Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Palau’s plans to ban commercial fishing

…could set precedent for tuna industry

The Pacific nation wants to conserve fish for its economy and marine reserves. How will this impact the fishing industry?

Click to expand this infograph showing key data on Palau and how the nation plans to create one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries. Photograph: Food and Environment Reporting Network and Switchyard Media

The Pacific island-nation of Palau is close to kicking all commercial fishing vessels out of its tropical waters. The move will single-handedly section off more than 230,000 sq miles of ocean, an area slightly smaller than France, to create one of the world’s largest marine reserves. The sanctuary, which Palauan President Thomas Remengesau Jr announced at the United Nations last month, would also sit inside the world’s last healthy stand of lucrative, tasty tuna.

Giving fishing vessels the boot is bold for any nation, but perhaps more so for Palau, a smattering of 300 islands east of the Philippines. Tuna, America’s favorite finned fish, is a regional boon worth an estimated $5.5bn. Commercial fishing, largely by boats from Japan and Taiwan, represents $5m annually – or 3.3% of GDP – to Palau. But still, the island state says it will allow existing fishing licenses to expire.

The move, hailed by ocean conservationists, sets a worrying precedent for the tuna industry. While the commercial catch inside Palau is minimal, captains covet the freedom to chase warm-blooded, migratory tuna across jurisdictions. If Palau goes through with the plan, it will mark the first time a nation has completely banned fishing vessels from its entire Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Our concern is not so much a practical one as it is a concern with the precedent of closing areas with no scientific basis for it,” says Brian Hallman, executive director of the American Tunaboat Association.

“The migratory range of tunas is vast, covering the waters of many countries and the high seas. So the only way to conserve stocks is by international treaty arrangements and this is already being done.”

Palau’s decision to act alone could be seen as a warning to the fishing industry to take the sustainability concerns of smaller, fish-rich nations more seriously and to work with these countries on more nimble and responsive solutions.

A domino effect?

Palau currently works with seven of its island neighbors to co-operatively manage a large swath of ocean. Jointly, these eight nations set fishing quotas and sustainability standards to manage nearly a third of the world’s tuna stock. Balancing both conservation and business, the alliance became the first group of countries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council for managing its tuna grounds sustainably.

But this arrangement hinges on allowing more-sustainable fishing inside member waters. If Palau bans commercial fishing, it’s unclear how this will impact the broader regional effort.

“There’s nothing in these agreements that require we allow fishing in our waters,” Remengesau says in a telephone interview. “It’s all about the regional area. Our conservation efforts would ensure that the stocks are healthy and that they gain in economic value as they move out of our territorial waters into other waters.”

When it comes down to it though, banning commercial boats simply appears to be in Palau’s interests.

Even though the bulk of commercial fishing in the region focuses on tuna, sharks are frequently hauled in as bycatch. Yanking sharks out of the sea directly hits Palau’s biggest moneymaker: the $85m dive tourism industry.

More valuable alive than dead. Photograph: Brian J Skerry/Getty Images/National Geographic

“We feel that a live tuna or shark is worth a thousand times more than a dead fish,” Remengesau says.

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Make you Fink on Friday

Going ‘green’ is more than shopping at Whole Foods and driving a Prius

Environmentalism in the US today has come to simply mean buying the right products. What if you can’t afford them?

Fresh produce at Whole Foods. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

As environmentalism goes mainstream, corporations are marketing the word “green” as a panacea for the world’s climate crisis. Today the word describes a set of prescribed, mostly consumerist actions: buy local, organic and fresh; go vegan; eat in season; skip the elevator, take the stairs. “Green” has come to mean shopping at Whole Foods and possessing a Prius. Meanwhile, leading corporate polluters like BP and ExxonMobil place commercials on CNN advertising their “green” practices.

It should come as no surprise, then, that “green” lifestyles don’t resonate with low-income communities; being “green” involves a set of behaviors that are financially or culturally inaccessible to millions of Americans. This presents a major problem for the environmental movement. If it is going to be successful, environmentalism simply cannot afford to be demographically segregated or isolated from the pathos of economic disparity.

The environmental movement needs to do a better job of connecting issues of race, class, poverty and sustainability; in short, it has to become a broader social movement. And people of color need visibility in the movement. By that, I don’t mean Barack Obama presiding over environmental policy from the White House or Lisa Jackson heading the Environmental Protection Agency during Obama’s first term. I mean the recognition that sustainable survival practices in poor communities are just as significant as solar panels and LED lights. Ultimately this is where the citizenry of the planet can and must come together in order to move forward.

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Tuesday Go Ponder: Guerilla Gardening in South Central

ecogrrlcapGreat video clip, so take 10 minutes go across to Ecogrrl and have a look. There’s a great message there for all of us.

“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”
~ Ron Finley

Tuesday Go Ponder: Guerilla Gardening in South Central.

Make you Fink on Friday

Rio summit: Little progress, 20 years on

Twenty years after the first Rio summit, campaigners say this global gathering has failed to achieve similar results


On the final day of the UN sustainable development summit in Rio, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has urged governments to eliminate hunger from the world.

The secretary-general said in a world of plenty, no-one should go hungry.

The final phase of the summit has seen pledges from countries and companies on issues such as clean energy.

