Lightkeepers are the Eyes and Ears of the Oceans

Lightkeepers are the Eyes and Ears of the Oceans

Isn’t this a pretty neat photo? But what is it you ask?

If you run Google Chrome as a web browser1 you could use the Search by Image extension to find other copies of the photo and then the website, and then what is shown in the photo. Here I have just presented a photo with no information (caption).

This photo was shown in Facebook at one time I think. Through the browser extension mentioned above I found the origin of the photo and an explanation.

The photo comes from a United States Geological Survey (USGS) information website on water resources which asks “How much water is on earth?” According to the site: The small blue sphere. . . 

. . .  represents all of Earth’s water, and its diameter is about 860 miles (the distance from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Topeka, Kansas). It would have a volume of about 332,500,000 cubic miles (mi3) (1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers (km3)). The sphere includes all the water in the oceans, ice caps, lakes, and rivers, as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant.

 There is quite a story on those USGS pages which I will not reprint here. I am more interested in that little blob of blue. Without it we would have no need of lighthouses; without it we would have no need of anything as we would not exist!

Lighthouse keepers, because of their isolated positions are the eyes and ears of the oceans. Who else besides mariners and oceanographers maintains such a watch on the world’s oceans? The lightkeeper is alert to any changes in the ocean within the range of their lighthouse, and because of improved radio communications, is also in touch with marine vessels that can also alert him to distant problems.

That is all the water we have on earth and what do we do with it? We pollute it with oil, or plastics, or sewage. The tsunami debris was an accident – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not!

The problem is that we are not protecting our oceans. Here is another graphic photo:

The British Columbia coast is going to be exposed to massive oil spills from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, and the whole of Canada is only protecting 0.8% of it’s ocean property? Here is Enbridge’s pacififier website; below are the facts:

. . . and the latest in Wisconsin.

What about sewage? Victoria, British Columbia, the capital of this pristine province is still pumping raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A treatment facility is planned, but when it will be operational nobody knows.

All of our lives depend on that small blue sphere of water! Keep the lighthouses manned. At least we will still have some eyes and ears on the BC coast, not only for mariners and navigation, but also for reporting environmental problems before they become disasters.

I always wanted to use this photo below but could not find a story for it. Let’s keep our BC waters this pristine!



1web browser – a program used to view HTML documents on the internet i.e Chrome, IFirefox, Internet Explorer, etc.


The data used on this page comes from Igor Shiklomanov’s estimate of global water distribution, shown in a table below.

Credit: Howard Perlman, USGS; globe illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (©); Adam Nieman
Data source: Igor Shiklomanov’s chapter “World fresh water resources” in Peter H. Gleick (editor), 1993, Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources (Oxford University Press, New York).

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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