Yangtze

10

Shengsi, an archipelago of almost 400 islands at the mouth of China’s Yangtze river, holds a secret shrouded in time – an abandoned fishing village being reclaimed by nature. These photos by Tang Yuhong, a creative photographer based in Nanning, take us into this lost village on the beautiful archipelago.

So “Here There Be Monsters” is one
of my favorite side quests in all of Falloutdom.

After waking up to find your entire world destroyed by nuclear fire, you encounter the ghoulified captain of the nuclear sub who is directly personally responsible for destroying your hometown.

While you have the option of killing him in an act of nationalistic vengeance, you also have the (more rewarding) option of helping him.

Helping him you find out that, like any sane human, he has been struggling with guilt over his actions in the war and had resigned himself to just living out the rest of his incredibly long life in isolation on a wrecked ship in a hostile land. But after 200 years alone, now he just wants to go home.

So you get a chance to help someone who destroyed your home with a nuclear sub… fix his nuclear sub and go home. At great personal risk.

It’s this series of moments where empathy defeats 200+ years of mistrust and hate and it’s just this beautiful little commentary about the nature of human solidarity in the face of adversity and strife.

Safe journey captain.

“I will build. And if no houses can be built, I will die; at peace.”

Entry 26: Baiji 白鱀豚 (Lipotes vexillifer)

The last  of the Lipotidae mammal family that appeared from 20 million years ago, the Baiji was a river dolphin of the mighty Yangtze River of China.  It was the subject of a myth, earning it the nickname “The Goddess of the Yangtze”

Weighing upwards of 300-510 lbs (135-250 kilograms), they could grow up to 8 feet (2.4 metres) long and had a unique  lower dorsal fin that earned the Baiji it’s Latin name that means ‘white-flag’.  They had poor vision due to the murky waters of its home that hosts heavy sediment throughout, so they relied on sonar to navigate the Yangtze.

During the Great Leap Forward, a period of economic growth pushed by the Communist Party of China in the mid-century, threats to the Baiji grew exponentially.  Hunting by humans, electric fishing, boat collisions, habitat loss, pollution, and entanglement in fishing gear hit the Baiji on all sides. Though the Baiji was once venerated, this period decimated their populations, particularly by-catch by fisheries.  

By 1996, the IUCN listed the Baiji as critically endangered, and by 1998 only 7 were found in a survey.  The last confirmed sighting occurred in 2006 and by 2007, the Baiji was considered, if not completely extinct, functionally extinct throughout its range.  It is the first dolphin species to be killed off by human activities.