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Glacier Bay (Alaskan Cruise; Part II)

My Grand Princess cruise was so remarkable; I’ve broken the blog into parts. The first was all about the things I learned about the economics of the multi-billion-dollar industry and my overall impression of the experience. Welcome to part two; Glacier Bay.

On the morning we arrived in Glacier Bay National Park, I noticed immediately something was different on the ship. My coffee was in a ceramic cup. When I asked the employees, they explained that there was to be zero paper waste on the day we were at the National Park. This made me ponder a few things, one; just how much paper waste we were creating daily and two; why the ship only designates one day to be environmentally friendly. I pondered this the rest of my journey, especially each time I threw a paper cup in the trash.

The Huna Tlinglit people have called this area ‘home’ for as many generations as have been documented. There are no reptiles that live here but there are over one-hundred and fifty species of fish, over forty species of mammals, two-hundred seventy-four species of birds, and three types of amphibians. The park is roughly the size of Connecticut with only fifty-five full time employees. More than a half of a million visitors come each year to see the glaciers, ninety-five percent via cruise ships. For environmental reasons, the number of boats a day are restricted and regulated.

Two-hundred fifty years ago, there was one gigantic glacier. In 1750 it began to retract and fill a sixty-five mile long fjord. It’s retreated a total of sixty miles, five of those miles just in the last nineteen months (One twelfth melted in the last year and a half!) Today there are over twelve-hundred glaciers. Jonathan B. Jarvis, a former director of the National Park Service was quoted as saying, “I believe climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.” In the last fifty years, Alaska’s annual average temperature has increased more than twice of that of the ‘lower 48’. Ebb and flow have always been a factor in this part of the world, that being said, the higher temperatures will have a long-lasting effect on the entire planet.

The word, dynamic means ‘of process or system characterized by constant change, activity or progress’. There is not a better word to describe this amazing place! The opportunity to study the biological and most fundamental geographical processes are presented to scientists because of Glacier Bay.

Even though we stayed on the ship, this stop on the cruise was worth the price of admission!

 

Photo Credit: Richard James Plato

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Women’s March on Washington, 2017

As I got ready to join thousands of women for the Women’s March on Washington I periodically checked in on social media to watch as our numbers grew. Some ladies seemed confused, why are we marching? What do we hope to accomplish? At this point, there is so much. Where do we begin?

One of the first things I noticed upon arriving at the Civic Center in downtown Albuquerque is the diversity of the protests. Of course, the main message; women should have control of their own bodies. They should be able to make the decisions regarding their unborn babies without having to convince a totally stranger of what’s best for them. Dare I say it? … Abortion. An issue that has been in and out of the spotlight more than any other I can remember. Laws have been passed, repealed, passed again. Isn’t it enough already? It’s 2017, shouldn’t we be able to trust that women of every walk of life know what’s best for their individual situation? Which brings me to the next outrage.

Rape and sexual assault. Here’s another way women don’t have equal footing in the world. It’s acceptable, excusable and almost expected in many situations. Why though? Seems barbaric to me that we teach our girls how they can or can’t dress, speak and act instead of teaching our boys to keep their hands to themselves. Wouldn’t that be easier, just teach boys/men it isn’t okay to grope, grab or force themselves on women? Time and time again I’ve heard, ‘boys will be boys’. C’mon, really? Let’s be the change in this conversation. It’s time.

That brings me to the next point of our march today. Equal pay for equal work. Again, I’m appalled knowing many of my women friends don’t get paid the same for the (often superior) work they do. They are overlooked for promotions due to their gender, and the fact they may become a mother one day. It just doesn’t seem right in a country as wealthy and forward thinking as America women don’t get compensated the same as their male-counterparts.

Speaking of this progressive (ish) way of thinking, LGBTQ rights were represented in the march today. As if who we choose to love affects anyone other than the person we’re loving. As if it inconveniences folks that a couple can be more than the traditional man/woman. Another discrimination that is completely baffling to me. Maybe the world knows there’s enough people and being a homosexual is the way to correct the overpopulation problem this planet is experiencing… just a thought.

Climate change, immigration reform, bullies and corporations buying our government and its officials were also a part of the protest. The direction this country is headed is frightening. If you’re not at least a little scared/nervous, I hate to say it, but you’re not paying attention. Read. Fact check. Do your homework. Let’s avoid history repeating itself, please.

There are many, many, many reasons to come together today and celebrate the diversity of us as women, us as human beings. There are many reasons to want to protest, to have a voice, to be heard. In the words of a great man named Bernie Sanders, “Black, White, Latino, Native American, and Asian American, gay or straight, male or female, native born or immigrant we will fight bigotry and create a new government based on love and compassion, not hatred and divisiveness.

March on sisters… March on! #womensmarchonWashington #2017