Lately we’ve been fielding questions from Smithsonian visitors wondering how they can help with the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. If there is any good news coming out of this situation, it’s that thousands of people across the U.S. care deeply and are finding ways to respond to the oil spill. Some people are donating or volunteering. Some are making changes in their homes and workplaces—reducing their energy consumption and ditching the disposable lifestyle. Some are expressing their views through the media and to their elected officials. These and other actions are all part of...
Since late April, the world has watched a devastating oil spill from a BP drilling rig spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico and become one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the United States. We have all seen some of the impacts on large animals: birds, turtles, dolphins, and fishes have all been shown covered in oil with clogged gills, feathers and fins. Undoubtedly, the imagery of these familiar and normally photogenic animals is a powerful, heartbreaking reminder of the damage being done in the Gulf. But, the effect of the oil on those organisms we do not see may be...
Last week, we began asking visitors to the Ocean Portal a simple question: “How do you feel about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?" We’ve received one Haiku and a slew of other interesting answers . Many people mourned the loss of wildlife, habitats, and ways-of-life. Many expressed frustration and a sense of helplessness. But perhaps the most interesting theme among the answers was a sense that we all can—and indeed must—do more to protect the ocean. I am “thinking very hard about the choices I make about energy use,” wrote one visitor. “I need to protect what I can,” wrote another. A...
As the days grow long, school bells fade into distant memories, and families start taking long weekends at the beach, the Ocean Portal Team is preparing for the weeks ahead. The way we see it, June 2010 is going to be a significant month for the ocean.
Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion on topics like: • biology and ecology (How will the oil effect wildlife and the environment?), • physics and chemistry (How do water conditions, currents, and weather affect the way the oil disperses? What techniques and materials can we use to clean up this mess?), • civics (How will this effect the economy and local communities? Who is responsible and how can we prevent future spills?), and •...
The explosion of Deepwater Horizon, an oil-drilling platform roughly 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, is quickly growing into an environmental disaster that will leave its mark on coastal communities, fisheries, wildlife, and ecosystems along the Gulf Coast for decades to come.
Jacques Cousteau once said, “When you dive, you begin to feel like an angel." It’s true. When a diver dons a tank and slips into the water, the noisy clatter of the world disappears and the sensation of weightlessness takes over. The unrestrained expanse of blue water. The dazzling rainbow of marine life. The splinters of silver light dancing through the water column. Scuba diving is an experience like no other. But diving is also a serious, rigorous research tool that has an enormous impact on our understanding of this blue planet. Diving allows us to observe marine life in its natural...
Earth Day is a fitting occasion to celebrate the Big Blue. While our planet may be called “Earth,” 71% of its surface is actually covered by water. This vast ocean makes our planet habitable—for us and all life. It produces half the oxygen we breathe. It moderates climate, absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, furnishes food and jobs to millions of people, and provides countless other services to humankind. The ocean does so much for us. On Earth Day, surely we can return the favor. Whatever you’re planning to do today, there are actions you can take to protect the ocean.
Tags: Earth Day
It may be called Earth Day, but April 22nd is a perfect day to remind ourselves that we actually live on a planet dominated by water. In fact, with 71% of the earth’s surface covered by water, we might just as well call it Planet Ocean. This year, we’ll have a chance to explore the other three quarters of our planet on the big screen with Disney Nature’s release of Oceans , opening on Earth Day in theaters around Canada and the U.S.
Welcome Teachers! Thank you for visiting the Ocean Portal. We hope the “OP” will be a valuable tool for you and for your students—a place where you can find teaching resources and your students can find helpful, exciting, or just-plain-weird content that sparks interest in science and the ocean. When we began developing educator resources for the OP, we surveyed hundreds of teachers about the kinds of features and materials they would find useful (thanks to those of you who participated!). Those suggestions helped shape the current version of the site, and now we are looking to you for the...
Tags: Education