January 5, 2016

There are many whale-related hot button topics being discussed today: hunting (particularly by the Japanese), seismic testing, inexplicable strandings, the ingestion of plastic pollution, and the growing controversy over the morality of their captivity and exploitation. In this week's episode of World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill discusses the practice of keeping cetaceans for their entertainment value and explores new and proposed bills and legislation in both Canada and the United States which will help to protect cetaceans in captivity, further strengthen existing Acts to prohibit their import and export, to phase out Orcas from entertainment parks, and to modify the criminal code to prevent the taking of cetaceans such as whales, dolphins and porpoise from the wild or to breed those in captivity.

December 29, 2015

At the close of each year, World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill reads "At The Fishhouses" by Elizabeth Bishop. This poem was chosen not only for its relevance for the New Year but because it distills years of Bishop's seaside meditations and evokes the clarity of meaning contained in personal encounters with the world ocean.

December 21, 2015

Record numbers of migrants are taking to the seas to escape political strife, sectarian conflict and war, crossing the Aegean and Mediterranean seas aboard inadequate vessels in search of better and safer lives for themselves and their families. Many are struggling to cope with the sheer numbers: from the coastal nations receiving desperate refugees, to the border management agencies, to the UN and the IMO, to the mariners at sea obligated by maritime tradition to rescue those in crisis on the water. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will discuss the complicated geopolitical, maritime and humanitarian crisis we now face.

December 15, 2015

In October of 2015 Peter Neill, Director of World Ocean Observatory and host of World Ocean Radio, attended the bi-annual conference of the International Congress of Maritime Museums in Hong Kong to share his vision for maritime museums in the 21st century. His argument is that maritime history is not outdated, and that every theme evident at all maritime museums: fishing, immigration, trade, technology, etc. are all very relevant today and are perhaps best understood in the context of their history. In this episode of World Ocean Radio he asks for maritime museums to think of themselves less as homes for historical artifacts and more as places to make contemporary connections to the ways in which we relate to the ocean today.

December 8, 2015

The Arctic conversation concludes this week with "An Arctic Vision." In this episode, host Peter Neill focuses on the indigenous Arctic community and how a sustainable economy might be developed based on new policies, practices, employment opportunities, and benefits for the people who live there. And he outlines three key areas in which a sustainable approach might succeed in the Arctic: fishing, shipping, and energy.

December 1, 2015

The conversation continues this week about the future of the Arctic. In this episode of World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill addresses a question he posed in last week's episode regarding the role that the United States might play during the 2-year Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2015-2017). He uses the specific objectives and initiatives of the U.S. "One Ocean" Plan to back up why he is optimistic about the future of the Arctic.

November 24, 2015

The conversation continues this week about the future of the Arctic. In this episode of World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill will argue that now is the time to look to the Antarctic region and their long-standing treaty which has there served as an achievement of sustainability and governance. And he will ask, "Why could the Antarctic agreement not apply just as effectively to the Arctic region?"

November 16, 2015

The conversation continues about the future of the Arctic this week with further outcomes from the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. During the Assembly there were conversations around the inevitable development of the Arctic couched within the framework of the 'precautionary principle" which implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm. In this episode host Peter Neill will argue that given the risks and challenges to developing the Arctic we should be considering less risky opportunities, providing a more sustainable return on investment while providing direct community benefits to the indigenous populations.

November 9, 2015

In a continuing conversation about the future of the Arctic, host Peter Neill shares his concerns about the disconnect between a strong commitment to Arctic conservation and sustainability and the Arctic as a place for inevitable economic development. And he asks, why would we put the Arctic at risk? Why should we drill there? Why should we disrupt the sea floor and natural systems? And finally, what is the true value of the Arctic?

November 2, 2015

The Arctic Circle, an assembly founded by the President of Iceland and held annually to help define the deliberations of the Arctic Council, was held in October in Reykjavík, Iceland. World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill was there, and he is back this week to discuss the conference and the interests and aspirations of the many countries that had representatives attending in order to assert their claim on what appears to be an inevitable future of exploitation of Arctic resources.

October 26, 2015

Fresh water shortages are making headlines everywhere. Issues large and small are adding up to a global water crisis which threatens all of us, rich and poor, no matter where we live in the world. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will argue that the time has come for us to rethink how we manage the efficiency of our water use at all levels of society—not only by individual conservation practices but by corporate accountability, government action, and regulation.

October 19, 2015

As a lead up to the Climate Summit in Paris scheduled for December (COP21), World Ocean Radio will highlight some encouraging signs of climate progress. In this week’s episode, host Peter Neill will focus on the growing movement by corporations, institutions, and individuals to divest their financial holdings from fossil fuels. And he'll introduce the work of The Climate Group, a coalition of environmental and financial groups devoted to creating a “clean revolution” by working to develop climate finance mechanisms, business models which promote innovation, and supportive and sustainable frameworks for the future.

October 13, 2015

The Pope's recent visit to the United States sparked much conversation and debate about the environment. Pope Francis has been very clear in his views on climate change as a real factor in today's world, and has expressed that we must understand and respond to these problems for our future survival. In this episode of World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill will quote from the Pope's encyclical in which he provides a series of warnings about the health of the ocean and a sustainable future.

