Out of sight, out of mind. What do you see when you stand on the beach and look out at the ocean? You see a broad expanse of blue water — you see the surface of the sea. It is probably wishful thinking to believe that humans might care about marine ecosystems if they could see the carnage below the surface, but if they could see it, the damage done from overfishing would certainly make an impression on them.
I haven't talked about the health of the oceans for a while, hence this post. I was talking to an old friend who noted that I was writing more about environmental issues than I used to. I told him it was true because when the economy tanked in 2008-09, coverage of the environment took a beating from which it may never recover. As I've written so many times, for humans, the economy is everything. The oceans cover nearly 70% of the Earth's surface. Thus I think the oceans qualify as "the environment"
Yet the oceans get short shrift where the environment is concerned, or so it seems to me after decades of following the news. That's not so hard to understand—humans live on the land, on the continents which make up the other 30% of the Earth's surface. Ironically, the large majority of humans prefer to live right next to the oceans. It's not hard to figure out why.
My most recent post about the oceans was Philippe Cousteau — Environmental Advocate. I ridiculed Jacques' grandson because his warnings were full of Obligatory Hope, but maybe I should have lowered my expectations and praised him for simply bringing the subject up. Hardly anybody else does.
Which brings me to today's video, a German TV special made in 2011 called Der Letzte Fisch — Unsere Meere am Scheideweg, which translates as The Last Fish — Our Exhausted Seas. I watched it over the weekend, and was pleased to see that there was interview with Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, whose work I have covered several times on DOTE.
I hope you will watch this longish video, if not today, then some other time. The oceans will be around a lot longer than our pathetic species. Life in the oceans is in big trouble, but marine life has been in big trouble several times over the course of Deep Time (in this case, the last 543 million years). Long after we're gone, life in the oceans will recover from whatever adverse effects humans have on it in the next few centuries. Life in the oceans has been thriving for (roughly) the last 55 million years, and Homo sapiens certainly would not exist if that had not been the case.
So I hope it is worth 42 minutes of your time to watch this German documentary (dubbed in English). This moment in time will never come again. For some of you, it will be worth it to know what is happening to the oceans at that special moment when you are alive and conscious.
For example, I'll bet you didn't know that since the 1950s, the amount of fish in the sea has been reduced by half. Ain't that a shame?