Plastic pollution made headlines yet again last week after two different researcher teams published findings about the alarming amount of microplastics they discovered in Arctic ice cores and snow. While Flat World is already passionate about recycling (and we love to flaunt our reusable Stojo coffee mugs at meetings), this news got us talking about the threats to the world’s oceans beyond plastics. You know the kind of chat — just a fun, light-hearted discussion about the exponentially growing threats facing our planet and our individual feelings of inefficacy to guard against them. It’s easy to feel like the world is doomed when we think about the addition of Arctic microplastics to the already enormous list of identified threats to the health of our oceans including ocean acidification, coral bleaching, invasive species, and overfishing. Dive deep enough into ocean issues, and you might find yourself asking what’s the point in even trying to make a difference?
However, in the face of seemingly insurmountable environmental problems, my friends at Flat World remind me of our shared hope to impact large-scale positive change through private markets and individual actions. Instead of feeling hopeless, they encourage me to think about the many environmental solutions that inspire me: circular economy funds, alternative protein substitutes, lionfish market mechanisms, and coral reef restoration projects to name a few. It increases my sense of our collective ability to fix the problematic systems that we either carelessly or shellfishly created (sorry, couldn’t help myself there).
Instead of observing a sea of despair, we choose to recognize a sea of opportunity for companies and individuals to change systems, policies, and Capitalism to improve the way we treat the planet as it will ultimately benefit ourselves, the ecosystems we love, and future generations.
Courtney Lang, Investment Analyst
Coral restoration projects have gained popularity as a means to increase coral reef resiliency to climate change. Coral is grown in underwater nurseries, then planted on reefs by scuba divers. Again, you may ask yourself “what’s the point of this?” since climate change over a certain threshold will cause all coral to bleach anyways. Recent news has revealed that some coral species may be less affected by temperature than others are, meaning if we can plant more of the resistant coral species on reefs, we may be able to increase the resiliency of reefs overall.
Ask your favorite seafood restaurant if they have lionfish on the menu. While your server at Nobu or Sugarfish will probably think you’re obnoxious, ecologists have suggested that increasing the perception of demand may spark restaurants to put lionfish on the menu. Increasing the marketplace for invasive lionfish is a top priority for many coral reef ecologists, given the massive problems they pose to biodiversity.
For a boost in spirits, we recommend reading the Return of the Sea Otter by Todd McLeish. As the title suggests, the story is about a scientist’s journey through the Pacific Ocean, tracking the inspiring resiliency of sea otter populations after anti-hunting laws were enacted.
This newsletter is intended solely for informational purposes, and should not be construed as investment/trading advice and are not meant to be a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any securities mentioned. Any reproduction or distribution of this document, in whole or in part, or the disclosure of its contents, without the prior written consent of Flat World Partners is prohibited
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