CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Disgusting, shocking expose by Agence France-Presse. Hong-Kong. After people complained, tens of thousands of shark fins were brought to the roof tops to dry. The article says they did this to hide the fins from the public because of increased awareness of animal cruelty. 

Shark fin traders in Hong Kong have taken to drying freshly sliced fins on rooftops since a public outcry over them drying the fins on public sidewalks forced them to move the trade out of sight. 

Activists have raised concerns that the over-harvesting of fins is causing an environmental calamity. Although sales have fallen in recent years Hong Kong remains one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets. NBC

I can’t stomach watching the process of shark finning (more videos here). Basically, they catch the shark, cut off its fins, and throw the shark back into the ocean - alive and awake. The sharks bleed to death and/or suffocate since they can’t swim.

Absolutely repulsive.

But saying “gross” or “I’m sad” is not enough. There are a variety of ways you can help stop finning.

Sharks are threatened by climate change. Increased temperatures are affecting their habitat and food supplies around the globe. Changes to their habitat threaten their survival.

Last year, Discovery reported the world’s first hybrid shark and speculated it had adapted to climate change. They speculated that two separate shark species paired as a result of climate change. It was the first time a shark hybrid has been found and scientists speculated they were evolving, e.g., they adapted to increased temperatures.

The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) down the coast, in cooler seas.

It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.

"If it hybridizes with the common species it can effectively shift its range further south into cooler waters, so the effect of this hybridizing is a range expansion," Morgan said.

"It’s enabled a species restricted to the tropics to move into temperate waters." Via Discovery

Adaptation is not fast enough. Habitat and food supplies are quickly being destroyed, not to mention ocean currents are shifting, adding additional pressure on marine life. Most importantly, the incredible increases wealth in China and Asia generally has increased demand for shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy.

Gordan Ramsay, an A-list celebrity chef, was doused with gasoline and held at gun-point while exposing shark finning on his TV show last year. He tried the soup and deemed it unremarkable and bland, comparing the soup to eating salted potatoes.

He was horrified and sickened at the process (warning: very tough to watch. Several sharks are hacked live). Chef Ramsay subsequently advocated for the finning of these amazing animals to stop. He helped contribute to the passage of a bill banning shark fin soup in the U.S.

There are several ways to stop finning: Pressuring grocery stores and Asian markets, writing congress (it works, I swear), contributing cash and volunteer time to anti-finning campaigns, passing the word around to educate others, and signing petitions.

- And thanks for reading my post. m

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