Signs of Life

5 Reasons

A Little Bit of Water Goes a Long WayBringing life back to the Colorado River Delta

For eight glorious weeks, from March 23 to May 18, 2014, the Colorado River flowed all the way to the Gulf of California, something it hadn’t done regularly since the 1930s. Minute 319, a 2012 amendment to the 1944 water treaty between Mexico and the United States, allowed water from the Morelos Dam to run through a 40-mile stretch of parched riverbed to the Colorado River Delta. Scientists designed a “pulse flow” to release 105,392 acre-feet of water to mimic spring floods and “base flows,” which will continue until the measure expires in 2017. The long-term goal of Minute 319 is to create a cooperative system whereby both nations can share the Colorado River for water storage and ecological restoration research. “We’re never going to get back to a condition where the delta was like it was in the 1930s before the Hoover Dam went up,” said Karl Flessa, a lead scientist on the binational research team. But if the project were extended to allow more flows, we could see “a whole series of narrow parks of native vegetation and native trees and native birds,” he said.

Diondra Powers

Diondra Powers is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned degrees in psychology and journalism with emphases in magazines and photojournalism. She is interested in environmental journalism and hopes to continue bringing attention to wildlife conservation and sustainability solutions. In her free time, she enjoys reading, climbing, and video games.

1. Bird Migration

Scientists observed increased numbers of delta birds: raptors around the basin, migratory birds, and even birds normally associated with agricultural growth and urban development. Osvel Hinojosa Huerta, director of the Water and Wetlands Program at Pronatura Noroeste in Mexico and co-chair of the Minute 319 environmental flows team, is helping monitor the wildlife response to the release. “As soon as we released [the pulse flow], the river came back,” Hinojosa Huerta said. “And this was in the spring, late March, so it was in the middle of the migration season.” Stopover sites like the delta are critical for the survival of migrating birds, which breed as far north as Canada and Alaska and winter as far south as Central America. “The migrating birds saw this new habitat, this new opportunity for use and rest.”

2. A Fairer Role for Mexico

The original 1944 water treaty stipulated an annual 1.5 million acre-feet allowance of water for Mexico, but that water had to be used immediately because Mexico didn’t have much infrastructure to store water. The Minute 319 amendment provided Mexico a long-needed water storage area: Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, located on the edge of Nevada and Arizona. It is a crucial concession, especially during droughts. “The main benefit is this collaboration to prevent a water crisis,” said Hinojosa Huerta. “Before Minute 319, Mexico had no participation at all in how the river was managed data-wise.” Now Mexico is a partner in management of the watershed. “Minute 319’s really changed the concept of how we are approaching water management.”

Younger generations of Mexicans know only the barren riverbeds below the dam, and older generations haven’t seen water flowing down to the delta in decades.

3. Native Vegetation

In recent decades, the river channel and its immediate floodplain have been devoid of greenery. This new inflow of water, however, caused some native tree seeds, such as cottonwoods and willows, to germinate. While most of the saplings didn’t survive long after the pulse flow period, some did, proving the ground is still fertile under the right conditions. Karen Schlatter, project manager for the Colorado River Delta Program at the Sonoran Institute, said the highest 4germination of native plant species occurred in the central delta, largely due to the preparation of the land before the pulse flow came through.

4. Water for Dry Riverbeds

Once the water was released from the Morelos Dam, it had to flow down some extremely dry channels, said Eloise Kendy, a hydrologist with The Nature Conservancy who also worked on the project. “It’s dry down to 50 feet,” she said. Because this bone-dry stretch of the river hasn’t seen a consistent flow for nearly a century, a lot of the water from the flow sank into the riverbed before continuing downstream. Scientists had to coax the water along using irrigation canals and alternating flows.

5. A Glimpse of the Past

Younger generations of Mexicans know only the barren riverbeds below the dam, and older generations haven’t seen water flowing down to the delta in decades. “There was tremendous community response in Mexico,” said Jennifer Pitt, director of the Colorado River Project for the Environmental Defense Fund. Pitt saw the celebrations firsthand. During the eight-week flow, impromptu carnivals and markets popped up riverside. People flocked to the river, she said, recognizing “an opportunity to participate in an event where big institutional players were giving something back to the environment.”

Diondra Powers

Diondra Powers is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where she earned degrees in psychology and journalism with emphases in magazines and photojournalism. She is interested in environmental journalism and hopes to continue bringing attention to wildlife conservation and sustainability solutions. In her free time, she enjoys reading, climbing, and video games.

