The Eden we have taken for granted since we first walked on this planet will disappear unless we all take immediate action over the next ten years to address this crisis. Learn what organizations around the world are doing to save our oceans.
When writing Varuna, and also with my upcoming second novel “The Poacher,” one of my primary goals was to bring attention to the peril facing our oceans and wildlife from overfishing, pollution, poaching, and habitat destruction. The Eden we have taken for granted since we first walked this planet will disappear unless we take immediate and ongoing action over the next ten years to address this crisis.
Why is action now so necessary? It can be explained partly in numbers. In 1950s, the earth’s population was 2.5 billion. Today it’s 7 billion. In 2050, it will be 10 billion. Worldwide, consumption of fish has increased from 9 kilograms per person in 1960 to 20 kilograms today. Per capita, meat and dairy consumption has increased fourfold over the same period.
If we lived in a world with infinite resources, the above wouldn’t matter. But we don’t and now we’ve reached a tipping point where the size of our population and our growing per capita consumption are overwhelming earth’s ability to regenerate, and it is leading to a collapse of biodiversity on a scale never before seen in human history. We are causing the earth’s 6th mass extinction. The last one took out the dinosaurs. This one could take us out, and it’s entirely of our own making.
Our growing population and growing per capita consumption are dealing a double whammy to global fish stocks. This high demand fuels huge profits for unscrupulous organizations who employ massive unregulated industrial trawler fleets. These fleets make excursions into rich fishing grounds of inadequately guarded waters, then sail back into the protection of international waters where they offload their catch onto floating fish processing factories (mother ships). This is not a problem localized to some remote sea in Asia. It’s happening worldwide, and it will lead to the collapse of key fish stocks within the next generation. As the primary source of protein for 3 billion people worldwide, think of the destabilization that will occur when 20% of our food source disappears.
Switching to land, an area the size of Panama is being denuded of forest across the globe every year to produce corn, soy, cattle, and palm oil. As a result, the combined weight of humans and our domestic animals now make up 96% of all mammal species on earth! This massive loss of habitat is not just about the loss of trees. Taken together with overuse and under regulation of pesticides and herbicides as well as our unrelenting development of “empty” spaces, we are wiping out thousands of insect, plant, and animal species. The loss of insects is particularly devastating because they are not only the base of the food chain for birds and amphibians, they are the source of pollination of our food crops. Without insects, humans cannot survive.
Life on earth is interconnected and can only thrive when in balance. We are upsetting this balance on a scale never before seen in human history, and it is leading us to perdition. We know current leadership in the U.S., China, Russia, Brazil, and India are not just failing to treat this eco-collapse as a serious threat, they are actually encouraging the accelerating abuse of their natural resources. Until these leaders can be replaced, individual citizens must step up and recognize the grave nature of the problem.
It’s easy to feel powerless to combat such large issues, but there are important actions we can – and must – take.
One impactful action is to support organizations that are at the forefront of the battle to save the biodiversity of our planet. These organizations are not political and the work they do is not controversial. They often work in concert with host countries to tackle these critical issues. Without organizations like The Nature Conservancy, The World Wildlife Fund, the Ocean Conservancy, and other non-profit organizations and their thousands of staff and volunteers, we would have already lost the battle. But they cannot win this war on their own. They need our support.
I don’t want my generation to go down in history as the one that, despite having the science and knowledge to turn things around, chose to do nothing. The generation that lost the planet. If I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren, I hope to look them in the eye one day and say I was part of the effort that turned the tide.
Below are links to articles and videos which describe our dire circumstances. These are safe to click, are from trusted sources, and based in fact and science. I’ve also included links to several charitable organizations I highly recommend. I encourage anyone reading this to join them and make whatever donation you can afford. If you’re unable to donate, consider supporting them in other ways such as volunteering. It’s our planet and we are all in this together. So let’s work together to preserve the Eden on which we are lucky enough to live.
Informative articles and videos: