Climate Change and The Sea

As a sailor, something that has always been of great interest to me is the weather. After all, it is the most influential factor on how my sailing experience would turn out. The winds tell me which path I would take as I sail. The sky, whether sunny or stormy, determines if I could even go out to sea safely. It used to be that one could predict which times of the year would rain more heavily. Recently, however, the weather patterns have been changing and have become more unpredictable.

The changing weather patterns are not important only to sailors like me. If we take a step back to look at the bigger picture, we could see that the changing weather pattern is just a symptom of a larger problem—climate change. This implication of this is wide-ranging. As human beings, we all need food. Many of us love it so much that we can be quite picky about the quality of what we eat. Climate change is threatening our food supply, wherever we are in the world.

A case in point is our neighbour—Malaysia. Fisheries in Malaysia have to venture further out into sea to look for fish, as the usual spots now have less or even empty catch. This also means fishermen face highest costs in terms of the fuel they use and the increase in danger by virtue of being further out at the sea. With supply becoming scarcer and the cost of fishing increasing, an increase in the price of seafood for us as consumers would eventually occur. As usual, those of us who are less privileged will be disproportionately affected, in addition to the existing and endless list of problems.

Can we mere humans do anything about something as global and catastrophic as climate change? We must keep in mind that when it comes to climate change, prevention and mitigation are better than cure. The steps we can take to limit climate change are far simpler than what it would take to reverse climate change. For that to be possible, everyone needs to play their part. For me, here are some things that I am working on. Perhaps you might want to consider them too.

  • Learn more about climate change and its effects
  • Switch off electrical appliances and gadgets when not in use
  • Use mass transit transportation instead of cars
  • Reuse things as much as possible
  • Reduce food wastage
  • Use a reusable bag for grocery shopping

Preventing or mitigating climate change is not just about responding to God’s call for us to be good stewards of the Earth, important as it is. It is also about following the biblical commandment of Jesus to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Kieran Tan is an aspiring social worker. He is currently studying on a part-time basis, while gaining experience in the social services sector as a Programme Executive trainee at Caritas Singapore. He also enjoys competitive sailing when he has the time for it.