Sunday, April 19, 2009

Elephant Seals!

I went to Las Piedras Blancas, an elephant seal rookery, along the central coast of California.  Elephant seals mate, molt and give birth there.  The seals looked so lazy and happy on the beach, but they have such a sad history.

In 1880, people thought they were all extinct from hunting, but a few survived on an island off the coast of Mexico.  The elephant seal population today is 150,000 and still growing!  This only happened after Mexico and the US declared no tampering, harassing or hunting elephant seals.

The male seals grow up to 14 feet long and have big flaps over their noses.  Females grow up to 12 feet long and have no flaps over their noses.  The ones I saw were females and pups.  They were molting, lying in the sand, throwing sand on themselves so they didn't get sunburned and barking at each other.  We were driving up highway one after we had a brief visit at Hearst Castle and pulled over to the side of the road and looked out to the the beach and saw hundreds or thousands of elephant seals lying on the beach.  Some were in the water and some were just lazing in the sand.  They were so cute, some looked like they were smiling, especially one who was nuzzling her nose in the sand.  She's the one in the picture in the photo section of my blog.

If you want to find out more, go to

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oil Spills and How to Make Your Carbon Footprint Smaller

Oil spills are effecting the animals on our planet especially sea creatures.  When the oil spills it gets stuck to sea otters' fur and clogs whale's breathing holes.  An oil spill is a release of  liquid petroleum and hydrocarbon.  Sometimes oil spills can take years to clean up, but the good news is people are finding out new ways to make their carbon foot prints smaller and are also finding new energy sources.

This is how people are making their carbon footprints smaller:  Buy carbon offsets when you take long airplane flights.  Ride your bike or walk instead of driving or take public transportation.  Use flourescent lightbulbs instead of regular lightbulbs.  Compost, recycle, refuse, reduce and reuse.  If you have to, buy a hybrid car.

People are finding new energy sources: hydropower (waterpower), windpower and solar power.  The funny thing is that water, wind and sun have been around for millions of years.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Interview on Heal the Bay

I was visiting Los Angeles and interviewed LW, a member of Heal the Bay.  It is an organization in Los Angeles that goes around and tests water in  the bay of Los Angeles and Santa Monica.  LW says that they test the water for pollution to see if it is safe for people to go swimming and to see if it is safe for the animals.

While I was there I enjoyed the beach and saw dolphins. LW says that the ocean has gotten cleaner because the city has added storm drains and they have also started to dispose of pollutants in an eco-friendly way, so they don't just wash into the ocean.  

I wonder what happens in Brooklyn to all the waste and pollutants when it rains.  Does it go into the Gowanus canal, the bay, the ocean or just the plain old street?