People We Love

How to Stop a Pipeline

Unist'ot'ten Territory

Visitors to Unist’ot’en territory must stop at a bridge checkpoint over the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River). While they welcome many, from volunteers to hunters and loggers, the clan denies access to pipeline surveyors and Canadian police. YES! Photos by Stephen Miller

Sixty-five kilometers into the forested landscape of British Columbia, a clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation has reoccupied its traditional lands in order to stop several proposed energy pipelines. With the support of volunteers, the Unist’ot’en have stood their ground for more than five years, re-establishing a relationship with their ancestral lands and inspiring other indigenous groups across North America.

Freda Huson

Freda Huson

Encouraging a Native revolution

Freda Huson is the face of a nonviolent, women-led movement to reoccupy the Unist’ot’en’s unceded territory and to maintain the clan’s relationship with the land. She was chosen by the clan’s hereditary chiefs as a spokesperson, a guide, and a leader in the movement to prevent pipelines from entering the territory. Today, she lives permanently on the land, which media and supporters call the Unist’ot’en camp.

Special Report: Unsurrendered

Huson insists that the camp is not a protest but a responsibility. The location of the territory makes the Unist’ot’en the people nearest to the headwaters of the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River), and she says it is her duty to make decisions that will protect other clans of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and neighbors downstream. The water, the Unist’ot’en assert, is their lifeblood.

Thus far, she has succeeded. After more than five years of monitoring a checkpoint, rotating through volunteers, receiving threats from government and industry, garnering worldwide grassroots support, and erecting several permanent buildings in the paths of proposed pipelines, Huson is beginning to see her actions inspire others around the globe. “Move back to your land,” she urges. “Get off the reservations. We don’t need government to live. Just live like this.”

Dave Ages

Dave Ages

Building physical and financial foundations

As both a grassroots fundraiser and a builder for the Unist’ot’en camp, Dave Ages demonstrates how large-scale support can start small.

He embarked on his first major goal last year: building the bunkhouse for volunteers on Unist’ot’en territory and crowdfunding it with a Fundrazr campaign. More recently, he and his wife, Virginia Monk, raised close to $40,000 to complete the first phase of the camp’s Healing Centre.

Ages’ crowdfunding work has been instrumental in financing these structures, but when he visits the camp, he serves as a carpenter. He calls himself an ally, not a supporter. “I don’t think it’s the responsibility of indigenous people to fight the fossil fuel economy, and then it’s the role of others to help them out,” he says. “That’s a terrible burden to place on them. I see us working together in a common cause.”

With the first stage of the Healing Centre complete, Ages contributed to the Unist’ot’en’s ultimate vision for the camp by building an educational space. And it all began locally: The people of Galiano Island, a community of about 1,200 near Victoria, B.C., that Ages calls home, donated more than a quarter of the $90,000 he and Monk have raised for the camp so far.

Zoe Blunt

Zoe Blunt

Ferrying volunteers to the frontlines

In 2012, activist Zoe Blunt paid cash for a 48-passenger International Harvester diesel school bus. Armed only with supplies, volunteers, and a knowledge of nonviolent direct action, her Summer Action Camp made its first voyage to the Unist’ot’en camp.

That trip kick-started the camp’s most vital support network: volunteers. Since 2012, the summer caravan, operated through the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network, has ferried about 350 volunteers to the camp and hundreds more via near-weekly rideshares. The network also offers workshops and a legal defense fund for pipeline opponents.

Wary of the entanglement of government and corporations, Blunt says the network takes the side of the underdog. Her involvement in indigenous-led movements began with an effort to save the Elaho Valley, an area sacred to the Squamish First Nation, from logging. After a series of arrests, tree sits, and nonviolent occupation, the campaign succeeded: Loggers backed off, and rights to the Elaho were restored to the Squamish people.

Such experience leads Blunt to believe the tiny Unist’ot’en clan can stand tall against big oil. “[The clan is] in a position of power,” Blunt says, “and their power comes from their own land — or should, if there is any justice or fairness in the world.”

