March 22, 2000

Subject: THE DESTRUCTION OF OCEAN LIFE CONTINUES UNABATED: "BEWARE, THE BEACHED CANARIES" What Stranded Dolphins and Whales are Trying to Tell us About a Global Emergency Beneath the Sea + 12 beaked whales, 1 minke whale, 1 dolphin, and 1 unidentified balaenopterid just died in the Bahamas because of US Navy military "exercises" + What Else Aren't We Hearing About?

Hello everyone

Here is again an issue whose extreme gravity should warrant lots of media attention and concerted actions to prevent further destruction of life in our oceans.

I hope you can make time to review this and take some meaningful action ...

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

Subject: "BEWARE, THE BEACHED CANARIES" What Stranded Dolphins and Whales are Trying to Tell us About a Global Emergency Beneath the Sea
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000
From: Larry Morningstar <>

Hello Dear Ones,

Following please find a newly updated version of Bobbie Sandoz's "Beached
Canaries" article. Bobbie gives us a glimpse into the reasons for whale
and dolphin strandings. At the end of the article, she gives a list of
recent strandings. Bobbie is the author of another article we recently
sent out about "Little Elian."

Aloha nui,
Larry Morningstar

"BEWARE, THE BEACHED CANARIES*" What Stranded Dolphins and Whales are Trying to Tell us About a Global Emergency Beneath the Sea"

By Bobbie Sandoz, MSW
- Author/Therapist/Columnist/Speaker

(*The death of canaries taken into coal mines warned the miners of trouble below.)

In the last few months, hundreds of dolphins are washing up dead along European shores while dolphins and whales are again playing with people in Hawaii after two years of ignoring them following our government sonifying these high level beings in their own Marine Sanctuary. This grateful return of their friendliness toward humans in Hawaii is clearly an act of forgiving the unforgivable. In January, hundreds of dolphins stranded along our eastern coast, while a superpod of orcas off California circled a group of boats to flirt and play with the people aboard, then remained afloat on the surface as the sun set on their fins. A similar contrast occurred last summer when a group of San Juan Orcas appeared in time to appreciate a human concert given in their honor, showing particular interest in Amazing Grace, or forgiveness without merit, while hundreds of their gray whale cousins washed up dead on west coast shores.

Although these events contribute to an uneasy yet growing pattern of marine mammal strandings juxtaposed to their kindness to us, there has been little media coverage of this disturbing phenomenon or a true investigation of why it is happening. Are we so indifferent that we don't really care or is there a massive cover-up....or both?

To add to the disquiet of these events, independent scientists strongly disagree with government-funded "experts" on the true effect of an extremely intense and apparently lethal force going into the ocean called low frequency active sonar (LFAS) that appears to be leaving a trail of corpses in its path. Yet, in spite of the controversy over its safety, our government is pushing forward to deploy this risky technology in 80% of the world's oceans in an apparent effort to get it underway before the public learns more about it.

Will we remain cooperatively in denial, uninformed, and dangerously silent in the face of this potential planetary holocaust as we have in the past, or will we awaken in time to stop this serious threat to all marine life? And, if we fail to respond, what will the consequences be for our own survival and souls?

In view of a possible cover-up buttressed by our indifference, could it be that the intelligent dolphins and whales are making their way to our public and popular shores before dying in order to serve as "beached canaries" that warn of something amiss in their hidden world beneath the sea? If so, will their massive deaths at our feet pull us out of deep moral slumber or fall on the cold hearts of an uncaring species? **The LFAS Story** Following a brief yet troubled period of LFAS testing at levels far below those planned for actual use that resulted in trauma and death, this reckless technology is in the process of being pushed toward premature deployment in 80% of the world's oceans.

Sadly, slick propaganda programs dispensed by in-house "experts" have succeeded in convincing a slumbering media and uninformed populous that the dolphins and whales are unaffected by intensely explosive blasts ripping through their ocean home with sustained intensity for hundreds of miles, causing damage and death in their wake.

Thus, in contrast to government claims of safety, outraged boat captains, swimmers, independent researchers, and environmentalists have observed this technology to be highly disruptive and deadly to marine life, even at the considerably lower decibels used during brief public testing than those planned for actual extensive and classified use.

