Think of the ocean as a trust fund. You can only use the interest. For millennia, humans lived off the interest of the earth’s abundant natural resources. But in the last century, we’ve been rapidly, dramatically depleting the principal.
The Trump administration announced last week that it would open 90 percent of our coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. It declared last month that it would shrink or eliminate several national monuments — both terrestrial and marine. Last year, it rolled back safety requirements that prevent spills such as the Deepwater Horizon, and it stated it would reconsider protections of national marine sanctuaries. The reigning principle here, to the extent that there is one, is to put short-term economic gains first, way ahead of the environment.
Apparently lost on the administration are two simple facts: If we want to keep fishing, we need places where there is no fishing. If we want to maintain coastal tourism economies, we need places without drilling.
This is not about hugging whales and waxing sentimental about coral reefs.
We need to use the ocean — food security and jobs depend on it. But we must be careful not to use it up. And right now, despite its vastness, we are indeed in danger of using it up.
Think of the ocean as a trust fund. If you want to rely on that fund for the rest of your days, you can only use the interest. For millennia, humans lived off the interest of the earth’s abundant natural resources. But in the last century, we’ve been rapidly, dramatically depleting the principal. We are also hurting our interest rate — destroying nature’s ability to heal itself.
We are overfishing the ocean, killing fish faster than they can make babies. Thirty-two percent of the world’s fish populations are overfished, and another 58 percent are fished to their maximum. Warming and acidifying waters are annihilating our coral reefs, which are on track to collapse by 2050….