Save the Whales! Park Your Car.

David C. Holzman
by David C. Holzman
save the whales park your car

The quest for more oil and natural gas is turning the oceans into a cacophony, from the perspective of whales and dolphins. These are among the smartest creatures on the planet; a dolphin can recognize itself in the mirror, a hallmark of intelligence. (There are certain difficulties performing the experiment with whales.) Airguns used in seismic surveys for oil and gas, peak at up to 259 decibels and can be repeated every 10 seconds for months. The noise interferes with the animals’ feeding, communication, mating, and navigation, and may be involved in beachings. Furthermore, these sounds travel more than 2,000 miles from the source, according to an alliance of wildlife groups attending the United Nations Environment Programme’s Convention on Migratory Species conference in Rome. There are 90 seismic survey ships in the world, and one quarter are in use in any one day, according to a report released at the conference, “ Ocean Noise: Turn it Down.”

Greenhouse gas emissions [ED: as in driving your car, allegedly] are aggravating the problem, causing a projected increase of the ocean’s acidity. This allows sound to travel further in water. By 2050, a projected 0.3 pH units of acidity– a conservative estimate by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change– will broadcast sound waves 70 percent further (as predicted in the Oct 1, 2008 Geophysical Research Letters by Keith Hester et al.).

Meanwhile, the retreat of the polar ice shelf is causing a scramble for drilling and oil and gas exploration in the arctic, which will expose species such as the beluga and the bowhead whales. Ship noise is also a problem for cetaceans. It’s doubled every decade for the past 40 years. An estimated 300 naval sonar systems can generate pressure sound waves >235 decibels, or 1,000,000,000 times louder than the 145 decibel upper limit deemed safe for humans.

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  • Justin Berkowitz Justin Berkowitz on Dec 11, 2008
    Robert Schwartz : I cannot begin to tell you how very little I care about this eco disaster. Every 2 days some enviro nut runs around screaming the sky is falling the sky is falling. They have lost most of their credibility. Frankly Scarlet, don’t give a damn. Out of curiosity, would you care if it was incontrovertibly true? It's not like I've ever done anything to save the whales (aside from choosing a career path other than whale hunter), so it's not a judgmental thing. I suppose I'm just curious if your opposition is because you don't trust the veracity of the info or if you think we, as people, have bigger fish to fry.

  • Flomulgator Flomulgator on Dec 11, 2008

    It's cuz he's a grumpy old **** that can't accept that the only constant is change.

  • KOKing That base hybrid system must be something other than the normal Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, since that uses the two electric motors as the ('CVT') transmission without a separate transmission of any kind.
  • Analoggrotto Too much of the exterior is shared with the Grand Highlander. Toyota/Lexus is clearly over extended here as this was rushed in direct response to the Kia Telluride which has decimated RX sales. Lexus was not such a major offender of just changing the front and rear end caps on a lesser Toyota model (this worked for LX / Land Cruiser as the latter is already expensive) but for such a mass market vehicle, buyers will notice and may just go to Toyota (or Kia) for their big SUV.
  • Crtfour I'm a BOF SUV fan. In my opinion it's certainly not a looker (but what is these days). But it does look the part and should be great off road. Plus kudos to Toyota for retaining actual shift levers. So I give it a thumbs up.
  • Theflyersfan UX Hybrid, NX, NX Hybrid, NX Plug-In Hybrid EV, RZ, RX, RX Hybrid, RX 500h, GX, LX, and now the TX. (source: the bloated section of the Lexus SUV site) It's looking like the Taco Bell menu over there - the same dozen ingredients mixed around to make a lineup. I'm waiting for something like the WX to compete with the Chevy Trax and maybe the LXXXL to compete with the Hummer EV and maybe a four row crossover in 2025 and a lower-cased line like the rx or nx to compete with the German CUV-"coupes" and their slashed tops and cargo areas. C'mon Lexus, there are more micro-niches to be filled! Gather your boardroom committees together and come up with another plan! And careless parent alert: shouldn't that kid be in a booster seat? I mean in my age, we sat in the way back of station wagons on the flat floor and bounced around with every curve, but these days you gotta deck your kid out in 50 pounds of pads and bubble wrap before they leave the driveway, so get that child seat in the way back right now!
  • 28-Cars-Later Nice minivan, just add the sliding doors and quit living in denial.