Even more frustrating, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), established to protect marine life, appears to be aligned with the government-funded "experts" promoting LFAS. They also appear to be ignoring required protocol in order to prematurely slip the U.S. Navy a permit to harass and kill whales which will serve as the green light needed to unleash this risky technology into full and unfettered, classified deployment.

Eerily, the NMFS is also the organization assigned to oversee the testing done on the "beached canaries" stranding on our shores. Yet, while they publicly serve as the protector of marine life, behind the scenes they seem to prefer keeping these strandings in the category of an "unsolved mystery" to risking discovery of a possible connection to sonar exposure by checking their ears for rupture or their tissue for signs of explosion and shredding. Instead of conducting these revealing tests, they offer vague explanations that don't hold up, while focusing their search for answers solely on viruses, red tides, and other toxic algae that were neither in the problem areas nor have caused this kind of cetacean carnage in the past. In view of this seeming bias in favor of LFAS and the dual role it creates for the NMFS, should they ever concede to test the ears or tissue of stranded marine corpses for sonar exposure, the public would be wise to insist that non government-funded and independent researchers bear witness to their exams.

It's also important to notice that the brain and tissue fissures, lesions, and ruptures as well as mass starvation consistently found in these and other recent marine mammal corpses resemble the symptoms of sonar exposure described by the Marine Mammal Commission when in 1997 they predicted that lung and tissue hemorrhage and trauma in marine mammals (and fish) as well as cavity explosion and hearing loss causing subsequent starvation was likely to occur if LFAS was employed worldwide as proposed.

So why is the connection between these known symptoms of sonar exposure (similar to microwave explosions) and those found in stranded marine mammal corpses being ignored -- especially when sonar activities are rumored to be taking place in several of the affected areas?

And, now that we are on the brink of full deployment of this unexamined force, will the American public awaken in time to make the connection, check its validity, and if there is a connection, stop the madness? Or, will we remain drugged by our usual denial and the silence of fear and apathy as we have during other holocausts at human hands, enabling yet more government crimes against nature and others as well as ourselves?

Could this be the pivotal point at which humans decide if we will orchestrate our own self-destruction with our typically passive response to impersonal government actions or rally as caring individuals in time to uncover the path of our more conscious, courageous, and higher selves as well as a safe and golden future for our world, ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren?

I was pondering these questions one day as I swam in a bay amidst 50 dolphins who approached and circled me, then stayed to play for over an hour. I was surprised by their visit in view of my mood, since they usually avoid me when my thoughts are weighty. But, on this particular day they swam near me to play, show off their babies, and engage me in beguiling and flirty gazes. I reflected on my decade of friendship with these high- level beings and the notable lessons I had learned from them that I had not learned from humans about how to be a more loving and joyful human being.

I wondered as I swam if my species would have the wisdom to allow the sweet grace of these bright and loving beings to serve as mirrors reflecting our need to seek a higher place in ourselves where we might act as kindly toward others as cetaceans do. I also thought of the American Indian elders predicting that whatever happens to "the great beast" -- or whale -- will also happen to humanity, and I wondered which fork in the road of our forecasted futures we would take -- the Apocalypse or golden age.

Then it occurred to me that as humanity stands at the portal of the new millennium, it is in our power to select which road we will travel. We can continue to kill the saints and sages in our midst or change the course of human history by surrendering our self-centered ways to their more lofty and loving teachings.

Yet before we can claim this higher potential, we must address what kind of species we truly want to be and which future we wish to create. We must then commit to becoming and creating whatever we choose. I also realized that to succeed in doing this we need look no further than to the model of loving kindness the dolphins and whales offer or the manifesting tools the dolphins revealed to me in "Listening to Wild Dolphins" which I have woven into my suggestions for how we can respond to the LFAS challenge. INFORMATION AND RESOURCES *** PATTERN OF STRANDINGS THAT MAY LINK TO LFAS ACTIVITY:

* EUROPE - In February, 2000, 100s of dolphins began washing up on European shores.

