Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's the Oceans, Stupid

I don't get cable. Since I'm back in Indiana, I'm able to watch cable. And here's my question.

What the hell is wrong with the Discovery Channel?

Industrial fishing shows. Clear cut logging shows. What's next? Strip mining shows? African bush meat shows? A Christmas special on baby seal bashing?

I guess their revenue is way down. And, so, they need to show everything that is wrong with the commercial fishing industry and then glorify it.

Hey, here's some questions. Can you see the Great Wall of China from space? The Pyramids? The U.S.'s Interstate highway system? Answers: Nope. Sometimes. Nope.

What manmade thing can you see from space? Net fishing. Bottom dredging drag nets scraping the ocean floor clean.

Picture a Force Ten tornado with a kill path miles across, and when it sweeps over your house, it drags everything with it, scrapes right down to the top soil and nothing, and I mean nothing, will grow back for decades to come. Meanwhile, hapless you and your scrawny, underaged loved ones become "bycatch", because there's no money in you, so back you go, falling to earth with a sickening thud.


What a weasel word. It's, oh dear, collateral damage, can't be helped, dumped back into the sea obviously dead as hell despite the narrator's assurances to the contrary.

Hey, I got your Deadliest Catch. I got your long-line fishing. Let's kill everything we can dredge up or hook, including juvenile endangered fish species. Meanwhile, Discovery puts on a show called Whale Wars, which bemoans the fate of un-endangered species of whales.

Whales that, under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whales, established on Dec. 2, 1946, are perfectly legal to be slaughtered by signatory nations. Committees decide how many whales of what species may be hunted, in what numbers, and real numbers are tracked as to how many have actually been hunted. Data on their decisions (whale kill quotas, and whale kill numbers) is public information. I mean, since the establishment of the Convention, not a single species of whale has become extinct. In fact, their populations have increased. It may not sound particularly Green, but the thing is, it WORKS. As a matter of fact, every international agreement, from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1973, in the works since before Earth Day), to other environmental solutions such as the 1987 banning of ozone-depleting substances has worked. And for two reasons:

1) Rather than shaking a finger and saying "Bad Power Mad Greedy Corporate Destructors!" it recognizes that activities we don't like are not going to disappear because we don't like them. And the process of demonizing doesn't stop the Bad Guys. But, ah, amazing, these activities can be regulated, and willing partners on the exploitation side can be found to cooperate, and
2) If these activities - and the people behind them - are made public, scrutinized, verified (so that they CAN be regulated), they can be controlled. And the good thing, the whole environmentalist/conservationist goal can be achieved.

Sorry, Greenpeace. Sorry, Whale Wars. You aren't saving whales. In fact, you aren't really doing much of anything except getting in the way of - and giving a bad name to - serious, thoughtful, REAL environmentalists.

And who are these real environmentalists? Typically, marine biologists, that's who. Understaffed, underpaid, underresourced, dull, boring, dorky scientists.

Not sexy, rugged fishermen, or activist buffoons in Zodiac boats, but scientists. Scientists like people from the University of Halifax, that predicted the collapse of the Atlantic cod fisheries. Scientists that are constantly ignored by the faceless directors - unknown and unaccountable to the public - of Fishing , Inc.

Ignored because the data biologists present does not match the Fish Catch Model. And what is the Model? Know one knows. It's a black box. It's known only to the faceless bureaucrats of, you guessed it, Fishing, Inc.

And so the biologists collect their data, and publish their findings, write "crazy papers". Crazy papers that now predict the collapse of the entire world's fisheries by perhaps as early as 2048.

But you know, that's just bummer news. No TV revenue in stuff like that. And the viewing public is tired of all the sky is falling stuff anyway. Let 'em watch commie pinko public TV for that. They've got that demographic sewed up.

1 comment: