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ZLI's Otohime's Time Celebrates Animals of All Ages

Sea Turtle Research Grants Link Time and Wildlife Conservation

Published 04-21-20

Submitted by Zoological Lighting Institute

Time is a Resource

The Zoological Lighting Institute™ (ZLI) announced support today for aging populations, through ZLI’s Otohime’s Time Campaign. The Campaign draws attention to 1) the ecological contributions of animals across their entire lives, 2) the seasonality of significant life events and 3) the ways in which individual animals (and groups of animals) use time as a fundamental resource benefiting the environment as a whole. ZLI’s Otohime’s Time recognizes the values expressed in the Older Americans Act, seeking to apply them to benefit communities through wildlife conservation and animal welfare support. 

As an action item, the Campaign seeks to build support for phenological research, focusing on sea turtles due to the well documented consequences of artificial light at the earliest and later stages of their lives. Scientific questions of time raise an important alarm over the urgency of wildlife conservation. Older animals contribute to ecosystems in ways that are lost if not protected. Their ecological services are not only important in themselves, but cannot be replaced unless taught to younger, though aging, animals. ZLI’s Otohime’s Time Campaign funds phenological research to prevent the quickening of ecological ‘tipping points’ beyond which there is no return. Referencing the sad but beautiful Japanese Folk-tale Urashima Taro to underscore the social justice aspects of sea turtle conservation, ZLI’s Otohime’s Time Campaign applies traditional knowledge to addressing significant scientific, social and practical challenges.

ZLI Executive Director Dr. James Karl Fischer summarizes the connections between folk-take and wildlife conservation in this way: “In Urashima Taro, a Sea Turtle Princess (Otohime) repays her guardian fisherman (Urashima) by protecting him in turn from the effects of earthly time in a heaven under the sea. There is only so much she can do though, because Urashima is torn between accepting a reward for his good deeds, and obligations to his elderly parents. He never really learns how to make good choices. Urashima throws aside obligations to his parents by following Otohime, and afterwards his new obligations to her by seeking his parents long after they die. Urashima breaks promises by ignoring the importance of time, symbolized in the story by his disobediently opening a ‘tamatebako’ (box) that he had promised Otohime that he would keep closed. Opening the tamatebako, Urashima discovers his mortality, ages and dies. So, why is this important?

Ignoring time in biological or ecological research has layered consequences. On the one hand, it creates a bias in scientific research and conservation priorities. Mature and elderly animals are inadequately recognized for the ecological value they represent. Youth is not enough, other times in life are important to community resiliency as well. This is true for human and non-human animals alike. An ecosystem will collapse with the loss of mature and aged animals as surely as it will due to the loss of the young alone. Time is a resource that creates, and has created, integral value for life as a whole. For ZLI, we can also say that light and time are far more inter-related than most people remember. Night follows day, season after season, year after year. For humans living under artificial light, without natural variation and change, it is easy to ignore the fact of time and how our obligations are (or are not) being addressed within it. For ecosystems on the perpetual ‘tipping point’ brink, this lapse in attention is disastrous. Otohime’s Time will advance science by helping researchers to learn from insightful cultural heritage.”

ZLI’s Otohime’s Time Campaign is set to fund research in the form of grants, scholarships and pending additional funding, a potential post-doctoral position within the Institute itself. It includes sea turtles of all species, highlighting research that focuses on the role of time, light and health. ZLI’s PhotoSciences Research funds exploration in photo-physiology, sensory ecology and light based community interactions (integrative photo-biology). Candidates for the initial grant distribution will be selected on 1 July 2020, and can be applied for via ZLI’s website at www.zoolighting.org/grants.

The Campaign also features an upcoming film ‘Otohime’s Time’, which will begin shooting in Hawaii and Japan in conjunction with PhotoDiversity Films, as investments and sponsorships are secured. For more information about ZLI’s Otohime’s Time Campaign, and to learn how to sponsor or donate to help sea turtles while encouraging whole life engagement, please do visit www.zoolighting.org. For an immediate response contact ZLI directly at Otohime@zoolighting.org, and ask to speak with one of Otohime’s Time Campaign Committee Leaders. 

About The Zoological Lighting Institute:

A unique charitable 501 c(3) with a mission to ‘Support the Sciences of Light and Life through the Arts for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation,’  The Zoological Lighting Institute embraces the concept of ‘PhotoDiversity,’ referring to the importance that the diversity of natural light holds for living things, as well as the importance of cultural, social and human diversity has for science and its application. Please visit www.zoolighting.org for more information on Sponsorships, Donor Advisory Fund (DAF) Giving Opportunities and Matching Contribution Programs.

References and Resources:

www.zoolighting.org
https://legcounsel.house.gov/Comps/Older%20Americans%20Act%20Of%201965.pdf (Older Americans Act of 1965)
https://www.usanpn.org/about/why-phenology
https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/video/message-nature-coronavirus
https://www.cbd.int/financial/values/unitedkingdom-valueliterature.pdf

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For more information, please contact:

Stephen Villante Communications Director

Phone: 212-317-2927

James Karl Fischer PhD

Phone: 973-979-1984

Twitter: zoolighter

Brett Seymoure PhD PhotoSciences Director

Phone: 212-317-2927

Zoological Lighting Institute logo

Zoological Lighting Institute

Zoological Lighting Institute

A unique charitable 501 c(3) with a mission to ‘Support the Sciences of Light and Life through the Arts for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation,’ The Zoological Lighting Institute embraces the concept of ‘PhotoDiversity,’ referring to the importance that the diversity of natural light holds for living things, as well as the importance of cultural, social and human diversity has for science and its application.

With an international Board of Directors overseeing four departments, including Film & Media, Education, Sustainable Design and the PhotoSciences, The Zoological Lighting Institute is breaking new terrain in the application of science to address the under appreciated realms of light and life. Current Campaigns include Beached, Bearanoia, Insect Apocalypse, Otohime’s Time, Precious Light and Save a Billion Birds!. Please visit www.zoolighting.org for more information on Sponsorships, Donor Advisory Fund (DAF) Giving Opportunities and Matching Contribution Programs.

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