* THE ATLANTIC COASTLINE - On January 21, 2000, Katie Couric asked on "The Today Show" why hundreds of dolphins are beaching along the Atlantic coastline. Although brain and other tissue lesions have been found in these cetaceans, one of the symptoms predicted by the Marine Mammal Commission in 1997 for LFAS exposure, ears are not being checked. In view of the far-reaching effect of sonar exposure predicted by independent researchers, some suspect apparent NATO sonar in the general area may be the cause.

* FLORIDA - On January 3, 2000, Associated Press reported that scientists were trying to determine why dolphins have been washing up dead on northwest Florida shores over the last month. Although a previously severe outbreak of red tide did not kill dolphins, it appears that only red tide and other toxins are being examined as a possible cause, rather than also include an examination of their ear canals to prove or disprove the important variable of possible sonar exposure.

* THE VIRGIN ISLANDS - In early October, 1999, scientists in the water heard sonar sounds, followed by multiple cetacean strandings in the area. Government-funded ear canal testing expert Dr. Darlene Ketten from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, was summoned by many groups to run ear canal tests, but results have not yet been revealed. If they are, citizens must determine if anyone other than government-funded scientists were present in order to neutralize any conflicts of interest.

* THE CANARY ISLANDS - A total of 21 whale strandings in 1985, 1988, and 1989 were linked to visible US Navy maneuvers. These were the only times that whales were reported to strand in the Canary Islands. (Nature, 1991) Award-winning French biologist Dr. Michael Andre, free from our government's influence, learned from necropsies while studying the decline in sperm whales in this area that two of the whales (who were involved in the increasing whale collisions with boats in the area) were deaf as suspected.

* THE ATLANTIC COAST - In 1987, dolphins exposed to 235 decibels of sonar stranded and were found to suffer from tissue and lung explosion. (This information was allegedly found by Dr. Joe Geraci and buried in reports on file.) Since this revelation, there has been a great deal of resistance to obtaining autopsies that check for these types of problems, also predicted by the Marine Mammal Commission in 1997 (possibly based on Dr. Geraci's findings) to be a consequence of LFAS.

* THE HARO STRAIT, SAN JUAN ISLANDS - In the Summer of 1996, 195 decibels were sent into this key waterway used by orcas, porpoises, seals, and other mammals, followed by an increase in strandings of these mammals. ABC News recently reported that the previously thriving orca population from this area is now in enough trouble to be considered eligible for the Endangered Species list.

* THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA NEAR GREECE - In 1996, twelve Cuvier's beaked whales documented to be exposed to NATO sonar at 150-160 decibels were found stranded. At the same time about 200 stranded dolphins were suspected of suffering from tissue explosion. (Nature, 1996) LFAS levels to be used by the U.S. are reported to be 180 decibels in areas near shore and could go considerably higher, once deployment is underway and this program is classified.

* THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS - In 1998, three whale calves and one dolphin calf were found dead or abandoned during and immediately following sonar testing, even though in 15 years of research this phenomenon had never been observed. One of these was a distressed whale calf who breached 230 times and pectoral slapped 658 times in front of Dr. Marsha Green's research team in a four-hour period before the sun set on his distress. In addition, a pod of dolphins was observed by naturalists familiar with normal dolphin behavior huddling unusually close to the shore near the surface and vocalizing excessively while the sound was on.

* CALIFORNIA- Since the open testing in California began in 1997, sonar exposed whales immediately began to strand in increased numbers. In addition, there was a report of uncharacteristically aggressive behavior which is known to be a symptom of LFAS exposure. More recently, The Malibu Times reported in January, 1999, that more than 150 gray whales were found dead due to starvation along their migratory route where testing took place in 1998. Starvation can be a result of deafness, but ears were not checked in these cetaceans, even though the cause of death has remained a mystery.

* AUSTRALIA - Rumor has it that the Australian government has questioned a connection between observed US Navy and NATO maneuvering and strandings off their shores.