Waging Life in a War ZoneFrom Gaza's colorful neighborhood to its underground theater, resistance is an art

Mohammed al-Saedi and Abu Adnan Nayef work with residents in their “colorful neighborhood” in Gaza

Mohammed al-Saedi and Abu Adnan Nayef work with residents in their “colorful neighborhood” in Gaza. Photo by Hamza Saftawi

Mohammed al-Saedi leads me through the densely populated Gaza City neighborhood of al-Zaitoun. Walls are painted in blues and pinks, with wooden shutters of purple and yellow. Plants are potted in colorful buckets at each corner.

“Color and flowers give the human positive energy, relax him, and provide much-needed comfort to the soul, heart, and mind,” says al-Saedi, a slender man of 57, wearing a paint-splattered shirt.

Jen Marlowe

Jen Marlowe is the communications associate for Just Vision and the founder of donkeysaddle projects. Her award-winning books and films include Witness Bahrain, I Am Troy Davis, The Hour of Sunlight, One Family in Gaza, and Darfur Diaries. You can follow her on Twitter @donkeysaddleorg.

The initial idea had been small in scope: to beautify his home with flowers and paint. But neighbors took notice and encouraged al-Saedi to spread the beauty. Some donated funds, others labor or ideas. Abu Adnan Nayef was experienced with wood and iron and offered to partner with al-Saedi. “Our idea became bigger: to make all Gaza Strip as beautiful as possible.”

Nayef points to an overhead lattice with colorful bucket planters and lanterns dangling from hooks. “These are broomsticks. Don’t be surprised! We make beautiful things with simple materials.” Tires, wood, iron — all are salvaged and recycled to adorn al-Zaitoun.

“Paintings and flowers are psychological treatments to reduce the severity and pain of poverty. It brings self-reliance,” al-Saedi says. They believe the beautification project helps lessen the pain in Gaza from wars, siege, and destruction, especially for children.

Throughout Gaza Strip, painters, photographers, theater artists, musicians, and filmmakers are using their art not just as a form of therapy, but also as a tool of resistance.

“What we did in the street is a strong reply to the occupation,” al-Saedi explains, referring to Israel’s 48-year military occupation of the Palestinian territories. “The occupation insists on killing the Palestinian people and destroying us psychologically, culturally, and scientifically, in addition to destroying our civilization, history, and future. But the occupation will figure out that the Palestinian people can make life from death.” He points to war debris that had been converted into planters. “We say to Israel: Destroy as much as you’re able, and we’ll build and plant [again].”

Nayef receives Facebook messages from people all over Gaza Strip who want to start similar projects, but lack of resources limits expansion. Tamer Institute for Community Education, a local nonprofit established during the first Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, and Kinder USA, founded by American physicians and humanitarian relief workers, have provided some much-appreciated support, but much of the funding has come from the pair’s pockets. “We have many talented people,” al-Saedi says. “[With enough resources,] you’d see something new daily.”

A large tank shell lies overturned next to a community garden that they planted. The shell is a remnant of last summer’s war on Gaza, in which 2,205 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed. Nayef lifts the missile upright and places a pink rose on its nose. “I’m going to make something beautiful from it,” he says.

Sisters Tamara and Sarah Abu Ramanda consider their music a form of resistance.

Sisters Tamara and Sarah Abu Ramanda consider their music a form of resistance. Photo by Jen Marlowe

Tamara and Sarah Abu Ramanda, 20- and 23-year-old sisters from Gaza City, are also committed to making something beautiful: music.

Tamara began playing violin two years ago, primarily teaching herself with YouTube videos, and Sarah is a singer. “The violin is small but makes a large sound,” Tamara says in her soft yet confident voice. She relates to the instrument. “Even if you’re small, you can create a lot of music. You can make others really hear you.” It’s not easy for young people trapped in Gaza to be heard outside, Tamara explains. “I can talk through my violin. I can tell the world that we exist.”

Music provides the sisters an escape from the pain of war, the injustice of occupation, and the isolation from living under the siege imposed by Israel when in 2007 the Islamic party Hamas wrested control of the coastal enclave. It’s also how they fight back.

“The main purpose of any entity who wages wars on a weaker country is to break the will of the people,” Tamara says. She practiced violin during the 2014 war despite criticism from friends who thought it inappropriate to play music while people were being killed. “I have to continue to [play violin] to show the world that the occupation can’t destroy our will and determination,” Tamara insists. “It’s a kind of resistance not to give up. We don’t want to submit to the occupation.”

