Climate Change and the Oceans

Antarctica is calling…..


The poem below was inspired by Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins. They are a tough bunch of creatures. Living each day on the edge. In one of our discussions about the penguins someone asked, “What is their strength?” A fellow traveler answered:

They are what they are
Lawrence Wade

Gentoo Penguin colony

Gentoo Penguin colony

I am the gentoo,
Life and death are constant companions
The skua waits for my chick – to move out of reach
An orca may eat me for a snack
It is of no concern to me
Interwoven into the fabric of life
I am what I am.

Gentoos climbing ice flow Photo by Rodrigo Antarctica XXI

Gentoos climbing ice floe
Photo by Rodrigo Moraga Zuñiga- Antarctica XXI

I live between two worlds
Land and sea.
Everyday is an impossible journey
On the ice floe.
Step by Step.

Gentoo Penguin Tracks

Gentoo Penguin Tracks

Falling down – getting up.
A trek towards freedom,
The ocean.
Then slowly climb back up
Step by step.
My chick is up there,
And must be fed.
I am what I am.

P1110342I am the human.
Raw wildness of Antarctica,
Exposes false truths.
Opportunity to see with fresh eyes
Unexpressed pain
Old patterns and beliefs die slowly
An unknown path to travel
I am what I am

Two steps forward – one step back
Murky water
Embrace abandoned self
Reach out for help
More oxygen
More hope
An impossible journey back to myself
I am what I am

Chinstrap Penguin

Chinstrap Penguin


Deception Island

Whale try pots where whale oil was rendered.


In 2016, I visited two shore-based whaling stations established in the 1920’s or 1930’s. At Deception Island there were eight rusted ovens where the whale blubber was rendered into oil. When I realized what I was looking at, the horror I felt was beyond words. It was like walking through a World War II German death camp.

Whale bones

At Whaler’s Cove, we found a pile of large whale bones (probably blue, humpback or fin whales). One of the goals of our group was to “listen” to the land. For most of us it wasn’t hard to hear what the land was saying. From my perspective, there was agony on that beach. The agony of so many whale’s lives cut short. On the day of a whale kill, the beach and water around that cove must have been red with whale blood.

Whale bones litter the beach
Reminders of the genocide
So long ago.
Still, the air smells of agony
Humans breath in the pain
Breath out hope and caring
Tears fall to the sand
Removing the stain on the land
For whales and humans

Since the 1970’s I have been aware of the Antarctic whalers who decimated the blue whale population in the early 20th century (over 200,00 blues were killed). Sometimes, it is hard to be a human. So much ripping apart of the whale tribes to support the greed of a few people. I have carried this burden with me for 40 years, and I am finally free of it.

Fin Whale

Antarctica climate change

Zooplankton NOOA

Shelf Coral, Great Barrier Reef
Colin Anderson


Fan Coral
Jane Ball

Brain Coral, Yucatan Coast, Mexico (Aaron Wade)

coral bleaching
photo by Michael Webster


Coral Bleaching
Reef Resilience Network


Sea Level Rise


Causes of Sea Level Rise A. Cazanave LEGOS-CNES


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