My dear friend Mark . . .

With immense sorrow — all of us who knew Mark Epstein are saddened beyond description that he has passed away. He fought nobly and optimistically for his life, and, even with the end nearing, maintained his playfully mischievous sense of humor and zest for being with his friends and colleagues. All of us extend heartfelt sympathies to his mom, his children, and family. He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him for what he was going through; rather, he wanted to continue living to the fullest, as best he could under the circumstances. He was incredibly courageous.

Mark’s fighting spirit infused all causes in which he engaged, from coral reefs to spotted owls and rainforests, to Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and penguins. He stood tall, fighting strategically for long-term good and lasting results. Short-term, fleeting tactical gains just weren’t his idea of progress.

In recent years, I worked very closely with Mark to fashion a long-term vision and mission for Oceanites, and was totally inspired by what Mark brought to the table. That’s what will endure. He instilled in me and all of us who’ve ever worked with him the notion of seeking higher ground and a higher purpose, to carefully and methodically and strategically chase everlasting goals, for ourselves and for our planet.

Perhaps my fondest recollections are of the many serious, intellectual backs-and-forths we had about everything from US politics to maintaining and enhancing the achievements of the Antarctic Treaty system. We could differ and disagree, but there was always respect for each other’s opinions and, at the end of the discussion, fashioning a positive way forward.

In his inimitable way, Mark spread considerable joy and knowledge to a wide cohort of people. He led the life he intended and fought hard for what he believed in. He will continue to inspire me and remain, forever, in my thoughts. And I will miss him immensely.

. . . Ron Naveen


Do whatever you can, wherever you live, to #StandWithPenguins and #StandWithScience.

How to describe what I’m feeling today … with more than 30 seasons in Antarctica under my belt … having actually witnessed changes firsthand like glaciers receding, ice shelves that have calved off, penguin populations significantly falling (and, in one case, rising)?

Climate change is real and undeniable. It is happening now.

We humans north of Antarctica already are affected, will experience more of this at some point, and I am profoundly depressed by the US decision today — my country’s decision — to back away from the Paris Climate Accord.

We pathetically join Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations on the planet abstaining from this monumental agreement and its carbon reduction targets. I am embarrassed. My country is shamed.

The only hope is that this decidedly immoral decision ultimately will be reversed by all of us, however we can and wherever we live, redoubling our efforts scientifically, educationally, politically, and otherwise to influence those holding the strings to change course.

I’ve long argued that, because we humans live in the present tense, it’s often difficult to think generationally. But thinking about penguins and Antarctica has helped me think longer term. And now that I have grandchildren, it’s rather easy to conjure, and perhaps fear, what it will be like for them and their children in short years to come.

Penguins, the sentinels of climate change that I study.

Please help us continue to bring science to the table.

Please continue supporting the #ParisAccord.

Please #StandWithPenguins and #StandWithScience.


Antarctica’s Cracking Larsen C Ice Shelf . . .

As we’ve covered news of the growing crack in Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf a number of times in recent months, it seems worth providing an update here. While the enormous (probably more than 5,000 km²) soon-to-be iceberg has yet to actually calve, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey recently captured a video of the ice

Source: Video: Antarctica’s Cracking Larsen C Ice Shelf | CleanTechnica