Today’s blog post is about our environment and more specifically Toby the turtle’s habitat from our ‘No Place like Home’ book! We all know that around 70% on our Earth is covered by oceans, so it makes sense that to look after our planet we should focus on our oceans and marine life.
There’s a lot of information and most people know that plastic pollution is dangerous to marine life: most of us are now vigilant about not littering, use metal reusable straws and in the UK, we are inclined to reuse bags instead of paying for a new plastic carrier bag. All these steps lull us into a false sense of security, we’re made to think we’re doing all that we can to reduce plastic in the oceans, but in reality, the real issue is much deeper than that.
After watching the Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, I was made aware of the deep-rooted issues and problems to do with our ocean, that the mainstream media and big corporations have distracted us from realising. Did you know that plastic bags or plastic straws are not the biggest source of plastic in the ocean – in fact plastic straws make up only 0.03% of plastic in the ocean. The main source is actually fishing nets! I was amazed by this and could not fathom why fishermen would just dump the tonnes and tonnes of used fishing nets into the ocean.
When you first hear the term fishing nets, you may wonder why this is such a huge issue, but commercial fishing nets can span up to 7 miles in length and being left adrift in the ocean is simply fatal to ALL marine life: some can get trapped in it, some may consume it, and some get suffocated by it. And to think 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (which is 1.5 million sq. km large) consists of these fishing nets is an incredibly eye-opening realisation.
Commercial fishing has many other consequential problems too: this fishing is proven to be more dangerous to our oceans than oil spills. Callum Roberts, a Marine Conservation professor at the University of Exeter, has said:
“the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico destroys more animals in a day than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill did in months.”
Personally, I was curious as to why Roberts had said ‘animals’ rather than ‘fish’, after all this was about the fishing industry. Seaspiracy explains that every year around 50 million sharks, whales and dolphins are caught (and killed) as bycatch. This triggers a multitude of problems:
· sharks are apex predators and wiping them out would be detrimental to the marine ecosystem
· these animals fertilise phytoplankton, which then absorb CO2, the phytoplankton currently in our ocean is absorbing 4x as much as the Amazon rainforest
· there are ethical issues concerning why fishermen do kill dolphins rather than releasing them back into the ocean, some see them as ‘competition’ as they want to maximise the number of fish in the oceans as the demand for fish from us as consumer is at a record-breaking high
Seaspiracy delves into many other issues surrounding the fishing industries and the conflict of interest more companies and charities have – which explains the lack of widespread media coverage and public knowledge. Personally, I’d recommend that everyone who can, should watch this documentary.
Watching this not only made me realise the best thing I can do to protect our oceans in to avoid eating seafood, but also that education and knowledge is the most important and powerful thing we can have. If I had not watched this documentary, I would be completely oblivious to the unsustainable practices, existence of slavery within the industry and the manipulative marketing technique of big corporations.
At Adventures with Amara, we hope to provide this awareness and education about global issues from a young age, so that the upcoming generation are conscious of their decisions and will be proactive in seeking out facts and not believing everything they hear in mainstream media.
‘No place like home’ aims to teach children about the problems effecting our environment and simple steps they can take to ensure that they’re a part of the solution. In a simple, easy to understand way, we strive to educate the future generation in the hope of changing the world for the better!