Not On My Watch!

Today I watched a documentary on Netflix called Chasing Coral, having previously watched another documentary called Chasing Ice. Their collective message regarding the state of our world made me realise the urgency of the peril that we face.

Getting the feel of weightlessness at Sabang.  This was one of my first dive experiences after training with Asia Divers Dive shop

I have recently had the privilege of diving on coral reefs in the Philippines with Asia Divers in Sabang and am in awe of the beauty that lives just below the surface of the sea. Perhaps because of that experience, this has touched a deeper nerve.

A Longhorn Cowfish. one of the Boxfish familyPhoto Credit: Mathewatts Photography

If you were to do nothing else today, your time would be richly spent in taking the one hour and twenty minutes to watch this documentary, Chasing Coral. When you do, take a moment to reflect on just what the consequences of not listening to the message will be, and ask yourself, “What can I do?”

The beauty of a coral reef may become a rare thing in the future unless action is taken soon.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

Coral is a living organism working together to the greater good of all of the parts. One polyp, on its own, can do little, yet as part of the reef, it is responsible for much of the life in the world. Likewise, on our own, what each of us does may seem insignificant, but if enough of us work together, we can bring about the change that is so badly needed. All it takes is for someone to follow another’s lead and then someone else to follow them and so on and so on. However, if no one begins the cycle, nothing will change and we do not have the luxury of waiting for someone else to do it.

A pair of Clown fish enjoying a prickly lifestyle Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

Perhaps it is our fear of change that prevents us from looking at the reality of what is happening in this world. We hold on to what we know with such tenacity that we do not even realise what is slipping away from us on a daily basis. This is not just a political issue… it is a human responsibility. It is the world we will leave our descendants..

Corals can grow to a great size often resembling the trees on dry land. Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

This is our watch…..We are all responsible…… We can make a change….Will history portray the Millennials as the age of humanity that brought about the downfall of the mammals, or will it show that we are better than that?

A turtle takes a moment’s rest on one of the beautiful  coral reefs at Tabbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

My blog, Street2stream.com, is about life. Be it the way we live (Street) or the way we interact with nature (Stream). There is nothing more fascinating than cultural diversity and the way that people interact with each other. Perhaps I lied… the amazing world of nature is also as fascinating, I would be remiss if, in the light of this documentary, I did not make a statement on the consequences of doing nothing, and to encourage my peers to do what they can, as individuals, to protect these beautiful reefs, along with the delicate food chain upon which, all species rely for survival.

Coral carpets the ocean floor at Tabbataha Reef.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

I was always of the mind that nature was so much more powerful than any other force in this world. I still believe that, and this is what makes me afraid for the human race. At this point in history, humanity is making a vital difference to all of nature. Sadly, not in a good way. The world that I knew as a young man is much different now. The weather is much what it has ever been on a daily basis. Some days it rains some days it doesn’t: Some days it’s hot, some days its cold. The issue though, is that it is the climate, not the weather, that is changing, and that change is destroying our beautiful coral reefs. Chasing Coral demonstrates this in a most graphic way. According to the documentary, in just one year (2016), on the Great Barrier Reef alone, 29% of coral died and with current projections, it will take just 30 more years before virtually all of the world’s coral fields will be wiped out.

This tiny sea slug comes in a variety of colour. Nudibranchs are common dwellers of the reef. Credit Mathewatts Photograhy

It is likely that where ever we live in the world, we will have heard about coral bleaching. For me, in Australia, it has been about the Great Barrier Reef and, until I saw a segment near the end of the documentary, I didn’t realise just how widespread the bleaching was. It covers the entire globe! This information doesn’t come from scientists or politicians but from everyday people who just happen to dive for recreation.

Another colourful example of a Nudibranch
Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photograhy

When the coral goes, the ongoing effect on the downstream chain of life will play out like a game of dominos as each species collapses from the loss of its food chain supply. This is not a distant futuristic possibility……. it will happen on our watch…… Children born today, will likely not enjoy the pleasures of diving on coral reefs as we have been privileged to do. Nature will prevail and, like the sickening reefs who purge the distressed chlorophyll from within, it will discard humanity and then go back to rebuilding a healthy world….. We just won’t be a part of it. As I have said, Nature is a powerful force.

