In this month’s Aquarius magazine – hmm or last month’s maybe (its a great mag btw) I read about this Fish Finder initiative by EWS (Emirates Wildlife Society) and the WWF. Essentially what it means is that after a half-an-hours training you become an official ambassador for EWS and are able to identify unsustainable fish on sale in the supermarket, and of course educate others about the “choose wisely” program (which you may have noticed I support whole-heartedly). I quite fancy the idea of getting to be all militant and bossy in Carrefour (haha). Anyway after volunteering for this I ended up as a volunteer in general for EWS – not a problem – and was invited to help at a talk this past saturday at the Sharjah Aquarium.
[the big tank]
Caroline and I set off in plenty of time (or so I thought) to find the aquarium, which incidentally was not on the bloody Garmin, typical really. Alas we arrived 30 minutes late and stumbled our way into the conference center – embarrasingly the talk was already underway. It was very interesting actually all in all. And I scored a choose wisely t-shirt for my troubles. We even had a “behind the scenes” tour of the aquarium afterward which was fascinating, and we met the star of the place – a baby black-tipped reef shark which was born in the aquarium. So cute (if you like small critters with sharp teeth that is). Honestly I never realised how much work is involved in the running of a place like that, but the people involved are clearly very passionate about what they do, and the sea in general – some are even descended from previous generations of pearl divers.
[from Gulf News]
The lady co-ordinating the EWS involvement and I had a chat afterwards about the fish finder idea, and the challenges of changing consumer demand, which is the key to changing fishing practices really. Interestingly enough she admitted that she had used SASSI as her inspiration in some areas – great to hear as I was a big fan of their initiatives in SA.
[blue jellyfish – non venomous]
Part of what the speaker said really resonated with me – that it is imperative to give consumers a choice, a sustainable choice. Reminded me of an argument I had with the manager of a new restaurant in Bryanston (Johannesburg) a couple of weeks ago. Long story short – I hate having to buy imported mineral water, especially if the local bottled water (in this case South African) is just as good, if not better. My point to him, and let me tell you he was still wet behind the ears IMHO, was that I would prefer a choice of local vs imported. He then tried to assure me that the imported water was a) very good and b) no more expensive. I countered by saying that it really made no difference, I didn’t want to buy a bottle of water that had flown half-way around the world. What about it’s carbon footprint for heaven’s sake. He then told me it was “not a valid argument”. I was left speechless with anger at this naïve viewpoint. Needless to say I won’t be darkening their door again. The place was called Country Living – at Bryanston Shopping Center. Give it a miss, I will next time.
And remember – choose wisely now 🙂
Ok, lecture over. As you were.