Animal Collective’s 'Tangerine Reef': Myth, Mystery and Subtle Environmentalism
By David Colgan
Covering less than two percent of the ocean floor, they are home to a quarter of all marine species. But unlike rainforests, a longtime conservation focus, corals have received relatively little attention. The alien-looking seascapes have captivated explorers, divers and others privileged enough to visit, but remained largely out of sight for most people.
Animal Collective's latest album and video Tangerine Reef' was created to coincide with International Year of the Reef.Animal Collective
That environment of the unknown—and protecting it—was the motivation for Animal Collective's latest album and video, Tangerine Reef. The album was created to coincide with International Year of the Reef, said Brian Weitz (geologist), who performs synths, samples and electronic effects for the band.In keeping with the band's name, the members of Animal Collective all care about nature and the environment, Weitz said. And enigmatic, bizarre-looking corals made a natural partner to Animal Collective's sound.
"We want our music to be a little bit mysterious and a little abstract to allow people to have their own interactions with it—and not guide them too strongly on how they should be interacting with it," Weitz said. "I believe that about art in general."
The video for Tangerine Reef shows corals moving 10 times their natural speed, making them seem otherworldly but humanlike. Slimy appendages wriggle and feed neon, tessellating mouths. At times, they seem to smile. At other times, the images drift into patterns and abstraction.
There is still a lot we don't know about corals: Scientists weren't sure how they reproduced until 1981 and researchers are still learning the details about how they live, grow and respond to environmental stresses.
Globally, corals are threatened by warming waters and ocean acidification, twin effects of carbon emissions and climate change. They are also under attack by localized threats like overfishing, invasive species and pollution.
Weitz, an avid scuba diver with two degrees from Columbia University—a bachelor's in environmental biology and a master's in environmental science and policy—said the band created Tangerine Reef to inspire appreciation of corals. Still, you'd be hard pressed to find a clear message or call to action. Their primary objective is still to entertain.
"We've definitely struggled with when, as a band, we want to come out and say something political," Weitz said. "We're not getting too 'Bono' about it," he joked, referring to the outspoken U2 singer.
Tangerine Reef was produced in tandem with Coral Morphologic, a Miami-based art-science duo on a mission to grow, document and protect corals. Biologist Colin Foord and musician J.D. McKay raise individual specimens in their lab and sell them to hobbyists around the country. They also pioneered a filming technique that brings out the best in corals' movements and fluorescent patterns. Their work has been presented in museums, featured in publications such as National Geographic—even projected on buildings in downtown Miami.
One of the group's primary goals is to make corals more relatable.
The band Animal Collective produced "Tangerine Reef" in tandem with Coral Morphologic, a Miami-based art-science duo on a mission to grow, document and protect corals around the world. Animal Collective / David Lynch Festival of Disruption
"The icons of conservation are panda bears," Foord said. "They're cute and cuddly. Coral doesn't have a brain, it doesn't have eyes. It lives on a 700-year timespan, compared to humans' 70-year timespan. When you speed them up ten times, you're bringing them to a time frame we can empathize with."
Land-dwelling species such as snakes, lions and buffalo feature prominently in human myths, traditional stories that often attempt to explain natural phenomena. Foord thinks corals may get a more prominent role in such stories now that technology makes them visible.
"They are kind of future mythologists, showing us what we need to understand in order to adapt and be more resilient in the future," Foord said. "The slogan of coral today, as it has been for half a billion years, is 'adapt or die.' You're cemented in place. If it gets too hot or too polluted, you can't just swim away."
Likewise, he said, humans can't just pick up and leave a warming, changing planet. We must reckon with global conditions we have a hand in creating.
Both Foord and Weitz began environmental careers before switching to arts. When talking to Weitz, it becomes clear that he feels a little guilty about leaving that work behind. For him, the excitement of making and performing music was too intriguing to pass up.
"You create something and then you put it out there in the world. You interact with fans at live shows," Weitz said. "The give and take of positive energy is really tangible and it happens in a really short timeframe."
"Coral doesn't have a brain, it doesn't have eyes. It lives on a 700-year timespan, compared to humans' 70-year timespan. When you speed them up ten times, you're bringing them to a time frame we can empathize with." Animal Collective
Psychedelic qualities of animals, including corals, play a role in many of Animal Collective's songs and albums. Samples from nature, whether the songs of marine mammals or sounds from a Brazilian rainforest, are distorted to the point where it's not clear exactly what the listener is hearing. Weitz hopes the results are as captivating as coral reefs are to him when he's scuba diving.
"That's our main goal. Just a sense of awe and inspiration," Weitz said.
It's up to individuals themselves take the next step of caring about the animals and what happens to them, he said.
Ursula Heise, an expert on environmental narratives at UCLA, said she found the album "meditative," inviting contemplation.
"Avey Tare's voice often sounds very mournful, and it's mourning the loss of something but we don't see that loss depicted in the images," Heise said. "There is an odd tension between the beauty of the images and the desolation and melancholy that is obvious in quite a few of the tracks on the album."
Scientists Battle Mysterious Pathogen Destroying Coral Reefs Off Florida Coast https://t.co/gcEF629vES @JeremyLeggett @climateinstitut— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1518611709.0
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Michael Svoboda
The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.
Watchdog Accuses Trump's NOAA of 'Choosing Extinction' for Right Whales by Hiding Scientific Evidence
By Julia Conley
As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.
- Lemurs and Northern Right Whales Near Brink of Extinction ... ›
- Trump Administration Approves Harmful Seismic Blasting in Atlantic ... ›
By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods - EcoWatch ›
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›