Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Nemo Has Left The Planet

Hello and I’d love to say that this month I am going to be more upbeat and positive but then I get to Humans, Yes Humans, the most advanced stupid beings on earth.
Do you like seafood? I love seafood, or at the least I did until very recently but not for much longer.
As a race that started out as hunter-gatherers and progressed through innovation and evolution to rule this little place in space we also in the process seem to have become detached from the source and sustenance of all our innovation.

The open seas are one of the last places left on the planet where we still to some extent act out these hunter gathers instincts.
Indeed we have celebrated this relationship over the years in books and film such as the iconic novel, The Old Man And The Sea by Earnest Hemmingway. A celebration of mans determination to master and conquer against the odds.
And who could forget Moby Dick the attempt of man to triumph over a whale whatever the cost?
And that’s us; lets take it all whatever the cost. Unfortunately poor old Moby Dick went down with the deluded Captain Ahab.

As a result of our folly the seas are now in a perilous state for which we will all potentially pay a heavy price.
We poison it with fertiliser run offs into our rivers and estuaries and the excess carbon dioxide of global warming.
All of this now means the surface of the sea is more acidic which is quite literally choking the life out of it.

With melting glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets there is the very real possibility that sea levels could raise by anything up to seven metres in the not too distant future.
Currently some 630 million people live within six miles of the sea.
This would lead to low-level countries such as Bangladesh disappearing under the waves forever.
Some deluded fools, companies (or perhaps captain Ahab’s would be more apt) see this melting as a boon opening up new harvests from the seabeds such as metal nuggets of manganese, containing cobalt, copper and nickel. Never mind the further destruction caused to already fragile eco systems.

Meanwhile fish stocks are in a dreadful state with many species on the verge of extinction. Years of mismanagement and political ineptitude mean this situation has been allowed to escalate and continue without any sincere or meaningful effort to curb it.
Think of this: over three quarters of all marine life are below, or on the brink of falling below sustainable levels.
Oh and while I am on the subject that tin of tuna with the dolphin friendly line caught symbol, well it forgets to mention that the poor old tuna is virtually disappearing along with the dolphin.

Everything from the concrete block, to cosmetics, to cars, to steel, to the pavements we walk on has at some time and in some shape or form, been derived from an ingredient harvested from the earth.
But for all our smartness we have not created anything new merely having learned to very cleverly manipulate these resources into useful tools.
A more sophisticated form of the wooden club or the flint axe.
In fact earlier tribes of we humans and a very few existing tribes, (ones that we would most likely consider primitive) were and are far more in tune with the natural balance and sustainability of these very resources.
We on the other hand have lost and squandered that valuable link between our modern selves and our more enlightened predecessors.
Our towns and cities allow us to abstract ourselves from the interconnectivity of all strata’s of organism and life on this planet.
The connection seems lost along with any understanding of the very finely balanced nature of interdependence.

Politicians are probably the worst placed to be in control of this vital resource as they are more prone to self-interest and lobbying.
It is now essential that as a matter of urgency an independent group, possibly under the auspicious of the UN be set up to oversee the future management of all international waters.
What will it really take for us to take action? Perhaps the disappearance of a city like London under a tidal wave or a few more Katrina’s?