Monday, March 28, 2011

Taking the Easy Route to Problem-Solving

We just received the last three issues of National Geographic Magazine (a glitch I caused by renewing late) and in one was this photograph:

If you live in the Chesapeake Bay area, you probably know all about the cownose ray. But I’d never heard of the creature. And though lots of unusual critters parade through NGM pages over a year, none has captivated me quite the way this ray has.

The sharks that keep the ray’s numbers in check are on the decline. Now, without a predator on their tails, the rays are using the Bay as their personal kitchen—eating shellfish and mussing up the habitat of other marine wildlife. The local fishing industry has, understandably, deemed the ray a pest, though the damage has yet to be quantified. There’s already talk about putting the cownose ray on restaurant menus (resembles tuna, according to a taste test), but the ray would have to be renamed—something more palatable like “Chesapeake Ray.”

Clever, hunh? We can be imaginative when it comes to spin, but not so much when it comes to real problem-solving.

Look at that mug again. It’s homely, haunting, melancholic, otherworldly. There should be a cownose puppet for cownose advocacy. Surely there’s some way of preventing yet another creature from becoming a human’s lunch…

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