Originally published March 14, 2009.
As you can imagine, my job has me reading a lot of disturbing reports about all aspects of the environmental crisis. Though I do my best to keep things upbeat here on Our Father’s World and in my presentations, sometimes a story will sneak up and grab me from behind.
Like this one:
In Canada, scientists said Atlantic cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are becoming skinny because they are having more trouble finding reliable sources of small prey like capelin. In Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, striped bass are turning up emaciated because of shrinking supplies of herring and anchovies.
Whales too are having a difficult time finding prey, which researchers say might be affecting their ability and decision to mate. For many endangered whale species, diminished food sources could mean their populations will have trouble recovering.
Seabirds are being particularly hard hit as they choose not to mate because they can’t guarantee food sources, Stiles said, citing the example of puffins in Norway where there was a 64 per cent drop in the number of birds having chicks in one year.
The problem is that as stocks of larger species are depleted, fishermen work their way down the marine food chain and fish smaller prey. Biologists warn that there might be little left in the world’s oceans as fishermen fish out the seas.[CNews]
This is disturbing for any number of reasons. It’s perhaps one of the most stark reminders of Paul’s words in Romans 8: “…the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (v. 22) and calls to mind a passage I ran across in the Prophet Hosea last week: “Because of this (ie. our sin), the land mourns, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.” (Hosea 4:3)
But it is also a warning bell – no, it’s a warning siren: If we are already taking so much out of the sea that even the fish that we leave behind are starving to death, there is no way we can count on this source of food in the future. Human population projections call for an additional 50% increase from our present 6 billion to around 9 billion before we hopefully level off. That means 50% more food needs to be found – more than that, actually, because of increased standards of living. So where’s that additional food coming from, do you suppose?
We know one thing for sure: It’s not coming from the ocean.
[And it’s probably not coming from the land either, but that’s a post for another day…]