Regional e-Notes: Earth Day Letter from the Director
As the CTSA team prepared this special Earth Day edition of Regional e-Notes from our homes, we reflected on our dependence and connection with our planet and its natural resources in light of an Earth Day unlike any other before. The tragic toll of the global pandemic cannot be understated, and we send our condolences and healing thoughts to all who are experiencing hardship. We are sharing some resources in this month’s newsletter to help farmers who may be impacted by the current situation. We are also sharing an in-depth look at how the pandemic is impacting food security, conservation, aquaculture, and the future of sustainable food production.
As the population rapidly rises, protecting the environment while meeting dietary needs will be a critical issue to resolve, especially in the face of climate change. It is well accepted that, thus far, aquatic protein appears to be the most promising to increase production and reduce stress on the environment. However, we cannot continue the status quo. We must invest in research to develop more efficient ways to increase production and simultaneously protect the environment and/or mitigate environmental impacts of farming. The aquaculture community has been working together to reach this goal. The progression of seafood product labeling and certification will ensure that producers follow best practice guidelines to provide consumers with reliable and healthy protein. FAO and World Bank promote the “ecosystem approach” to aquaculture management as a means to increase the sustainability of aquaculture. By working together, aquaculture will indeed address most of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which were adapted in 2015 for completion by 2030. Proper management of aquaculture will help achieve SDG’s such as zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, climate action, and life below water, among others. The Aquaculture industry must utilize this opportunity to address climate change and the security of our food system, thereby helping to avoid another global disaster.
Our job as an industry is to feed people, an essential function of society. In order to attain this goal, we must expand the capacity for sustainable food production, both through increased farming and reduction of waste. In addition to supporting farmers and reducing personal waste, consumers must work to develop their own sustainable dietary profile. It is the only way we will be able to feed the projected global population of 10 billion people. Our capable scientists will win the war with COVID-19; as Oprah said, we will return to normal but it will be a ‘new normal.’ Partnership is and will remain a cornerstone of creating a better ‘new normal.’
As our regular readers know, I am a champion for partnership. This Earth Day, I really want to encourage us all to reflect on how we can work together to create the life and planet that we want. CTSA will release our FY20 Request for Pre-Proposals early next month through our website http://www.ctsa.org. We look forward to reading your ideas on how we can achieve our program mission and shared goals.
Cheng-Sheng Lee, Ph.D.