is always a bit of a catch 22 for a group like Ocean Alliance. This donation will probably cost us $20,000 in the first year with insurance, maintenance, upgrades, upkeep and crew, but while we do not have that amount of money lying around, the timing of this donation could not have been better and we are very grateful for Mr. Barry’s incredible generosity.

WhaleSong steeringWith our move to the Gloucester waterfront we have been looking to engage in more regional cetacean studies.  With the loss of the Whale Center of New England, we feel that we can not only help to fill this hole but also bring an extensive whale research skillset to the region and support the work of other researchers in this area more effectively (especially with a platform like Sabatico).  In our business, this donation not only demonstrates the value of just asking for help but also reminds us that there are still generous people like Mr. Barry who are willing to step up to the plate and put the environment before personal gain. Thank you again Michael!

We will keep you posted as we develop our research and education agenda, and in the meantime we have requested a name change to WhaleSong.

-Iain Kerr, Ocean Alliance CEO

Cleaning Up Our Shoreline

By | Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters, Pollution | No Comments

Our friends from Sea Shepherd Boston were kind enough to join us this week for a shoreline clean-up of Horton Street in Gloucester, MA–home of Ocean Alliance. The rocks along our shoreline create a trap for fishing gear, water bottles, stryrofoam cups and other debris that needs to be collected every few months to prevent it from washing out to sea. It’s another example how organizations can accomplish more when they work together:

Read More

Offshore Chaos in the Gulf (Part 2)

By | Gulf of Mexico, Ocean Alliance News, Operation Toxic Gulf, Roger Payne | No Comments

Part two of Roger Payne’s blog from Operation Toxic Gulf 2014:

July 12, 2014

We are here to find out how those whales are reacting to the oil that got released during the oil blowout from Deepwater Horizon, and the dispersants that were sprayed on the oil to sink it out of sight (and out of mind) but that seem to be worse poisons than the oil itself. This is the fifth year of our research, and what we are already finding out is disturbing. Read More

The Whale Guitar: Six-String Activism

By | Education, Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Whales are a species of sound. They live in a world of sound, communicate through sound, and captured the world’s attention when Roger Payne and Scott McVay discovered that they sing songs. Roger, in addition to being a biologist, is also a musician, and it became his life’s work to share their songs and inspire a passion to protect them.

Whale Guitar scrimshawIt’s no surprise then that artists and musicians, poets and composers are drawn to whales. This is how the Whale Guitar came to be. Read More

Support the Operation Toxic Gulf Crew with Amazon Wishlist

By | Ocean Alliance News, Odyssey, Operation Toxic Gulf, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

You can be a part of Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 by supporting the crew through their Wishlist on Amazon. From food to gear to sunscreen, the crew needs provisions throughout the summer as they study the effects of the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Work on the Odyssey continues twenty-four hours a day with watches throughout the night—that’s a lot of coffee (and tea for the Brits)!

The crew thanks you for your support!

Help Make a Birthday Wish Come True with a Dock at the Paint Factory

By | jun14, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

If you have had any dealings with Ocean Alliance in the last twenty years then you have probably crossed paths with Kim Marshall Tilas. Beginning as Iain Kerr’s assistant, she has worn many hats with charm, exuberance and energy that shouldn’t be allowed in one individual. Most memorably, she was the diver in the IMAX film “Whales” who was captured in a magical swim with a southern right whale. More recently she has battled breast cancer and faced a double mastectomy with the humor that only Kim could. To know Kim is to love her and we are honored that she would make the following request:

Kim Marshall Tilas on the OdysseyI, Kim Marshall Tilas, am turning 50 on July 24th, 2014. To celebrate and honor my wonderfully exciting and fortunate life thus far I want to invite you to be a part of the Dolphin Dock Project. I will raise $9250.00 so that a floating dock can be built at Ocean Alliance’s home at the Paint Factory in Gloucester, MA.

My goal is to toast the new dock on my birthday with friends and family. Every dollar given goes to the Dolphin Dock in my honor. You can designate your donation to Kim’s Dolphin Dock or send a check to Ocean Alliance at 32 Horton St., Gloucester, MA 01930.

Please Hurry! Thank you for helping me celebrate my milestone birthday with a porpoise!

 

Join the IoT Olympiad and You Could Win a Whale Watch with Sir Patrick Stewart

By | Ocean Alliance News, Technology, Whales | No Comments

Ahead of a week of tech-related conferences and expos Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has declared May 2-9 “Internet of Things Week” in the Bay State, making Massachusetts the first state to do so. An exciting part of this coming week is the “Internet of Things” (IoT) Olympiad, a 48-hour hackathon in which IT developers collaborate and compete for a common goal.