But a number of veteran politicians have joined environment groups in saying the summit declaration was “a failure of leadership”.

And UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the outcome as “insipid”.

The meeting, marking 20 years since the iconic Earth Summit in the same city and 40 since the very first global environment gathering in Stockholm, was aimed at stimulating moves towards the “green economy”.

But the declaration that was concluded by government negotiators on Tuesday and that ministers have not sought to re-open, puts the green economy as just one possible pathway to sustainable development.

Mary Robinson, formerly both Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it was not enough.

“This is a ‘once in a generation’ moment when the world needs vision, commitment and, above all, leadership,” she said.

“Sadly, the current document is a failure of leadership.”

The former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, who chaired the 1992 Earth Summit, said the declaration did not do as much for environmental protection as for human development.

“This old division between environment and development is not the way we are going to solve the problems that we are creating for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” he said.

“We have to accept that the solutions to poverty and inequality lie in sustainable growth, not growth at all costs.”

Mr Ban had hoped the summit would take firmer steps towards ensuring the poor had access to water, food and energy.

However, his flagship Sustainable Energy for All initiative was merely “noted” in the text, not enthusiastically endorsed.

Source: BBC News Read more


Sadly, the Rio Summit on sustainability was a waste of time and money. When you balance the priorities less was achieved in 2012 than in 1992, and nothing has been done since 1992, so we can fully expect less to be done after 2012.

The answer to my last question on yesterday’s post:

No they won’t!

The world’s leaders are more interested in feathering their own nests by advancing development at all costs, even if those costs are too high for the planet to pay.

The chance was there, they blew it.

They can’t get it into their thick heads, that there will not be another chance. Twenty years on will be too late; they will see that in twenty years and they will come to understand that 2012 was the last chance. There will be wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth in the future, but the door of opportunity was closed, it will all be in vain.

Brazil’s ex-President  Fernando Cardoso was right, “This old division between environment and development is not the way we are going to solve the problems that we are creating for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

The theme of Rio +20 was ‘sustainability’, and here’s the joke; the initiative was merely ‘noted’ in the text.

There is only one thing left to say:

Will the last person alive on Planet Earth please turn out the lights, we must save power!

Earth Summit 1982 – 2012 R.I.P.

A pretty logo, thousands of delegates, millions of dollars in a city that didn’t listen in 1982 and they couldn’t fight their way out of a supermarket bag.

Hot air and the predicted nothing of importance was the outcome.

Oh, they’ll crow and make noises about being a success despite the summit being watered down and diluted like bad whisky.

In reality, it was a FLOP.

This summit was probably the most important of its kind ever held. It is the last of its kind where we have a chance to save anything. In another 20 years, there won’t be anything salvageable to save.

The sustainability of this planet is under threat. The threat is so dire and so imminent that we can’t trust politicians to deal with it.

This mess is beyond political solutions.

The big problem is that we have arrived at this point by being lead by the nose by politicians and their fancy rhetoric.

We have to change the whole paradigm.

The politicians must be kept at bay with huge sharp sticks. They must be kept totally out of the solution making process. You can’t fix a problem by using the same thinking that created it.

It is high time for the people to take control, because politicians can’t be trusted. The people have to turn to independent specialists  with no political agenda, platform or axe to grind.

We have to give the scientists and philosophers a chance to succeed where the politicians have failed. Any corporate, military or government affiliations would disqualify anticipated members of such a solution.

The results would be mandatory. The governments would have to follow or be tried for treason in that they have betrayed the planet. The governments would have no say in the matters, they would have no veto, they would implement the ideas regardless of the financial loses to the corporations, Wall Street or the lobbyists.

Bitter pill, swallow it!


The world has given the governments the chance to fix the problems time and time again; and each time they have failed, failed so miserably that it is an embarrassment.

There is only one choice left.

We have no option but to heed it, or we are doomed to perish.

We are already on the verge of annihilation with the nuclear issue, but if there is a remote chance of ridding ourselves of nuclear energy, we have to consider the people.

No, it’s my ball! You go find another one to destroy!

The human race is out of control.

It’s not the planet that needs saving, it’s us that need stopping.

It is our insatiable need to have everything and do nothing to produce it.

We have raised each successive generation to to ‘want & want now!’

Consumerism and debt are our biggest enemies.

20 years ago

In 1982 Severn Suzuki, a 12 year old made an impassioned plea; she literally silenced the world for six minutes.

This time it is Brittany Trilford from Wellington, New Zealand to address the Rio +20.

“A Wellington school girl has stood before world leaders and called for an end to broken environmental promises.

Brittany Trilford, 17, was one of the opening speakers at Earth Summit 2012 in Brazil this morning.

She was selected after an impassioned video that impressed a jury including Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Don Cheadle.

The Queen Margaret College pupil showed no nerves as she stood before the crowd.

“I’m here to fight for my future. That’s it,” she said.

She said environmental problems were getting worse and action remained inadequate.

“We plunder away our natural resources, diminishing our biodiversity, our oceans, our forests, and then we demand more.”

Her speech follows in the tradition of  Severn Suzuki, “the girl who silenced the world for six minutes” after her speech at the original 1992 Earth Summit in Rio as a 12-year-old.” – The Dominion Post

This is her message:

The question is, will the leaders listen?

Only if the corporations let them.

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