Israel wants Palestinians to be regarded as primitive and backward, Tamara says. Through music, she feels she challenges those stereotypes. And traditional music is a vehicle to claim Palestinian heritage in the face of an occupying power that expropriates Palestinian land, resources, and also culture. “It’s a way to say we’ve existed for a long time, and our culture will continue to exist,” Tamara explains.

The sisters are also resisting internal oppression through their music. “Because both the occupation and [the Hamas] government,” Sarah begins, “oppress talents,” Tamara finishes.

Sarah recalls months of rehearsal in 2013 for a project called Gaza Singing for Peace. The morning of the concert, the ministry of interior in Gaza informed the group that they couldn’t perform “because boys and girls in the group were singing together in front of people,” Sarah says. After placing calls to various high-level officials, the young musicians eventually obtained government permission and performed in front of an enthusiastic audience. But the incident served as a reminder that culture in Gaza is controlled by Hamas.

Theater artist Ali Abu Yassin and filmmaker Khalil al-Muzain are well aware of Hamas’ control of cultural expression. There can be no overt sexuality in their scripts or screenplays. Women’s costumes must adhere to conservative Islamic values. In one film, al-Muzain didn’t follow these norms. “The day of the screening, [government officials] took all the material, the machines, and closed the venue,” he says.

Friends warned Abu Yassin against producing his play “The Cage” because it was critical of the political leadership. He produced it regardless and escaped consequences, but believes it was because he is well-known. “If someone else produced this, I think that Hamas would arrest him,” he says.

Mustafa Sawaf, Hamas’ acting minister of culture in Gaza, admits that artistic work might be censored if it doesn’t “match the culture of the society” but claims that political criticism is welcome. “Any government has to accept criticism,” Sawaf says. “We are human, we make mistakes, and the aim of art is to deliver a message about societal improvement and evaluation.”

Abu Yassin also used to criticize the former ruling party, Fatah. The difference between criticizing Fatah then and criticizing Hamas now? “Now I feel afraid,” Abu Yassin says.

Censorship of Palestinian culture is not new. According to Palestinian theater historian Samer al-Saber, the Israelis practiced it (and in some ways still do). In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Israeli military governor (or his appointed committee) censored plays either because the content invoked Palestinian nationalism or because “performances constituted public gatherings, which were often banned without regard to content,” al-Saber says.

On matters of principle — freedom of women, political pluralism, human rights — al-Muzain doesn’t compromise. But he avoids triggering Hamas’ censorship by expressing his ideas diplomatically. It’s either that or clashing with the Hamas authorities, staying silent, or emigrating — options he’s eliminated. “I know my society; I want to develop it,” he says. “France doesn’t need me, America doesn’t need me. But Gaza needs me.”

“In 1970, Gaza had 12 cinemas,” Abu Yassin says. Today there are none. Gazan society has become increasingly conservative over the years, a trend that has intensified since the Islamic Hamas movement came into power, Abu Yassin says.

The absence of liberal culture left a void, he says, in which intolerant, inflexible viewpoints have flourished. Abu Yassin believes his art will ultimately lead to more freedom, cultural awareness, self-respect, tolerance, and knowledge about how to defend one’s rights, but it’s a long, uphill struggle. “I don’t think that we can have a country, a [Palestinian] state without theater and cinema,” he says.

According to Sarah, one of the musical sisters, young women in Gaza rarely sing, especially in public. “[Many people believe] it’s forbidden for a girl to sing, for people to see her. So this is what silences us, but I refuse this. When I sing, I feel freedom.”

The number of female actors has also decreased. One of Abu Yassin’s apprentices, a vivacious 19-year-old named Yasmeen Katba, joined his Ashtar theater troupe at age 11, but in 12th grade, her father forbade her to continue. “[People in Gaza think] what we do [in theater] is impolite,” Katba says. Community members often assume that acting is akin to belly dancing or that their plays include love scenes, “but that’s wrong,” she continues. “And when they come to see our plays, they change their minds.” Eventually, Katba found the confidence to confront her father. “I told him I’m old enough and I know what I’m doing. He accepts — I can’t say 100 percent — but he’s accepting it because he knows it’s part of my life.”

I know my society; I want to develop it. France doesn’t need me, America doesn’t need me. But Gaza needs me.
—Khalil al-Muzain

Katba and Ehab Elyan (another student of Abu Yassin) both believe that theater can tackle the internal social problems facing Gaza’s economy, education system, youth, and women, as well as powerfully communicate Palestinian suffering and humanity to the world.

