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The Voice of the Sea is Speaking Out

“Those endeavoring to figure out how to increase food production without more harms to nature may well be sincere; but they appear to be in the throes of wishful thinking,” says Eileen Crist in her Afterword to Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot. “For even if for a moment we ignore the fact that present-day industrial agriculture, industrial aquaculture, and industrial fishing constitute a mounting planet-wide disaster—which goes largely unremarked only because it is equaled by planet-wide ignorance — simply saying that we need to grow more food without further ecological destruction is not going to stop hungry and acquisitive people from taking what they need and think they need: clearing more forests and grasslands, moving up slopes, overgrazing pasture and rangelands, decimating sea creatures, replacing mangrove forests with shrimp operations, or killing wild animals for cash or food…

“Regarding the seas, the human food factory has demanded that 98 percent of them be fishable. This reign of terror for marine species is partly underwritten by an institution called, without the slightest irony, “the freedom of the seas.” As a consequence, only about 10 percent of the big fish are left and there is no end in sight to the demand on everything from krill to sharks. In the literal and figurative industrial mowing of the world’s oceans, the countless beings who suffer and die in the name of mass consumption and profit are referred to as “catch” and “bycatch.”

In her Forward, Musimbi Kanyoro notes that “Realizing our common humanity invites us to embrace common responsibility and care for one another and the planet on which we live. The emergence of such grave global challenges as biodiversity loss and climate change demands urgent and undivided attention to the care of our planet- the Earth. The health of the oceans, the air, the water, and the land affects human health. The size of the human family and the way that we live influence the quality of life for people today as well as for future generations. Moreover, our numbers and behavior profoundly affect nonhuman species, all of the creatures with which we share this beautiful but finite planet. The web of life that those species create is what makes the planet habitable and lovely.”


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