Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day. This year's celebration is particularly poignant for those of us in the U.S. because the news about the oil spill in the Gulf keeps getting worse - Jane Lubchenco announced today that oil had been found 1 mile down. But I don't think citizens of any country could look at these photos and not feel profound sadness and anger. Yet we shouldn't spend too long stewing. What can you do? The Ocean Project has a few suggestions.

Another suggestion that might be more time-consuming but is potentially just as useful: let your representatives know that you support responsible ocean policies. For far too long, ocean policies have been heavily influenced by people who profit when oceans are destroyed but don't have to deal with the consequences of degradation. Here are a few things that are sometimes considered "controversial" that you can tell your government you support: precautionary fisheries management and closure of depleted fisheries (many fisheries remain open, just with lower catches, even in the face of sharp stock declines); the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs are proven to have benefits for marine areas, and can lead to HIGHER fish catches in surrounding, unprotected areas); and stringent restrictions on what humans can put into the oceans, whether it's waste from ships or offshore oil rigs. The oceans belong to you, too, and you have a right to have a say in their management.