“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”
aldelie penguins spend their (austral) winters in the seas surrounding the antarctic pack ice - about 4,000km from their southern spring breeding grounds - where they fatten on krill. the krill feed on phytoplankton beneath the icebergs, but warming waters due to climate change has reduced their numbers by up to 80 percent.
adelies are the most southern living penguin, but head north as the summer ends to escape the protracted darkness of the winter. a warming climate, however, has meant a reduced northern icepack, and has seen the the encroachment of other penguins onto their southern summer territory who previously found it too cold. the adelie population northeast of the ross sea, for example, has declined by 90 percent.
as one adélie expert put it, these penguins face possible extinction not merely by a loss of habitat, but by an unshakable fear of darkness; adelies need light, if only twilight, to forage and navigate, and as comfort against predators. but as they are pushed further south they may ultimately find themselves trapped behind a curtain of polar night for which they have no hardwired strategy.
“…So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium.”
Lord of the Rings Alphabet: Middle-EarthRoads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown, And through the merry flowers of June, Over grass and over stone, And under mountains in the moon.