Note from the Author
Hey there all you environmentally savvy and enthusiastic citizens of the planet Earth! At least, that’s why I’m guessing you’ve stumbled upon this newsletter! My name is Jon Michalik and this is the first of (hopefully) many months of recaps to come for Prismatic Planet. What is Prismatic Planet?
Glad you asked :)
Prismatic Planet is a website that I started in December of 2019 after a long while of trying to figure out how to be a better environmental advocate. I recently started volunteering with local environmental groups, but wanted to keep pushing myself to learn and share the knowledge that I pick up along the way. With a background in web development and a penchant for conveying technical topics to less technical people, I figured I could combine these skills to create an space for environmental education. For a more in depth look into why I started the website, you can check out my blog post, A Species Detached, on my wake up call to be more involved with our home.
The website sports posts ranging from artful poetry and photography to more traditional educational content to philosophical dives into how humanity has grown to interact with the environment. And that’s just the start!
Starting this month, this newsletter will be a regular addition to what our audience can expect from Prismatic Planet. Serving mostly as a recap of the past month’s posts for easy reading and sharing, it will also include little notes like this from time to time as well as a new thing called Eco News, a section on interesting environmental happenings from around the world over the course of the month.
I don’t want to prattle on forever here, so we’ll leave it at that for now. This year has been trying in a number of ways, but has given me even more drive to do what I can for the things I care about. Harnessing this, I hope to continue bringing you even more cool stuff to help learn about and celebrate our prismatic planet.
~ And, as always, don’t forget to keep wondering ~
New from Prismatic Planet!
Aged ashen blotches
A weathered leathery shell
In living color
Gnarled ever reaching
Spiraling branch grasps beyond
Bounds of roots unseen
Festive leafy hats
Flowing yellow blouses, a
Branch of Carnival
Clustered along ordered leaves
Sphere of candied orbs
The ocean is a vastly mysterious thing to humanity. It's a widely lauded factoid that we know more about space than we do about our marine ecosystems, the deep sea in particular. This by no means shows humans don't want to know more about it. Quite the contrary really. The ocean just so happens to be one of the most hostile environments for us to explore and we struggle to create tools that can withstand the harshness of our planet's deepest regions.
What little we do know is quite interesting, so we're going to spend a bit of time delving into this beautifully treacherous marvel that is the marine biome. We'll be taking a look at some of the more accessible ecosystems before going for the deep dive, so let's get started!
Humans are a complex thing. We are among the few species on the planet capable of thinking outside ourselves, but are notoriously bad at realizing we never do this correctly. That isn't to say humans aren't doing their best to understand others, but we tend to attempt this phenomenon by inserting ourselves into the other's place. In theory, this allows us to consider how the other person is thinking and feeling. In reality, we're only gaining an understanding of our own reactions to what that person is going through. We're, simply put, not that other person.
Humans have also tried this tactic when confronted with complex topics. As a species, despite our locations across the world, humans have created constructs to better understand this planet. More often than not, we try to bridge that understanding by turning those complexities into people, personifying the mysterious or ambivalent. Among those complexities are things like water, war, fertility, and, you guessed it, the Earth itself! Let's dive in!
November Eco News
When we think of human-driven changes to the environment, we tend to think we do more harm than good. Sometimes we do things well, though in this case it was a bit inadvertent! Turns out urban golf courses, with their well-kept environments and minimal human traffic are hot spots for uncommon native species. So much so that policies to re-purpose the land have been meeting significant push-back to keep these pockets of biodiversity safe!
Of all the places you would expect to find a whale, a river probably isn’t one of them. This month, however, Australia’s Kakadu River was a scene of attraction for just that reason! While the jury is still out as to whether this was a result of the whales being curious, a navigational error, or something else altogether, this is a rare phenomenon, indeed. Thankfully, there were no reports of confrontation between the whales and the resident crocodiles of the river!
On the topic of rivers, did you know the atmosphere has rivers too? That’s right! The Earth’s atmosphere is home to rivers of wind currents that have historically moved water vapor from the tropical regions around the equator to more temperate regions of the planet. Observing these rivers over the past few decades, studies show they have been slowly changing course to push warmer winds to the south pole. Scientists are monitoring these air rivers as they may be key contributors to increased ice melt at the Earth’s poles.
This month, a global human initiative was completed, constructing a map of bee locations around the world! This will prove helpful in educating folks about bee locations and trends as well as revealing new information about bee locations. For one, it used to be thought that bees gravitated more toward tropic regions, but this map shows that they prefer a more temperate climate! This is likely the first of many new insights we’ll learn about bee geography as these results are further analyzed.
The Mariana Trench, deepest depth of the Earth’s oceans. The last trip humans made to this range of the ocean was in 1960, and this month we made a return, this time reaching the trench’s floor! The expedition team made several dives to the (quite literally) bottom of the ocean, one of the darkest, harshest places currently known to us. While this was a triumphant excursion, the crew also found, equal parts surprising and not, plastic on the ocean floor. Some specimens have been collected to check for microplastics in the organisms that live at these depths, but humans have some serious reflecting to do knowing now the full reach of our plastic obsession has made it to the most remote areas of our planet.
Thank you for checking out the Prismatic Planet newsletter! For more environmental thoughts and stories, be sure to check out the Prismatic Planet website.
~ And, as always, don’t forget to keep wondering ~