Lonesome: Dealing with the Noise!

12/08/23 11:00 AM Comment(s) By webmaster

Lonesome Larry Letter 2 of Many

December 10, 2023


Dear Tal,

Thank you for getting back to me yesterday and agreeing to serve as an advisor.  I also appreciate the reminder that there was at least one sensible and practical solution that was put in place that really helped you out.  Requiring boats to stay further away from your Pod so you could better hear and communicate with each other makes a lot of sense to me. I would guess the quiet of Covid really helped too?   I know it helped reduce the toxic runoff in our streams and rivers. The benefits of less traffic were a temporary one for us. The tire toxins are back. At least the boats still need to stay away from you.

“Noise”, in the broadest sense, is a problem. The climate changes which have happened over the millennia are happening faster now.  We’re quite good at adapting, but this time it’s different. Whereas in the past climate issues were localized, today they are impacting us throughout our entire migrating range, impacting the food web like never before, and we too are having to work harder throughout our life history to grow to full size.


Size matters!  Our salmonid species have been shrinking in size for decades.  That’s bad news for you and your fellow Orcas, because when we're smaller, you need to find more of your favorite Chinook to fill your belly, expending more energy in the process.  When the salmonids are smaller, it also reduces the number of eggs our salmonid mothers can carry.  Instead of carrying 6,000 - 16,000 eggs, when smaller we may only carry 2,000 viable eggs, and the people wonder why our numbers keep decreasing!

Tal, your species on the top of the food chain, knows better than most, that in this planet’s waters, it’s all about the food web.  Quite literally, eat or be eaten and die. It’s our brutal reality and we’ve not been doing so well, but I guess I really didn’t think about how it was impacting the Orcas. If we are physically smaller, you are hungrier, even if our numbers weren’t decreasing. Everything really is interconnected, and probably a lot more than people realize.

Being alone as much as I have been, I have been studying, and thinking a lot about our problems. What is the root cause of our decline. Why, despite all the $ (billions) the People have spent over the years to help, does it keep getting harder, and our returning prodigy becomes smaller in size and in numbers. It can’t just be the hydropower dams where so much people energy and money are spent, for hydro powered dams are less than 3% of all the dams and most of them have been around for more than 50 years. I think there is something more mysterious and sinister going on, and it’s pervasive.

One can follow science and data or study a symptom, and not see the Way forward, nor understand the root cause. Our species numbers are declining even in rivers where there are no dams! So, I don’t see the dams as the root cause of our decline in numbers and size.  Any dam is another barrier to be sure, but they’re not insurmountable with a little help.  With climate changes happening too fast today, they probably need to be around for 50 more years. I do think the hydropower dams are a convenient and often lucrative target of the loudest of the people, but they are a distraction and delay real action on sensible solutions that need to be used today. Turbines and propellers don’t deprive us of food or habitat, but they are part of the "Noise" that’s been generated. With all this Noise, how can we focus on the root cause and the solution?

“Noise” is generated from those places you would least expect, drowning our nature’s truths. I’ll write tomorrow and tell you a short story to illustrate. Until then Tal, I’m curious what you think is the root cause, if you had to choose just one?





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