Hi all! My name is Bernadette Osborn, I am a 17-year-old climate activist, and I am the Vice-Chair of this chapter! Since it is Earth Week and our chapter is creating a new water conservation campaign, I would like to discuss why we are making this new campaign.
About a month ago, I watched Seaspiracy for the first time. It is a documentary about the harmful effects of trawling or fishing with a large net. After watching it, I was in shock as to what I had learned. Trawling is detrimental to life on Earth. The traps are sweeping up and causing a mass extinction of biodiversity on our planet that we need to survive. By taking the fish, shrimp, or whatever the trawling companies are trying to catch, they are wreaking havoc. By dragging the nets’ chains across the ocean floor, they demolish marine life, hurt other animals that get caught, and overall take advantage of the amount of fish in our seas. Humans seem to treat the seas as a neverending surplus of life. As though we will never run out. However, what will happen when we do run out of fish and other marine resources?
Another thing that surprised me was that all of the environmental groups that the film crew interviewed had one common similarity; they all believed in sustainable fishing. Organizations such as Oceana have sustainable fishing as one of their solutions to saving the oceans. However, wouldn’t no fishing be better? You are still taking large amounts of fish from the sea. Along with that, according to Seaspiracy, many environmental organizations are behind the dolphin-safe label that is just a marketing cover. There is no way to ensure that no dolphins are hurt in the fishing industry.
In the documentary, one of the speakers said that no major environmental group is talking about the detrimental event of trawling as the fishing companies have done so well trying to hide this practice. They are only talking about climate change and plastic pollution, which — don’t get me wrong — are serious issues themselves, but so is trawling. That got me thinking and reflecting on my environmental team: Lansing Climate Reality. I realized I was part of the former group! That is when I decided to pitch this new campaign to my chapter and focus it on all parts of marine conservation in the Great Lakes and local waterways. We are affected by, and must focus on climate change, plastic pollution, and trawling. Please let me know if I am missing anything.