Global Ethics Corner: Oceans, Garbage, and Food

Sep 25, 2009

Can we regulate international space like the oceans? Pollution and illegal or unregulated fishing plague international waters. How can the problem be managed to maintain the health and beauty of our seas?

Can we regulate international space like the oceans?

Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation is exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an immense swirl of currents that accumulates floating garbage from Asia and the Americas.

Garbage is a hallmark of human civilization, and much of what we know about ancient cultures comes from their trash. What record will we leave?

Plastic. We live a limited time yet casually build and discard materials that persist for millennia. The captain speculates that future geologists may detect a unique sedimentary layer—call it the Plastocene.

What effect does this have on our food supply? Fish are a vital component, but many are under environmental and predatory pressure. Wild species are being polluted and fished to extinction.

Despite growing success with sustainable fisheries management, illegal and unregulated fishing plagues international waters.

In the developing world subsistence fishing communities are hard hit when large factory ships park offshore and scour the region.

Will the consumer choose sustainably labeled fish? Do we need stronger international laws to ensure fisheries' security? How should we maintain the health and beauty of our seas?

What do you think?

By Evan O'Neil

You may also like

FEB 3, 2023 Article

"Forced Migrants," Human Rights, and "Climate Refugees"

The movement of people across borders is still a largely unregulated enterprise at the global level that leaves many people unprotected in irregular and dire ...

FEB 1, 2023 Podcast

Sanctions Loopholes, Rerouting Trade, & Russia's War Machine, with Rachel Ziemba

Leading up to the one-year anniversary of Russia's second invasion of Ukraine, Rachel Ziemba, head of Ziemba Insights and adjunct senior fellow at the Center ...

Avatar: The Way of Water theatrical poster

FEB 1, 2023 Article

Ethics on Film: Discussion of "Avatar: The Way of Water"

Read a synopsis of James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water" with a discussion of ethical issues in the film related to colonialism, cultural appropriation ...