Letter from the Editor Page 3
The Cost of Recreational Fishing Page 4
Excessive Consumerism & Global Warming Page 7
10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean Page 8
Letter from the Editors,
Thank you for your interest in our newsletter, which is dedicated to
educating the public and spreading concern for the preservation of our
planet’s oceans. We hope you find the articles interesting and that they
inspire you spread the word about environmental conservation.
We also encourage you to visit the websites of our sources, such as the
EPA and National Geographic for more information.
Eric McCroskey & Julio Perez
The Cost of Recreational Fishing – Eric McCroskey
“Give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day. Teach me to
fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime.” The lesson in this
common anecdote has nothing to do with fishing,
so would it be as powerful if it referenced wheat,
corn, or beef? Not if you asked someone from parts
of the world where they do not consume these
products. However, unlike most foods, fish is
consumed in virtually every country, and it has
sustained mankind as a food source since the early
civilizations. And why would we have any reason to
believe this could change? After all, we see how the weather destroys crops. We see how disease kills
livestock. But what could possibly deplete the vast, endless oceans of fish? For most people, this is the
mindset that leads them to take fish for granted; like water from a faucet. As a result, sport fishing has
become a pastime around the world. In fact, the American Sportfishing Association reports that, in
America alone, recreational fishing creates over a million jobs and has a $125 billion impact on our
So how does sport fishing fit into the recent crusade of environmentalism? It’s easy to criticize
commercial fishing companies that indiscriminately pull seafood out of the water by the ton. But when
we think of recreational fishing, what usually comes to mind is a retired old man relaxing out on the
lake, or a father taking his young son on his first fishing trip. Unfortunately, this is not a true
representation of what sport fishing has become: a significant threat to the ecosystem of underwater
life, and it is spinning out of control.
Between 2008 and 2009, fishing license sales increased by 11%, and it’s assumed that
unlicensed fishing is growing at an even higher rate. There are a number of reasons for this, like the
growing population of baby boomers reaching retirement, and economic conditions that make
inexpensive activities like fishing popular for families. This should be very alarming when you consider
the fish population is shrinking, not growing - in some areas by as much as 90% over the last 100 years.
An international group of ecologists and economists warned in 2006 that the world will run out of
seafood by 2048 if steep declines in marine life continue at the current rate. This was reported by the
Washington Post and backed by a four year scientific study.
Technology has significantly added to this problem. The days of patiently waiting and hoping to
hook a fish are fading fast, because for about $500 anyone can purchase a sonar computer to locate fish
for them. In 10 years, the technology could be 1/3rd the price. There are also advancements in bait and
lure design that increase the success of catching fish. Products like this are pillars in the multi-billion
dollar sport fishing industry.
So if a serious problem exists, why isn’t the
government stopping it? Unfortunately, the ocean is like
the internet in many ways – it is too big to put in a
supervised box. There are hundreds of laws in place to
protect fish populations from being exploited, but the
government does not have the means to advertise them,
let alone enforce them, in most areas. In fact, if you don’t
go out of your way to research fishing laws on your own,
there is a good chance you could be breaking some. For
example, certain fish can only be caught during certain
times of the year, and fish under a certain weight must be
released. Some areas restrict the type of bait or lures you
can use, the number of fish you can catch, or whether or
not you can fish at all. But if you have ever been fishing,
you probably never even saw a sign listing these rules.
Most of the government’s resources are aimed at large
scale commercial fishing – and for a good reason. The black market for illegal fishing has an estimated
value of $24 Billion. Because of this, sport fishing violations fall through the cracks.
Another major issue with sport fishing is the lack of environmental awareness people have. One
piece of trash, one beer can, or one small oil leak is insignificant in the eyes of the common individual,
and this inability to see the greater picture is often the reason people pollute or litter. Reputable fishing
companies pay close attention to what they leave in the water, and are held responsible for it.
Individuals or families are not. Multiply one incident by millions and a serious problem arises, such as
800,000 tons of trash over the
last 25 years.
People tend to ignore
problems they cannot see, and
the destruction of our planet’s
marine life is one of them. This
isn’t simply an environmental
protection issue, it threatens
human existence as we know it.
Seafood feeds billions of
people every day, and food
shortage is already a global
epidemic. Many people cannot
afford to lose this invaluable
resource. The public must be
made aware of the damage they are causing and sport fishing needs to be reexamined. It is entirely
possible to feed the populations of the world while sustaining the fish population, but it requires a new
way of thinking. But until people realize their food supply may not be there tomorrow, it is unlikely that
we will see any positive changes.
American Sportifishing Association – Statistics: http://www.asafishing.org/
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/02/AR2006110200913.html
Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.water.epa.gov
Excessive Consumerism & Global Warming - Julio Perez
Ever since we were kids attending elementary school, not yet knowing the cause and
effects that the consumption of fresh raw materials bring forth, school systems and teachers have
taught us the importance of protecting the Earth's Ozone and ecosystems. I can remember back to
middle school when my science teacher taught us the significance of the Greenhouse effect. The
Greenhouse effect is "...a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by
atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions. (Annex Glossary)" The significance
are these greenhouse gases which are increasing from human activities such as deforestation and the
burning of fossil fuels, contributing to one of the most worrisome and looked at complications of our
time -- Global warming.
