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There’s a massive focus on the impact of plastics on our carbon footprint. But while governments are very hot on the fact that cutting back on detrimental materials in favor of recyclable ones is a great leap forward, the onus should still be on us to have an impact on our planet positively. While there are so many rules and regulations out there, and by following these, we can all make a decent impact on the outcome of global warming, the environmental impact and so forth, it should be down to each and everyone of us to understand what we can do all by ourselves. So, what can you do specifically to benefit the planet, not just in an environmental sense, but also, a personal one?

Understand Your Personal Impact
The best way anybody can get an understanding of their own personal impacts on the planet, not just in an environmental sense, but in a personal sense, is to go inwards. Do you find that having a luxurious home makes you happy? Or is being a material person actually distracting you from the real issues in life? Whether you’re looking to benefit the planet in an environmental sense, or you want to be a better person, looking at what your impact is on everyone else is the place to begin. You can examine things like your diet. For example, the more meat you consume, the bigger your carbon footprint is going to be. So you need to think about how to offset this, especially if you want to continue eating meat. There are resources online, like carbon footprint calculators, so you can look at what you are creating over the space of a year, but there are also resources that can help every single one of us, such as Zero Waste Living, which gives details on how to live a zero carbon footprint life. Whatever your goals are, making sure that you delve into yourself and know exactly what you want out of life will make you a better person as a result, which will impact on everyone else around you.

Pay It Forward
Do you find yourself to be selfish in some ways? You might not think of yourself as a Scrooge-like person, but if you find yourself fiercely protective of your own wants and needs, you might be reticent to perform random acts of kindness. This is something that can create a ripple effect. And it doesn’t have to be a major gesture, a smile, opening a door for someone, or buying a homeless person some food, are all simple things that yield a positive result for others. And while doing these things can make you happy, this isn’t the goal. Instead, the idea is to inspire others to do the same. And the great thing about it is that it’s not difficult. We are certainly more selfish nowadays, and operating with that I’m Alright Jack mentality doesn’t benefit humankind at all.

To Thine Own Self Be True
If you’re looking to benefit the planet in an environmental sense, you need to think about what you really want to do to bring about change. The same can be said if you want to benefit other people. We have to start with ourselves, and have a true sense of authenticity in what we do in our lives. If you find that you’ve been living a false life, and not actually being true to yourself, there is no need to feel guilty about it, you can make this conscious change now. By bringing authenticity to every situation in your life, not only will this help to inspire others, but it’s something that will make you sleep easier at night in an emotional sense. Knowing you’ve done your best in any given situation, and being true to every action you undertake, rather than telling small lies or being deceitful, yields much more positive results. Shakespeare said “to thine own self be true”, and he was right. In any way you want to benefit the world, either through political action, improving the environment, or just helping people, including yourself, being authentic is the best course of action to achieve any proper solution.

As we get older, we can look back on our lives and have numerous regrets, but for those who are true to their beliefs, and have done everything they can, will have no regrets. This is the best way in which to operate through life, and if you want to improve the environment, improve relationships, or just want to walk through life with an air of confidence, looking at your own personal impact, being kind, but also being true to yourself are the three most impactful pillars anybody can have on the world in which we live in.

Quentin Hanich, University of Wollongong

Amid growing demand for seafood, gas and other resources drawn from the world’s oceans, and growing stresses from climate change, we examine some of the challenges and solutions for developing “the blue economy” in smarter, more sustainable ways.

Fishing for tuna, swordfish, jack mackerel, Patagonian toothfish and many other species happens far out at sea, with fisheries often crossing multiple international boundaries.

It’s a huge global industry, which provides billions of dollars a year in direct and indirect benefits to developed and developing countries, and which supplies the world’s food markets. However, overfishing and weak management are serious threats, estimated to cost the world up to US$50 billion a year in lost benefits.

If we don’t learn to better manage transnational fisheries, we risk the long-term viability of key fisheries, as extraordinary global marine biodiversity is reduced to a shadow of its former health.

Whether you care about being better custodians of the Earth’s oceans, or simply want to be sure that we’ll have plenty of good fish in the sea to catch and eat for generations to come, it’s a huge global challenge.

