Monday, June 8, 2009

Hey! Where have all the fish gone?

Today, Monday, June 8, is recognized as the first U.N.-sanctioned World Oceans Day. According to CNN, "the U.N. reports that 75 percent of seafood species are maxed out or over exploited. Catches of nearly a third of these species are less than 10 percent of what they once were. Ninety percent of the big fish -- sharks, tuna, swordfish -- are already gone, according to a 2003 study in Nature."

I don't know about you but I feel as though we should be a little alarmed upon the matter.

"The chemistry of the oceans is changing as they absorb 11 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, and scientists say the acidifying waters will make it impossible for coral reefs, the nurseries of the sea, to grow. At the current rate of acidification, corals, sea snails and other calcium-carbonate-requiring life forms could begin to dissolve by the middle of the century, with potentially catastrophic results. Shellfish and fish will be in deep trouble as well. This is all happening on our watch" says Danson of CNN.

So what can we do about this?

Recycle. Recycling is one of the first things you can do about this situation. Every year, about 300 billion pounds of plastic is produced around the world, and only a fraction is recycled according to Greenpeace. The majority ends up in landfills, but some finds its way into our oceans. Plastic is valued for its resistance to degradation, so its life span can be hundreds of years. When plastic reaches our oceans, it eventually breaks down due to the action of the sun, wind, and currents, into small, literally bite sized pieces that wildlife confuse with food.

These clumps of trash and debris has been directly blamed for the death of a wide range of animals including albatrosses and sea turtles. This massive amount of trash can trap thousands of creatures, there are also concerns that even the smallest pieces of plastic may pose a problem, as plastic often accumulates in the digestive tract, many animals essentially choke on plastic intake.

And if you can't recycle (or just choose not too) you can just throw away trash you see lying on the ground. This trash can get carried away into our water system and eventually can get swept off into the ocean.
And even if this appears to be too much for you, you can at least try to watch your consumption of wasteful products. Try buying things that have more recyclables in the package at the store, or at least buy the package with the lesser amount of plastic.

Being green is not all that hard. In fact you'll even find your wallet to come out a little heavier in that back pocket of yours. So if not for the well being on the planet that you live on and the health and safety for the plants, animals and your fellow human beings, be more environmentally conscious for the future of you and your children.

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