Deb Wright

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Idea: Shift our paradigm of seas and oceans from exploitation to protection

Imagine we completely changed the way we think about oceans and seas, and that the present paradigm were turned on its head. Imagine that we forget about the notion of creating marine reserves, - areas of marine refuge, - of marine sanity, which are safe from depletion and ruin. Suppose the situation were reversed so that all oceans and seas were by default protected, and instead there were ‘commercial reserves’, - areas where commercial use is possible but only if it is well-managed and sustainable.
The underlying principle governing mankind’s use of the sea, would switch from that of exploitation to that of protection. It would be a principle of reason to replace a principle of idiocy, - the Principle of Worldwide Marine Protection, where the health of the marine environment always takes precedence over commercial interests.
All marine industries would be strictly regulated, and anyone who exploits the sea would have to prove that their activity is neither harmful nor unsustainable. Whether it be fishing, dredging, oil and gas extraction, shipping or whatever.
Existing international laws, such as United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and The Convention on Biological Diversity include measures to protect ocean life. However due to poor compliance and lack of enforcement, they have not prevented the relentless devastation and plunder of the sea by industry. The Principle of Worldwide Marine Protection would be established in law. It could be a development of UNCLOS, which already obliges nation states to protect the marine environment.
The world’s oceans and seas could finally be managed in an intelligent, ethical and sustainable way, for the common good of all species, mankind included.

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    Lejan .

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    Nov 6 2012: 'Imagine we completely changed the way we think about oceans...'

    You encourage us to use our common sense, and I did, many years ago, and the outcome was, that neither my cat nor I eat much if any fish ever since...

    For me it was an easy task, as I don't like fish as much as by my health I probably should, and my cat wasn't ask in the first place... :o)

    But seriously, isn't this underlaying paradigm all the same and shift-worthy of almost all our current habits?

    We have been conditioned towards consumption and at the same time we detached from the source of our very existence: an intact and dynamically balanced eco-system.

    How do we 'cry wolf' without loosing our reputation and by just knowing they come? They just happen to be out of sight - but that's the problem here... and inconsistency.

    Your idea for a 'shift of paradigm for seas and oceans' makes perfect sense, it is logical, supported by probably all marine scientists if they were asked, it is most reasonable, but it has one big problem: US, the spoiled people!

    It seems to be engraved in our human nature to know about the better and do the other thing. This shall not be a lame excuse or 'carte blanche' for our carelessness, but if I take a look at the bigger picture, it seems this our 'sense' has become 'common' to most of us.

    I don't know how long Greenpeace blows the whistle against overfishing and pollution of the oceans, yet even a small group of whale meat enthusiasts and whalers seem to be able to endanger whole species...

    I am afraid, that just by our reasoning we won't change our bad habits. And I dare to predict that the oceans will become devastated before we change course. Not because we decide to, because we have to...

    Therefore todays exploitation could be seen as inventory control, so that we at least once remember what we are going to whipe out ...

    And is there hope for a better future? Yes, my cat and I started to work on it and everyone is welcome to join us... :o)
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      Nov 11 2012: Dear Lejan
      Thank you for your vote of confidence in my idea, although I obviously hope you are wrong about the eventual outcome you described! Best wishes

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    Nov 6 2012: This is a great idea that deserves deep thought. It is not uncommon for us to see the seas and oceans as some distant place and thus to underestimate the impact of its pollution. But such attitude is not surprising since we've also shown reluctance in giving urgent attention to industrial pollution that happens nearby.
    The need for sustainable environmental practices is more urgent than in the past.

    "Only after the last tree has been cut down
    Only after the last river has been poisoned
    Only after the last fish has been caught
    Only then will you find you cannot eat money" - Cree Proverb
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      Nov 11 2012: Hi Feyisayo

      Just to say thank you for your positive response to my wishes, Deb
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        Nov 11 2012: Thank you very much Deb Wright for spreading this laudable idea.
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        Nov 11 2012: Thank you very much Deb Wright for spreading this laudable idea.
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    Nov 13 2012: I believe in economic productivity, and I honor the capitalistic genius as much as the artistic genius, but I realize that there is a strain of people out there who refuse to appreciate the sanctity of our common environment, all in the name of economic progress. But this is why our world is great-- that there are differing perspectives, and when all peoples learn to cooperate with each other, our world ends up turning after all.

    So, as a reasonable guy, I definitely support conserving our oceans to the point of sustainability, after which, I give all kudos to the entrepreneur who can tap another of our earth's gifts...
  • Nov 9 2012: I think this is a wonderfully written bright idea! So relevant right now and very inspiring.