* UNKNOWN - In view of indications that brain and body tissue explodes and body cavities (bladders, lungs, and ear canals) rupture when exposed to sonar blasts, it is plausible to assume that most affected marine mammals will sink to the ocean floor, rather than make their way to a beach in order for us to view their plight. And who knows what the effect this risky technology has on the thousands of other, smaller forms of marine life, less able to withstand such a powerful force.


or More Information and Evidence of LFAS Problems,




*ASK YOUR LOCAL ABC AFFILIATE TV STATION TO AIR: "WHEN THE WHALES STOP SINGING" This excellent news special report on the Navy's Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) was filmed by Dan Noyes of KGO TV News: ABC TV in San Francisco. Ask your ABC station manager to call KGO News in San Francisco to request a copy of this two part special to air in your vicinity. KGO News has agreed to send out copies of this video to other ABC stations, and to give them permission to air it. It is a short video, only 10 minutes long, and can be run as part of a news program.


INTERVIEW AUTHOR AND PANEL OF INDEPENDENT EXPERTS ON LFAS who sincerely hope they are wrong about their concerns regarding the potential danger of LFAS, but believe people should know what they have uncovered in the event they are not wrong: Dr. Marsha Green (OMI/Marine Biologist/ Professor) 610-670-7386 Lanny Sinkin (Attorney) 808-961-9100 Dr. Lee Tepley (Physicist) 650-961-7440 Dr. Linda Weilgart (Independent Marine Biologist) 902-479-1861 Cheryl Magill (LFAS Activist) 650-429-2116 Bobbie Sandoz, MSW (Author) - 808-524-6775 Dr. Naomi Rose, (Director, Humane Society of the United States - HSUS) WAYS TO RESPOND

*We must first face the seriousness of the threat LFAS poses to marine life and ourselves. For only then, will we break our silence and engage in clear but gentle action with the urgency this issue deserves.

*We must then let our Congressional representative, ultimately responsible for this program, know of its possible consequences and insist that they stop all forward movement of this program until it can be proven that it will not cause the massive destruction concerned non-government scientists and citizens fear.

*We must then insist on extensive and highly monitored necropsies of currently stranded mammals, including full ear exams -- since such tests could expose possible sonar exposure. Only by having this information will we know if the sonar technology is connected to these deaths as many environmentalists suspect.

*We must then insist that the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) halt all movement toward deployment of this unexamined power.

*We must demand that the possibility of a conflict of interest on the part of NMFS be seriously scrutinized in view of their apparent bias and seeming partnership with the U.S. Navy in this risky government operation they have been charged with overseeing.

*We must send copies of all correspondence on this and other protests to the media, our president, and congressional representatives -- since such letters give witness to our concerns and constitute our greatest power to influence or reverse government decisions we do not approve.

*Some, including myself, will view this issue as important enough to organize a peacefully powerful march in Washington since visibility and numbers are imperative to change in this country.

*Hopefully, responsible media will invite the listed panel of independent experts who have uncovered evidence that points to potentially serious and illegal errors and omissions made in the process of testing and activating this technology they consider far more dangerous than claimed.

*Teachers may wish to introduce this topic in their classrooms and invite students to uncover, lobby for, and implement solutions. In doing this, we enlist the spirits and insights of this national treasure to help us become our best selves while teaching the art of kindness, cooperation, and friendship with our global family. *Those aligned with spirit can inspire continuous prayer for all concerned -- including those in control of this formidable technology who genuinely believe in its merits and their right to employ it without sincerely inviting the public's awareness, opinion, or approval. Hopefully, clergy of all faiths will be moved to hold prayer vigils to bring this matter to a unifying, loving, and safe resolution. Although everyone was surprised that we moved through the millennium without incident, few noted a possible connection between this unexpected peace to a massive and powerful prayer vigil organized by Marianne Williamson and James Redfield.

*Many will want to participate by using one of the manifesting tools I learned from the dolphins for creating the world we desire. To do this we need to identify exactly what we want instead of what we don't want and then place all of our energies, prayers, and focus on drawing that picture to us. This focus becomes even more powerful if we unite our combined energies as the dolphins do to create a large and harmonious group holding a common dream with love and joy in our hearts.


If we succeed in gathering together a large enough group to lovingly concentrate our intention on this dream until it is fulfilled, we will discover a power beyond anything we have yet witnessed on this planet. And once we learn to do it, we will no longer feel the need to quarrel and fight among ourselves and against others -- or develop weapons considerably more dangerous than the "enemies" we fear.

