Our blue planet is now ‘tragically in peril’

October 3, 2011 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to John Rowley of People & Planet for this article.  See http://www.peopleandplanet.net/?lid=29874&section=35&topic=27

Our blue planet is now ‘tragically in peril’

Posted: 16 June 2011

Author: Don Hinrichsen

Don Hinrichsen, Contributing Editor to Planet 21 and author of the recently published Atlas of Coasts and Oceans, has spent the last 20 years tracing the declining health of the planet’s coasts and seas. Here he makes a personal plea to those in power to act with greater vision and resolve to address the dying of the oceans.

The largely unseen, and often ignored, destruction of the world’s ocean ecosystems and the wealth of plants and animals they support was underscored afresh over the past year as I travelled and researched my recently published Atlas.

One of many observations stands out. While diving in the Lingayen Gulf, on the main Philippine island of Luzon, I was nearly blown out of the water by indiscriminate blast fishermen using dynamite to drive stunned and dying fish to the surface for easy harvesting. Though this does put food on the table for the moment, it utterly destroys the coral reef and seagrass communities upon which fisheries in this region depend. It is a Faustian bargain that confronts poor coastal communities throughout the world – the need to feed their families now at the expense of tomorrow.

Unfortunately this is exactly what most nations now do on a much larger and more destructive scale. The explosive growth of coastal urban populations, along with helter-skelter industrial and agricultural expansion, the generation of enormous quantities of waste (much of which ends up in our coastal seas), run-away coastal and marine tourism, topped off by an unprecedented rise in the world consumption of seafood, has resulted in the wholesale pillaging of our oceans. Add to this list climate change and its insidious impact on coastal and ocean ecosystems, and you have a recipe for an ecological Armageddon, a real ‘end of life as we know it’ scenario.

For the rest of the article, please click here: http://www.peopleandplanet.net/?lid=29874&section=35&topic=27

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