On behalf of my scientific colleagues, and on behalf of my generation, I am sorry. I am sorry that we scientists didn't try harder to be heard, and I am sorry that my generation didn't try harder to listen. We got it wrong. We didn't want to hear the negative... we didn't want to exercise restraint... we didn't want to think the unthinkable.
Sushi without fish. No more funny waddling penguins or big toothy sharks. Coral reefs overgrown by lush algal meadows. These may sound alarming, but they are not alarmist. These are happening now. All around us. We only need to open our eyes to see the results of decades of extravagant growth, unbridled take, excessive exploitation.
We have fished out the big fish, changed the ocean's chemistry, trawled thickets and nurseries down to rubble and mud, and created massive dead zones through urban and agricultural runoff. In many places ecosystems are now functioning as just a shadow of their former selves. And instead of getting the message of these damaged ecosystems, we are pushing full steam ahead creating more. The ocean is to many a place of celebration, and to others a place of solace... but to its inhabitants it is becoming increasingly hostile.
Overfishing... habitat destruction... climate change... eutrophication... ocean acidification... introduced species... pollution... plastics... chemicals... gender benders... radionuclides...
If jellyfish could wish for perfect conditions, these would include warming and turbid water, lack of predators and competitors, and any conditions that make it harder for other species to survive, like low oxygen or slightly more acidic water than usual. These are the very conditions we are creating at an alarming and increasing rate. And jellyfish are enjoying a renaissance like never before in history. Stung! is their story.