Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Haley Reading Group: Brooke Jarvis’s “The Deepest Dig”


[Best American Science and Nature Writing]

Brittany Tuggle


Brooke Jarvis’s article “The Deepest Dig” focuses on the unknowable consequences of toying with deep ocean seafloors and how deep sea mining is quickly becoming a new enterprise in spite of not truly knowing the risks. Jarvis unearths the heated opposing arguments for those who are either against deep-sea mining or supportive of this enterprise, and in doing so, she leaves the argument open for readers to dive into. Ultimately, the article extracts the unfamiliar and new to present a global issue, such as deep-sea mining, that is potentially beneficial to Earth, and/or potentially risky.

Jarvis’s discussion of humans scouring the sea for minerals that have been nearly used-up on Earth was extremely deep. At one point, Jarvis explains that “…as the most accessible land-based minerals are exhausted, those on the bottom of the sea are looking more like low-hanging fruit” (127). This point indicates the human tendency for excess and the desperate need for replenishment of these minerals that are decreasing on Earth due to our plentiful use.

After reading Jarvis’s article, what was one point concerning the potential dangers and/or benefits of deep-sea mining that was particularly profound to you? Please provide a page number citation.

46 comments:

Asher said...

"The sea might overflow and kill us." (128)
I think that is one concern in this chapter that I really never thought of. There are many places in our world that are in risk of being drowned by a body of water surrounding it. In this instance, New Ireland, has had several natural disasters that have increased this reality. I had no idea that New Britain, a neighboring island, was nearly wiped out by a volcano in 1994, which is fairly recent. It's even more interesting that, as much as we know about things above land and in space, the deep sea is probably the most untouched area of our world. What goes on down there? And are the things down below just hibernating for hundreds and thousands of years, until the explode? That is very scare, and it isn't something I think of on the regular. Now, I want to research about things like this.

-Asher Denkyirah

Aleeya Barrolle said...

“The Deepest Dig” article brought to my attention the potential dangers of deep-sea mining are that we are not sure what the dangers to worry about are yet. Jarvis says, “We’re not sure how mining may compound other stressors the ocean is facing, from acidification to overfishing. The only way to know how well the deep ocean will recover from disturbance, notes Andrew Thaler, a marine ecologist who used to work in Van Dover’s lab, is to disturb it” (130). This statement presents to the world that no one knows what will happen.

Jarvis has made known that there are deep-sea mines in the ocean that we have not mined yet. Without reading this article I would not have thought about mining place that we have not been talked about. Mining in the deap-sea could either be a good or bad thing for us.

Aleeya B.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I found profound was on between page 127-129. They repeatedly said how they were uncertain of what it could mean for the environment and people in Papua New Guinea, but continued to move forward to plans for the ocean mining. On page 127, they described how villagers lived, and how most only spent money on school fees and rides to town. In Papua New Guinea they had established a system that worked extremely well for their society and it could all be destroyed if something went wrong with the ocean mining.
Sydney J.

Joshua Jones said...

"One of the kids asked me what the metals from the seabed would be used for. It struck me unlikely they were to end up back here," (128).

This quote, even though it was an assumption by the narrator, clearly shows the lack of communication between those explorer and native. This danger, though it is not very extreme, is an intermediate danger to the native people of a land that is being excavated for its minerals. I find that this type of danger is always present in the world and it causes the native people to feel confused and hurt when their worlds are crushed due to the wants of more rich and powerful countries or groups of people.

-Joshua J.

Nyla Gantt said...

In the article "The Deepest Dig", page 128 quotes The sea might overflow and kill us." This statement made me stop and think. If circumstances got to that point, would it really happen? What precautions could we take to ensure that it doesn't? Not very any people have the proper resources to evacuate their habitat if such a thing should occur. This a scarce thought for some people, so essentially no one would be prepared for it.

- Nyla G.

Brandy Collier said...

After reading the article "The Deepest Dig", one concern that I found was when it stated,"...the dark regions of the ocean comprise more than 98 percent of the planet's habitat, yet we know exceptionally little about them"(129). I never thought about the things that we don't know about the ocean. This could be potentially dangerous for everyone because we don't know what is in those dark areas. There are many of these areas that have not been explored that could reveal things that could either help us or be dangerous.

Brandy C.

Simone Hall said...

