Getting in the mood for Earth Day 2012–Sunday, April 22
Like us, fish are “Earthlings” and we’ve got no business messing around in their space.
In our book and on this blog, I have written extensively about the horrors of what we’re doing to our water and our ecosystems—recognizing that our perception of those horrors probably fall well short of reality.
In a New York Times book review (“Overfishing” by Ray Hilborn) by Cornelia Dean on 4-16-12, she does a nice job of telling us what Hilborn was trying to do with his book. From her review:
Ray Hilborn, a fisheries scientist at the University of Washington, wades into this disagreement in his new book and comes out with a lucid explication of a highly tangled issue.
He talks about different kinds of overfishing: yield, economic and ecological—and it’s the last one about which I am most concerned.
- “Yield overfishing,” in which people take so many fish that they leave too few to spawn or catch too many fish before they are grown.
- “Economic overfishing,” in which economic benefits are less than they could be. If too many boats chase too few fish, for example, the struggle to make a good catch leads to overspending on boats, fuel and so on.
- “Ecological overfishing,” that is something we must live with as long as we want to eat fish, Dr. Hilborn says. Fishing by definition alters the marine environment.
Obviously, the “yield overfishing” is what leads directly to “ecological overfishing”—which is also driven by the trawling methods that destroy ecosystems on the ocean floor as they drag across the bottom. Dr. Hilborn opened the door with this statement, stating that ecological overfishing is real and…
“Ecological Overfishing” is something we must live with as long as we want to eat fish.
“As long as we want to eat fish” is the key issue. From reading Dean’s review, it would appear that Dr. Hilborn is among the estimated 95% of the world’s scientists and thinkers who still believe that we actually “need” to eat animal protein to be healthy.
And if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know all about that ubiquitous “protein myth” that is simply not true. You also know that the number one driver of the world’s ecological problems is the way that the wealthiest 20% of the human race has chosen to feed themselves.
We’re now raising 60 billion animals per year on land and we’re harvesting 90 million tons of sea creatures. At two pounds per creature, that works out to 90 billion creatures from the sea. For the source of this data and a whole lot more, take a look at this earlier blog: Fish-Farming — A sad “solution” to an unnecessary problem
What everyone needs to know. From Dean’s review, “Overfishing” is part of the Oxford University Press series “What Everyone Needs to Know,” which has already addressed nuclear energy and the Arab Spring and is planning books on reproductive politics and the legalization of marijuana.
What else do we need to know? The Oxford University Press is covering some useful topics to be sure, but they are missing some very important questions:
- What would happen in our world if everyone knew that we really don’t “need” ANY animal protein to be healthy?
- What would happen if everyone knew that animal protein was, in fact, one of the primary drivers of chronic disease?
- What would happen if everyone knew that it requires at least ten times as much land, water and energy to produce “animal protein” calories as it does for health-promoting plant protein calories?
Happy Earth Day! Want to REALLY think GREEN this year?
The number one driver of the world’s ecological problems is the way that the wealthiest 20% of the human race has chosen to feed themselves.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation