Today’s LA Times ran an important (though disturbing) piece on the plight of the oceans:
I like the article for two main reasons:
1) It illustrates (though maybe not explicitly) how sustainability issues are all inter-related, and why a whole-system approach is so important. These seemingly isolated symptoms showing up in the world’s oceans are directly tied to chemical farming, coal power, social injustice, etc. etc.
2) It highlights the time scale we’re dealing with – our combined impact, systematically altering the earth’s natural systems now have the power to reverse – with frightening speed – 2.7 billion years of evolution, which transformed this planet from an uninhabitable, toxic stew, to a delicate balance of bio-geo-chemical cycles and complex interactions between species ecosystems.
I don’t like the article because it’s a total bummer – bringing to the surface the overwhelming challenge we face. But it also shows how we have 1) the power to do so much right now and 2) the need for innovation – the opportunity that exists – to create ways in which we meet our needs in sustainable ways. For starters, this one shows why we need to phase out chemical farming as fast as possible and close nutrient loops – each of us buying organic is an easy way we can start right now. It shows more of the impacts that climate change is bringing – we all know the little things we can do there, turn off the lights, buy green power, drive less, etc – but we really need to get to the big things, like supporting political will to prompt serious, systematic change – signing Kyoto, pushing for tighter caps post-2012, etc – write your congressmen.
Another reason it’s a total bummer is it really ruined my plans to take a swim in the Baltic this afternoon – the jellies haven’t started showing up in full force yet (they were nasty here late summer last year) – but this article is too grim a reminder of what’s happening in that water. Stay going.