The article "The Deepest Dig" exposes the dangers of mining in the ocean and draws necessary attention to the specific problems that this act can create. On page 130, the article explains that one of the biggest worry is that we may not know exactly what to worry about. I agree with this one hundred percent. This is because, mining on land is something that we're still figuring out and is still considered to be extremely dangerous.Therefore, mining in an area that is still not fully understood brings those dangers to a different level. I believe that until we are able to say that we know everything there is to know about an area, we shouldn't be doing anything there, let alone something that can be as harmful, or dangerous as mining.

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

"Yet we squirm more than usual to learn that even the bottom of the ocean is no longer beyond the limits of human industry. This is the contradiction of the deep sea. However much it may seem to be a separate, alien world- however much we may like to think of it that way- it isn't"(132). This just shows that even though we don't really know what we're getting ourselves into, but because we have the resources and we need the minerals that deep-sea mining can provide we do it anyways. I feel like this is a pretty common thing that we do, even though it's unknown and scary, people feel the need to go ahead and explore regardless. It's very similar to when we decided to send man to the moon even though we knew it was risky.
-Jazmyn Maggitt

Tatyana Curtis said...

"The land of marvels"(126).
This line caught my attention and concern because I never paid much attention to the sea and or the creatures that live about the sea. I feel like us humans go about our day without a care for other people or things. Now that Brooke Jarvis has brought to my attention the marvels within the sea I feel as if we should take extra in protecting the Seas.

Kellsey H said...

The point concerning the potential dangers and/or benefits of deep-sea mining that was particularly profound to me, was in regards to animals. On page 130 it is stated that " Scientists worry about sediments, either kicked up off the seafloor or produced by cutting and grinding, mixing into the water and suffocating animals or disrupting filter feeders." I feel as though it is unfair for humans to conduct deep-sea mining procedures when they are aware that it is harming other living creatures.

-Kellsey H

Aja J said...

What stands out to me in this article is the fact that “the dark regions of the ocean comprise more than 98 percent of the planet’s habitat, yet we know exceptionally little about them,”(129). I think this is very a concerning statement when it comes to deep-sea mining. This statement really makes you wonder what are the consequences or benefits of deep-sea mining.
-Aja J

Kaelyn Blunt said...

"If acidic vent fluid and metals aren't handled carefully when they are brought out of the deep, they could spill and kill reefs" (130)
In my lifetime, there have been many disastrous spills into the ocean that have affected many animals of the sea, and if this happens it will just add to this list. The list that is already long enough. If there is something to do to prevent this happening, we should do it. How many times can something like this happens before we are used to it? Because if we become used to it, we won't care for it anymore, and in turn we will be killing the earth that much faster. Killing reefs is an unnecessary cost that should be avoided in anyway we can. We can keep mining, but put in a little extra money to do it in a safe manner.

Kaelyn B.

Kayla Daniels said...

"When the vents were first discovered...It was an astonishing reminder of how little we understand the sea..." (pg. 129). This quote shows just how clueless we, meaning humans, are to the Earth and its mysteries. That being said, it also shows that we probably should not be mining the sea simply because we do not know what happens there. We have not fully accepted the dangers of mining the sea. But as they say,"Ignorance is bliss".

Olivia Slater said...

Several classes that I have taken at SIUE have touched on the topic of industrialization and the effects it has on the environment. On page 129, the author states "In Papua New Guinea opponents of seabed mining make a point of using the word experimental". The idea of large industries justifying their environmentally harmful activities as research or experimental is simply a way of putting the public at ease. This chapter reiterated the relationship between big business and environmental endangerment. Although this chapter was not centered around the impact of big business, that was all I could think about while reading the chapter. It is true that the planet is in danger of flooding; "The sea might overflow and kill us" (128). This is an example of the polar ice caps melting which has led to rises in sea levels and erosion of continental land. Essentially, new ways of mining are just like any other endeavor; there are pros and cons. Environmentally speaking, there are certainly more cons than pros; however,this does not mean that mining these areas is absolutely detrimental to society. Jarvis is simply trying to raise awareness and cause the public to think about a generally unknown topic.

Zuriah Harkins said...

In "The Deepest Dig," Jarvis states that, "During my three weeks in Papua New Guinea last winter, I repeatedly found people turning my own questions back on me: What should we
think of the mine? What does it mean for the ocean? The one thing everyone seemed to know was that the mine would be the first, the very first, in the world" (127-128). Because of this, I feel like the greatest danger is the simple fact that we are not sure what the result of the mining will be. Even the few dangers that they predicted could happen is enough to convince me that the mine is not a good idea.

