If you are among the one billion people on the planet who live within easy striking distance of the world’s ocean today would be a good day to dip a toe or more into it or spend a few minutes simply pondering that horizon line where blue meets blue because today — June 8th — is the first official, United Nations-declared World Oceans Day.
The concept, first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, has been celebrated for the past half-dozen years by a loose coalition of aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations and agencies, universities, schools, and businesses. Today the Ocean Project lists thousands of events around the globe celebrating and informing about the ocean.
My favorite recent step-in-the-right-direction regarding the health of the ocean are calls upon high-end restaurateurs around the world to give up on blue fin tuna. One of the most popular, thus most-endangered fish species, blue fin is the heart of many sushi menus. Which turned out last week to be an easy target for protest. In New York City, at the elegant Nobu, Greenpeacers slipped faux menus in with the real thing listing specials like “Rack of Mountain Gorilla Seasoned with Powdered Rhino Horn ($32).” The goal was to encourage the restaurant to drop the endangered blue fin from its menu.
Across the Atlantic, the owner of the luncheon chain Pret A Manger – after seeing a powerful new documentary “End of the Line” about how modern fishing is destroying the oceans’ ecosystem – has banned tuna from its sushi and sandwiches. “End of the Line,” based on the book of the same name by Charles Glover, has its international release today.
Despite my own concerns about lots of the big fish in the sea and our incredibly consumptive demand for them, I have been in the past a passionate tuna lover. Lightly seared, nearly raw, would be my favorite. But no more, I’m going cold turkey on tuna. Which, if it became a real trend, could make a big difference. Remember those nasty CFCs which were eating up the ozone over Antarctica? We quit using them and the ozone hole is closing proving that small steps can make a big difference.
Or you can follow the lead of one of Nobu’s patrons who, interviewed during the Greenpeace action by the Times, suggested all the tuna talk was making him hungry all over again. “I get another order. It was just great.” For now, Nobu is not going to remove the fish from its menu — opting instead just to let people know that what they’re about to order contains meat from an endangered species.
While we spend most of our time here talking about life at or near sea level, I have a bunch of good friends whose lives are dictated by getting higher and higher, in the mountains. Tragically that passion, even by the most elite climbers, too often ends up in headlines we’d rather not see. I spent the weekend monitoring the Internet for news of two friends – Jonny Copp, founder of Boulder’s Adventure Film Festival and my fellow Mountain Hardwear sponsored-athlete Micah Dash – who’d apparently disappeared on Mount Edgar in Sichuan, China. When they missed their flight out of Chengdu on June 5th, the searching began. Copp’s body was found yesterday at about 12,000 feet among avalanche debris (photographer Wade Johnson was nearby). For now, Dash remains missing.