Fortunately, there are new solutions we should be considering – including lessons from a tuna hotspot in the Pacific.

Fresh fish for sale in the Solomon Islands – one of the Pacific nations trialling more sustainable tuna fishing.
Quentin Hanich, Author provided

What we’re doing now is making things worse

Australia and other concerned nations have long warned that current levels of fishing are unsustainable and “leading inexorably to an impending crisis for global marine fisheries.”

Strong international action is required to strengthen fisheries management across multiple boundaries, reduce catches to sustainable levels, and optimise benefits to meet development goals.

But traditional management approaches can be politically contentious, especially because they often require consensus from numerous countries with conflicting interests.

A man walks among yellowfin tuna at a fishing port in southern Taiwan in 2010. The United Nations warned at the time that the world risked becoming fishless by 2050 unless fishing fleets are slashed and stocks allowed to recover.
Pichi Chuang/Reuters

It’s difficult to get multiple countries to agree on restrictions on fishing activities, or controls on fishing methods, or limits to access to fishing grounds or seasons – especially when that may not seem in their short-term national interest. That can be a particular concern for developing states that depend significantly on fisheries, with few other development and resource options.

Existing negotiation and treaty processes fail to successfully resolve the political aspects of conservation negotiations, and consequently, countries often prove unwilling to compromise.

Some argue that some form of property or use right must be distributed among participants to deal with overfishing, so that industry and others have the right incentives to fish in ways that ensure long-term sustainability and economic viability.

However, applying rights-based management approaches to international fisheries requires first that everyone involved agrees on national allocations before those fishing rights trickle down to those actually catching the fish. Determining such rights through an explicit allocation process is highly fraught and take years of effort, particularly as allocation decisions generally require consensus.

While the negotiations drag on, overfishing continues – and can be exacerbated in a race-to-fish to support arguments for more generous allocations.

In order to build political support, new benefits are required that balance conservation costs. Conservation proponents point to long-term benefits from conservation reductions, but these are often too distant to motivate narrowly focused governments facing short-term electoral cycles.

Rights-based management proponents will argue incentives and higher economic efficiency, but fail to provide a political pathway to distribute these benefits between States with diverse interests.

Solutions for the trans-boundary open ocean require sustainability, value and certainty – not politics.

Unloading fish in the Pacific.
Quentin Hanich, Author provided

Pacific nations show the value of scarcity

New markets are required that introduce scarcity values into conservation and turn limits into benefits. International negotiations need to move beyond traditional approaches and adopt innovative measures that create new markets.

A small group of Pacific Island nations are attempting just that, trialling different approaches to managing a crucial part of the world’s tuna supplies.

The Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu are all Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), working together to make fishing for tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (shown in the map below) more sustainable.

The Pacific Ocean, crowded with maritime jurisdictional claims.
Q. Hanich & M. Tsamenyi (eds) Navigating Pacific Fisheries: Legal and Policy Trends in the Implementation of International Fisheries Instruments in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. University of Wollongong. Wollongong, Australia. 2009., Author provided

The Western and Central Pacific Ocean is home to the world’s most productive tuna fisheries, supplying global markets with skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye, and albacore tunas. These were collectively worth approximately US$5.8 billion in 2014 and accounted for 60% of the global tuna catch.

Unfortunately, like many other global fisheries, overfishing is occurring and a political stalemate is undermining conservation.


Quentin Hanich, Author provided

Pacific Island nations have long been concerned about conservation limits putting a disproportionate burden of conservation action on to small island nations, and unfairly limiting their development aspirations. There was some justification for those concerns.

Previously proposed conservation measures would have directly benefited longstanding distant water fishing fleets, through capacity or catch limits that rewarded historical capacity and catch, while locking out developing nations with no history of overfishing, and potentially no future opportunity. In effect – it would have been the reverse of the polluter pays principle.

The small group of PNA nations control access to the most productive fishing grounds. So they aare a crucial voting bloc within the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission – an international treaty based organisation with responsibility over the Western and Central Pacific tuna fisheries.

Given that the PNA member nations arguably own and control access to most of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean tuna fishery, any conservation and management response must be fully supported by these countries and explicitly avoid any disproportionate conservation burden.

