Friday, January 27, 2012

Blog 2: Clean up world seas to boost economy, U.N. body says

 The United Nations Environment Program along with several other U.N. organizations did a report on the impact of costal economies if the worlds oceans were better managed. This study was concluded right before the scheduled U.N. conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the top topics to be discussed are pathways to a more sustainable development. With roughly 40% of the worlds population living within 100 kilometers of a coast, the marine ecosystem plays a huge roll in not only food but jobs for millions of people. Unfortunately over fishing, pollution from oil spills, fertilizers, waste, sewage and chemicals have done damage to the world’s oceans. The researchers came up with key steps to aide in the “greening” of the seas in such areas as tourism, fishing, transport, pollution, renewable energy and deep-sea mining. If these measures are taken, islands in Asia and the Caribbean could see less of an impact from climate change and boost the worlds economy.
Some of the key steps the group has set includes cleaning up crop fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorous. These chemicals have been degrading marine ecosystems and groundwater with little regulation. Marine pollution is said to cost the European Union $100 billion dollars and is mostly attributed to fertilizers. Some of the other steps include restoring fish stocks, reducing fishing capacity, full-efficient fishing methods, environmentally-friendly feeds for aquaculture systems and energy efficient ship designs. The newer field of deep-sea mining for minerals is thought to be a much needed to boost to the world’s economy and relieve some of the burden on the terrestrial environment. Along with investing in wind, water and tidal power. It states that there needs to be more financial incentives in these sectors by private business to start brining the costs down.

The perspective I have taken from this article is mixed. I think some parts of it are good but then others undermine the entire reason for having this sort of research done. With our societies growing larger and larger, we are putting an even greater burden on the planet and it’s resources. It seems with the issue of deep-sea mining it could present some stratification issues. Opening up new very remote areas for the excavation of resources seems like it would benefit mostly the richer more elite population. This would be the group that possesses enough power and wealth to be able to be successful in such a harsh environment. Whereas the newer restrictions on fishing and pollution controls could directly benefit the lower social classes and their ability to make money. The idea of deep-sea mining seems counterintuitive. If we are trying to get away from the destructive and pollutive ways of now and the past. It seems like deep-sea mining should be on that list too. It has nothing to do with lessening our impact. It would just be in an area where no one would be able to see what’s happening. But it's harmful effects would be felt all over. This would benefit larger companies by not having the public eye to keep them in check and sanction them for doing bad things. It seems like all the other key points talk about sustainability and decreasing our impact. However over the longterm everyone would benefit from most of the key points they are suggesting. It will definitely take initiatives from the U.N. to help keep it a global issue and give it legitimization but will take each and every person to do their part.

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