By Skye Ayla Mallac, freelance writer
Have you ever thought about how your food choices directly impact the health of the oceans around you? How a shift toward a more plant-based diet might radically affect the restoration of aquatic ecosystems? Well, perhaps it’s a thought worth chewing on.
Kaspar Paur is a Swiss environmentalist and founder of the Muizenberg-based initiative Oceaneers, a growing community of sea aficionados looking to spread knowledge and positively impact the oceans around them.
Their key focus is just that: how do your food choices influence ocean health? When industrial fishing results in 30 to 40 percent bycatch (marine animals that will not be consumed) as well as massive over-harvesting – which has put many species on the brink of extinction – that question makes a lot of sense. At this point, it’s obvious that a plant-based diet directly reduces our impact on the planet. But what about when you don’t have a choice?
This is something incredibly important in the South African context. The majority of South Africans live below the poverty line, which makes food choices like these almost an impossibility. Over the years, Paur has become aware of the privileged place from which these choices come, and geared Oceaneers toward more open-ended conversations that take equity into account.
Think about it this way: the small fishing communities of Cape Town, particularly within Kalk Bay and Simonstown, are solely reliant on their catch for income. Remove their industry, and you remove their livelihood. Awareness of the socio-economic context when driving any sustainable initiative is imperative. Oceaneers are here to talk about the possibilities of change and are creating a space to approach this through frank conversations.
You too can become part of the movement by signing up on their website. It’s easy, free, and you’ll get access to all their gatherings and exclusive discounts from their brand partners.
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