Thursday, December 10, 2009

Biodiversity is Key

One thing I loved about the ecovillages in Kerala is the commitment to the preservation of biodiversity and its integration into an ecological view undergirded with spiritual and social values held by the community. The diverse species of this earth are critical to its balance and ongoing vigor of life, which our Western way of life is gradually extinguishing. The human carbonization of the environment aside, the abundance of nature relies upon a vast interaction between all levels of the chain of life, which humanity (and all sentient beings) rely upon to exist.

The degradation of this web of life is poignantly examined by Jeff Corwin, who adds to the extensively published anecdotal archive of degenerative changes to the biosphere from across our planet. I've seen it too, as have many of my friends around the globe who care about the changes they see happening so very, very quickly now.

Another observation in today's local paper, Pasadena Star-News:

Stop overfishing

I have been scuba diving Southern California for 18 years and witnessed first hand the rapid decline of many species.

Canary rockfish are seriously depleted. Black rockfish are seriously depleted. Pacific angel sharks are seriously depleted. Bocaccio are seriously depleted. Sheephead are seriously depleted. Red abalone are seriously depleted. Black and white abalone are endangered. Kelp forests have been reduced by 80 percent or more in the last 100 years.

Sadly, many areas of the Channel Islands and the coastal regions of Los Angeles and Orange counties have been dramatically transformed by overfishing. Today, they hardly resemble what they were just two decades ago. It is irresponsible to allow this to continue unchecked so that a few individuals can have so-called "fun" hunting and fishing for recreation.

On Wednesday, the Department of Fish and Game was meeting in Los Angeles to consider adopting a map of marine protected areas along our beautiful Southern California coast. Although the proposed map leaves many key habitats unprotected from unregulated and indiscriminate exploitation, including essential hot spots in Palos Verdes and Catalina, we must be there at the meeting in order to prevent further erosion of the proposed map.

I'm concerned that the Department of Fish and Game will give in to fear-mongering from fishing interests and anglers and weaken these protected areas that only amount to approximately 10 percent of our coast. The science is clear and tells us the need for action in order to protect many of these species from permanently collapsing. We now have a unique opportunity for conservation that may not come again for many years.

Billy Arcila