Voice America Talk Radio Network, Internet broadcasting pioneer, producing and syndicating online audio and video, today announced that nationally acclaimed Arctic biologist featured in the New York and now internationally renowned on the London stage, George Divoky will join Rob Moir, Ph.D., host of Moir’s Environmental Dialogues internet radio program on the VoiceAmerica Green Living Channel (www.voiceamerica.com/Channel/251/voiceamerica-green-living) Wednesday, February 9, at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.
George Divoky had spent 37 summers alone on an Arctic island studying wildlife – and then an email arrived to be portrayed on the London stage. “This was the strangest email I have ever received. It was from an actor saying that he would be playing me as an older adult and someone else would be playing me as a younger adult and they would like to talk with me about the characters. They came up with incredibly good questions, particularly about the emotional responses to being alone on an island.”
I have been going out to Cooper Island, off Alaska, by myself every summer since 1975 to study a colony of up to 200 pairs of black guillemot. Over this time, I have witnessed the first biological responses to climate change. The island is a low sand and gravel spit about 5 kilometres long. For the first 27 years of the study I lived in a small tent that I couldn’t even stand up in. Then, in 2002, polar bears arrived. After seeing a bear rip up a tent I couldn’t sleep in one anymore and put up a little cabin instead.
One of the first signs of climate change was in the late 1990s. The birds were laying eggs earlier in response to the snow melting earlier. That was interesting but not too surprising. What was surprising was when the edge of the Arctic pack ice melted away northwards, leaving a bigger expanse of sea between the land and the ice. The birds find their favorite prey at the ice edge, so this took it out of their reach. I began to see the young starving and dying in their nests. Then, as the ice shrank back off the continental shelf, the polar bears began to abandon it and swim to land. Cooper Island was the first place they found. I saw very few polar bears before 2002 and now they dominate the landscape, coming ashore and eating the guillemot chicks. Now Cooper Island has been classified as critical polar bear habitat.
George Divoky has studied seabirds in Arctic Alaska since 1970 and has a PhD from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He continued his solo research project even without funding, and is now supported by the Friends of Cooper Island. Greenland, a play featuring a character based on Divoky, is at London’s National Theatre until April.
See George Divoky on Cooper Island, 25 miles east of Barrow AK, www.youtube.com/watch?v=beuZhAeJxfk. For Greenland, the play at the London Theatre
please visit www.newscientist.com/article/mg20927975.500-arctic-loner-my-life .. or www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2011/02/greenland-climate- ...
Rob Moir, Director of the Ocean River Institute, visited George Divoky on Cooper Island in 2006. Moir’s Environmental Dialogues, Ocean River Shields of Achilles internet talk radio features individuals like George Divoky who, with the knowledge of Carson and the courage of Achilles, are steadfastly going the distance to defend wildlife and ecosystems from assaults of environmental degradations and destructions. Join environmental studies scientist Dr. Rob Moir for lively dialogue and revealing narrative inquiry into how individuals are overcoming the obstacles turning forlorn hope into effective actions for oceans, rivers, watersheds, wildlife and ecosystems. Discover how listening to individuals, thinking locally, and acting in concert with others, you can act to save ecosystems. Act to bring about a greener and blue Planet Earth.
Moir’s Environmental Dialogues is broadcast live every Wednesday at 9 AM Pacific Time on The VoiceAmerica Green Living Channel. For free iTunes podcast search “Moir’s.”
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About Rob Moir, Ph.D.:
Rob Moir is director and founder of the Ocean River Institute (www.oceanriver.org) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Moir, an educator and scientist, has been a leader of citizen science and efforts to clean up Salem Sound and Boston Harbor, as founder of Salem Sound Harbor Monitors & Salem Sound 2000, later president of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, and through his appointment by the Secretary of Interior to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. He was formerly Curator of Natural History at the Peabody Essex Museum, Curator of Education at the New England Aquarium and Executive Director of the Discovery Museums in Acton, MA. Dr. Moir was awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship from the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, and the James Centorino Award for Distinguished Performance in Marine Education by the National Marine Educators Association, which he later served as president. He was Sea Education Association’s first assistant scientist to work consecutive voyages of the R.V. Westward in 1979 and 1980, an advancement officer for his alma mater, Hampshire College and serves today on the boards of his alma mater, Cambridge School of Weston, Ocean Champions, and the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters. Dr. Moir has a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and a Masters of Science and Teaching from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH and certificate of studies from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.