In recent years, the PNA nations have collectively implemented a Vessel Day Scheme that limited access to their productive fisheries and introduced a scarcity value that has dramatically increased benefits. In effect, they have created a new market for ‘fishing days’ and are now trialling auctioning and pooling of days to maximise their benefits.

Next, these countries will need to bring in tighter limits to reduce catches of bigeye tuna to sustainable levels. One of the key impacts on bigeye tuna is the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) that are set at sea by large-scale purse seiners (seines are also known dragnets) to target skipjack tuna.

Freshly caught tuna in the Solomon Islands.
Filip Milovac/WorldFish/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

While countries involved with distant water fishing have proposed traditional measures that would apply across-the-board restrictions at high cost to the island states, the PNA members have been trialling satellite-based monitoring of FADs at sea. They are also cooperating to begin charging additional fees for the use of FAD sets within their waters, beginning in 2016.

This will create an incentive for purse seiners to set on free swimming schools and reduce FAD sets, and mitigate conservation costs for Pacific island through the additional financial revenue from the licensing fees.

As the scheme settles in, conservation limits can then be implemented to gradually reduce the number of FADs that can be set. This will increase the scarcity value of the FAD set, while decreasing the catch of bigeye tuna to more sustainable levels, and effectively create a new market for ‘FAD sets’.

Innovative management and market solutions will be critical to the sustainable, profitable and equitable future of the global “blue economy”. In trans-boundary fisheries, the Pacific is setting the agenda.

The Conversation

Quentin Hanich, Associate Professor, University of Wollongong

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

After 30 years in the same house, and 55 years in the one suburb for my poor mum, my parents are finally moving out of Blackalls! They’ve bought a place 10km away, near a park, the lake, and with some already established roses and fruit and veg plants!

Mum and Dad's new place

It even came with a giant dog out the back! Well over the back fence. This guy is HUGE!

Mum and Dad's new place

Have you ever had the pleasure of having tomatoes that have sprouted up from your compost bin? Or a pumpkin vine snake its way through your flowers? Or strawberries popping up here and there? These cherry tomatoes are growing up behind the garage in the back corner of the yard. And taste delicious. (especially plucked straight from the plant!). Think it counts as organic and sustainable if we’ve just found them growing, then staked up a few with some leftover fence posts and grass we just pulled?

Mum and Dad's new placeMum and Dad's new place

Back yard oranges and rhubarb, just waiting for me to stew them together and eat with some Greek yoghurt :) Or the oranges waiting for Rish to pluck them and juice them!

Mum and Dad's new place

The mint is also rather wild. I’m told that you can use it to help with fleas? I was wondering about making my own herbal tea from it?

A few weeks back I went to a Kleenex Mums/Cottonelle event which was buzzing with ideas for saving money while being more environmentally friendly at the same time. Backyard gardens were among the many ways mentioned that we could make a small difference to our footprints. Check out Pin to Make a difference for some tips and ideas!

Mum and Dad's new place

Yeah! Chokos! Apparently you can eat them, not just throw them at the year seven kids!

*********

You can WIN a Cottonelle hamper by commenting below with your favourite tip for being sustainable around the house, garden or office. Tips around food of course are warmly welcomed :) One entry per person. Aussie addresses only. Entries close 9pm Friday 25/05/2012, and the winner will be chosen by me, with the criteria of being the one that makes me nod the most and go “yes, THAT!”. :)

The prize pack consists of an array of products, including:
– Viva cleaning products
– Kleenex Cottonelle Flushable Wipes
– Kleenex Cottonelle toilet tissue
– Kleenex Tissues
– 1 Kleenex Cottonelle puppy toy

(I think it’s worth entering for the puppy toy! As pictured below!)

Kleenex mums

* Comp is now closed. Congrats to our winner, Catherine with her tip: “My tip is to use up all the fresh veggies you grow or buy – for example, don’t throw away the stalks of broccoli and cauliflower but instead cube them to use in stews and soups …. and don’t waste the leafy tops of your celery because it tastes great added to stir-fries and other Asian dishes. And you can even finely chop the beautiful green tops of carrots as a substitute for parsley and other green garnishes.” Awesome ideas!

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