Before the Beach This Weekend—Thursday’s Plea

Sweet bliss

So, I had planned to write about eclairs today (because really, what better way to celebrate life than with the occasional eclair?), but have been sidetracked by the plight of our oceans (but if you’re hankering for an eclair try Huckleberry Cafe in Los Angeles and Beach Pea Baking Co. in Kittery, Maine).

As for our oceans, I recently read an article that worried me deeply—Reefs at Risk, in Harvard Magazine. The before and after photos of the ocean’s coral reefs from the 1970s to now are startling/scary and demonstrate the dire need for attention to climate change and the state of our oceans. As someone who volunteers with an organization called

A dying coral reef, 2010

Shark Savers, I am very aware of how our daily decisions impact the state of our world’s oceans. In fact, interesting tidbit: better than cutting back on your driving is actually not eating meat! As cited in a Time magazine article, worldwide livestock production accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gases emitted whereas all of the world’s transportation only accounts for 13% of the same emissions. (Of course, doing both—driving a fuel-efficient vehicle AND eating a vegetarian diet is ideal.)

Beyond the state of the coral reefs, some of our most precious ocean inhabitants are also severely threatened, with more than 73 million sharks killed each year (a terrible tragedy given the long gestation period of sharks and the low numbers of reproduction). Enter Shark Savers, a non-profit with which I am involved. As you are likely aware, sharks are apex predators of the ocean and therefore are a critical piece of the delicate ecosystem of our world’s most valuable resource. Without sharks, the food they eat (like rays) would explode in numbers, thus causing a decrease in the species the rays eat (like scallops), ultimately ruining the scallop industry. While this is a simplistic view of the world without sharks, there is also a health reason not to consume shark fin products—sharks, like other large ocean inhabitants, are extremely high in mercury. Shark Savers is a fantastic organization working to prevent the consumption of shark fin soup. They have partnered with Wild Aid in Hong Kong to extend their efforts into Asia and have even broadcast ads featuring Yao Ming, in which the famous basketballer pledges not to eat shark fin soup and asks fans to do the same. Definitely check out the Yao Ming video—it makes me tear up every time I watch it to see that shark dying on a reef (most often sharks are de-finned then tossed back into the ocean to die).

The Pledge – English from Shark Savers on Vimeo.

You can do your part by volunteering or donating here. (And note that I plan a much longer post on the Shark Savers organization and their efforts in coming months….) First step—pledge not to eat shark fin soup!

Also expect an upcoming post on the controversial subject of overpopulation. Stay tuned.


About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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One Response to Before the Beach This Weekend—Thursday’s Plea

  1. Pingback: Mid-Week Magazine & Blog Roundup |

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