My Crash Course on Sustainability…part 1


Last week I gave myself a crash course on Sustainability: Tuesday night the film “The End of the Line”  at Slow Food Cafe;  Wednesday night,  Ethical Shopping Workshop at the Eco-Center;  and Friday night, “Wasted Earth”, “Waste Not” and “Plasticized” at the Environmental Film Festival. I can truly appreciate living in Melbourne and having all these options!

I received so much information on the problems that human are causing to our planet that I felt overwhelmed and sad,  but we still have time and there is Hope! It depends on us, on how many of the now 7 billion inhabitants of this planet can change our ways and most importantly reconnect to our core values. We need to choose wisely…  and co-create a Sustainable world.

 

I want to share a few of the things that I learned spread out into a few posts.  My aim is to spread the message. Hopefully it will get your attention so you can also share the message…

Over fishing is a reality. This vast ocean contains a wide range of species and some are being fished to extinction causing an in balance in the existing ecosystem. I recommend viewing this TEd Talk  (ideas worth-spreading )by the legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle. She does a beautiful job sharing astonishing images of the ocean — and shocking stats about its rapid decline. Her message: join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet!

After viewing “The End of the Line” I understood the huge impact over fishing has had on our Oceans as its Social implications. Over fishing means that fish stocks are depleted to the point where they may not be able to recover. Foreign fishing fleets of enormous size and power from rich countries are depleting the fish stocks around the world not only causing harm to the marine environment but leaving local fisherman of many developing countries without fishes to maintain their poor communities, creating poverty while becoming very rich!

The more fish stocks become over exploited, the more fisheries must search for productive waters which are then quickly depleted. 32% of the world’s fisheries are over exploited, depleted or recovering, which threatens the health, economy, and livelihoods of communities all over the world. The global fishing fleet is estimated to be 250% larger than needed to catch what the ocean can sustainably produce.”   Blog/ MarineBio Conservation Society

It was also very clear how over fishing directly depends on the demands of the consumers as a recent report from the United Nations shows global consumption of fish hit a record high!

A perfect example of over fishing driven by consumer demands is the Bluefin Tuna. This species is now is an endangered species due to the high demand for this prime ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Within Japan and around the world, the love for sashimi has caused overfishing and massive illegal catches that threaten the survival of Bluefin tuna.  This moved the United Nations to consider a ban on the fishing of Bluefin tuna. Unfortunately uncontrolled harvesting of Bluefin’s Tuna was not approved by the European countries that profited the most from this species.

There are some countries, like Australia, that have gone ahead and protected this beautiful speciesAustralian Geographic article.

As individuals we have to support the people who are doing it right, in a more Sustainable manner. What does that mean?

A sustainable fishery is one whose practices can be maintained indefinitely without reducing the targeted species ability to maintain its population at healthy levels, and without adversely impacting on other species within the ecosystem – including humans – by removing their food source, accidentally killing them, or damaging their physical environment.” Sustainable seafood has not been caught with destructive fishing techniques such as bottom trawling. ”    Green Peace

I am also a Human who loves routines. I buy Salmon, thinking that because they are farmed, It´s not damaging to the environment. I also believed that it was the best source of Omega 3, so it was healthier for my body. Well both of these ideas are False.

Farmed fishes do not really solve the problem of overfishing, since these animals are still fed by other wild caught fishes. Farmed fishes are often given genetically modified foods,  antibiotics and chemical dyes (to make it look pink/red). Man cannot however raise the levels of Omega 3 as this is only produced in free roaming fish.

So what should we eat? Grandmothers know best, and I always remember my beautiful grandmother Lutecia Adam, who has worked all her life empowering communities by teaching the benefits of Natural Medicine. She would always say how in our developing country where there is so much poverty and malnutrition, people needed to know the powers of Sardines, that  it was not only a very affordable fish but it was the best source of proteins. My grandmother was right, eating sardines is much better for our Planet and healthier for us! So eat SARDINES!

Sustainability  requires that we change our habits; choosing other species can help take the pressure off the more popular species. I know it can be daunting going to a fish shop and deciding, but your choice is very important.  To help you make the right choice,  I recommend downloading the Sustainable Fishing Guide made by The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

Another important action that must be taken globally is to create more Marine Reserves. Only 1% of our vast Ocean in protected, so encourage change by talking to politicians who represent you, and by supporting organizations that advocate for these marine reserves.

As for myself I am committed to changing my fish eating habits.  Even if it means not eating sushi again! I hope that you can also rethink your habits and help spread this very important message! It’s up to us whether future generations will see big fishes!

All this talk about fish brought back the bliss of watching a stunning sunset in the Caribbean Sea of my beautiful country  Venezuela, while eating a locally caught, fresh and savory “Pescado Frito con Tostones” (fried fish with fried Plantains).  True Happiness! But will future generations be able to experience this? It depends on US!

 

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