The enormous and continuously increasing global consumption of meat is one of the main causes of climate change, deforestation of the rainforests, and extinction of species; word has already spread. What is less well known, however, is that industrialised meat production together with connected fodder production is also massively affecting our oceans and thus, posing an additional threat to our charges, the sea turtles. The correlations are summarized very well in the article “Animal agriculture is degrading our oceans” of the Turtle Island Restoration Network:
This is not just about indirect effects such as climate change, in which meat production plays a significant role. The immense input of fertilisers from intensively used agricultural areas via rivers damages the seas directly. The fertilizers cause algae blooms and a significant reduction in the sea’s oxygen content, especially of coastal waters. This creates so-called “death zones” in which the local ecosystems are collapsed. Such regions are uninhabitable for sea turtles and most other marine life. The largest such death zone, the size of the US state of Connecticut, is currently in the Gulf of Mexico, mainly caused by fertilisers from the vast farmlands of the American Midwest, which reach the sea via the Mississippi:
In January this year, the renowned scientific journal “Science” published a groundbreaking study that sheds light on the alarming loss of oxygen in the oceans on a global scale and warns of the collapse of entire marine ecosystems:
Of course, industry and agriculture are in charge to set the course for a more sustainable use of our natural resources. Experience shows, however, that little will happen without corresponding legal initiatives from the individual countries. But what is particularly important here is that we ourselves decide with every single mouthful of food what kind of world we want.