Time for a Change of Thinking About the Planet

Since the earliest days of man’s love affair with the Oceans, they have been seen as infinite, God-like in power, endless and bottomless. As with people living close to the land, there are peoples who live as one with the Oceanic environment, they may understand little of its complexity in a technical sense and yet have a deep understanding that to live on the sea or the land it is necessary to care for it and protect it and be a part of it.

True fishing people will take enough fish for their needs and avoid over-fishing. Many of those who earn their living fishing the seas of the world using nets will size the nets and fish the shoals carefully leaving undersized fish to live another day to breed and provide food for tomorrow. So how crazy is it to rape the oceans with fishing nets so large, and with mesh so small, and trawling techniques that destroy the habitat so utterly that following their passing nothing is left but an oceanic wilderness devoid of life?

Surely it is time for change?

Change in the mentality that says the Oceans, Forests and Rivers – indeed the Planet – is infinite and indestructible, because it is not!

As young man indirectly involved with the Ship Building Industry in the North East of England I was advised that should any item of ‘plant’ on board ship break down it would be thrown over the side of the ship rather than be carried back to port for repair. In times of war and in peacetime endless numbers of ships and cargos have been lost at sea.

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The Oceans are infinite…but are they?

When a container recently washed up on Moreton Island in the Pacific Ocean having ‘fallen overboard’ from a container ship the point was well made that the Oceans are being taken for granted.

Agia Zoni II Shipwreck-Image from iefimerida.gr

In recent times an oil spill occurred off the coast of Greece, in September 2017 the vessel, Agia Zoni II, was carrying 2,500 tonnes of fuel when it sank off the island of Salamis, massive efforts were undertaken to remove oil contamination from the surface of the sea and from the shore where it could be accessed. The local fishing fleet may be able to fish elsewhere until there is little chance of contamination and that could take a very long time, meanwhile, their livelihood is destroyed, the food chain is jeopardised, and the unspoiled pristine coast despoiled. Watching the weather to establish when it is best to go fishing is accepted the practice, but ocean currents circulate out of sight, corruption of fish stocks and bottom feeding crustaceans may not be evident in the short term but as with plastic microbeads, it can be present in the human food chain hidden in plain sight for a considerable time.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster has now contaminated one-third of the World’s Oceans with catastrophic damage to Sea Life, mutated dolphins for example, as far away as the California Coast with many sea-based animals being badly affected.

Can anyone be in any doubt any longer that the Oceans can be turned into lifeless watery wastelands?

When will we learn?

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How much proof do we need?

Much is said presently about getting plastic and its consequential waste out of the equation but is it not the time to reverse thinking about this. Ceasing production of some plastics means they cannot enter the oceans sometime in the future, but what about the pollution that is already there? Trillions of items of plastic are littering all the major Oceans – plastic carrier bags were recently said to be present in the Antarctic Ocean. There are companies that will recycle plastics into useful items, why not employ them to redouble their efforts – if there are Dollars to be made someone will go out with a salvage ship and start collecting the stuff.

For me, though the key is to declare a moratorium on dumping anything into the oceans. There will always be rogue nations who, as with the whaling bans, will carry on regardless but maybe the imposition of sanctions will bring them to heal.

Then being creative about salvaging and recycling the fishing nets, the plastic sheeting and bags, and all the other plastic detritus from the oceans would surely help, but the task is massive.
Finally, serious acceptance and pro-active action by the Global community that fresh thinking is needed about respecting the natural balance of nature on our planet. The Aral Sea in Central Asia is a perfect example of man’s interfering with a seemingly infinite resource, the Aral is a fraction of its former size and no longer functions as an inland sea with the consequential ruin of local people’s lifestyle.

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The Oceans are infinite as are the Rain Forests and the mighty rivers and inland seas, is it not time to accept that they must be saved from ruin before we find that their loss is disastrous and irreversible?


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Author: Roger J Langley Sierra Projects

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