SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 7

few weeks ago over a glass of red wine and heavy conversation with friends, some environmental statistics and human health current events came up (this is my life). I was reminded of university-era debates I used to have where I, the scientist/environmentalist in the group, would hem and haw with my International Development Major

friends over solving the world’s problems- I always viewed conflict from an environmental perspective where people and cultures battled over geography and resources. After a later degree in Environmental Management I looked at planning refugee camps (in Jordan) and emergency orphanages (in Haiti) again from an environmental perspective where clean water, food, human health, and waste streams could be better managed- in ways that were not currently being addressed - and frankly ignored. Now almost a decade later with the health of our oceans and marine biodiversity at the forefront of my news stream, more than ever I see the dire state of human health and development teetering on a poisoned and exhausted ecosystem. In my travels from coastal towns to the Italian mountaintop village pub where I am writing this very letter, I see the constant pressure on our oceans from luxury foods, lack of waste management, to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of individuals. How can we ignore the current state of the oceans when so many are threatened to be displaced by rising sea levels? How can we look past collapsing fishing stocks when hundreds of thousands of people depend on the ocean for their primary source of protein? How can we abandon a dead and dying Great Barrier Reef which changes the very chemistry of our oceans and whose health affects the global climate which already casts droughts and floods on opposite sides of the planet? No matter what the circumstance, I am confident a select percentage of the global population will manage to move or survive most catastrophes that comes their way - but even for these people, how long can they survive on a dying planet? What will be the tipping point? What will it take to understand ocean conservation is human conservation?

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Happy swimming,

Giacomo Abrusci

Executive Director