I had the pleasure of hearing biologist David Suzuki lecture at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday night during my recent short trip to Australia. He drew on his recent slight but meaty book, The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future. I downloaded it and read it on my iPhone via Kindle app on the plane Monday.
The quote that alarmed me most of all was this one:
“A report by the World Wide Fund-UK examined the length of time it takes for nature to replenish renewable resources (trees, fish, soil, etc.) that all humans remove in a year. So long as those resources are restocked in a year or less, that situation should be sustainable indefinitely. The report concluded that it takes 1.3 years to replace what humans exploit in a year, and that deficit has been going on since the 1980s. In other words, rather than living on the biological interest, we are drawing down on our basic natural capital.” – David Suzuki, The Legacy
Suzuki cited a study suggesting that by 2048 there may well be no more commercial fishing in the world’s oceans (what David Pauly calls the “Aquacalypse”). You think of Somalia, Bangladesh, all the desperately poor countries now dependent on fishing and wonder what will become of them. Maybe Juan Williams should be alarmed when he sees Muslims who need to fish for a living, since they won’t be able to much longer, and could be peeved about that.