These problems of excessive consumerism which lead to a huge impact in the increase
of Global warming are heavily discussed and exposed by filmmaker Annie Leonard in her film The Story
of Stuff. Although the facts brought forth in the film are specifically targeted at excessive consumerism
to that in the United States, it puts in perspective how cruel it is that we as humans are treating mother
Earth. The film's and Annie's main focus revolves around what is known as Materials economy. The
Materials economy is a vicious cycle of this excessive consumerism which goes through the process of
extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal.
The video is divided up into chapters, starting with chapter 1 where Leonard discusses
the process and problems of extraction and also discusses in-short the influences from the government.
She explains how society is flawed because some people are given more opportunity and say than
others are, and that corporations hold more control and attention from the government. This system is
flawed because if do not own or buy a lot of stuff then your beliefs and what you stand up for do not
hold any value. Extraction can be defined as natural resource exploitation, or in others words trashing
the planet. Many conflicts come forth when talking discussing extraction, the bottom line is that the
Earth is running out of resources because we as humans are using too much stuff. We are running out of
resources, in the last decade 1/3 of the world's resource has been consumed (Leonard). It has gotten to
a point where we are pushing the Earth to its limits causing us to get resources from Third World
countries and causing more people to suffer.
Next the process of production is discussed, and in this process things seem to just
become more complicated. In this process of the materials economy, it is best described in that "we use
energy to mix toxic chemicals in with the natural resources to make toxin contaminated products." A
point is made on this topic of production that seems very harsh and inhumane to me. Leonard brings up
the point that it is just not our resources that are being wasted, but also our people. People in the third
world are forced to work with these toxins as a result of degradation of their environment for our
benefit. As far as pollution goes from this process, factories emit over 4 billion pounds of toxic into the
air each year. This is all just simple cause and effect. The erosion of local environments and economies
leaves people with no other economic option but to work (and live) in toxic environments.
After this production of toxic materials, comes the step of moving the materials into
distribution. The goal here is to sell as quickly as possible and keep prices down. “It’s all about
externalizing the costs. What that means is that the real costs of making Stuff aren’t captured in the
price. In other words, we’re not paying for the Stuff we buy.” This chapter of the video is filled with hard
hitting and mind blowing facts. “Guess what percentage of total material flow through this system is still
in product or use six months after their date of sale in North America. 50%? 20%? No, one percent. One.
In other words, 99% of the Stuff we harvest, mine, process, transport – 99% of the Stuff we run through
this system is trashed within 6 months!” It is so simple to add to this problem without even realizing, we
as consumers are influenced to buying these products or this Stuff and so much of it is being produced
that we just keep buying and wasting without even thinking of the effects.
This leads right into the next topic of the film and also one of the most highlighted –
consumption: The heart of the system; the engine that drives it. This is the step of the cycle in which the
materials are kept in motion and keep them flowing. Corporations have a large amount of control over
consumers and they are able to pull into large amounts of consumers, selling large amounts of
materials/product through simple advertisement. It is said that Americans have fallen into this routine
of "working/watching TV/spending money" cycle. For the most part this is true and makes it very simple
for corporations to sell their products because they know that most people will just for the comfort of
having stuff. "Planned obsolescence is another word for ‘designed for the dump.’ It means they actually
make Stuff that is designed to be useless as quickly as possible so we will chuck it and go buy a new one.
It’s obvious with Stuff like plastic bags and coffee cups, but now it’s even big Stuff: mops, DVDs,
cameras, barbeques even, everything!" This is makes it seem that recycling won't even help the effects
of excessive consumerism with all these products simply going to waste. Although recycling should be
more and more influenced in people's everyday life, recycling will never be enough.
Coming to the last chapter of the film -- disposal, and this is where a large amount of
effects from excessive consumerism lead directly to Global warming and also pollution to a large
amount of the Earth's waterways. Today, in our nation over 40 percent of our nation’s rivers are
unfishable, unswimmable, or undrinkable (Leonard). Most materials that are made are produced so that
they cannot be recycled making it so that recycling will never be 100% effective. These types of products
are stuffed in landfills which pollute air, land, and water, and change the climate over time. The toxins
are being released into the air and the effects of greenhouse gases are only increasing.
We all need to wake up and realize the big picture. Every little bit helps, although you
might not see a direct or an immediate effect, steps need to be taken. Governments need to get back to
the morals of "for the people" and stop giving in to the control of corporation only tending to their
benefits and their impact in the economy. We as the people and as consumers need to realize that our
consumption of these products only influence corporations to extract more and more raw materials
enable to provide more product. All of these problems have been created internally, they have been
created by the people and there is no reason that we as people can't take serious steps to create
solutions to put an end to these problems.
10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean
1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home
when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A
few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent
light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid oversetting your thermostat.
2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing
practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that
is both healthful and sustainable.
3. Use Fewer Plastic Products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of
marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable
containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.
4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate
the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to
respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.
5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items
such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.
6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter,
which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish,
and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native
species harmful to the existing ecosystem.
7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national
organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near
the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.
8. Influence Change in Your Community
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know
you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only
sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood
9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything
overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next
vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.
10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital
system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.