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Living with “finite” mindset

March 27 2009 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

One of the lessons I've learned in my life is that our planets resources are not infinite.

The ocean is not infinite, it's measurable.

The population of all animals is not infinite.

Our water supply is not infinite.

I think it's a truism to suggest that we, the collective we, have lived our lives as if these points were not the case. We have dumped into our oceans and assumed that nature would take care of itself (meaning it would clean things up). We have pushed animals into extinction and we have recently seen more and more data points that suggest that our water supply is not infinite.

I use the word "trusim" because I think these points, and many like them, are increasingly hard to argue. Can a person win an argument that suggests our water supply IS infinite and should NOT be treated as a more valuable commodity than we have done in the past? I don't think it's possible. Can a person win an argument that our planets fisheries are in good shape and that overfishing isn't a problem? I don't think so. Can a person suggest that our oceans are still in excellent shape and don't really need any protection? No.

Today, in order to be on a high school surf team in Southern California kids need to have Hepatitis shots. Forty years ago our parents would tell us to let the ocean clean out a cut, now a parent would be ill informed, perhaps even reckless, to make such a suggestion.

Today, water shortages are the norm and rationing isn't an abstract concept... it's simply the reality we live in.

I make these points to set up the argument for protecting special places.

I have yet to meet a person that thinks that our national park system was a stupid idea. In fact most people, regardless of their political persuasion or socioeconomic class, think this is one of the best inventions the US has ever produced.

Marine Protected Areas are underwater parks. Period.

We believe they are a good idea.

This doesn't suggest in any way that we are against people that fish. We are watermen. We are waterwomen. We are waterkids. We love to interact with our oceans, waves and beaches in every way possible. We believe in the protection AND enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches.

More than half of Surfrider's members identify themselves as fishermen.

The goal of marine protected areas share the same goal national parks have; to balance the various needs of user groups and the ecosystem’s natural state. Groups that support these simply seek to ensure the integrity of these areas for future generations.

One last point regarding this subject. This is your time to participate in this dialog. Surfrider believes individuals should participate in the discussion surrounding their environment. Now is the time to engage.

Take a survey on this subject here.

Read more about this here.
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