A stunning Juvenile Angel Fish
Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

As I said in the beginning, taking an hour or so to watch this documentary and reflecting on what it truly means for our future will be the most important thing you will do today.

I believe this is a conversation that needs to be had. It needs to be in every home, every workplace, every pub, and restaurant. It needs to be in our schools and universities and it needs to be in our parliament.

Paddleflap Frog Fish. A most beautifully ugly fish.
Photo Credit:Mathewatts Photography

It is arguably the most important issue facing this world and yet it is largely ignored. This is my contribution. If I can encourage just a few to watch this documentary and they, in turn, can do the same, maybe it will add a few more straws to the camel’s back until we can release the brakes on doing something before we reach that point from which we will not recover

If, after watching the documentary, you feel the same way, please share this….. it just might make a difference

My son Mat and I pose for a photo on my first Diving experience at Sabang with Asia Divers.  Mat is responsible for all of the photographs on this blog.  You can check out more of his work on Instagram at Underwaterescape

A PHOTO FOR THE WEEK 25 NOVEMBER

Sometimes, when we look through an old album of faded photographs, there is one that stands out from the others.  We don’t always know the reason… but there is something in it that catches the eye.  This week’s photo could be such an example, except that it was taken on a grey day, only three months ago, on a trip south through The Broadwater in Northern New South Wales. As I drove along the river’s edge I was taken by the serenity of the scene and felt compelled to turn back and try to capture the mood.  The road, narrow and busy, forced me to drive some distance before I found a side road where I could make the turn.

A grey day on the river at Broadwater in NSW

The day was so dull and grey that it has made the photo almost seem like a Black and White even though it was taken in full RAW colour.  Post processing has been minimal as everything I tried to do to make it less dreary seem to spoil the effect.

As in all things in the photographic world, the image is only appreciated at the wit of the observer and each of us will have his or her own take on what they think of it. Some one once coined the phrase about the eye of the beholder and  me…..  well, I kind of like it….. I’d love to get some feed back as to what you, the critic, feel about it…. Good or bad, there is no wrong answer, so please leave a comment below…

There’s Something Out My Window

Nature is such an inspiration for so many of us.  We see things every day that simply amaze, from the tallest of trees, to the deepest parts of the ocean.  Technology has opened our eyes to so many things that we simply would have had no access to in years bygone.  Sometimes nature happens just outside the window…..

It was a long way from the top of the palm to the fence when you still don’t have all your feathers

My breakfast was disturbed by a ruckus going on outside the window.  Looking out, I could see this little Noisy Miner sitting on the top of the fence with both it’s parents going crazy.  Grabbing the camera I set myself up in the shadow of the door to see what photos I could get.  Although they knew I was there, they paid me no mind as they came and went with tidbits of food to satisfy his seemingly bottomless hunger.

No Matter how often the parents returned, he was constantly clamouring for food

Eventually he fluttere d down and landed on a plank that I had set up as a makeshift workbench the day before.  Knowing that these birds are some type of honey eater I got some old honey, that had crystallised in the cupboard and set it down on the bench, thinking that I might save them some effort.  In the event, it seemed that some bread they had sourced elsewhere was more inviting and they spurned my offering.

Despite the handy pot of honey, they seemed to prefer bread. Pooh would never have made that choice
 
They stayed most of the day but by next morning, had found a new place to be and I never saw them again.  I wonder what may have happened to them.  He seemed to be way short of feathers to be out of the nest.  I was impressed by the way the parents looked after him.  There was always one or the other keep a watch while the other was away looking for food.

There was a few moments where he took a little time out from eating to just rest

Something from the stream side where I look at all this nature……

A Junvenile Noisy Miner fallen from its nest

Something from right outside my back door today.  I heard a bit of commotion outside as I made my breakfast and looked out to see two very frustrated Noisy Miner birds fussing over a chick that had obviously fallen from the nest.  After it had fluttered under my car I decided it might be safer up off the ground so I made a sort of platform where it could sit in the sun.