The Corporation" (58 minutes in, if you want to watch) from some unspecified date but no doubt at least half a century ago or more, of a long boat lined with men standing precariously on a narrow ledge, casting with poles and hooks into the rippling sea.
This was the old-fashioned way for fishermen to plunder the sea. Captions for the photos of their modern contemporaries that follow can be seen at the UK Guardian gallery Oceans2012.
There was another scene in the movie that triggered my dream, and that was an interview with Michael Moore.
When I have recalled that the fish disappeared from Ipswich Bay I have always thought bitterly of the Japanese and Russian factory ships whose outlines we could dimly see, perched far off on the very edge of the horizon, from the vantage of our little boat.
Michael Moore said of himself and his wife, "There isn’t a single one of us, back in Flint—any of us, including us—who ever stopped to think, this thing we do for a living, the building of automobiles, is probably the single biggest reason why the polar ice caps are going to melt and end civilization as we know it."
"There’s no connect between, 'I’m just an assembler on an assembly line, building a car, which is good for people, and society, it moves them around.' But never stop to think about the larger picture, and the larger responsibility, of what we’re doing."
"Ultimately, we have to, as individuals, accept responsibility for our collective action and the larger harm that it causes...in our world."Like this lady - we are all just ordinary people who rarely see our role in the grand scheme of destruction and even when we do, it's difficult to understand exactly how to change it.
article, "World's Oceans in Shocking Decline", it immediately brought forth my dream and all the questions it raised about how to be sustainable, or whether that is even possible, and even if it were, whether our ecosystem is well ruined beyond recovery. A team of experts assembled by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean will release a report this week that summarizes (quoted passages in lavender) in a fashion that precludes the usual accusation that scientists aren't being forthcoming enough in their warnings:
"...ocean life is 'at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history"'.
They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognized.
The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.""The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.
"As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realized."
"We've sat in one forum and spoken to each other about what we're seeing, and we've ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years."
These "accelerated" changes include melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise, and release of methane trapped in the sea bed.Fast changes
"The rate of change is vastly exceeding what we were expecting even a couple of years ago," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a coral specialist from the University of Queensland in Australia.But more worrying than this, the team noted, are the ways in which different issues act synergistically to increase threats to marine life.
"So if you look at almost everything, whether it's fisheries in temperate zones or coral reefs or Arctic sea ice, all of this is undergoing changes, but at a much faster rate than we had thought."
Some pollutants, for example, stick to the surfaces of tiny plastic particles that are now found in the ocean bed.
This increases the amounts of these pollutants that are consumed by bottom-feeding fish.
Plastic particles also assist the transport of algae from place to place, increasing the occurrence of toxic algal blooms - which are also caused by the influx of nutrient-rich pollution from agricultural land.
In a wider sense, ocean acidification, warming, local pollution and overfishing are acting together to increase the threat to coral reefs - so much so that three-quarters of the world's reefs are at risk of severe decline.
Life on Earth has gone through five "mass extinction events" caused by events such as asteroid impacts; and it is often said that humanity's combined impact is causing a sixth such event.
The IPSO report concludes that it is too early to say definitively.
But the trends are such that it is likely to happen, they say - and far faster than any of the previous five.
"What we're seeing at the moment is unprecedented in the fossil record - the environmental changes are much more rapid," Professor Rogers told BBC News.
"We've still got most of the world's biodiversity, but the actual rate of extinction is much higher [than in past events] - and what we face is certainly a globally significant extinction event."
This cluster of trunks are maples - the youngest on the left could have grown from a shoot, or a seed that embedded next to the older tree.
But that remaining patch is being subsumed by what is corroding the sycamore bark everywhere, worsening every season until it is unrecognizable - coarse, rough, splitting chunks of uniform grey.
There are scarcely any full-sized leaves, many are missing, stunted in size, or brown.
Desert Dreamer, who writes in a place far removed from Wit's End but cares about much the same things:
Becoming Human - a Poem
I am not the woman
You see standing here.
I am the woman with wild hair
Dancing with souls
Of forgotten flowers.
I am completely human
Alive, real and wild
No longer tamed
I am free
Belonging only to the
Garden of the earth.
To look in my eyes
Is to face your self.
I am the sunshine
Touching your bare skin.
Great message. Thank you.ReplyDelete
It is the essence of the human race that needs to urgently change.
Not sure we can change fast enough.
So sad to see the suffering of trees, and the dying fish of the oceans...it becomes more urgent every day that we humans find a new way to live.ReplyDelete
Thank you for adding my poem to the end of some great writing about the oceans and the trees.
Like Richard, I think we can't change fast enough to fix the damage.ReplyDelete
What you say about the youngsters is, I think, very appropriate. Every human alive in our 'advanced' (hah!) civilisation has grown up in an alien world and it's not been made clear to any of us that the way we live isn't how it's always been. It takes time to come to realise this. Too much time.
Talking about cars, I remember walking down the high street in the London suburb where I grew up, holding my mother's hand. I must have been about eight. I remember asking my mum why cars had to be so noisy. Her answer was: 'they have to be like that so you can hear them coming." ... no disrespect meant to my mum, but essentially I was being taught what like was like by someone who, like most other people, was focussed on 'today,' and never had time to really stop and think about yesterday - or tomorrow.
That poem's lovely. I'll have to pop back to Desert Dreamer's blog and tell her so :)