If by any chance you are still following this blog, I have moved (AGAIN!) and am back at blogger. Here’s the link: The Key of G. See you there!
I went diving in Leyte over the All Saints’ Day weekend with my friends, expecting nothing much more than the novelty of diving in a place we’d never been to before. We were surprised by one of the biggest treats a diver could ever experience- seeing the biggest fish on earth, the whale shark or butanding, in the deep. Dindo banged his tank repeatedly to call everyone’s attention, then signaled everyone to stay back. All the divers tried to get closer to get a better look, and take pictures and videos. Fred couldn’t resist, and touched the butanding’s left fin. We all followed the slow-moving creature as it swam. I looked for someone to put in the frame with the shark, and as usual, lucky Berg was in the best position to be in the video. Then one of our DMs, it seemed, couldn’t help himself and pulled on the creature from below, causing the shark to swim away in surprise. (We all gave him a hard time about it afterward.)
I haven’t been blogging much, not because I’m so busy with work (hah!), but mostly because I’ve been diving a lot, and focusing on underwater photography. However, this entry is not about diving, but, unbelievably, about work. Since March this year, I’ve been working for the show “I Survived” which Ces Drilon hosts. Not even six months since its pilot, the show won its first award from the MTRCB. During the awards ceremony last Friday, Sept. 4, we won in an unexpected category, which is Best Reality Show, but of course, we’ll gladly take it. The show I used to work for a few years ago also won awards but it didn’t mean as much to me as this one, probably because I am the first EP of this show and saw it through its birthing pains. The production staff members comprise a lean team working on a limited budget, and I am proud of all of them for putting up an award-winning show. Congratulations to the team of “I Survived”!
I saw a quote in Google by Gertrude Stein – “We are always the same age inside.” I thought it was an interesting quote. Some people say they are “young at heart”, or some similar cliche, to indicate that they have some of the child left in them. Stein’s quote made me think that in the same vein, some people are “old at heart” Just like people who are young at heart have always been like that, “old at heart” people have probably been that way for most of their lives.
It’s probably possible to change the real age of your insides, but I’m sure it takes Herculean effort.
My dear, dear friend Felicity and I had a chat over Google earlier today, and she sent me a link to a depressing story. I am pasting the story on here. Basically, it says that we are slowly killing the earth (specifically our seas) with plastic. The story was written almost two years ago. I wonder how much bigger it has grown since then.
Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean
Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 19, 2007
At the start of the Academy Award-winning movie “American Beauty,” a character videotapes a plastic grocery bag as it drifts into the air, an event he casts as a symbol of life’s unpredictable currents, and declares the romantic moment as a “most beautiful thing.”
To the eyes of an oceanographer, the image is pure catastrophe.
In reality, the rogue bag would float into a sewer, follow the storm drain to the ocean, then make its way to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a heap of debris floating in the Pacific that’s twice the size of Texas, according to marine biologists.
The enormous stew of trash – which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers – floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man’s land between San Francisco and Hawaii.
Marcus Eriksen, director of research and education at the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, said his group has been monitoring the Garbage Patch for 10 years.
“With the winds blowing in and the currents in the gyre going circular, it’s the perfect environment for trapping,” Eriksen said. “There’s nothing we can do about it now, except do no more harm.”
The patch has been growing, along with ocean debris worldwide, tenfold every decade since the 1950s, said Chris Parry, public education program manager with the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco.
Ocean current patterns may keep the flotsam stashed in a part of the world few will ever see, but the majority of its content is generated onshore, according to a report from Greenpeace last year titled “Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans.”
The report found that 80 percent of the oceans’ litter originated on land. While ships drop the occasional load of shoes or hockey gloves into the waters (sometimes on purpose and illegally), the vast majority of sea garbage begins its journey as onshore trash.
That’s what makes a potentially toxic swamp like the Garbage Patch entirely preventable, Parry said.
“At this point, cleaning it up isn’t an option,” Parry said. “It’s just going to get bigger as our reliance on plastics continues. … The long-term solution is to stop producing as much plastic products at home and change our consumption habits.”
Parry said using canvas bags to cart groceries instead of using plastic bags is a good first step; buying foods that aren’t wrapped in plastics is another.
After the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banned the use of plastic grocery bags earlier this year with the problem of ocean debris in mind, a slew of state bills were written to limit bag production, said Sarah Christie, a legislative director with the California Coastal Commission.
But many of the bills failed after meeting strong opposition from plastics industry lobbyists, she said.
Meanwhile, the stew in the ocean continues to grow.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is particularly dangerous for birds and marine life, said Warner Chabot, vice president of the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental group.
