By: Salvador Meza
The decisions made by a generation will dramatically affect the life of later generations such as never before. The actions which the generation currently in control makes regarding all world-wide events, are going to generate effects that will manifest themselves in one way or another in the future. In many occasions, these effects have either not been analyzed as seriously as they should, or the scope of their actual consequences has not been duly considered, nor has it even been questioned.
The conflict of generational change in the context of decision making —for example, regarding what social, economic and environmental policies should be adopted worldwide for the next ten to twenty years—makes itself manifest whenever these policies are implemented by people who are currently an average of 55 to 75 years of age, and who still consider themselves to have a useful lifespan perspective of 20 to 30 years, but whose capacity to adapt to change has been significantly reduced and who generally seek to maintain a static life status in the level of comfort they have managed to achieve over the years. They represent, in brief, the status quo of our global society.
By the same token, we can set forth many examples, but in order to simplify things, we can pose some simple questions: Are the young generations the ones most interested in sustaining the idea of producing energy through fossil fuels? Are millennials the ones most interested in not giving any credit to the standpoint that the planet’s temperature keeps rising year after year? Are young people the ones who, as a mayority, shun or try to avoid the integration of cultures, people and countries? Are these future generations the ones in favor of the subsidies granted by the government to trawling fisheries, and to other fisheries which are about to collapse?
In this context, we should be questioning ourselves whether it makes sense for a generation, whose possibilities to actually see the result of the decisions they make today in the next 15 or 20 years are limited, to continue stubbornly bent on their pursuit to maintain their status quo, fearful of losing a stability that only appears to exist but isn’t actually real, and making decisions in a selfish manner without taking into account the scenario these young generations will have to face within a framework of terrible consequences resulting from erroneous decisions made today.
Aquaculture is a great example in the context of these two scenarios. The lack of production regarding fish and seafood may result in an unmet demand for animal protein destined for human populations of apocalyptic proportions, in the next 20 years. This without taking into consideration the social and economic problems that will be seen in coastal populations in the greater part of countries worldwide, when their inhabitants see themselves in the need of emigrating to search for food and work once the fisheries that are still standing in the world collapse.
The FAO issues yearly alerts to worldwide governments on this impending challenge. The heads of government between 55 and 75 years of age seem not to understand them. But in twenty years, they will probably not have to suffer the consequences of not making the right decisions on time, either.
The younger generations should be the ones to decide if they want to share a beautiful coastal scenario, with a view to the fish farms with which they feed their children. It’s the young people that must decide if they prefer to invest as a society in the development of sustainable aquaculture instead of investing in maintaining an economically and environmentally unsustainable fishing industry.
The communications era and the global democratization of the Internet have thankfully given power to ordinary people. Use it.
Salvador Meza is Editor & Publisher of Aquaculture Magazine, and of the Spanish language industry magazine