Over the last few years, we keep hearing about the Blue Economy so thought it made sense to unpack this a bit to bring more clarity to the concept. The Blue Economy is not new as humans have been profiting from the ocean, lakes, rivers and streams for millennia. That being said, what is changing is the need to manage the ocean resource more sustainably due to the impacts from:
Each of these problems is caused by the human race, primarily the private sector in pursuit of profits (and if anyone disagrees with this perspective feel free to email me at bill@BeachNecessities.com as am pro business, but also pro business ideally preventing it's messes and if that isn't possible then cleaning them up asap), so given that history, the objective is how we need to find ways to address these issues through more sustainable economic activity. In the case of each of the issues listed above, the questions are as follows:
- How do we generate energy and emit far less CO2 and methane?
- How do we continue to fish at scale and rebuild our fish stocks at the same time?
- As there really is no effective way to clean plastic up, especially microplastics, once it's in the ocean or a body of water, how do we prevent plastic from getting there in the first place (and while eliminating most single use plastics would be ideal, that is unlikely to happen until it is too late)?
While all of this seems pretty commonsensical and something we should have at least been doing the last several decades, if not sooner, we haven't so as we are just starting to recognize the seriousness of these issues, this is where this concept of the blue economy is emerging. And over the next couple of decades, at least, this blue economy concept will continue to grow in importance and become much more mainstream than it is today.
That being said, how we bring into balance the economic aspects with the sustainable components has yet to be well defined and implemented. While many good ideas abound in theory, implementing them in reality is much more challenging. Below are just a few examples, in my lifetime, of how challenging it can be to address humans' adverse impact on the ocean.
Anybody remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill? I do as I was supposed to spend the summer of 89 working as a back country ranger in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park before I went to grad school for my MBA in fall of 1989, but I got bumped for someone who had a masters degree in chemistry so I spent the summer working as a mover in Boston (harumph). Next up is Deepwater Horizon. Enough said. Another one is the estimated ~100 million annual rate at which sharks are being killed each year for at least a decade now. And lastly, here's a list of the top 10 rivers contributing plastic to the ocean.
While this list could go on and on and on and on, the reason why I highlight this is because we need to remember the ocean, and our waterways, are the life source on this planet and the more we endanger them, the more we endanger the human race.
We'll be looking at different aspects of the blue economy periodically in future blog posts and welcome any comments at beaches@BeachNecessities.com (it would be great if there were a comment capability on our blogs, but that functionality does not exist). In the meantime, worth highlighting Patagonia and it's business model as in 2021 the company was voted the most reputable company in the US. Patagonia's business model of investing 1% of revenue back into environmental organizations is now available for other companies to adopt through 1% for the Planet.
It's why BeachNecessities.com is a corporate member of 1% for the Planet and works to protect our beaches, ocean, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams one drug rug at a time.