David Levy – Do we live in a world of hope? – Jan 15

I have been thinking recently about criticism, and the world we all live in.

I know I do not interact with the standards of my upbringing. Likewise, I know that others have real difficulty with my optimism about life.

Given we each have such a short lifespan, I truly believe in looking for solutions to problems that I perceive or are common knowledge. The problem lies in those solutions.

In this modern world the solutions are aspirational, pay little heed to boundaries, and head for answers that work in theory even if they are not adopted in real life.

When Marinet sat as an observer in the international governmental body called OSPAROSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic made up of representatives of the Governments of the 15 signatory nations. (The Oslo/ Paris Convention for the Protection of the NE Atlantic), we jointly pioneered the work done by this organisation on the precautionary principle as it applies to the habitats and ecology of their inter-territorial waters.

We pushed OSPAR to protect fish stocks even though this was outside their brief, and we produced papers on the ecosystem approachecosystem approach An ecosystem-based approach to management represents a new and more strategic way of thinking. It puts the emphasis on a management regime that maintains the health of ecosystems alongside appropriate human use of the marine environment, for the benefit of current and future generations. This requires setting clear environmental objectives both at the general and specific level, basing management of the marine environment on the principles of sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, robust science, the precautionary principle and stakeholder involvement. Ref, DEFRA, Safeguarding Our Seas, section 1.17 (2002) with clear and concise applications that could be used by their governments.

At this time the Netherlands were chairing OSPAR, and their junior minister described our work and presentations as inspirational. Probably code for nutty, but it got me thinking — Why is inspiration not enough?

The answer to this lies in the scope of the task. And, in the failure of society to deliver successes.

The problem has got so bad that we now live in a world of fraud. We seek reassurance from those who pontificate about these things, even though we know things are worse than we are being told. Politicians are perfect examples of this creed.

Nobody believes them anymore, and they rank alongside bankers and estate agents as the least desirable of friends.

Yet society finds room for them as essential components, but ostracises the seekers of truth. Why?

This dovetails with a previous blog of mine where I questioned whether the problems are so severe that we are being kept from the truth. In simple terms, keep us running around the hamster wheel while doomsday gets ever closer.

Certainly the truth behind the global health of our oceans is a worsening picture.

Those who should know better should join the inspirational band.

They owe the conservation of the planet and marine world better than it is getting. And yes, this will demand that global enforcement gets the priority that is necessary in order to make words mean something.

David Levy
Marinet Chair

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