Nor will we continue to allow our businesses, government, or military to treat us like children, while excluding us from the management of our lives, our country, and our world as they fund and implement plans without our knowledge or permission. Once we exercise the power of our own voices and visions to reclaim self-governance, we will no longer view big business interests or our government and military as separate from ourselves or dangerous to our lives or planet.


How perfect that we can use this unique yet effective manifesting tool the dolphins have shown us to safely return their ocean home to them and self-governance to ourselves. Let's experience this radical new power by taking our first steps on the path to a better future and the world of our dreams.

Author: Bobbie Sandoz
March, 2000
Phone: 808-524-6775 Fax: 808-538-0423

Author Bobbie Sandoz (Listening to Wild Dolphins) and a panel of
non-government experts can expose potentially dangerous problems
connected to Risky Sonar Technology.

Bobbie's most recent book is
"Listening to Wild Dolphins, Learning Their Secrets for Living with Joy"

From: "C'esca Lawrence" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000

Dear Jean,

I am sickened at this latest news about our precious marine life and the
torture they are enduring. Please email me a web address or email address
where my friends and I can contact those responsible and voice our outrage
directly. I have tears in my eyes. I feel so powerless. It seems like an
endless stream of injustices are constantly upon us to try to rectify. I
give you a lot of credit for your fortitude and perseverance in these
difficult times. I try to get the message out as best I can on my local
cable TV show about many of the issues, but I still feel it's not enough. I
would love to do a show on this subject, but I don't know anyone here in Los
Angeles to contact about it who might want to be a guest and tell the real
story. Do you? My best, C'esca


Dear C'esca

I understand your reaction but there is no need to feel powerless. Thanks to the precious web of contacts the Internet has allowed us to create, there are many ways we can activate people and counter some of the environmental tragedies we are faced with. Yet this LFAS problem seems a bit more intractable than others because it is becoming more and more difficult to make anyone accountable for the decisions leading to the use of such a dangerous technology -- the Navy in particular seems to be operating above the law, and the hidden agenda they follow, out of reach of anyone's grasp.

I'm including 3 persons as Cc to this email who can best recommend who you may want to contact in your area.


As for lodging a formal protest, you can always contact your political representatives...

If you know your Zip code, you can find them at or you can search by state at You can also find your representatives at

but it is very unlikely that it will give any result, unless you go meet them in person and make sure they are aware of your concern.

Anyway we CAN make a difference if we keep working at it and allow our inner guidance to show us the best path of action available.

Love and blessings


Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000
Subject: Fwd: [stoplfas] Fwd: Fw: Dead & Stranded Whales, Bahamas

This is a message to the Stop LFAS Worldwide Network:

In case any of you forgot the unfortunate reason why we're here....


Subject: Bahamas, the Navy, and dead whales
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000
From: "Steuer, Karen" <>

Dear All,

As some of you will be aware, there has been a mass mortality of
cetaceans in the Bahamas over the last few days. As of Saturday, at
least 12 beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris and Ziphius
cavirostris), 1 minke whale, 1 dolphin, and 1 unidentified balaenopterid
(Brydes or fin) had died, with other ziphiids stranding live and being
pushed back out. Mortalities occurred between Grand Bahama and the
Abacos; given the number and isolation of islands in the area, it is
very likely that not all carcasses have been located.

The mortality coincides with US Navy exercises in the area; the
exercises appear to have involved explosives detonation, although active
acoustics work *may* have been conducted also. There is no confirmation
that the latter occurred in this area, or whether LFA activity was
involved. (LFA = Low Frequency Active acoustics, a highly controversial
anti-submarine technology which has been the subject of much debate in
the marine mammal field. Recall that a NATO LFA exercise in the Med is
widely believed to have been responsible for a mass mortality of beaked
whales a few yearsago).

As of this morning (Monday), five ziphiids had been secured and
necropsied by Ken Balcomb (who lives on site) and Nan Hauser/Hoyt
Peckham (Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, Maine; who flew
down on Saturday).

Darlene Ketten (Harvard/WHOI) arrived yesterday to extract ears from
these animals and any others which become available. Charley Potter
(Smithsonian Institution) is also on site.