However, I do understand that we need an alternative to land-mining. I just feel like scientists should find out as much information as they can about sea-mining and also explore other options.
Zuriah H.

Kathryn Hatches said...

One of the points brought up in "The Deepest Dig," is the fact that we really don't know a lot about the ocean. Brook Jarvis notes, "the biggest worry is that we may not yet know what to worry about." That stands out to me because there are thousands of species yet to be discovered in the ocean because of how dangerous it is for humans to travel deep into it. While they make a case that deep sea mining provides us with possible minerals and other things needed for our survival, the author forgets to mention that we are responsible for depleting the planet's resources in the first place.

Kathryn Hatches said...

One point mentioned in "The Deepest Dig" article is that we truly don't know a lot about the ocean. Brooke Jarvis notes, "...the biggest worry is that we may not yet know what to worry about" (Jarvis 130). This particularly stood out to me because there are so many animal species that haven't been discovered due to the danger of humans going deep into the sea. While deep sea mining could provide us with minerals and other things necessary for our survival, the author fails to mention that we are the ones responsible for depleting the planet's resources in the first place.

Trevon Bosley said...

I've always been captivated by the vastness and uniqueness of the Earth's Oceans and this article only sparked my interest even more ,but it also opened my eyes to the many problems that come when humans tend to be interested in things. Knowing of the minerals and money that can come from the exploration of the deep sea it worries me that many will begin to take advantage of nature once again. Similar to how the "land based gold mine toxic waste into the sea,"(128)the deep sea miners will only add to the toxic waste damaging the sea. Although I believe the deep sea needs to be explored I also believe guidelines for exploration should be made so the natural habitats of the creatures in the deep sea wont be harmed.

Peyton D. said...

"But the biggest worry is that we may not yet know what to worry about. How do you do a risk benefit analysis of something that's never been done before? How do you decide what's safe and what's not in a place whose workings are opaque to you?"(Page 130) I think with any new exploration and disturbance of land this is a concern. Many times the consequences of disturbing land and extracting things from the Earth are not known until it has already been occurring for some time. No matter the concern, danger,or consequences, humans do what they want to anyway.

Alexis Acoff said...

One thing I learned from this article that I did not know or even think of is that fact that the ocean is the environment that we know the least about. To imagine that we know more about outer space than we do of oceans on our own planet is very interesting to me. The author mentioned on page 129 that the creatures and organisms that live in the part of the ocean that people are trying to mine do not use photosynthesis, but they use chemical reactions. It seems like tampering in an area where chemical reactions are the basis of life is not a good idea. Humans have a way of messing everything up, and only one minor slip up could mean the lives of thousands of organisms in the area they are working in, which could also affect the sea creatures above them, in the parts where we do our fishing and recreation.

Payton Bridegroom said...

On page 130 Jarvis discusses one of the concerns which involves the sediment. I found this interesting because I would have never really thought about this when i thought of concerns. This is a concern in the first place because it can suffocate animals or disrupt filter feeders. The seafloor plays a large role in the way the oceans cycles the needed things to keep it properly functioning. The only way for them to know if the seafloor will be able to recover from the mining is to disturb it.
Payton B.

Derick B. said...

One danger that caught my attention in the article was the health of the sea animals. On page 127, Jarvis said the company Nautilus had plans to drill the Solwara for oil and dump the excess acidic fluids back into the sea. This will polute the animals habitat and causes some species to die off.

Alona Davenport said...

"Opponents of seabed mining make a point of using the word experimental when referring to it; they also emphasize the difficulty of tracking or containing the impacts of industry in a shifting and difficult to study marine environment (129).
This quote showed me how those who are running this don't really understand the consequences of it. It is simply considered to be an experiment. They, though, are aware that it would be very difficult to figure out the impacts that the industry may have. And yet, they continue to do this without being fully aware of the costs/benefits.

Alona D.

Robert Craig Jr said...

Brooke Jarvis states, "Today the deep sea remains a world of mystery and fantasy, less mapped--and perhaps less present in our collective thoughts--than the surface of Mars" (129). I believe that this statement best represents both the benefits and the risks of deep sea excavation. Because the bottoms of the oceans are largely unknown, we as a society cannot fathom the potential resources that we can find there. The ocean floors can hold the keys to sustaining humanity's growing population on this planet. Speaking of planets, how can we truly weigh the risks and the benefits when we know less of the ocean floor than we know of the surface of a planet 54.6 million kilometers away from us? Compared to that, the ocean floors are literally in our backyard. We lack the necessary understanding of such an ecosystem to safely mine for the rocks on the bottom of the oceans. As the Gulf spill and numerous other spills have shown us, we can hardly handle mining resources relatively close to the surface of the ocean. While the benefits may be substantial, we simply lack the knowledge and the tools necessary to take our mining to a higher level, or lower in this case.

albino ALPACA said...

