Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How It All Ends, Ctd

Almost 2 years ago (!) I wrote a short entry titled "How It All Ends" in which I argued:
When we destroy this planet, I mean really tip it over the edge, it'll be because we wrecked the oceans. Life started with water, and life will end with it.
The problem is that people can see land-based pollution and ecological destruction quite well. Air-based destruction of the environment is a bit harder to see, and unsurprisingly air-based pollution regulation is near-impossible to get through Congress. But still, we are able to mildly regulate air pollution. But what about water based pollution regulation? Its nearly non-existent. Not to mention even the idea of water pollution regulation is new. Water-resource management, on the other hand, is a laugher. Take these recent images produced by David McCandless at Information is Beautiful

So what's to do? Fish are a much healthier alternative than livestock, and unlike most livestock, can feasibly be cultivated and then harvested from "the wild."
Or that's what we used to think. Everyone used to believe that the ocean was this vast, unquenchable source of life. And yet, the compelling evidence that we are destroying our environment regardless of whether anthropogenic climate change is occurring is growing larger and larger every day. Environmentalists need to come at this a different way. Instead of arguing whether global warming is real, they need to start asking "why aren't conservatives also conservationists?"
The answer is that human progress is incompatible with sustainability. In the case of ocean fish populations, we need to either accept that soon enough fish will not exist, or start genetically engineering fish to reproduce and grow faster.  We could all go vegetarian (and solve many of the nutritional/environmental problems of our age) but the idea of giving up meat completely is a tough pill to swallow for most of humanity, yours truly included.

My friend said to me yesterday "people need to learn to embrace change better." That may be true. It's also a fanciful notion.


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