A conversation with Bertrand Piccard, the scientist-adventurer currently on the American leg of his global solar flight on the Solar Impulse 2, on the view from 28,000 feet, how we nearly turned our ocean into a dump for nuclear waste and win-win solutions for a healthy planet. We spoke on the eve of World Oceans Day.
The following has been edited for clarity and length.
Highlights • The potential of innovation • A critique of the environmental movement • People have put plastics into our ocean • An almost radioactive ocean
Andreas Merkl: I’m curious. When you’re up there flying, is it a perfectly quiet experience? Or is it the rumble that you get in a typical soaring airplane?
Bertrand Piccard: You have a little whistle of the electrical motors. The carbon fiber makes a little bit of cracks here and there. You feel a little bit of vibrations. But compared to a normal airplane, it’s really quiet. When I fly this plane, I have the impression to be in a story of science fiction. I look at the sun and I know it’s my only source of power, and it’s coming down to leave me energy to continue the flight. Each time I look outside and I say, “It’s really magical.” And I look the propellers turning, I see these huge wings on my left and my right, and I think, “I’m crossing oceans.” It’s reality, actually. It’s not science fiction. It’s magical. It’s like a fairy tale.
Calling all ocean lovers: In honor of World Ocean’s Day, we’re celebrating all things ocean conservation. Join us next Wednesday, June 8th to hear insights from marine enthusiasts around the world, including our own Chief Scientist George Leonard, and contribute your own thoughts, too. Tune in Wednesday as we share questions throughout the day about reasons to love the ocean and what we can do to protect it.
Warm weather is upon us! Whether you are jetting off to a tropical beach or are soaking up the rays in your backyard, it’s time to stock up on your summer reads. If you need some suggestions, don’t fear: We’ve pulled together some of the most informative (and entertaining!) books for ocean lovers. Happy reading!
But Shell still has one lease remaining in the Chukchi Sea, along with leases in the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska. What’s more, the Obama Administration is still considering whether to allow the sale of more offshore oil leases in Arctic waters.
I have another fin-tastic update for you, from the West Coast!
If you recall, about five weeks ago I wrote in gratitude over the outpouring of support from Ocean Conservancy activists, who together with other conservation supporters sent nearly 100,000 letters to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) asking them to finalize protection for West Coast forage fish.
We said we’d get back to you on the final outcome and I’m happy to tell you about this victory! As of today, the final rule is complete and these fish will now be protected, and their immense importance to a range of predators from rockfish to whales to seabirds sustained.
My name is Sarah Bobbe and I am Ocean Conservancy’s Arctic Program Specialist based in Anchorage, Alaska. TIn case you missed it, this week I took over the Ocean Conservancy Instagram account, and wanted to post the images here! I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to share my passion for the Arctic and the conservation of this region with you all.
Today is National Dolphin Day, but we love them all year round. Dolphins are one of the most beloved creatures in the sea. These marine mammals are smart, charming and downright adorable. Today, we are focusing on some of the many different dolphin species that call the ocean home. Join us in celebrating National Dolphin Day by exploring just a few of the coolest dolphin species known to man!