The thing we need to fix is ourselves

If you have 18 minutes to spare, spend them watching coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson’s recent TED talk about the ways in which humanity is wrecking the world’s oceans. Climate change is only one of the factors driving the massive changes being seen in the global ocean, and if we’re to have any hope of dealing with them we have to work out how, as Jackson puts it, we’re going to put Humpty together again. And we won’t manage that unless we fix ourselves first. Compelling, unsettling viewing.

Hat tip: Resilience Science.

5 thoughts on “The thing we need to fix is ourselves”

    1. Bill, I'm an avid scuba diver and occasional spear fisherman, I can tell you the changes that I have witnessed in the last 20 years, in northern New Zealand waters is astounding. The nutrients and silt ending up in coastal waters is suffocating most of the inshore reefs, all that seems to remain is a a hard stringy sea weed that doesn't seem to harbour much juvenile fish life. The reefs are covered in a very fine silt, which is easily disturbed stirring up clouds as you swim past.

      The overfishing is evident by the disappearance of the vast schools of trevally, pink mao mao & kahawai. The kina (sea urchin) barrens which are spreading in coastal waters, are a good proxy for the decline of crayfish and snapper populations too, as these are the two main species which feed on kina and keep their numbers under control. Mind you, considering the length of time I've spent underwater, the decline in crayfish and snapper is obvious.

      So, yeah, very easy for me to understand that resources are limited. Urban couch potatoes?, maybe not.

      1. dw

        I work frequently with The Wilderness Society here in South Australia. At their hosted preview launch for The End of the Line they had a south coast fisherman speak about the species decline he's seen in his lifetime – we're talking more than 5 decades in and on the water here.

        What was truly surprising is that it was obvious from the audience's reaction that many of us had no idea many of the species he referred to had everexisted in SA's waters, let alone in significant numbers!

        Ours is a relatively well-managed fishery, as is NZ's, no doubt, and yet our declines are still significant. The fisheries documented in the film, however, are appalling free-for-alls, and the results are sadly predictable.

        (Those who don't like the 'hockey-stick' may enjoy this film – there's lots and lots of graphs featuring curve after curve in precipitous decline! Sadly these are fish stocks. )

        TWS is working hard to establish a network of Marine Parks here – we actually have more unique endemic species in our waters than the Great Barrier Reef!

  1. Are you volunteering for the fix Steve?
    Seriously, although talking about population control scares many people, if we all had only 2 children, the world would gradually become a less populated place, and a whole lot better off for it.

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