In the opinion section of today’s New York Times, Mark Bittman’s column is about Earth’s oceans, which are endangered by overfishing and acidification. The overfishing speaks for itself, and those who love to eat fish must follow the actor Ted Danson’s advice to “Be bold. Ask questions.” It means that we have an obligation to to find out which restaurants serve fish that are not being overfished, that are caught sustainably. The same, of course, is true for the fish we buy at the grocery store. Sometimes we feel foolish doing so, and indeed, in a conversation with Mark Bittman, Ted Danson acknowledges that he sometimes feels foolish, too. But we must get past this embarrassment, which can extend to other green activities, such as bringing your own cup or spoon or napkin to places that serve ones that are thrown away. After all, why should we feel embarrassed about not using things that must be thrown away? But we do, and I have. It’s a strange world we live in.

However, I am digressing. Bittman’s second point about the acidification of oceans is perhaps less well known outside of “green circles.” Simply put, the CO2 that modern societies produce in such abundance not only leads to global warming and climate change, but also creates carbonic acid in the ocean, making it, well, more acidic. This is not good news for ocean life, especially for mollusks. The acidification makes it hard for them to build their shells, and what affects them “trickles up” to other marine life. Truly, everything is connected.

The link to the conversation with Ted Danson is included in Bittman’s column. It’s only five minutes long and well worth watching. Danson’s activism and optimism are inspiring. Indeed, Danson has no patience with those who are pessimistic. I was also moved by one of Mark Bittman’s comments: “There’s always plenty of good work to do.”

Yes, there is. And what better time to keep this in mind than during Earth Week?


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