2023, Senior, Performing Arts
Climate Hero: Heidi Pearson, University of Alaska Southeast
After being a musician for over ten years, nothing from the animal kingdom has ever spoken to me more than songs of humpback whales. Recent studies and articles about these intricate compositions have been bringing widespread recognition of the similarities between human and whale music. Whales are not only poised musicians but phenomenal climate change indicators. Many times when I think about our oceans and marine ecology as a whole, endangered species and human-caused problems are all that come to mind. Here’s a sliver of good news: currently, the global humpback population is on a steady incline. After the ratification of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1970, humpback whales recovered from near-extinction numbers and are now labeled "least concern" when considering population. My climate hero, Heidi Pearson, is a researcher and author at the University of Alaska Southeast. Some of her most recent work found its way into my daily news cycle and inspired me to read more about her paper, “Whales in the carbon cycle: can recovery remove carbon dioxide?” Any cynics arguing against biodiversity would be stumped after taking a look at this well thought-out and highly researched paper. If someone were to read Heidi Pearson’s study and not be sold on whales being crucial against the fight of climate change, maybe they could listen to my music and appreciate their beauty and be convinced otherwise.