While plucking his banjo in the background, Pete Seeger’s telltale voice introduces each Clearwater Moment as if giving a personal seal of approval, as if saying: “Turn on your brain for a minute or two and give a listen, you won’t be disappointed.” And so each vignette begins, …carrying a two-minute tale from Clearwater’s world…
The Clearwater Moments were produced by drawing upon the considerable talents of several staff members and volunteers. Hudson River Sloop Clear collaborated with WAMC/Northeast Public Radio in 2008 and 2009 to produce a weekly series of short pieces about the environment. The series was heard by tens of thousands of listeners in seven states. The tales introduce listeners to Clearwater’s patchwork quilt of knowledge with each swatch offering a bit of color or a snippet of information to illuminate their days. “Clearwater Moments” also explore the rich history of the Hudson River and the founding principals of the environmental movement. They engage listeners with nautical tales, and sounds, from the Hudson’s maritime heyday.
Maybe it’s from living in close quarters, maybe it’s the ancient mythology associated with sailing, maybe it’s the risk of navigating through the whims of treacherous weather; sailors around the world have developed hundreds of curious superstitions about their profession. Members of Clearwater crew share some superstitions they’ve encountered and still observe aboard the sloop.
Photo: Brian Mohan
Wild Turkeys are in many ways a symbol of the American wilderness. The habitats of the seven species of Turkey range all over the continental US, appearing largely East of the Mississippi River. Since the 1930′s, the stability of this unique bird was threatened by habitat depletion and over hunting. But today, thanks to hunters and wildlife restoration programs, the wild turkey is abundant and thriving in its homeland. Find out more about other endangered species and the progress we’re making to keep them safe.
There is no such thing as “away.” Litter and trash end up in landfills, and tragically, are often found in seas and oceans. Ocean currents swirl debris into dozens of churning vortexes of junk all over the globe. The Coriolis Effect is a curious result of the earth’s rotation and propels this anomaly. The massive garbage buildup in the North Pacific Gyre is a clear and disturbing indication of how much we litter.
Video – one advocate’s story about the ocean’s trash
Ocean Motion - NASA’s monitoring of ocean winds and currents
Trash Vortex - go here for an interactive graphic
Low Carbon Home - blog post on plastic in the ocean
The average family might use a few hundred gallons of water per week for household washing and cooking, but that number is much higher if you account for the impact of virtual water. There is an enormous volume of water embedded in the everyday products we consume. The food we eat and the clothes we wear all require hundreds of gallons of water, often freshwater, in their manufacturing and shipping. As safe and sustainable supplies of freshwater are harder to maintain, it is vital to become an educated consumer and know your virtual water footprint.
World Water Counsel - working to find solutions for water sustainability
Video – demonstrating virtual water
WaterFootprint.org - calculate your own virtual water footprint
Water Footprints - of your favorite foods and drinks
On the Deck at Night
The sloop Clearwater has a rich tradition of music on board and in the community. Songs are tools for education. Sea shanties are also sung to break the monotony of labor, and to provide rhythm for tasks requiring group effort, like raising the sail. After a long day of work the crew might also come together to bond and relax with song. Today we hear from a former Clearwater captain about one of his favorite musical memories.
Volunteers are involved in nearly every aspect of the Clearwater organization: at the Clearwater Revival Festival, at countless environmental policy and advocacy events, and of course, on the sloop Clearwater itself. Volunteers on board teach a broad curriculum of our “classroom of the waves,” and find deep satisfaction in teaching the kids about saving the environment.
Classroom of the Waves – hands on education about river wildlife and environmental conservation
Video – on what volunteering is like aboard the Sloop Clearwater
Dozens of communities around the United States aren’t waiting for the green revolution to come to them. Just as growing numbers of cities independently adhere to the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions, many are also adopting campaigns and formal resolutions to eliminate wastes. Living with zero-waste requires dedication from everyone involved: from manufacturers to produce our goods and services with renewable resources, and from consumers to stay informed and demand high standards. Is your city on the road to zero-waste?
Using maps can be much more than getting directions from one place to another. Working together, biologists and cartographers can help us better understand the dynamics of an ecosystem. By comparing field data about watersheds, animal habitats, and satellite images of wilderness areas with maps of federally protected lands, scientists can assess what needs to be betterprotected.
Harmful pollution and global warming affect both the atmosphere and the ocean. The oceans’ ecosystems struggle to adapt to changes caused by human activity. We are changing the amount of solar radiation, the composition of greenhouse gasses, and are introducing harmful chemicals.
Coral reefs are especially vulnerable to changes in their environment. When the microscopic organisms that make up coral are unable to adapt to changing conditions, they die, and turn a haunting white color. This is a natural phenomenon called coral bleaching. It can be seen after violent hurricanes. But the rate at which it is occurring now is a clear indication that human activity is impacting our fragile environment.
Crossing the Line
Crossing an ocean in a sea vessel can an accomplishment of a lifetime, and for centuries, sailors have celebrated crossing of the equator with an odd assortment rituals. Records from 18th century sailing vessels relate accounts of initiating those sailors who haven’t yet crossed by those who have with mythological skits, spontaneous haircuts, and a certificate of the event to keep. There are also special ceremonies for other sailing milestones: crossing the prime meridian, entering the arctic circle, transiting the straight of Gibraltar, and circumnavigation.
photo: Brian Mohan