For the week of July 1, I focused on a fish food tale, a forgotten tragedy, an act of international compassion, an unfortunate dry spell, and a court’s decision to protect the life of a little girl. I hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the articles used in this post and have provided links to them below. All images were found through WordPress’s free image library or taken by me. A bit of additional research has gone into this post, but a majority of this is my own personal interpretation, opinions, and rants.
Title: Foreign appetite for fish meal threatens West Africans’ livelihood
Source: Deutsche Welle Africa
Fishmeal factories are popping up all over West Africa’s coastline, primarily effecting countries like Senegal and Mauritania.
Powdered fishmeal is food for fish raised on fish farms in Europe and Asia. The meal is primarily made out of sardinella, a species found mainly in Senegal.
The price of sardinella has skyrocketed due to the demand created by the fishmeal factories. Many local fishermen only fish for sardinella now and will only sell to the fishmeal factories, taking away the very valuable food source from local markets.
It takes nearly 5 to 10 kilograms of sardinella to make a single kilogram of powdered fishmeal. The demand for the fish is destroying the coast’s fishing industry, forcing the native fishmongers to search for work in other countries. The factories are also causing severe pollution that is affecting the health of the locals.
Why Should We Care?
This article shows us how closed-minded first world countries can be. Our constant desire for the best produce and livestock is leading to the destruction of the livelihood in other nations. If European and Asian markets weren’t so desperate for specific, specialty fish, they wouldn’t have to turn to fish farming. If they didn’t turn to fish farming, then the marine life of the West coast of Africa wouldn’t be in such turmoil.
The addition of these factories is not only effecting the pollution levels in these countries and the livelihoods of the fishmongers, but it is also influencing the lives of women who have no other places to turn outside of the fisheries. The article states that there are women who buy fish from the fisheries to prepare it, smoke it, and sell it in local markets. They now have to compete with international companies that can pay a much higher price for the same product they need.
Is it right for first world countries to take a way of life away from people, simply because some restaurant goers wants a spicy tuna roll? I think it’s time we take a step back and look at where our food is actually coming from. You might be shocked, and possibly disgusted, by how your country goes about getting you your favorite meal.
Sina, Maria. “Foreign appetite for fish meal threaten West Africans’ livelihood,” Deutsche Welle Africa, 5 July 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/foreign-appetite-for-fish-meal-threatens-west-africans-livelihood/a-44506336
Title: Our Planet: Puerto Rico Crisis
Puerto Rico is currently in the midst of the second longest blackout in history. The blackout started back in September of 2017 after the island was struck consecutively by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, which means the territory is somewhere between a U.S. state and independent country. Even as a U.S. territory, the government’s response was slow and underwhelming. Hurricane Harvey struck Texas around the same time Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided the victims of Hurricane Harvey with $141.8 million in assistance, while they provided Puerto Rico with only $6.2 million.
Before the hurricane, Puerto Rico was already experiencing issues with government debt, mismanagement of the electrical grid, and unemployment nearly three times that of the U.S. average. Now that government recovery efforts have ended, the people of Puerto Rico are reliant on outside support.
Why Should We Care?
This call-to-action featuring Zoe Saldana was a much-needed reminder that our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico need our help. Social media has made our nation numb to tragedies. If the loss and destruction isn’t plastered all over our news feeds, an event that has turned millions of people’s lives upside down is quickly– and quietly– forgotten.
What bothers me the most here is the fact that we’re talking about a United States territory. I feel like the mantra, “Not my country, not my problem” has become a huge part of the United States agenda in the last year or so. Well, here’s a quick lesson for you (in case you’ve forgotten): Puerto Rico is part of the United States. It is our problem. And we’ve disgraced the citizens of Puerto Rico by pushing their tragedy to the side.
Since the national government isn’t doing what it needs to insure the restoration of Puerto Rico, maybe it’s time citizens like you and me take matters into our own hands. Consider donating to the Hurricane Maria Community Recovery Fund. Remember, any donation can help a cause, whether it’s five dollars or five hundred.
ATTN:. “Our Planet: Puerto Rico Crisis.” Facebook, commentary by Zoe Saldana, 6 July 2018, https://www.facebook.com/OurPlanetbyattn/videos/224717608357677/
Title: Thai soccer team found alive after 10 days lost in caves
Source: USA Today
A Thai youth soccer team and their coach were found July 2 in the Tham Luang Nang Non caves. The team consisted of thirteen boys ranging from the ages of 11 and 16. The team had been missing for over a week.
