26 October 2012
WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge offers a duality: the challenger’s expression and interpretation of the theme, and the viewer’s reaction to the entry.
The subject of this week’s theme is foreign. The American Heritage Dictionary cites the following as definitions:
- Located away from one’s native country: on business in a foreign city.
- Of, characteristic of, or from a place or country other than the one being considered: a foreign custom.
- Conducted or involved with other nations or governments; not domestic: foreign trade.
- Situated in an abnormal or improper place in the body and typically introduced from outside: a foreign object in the eye.
- Not natural; alien: Jealousy is foreign to her nature.
- Not germane; irrelevant.
- Subject to the jurisdiction of another political unit.
In the Lens section is my entry, which I took in June at the Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, California). When my eyes came upon the sign, I was immediately struck. A reaction spread through my mind.
When I pondered the challenge, I was drawn to the fifth definition of foreign. That sign easily produced the idea of the noise pollution that circulates around and through our lives. This relatively new need for constant connection to sounds through technology is staggeringly curious, and human interaction seems to be slipping.
This global phenomenon has created the un-foreign: a natural world of computers and tunes and information and voices, which very often seem to be noise. In years past we could find quiet and solace within easy distance of our daily meanderings. Today by choice or not we must work hard to acquire personal silence, a personal space of our own sans noise.
The Marine Mammal Center has the “no-noise” sign placed in front of areas where injured marine mammals are treated. The Center rescues and cares for pinnipeds (such as California sea lions, northern elephant seals, seals and harbor seals; plus sea otters, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and sea turtles). They tend more than 600 marine mammals each year and have saved 16,000. The worthiness of this effort is beyond words.
The sign, which kept a lower level of decibels, gave people a real chance to read about the illnesses and results of human nature’s effect upon marine life. But it was sobering to see the results of “our” intervention and, often, thoughtlessness.
Since 1975 the Center has provided educational programs that “teach nearly 30,000 students and adults each year about marine mammals and the urgent need for environmental stewardship of earth’s marine environments, with the goal of inspiring ocean conservation.”
While the ill-health of the oceans was a foreign concept in my youth, it is very real now. Thankfully, we have organizations such as The Marine Mammal Center to advocate on behalf of these marvelous creatures.
Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.