All around the world, people are struggling to get access to clean water for drinking and growing crops. As the climate changes, many farmlands are drying and people are finding it harder and harder to keep their crops watered and still have enough to drink.
Here at Oceana, our focus is usually on salt water, but that doesn’t mean we’re not concerned about fresh water and all the people who rely on it.
It’s all interconnected: Freshwater rivers flow into the ocean, and the oceans provide water-conserving meals. Wild seafood requires no fresh water to grow or feed, which means more water is available for human consumption. But we can only rely on the ocean for food as long as fish are available. Overfishing, pollution, and climate change mean less fish in the ocean, which in turn means less water for drinking.
Water is essential to human life, whether it is in a well or in the ocean. Today we want to remind everyone that you don’t have to choose between saving the oceans and saving suffering humans… They are one and the same.
Do your part for World Water Day. Live your life with the health of the oceans and the planet in mind. You can start by checking out the 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Oceans.
Also in this issue is a Q&A with author Mark Kurlansky, whose 1997 international bestseller Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World is a seminal work of non-fiction about overfishing.
I spoke to him about his new book, The World Without Fish: How Kids Can Help Save the Oceans, which explains the current crisis in the oceans in easy-to-digest language and graphics, and outlines how kids can help.
What inspired you to write The World Without Fish?
MK: I’ve been writing about fish for many years. I talk to kids about it a lot and I noticed a few things. They are tremendously interested, partly because kids just really like fish. We’re raising a generation with a great sense of environmental urgency; they want to know about these things. It’s a very complicated thing, much more complicated than it’s often presented. Consequently, kids are perplexed about what’s going on. So I thought I would explain it.
Has your daughter read the book? Is she interested in ocean issues?
MK: Yes, she has. It’s a very ambitious book for kids, and I wanted to know about anything she found difficult or hard to understand. She’s really into it. She’s my fishing buddy. We spend our summers in Gloucester fishing for striper.
What do you hope kids (and adults) take from your book?
I’d like them to appreciate the complexity of the issue to understand that it’s not that people aren’t doing anything -- a lot’s being done, but they’re still struggling to figure out what works. I wouldn’t mind them coming away with a little respect for fishermen and their struggles with the issue. This all can be turned around and if it isn’t, it will be a huge disaster.
The most powerful earthquake in recorded history to hit Japan struck on Friday, triggering a deadly tsunami that is destroying coastal towns and killing hundreds.
The quake also caused trouble for two Japanese nuclear power plants, causing a fire at one and issues with cooling at another.
Governments and aid organizations from around the world are already lending a helping hand and have pledged to do more in the coming days and weeks ahead.
If you would like to help too, click here for a list of organizations helping on the ground.
Events like this remind us that the oceans are a source of great power and mystery; while they bring peace and calm to many, they are also capable of great destruction. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan and coastal communities throughout the Pacific.
Pearl Jam, celebrated for decades of rock music and activism, have launched a new effort in response to the oil spill, and it’s all about -- you guessed it -- protecting the oceans.
Oceana is a partner in the effort, and their new website, http://pearljam.com/oceans, includes information about what you can do to live blue, including how to eat sustainable seafood, support clean energy, and help with the Gulf clean-up and restoration effort.
As Time reports this week, according to box office figures, the oceans have eclipsed George Clooney in popularity this week -- at least in France.
More than 100,000 people went to see Jacques Perrin's new documentary, Océans, in its first 48 hours in French theaters, which is double the number that went to see Clooney's Up in the Air. (They opened the same day).
Océans is the culmination of two years of planning, four years of filming, which included 70 expeditions to 54 shooting locations. The film banks on the beauty of the oceans (plus the skill of the crew and some fancy equipment) to convince viewers that ocean conservation is paramount. Not surprisingly, the technique works, say the critics.
Perrin produced the 1996 documentary, Microcosmos, which followed insects at close range, and 2001’s acclaimed Winged Migration.
As a documentary buff and ocean lover, I’m marking my calendar: the film opens in the U.S. on Earth Day, April 22.