Today’s episode is a response of sorts to an article on Southern Fried Science, written by our good friend Andrew David Thaler. If you haven’t seen his post, titled “Playing against the slaughter rule,” I’d highly recommend taking a few minutes to read it here.
People like Andrew David Thaler, Andrew Lewin, and myself chose to get involved in marine conservation for one reason: We believe the ocean is worth fighting for. We weren’t forced into the field or tempted by the salary (which is small), the fame (which is minimal), or the easy work week (it doesn’t exist). And we certainly didn’t pursue this career because a “beneficial industry climate”. Our oceans constantly seem to be on the brink of some new catastrophic event, and yet research funding, which could be used to better understand and mitigate these events, is being slashed left and right. No, it’s not a cushy job. It’s not always fun, and it’s not always rewarding. We here at SUFB try and impress on our readers the positive of any situation, but make no mistake: we are not idealists or naïve. We understand what we’re up against, and it can be overwhelming.
Yet as Andrew says in his post, what we’re fighting for is not some black-and-white “win all or lose all” scenario. What we’re working towards now is probably what future generations will be working towards a hundred years from now. We’re working towards chipping away at climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, and any other threat to the health of the oceans. As ADT puts it, we’re trying to “lose by a little less.” There isn’t any conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that our oceans have passed the point of no return. But even if there were, would that stop us from trying to protect it? The point isn’t to create brand new, pristine ocean ecosystems that will be around indefinitely. The point is to clean up and protect the ones we have for as long as we can.
This episode is specifically dedicated to everyone out there who is discouraged, overwhelmed, or angry about what our oceans are up against. Hopefully these types of confessions will let you know that you’re not alone. The humor and positivity that we try to bring to SUFB is a premeditated effort to combat the largely negative news we communicate. By holding onto the sliver of positive, we can get past the frustration and begin to discuss solutions. We spend the majority of today’s episode of Ocean Talk Friday discussing the respective threats and potential remedies associated with climate change, overfishing, and plastic pollution.
Many of climate change’s impacts are tied to carbon emissions. By reducing your carbon emissions in your daily life, you can help do your part to cut down on future adverse impacts due to climate change. The best way to reduce your carbon emissions is to use less energy. Drive less and bike more, lower your thermostat, unplug when you leave a room, or any other way you can think of to reduce your energy usage.
Overfishing can be quite difficult to combat, but it all comes down to practicing smarter consumption and purchasing. By eating less seafood, and only consuming seafood that was collected or farmed sustainably, you’ll be providing a financial incentive for the industry to get it’s act together and harvest only in ecologically-friendly ways. Don’t be afraid to ask retailers or restaurants where their seafood comes from, and don’t be afraid to have a backup dinner option in case they don’t know.
Plastic pollution is one of the most glaring problems facing our oceans, yet luckily there is an equally glaring solution: dispose of plastic less. Hardly any of us need straws at restaurants or plastic bags at the grocery store, yet these are two of the most common culprits of plastic pollution. By purchasing reusable shopping bags, travel mugs, water bottles, or anything else that makes you less reliant on single-use plastics, you’ll be helping to prevent plastic pollution at the source.
Enjoy the Podcast!