It's obvious that overfishing can have damaging effects in the ocean. By threatening certain species of fish, we are actually threatening entire food chains. An ecosystem is like a house of cards: one card might seem unimportant, but when you remove it, the entire house crumples. Ecosystems are the same way. The excinction of one species has drastic effects on all other organisms. Imagine if we drove sharks into extinction by overfishing, catching them in other fish nets, hunting them, and ignoring their protection laws. All of a sudden, seals don't have any predators so the population grows. Now there are so many seals that the fish population is depleted, allowing an increase in algae. Once the algae start absorbing all of the oxygen and nutrients, no fish can survive. All because humans were careless enough to extinguish the sharks. Fortunately, this scenario isn't looming ahead in the near future, but it is quite possible. Now I know that you're probably thinking, "But I live on LAND, not the ocean!" This might be true, but take a look at how this scenario would affect YOU. All of sudden, the price of fish shoots up due to high demand and low supply. Higher prices means less video games, clothes, and trips to Starbucks. For those SCUBA and snorkeling fans, the most beautiful reefs would be reduced to a dead, barren landscape. And say goodbye to those family beach trips! So you see, the ocean does affect you, and in ways that you can't imagine. So the next time you want to order that grouper sandwhich, go for Pacific Halibut or Pollok Salmon. Better yet, talk to your local restaraunts and raise awareness! Small acts can turn into big changes, so let's all work together and make a HUGE impact! :)
In the book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Thomas Friedman expresses how sustainability is something that "protects, restores, or regenerates the environment rather than degrades it." All around us, people pollute, destroy, and overfish in multiple marine environments. This slowly destroys the life and disrupts food chains of the ecosystems. This isn't just about politicians and fishermen, though. We all make a difference in our ocean's health, and currently it isn't a very positive one. Fish are healthy and good for you, and plentiful. Right? Well, actually, they're not as plentiful as you think. Popular fish like grouper, king crab, and Atlantic salmon are all slowly being fished into oblivion due to high demand. The extinction of just one fish would be a major blow the entire planet's ecosystem, but we can stop it before it's too late. This app shows the most popular fish, as well as their sustainability so that you can make the most ocean-friendly decisions wherever you go. Aside from just eating sustainable fish, there are also many ways that you can make a huge difference. Our oceans are still here, but if we don't change our actions now, they won't be for much longer.
"Being Proactive" is one of seven habits created by Sean Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The only thing that we can control is ourselves. We can't control our families, neighbors, communities, or government. So, it might be awful to sit and watch others have such disregard for our oceans, but that doesn't mean that WE have to conform. Being proactive is the opposite of being "reactive". Violence and hate won't change anything, and might make things worse. But by doing small things, you can set a great example for others while reducing the negative affects of pollution and overfishing. You have the power to become a powerful change agent, but it's only possible if you are PROACTIVE. Change isn't going to happen overnight, but if we all work together, we CAN make a difference! All it takes is a little effort on your part to change the world. I have listed some easy ways to get involved that are fun, easy, and actually help the cause. Also, grab some friends and work TOGETHER to make the ocean a healthier and better place. Support an organization, start a recycling club, clean beaches, or even start to raise awareness in your home. Everything we do affects the ocean, so let's make our actions affect in a GREAT WAY!
Act | Oceana North America. (n.d.). Home | Oceana North America. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from http://na.oceana.org/en/act
Boomhower, J., Festa, D., & Regas, D. (2008). Sharing the catch, conserving the fish: to end the urgent problem of overfishing, we need a new approach in which fishermen are given a share in--and take responsibility for--a fishery's total allowable catch. Issues in Science and Technology, N/A. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from www.galegroup.com
Covey, S. (1998). The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens (1 ed.). New York: Fireside.
Download a Regional Seafood Watch Card | Monterey Bay Aquarium. (n.d.). Monterey Bay Aquarium, California. Retrieved August 26, 2010, from http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatc
Friedman, T. (2009). Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Change America. New York: Picador / Farrar, Straus And Giroux.
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. (n.d.). NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from http://coralreef.noaa.gov/
NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program: What You Can Do. (n.d.). NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from http://coralreef.noaa.gov/getinvolved/whatyoucando/
Seafood Savvy. (n.d.). Georgia Aquarium | Atlanta Attractions | Things To Do Atlanta. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/conservation/seafoodsavvy/
Seafood Selector (Main Page) - Environmental Defense Fund. (n.d.). Environmental Defense Fund - Finding the Ways That Work. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1521&s_src=ggad&s_subsrc=ss&gclid=CPn6u
The Studio @ NGHS "Learning in Motion". (n.d.). The Studio @ NGHS "Learning in Motion". Retrieved August 23, 2010, from http://studio.northgwinnett.com