October 5, 2015

In late September Royal Dutch Shell announced it has terminated oil exploration and drilling efforts in the Arctic, citing disappointing exploratory results, high costs and strict regulations as their reasons to quit. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will assert that this is a great step forward for the protection of the Arctic and will express hope that Shell will go on to invest in other projects such as solar and wind that they might help to shift the paradigm for the sustainable benefit of us all.

September 28, 2015

Oysters have had a history of ebb and flow, plenty and scarcity, and in New York Harbor there was a time when the waters were so polluted that oyster populations diminished and interest in consumption vanished. Enter the Harbor School, an innovative high school on Governor’s Island on the East River in New York City. They have launched a project to revive the defunct oyster populations through an ambitious goal of restoring no less than one billion oysters to the harbor. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will discuss the school’s history and their restorative ecosystem service activities and their effort to reconnect the harbor to the 30 million people living within its vast urban watershed.

September 21, 2015

The climate is changing: changing moisture, increased temperature, accelerated growth and distribution of pollen, increased allergic reactions. Scientists agree that climate impacts are the defining issue of our time. Thankfully, many are working to build a framework for climate future planning. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill hails the work of Dr. Paul Mayewski and his team at the Climate Change Institute who are creating a powerful software matrix that will relate changes in the environment to plausible, scaleable scenarios and plans to meet the needs of our climate future.

September 14, 2015

World Ocean Radio host Peter Neill recently witnessed a beautiful full moon rise from an island perch in Maine. The silent, stealthy way that it rose in the sky got him ruminating about water, tide, sun, current, power, light, nature, human emotion, and the often under-appreciated, surreal force of the moon.

August 31, 2015

"We live in a sea of radioactivity.
The danger is in the dose."
~ Ken Buesseler, Marine Chemist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The West Coast of the United States seems under siege—both on land and offshore. Many inter-related consequences can be used to explain the terrestrial problems plaguing the Pacific states, but what of the issues facing the ocean? The effect of leaking radiation has long raised concerns as a cause for many inexplicable natural events. Since 2004 Ken Buesseler and his crew of volunteers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and others have been gathering water samples from Alaska to Hawaii to measure radioactivity in ocean water. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will discuss the preliminary conclusions of this research and that of other oceanographers and marine chemists along the western shores.

August 24, 2015

A recent series of investigative stories entitled "The Outlaw Ocean" by Ian Urbina of the New York Times exposes the dark side of the deep sea, describing real abuses, crime and violence in international waters. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill summarizes the four-part “Outlaw Ocean” series, praising Urbina’s work to educate the public by exposing the labor, human rights, and environmental abuses occurring out of sight, on the high seas.

August 17, 2015

A San Diego County Water Authority project to construct a 6-acre desalination plant, the largest of its kind in the United States, comes at a time when the traditional water supply system in California is overwhelmed by changing climate, high agricultural demand, and high consumption by an increased population. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will describe the process of desalination, break down the numbers, and describe the objections to and development of this increasingly necessary technology which has the potential to produce billions of gallons of potable water per day.

August 10, 2015

After water, the largest volume of natural material used to support global growth is sand. Demand has grown exponentially in the last two decades as Arab and Asian nations grapple with ways to expand land mass, economic zone, and geo-political standing. In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill will describe the impacts of sand extraction on the environment and will outline the true measure of its cost and the prospects for international protection and oversight.

July 28, 2015

This week marks the 350th episode of World Ocean Radio, a weekly program of five-minute audio essays on a wide range of ocean issues from science and education to advocacy and exemplary projects. Since 2014 World Ocean Radio has been translated into five languages, and in this anniversary episode host Peter Neill enlists its supporters to help spread the word and market the program to broader audiences around the globe.

July 20, 2015

The global water crisis and the prospects for future water resources is forcing adjustments for how we measure its use, how it is valued, and how (and to whom) it is allocated. In this fifth episode of a multi-part series on water, host Peter Neill suggests that in order to solve the fresh water problem we must first understand how much water is available and how it is being used—by understanding the “watermark” measures of use at every level of supply and demand; and he returns to the Water Footprint Network in order to outline their new international classification system for freshwater-related ecosystem services.

July 13, 2015

In last week's edition of World Ocean Radio we urged listeners to measure their water footprint using the water calculator. In this week's episode we continue to discuss the work of the Water Footprint Network, this time by breaking down a case study which examines the true environmental impact and water consumption of manufacturing, following three Volkswagen models along their production cycle in order to glean a regionalized water inventory.

July 6, 2015

The global water crisis and the prospects for future water resources is forcing adjustments for how we measure the water that is used, how it is valued, and how (and to whom) it is allocated. In this third episode of a multi-part series on water, host Peter Neill will introduce the Water Footprint Network, an online tool which was developed to help individuals, companies, municipalities, and governments with water assessments, to design stewardship plans, and to get a better understanding of the sustainability of our water footprint.