Sea turtles mistake clear plastic bags for jellyfish. Birds swoop down and swallow indigestible shards of plastic. The petroleum-based plastics take decades to break down, and as long as they float on the ocean’s surface, they can appear as feeding grounds.
“These animals die because the plastic eventually fills their stomachs,” Chabot said. “It doesn’t pass, and they literally starve to death.”
The Greenpeace report found that at least 267 marine species had suffered from some kind of ingestion or entanglement with marine debris.
Chabot said if environmentalists wanted to remove the ocean dump site, it would take a massive international effort that would cost billions.
But that is unlikely, he added, because no one country is likely to step forward and claim the issue as its own responsibility.
Instead, cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is left to the landlubbers.
“What we can do is ban plastic fast food packaging,” Chabot said, “or require the substitution of biodegradable materials, increase recycling programs and improve enforcement of litter laws.
“Otherwise, this ever-growing floating continent of trash will be with us for the foreseeable future.”
How to help
You can help to limit the ever-growing patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean. Here are some ways to help:
Limit your use of plastics when possible. Plastic doesn’t easily degrade and can kill sea life.
Use a reusable bag when shopping. Throwaway bags can easily blow into the ocean.
Take your trash with you when you leave the beach.
Make sure your trash bins are securely closed. Keep all trash in closed bags.
Over the holy week holiday, I flew to Bohol with my dive buddies Isabel, Bodie, and Zara to explore the waters in that area. I’d gone diving in Bohol before, but I never really got to see its other topside attractions. We had four days of diving, then had one day to get our nitrogen levels down prior to flying and do the typical touristy things you just have to do while you’re there. We took pictures of the tiny tarsiers, the chocolate hills, the clean and green Lobok river, and other tourist traps there.
I did enjoy the land tour, but on that last day, I was wishing that we were diving instead (though of course we could not because of said nitrogen levels). The seas of Bohol are beautiful, and I could not get enough of it. I’ve been looking at the underwater pictures stored in my camera repeatedly, so as to extend my vacation somewhat. I could look at photos of the schools of jacks in Balicasag and the napoleon wrasse in Cabilao all day.
I’ve been diving for more than ten years, but I haven’t felt the itch to dive this intensely in quite some time. Right now I feel like there wouldn’t be anything better than being able to dive whenever I wanted in my favorite divesites. Reality does not allow this for now, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll get that lifestyle that has recently been occupying my thoughts more and more.
A couple of months ago, a news item caught the world by storm. Headlines trumpeted by almost every major news organization in the world included the phrase “the best job in the world”, and the stories outlined how Queensland in Australia was looking for a “caretaker” to watch over its islands on the Great Barrier Reef. The job would last for a few months, and would pay thousands of dollars to simply live on the islands, blog about it, go snorkelling or diving, lounge on the beach, and basically enjoy living in paradise.
Many of my friends urged me to apply for the job, and I promised I would, even though getting this one job would be very much akin to winning the lotto. After the story broke out, the site where one could apply for the job crashed. It was obviously a very attractive job, and it was open to the whole wide world, so there were bound to be thousands if not millions trying to get it.
I resolved to apply for it, since the process was not very complicated. All you had to do was make a one-minute (or less) video showing why you are the one who deserves to get the job, and submit it online. The deadline was Feb. 22nd, and I was determined to meet it. However, being the procrastinator that I am, I postponed making my video until (guess when) Feb. 22nd. I crammed making my video, which was just actually a slideshow of pictures, and submitted it online. I barely made the deadline, but I still beat it. I gave myself a pat on the back.
After I filled up the online form, I was sent an email saying that they would review my application and that they would email me again to tell me whether it was to be accepted.
A few days after my submission, I got the email, and horror of horrors, I was told that my application was rejected, because “it was JUST over a minute”. I felt terrible. I got rejected because of a technicality. I thought I had timed the video to last exactly a minute, and apparently, it was a few milliseconds longer than that. There went my chances to lounge on the beach and go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef (while being paid at that).
Of course this disappointment stems from my procrastination. If I had submitted the video earlier, I would have had time to edit it and resubmit a shorter version. I didn’t really think I’d get the job. As I said, I had as much chances of getting it as much as winning the lotto. However, because I didn’t even get my application in, it was like hoping to win the lottery without buying a ticket. If my application had not been rejected, I could’ve dreamt of winning the job until July, which is when they will announce the winner.
Anyway, I’m putting my application here, since I didn’t even get the chance to have it voted for. (One component of this job application was the “wild card”, where they will consider an applicant whose video gets the most votes.) I didn’t get the panel and youtube addicts to view it, but at least my friends can.