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World Ocean Day at the Smithsonian

In celebration of World Ocean Day, Dr. Jeremy Jackson (Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and a Professor of Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography) spoke at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC about the future of the oceans and how we are interconnected with them. He discussed the major forces of destruction of the ocean balance very clearly and concisely – you can see the video of the talk on the new Ocean Portal website

It was not a light discussion. One of his points was about trends in ecosystems due to human impact – loss of big predators, loss of three dimensional structure (e.g. coral, complex habitats) and rise of slime. If you are slime, maybe this is what you want. But if you are humans – is this what you want?

(No.)

What to do?

I think we need to remember that humans are part of the ecosystems, not separate. We constantly make changes to the ecosystems, intentionally or unintentionally. We breathe, we construct things, we decompose – it’s all part of uncountable, interconnected cycles.

So if you are asking how we can get humans to not impact ecosystems – that is impossible. What we should be asking is HOW do we want to impact ecosystems, and find ways to move towards a vision of the future we can live with.

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