As you may or may not know we are currently in Thailand. A thousand km north of us in Bangkok where The Cites conference is taking place. Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Image from The Guardian
Take a look at the image above of Shark fins found in Hong Kong. Try to count them. Imagine how many sharks were killed to produce that many fins and for what? A so called delicacy that has no nutritional value whatsoever. The fin itself is added to the soup or broth to add texture. All of us know this is wrong. In a world that produces plenty of food for us to eat do we really need to eat everything that moves? Unfortunately, the above image is not an isolated incident. The estimates are that we are killing up to 100 million sharks a year. Now I have no idea how many sharks there are in the oceans but I am pretty sure that if we carry on at the same rate there will not be any left in a 100 years time. Please click on this link to sign petitions to stop this slaughter.
Image from NBC News
One of the other headline items in the news from the conference is Thailand’s prime minister announcing that she will outlaw the domestic ivory trade. Obviously this is a good thing. I did not even know that it was legal to trade in Ivory in Thailand. At the moment smugglers who smuggle in illegal ivory from Africa pass it off as legal Thai ivory. The only trouble is the time issue. It will probably take a while before the law is ratified and time is something that the Elephants don’t have the luxury of. There were 1.3m African elephants in 1979, but poaching has reduced the population to as few as 400,000 and for what? Trinkets, chop-sticks, jewellery, ornaments, hair accessories and many other things that we could easily make with other materials. It’s madness! Is man so self centered that he does not realize the long term effects of his actions? Arghhhhh. I did warn you that there would be an occasional rant and with issues like this, I will not apologise. Once again, please click on this link and sign the petition.
The Palm Oil trade is absolutely devastating for the world’s Orangutans. The Rainforest Rescue put it perfectly with this statement: Orangutans are particularly vulnerable because they are dependent on large contiguous forest areas. In search of food, they often get lost in the palm oil plantations, where they are regarded as pests. According to the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), at least 1,500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm oil plantation workers in 2006 alone. According to the UN, there is a risk that no wild orangutans will remain outside of protected areas by 2020.
Now Palm Oil is used in so many products. In fact it is estimated that Palm Oil is in 50% of products we buy. So what can we do to make sure the products we buy are Palm Oil free? Well unfortunately, that is going to take time but we have to start somewhere. So first off click here to see a list of Palm Oil free products. We can all start by buying products that do not cost the earth (literally).
Now there are many other animals and issues that we could have brought up but we have connections with these 3 animals in particular. We have dived with sharks, bathed and fed elephants and sat with orangutan’s during our travels. But of course all life is special and we should do our utmost to preserve it for future generations.
When we read these stories it always seems like there is no hope but that is not the case. Thanks to the efforts of amazing people and organisations there are good news stories. Here is a quick list I found online:
New wind power cheaper than coal or gas in Australia
Gorillas to Be Protected with New Congo National Park
From the brink of extinction: elephant seals stage remarkable comeback
Six million turn out for global garbage clean-up
Obama triples area of protected California coastline
Swiss Parliament Passes Plastic Bag Ban.
So this weekend before you go to watch the football, or go for a meal with loved ones, do one thing good for the world and sign the above petitions. Pass this blog on. Start to think about what you are buying. Does a t-shirt really cost $3? How can that be?
Have a great weekend everyone!
Peace & Love,