In an education conference almost 20 year ago, a couple of biologists presented the idea that the rise of expectations would outstrip capacity. If everyone one in China woke up with the urge to have a shrimp cocktail, the oceans would be cleaned. They talked about ecological definition of carrying capacity. There is no revolution green enough, no aquaculture wide enough, no way to supersize the planet’s yield. I heard it then. I hear it now. We do not appreciate how incredibly far up the food chain we are. We think the entire species can fit within the space we have taken for ourselves. We defy the architecture of eco-systems and expect to get away with it. Some voices would have us believe that increased growth and technology will allow us to break through the barriers that seem so absolute now. In my lifetime I have seen cod vanish from the Maine shores and watched fisherman work their way down the food chain harvesting species no one thought had value, and one by one, watching them go from common to rare in the span of years. I fear for the future while as a teacher, I still dare to believe in redemption and transformation. I just doubt it will be easy.

Writer, walker, poet, educator. Commercial fisherman, builder, donut maker, organic grower. Boston, U. City, Maine, South Africa, Madrid.

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