Saturday, 26 June 2010

Annoyed about the ocean

More specifically, about what we're doing to it. In fact, I was getting really angry. Watching videos on is often 'inspiring' and 'jaw-dropping', to use the adjectives with which they rate their videos. But despite knowing about what bottom-trawling does to sea-floor life, having graphic representations of the results makes my blood boil. This video features over- and under-water photography by Brian Skerry, all of which is beautiful, some of which is horrible. A fisherman's hands holding about 8 shrimp, caught in an hour, and in the background, the rubbish, the 'bycatch'. What a waste.

I believe a goodly portion of my distaste for waste comes directly from my mum, whose nose wrinkles at the mere thought of throwing out the smallest scrap of material that could have some conceivable use.... AT ALL. But having a dislike for waste isn't bad, it can inspire you to think of novel uses for stuff you might otherwise just chuck. For example, I recently made a knife block (I bought some knives that didn't come with one) purely out of cardboard I had received as packaging, and sellotape. Of course, it's not very good, but it'll do for now, and was great fun to make! Other methods than throwing away of used stuff are important - compost and recycling - because otherwise it ends up in landfill, rotting and creating more CO2 (which we REALLY don't need) or in the sea, killing wildlife and creating massive rubbish patches the size of Texas (roughly) which swirl around in the Pacific, and maybe the Atlantic also.

So the lesson we must learn from this, is: buy British-produced goods, as this prevents the necessity of shipping them, creating air-pollution, and submarine noise-pollution (animals like whales sing over large distances); buy products with less packaging; buy fish from companies that fish sustainably, and of species that aren't nearly extinct. You can choose between being able to eat cod, or your grandchildren being able to do so. If you eat it, cod populations won't recover, if you don't (and actively persuade others not to), stocks MAY someday recover to the extent that we can cautiously begin to fish them again.... but in a way that respects the other sea-life, and isn't wasteful. My post barely touches the surface of what we're doing to the ocean. Read about it. Spread the word, if you ever want anyone to eat fish (well, particular species), you can't. Also, shark-fin soup? Just... just no.

To finish up, I give you a pic by Brian Skerry to prove that I'm not all doom and gloom. This Right whale was very inquisitive, and was unlikely to have come across humans before. This is why we sign pledges and make noise. This is why we care.

As the picture says, taken by Mr. Skerry, owned by Nat. Geo.