"The Biggest Dig" interested me. It made me realize that there is still a new frontier to be explored on earth. This whole rush to mine it and make money is not the way things should be done. Usually new areas are explored and studied for many years before we decide to make money mining them.

-David B.

Nylah Berner said...

"The deepest dig" was very interesting to read. Before reading this article I never thought of the deep sea as another planet. I never really thought about the different types of creatures that could be down there. I thought the pressure down there was too strong for humans to even discover anything new down there. This article also brought to my attention the possible dangers of the deep sea.

Nylah Berner

Jessica D said...

There were many potential dangers of deep sea mining. The one I found most profound was, "The sea might overflow and kill us." The thought of the sea taking over the entire land and killing everyone is horrible. That is a scary thought to think of when sea mining. Is it really worth possibly dying?

Marcus Barnes said...

After reading Brooke Jarvis's "The Deepest Dig," the fact that "we're not sure how mining may compound other stressors the ocean is facing, from acidification to overfishing" (130) really is a big concern and stands out to me. Not knowing how mining could effect the ocean floor and living species around it is a big risk. Mining could be a great source of getting sources of energy, but it also has the potential to leave great damage to the ecosystems surrounding where mining is ocurring. Mining should definitely be regulated and watched to make sure that as much of the environment is not negatively harmed or destroyed in the process.

Cheniya A. said...

In Deepest Dig, one thing I found interesting and at the same time fear evoking was the quote on page 128, "The sea might overflow and kill us." It made me come to the realization that there is still so much to be discovered about the Earth, there are so much that we don't know that we aren't even capable of knowing, worrying, or even wondering at this point in time in relation to the sea and all of its wonders. It also made me think of how large of a footprint we leave on Earth as humans.
-Cheniya Alston

Miya Evans said...

when I was younger I always said that I wanted to be a marine biologist of sorts and spend all my time in the ocean. Growing up in japan, that's all I knew. So this reading interested me to the fullest. Even though it wasn't exactly related to marine biology but more so mining underwater, I was still intrigued. I love how the underlying message of the whole piece expresses how much we don't know about worlds other than our own, such as the world underwater. It shows how people like Cindy Lee Van Dover are determined to find answers about the unknown. On page 125 there's a quote that says "Literally unfathomable, the deep see is still the most remote and least understood environment on Earth and perhaps the closest thing to a final frontier our beleaguered planet can claim." This quote resonates with me because it just relates to the mystery that the deep sea possess and the lack of understanding that the human world has about it.

Paris Smith said...

In Deepest Dig, the line that I found interesting and at the same time fear evoking was the quote on page 128, "The sea might overflow and kill us." The world is so huge and there is so much to see and discover but not just in the world. I am in pharmacy school, and there is so much about medications and drugs that we still do not even know about. We do not know specifically how they work and interact with our bodies and how they make us feel better. I am working on learning about it now, but even with drugs still in research, we are finding out new things everyday, but there is still so much more to learn.

Fiona Hill said...

The section with the Deepest Dig article was the most interesting to me. It showed how selfish humans could be to disturb an entire ecosystem just to find more resources. It showed that the people interested in mining did not care about the other animals in the environment or the people who live near the mining sites. Doing something without being fully aware of the possible consequences is selfish and dangerous.

DeAndre Ghist said...

The most interesting part of this chapter is on page 128, when it says "The sea might overflow and kill us". It is really silly once you hear it, but then the article goes even further by explaining how it could be possible for small islands like New Ireland or New Britain. Just knowing that deep-sea mining could possibly kill people, is completely terrifying, and makes you wonder. Why would we keep mining when it could bite us back in the future?

Natasha said...

On page 130, the article basically mentions fear of the unknown in regard to deep sea mining. This really caught my attention because being that far underwater is very dangerous (for obvious reasons). We still have much to understand about deep sea mining, what's down there, and the best technology to use. Overall, I thought this was an interesting article, but if I was one of the people working down there then fear of not knowing everything about my environment would definitely be frightening.

Maxwell Chew said...

