VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


DOD Tests Environmentally Friendly Motor Oil

By: Sarah Martin and Annie Reisewitz The Department of Defense is taking action to be an environmental leader at defense facilities across the U.S. Currently, the DOD, headed by the Defense Logistics Agency, is testing the use of biosynthetic motor oils on their non-tactical vehicle fleets. Several environmentally friendly lubricants companies have supplied bio-based motor oil…

Harvesting Hope: Designing for Trust and Engagement in Eastern Congo

Less than 24 hours in, Congo comes into sharp focus. We’re in a rural church about an hour outside of Bukavu, Eastern Congo’s main town. This is where we start, in the heart of the community, at a Sunday mass in a Catholic church founded by missionaries.

As Chief Creative Officer at IDEO, the global design and innovation firm, I’m here to help IDEO.org’s team with a project that we believe is changing the lives of this community. And to submerge me into the culture, my colleagues have brought me to Sunday mass. Empathy is the foundation of the design process, and religion matters to this community; it forms the root structure on which it grows.

#MahaloObama: Celebrating the Largest Protected Area in the World

The following is a blog post by Jim Robinett, Senior Vice President of External and Regulatory Affairs at Shedd Aquarium. On Friday, the White House announced the passing of a bill to expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a marine ecosystem off the coast of Hawaii, making it the largest protected area in the world on land…

Here’s Mud in Your Ice! A Toast to Greenland’s Buried Treasure

They say dead men tell no tales. Dead bugs however can speak volumes. Discover the surprising secrets being revealed by a closer look at Arctic mud.

Papahanaumokuakea Expansion Is Counterproductive for Hawaii’s Sustainable Fisheries

Hawaii is the most secluded island chain in the world. The ocean and the resources that come out of it are invaluable to the state. Eating and catching fish is a way of life and deeply rooted into the culture. Hawaii consumes nearly three times more seafood annually compared to the rest of the mainland.…

Woo-woo; Whale Magic?

“When you lock eyes with them, Ken Balcomb says, “you get the sense that they’re looking at you. It’s a steady gaze. And you feel it. Much more powerful than a dog looking at you. A dog might want your attention. The whales, it’s a different feeling. It’s more like they’re searching inside you. There’s…

Future-Proofing our Ocean Treasures: Climate Action at Marine World Heritage Sites

On Board the National Geographic Endeavour — Climate change is a global problem, but it wears many faces, causing flooding in some areas and drought in others, record high temperatures one year, and cold the next. In the ocean, we are already seeing coral bleaching, increased acidity, rising seas, and changes to the food web.…

The New Generation of Dory Guides – Idaho’s Wild Rivers

“They’re the pinnacle, they’re what everyone wants to row out here,” Trevor tells me as he loads up his first dory. We’re on the Salmon River in central Idaho, packing up for a six-day float through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. I cut my teeth guiding on this river, and I couldn’t…

Industrial Chemicals Accumulating in America’s Alligators and Africa’s Crocodiles

The latest warning light from the environment: Long-lived industrial and household chemical compounds associated with liver toxicity and reduced fertility have been found at detectable levels in the blood of both American alligators and South African crocodiles populating waterways a third of the globe apart. Two studies are first-of-their-kind examinations of PFAA levels in these “sentinel” reptile species, which the researchers say are especially useful for investigating the impacts of long-lived chemicals in the environment. PFAAs (perfluorinated alkyl acids) have been used in products that include water-repellent clothes, stain repellents, waxes, nonstick pans and fire-suppressing foams.

Can Field Data and Science Save the Bornean Orang-utan?

In the Malaysian State of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, the current Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, has declared that all forests containing orang-utan populations must be protected. If this can be achieved, and then replicated across Borneo, it would provide a beacon of hope for the island’s iconic orang-utans so that generations to come can still have the thrill of seeing a gentle hairy red giant peering down at them from the forest canopy above.

Zoos and Aquariums Mobilize to Save the African Penguin from Extinction in the Wild

One would think there is a problem putting these two words together “African & Penguin.”  Don’t penguins need snow and ice to survive?  Looking at the 18 species of penguins found throughout the Southern Hemisphere, many of the species live in more tropical areas, not only at the bottom of the world. There are penguins found in the…

Seamounts ARE Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

By Vienna Saccomanno This blog was inspired by Dr. Les Watling’s discussion immediately following the recent meeting of the UN General Assembly. Scientists and underwater explorers have discovered submarine mountains scattered beneath the waves that harbor an incredible diversity of marine life. Known as seamounts, these extraordinary places are highly productive oases in the deep…

Hillary Clinton Reveals her Ocean Plans  

 In response to a letter sent by 115 Ocean Leaders to the leading presidential candidates Secretary Clinton has released a two-page response on what she will do to protect our coast and ocean if elected. With just over two months until the vote, this marks the first time in the campaign where a major candidate…

Is the Craving for Coffee Embedded in our Genes?

European researchers find a gene that appears to curb coffee consumption. This means that a person with the genetic variation would not need to consume as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit. “The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” says Dr Nicola Pirastu, of the University of Edinburgh.

Plant-Munching Weevil Helps Botswana Contain Weeds Threatening to Overwhelm the Okavango

Three decades after the first reports of the arrival in Botswana of Salvinia molesta–a free-floating, mat-forming water fern native to Brazil– scientists from the southern African country’s Department of Water Affairs say they are at last prevailing in the struggle against a weed that has come close to threatening the entire Okavango, Africa’s largest wetlands that is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most endangered species.