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Message by Paul Spong

The third season of Orca-LIVE will once again have people from around the world using the Internet to tune in to the sights and sounds of the Johnstone Strait area of British Columbia, Canada. This area is world famous for the orca whales which visit it during the summer and fall to feast on great salmon runs and enjoy each other's company. Because of the orcas, tens of thousands of human visitors also come people come here annually, to enjoy the whales and the beauty of the area they inhabit. Of course, not everyone can afford to make this journey in person -- costs are high and time is precious. Besides, Nature is finite and vulnerable so not everyone should come. But now, thanks to our visionary sponsor NTT DATA, anyone anywhere who has access to the Internet can experience the fascinating life of orcas and the world they live in.

Orca-live began as an experiment to see whether using technology to provide a live connection to the natural world would be meaningful to people at a distance. The answer is now very clear... yes, it is! Last year (2001) people from over 70 countries logged on to www.orca-live.net and cumulatively accessed the site over 45 million times during the six months life of the project. Not only was the volume of traffic impressive, but the quality of the experience was obviously profound for many people. One viewer commented "this tiny world is the oasis of my days". His sentiment echoed the feelings of many others who found LIVE a very welcome relief in a world that seems increasingly disconnected and dysfunctional. We know, of course, that technology can never completely substitute for the experience one gets from being in Nature alone, without distractions and with an open heart and mind. But as the technologies we are using develop, the experience of Nature we are able to provide will inevitably become more profound. Knowing the power of even a partial and imperfect connection, we are excited by the prospect of a future in which intimate experiences of the natural world are freely available to all who seek them. Our planet is our home. We need her, and we need to understand her. This is the true context of a Nature Network.

Orcas and their beautiful undersea world of kelp and fish and colours are not alone on this year's menu. Fascinating turtles and their natural habitat are here too, brought to us live from underwater cameras in Okierabu. As well, through links to related sites, other corners of the natural world are becoming increasingly accessible.

Welcome to LIVE 2002, and welcome to an expanded Nature Network!

2002.6.7





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