Hear the one about the healthy ocean?
USA Today, Monday April 21, 2003, page 6D in the LIFE
Conservationists are using stand-up comedy to attract public attention
to declining ocean ecosystems. A Web-based project laden with laugh
lines launched today at www.shiftingbaselines.org.
It focuses on raising the lowered expectations the public has developed
about what constitutes a healthy ocean. ''Every ecosystem I studied
is unrecognizably different from when I started,'' says project
director Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
a co-sponsor along with the Ocean Conservancy and the Surfrider
Foundation. The consortium asked Tom Arnold, Julia Louis-Dreyfus,
Bill Maher, Peter Mehlman (co-creator of Seinfeld) and Mindy Sterling
(Austin Powers) to select five spiels on the shifting-baselines
theme from more than 40 stand-up comedians to lure readers to read
up on the environment. One routine on the Web site features Guy
Stevenson's quip: ''In 2003, the federal government changed its
definition of pristine to 'lands untouched by civilization with
the exception of oil rigs, drilling equipment, pipelines, refineries,
workers, housing -- and the drugs, prostitution and gambling that
follows said housing.' ''