How We Wrecked the Ocean – Ecologist Jeremy Jackson Spells It Out [VIDEO]

Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus)


Jeremy Jackson calls himself a tropical ecologist. He has spent decades studying marine habitats. He is one of the foremost experts on coral reefs in the world. And he knows his geologic history too.

Recently, Mr. Jackson gave a slideshow talk at the hugely popular, annual TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference. The picture he paints of the current state of our oceans, and where they are heading, is anything but pleasant or comforting.

“…In the final analysis, the thing we really need to fix is ourselves. It’s not about the fish; It’s not about the pollution; it’s not about the climate change. It’s about us, and our greed and our need for growth and our inability to imagine a world which is different from the selfish world we live in today.” (Jeremy Jackson, ecologist, TED Talks 2010)

In this talk, Jackson continuously returns to the three major factors that are dramatically altering our oceans: over-fishing, pollution, and climate change. These factors do not arise and operate in isolation, but rather, they feed back into each other and “synergize” to make for a major, impending, ecological disaster.

The articulate Jackson (known for his trenchant analogies to get his points across) covers a wide range of issues, with topics including: the role of biological pollution (caused by land run-off of nitrogen-rich soil due to over-use of fertilizers), the growing phenomenon of marine “dead zones (which are anoxic, or hypoxic, water columns in the sea), the failure of the ocean’s overturning circulation due to warming and the role of positive feedback loops in marine systems. Watch the VIDEO:


What is TED? TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It was originally a sort of convention, but it has evolved into a newer form of popular, public educational forum. Its motto is “ideas worth spreading” and it is dedicated to giving a platform to innovative and leading thinkers and creators from all over the world. Each year, TED grants “one wish to change the world” to one of its nominated speakers. Read (and listen and watch) more here.

Want to know more about Jeremy Jackson? Check out his TED bio page here.

Photo credit: Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus), NOAA

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