The Ocean is Dying… Guest Column
Translated by Futaleufu Riverkeeper
[Of late, several events occurring along the Chilean coast have drawn attention due to their environmental gravity. A collaborator of Ladera Sur and Futaleufu riverkeeper, photographer Daniel Casado, presents an opinion column where Ladera Sur posed a series of questions about how we should relate to the sea in connection with the latest environmental tragedy off the coast of Queule, in Chile’s Araucanía Region.]
I am not a pessimist by any means. But for a while now, I’ve watched as the sea is dying in front of us and it seems not to matter to many people.
We throw garbage, mining waste, antibiotics from salmon farms and residues from pulp mills as if the ocean were a bottomless dump, where everything magically disappears without a trace. For a country that has a coastline of over 6,400 kilometers long, the lack of concern among us all seems incredible to me.
The stranding of sardines that took place in Queule was just another bit of news for the media; two days in the newspapers and on TV, and you’re done; move on to other stories…
And what about the sea? The coastal communities that have survived for hundreds of years of fishing and the relationship with water at a human level? What about the culture there that’s dying? With the fishermen left without fish or work?
Following the beaching of whales near the Gulf of Penas, which has already seen more than 360 Sei whales, are added 10,000 giant squid off the coast of Isla Santa Marias, 9000 TONNES of salmon in the areas near Calbuco and Reloncavi, and now 8000 TONNES of sardines in Queule. And those are the “official” figures.
Is no one connecting the dots?
Authorities attribute everything to the “El Niño” phenomenon and try to justify the inexcusable by confusing people with technical names: upwellings of water, algae blooming, red tides.
I hope we try to take a step back as a country and see the full picture, given that these industries will not stop if we do not do something as a society.
We must ask ourselves, do we want this for ourselves and for those who come? What are we going to do about it?
I hope that we can all motivate ourselves to take part. Because in the end, the damage we do to nature, we do to ourselves. – DC