I don’t know about you, but every time I hop on social media to try and connect with friends and family, my feed is often flooded with upsetting stories on the rippling effects of COVID-19 around the world. And there is a lot to be upset about, from losing loved ones to losing work to those that are receiving hurtful remarks while putting themselves at risk to help others. Sometimes it feels as if the bad news will never stop.
And yet, there has been a movement to promote positivity. People from different countries, cultures and backgrounds have taken individual action to bring a ray of sunshine to those of us struggling. There’s been a surge in publications and broadcasters promoting stories of love, community and (my favorite) humor—from Late Night host John Oliver and his outrageous search for 90s rodent paintings to self-appointed host John Krasinski’s (aka Jim from the Office) pandemic-era webcast, Some Good News.
There has also been a sharp increase in the amount of positive ocean news. And while there aren’t any dolphins swimming in the Venice canal, I can say that there has seemingly been lots of positive things going on with our ocean lately. Here are some stories I hope make you smile:
Fishermen Support Their Community
With people around the world losing work, many are currently facing the effects of economic downslides—and food security issues are rapidly rising. But in times of trouble, kind gestures among communities shine through. In Sitka, Alaska, our friends at the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) have teamed up with fishermen and processors to donate fish to help feed local families. If you want to help support the ALFA’s efforts, you can help cover costs by purchasing donation boxes through ALFA’s community-supported fishery program, Alaskans Own and you can support ALFA and the fishermen themselves by purchasing seafood for yourself (they ship!).
Sea Snakes of Caledonia
The self-titled Fantastic Grandmothers of New Caledonia consist of a group of women who have volunteered to help the University of Caledonia’s research by diving and photographing venomous sea snakes around Lemon Bay. Since the fearless ladies of Caledonia dived into the project in 2017, they have documented 262 sea snake species in the area, which was first thought to contain only a few different species of sea snake.
New Silence for Whales
Rising ocean noise pollution, caused by a sharp increase in industrial shipping and energy exploration, has proven to negatively impact ocean wildlife by affecting crucial, sound-reliant activities like communication, navigation and feeding. With a significant decrease in shipping worldwide due to COVID-19, scientists are using this time to understand the link between noise pollution and marine wildlife, like whales.
Rise in Number of Nesting Turtles
While numerous beach closures around the world are certainly a wrench in vacation plans, it’s become an opportunity for sea turtles. With a decrease in human-caused impacts (like artificial lights, noise pollution and plastics) on nesting beaches, sea turtles have a better chance to restore their populations. In fact, one beach in Thailand has seen the highest number of nests in the country in 20 years.
A Win for Corals
Over the years, coral reefs have been getting hit hard by climate change impacts, with stressors of ocean acidification and disease turning once colorful and vivacious habitats into bleached and brittle corals. But there are a number of restoration groups and projects working to bring our reefs back to life. For the first time ever, scientists at the Florida Aquarium have been able to successfully induce an Atlantic coral to spawn—a win for preserving genetic diversity.
While there is much to be stressed about, it doesn’t mean good things have stopped happening. When we can, we just need to find our own bit of good news, whether that’s watching a late night host donate $20,000 to the local food bank of an owner of an eccentric painting, or hearing how your ocean is doing.
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