This reading really made me think about how little we know about the ocean and how at a moments notice something could happen and the seas and oceans could flood the whole world. It's crazy to think about because if something like this happened millions of people would have no way of keeping themselves safe. How would we prepare for that? What are ways to ensure that something like this doesn't happen?

-Maxwell Chew

Maxwell Chew said...

This reading really got me thinking about how little we know about the undersea world and all the ways it affects us. At a moments notice the world could be flooded and millions of people would be so unprepared for it all. We need to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants. What are ways we can prepare ourselves to ensure that we stay safe if something like a tsunami or flooding happens?

Breanna B. said...

"The sea might overflow and kill us." This quote from page 128 is captivating and striking. I see a lot of my peers agree with me on this. It is scary that something so much bigger than us, something which we abuse, could finally "have enough" and fight back in a sense.

Richyrich98 Gude said...

"Today the deep sea remains a world of mystery and fantasy, less mapped- and perhaps less present in our collective thoughts- than the surface of Mars." This excerpt on page 129, is alarming. We know more about our solar system, something that doesn't immediately effect us that we know of, than our own oceans on the planet in which we inhabit. I feel a benefit of deep sea mining would be that we would begin to learn more and more about what is in our waters and what good we can do as a result of finding new information.

Richard G.

Aliyah Butler said...

This quote gave me chills, "The biggest worry is that we may not yet know what to worry about" (130). I've heard that we know more about space than we do the ocean, or we've at least explored space more. Who knows what is actually in those deep waters that we can't reach yet. That's horrifying. It makes you wonder what you could potentially find.

Aliyah B.

Jeremiah B. said...

Overall I think there is more danger to deep sea mining then there would be benefits. Jarvis mentions how little we knew about the deep-sea until recently when she compares the subject to our discoveries in space. This type of mining was also considered experimental in Papua New Guinea (129). In my opinion, there is a high risk associated in mining for these resources and I don't think that the risk is worth the reward.

De'Abrion Joyner said...

"Literally unfathomable, the deep sea is still the most remote and least understood environment on Earth and perhaps the closet thing to a final frontier our beleaguered planet can claim."
This quote from page 126 really opened my mind and made me think of how little we actually know about the deep sea. Since we don't know all that much about it and the dangers of going down that far it's like we should kind of be cautious. But at the same time after realizing that I don't really know much about the ocean floor it makes me want to support taking the risk and getting a better understanding of what's going on in our planet.

Ashley Murray said...

I found the line on page 128, "One of the kids asked me what the metals from the seabed would be used for. It struck me unlikely they were to end up back here," very profound. i believe the narrator left this open ended for the reader to choose what to think next. Although the author wasn't sure, with pollution and other factors that go along with mining for minerals it's sad to say tearing up the sea floor for its treasures will cause it to be put back in the ocean damaging it more in the form of pollution

-Ashley M

Shardai J-H. said...

The mention of the uncertainty many people felt in regards to mining the ocean floor is what I found profound. Since Nautilus is the first to embark on doing so, we do not know the repercussions. In my opinion, the results cannot be good; given the negative impact humans have on land and nature above sea level. Page 125-126 says, "Literally unfathomable, the deep sea is still the most remote and least understood environment on Earth and perhaps the closest thing to a final frontier our planet can claim." Humans just simply need to understand that this is not our world, it holds a host of organisms that should be left alone.

Barry F. said...

"The Deepest Dig" includes a few ways that deep sea mining is harmful to the ocean environment and surrounding area. One that fought my eye was when on pg 130, the disruption of filter feeders and sediment on the floor of the ocean could suffocate the organisms down there. This shows how humans can be so focused on money and other things and not care that they are destroying a habitat.

Bryce Barker said...

On page 124 to 125, "The animals that live on the vents fascinate biologists like her because we understand so little about them...there most basic functions are unlike those of all other life on Earth." Even though this comes before the deep sea mining takes place I think it shows the benefits of this act because it allows us to learn more about a certain type of animal or mineral that we didn't have the knowledge of beforehand.

John Kriha said...

After reading Jarvis’s article “The Deep Dig”, an issue that I found to particularly profound was how the creation of deep sea mining sites could cause large amounts of damage to the surrounding ocean environment. On page 130, Jarvis brings up the important point that “If acidic vent fluid and metals aren’t handled carefully when they’re brought out of the deep, they could spill and kill reefs.” Not only is the pollution from the mining site itself capable of producing large amounts of pollution, but the process of extraction can cause contamination within the sea itself. Scientists should wait until they have a better understanding of how to safely extract while avoid the risks.