An aerial survey will attempt to locate other carcasses today.

Needless to say, there are a lot of unanswered questions here, and we
should be demanding answers ASAP: Did the Navy submit an EA to NMFS on
this exercise? If so, did NMFS comment or simply allow this to go
ahead? Was LFA or other acoustics "experimentation" involved? Does the
Bahamian government have a role in this?

I'll let you know more as we hear it at our end -- suggest we start
applying pressure to NMFS and the Navy ASAP to ensure that this doesn't
continue until we get some answers.

Karen L. Steuer
Director, Commercial Exploitation and Trade Program
International Fund for Animal Welfare

Whale Deaths Immediately Follow US Navy Sonar Buoy Tests In Bahamas


FREEPORT, Bahamas - Eight whales beached and died soon after the U.S. Navy conducted anti-submarine exercises off the northern Bahamas, prompting an investigation and calls for an end to the exercises.

The Navy said Tuesday that there was no evidence to link the whale deaths to last week's exercise testing sonar detection of submarines.

Navy Cmdr. Greg Smith said the tests took place from about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 15 off Abaco Island _ part of a series of exercises testing "sonar buoys" that were to continue through March 22.

Marine biologist Ken Balcomb of the Earthwatch environmental group said beachings began that same day, and within two days at least 14 whales had grounded themselves on Abaco, Grand Bahama to the north, and Eleuthera to the south. Eight died, prompting investigations by Bahamian and U.S. scientists and authorities.

"A whale beaching in the Bahamas is a once-in-a-decade occurrence," said Balcomb, an American who has been studying whales around Abaco island for nine years.

"We will be making recommendations to the Bahamian government that these sort of exercises be terminated," he said. "The fact that it coincides with the military exercises cannot be just coincidental."

But the Navy spokesman said there was no evidence linking the two events. "My understanding of the actual locations would put the island between the operations where the `sonobuoys' were located and where the whales eventually beached themselves," said Smith.

Naomi Rose of the Washington-based Humane Society of the United States, maintained the signals could still do damage.

"These signals, depending on frequency, could travel quite a distance and could even wrap around the island," said Rose, a marine mammal scientist. "One could argue that they fled the area where the sonar was being transmitted."

Another U.S. marine biologist here to investigate, Charles Potter of the Smithsonian Institute, said the number of whales beached is "extremely unusual. But he said the postmortems showed the whales had suffered no physical damage, such as broken ear drums.

Balcomb said the mammals included several deep-water beaked whales, goose beaked whales measuring 16-19 feet, dense beaked whales measuring 10-13 feet, baleen whales measuring up to 27 feet and some small minke whales.

Michael Breynan, director of the Bahamian Fisheries Department, said he was working with U.S. scientists to try to determine the cause. Breynan said his department kept no records of beached whales but added: "I am not aware of any similar incident (having occurred) in the Bahamas."

He said further tests on the dead whales would be carried out in the United States, a process that could take months.

Smith said the exercise was testing for upgrades of what the Navy calls the Directional Command Activated Sonobuoy System.

The exercise involved a Navy P-3 aircraft dropping two buoys north of Abaco, one as close as 35 miles to the island, the other 70 to 75 miles from the island. One buoy emitted a sonar signal which was received by the other, and a submarine was moving between the two buoys.

He said the exercise had nothing to do with low frequency active sonar, a new and controversial system that transmits sonar pulses so loud they can match the roar of a rocket launch.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, responsible for overseeing all U.S. actions that could affect the environment at home or abroad, said it approved the Navy's environmental assessment for its exercise.

Roger Gentry, coordinator of the service's acoustics team, said the exercises shouldn't have affected the whales. "Yet we have beached whales."

The service has also sent veterinarians and acoustic experts to investigate.

Marine scientists have been expressing growing concern in recent years about the possible effects of man-made noises on marine mammals who rely on their hearing perhaps more than their sight.

"We already know from preliminary research that's been done that there are some problems with man-made noise in the marine environment," said Rose of the Humane Society.

However, other experts have been quick to point out that none of the research has been able to conclusively blame man-made noise for events such as the whale beachings in the Bahamas.

