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Oceans Full of Microplastics

Ocean Plastics Pollution on beach - for micro-plastics article/blog

Microplastics = Pollution

In the May 27th issue of The Economist in the article titled, “Deep Trouble” (see article here) under the magazine’s Leadership section, the proliferation of microplastics in our oceans and by default into the very backbone of our ecological system is mind-boggling in its scope and potential damage (think: bioaccumulation and bioconcentration up our food chain, and rampant, unchecked waste pollution). This is a continuation of the idea in my post from last week on microplastics.

Can Technology Solve All of our Pollution Problems?

The Economist article states that “By the middle of the century the ocean could contain more plastic than fish by weight.” The article goes on to speak about how data from technology, namely, ocean-mapping, and fish schools and (illegal) craft monitoring by satellite when shared effectively and used appropriately, can help mitigate over-fishing of our global waters. Even with our great faith in new technology as a cure-all for many of our ecological challenges (e.g., rising global temperatures, water scarcity, declining food yields, land appropriation, deforestation), technology should be used appropriately and applied in direct proportion to the size of the problems it aims to solve. We very seldom heed this advice.

Our Free Resources Valuable?  Can Resources “Owned” By All Be Managed Effectively?

The article also raises thoughts about enforcing rights to public common “assets”, a complex and sticky property rights discussion that the Noble Prize winning economist, Elinor Ostrom spent many a year analyzing and documenting case studies of successful common pool resources (CPR) management.

Next week, I will speak more to the importance of technology to help us (global humanity) adapt to the uncertainties brought about by climate change. And, to a nod of great approval to Ostrom, a broader discussion of CPR, “private” property rights and the scope of ecological problems we now must face, will be tackled in a latter discussion as well.

Until next week…

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