So the oil has spilled…now what?? If you are like me, you are pissed off enough to do something about it, but you are not really sure what to do! Who do we express our frustrations to?? And more importantly, what is the next step??
Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers to these questions: what I do have are some thoughts and suggestions relating to the seafood issue that this spill has raised. Everyone knows that the wild fish stocks in our oceans around the globe are declining due to overfishing, habitat destruction, and (you guessed it!) pollution. This spill will add further pressure to these stocks, contributing to their rapid collapse.
This raises a separate question entirely: if all the fish are gone from our oceans in 30 years, because of oil spills and overfishing and a plethora of other factors, where will we get our fish from? Fish is the chief source of protein for billions of people around the globe: what will they eat when all the wild fish are gone?
The answer lies in fish farming, but NOT in the conventional farming methods that I am sure just popped into your head. Like our dependence on oil, growing salmon in giant net cages NEEDS to be a thing of the past. Instead, we need to embrace the development of sustainable methods for fish farming, namely inland, recirculation systems or polyculture (growing several different species within the same system). In my opinion, these methods represent the future of fish farming: they are designed to minimize wastes (and the associated environmental impacts) and therefore are sustainable options when it comes to aquaculture.
This spill has illustrated our need for the establishment of an alternative source of clean fish: we need more fish farms, but more of the same is unacceptable. As long as we are starting from the ground up, we might as well get it right the first time with respect to the environment. Building more salmon cages is only going to propagate the issue of environmental impact…building polyculture facilities that grow several different species, all of which are raised in systems that mimic natural food webs, will shed some light on the issue of sustainability and prove that we can benefit from sustainable enterprises.
So back to the original question: now that the oil has spilled, what is the next step? I firmly believe that you will not control anyone else’s actions, only your own. Writing your senator or MP about how pissed off you are WILL make you feel better, but may not result in the types of immediate change that you are interested in. Rather, what you can do TODAY to make a difference is to climb aboard the ‘sustainable seafood’ train. There are already people and companies doing some amazing work with sustainable fish farming, and we as consumers NEED to encourage, applaud, and support these ventures. Only then can real change actually occur.
If you really want to make a difference, if you are angry about the oil and need to take action, then start small. Do some research, find out where your fish comes from, and only buy from sustainable sources. By supporting these sustainable endeavours, we are sending a message that we are ready for change. I know it sounds small and hardly worth your time, and at the end of the day you may not change the world, but you WILL change YOUR world!