... Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% -- a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries.
But the issue isn't just having seafood on our plates. Ocean species filter toxins from the water. They protect shorelines. And they reduce the risks of algae blooms such as the red tide.
"A large and increasing proportion of our population lives close to the coast; thus the loss of services such as flood control and waste detoxification can have disastrous consequences," Worm and colleagues say.
... But the loss of species isn't gradual. It's happening fast -- and getting faster, the researchers say.
Worm and colleagues call for sustainable fisheries management, pollution control, habitat maintenance, and the creation of more ocean reserves.
This, they say, isn't a cost; it's an investment that will pay off in lower insurance costs, a sustainable fish industry, fewer natural disasters, human health, and more.
"It's not too late. We can turn this around," Worm says. "But less than 1% of the global ocean is effectively protected right now."
It's not too late to cast your vote in the general election for someone who respects science.
The potential catastrophes are piling up, one on top of the other. Our soil blowing or being washed away. Increases in the temperature of the ocean's surface magnifying the intensity of storms. Rainfall patterns shifting, becoming unpredictable. Ocean levels rising. Amphibians disappearing. Glaciers melting. Now, saltwater fish headed towards extinction.
Politicians like Dave Reichert who want to stall debate at quibbling over whether or not human activity is responsible for global warming, a man who apologized for voting to protect salmon and the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge because he was just following orders to keep the seat, will prevent us from acting in time to preserve the health of the world's ecosystems.
The Republican Party, from its embrace of End Times theology to its hatred for protecting the ecosystems that feed us, give us clean water and generate the oxygen we breathe, is basically running on a plan to end life and civilization as we know it. Start another war, topple another government, squeeze the aquifer to the last drop, shred the Constitution, chase the last fish and burn, baby, burn every last profitable drop of the sweet, sweet crude. It's no longer the party that founded the Environmental Protection Agency and carried the attitude of the sober banker.
Protecting what is, after all, our food supply should never have become a partisan issue. Protecting the quality of our air and water, the two most basic necessities of life, should never have become a partisan issue. But it has. And it won't stop being a partisan issue until voters everywhere decide that they won't put up with any politician, from any party, that doesn't make protecting our continued ability to live comfortably on this planet a priority.
Is it really such a hard issue? Does it require tremendous political genius to believe that there should still be a human civilization a mere 100 years from now? Well, I hope not.Posted by natasha at November 3, 2006 08:55 AM | Environment | Technorati links |