Add the world’s oceans to the list of growing casualties as mankind continues to behave as if everything is in infinite quantities forever.
An article in today’s Economist entitled “A Sea of Troubles,” touches only the very tip of an enormous problem that is on the verge of exploding in everyone’s face. “Some scientists believe that coral reefs, home to a quarter of all marine species, may virtually disappear within a few decades. That would be the end of the rainforests of the seas,” the article states.
Polluting the oceans will wreak havoc, that is certain, but how far along we’ve gone down this hill is not known precisely and that concerns scientist even more. Maybe our time of pain from this huge part of the globe is nearer than we imagine.
“Many also fear that some changes are reaching thresholds after which further changes may accelerate uncontrollably. No one fully understands why the cod have not returned to the Grand Banks off Canada, even after 16 years of no fishing. No one quite knows why glaciers and ice shelves are melting so fast, or how a meltwater lake on the Greenland ice sheet covering six square kilometres could drain away in 24 hours, as it did in 2006. Such unexpected events make scientists nervous,” the article states.
Meanwhile one of humankind’s healthiest source of protein is being mindlessly wiped out.
In Lester Brown’s Plan B 3.0, the list is disheartening:
- 90% of the large fish in the oceans has disappeared over the past 50 years.
- The 500 year old Cod fishery of Canada failed in the early 1990s and other Cod fisheries are in collapse elsewhere.
- The large Bluefish Tuna have been cut by a staggering 94%.
- Caspian Sea sturgeon, fell from 27,700 tons in 1977 to 461 tons in 2000.
- The Cheasapeake Bay yielded more than 35 million lbs of oysters 50 years ago, but now produces barely 1 million lbs.
Even efforts to stem the destruction are meeting with limited success because by the time the decline becomes severe, it’s too late to regenerate the fishery.
Unfortunately, there’s little evidence the danger we face is recognized much, if at all, by the general public.
If the past is prologue, humans won’t act defensively to ward off danger. Disasters will happen, destroying entire populations as nature takes its revenge on our selfishness.