“Theater doesn’t fix problems,” Elyan says. “We only highlight them.” Though Elyan would love to act in comedies or romance plays, he says, “We are a nation under occupation … this is the issue we must talk about, not love.”

According to Abu Yassin, people appreciate theater if their issues are portrayed and actors “express things ordinary people cannot say.” The reality that Abu Yassin’s art reflects is often defined by war, blockade, and crushing poverty. But his plays also provide temporary relief from those hardships. “When I see someone laughing because of my words, I feel that I own the world,” he says.

Al-Muzain wants audiences to leave his films affirming humanity and wants his art to support Palestinian unity. Isolating Gaza from the rest of Palestine, as if it were an independent kingdom, only serves the agendas of both Hamas and Israel, he insists. But the enforced separation between Gaza and the West Bank makes it difficult for al-Muzain to create relationships with other Palestinian artists, and the nearly sealed borders with both Egypt and Israel make it almost impossible for him to travel with his films to international festivals.

Though Skype has opened to Abu Yassin some level of communication with fellow artists, and YouTube has allowed him to view artistic work from around the world, he’s rarely able to bring his productions to the outside world. “Our work is kept locked here,” he says. “Our dreams are killed.”

The siege means a lack of construction materials for sets and props, and there is a dearth of trained actors, especially women. Gaza’s chronic electricity shortage brings an ever-present hum of generators — making it challenging to record clean audio. Damaged film or a broken stage bulb might take weeks to replace. During the 2014 war, al-Muzain happened to bring home his external drives with all his footage, which he kept in an office in the Basha Tower. The Basha Tower was bombed that night; the director’s lifework narrowly missed being buried under rubble. “The best movie to make in Gaza is about making a movie in Gaza,” al-Muzain jokes.

He recently produced an outdoor human rights “red carpet” film festival in the war-devastated neighborhood of Shejaiya. Rubble from destroyed houses provided a backdrop for the projection, and a resident whose family had been wiped out in the assault cut the ribbon. Those honored by walking down the red carpet? Children who had endured profound trauma. Al-Muzain says the audience was brought to tears. “The stars were the people of Shejaiya.”

Al-Muzain’s love for his people is matched by his apprehension about their future. “I’m afraid for Gaza,” the filmmaker says. “I don’t know where we, as a society, are going.”

Abu Yassin shares Al-Muzain’s trepidation, yet refuses to surrender hope. “More than anyone else, artists must have hope and must create hope for the people,” he says. “[My art] is community resistance and political resistance — resistance by insisting on life.”

Fadi Abu Shammala contributed reporting for this article.

Jen Marlowe

Jen Marlowe is the communications associate for Just Vision and the founder of donkeysaddle projects. Her award-winning books and films include Witness Bahrain, I Am Troy Davis, The Hour of Sunlight, One Family in Gaza, and Darfur Diaries. You can follow her on Twitter @donkeysaddleorg.


Democracy Can Solve the Hunger Problem

Soon after I wrote Diet for a Small Planet, my sound bite became: “Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but by a scarcity of democracy.” I argued that democracy means everyone has a voice that is heard. In our just-released book, World Hunger: 10 Myths, Joseph Collins and I share stories of citizens, including the world’s poorest, stepping up to create such democracies. Writing the book shook me up a lot. It called me to commit with new urgency and hope to focus on hunger’s root solution — what I call “living democracy” — and to help to strengthen the citizens’ movements necessary to bring it about.

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or co-author of 18 books, including the groundbreaking bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. She and her daughter, Anna Lappé, lead the Small Planet Institute. Lappé is a YES! contributing editor.

When I wrote Diet for a Small Planet 45 years ago, scary headlines told us that “too little food and too many people” make famine inevitable. I discovered that there was more than enough food for all of us — but we’ve created food systems that actively turn plenty into the experience of scarcity.

Now, 800 million are counted as “hungry,” while we produce about 40 percent more food per person than we did when I first sat furiously adding up the numbers. Per capita calories available stand at almost 2,900, well above what’s necessary.

So here we are, with continuing hunger alongside vast abundance and waste.

United Nations agencies tied to the Millennial Development Goals (MDG) have been celebrating in 2015 that the world came mighty close to the MDG target of cutting the share of hungry people in so-called developing countries by half, compared to 1990.

