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Sea Lion pups having a rough go--


"She says the main theory scientists are investigating is that the prey — the smaller fish these animals feed on — are just not available. The mystery is why."

Yes, it is a mystery. Why do we have to treat each of these things as some distinct mystery? It's like looking at a lung cancer patient and being puzzled over why he's losing weight, why he can't catch his breath, and why he seems to be in such pain. They're all symptoms of the same disease, and if a doctor called one of them a "mystery", he'd rightly be presumed incompetent.

Dave Cohen


That's a good comment, but there is a crucial difference between your cancer example and the starving sea lions.

In the latter case, it is the human character which is ultimately at issue. But that can't be discussed. So a "mystery" must be invented.

-- Dave

Shawn Terrell

Dave, I thank you for all the work you do -- it is enlightening and difficult to take, but worth the depression. I just today was thinking that any work that does not involve moving forward based on the dominant paradigm of profits, growth, and narcissism is a lonely and frustrating path. Pick any topic really -- global warming, energy challenges, population growth, health care, housing, on and on. One who decides to look at any of these issues with the idea that there could be progress based on the ideals of sustainability, reasonable distribution of surplus, group level planning, etc., is basically fucked and in the extreme minority both in terms of awareness and support. I work in the health care world and me and others like me are labeled as the dreaded "advocate" and dismissed out of hand when pointing out the logical realities of how all the policy and controlling practices affect the people the system says it is supposed to serve. My point is -- don't be so hard on yourself Dave, there can be no other expectation given the path you chose. Know that you are not alone and despite the misery, we all keep going -- pushing our respective rocks up the hill.


We are not going to change the minds of enough people with rational debate, protestation, votes, or anything else. It is only going to take something truly horrendous and immediately massive to happen for the penny to drop with the rest of the human population. Of course, by then it will be far too late, as it is now anyway.
Until that time we will all carry on regardless, as you have proved many times on this blog.
I'm taking a zen approach and intend to enjoy the journey for as long as possible.
It's called inevitable for a reason. We won't be missed.

Now, where did I leave my fishfinger sandwich?

Dave Cohen


Well, yes, that's my general attitude too.

But there is a difference between you and me -- your ass isn't hanging out in the wind everyday, is it?

-- Dave


True Dave, very true. But try and enjoy that cool breeze while you can, at least. ;-)


As the MSM begins the deification of Margaret Thatcher, quotes are published such as "When you have spent half your life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands" commenting on the Falkland Wars. 1982.

What can a man say. JFC?


We all stand condemned by the commonality of poor human conduct about which you write daily. Whether we individually can do anything to reverse the relentless human assault on the biosphere is a moot point, given that we DOTE visitors are apparently a tiny sliver of a minority and (as far as I am aware) not members of the ruling powers. It is these latter folk who have deaf ears, and because they are quite content to feather their own nest at the expense of mostly everyone else's future, they are extremely unlikely to ever find themselves clicking to DOTE, let alone reading and absorbing your essays.

Nonetheless, I remain of the opinion that to know is important - closely followed by the need for camaraderie among us condemned prisoners on this planetary death row.

To share knowledge, to chew the cud together, to trigger thoughts in each other - this is valuable in itself and I believe the reason many/most of us are drawn to this blog. The world is a painful place for thinkers, so to paraphrase Roger Ebert, rather than focus on the pain, the best we can do is try to make others and ourselves a little happier somewhere along the way.

Reading your output makes me happier than I would be in its absence. My comments are meant to return the favor. Let's keep on keeping on - sharing ideas is possibly the only sign of sapience left.


I snorkel often. Protected areas have many more fish, period. Big fish are often almost non-existent in non-protected areas.

If people could see it with their own eyes, they might believe it, or want to change it. But most people don't ever see it. Out of sight, out of mind. And people view fish as weird or gross on top of that. I see the fish, alive, in their habitat, where they are beautiful.

Nothing saddens or angers me more than what is happening to the ocean. I've stopped eating fish because I can't trust it to be sustainable or ethical. But many more people would have to do the same to change things in a meaningful way.


It would be nice to think that human beings can undergo major behavioral change absent crisis. Of course, I'm talking about what humans would perceive of as "negative" change, something requiring long-term, likely permanent, sacrifice compared to today's living arrangements and behaviors. Perhaps at the individual level some can make such changes. However, it's very hard to see any evidence that at larger scales (certainly anything much beyond neighborhood or community) such change is possible absent crisis (and here I mean, present, in-your-face, life-endangering crisis).

It seems likely we (humans and non-humans alike) will be swept along by past decisions and current behaviors until the inevitable crisis arrives in force. Then, and probably only then, will we see how it shakes out. But early returns, like the current state of the oceans, certainly don't make it easy for a realist to be optimistic, do they?

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