When I had finished my master’s degree in Marine Resource Development and Protection, I started to apply for jobs and I realized that, out of all my interests, I did not know which direction to chose for my future path. Should I focus on sustainable fisheries or marine protected areas or protection of sharks, dolphins, marine birds or seals? Should I work as a park ranger or in an NGO?
At one point, I had the idea, that instead of sending my CV by email to people whom I do not know and who do not know me, I should just go and visit people. Which interesting personalities are out there working on fascinating conservation projects? As I also like to meet people and to travel, this was an easy decision and I decided to start with the Mediterranean Sea.
But in order to make this more than just a project for myself, I wanted it to become something valuable for the Mediterranean Sea as well. I had the idea to write a blog about all my interviews and inform people, who love the Mediterranean as well (for example local people and tourists all over Europe or all over the world) what is going on in our favorite region. What are the threats and what is being done, and how everybody, not only conservationist can contribute. Contribute in an easy-way.
I believe that if we try to switch to the “perfectly sustainably acting human” from today to tomorrow, it will be as short-term as trying to go on a lose-10-kgs-in-a-3-weeks-diet. I also believe that trying to act sustainably should be fun. If we want to keep our sustainable habits for the rest of our lifes, it rather should, otherwise we will just drop it all, because it will become to much.
So for example, instead of thinking, that you should stop eating fish, do the following (only if you like to eat fish, otherwise, stop eating it): Do some research on fish species which are okay to buy, find out which are your favourite species of these, preferably buy your fish from a sustainable label (MSC is in criticism as well but I guess it is still your best bet at the moment) and put yourself a max limit, for example once or twice per month. Then eat the fish without guilt, enjoy it! You contributed by eating less fish and by making good choices.
If you feel ready for your next step in changing habits, go for it! But do not overcharge yourself. If you have tried for three days to be the perfect human being in terms of living an environmentally sustainable life, and then you got so stressed by all the limits that you shout at your neighbor who was just greeting you nicely, you definitely overdid it. The planet need to be saved but this can’t be done without love and peace either.
I think that if everyone tries to contribute, to stay informed, to learn new things and pass them on, we already have achieved a lot.
Apart from sharing the information I would like this project to be interactive. In a way that people can ask questions about things they would like to know or to understand and add comments, and I will try to find the answers on my journey.
Some further suggestions of things you might want to start with:
- Avoid eating wild-caught shrimps – bycatch rates are unbelievably high. For example in the Australian Shrimp fishery with trawlers the bycatch rates go up to 90% by individual, which means for ten shrimps caught (one or two shrimp cocktails), 90 other animals had to die, including fish, sharks, rays, turtles and seasnakes
- Instead of visiting a dolphinarium with your children, take them for a snorkel during your holidays. The experience is much more fun for your children and for the animals. More info on dolphinariums…
- If you have never tried scuba diving and think of trying it, try it! It is much better than you would ever have imagined and once you seen those folks under water you will want to protect them even more. Be sure to chose a dive shop that cares about the marine environment.