International efforts were called in to find the team when one of the boy’s mothers reported her son missing. It was soon realized that the entire team was gone. Rescue teams from Australia, Britain, China, and the United States sprung into action to help the Thai rescue team find and save the boys.
Searchers are using drills to help widen the narrow and twisty route they hope to use to bring the soccer team to safety.
Why Should We Care?
At this point, we all know that the Thai soccer team came out of this harrowing mishap alive and well. What I find truly beautiful about this unfortunate event is the fact that countries from all over the world came together to help save these boys.
It wasn’t a question of where the kids were from or how they ended up in the predicament they were in. Rescuing them became the top priority on the international agenda.
By combining the skills and brains of multiple nations, we were able to save these boys from uncertain death. Just take a moment and think what the world might be like if countries took this same approach on a daily basis. If we spent more time working together instead of competing with each other, the world might be a much happier and more peaceful place.
Bacon, John. “Thai soccer team found alive after 10 days lost in caves,” USA Today, 2 July 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/07/02/thai-soccer-team-found-alive-after-9-days-lost-caves/751274002/
Title: Ireland in state of ‘absolute drought’ as heatwave continues
Source: The Irish Times
On July 5, 24 of the 25 weather stations in Ireland reported 15 or more consecutive days of less than 0.2 mm of rainfall.
The demand for water resources across Ireland has increased 15 percent, an increase that the country is unable to currently sustain according to Irish Water (Ireland’s national water service company).
The current conditions have led Irish Water to issue a nationwide hose pipe ban. The ban covers using hoses to water gardens, wash cars, or fill pools. Anyone caught ignoring the ban will be fined 125 euros (roughly $145.50). If a charged household does not pay the fine, they will be prosecuted.
Temperatures have reached record highs, roughly averaging 28 degrees celsius (82 degrees fahrenheit) and national organizations are warning both parents and pet owners to keep a watchful eye over their children and animals. The hose ban is expected to go until at least July 31st.
Why Should We Care?
To most people in the United States, 82 degrees fahrenheit doesn’t seem very hot for the month of July, but in Ireland, the highs in July normally top out in the mid to high 60s. That means temperatures are nearly twenty degrees higher than the country’s norm (climate change, anyone?).
A country that is often viewed as a lush, green, and vibrant place is slowly drying up this summer and there isn’t much that can be done about it. To think of Ireland without any rain is nearly unfathomable. Rain is a part of the culture over there; without it, Ireland just isn’t the same place.
It does not shock me that Irish Water is taking extreme precautions to preserve the water supply in the country either. Irish Water is known for its extremes, and aren’t particularly on the good side of most Irish citizens. However, in this situation, I hope the natives of Ireland listen to the hose pipe ban and take every precaution to stay safe this summer. Fingers crossed that the rain returns soon.
Gallagher, Conor. “Ireland in state of ‘absolute drought’ as heatwave continues,” The Irish Times, 5 July 2018, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/ireland-in-state-of-absolute-drought-as-heatwave-continues-1.3554298
Title: Toddler born on Nauru to be brought to Australia for vital health tests
Source: The Guardian
A two-year-old girl will be brought to Australia for medical treatment via court order. The toddler was born in an immigration detention center on Nauru and was moved to Papua New Guinea (PNG) due to her condition.
The court originally suggested the girl be moved directly to Australia for her condition but she was taken to PNG instead. The hospital in PNG is inadequately prepared for the procedures needed to fully take care of the child. This lead to the court demanding the child and her mother be moved to Australia.
The daughter’s father who was still in Nauru, will be transported to Australia no later than July 6.
Why Should We Care?
I found it interesting to compare the treatment of immigrant children in Oceania vs. the treatment of immigrant children here in the States. I found it admirable that the courts involved were determined to get this little girl the care she needed no matter what. It didn’t matter that the girl was the daughter of a family stuck in an immigration detention center. All that matter was the fact that she was a little girl who needed help.
I’m not saying that Australia’s treatment of immigrants is perfect. As the article states, husbands are often separated from their wives and children on purpose so that their families are compelled to move back to Nauru. I do think it is important to note, however, that the children of these families are treated with human decency. They’re treated as children should be treated: with compassion and with their well-being in mind over anything else.
Doherty, Ben and Calla Wahlquist. “Toddler born on Nauru to be brought to Australia for vital tests,” The Guardian, 3 July 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/03/toddler-born-on-nauru-to-be-brought-to-australia-for-vital-health-tests