IoT OlympiadOne of this year’s themes is “Sustain Life: Sustainable Maritime Economies,” put forward by our friend Tom Balf from Maritime Gloucester. Recently Tom approached Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and asked if he had any potential projects for the IoT Olympiad, and did we have any incentive packages that could be offered to motivate participants. Iain introduced an idea we’ve been thinking about for a while called Whale Snap. The idea is that you when you are on the water and spot a whale you take a photo with the Whale Snap app. The app would identify the species of whale and give you basic information on that animal almost immediately. Then it would link to a database and contact you back with more info about the whale, potentially its name and when it was last seen, and threats to the species. In this way we can:

  1. Minke whale - photo by Tim Watters

    Minke whale – photo by Tim Watters

    Educate people about regional whale populations

  2. Empower citizen scientists to collecting data
  3. Fund our research, education and conservation efforts

 

 

Iain believes the potential for this program is huge. It could start as a regional program with humpback whales and then go global with Whale Snap applications that are specific to different whale populations around the world.  Considering that Ocean Alliance has data on whale populations from over 20 counties we are well suited to take on this project.

Prizes include:

  • Memorabilia signed by Sir Patrick Stewart and Dr. Roger Payne
  • 7 Seas Whale Watch with Sir Patrick Stewart (date to be determined)
  • Work space at our headquarters in the historic Paint Factory on Gloucester Harbor

To join the IoT Olympiad register here. Good luck!

What We Found on Our Shoreline

By | apr14, Education, Ocean Alliance News, Paint Factory Headquarters | No Comments

Volunteers for Harbor CleanupIt was a beautiful clear sunny day on Saturday when members of the Gloucester community gathered to clean our harbor. Teams were dispersed all around the city thanks to the coordination efforts of the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, Maritime Gloucester, our two Cultural Districts downtown and on Rocky Neck, and our own Rebecca Siswick Graham. After a presentation about ocean trash by the Rozalia Project Friday night, volunteers gathered at their assigned locations Saturday morning for this one-hour effort to collect and record as much trash and recycling as possible. Read More

Time to Join the Gloucester Pride Stride and Support Ocean Alliance

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Gloucester Pride StrideRegistration is open for the 27th Annual Gloucester Pride Stride 5 Mile Walk to celebrate and raise money for Cape Ann non-profits. Join the Ocean Alliance team on Sunday April 27th for a scenic walk around the Gloucester waterfront, with free food and family activities for participants. You can print out your pledge form and start gathering pledges from friends and family–90% of the money you raise will support our work with whales and ocean pollution, and the renovation of the Paint Factory. We look forward to meeting and walking with you!

Join Us in Support of Ocean Alliance at the Gloucester Pride Stride

By | Ocean Alliance News | No Comments

Paint Factory sunsetHow would you like to take a scenic walk around Gloucester’s historic waterfront while raising money for Ocean Alliance? Join us on Sunday April 27th at noon for the 27th Annual Gloucester Pride Stride Walk, a five-mile loop beginning and ending at Stage Fort Park, the site of Gloucester’s first settlers in 1623, with views of our headquarters—the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory and Ten Pound Island. The walk will pass the working waterfront of Rogers Street, State Fish Pier, Main Street and the Boulevard with the iconic Fishermen’s Memorial (Man at the Wheel). The event includes a free cookout, live music and an inflatable playground and games. Download your registration form here.

90% of the donations you raise will go towards Ocean Alliance to support our work with whales and ocean pollution and the renovation of the Paint Factory. We look forward to meeting you and celebrating Gloucester’s non-profit community!

Gloucester Pride Stride

Ocean Alliance Joining World Love for Dolphins Day Protest February 14

By | Commercial whaling, Ocean Alliance News, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Dolphin ValentineOn Friday, February 14th Ocean Alliance will be joining Sea Shepherd Boston for World Love for Dolphins Day – a peaceful protest against the dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan. There will be protests held at the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C. and in front of Japanese consulates around the country.  The protests will begin at 12 noon and conclude at 1:30 pm. To join us in Boston please meet with signs at:

Japanese Consulate General’s office:

Federal Reserve Plaza, 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston

Read More

Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr Is Asking You to Help End the Taiji Dolphin Hunt

By | Commercial whaling, Ocean Alliance News, Sea Shepherd | No Comments

Iain Kerr with Atlantic Spotted Dolphins - Photo by Leonard AubeIt’s hard to express how deeply disturbing it is to see the act of barbarism that is going on in Taji, Japan right now. I consider quite a few Japanese people as close friends and I know that they abhor this hunt, so I don’t see this as a cultural act (the hunt started in 1969) but the act of a small group of individuals who have found a way to make a lot of money very quickly while hiding under a banner of culture.  Even if it was cultural this does not excuse all sins — cannibalism and slavery were once considered cultural, but as we have developed as a society we have realized these acts are unacceptable. Read More