The first victims of imminent ecocide will be our fish. This will have consequences that rock the human world. However, the solution is both harder than we think — and much, much easier.
Postmodernists like to blame our use of language for our limited truth capacity. Their reasoning goes that if we use “x=y” sentential, linear logic we are doomed to see false truths.
As someone with experience in the area of communicating complex ideas, I think the postmodern analysis of truth is only partially true. Our sentential logic means we can only express one detail or idea at a time. But what limits our truth capacity is something different.
Despite much media hype over global warming, the population is backing down from supporting it. From their perspective, the issue got hyped to a fever pitch, then got corrupted and used as a justification for other agendas, and finally got debunked when it came out that scientists were faking the data.
In the “out of sight, out of mind” world of modern media, where information overload is so great that a story two weeks ago is 100% forgotten, this means that ecocide has slipped again from the public eye. This is not a repeat from 1974, 1981 or any other time this issue has gained mass momentum.
Yet ecocide, like a slow cancer, keeps coming closer even when we’re not watching. As a species, we’re like toddlers hiding under a blanket thinking that if we can’t see the parent, maybe they can’t see us. The truth is that much like mortality is always there, our errors and their ongoing consequences are there even when we’re not looking. A tree falling in a forest DOES make a sound, after all.
The first tier of ecocide is going to hit us in an ugly place. There are some food supplies we take for granted, because nature provides them and we just take them. The one we rely on most but think about the least is our fish supply.
Worldwide, we eat 14kg of fish per person per year. Although we use fish farms to produce much of our intake, they are expensive and so limited to the first world, and also environmentally destructive because we must feed farmed fish some source of cheap protein, usually wild-caught fish. We’re talking about a large part of our protein intake as a species, especially in the developing world.
But as the data points out, our fish supplies worldwide are declining possibly to as low as 10% of their strength at the beginning of the last century. Even more, the fish that are left may be poisoned with heavy metals, which cause cancers, mutations and sterility.
We’re of course freaked out by this because there seem to be no solutions. So, we say a sad platitude and move on. After all, how are we going to stop people from eating fish? Outright commercial fishing regulation as Obama proposes will only stop one country from fishing, and others will continue the mania.
Populations disappear — ecocided — when they are unable to successfully breed. This means that below a certain number, the species is unable to breed healthy individuals and some epidemic wipes it out. We won’t get a warning call from God (or for you secular humanists, Government) when we’re approaching this number. The fish supply will just slow to a trickle, and then we’ll notice some species missing.
Slow death is hardest for us to face. We can handle events before they happen, and after they’ve happened. But what really limits our truth capacity is our perspective as individuals. We are thinking “but what will happen to me?” and if we don’t see an immediate threat to us personally, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Fixing that is the only first step to a solution.