Monday, July 09, 2007

Abstract from the journal Science: italics my own -

Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on average. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.

Got that? Everybody clear on the message found in the journal Science? Let's move on.

If you read the home page of MSN, and take note of the list of earth-friendly things you can do to make your "carbon footprint" smaller, you'll read that:

"The world's seafood will be entirely depleted by 2048, according to an early November report in the journal Science."

Got that? "...entirely depleted by 2048..." I must have missed that critical point that was somehow left out of the abstract, which, last I heard, summarizes the salient points of a study or a paper.

This is the problem I have with most major "news" stories that reach our collective consciousness. We accept everything we read, hear or google, or nearly everything we read, hear, or google, as the absolute truth, when in fact, it is neither. It took me about six minutes to find the article that was being used to engender fear on the MSN homepage and compare what the two documents stated.

The larger problem is that someone will begin spouting off about not be able to have shrimp scampi in 2008 and everyone around them will nod in horror as they denigrate and deride all the eco-rats who are destroying our planet (i.e. everyone who cares enough to voice a syllable of doubt about the "news" we're fed.)

Do I want the oceans to be healthier? Yes. Do I want to encourage bio-diversity so all aquatic life will flouish in this century and the next several dozen centuries? Yes. Does that mean to do that, I have to embrace a climate (you'll pardon the word) of fear and destruction in order to effect some change? No.

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