Category Archives: Sharks

Film Review: Racing Extinction

“Better to light one candle than curse the darkness.” (Unknown)

I’m not a big crier, but I will shed a tear or two during heart-tugging films. However, about halfway through this film, I was awash in tears. The deluge went on for an embarrassing length of time. I’m haunted most by the de-finned, dying, tiny shark, (but also by the last male of an avian species calling out for his vanished mate), but it is vital to look hard at the harm we are causing, so that we have a visceral idea of the cost.

The sheer level of carnage that the movie depicts only scratches the surface, but it is horrifying. Words can’t convey it; at least not mine. It has to be seen.

I’m guilty of inaction on many fronts where I know that action is necessary, critical, and–most importantly–urgent. I definitely have cursed the darkness around environmental damage and degradation when I should have been lighting candles. I remember when the Baiji River Dolphin went extinct, and the fury and the helplessness that I felt, and how I just filed that feeling away under the groaning “Humans Suck” index rather than taking action. I donated some money to charities, and did the token green things that are expected to feel like a good global citizen. But I know I can do better.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, Racing Extinction makes abundantly clear. We must act now. I will act more forcefully, more purposefully starting now.

NY Times ‘Racing Extinction’ Review

Sharks in the Hudson

Smooth Dogfish Shark, photo credit Patrick Kerwin at New York Times City Room blog

It always amazes me how animals and plants will reclaim habitat if it becomes even slightly more habitable from a prior polluted state. Yesterday I was walking along Battery City Park when I saw a two foot shark on the walkway. A couple had stopped ahead of us and I believe convinced the man who had caught it to throw the shark back into the murky waters. Before it was thrown back–to hopefully live out the rest of its days enjoying mollusk and crustacean meals–its eyes glinted green, huge in relation to its body.

It is listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN (Florida Museum of Natural History), so hopefully the Hudson continues to become a hospitable home to the dogfish shark and other marine creatures.

These random encounters are always a great reminder of the diversity that exists all around us, if we just pay attention. What surprising animal diversity has caught you unawares lately?

More Reading:

NY Sharks & Whales

Smooth Dogfish Shark