Taken from: http://abcnews

Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000
From: "Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D." <>
Subject: new Healing Our World available - What Else Aren't We Hearing About


What Else Aren't We Hearing About?

In spite of everything, I still believe That people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation Consisting of confusion, misery and death. -- Anne Frank

Our oceans are quietly being destroyed by systematic large-scale pollution from routine marine activities that rarely make the headlines. Although large oil spills command extensive media coverage - for a few days anyway - they account for only about 10 percent of the oil and fuel that ends up in our waters each year.

Oiled rocks on the shore of Prince William Sound, Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill (Photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))

Approximately 706 million gallons of oil winds up in the ocean each year from used engine oil being poured down the drain, runoff from city streets, air pollution particles and off-shore oil drilling. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez disaster, which gets media attention to this day, spilled 11 million gallons.

Unbelievably, many people still dump their used engine oil down drains and sewers. Five quarts of oil can contaminate millions of gallons of fresh or ocean water. Nearly 363 million gallons of this oil makes its way to our waterways each year. Also, a city of five million generates enough toxic runoff each year to equal a major oil tanker spill.

Over 137 million gallons of oil enters our oceans and other waterways from oily bilge water and other ship operations. Thirty-seven million gallons of oil spills each year from oil tankers and another 15 million spill from off shore oil rig operations.

Millions of gallons of jet and aircraft fuel spills each year, polluting earth and water. In 1985, 34,000 gallons of toxic jet fuel spilled into Des Moines Creek near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington, killing 50,000 salmon.

In October 1999, 112,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled into Ensenada Honda Harbor in Puerto Rico. Also in that same month, 12,000 gallons of jet fuel spilled from 10 derailed railroad cars in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Worldwide, this highly toxic substance is mishandled and indiscriminately allowed to contaminate the environment and human health. Children can be found carrying water in discarded jet fuel containers in rural Africa, condemning their family to toxic poisoning.

More than 11,000 gallons of jet fuel has been floating on water located at the El Toro Marine Air Station in Southern California for several years. The base is scheduled to be turned over to the city when it is declared surplus by the military.

Remarkably, technologies to clean up fuel and oil spills are quite primitive. Absorbent pads floating on the water are the most common cleanup approach used, but this captures only a small fraction of the toxic material spilled. Some evaporates, becoming an air pollutant while some of it coats beaches and wildlife.

Countless animals slowly die from these spills. Fish are unable to breathe or are poisoned. Animals such as the sea otter, that rely on their fur to keep them warm, die from ingesting the oil as they desperately attempt to clean their fur. Millions of oil covered birds die as they loose their ability to fly or to keep warm.

Our ground water, drinking water and fish resources become contaminated as well.

Each day, millions and millions of boaters spill fuel into our oceans and waterways when they fill their fuel tanks. Those few drops, few cups or few gallons will be rationalized away as the boater claims, "It’s only a little fuel - how can that hurt anyone?"

In our information saturated world, it is challenging for urban dwellers to fully see the impact of individual actions. Many of us have come to rely on the media and government organizations to alert us to dangerous situations and to advise us on corrective actions.

Sadly, our government has developed its rules and standards to minimize effects on business interests and has designed regulatory procedures that view the environment as a secondary consideration.

More than ever before in our history, we as individuals must take responsibility for our actions and determine for ourselves what is best for the health of our children and our planet. We must use the native intuition and common sense we all have.

Boaters must take the leadership in regulating their own actions. Those who use boats for their business have no excuse - they must take this responsibility seriously. Those who use boats for pleasure and recreation must pay the price for their expensive hobby and not allow even one drop of fuel or oil to reach the water. There can be no acceptable amount of spillage.

All people who apply for a boating license, either for business or pleasure, should have to take a visualization test to make sure they can see that one gallon of spilled fuel from each of the millions of boaters means millions of gallons of spilled fuel into our waterways each day.

Citizens must act as enforcement agents as well. If you are taking a stroll at your local marina and see a slick of something on the water, call the authorities. If you see a boater refueling and spilling fuel, report it.

No one is going to tell us to stop and do the right thing. That is up to us. In fact, it always has been.