No. 3 That the sea bird colony and the Arctic that I have studied for forty five years will soon disappear. In the early 1970s I found a seabird colony on Cooper Island which is just off Point Barrow Alaska. And had been going out to Cooper Island every summer since.
And started that study just as a standard population study of birds. And then things started to change rapidly in the environments around 2000. So parent birds could no longer find their preferred prey and the chicks in the nest I was weighing every day started to lose weight and then started to die.
So seeing large numbers of nestling die and some die in my hands was a major impact on me emotionally too to like walk back to camp and have my pockets full of dead nestlings I had never been something that had happened before.
I had one bird that was 26 years old and this was white orange grey. Those were the three colors that she had on her leg. So I saw white orange grey annually for over two decades and in many years it was the only warm blooded vertebrate I had seen on a regular basis because I sometimes didn't get back home for the holidays with my family, I had different girlfriends over that period of time so white orange gray was the constant in my life. [00:02:20][30.0]
No. 4 That my research findings will have no impact or importance.
No. 5 I have this interesting progression where I go from being alone on the island or maybe with one or two other people to then going to Seattle and realizing there are too many people living in too close proximity to each other who don't even know each other anymore. And I don't know if I'm even meant to make eye contact with them or not. And then it takes some time to get to the point where OK yes you just walk by people and don't pay attention to them. Whereas when I get back to Barrow to to Ukiovek at the end of the summer it's such a small town that you don't pass someone on the street without making eye contact.
No. 6 That our aspirations as a species can't overcome our genetic baggage.
But I also realize seeing what's both positive and negative in our genetic baggage is important like like optimism which is something clearly humans have and it was selected for is a very positive thing so I try to stay as optimistic as possible even though I realize that pessimists are more able to assess the reality of something than an optimist.
No. 7 I happen to live through the period from intense environmental concern with Richard Nixon being a you know a very surprising environmentalist in retrospect to a situation where a president doesn't even take the very obvious findings about the environments that are being presented doesn't even take them seriously and certainly isn't going to have a national program that's going to try to address those problems the way that Richard Nixon did.
No. 8 That humans as a species don't have the intellectual capacity to recognize or address future threats.
No. 9 That time is running out.
No. 10 Running out of coffee.
My name is George Devoke and these are ten things that scare me.
Just like with the shotguns that I have for the polar bears, I have three shotguns, so in case one jams I can grab another one, I have two coffee grinders on the island now. Because if something happens to the grinder I don't want to have to go outside and bang the beans with a hammer to be able to drink coffee because I really need the coffee every morning and this was really brought out to me, my my fear of running out of coffee, when I was dropped off on the island once by someone who couldn't get back with all the food supplies in the helicopter and I was stuck with what they had dropped off the first time which didn't include coffee. So for five or six days I didn't have coffee. Somebody flew a small plane out from Barrow and dropped, from a Cessna at around hundred feet, a box that had various food items including a jar of instant coffee, a glass jar of instant coffee, which broke when the box hit. So I went running up to the box opened and saw this large mass of instant coffee in the corner of the box with all these glass shards. So I thought OK I can pick most of the glass shards out but since freeze dried coffee has a shine to it. I was sure there were some left in there and I thought you know what, I may be drinking glass shards in this coffee but I really need to drink coffee. So like running out of coffee on the island is something that is actually more likely than having a Polar Bear attack me. It would have less dire impact but it certainly would have an impact.