Few appreciate, however, that the official hunger measure captures only annual calorie deficiencies. A person could experience extreme hunger between harvests, for example, and still not register in this official total.

What I didn’t foresee when I began this journey, however, was hunger’s new face: a growing disconnect between food and nutrition that requires a profound rethinking of hunger.

In the United States, about 40 percent of the calories our children eat are nutritionally empty. The impact of a similar disconnect in regions of vast hunger is startling: A doctor in a rural Indian clinic told me of a major change over the last few decades. “My patients get enough calories,” he explained, “but now 60 percent suffer diabetes and heart conditions.”

The Lancet says that from 1990 to 2010, unhealthy eating patterns outpaced dietary improvements in most parts of the world. Now, “most of the key causes” of noncommunicable diseases are diet-related and predicted by 2020 to account for nearly 75 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Given the widening disconnect between calorie intake and nutrition, the official measure is an increasingly inadequate indicator of nutritional well-being. So let’s look at two other indicators of the crisis.

About 1 in 4 of the world’s children under age 5 is stunted, according to the World Health Organization, typically resulting in lifelong health problems. Causes include too little food and nutritionally poor food for pregnant women and children, and lack of clean water necessary to absorb needed nutrients.

A second telling measure: Two billion of us are deficient in at least one essential nutrient — a deficit often causing great harm. Vitamin A deficiency, for example, means blindness for up to half a million children each year, and iron deficiency is linked to 1 in 5 maternal deaths.

Thus we propose a radical reframing of the crisis: At least a quarter of the world’s population is suffering what we call “nutritional deprivation,” a huge jump from the official 1-in-9 hunger estimate based on calories alone.

As motivating as this shocking reality is for me, equally so are social movements reconnecting farming and nutrition — moving to biodiverse farming and eschewing processed foods. In southern India, I met poor women farmers of the Deccan Development Society who beamed with pride and good health as they described their journey from dependence on nearly nutritionless polished rice to food security via plots as small as 1 acre on which they cultivate as many as 20 crops.

Facing the suffering of nutritional deprivation, we can take heart from courageous people in movements across the world who are creating genuine democracy from the village up. It’s the living democracy to which I want to devote the rest of my life.

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé is the author or co-author of 18 books, including the groundbreaking bestseller Diet for a Small Planet. She and her daughter, Anna Lappé, lead the Small Planet Institute. Lappé is a YES! contributing editor.

The Page That Counts

The Numbers That Define Our World

Money spent by soda companies to oppose 2014 soda tax initiative in Berkeley $2.4 million

Money spent by proponents of soda tax initiative in Berkeley $0.9 million 1

“NO” votes on soda tax initiative 9,243

“YES” votes on soda tax initiative 29,540 2

Number of states with a renewable energy goal 37

Average renewable energy goal among these states (excluding Hawai‘i) 20%

Renewable energy goal of Hawai‘i 100% 3

Number of unionized public school teachers and staff laid off within two weeks of Hurricane Katrina 7,500 4

Percentage of New Orleans schoolteachers who were black, 2004–2005 71

Percentage of New Orleans schoolteachers who were black, 2013–2014 49 5

Number of Internet users in the world, 2000 400 million

Percentage of Internet users living in so-called developing countries, 2000 25

Number of Internet users in the world, 2015 3.2 billion

Percentage of Internet users living in so-called developing countries, 2015 68.8 6

Average art museum revenue earned from admission fees per visitor 3.70 7

Average art museum expenses per visitor $53.17

Percentage of U.S. museums with free admission or a suggested donation, 201237 8

Percentage of Earth’s land area that is environmentally protected 12

Percentage of Earth’s oceans and adjacent seas that is environmentally protected 1

Estimated percentage of all life on Earth found under the ocean surface 50 to 80 9

Percentage change in non-musical play attendance for U.S. adults, 2008–2012 –11.7

Percentage change in number of U.S. adults who read at least one work of poetry, 2008–2012 –19.3

Percentage change in movie theater attendance for U.S. adults, 2008–2012 +11.41010

Complete citations at

1. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2015. 2. 3. DSIRE (N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center), 2015. 4. The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University, 2007. 5. Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, 2015. 6. International Telecommunication Union, 2015. 7. Association of Art Museum Directors, 2014. 8. American Alliance of Museums, 2013. 9. UNESCO, Blueprint for the Future We Want, 2015. 10. National Endowment for the Arts, 2012.