Nature meets culture: A whale’s world, a cure for climate fatigue and more

3 September 2021 0 By Bambam

<div><p>In an age of lockdowns and social distancing, connecting with nature is not easy for most.&nbsp;</p><p>With that in mind, here are a few shows, podcasts and more that can help bring nature to life for you, wherever you are.</p></div><div><h3><b>A glimpse into the humpback whales&rsquo; world&nbsp;</b><br /></h3></div><div><p>Each summer, Antarctica&rsquo;s frigid waters become the foraging grounds for one of the largest species on Earth: the humpback whale.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Once on the brink of extinction, this iconic species has made a steady comeback in recent years following a <a href="" target="_blank">ban on commercial whaling</a>.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Shot in February 2020 by wildlife filmmaker Richard Sidey, a <a href="" target="_blank">recent Conservation International film chronicles</a> the whales&rsquo; road to recovery &mdash; and follows a research expedition throughout Antarctica&rsquo;s waters, where scientists are working to better understand humpback whale behavior.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Using drones to minimize sounds that might distress or distract the whales, Sidey and the team captured rare aerial views of the whales&rsquo; feeding behaviors and photographs of their tails cresting out of the water, which help identify and track them across entire oceans.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>&ldquo;The black and white markings [on the underside of a whale&rsquo;s tail] depict, like a fingerprint, the uniqueness of each animal,&rdquo; Olive Andrews, a whale expert at Conservation International who helped lead the expedition, said in the film. &ldquo;We use these photographs to match to other catalogues &hellip; that way we can see if an individual whale has been seen in Antarctica and then has been seen in a breeding ground. We can tell a lot about their movements that way.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>The film also offers a glimpse into the life of a whale researcher, following the team&rsquo;s long hours on the water as they tracked the whales&rsquo; movements, obtained skin samples and even got up-close-and-personal with a trio of curious humpbacks.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p><i>Watch the full film <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</i></p><p><i>This research and the film were both supported by The PONANT foundation.&nbsp;</i></p></div><div><h3><b>A cure for climate fatigue&nbsp;</b><br /></h3></div><div><p>Dire headlines about climate change and bleak reports on the state of the planet can feel overwhelming. &nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Before giving in to hopelessness, tune in to a new podcast that could offer a much-needed dose of climate optimism.</p></div><div><p>Hosted by marine biologist <a href="" target="_blank">Ayana Elizabeth Johnson</a> and journalist <a href="" target="_blank">Alex Blumberg</a>, &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">How to Save a Planet</a>&rdquo; highlights the people and organizations around the world fighting to end the climate crisis.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Weaving light-hearted banter with on-the-ground stories, the hosts invite guests to share their strategies for tackling climate change &mdash; from a Native American individual whose tribe&rsquo;s forest conservation efforts are funded by carbon offsets to a fisherman-turned-kelp-farmer dedicated to making the global food system more sustainable.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>At the end of each episode, these experts offer concrete ways that listeners can help make a difference, as well. Some of their advice includes attending council meetings to support climate policies, donating to Indigenous rights organizations and switching to clean energy at home.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s been a lot of great reporting on climate, especially in the last few years, but it&rsquo;s been kind of hard to connect with,&rdquo; said Johnson in a <a href="" target="_blank">recent interview</a> with The Guardian. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s either like doom and gloom, or it&rsquo;s so fluffy that it&rsquo;s not going to get us where we need to go. We&rsquo;re backing away from the &lsquo;10 quick, easiest lifestyle changes&rsquo; to saying: We need to change everything. There are people doing this work; we&rsquo;ll talk to them and let&rsquo;s figure out how we can all help.&rdquo;</p></div><div><h3><b>Music that will you give you chills &mdash; literally&nbsp;</b><br /></h3></div><div><p>For musician and composer Terje Isungset, getting cold feet &mdash; or really, cold everything &mdash; before a concert is not unusual.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>That&rsquo;s because his instruments are made of ice.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>Isungset is the founder of the annual <a href="" target="_blank">Ice Music Festival Norway</a>, a series of <a href="" target="_blank">concerts </a>performed in the Nordic country&rsquo;s frigid tundra where every instrument &mdash; from the drums to the violins &mdash; is carved almost entirely out of ice. &nbsp;</p></div><div><p>His performances are part of a<a href="" target="_blank"> growing movement by musicians</a> who are exploring the relationship between nature and music through the use of organic materials such as wood, stone, water and, of course, ice.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>&ldquo;Ice music isn&rsquo;t a human project, but one fully directed by nature,&rdquo; Isungset said in a <a href="" target="_blank">recent interview </a>with National Geographic.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>The intricately carved ice instruments look virtually identical to their traditional counterparts &mdash; yet they produce a range of different tones due to the tendency of ice to shift, expand and contract when temperatures change during a performance.&nbsp;</p></div><div><p>But many ice concerts are not just about music: Several composers &mdash; including Isungset &mdash;use them as an opportunity to call attention to the impacts of global warming. According to Isunget, melting igloo venues and instruments become a &ldquo;<a href="" target="_blank">symbol of the Earth&rsquo;s vulnerability</a>.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p></div><div><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s clear that people are now familiar with climate change and taking care of it, but it has come a little bit late,&rdquo; he <a href="" target="_blank">told The Economist</a>. &ldquo;The message is really important, but still the most important thing is to create music and give an expression that is more abstract than the facts and telling people &lsquo;do this&rsquo; or &lsquo;don&rsquo;t do that&rsquo;!&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><div><p><i>Kiley Price is a staff writer for Conservation International.&nbsp;</i><i>Want to read more stories like this?&nbsp;<a sfref="[f669d9a7-009d-4d83-ddaa-000000000002%7Clng%3Aen]4065D111-C316-4C1A-8565-4DE2BFC77A05" href="">Sign up for email updates.</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Donate to Conservation International.</a></i></p><p><i>Cover image: A humpback whale in Antarctica (&copy; Richard Sidey)</i></p><hr /><p><i></i><b>Further reading:&nbsp;</b></p><ul><li><a sfref="[Telerik.Sitefinity.Blogs.Model.BlogPost|OpenAccessDataProvider|lng:en]cc59ab23-682a-4dc6-a5a2-73acff0910d0" href="">Whale shark ‘bling’ could unlock mysteries of giants of the deep</a></li><li><a sfref="[Telerik.Sitefinity.Blogs.Model.BlogPost|OpenAccessDataProvider|lng:en]139fc1d9-c5ed-4e12-8b84-7fc4c588e8a0" href="">Looking ahead: After lost year, urgency rises for climate, nature policy</a></li><li><a sfref="[Telerik.Sitefinity.Blogs.Model.BlogPost|OpenAccessDataProvider|lng:en]a27407f4-1f4c-45b0-b73c-8071dc49d2c1" href="">What on Earth are ‘natural climate solutions’?</a></li></ul></div><div></div>