Glass Fragile

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Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California Source: CoastalCare.org

Sea glass, broken bits of all the glass that’s been lost at sea, is worn by waves and tossed up on shore. It seems to accumulate more at some than at others. This California beach protected in its current, colorful state, even if – technically – it could be considered a by-product of all the glass humans have discarded into the ocean over decades. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not really the worst we’ve ever done to the oceans.

Stating the importance of the oceans is like making a comment on how breathing is an integral part of life.

In honor of World Oceans Day, which is June 8, I’d like to contrast a couple of illustrations.

Decline in biomass of popular fish 1900-2000 Source: Information is Beautiful/The Guardian

Decline in biomass of popular fish 1900-2000
Source: Information is Beautiful/The Guardian

The one above is an illustration of the effects of overfishing over the course of a hundred years.

From The Guardian article: “(E)arly accounts and data on the past abundance of fish help reveal the magnitude of today’s fish stock declines which are otherwise abstract or invisible…Our fishing policies and environmental activism is geared to restoring the oceans to the state we remember they were. That’s considered the environmental baseline.

The problem is, the sea was already heavily exploited when we were young.

So this is a kind of collective social amnesia that allows over-exploitation to creep up and increase decade-by-decade without anyone truly questioning it.”

The good news is, if we can stop overfishing as an activity, managed fishing seems to lead to a rebound of fish stocks.

Against the rapidly depleting fish stocks and life in the oceans, I’d like to place this study in longevity:

Source: NOAA

The good news is, recycling is becoming habitual in many places, as are biodegradable packaging alternatives. Now we just need some great business and technological solutions to cleaning up what’s already there.

World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008, but has been organized for years by the World Oceans Network. I posted this a day early so you can see if there are any events in your area to attend.

The theme this year for World Oceans Day is Oceans & People: Together we have the power to protect the ocean.

I would go one step further and say: It is only by working together that we have the power to protect the oceans.

One of my favorite ocean songs:

More:

The Guardian article – Interactive illustration of fish stocks

World Oceans Day United Nations web site

Ocean Project / World Oceans Day organization web site

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