Milk is Dangerous

February 19, 2010

New website for everyone to visit:

I won’t tell you all about it as I would rather you check it out for yourselves. All I can say is “Well done Bruce”.

The rough deal

February 13, 2010

I remember when I was younger and there was a big media release on the abundance of Orange Roughy – “everyone should eat it instead of other fish, there are so many of them, sustainable for centuries”, etc, etc, and because there was so many all the fish and chip shops started selling Orange Roughy. I also remember my father (way ahead of his time in enviromental issues) saying that nothing is sustainable at those numbers and that if everyone fished for Orange Roughy they would soon be gone, he wouldn’t buy Orange Roughy because of the media hype about it – well, how right he was in predicting the overfishing of this very beautiful fish. Mother Nature is delicately balanced and by changing just one thing it can lead to a chain of events of changing alot more. Not enough is known about the deep sea ecosystem to be able to even estimate the effects of the elimination of a mid-range predator, like the Orange Roughy. The sea is full of life, the Orange Roughy is a cog in the wheel of the sea, important in it’s own right.

The Orange Roughy eats small fish, crustaceans and squid, an opportunistic feeder. They are slow-growing and long-lived. The lifespan of the Orange Roughy exceeds that of humans, anywhere from 100-years to 145-years or so and reaching maturity around 30-years of age. Because they mature at a slow rate and the amount of the fishing of this species it means that over fishing has greatly reduced their numbers – exceedingly so. Any fishing of this long-lived species is not sustainable.

It’s estimated that over one million tonnes of Orange Roughy have been exploited, and this is only since the fishing of Orange Roughy started, about 25-years ago. What will the number be next year? What will the number be in ten-years? What if there were none left?

The first Orange Roughy fishery started in New Zealand around a seamount area called Chatham Rise. It started in the late 1970’s but declined rapidly after 1979. Each winter Orange Roughy migrate to specific sites on the Chatham Rise, where they aggregate in large numbers to spawn. This is the area that supported the greatest fishing of this species at the time. There are other seamount areas that have since also suffered greatly from the fishing of this species. The fishing industry have incredibly high levels of catches for a couple of years and then rapidly decline to low levels without recovering – hence the reason for changing the areas of fishing for Orange Roughy. Also the Orange Roughy spawn irregularly.

The way that Orange Roughy is fished is by bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is extremely destructive to the ocean. In trawling for Orange Roughy there are very high by-catch numbers and the mortality for these other deep sea species is nearly 100%.

The environment of the deep sea is fragile and slow to recover after the trawl path has destroyed the sea bed and communities on the sea floor. Sediment disturbance also have destructive effects over very large areas. Immediate gratifying dollar signs in the eyes of the greedy but total devastation to the future of the Orange Roughy, to other species and to our planet. Same with the Hoki, but that is another exploitation, and another story. So, in the meantime – Orange Roughy – if the demand wasn’t there, the exploitation wouldn’t be either. Do not support the exploitation of this remarkable fish and this remarkable planets sea bed. Say NO!

You are what you eat

February 6, 2010

It’s me, at long last! Wow, I have had some serious issues with my computer and it has only taken months to sort it all out. It crashed in September and up and running last Sunday. I thought computers are supposed to make life easier? Not! My one is old, upgraded twice, still short on memory but I am going to use it until it completely dies – I am not into the disposable lifestyle and buying a new computer would mean dumping this one – not good for the environment in both the dumping and the resources it would have taken to make the new one. So I am sticking with it! P.s. do you notice the green button on my keyboard? It is an  ‘eject’ button. It doesn’t work of course, but it helps to ease the impatient-ness I have with the internet sometimes. Broadband in New Zealand is ‘almost but not quite’ as slow as dial-up.

My friend has a computer that I could have used – but to be honest – I go there to her home with all good intentions and we just sit and drink coffee and natter. I also like a bit of peace and quiet when writing and she has a tribe of eager kiddies, and writing would be hard when it sounds like the house is being pulled apart. So to sum it up, I haven’t posted for quite some while but I’m baaaack!

On Thursday night there was a SAFE movie night. We viewed Food, Inc. Check out the trailer at the website titled Hungry For Change. The icon to the left will take you to Amazon, or search the internet, there may well be a full length version posted somewhere, I haven’t looked, but worth a try.

Although the movie was Americanised it still held very true for the rest of the world, we all know that fast food has wheedled itself into just about every orifice that it can get into – and why not, fast food industries want to make a profit and the public ask (or believe they do) for it. The movie highlighted corporate greed and the absolute monopoly that only a few corporations have on food and the coverup, buying-off and bullying that these corporations do and the corrupt way in which these few corporations legalise policies. I think because the movie took a more ‘human’ approach than a ‘cruelty to animals’ approach it might mean more people would be open to watching it and having it impact on their food choices – humans have an ego and see what they want to see, they might turn a blind eye to animals being slaughtered but seeing a movie that has the human element and shows the impact on average people it might make them sit up, take notice, and look into what they eat (here is hoping – forever the optimist I am). The movie touches on the obesity epidemic and other health issues and tries to get the voice across that cheaper food does not necessarily mean cheaper as there are seriously horrendous spin-off effects to ‘cheap’ food. All-in-all, not a bad movie to watch. If it gets people thinking about ‘we are what we eat’ and there are choices if we just say ‘no!’ then hats off to them and I hope that many people do find a way to watch it – the voice of many is needed against the food corporate empire to even begin to falter.

It is a vicious cycle, eat bad food, feel listless, so eat bad food because you don’t have the energy to cook – much easier to go and get a hamburger at McD’s and before you know it you are starting to look and act like a hamburger, a hamburger with no energy, a high fat content and no nutritional value. It does not take long to cook a nutritious meal that is on the table before the person is back from the takeaway shop, although it might seem it. Eating a nutritious meal means that your energy levels are higher, more ‘stable’ and you do not need as much food because your hunger is satisfied for longer. Fortunately it hasn’t become totally impossible to buy cheap vegetables at markets here in New Zealand and alot of us who have the classic Kiwi half-acre can grow a few things. Sometimes you don’t even need a back lawn but just a balcony, hey even a tomato plant can be grown in a pot and potatoes in old tyres. But still the fast food industry grows, thrives and kills in an insidious way. So not only is it a problem with peoples energy abating and the small cost of buying a hamburger and the time in people’s lives that they think is needed to cook a meal but a habit as well – a habit we are passing on to our next generation. You just have to break the cycle.