Two New Interviews! Sarika Cullis-Suzuki and Edmund Metatawabin!
Two new interviews! Sarika Cullis-Suzuki and Edmund Metatawabin!
Over the past few weeks, we’ve released two new Green Interviews with two remarkable Canadians. Sarika Cullis-Suzuki is a young scientist, a passionate advocate for the oceans, while Edmund Metatawabin is a remarkable Cree leader and writer who actually remembers daily life in a culture that was completely sustainable for 10,000 years. But I’ve been so busy with an exciting new project – which I’ll announce within the next couple of weeks – that I haven’t even had time to write a blog post.
But these were fine interviews on vital subjects. Sarika Cullis-Suzuki is a marine biologist, a PhD student who has already made a mark with her original research, her writing and her work in film and television. These talents may be genetic; she’s the daughter of the legendary David Suzuki. We talked a lot about the fishery on the high seas — the ocean waters located outside any nation’s 200 nautical-mile limit — and the need for “Marine Protected Areas,” which are, in effect, oceanic game preserves.
Two-thirds of the world’s high-seas fish stocks are depleted or over-fished because of ineffective monitoring and lack of legislation, says Sarika. The international organizations responsible for 60% of the global ocean “are absolutely not maintaining their mandates. In fact, they’re failing the high seas.”
The story is a sadly-familiar one: the agencies set up to regulate the offshore fishing industry have been captured by the industry and see themselves as responsible to the industry, not to the health of the fishery. The industry lobbies for its own selfish interests – but nobody lobbies for the vanishing fish.
“I hate to be so negative, but we’re not doing well,” Sarika says, noting that Canada protects just one per cent of its ocean terrain and sets up well-publicized marine-protected areas that are “paper parks”―protected on paper, but not monitored or regulated.
Sarika and I also talked about the health of Canada’s coastal areas – another sobering topic – and discussed the Harper government’s repellent policy of muzzling scientists, making war on evidence and smothering inconvenient knowledge. As a scientist and a public intellectual, she’s constantly calling attention to this huge disservice to Canada and the planet.
“It’s really scary, because, if we can’t reach out to people and say, ‘This is what our work is, these are what our results show,’ then how is anybody going to learn anything?” she says. “If we’re talking about truth, then the truth is being stifled right now.”
Young scientists and activists like Sarika are our hope for the future. I loved meeting her. She’s full of hope, passion and knowledge; she’s already making a stellar contribution – and she’s barely 30. Wow.
And my conversation with Edmund Metatawabin was really a game-changing experience for me – and I’ll talk about that in another blog post, soon.