How Protecting the Ocean Can Prevent Human Suffering
A lovely friend once shared a story with me …
One day on her commute to work she saw a guy dressed up as a whale standing outside one of London’s busiest train stations collecting money to ‘Save the Whale’. He was still there on her way home and this made her wonder;
“Why would people donate to save a whale when they could donate to save a child suffering from famine, living in war or dying from malaria?”
This question made me think about my own decisions. I once had dreams of ‘saving’ the human world from suffering but these changed to dreams of ‘saving’ the marine world from destruction. So I would like to explain why I now work towards saving the ocean over saving humans, as controversial as it sounds. The simple reason is the two are inextricably linked. We cannot prevent human suffering without first saving the very ecosystems our survival depends on. Natural resources, peace and health are key foundations to a functioning society but if the environment is unstable than these three foundations are threatened.
As the global environment changes our natural resources become endangered. As we experience an increase in floods, drought, warming oceans and erratic weather systems our global food supply becomes increasingly threatened both on land and at sea. Famine and malnutrition are the most direct and obvious results of this.
The threat to natural resources results in a threat to the second key foundation of a functioning society, peace. Peace is disrupted by war, a primary reason we go to war is to secure natural resources;
We as a collective world have pillaged resource rich regions throughout history. Our natural resources are threatened as the global climate warms, pollution persists, and ecosystems collapse. This will result in an increased number of wars as more people fight for less resources.
The last key foundation of societal success is health. Health or the lack of it is more tangible than war as many of us have seen the direct effect of the environment on our health. ‘Altogether more than 80% of all major diseases and injuries are impacted by factors in our environment. More than 3.5 million deaths each year are from respiratory infections, diarrhoea diseases and malaria alone‘. It is undeniable that there is a correlation between the health of our environment and our health and therefore the two are impossible to disconnect.
So let’s go back to the original question…
“Why would people donate money to a save a whale over donating to save a child?”
I made a decision to protect our oceans over directly working to protect humans because by ensuring the health of our oceans and the environment in general we are securing the future of humanity. It is a long term outlook. My output will not immediately impact a child’s life in a drought zone experiencing civil war but it will influence the future likelihood of this scenario never being repeated.
At Project Azraq we hope to be part of a movement which will guarantee our children’s futures are filled with natural resources, peace and good health. We do this by protecting our oceans.
Written by Amy Johnson