GreenVoice a Voice for the Clipperton Expedition

Birds suffer greatly from the plastic pollution of our oceans. Photo: Planet Plastic, Pascal Votan
Birds suffer greatly from the plastic pollution of our oceans. Photo: Planet Plastic, Pascal Votan
By Viola Krebs, traduction française Camille Saadé, traducción española Andrea González Álvarez
18 February 2013

ICV's GreenVoice program is currently involved in the documentation of the 2013 Clipperton Island Expedition to head off from San Diego, USA, on 18 February 2013. This expedition is one of the ventures organized by the Cordell Expeditions, the primary purpose of which is to foster international goodwill and cooperation through person-to-person contacts, in documenting remote sites and preserving their natural history and cultural resources. The goal for the Clipperton Island Expedition will be to both complete a range of ham radio operations and scientific research.

The primary goal for the radio operations is to log a valid contact between the Clipperton Island station set up by Cordell Expeditions and as many external amateur radio operators worldwide as possible. “To that end, we have assembled as world-class system of 11 radio stations and a world-class team of radio operators,” explains Bob Schmieder, the experienced leader of the expedition. Another goal is to extend technology and techniques for radio operations on remote sites. “For this, we have implemented a quasi-real-time system called DXA, which enables uploading the radio log data through a satellite link which can be displayed on any web browser within one minute. This system will provide an exciting and rewarding experience for the DXer, as well as reduce the number of duplicate contacts and eliminate false logging by pirate stations,” he further explains.

“Clipperton Island provides both an excellent opportunity to extend our understanding of the oceanic coral reef environment and its ecosystems, and a challenge to document the site for future protection, conservation, and management,” states Bob Schmieder. The expedition has identified a number of scientific aspects it will focus on. Belgium explorer and film maker LouPhi further explains: “Among the scientific projects is the documentation of plastic pollution, the search for various invasive species, such as the Pheidole megacephala, known as 'the big-headed ant', an exotic species with a potentially devasting impact on native invertebrate fauna.” The expedition will also monitor the relatively recent inadvertent introduction of rats, brought to the island by a ship wreck and which has caused major shifts in the crab populations on Clipperton Island (Pitman et al., 2005), as well as the flightless mask boobies birds and look at a number of other scientific research elements (more...).

Floating patches of human garbage have become a rapidly worsening and permanent feature in the world's oceans. One of the major patches is located in the Pacific, right off the cost of California and Mexico, not far from Clipperton (see article by Lauren McCauley). Circular ocean currents trap these plastic patches. 

Once the expedition reaches Clipperton Island, the team will document the phenomenon of plastic, glass, and metal debris. It is lethal to birds, fish, and any other creatures able to ingest it, in pieces large or small. The expedition will document the phenomenon. “This is not a little problem--it's a BIG one. We will devote some of our time to semi-quantitatively documenting the composition of plastic debris on Clipperton,” underlines Bob.

In collaboration with explorers who are part of the expedition, ICV's GreenVoice program will produce a documentary of the Clipperton expedition; e.g. videos, photographs at the dock in San Diego with interviews, etc. The goal of the documentary is to raise awareness about the plastic debris pandemic and highlight other scientific projects of the Clipperton Expedition.

To date, GreenVoice initiatives have included educational workshops for children and an award-winning worldwide photo campaign, involving photographers from close to 100 countries, exhibited in a number of places, including the prominent Quai Wilson Geneva Lake side.

The Clipperton documentary is one of the many ways in which GreenVoice raises awareness in schools, with government officials, NGOs and the UN about environmental issues.


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