Meditation Focus #26


Web posted on November 2 for the week beginning Sunday November 5, 2000


What follows is the 26th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday November 5, 2000.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this week's Focus


Life began in the seas more than 3,500,000,000 years ago. But in the last 50 years, we have put the life in our oceans in peril. We are taking too many fish out of the oceans and dumping in too much pollution. Development along the coastline is destroying essential fish habitat while the number of human activities seriously endangering all marine life is still on the increase. There has been some success stories like the ban of whaling by most nations and the cleaning up of some major rivers, but since the ocean ecosystems are reported to having declined by 35 percent between 1970 and 1999, according to World Wildlife Fund, it is imperative we reverse this trend before the remaining marine life entirely disappears, as foretold by late oceanographer Commandant Jacques Cousteau. Amongst the issues of greatest concern are:

- overfishing by government-subsidized fishing fleets;

- the worldwide destruction of coral reefs by pollution and global warming;

- the use of LFAS sonar technology within the oceans, which evidence strongly suggests is killing whales and dolphins;

- the decline of freshwater ecosystems;

- the rapid decline of marine life and ecosystems.

An extensive Web search has led to the compilation of enough material to cover all those issues and many more. You may review this material below or from if you receive only a forward of this and it is not included.

Please dedicate your meditations and prayers, under the guidance of Spirit, to the emergence in all humans of a sense of the absolute sacredness of all Life and of our indissociable unity with all other life forms in the oceans and elsewhere on Earth. Visualise in everyone the growing awareness of our responsibility to care for the fragile marine ecosystems and assist in their worldwide regeneration to their optimal state of perfection and balance. May comprehensive protection measures for all marine life be swiftly implemented for the highest good of all.


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment


This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.



In addition to the following, please review also the complementary material posted at:


According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, at least 60 percent of the world's 200 most commercially valuable fish species are either overfished or fished to the limit.  Overfishing and destructive fishing practices have pushed numbers of many valuable species to all-time lows.  More than 100 marine fishes, along with many other species that live in the oceans, are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (  Less than one percent of the world's oceans and seas have been designated as protected. There urgently need to be a more responsible fisheries management and the creation of an effective global network of marine parks and reserves to safeguard critical ocean habitats. Total benefits from the oceans have recently been estimated at US$21 trillion.

You will find information on global overfishing, pirate fishing, southern ocean, shrimp aquaculture, whaling, marine pollution, climate change and what you can do at


SCIENTISTS ACKNOWLEDGE THAT the biggest single threat to marine biodiversity today is overfishing.
Most of the world's major fisheries are depleted or rapidly deteriorating. Wherever they operate, commercial fishing fleets are exceeding the oceans' ecological limits. They are unraveling the intricate web of marine biodiversity that makes the oceans such a vital and productive part of the Earth's life support system.

Fisheries research and management institutions everywhere have fallen far behind the rapid advances in fishing technology, which makes overexploitation of fish stocks the rule rather than the exception. Instead of coming to grips with the need for dramatic cuts, nations argue over who will get how much of what remains of dwindling fish stocks. Meanwhile, the financial captains of the global fishing industry plough full steam ahead on their unsustainable, competitive rush to vacuum the oceans and turn fish into cash.

Report on the World's Oceans - 1,048KB
Greenpeace Research Laboratories, May 1998
THE WORLD'S OCEANS and seas cover 71% of the surface of the earth. This huge biological system comprises very diverse habitats and is, in some respects, richer in biodiversity than life on land - more major taxonomic groupings (phyla) of animals can be found in the oceans than on land. Oceans are very important for human existence, not only because they supply us with fish and other coastal resources, but also because they function as a regulator of atmospheric composition, nutrient cycling and biological control of natural systems......

Much much more at this URL above


Since the late nineteenth century, most populations of whales in the world have been decimated by commercial whaling. Despite the moratorium on whaling imposed by the international community in 1986, the whales are still threatened. A number of countries and their whaling industries continue pushing for resumption of commercial whaling. An effective method to give further protection to the whales is the creation of sanctuaries -- areas where whaling is forbidden not just temporarily, but for the indefinite future and the benign study and conservation of whales is encouraged. CLIP

See also the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society website at:>

- Governments should eliminate the tens of billions of dollars in government subsidies that contribute to overfishing, establish new marine protected areas and improve the management of existing reserves. Governments can also support international treaties such as the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, which sets new international standards for marine fishing but has yet to enter into force for lack of political will.

- The fishing industry should reduce the incidental killing of fish and other marine wildlife that now accounts for more than one-quarter of the world catch, and support market incentives for sustainable fishing, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, a new initiative designed to label seafood from independently-certified, well-managed sources.


For generations, we considered the ocean's bounty limitless. We were confident the seas would feed the world. Now, we are running out of fish. At least 60 percent of the world's 200 most valuable fish species are either overfished or fished to the limit. Some, like Atlantic halibut and bluefin tuna, have been fished to the brink of commercial extinction.

Overfishing, destructive fishing practices, inadequate management and degradation of habitat have pushed numbers of Atlantic salmon, sharks, swordfish and other species to all-time lows. The primary reason for the loss of marine species is habitat destruction, caused by development and pollution. The conversion of coastal areas into urban and industrial sites and for tourism and residential use have had serious consequences. About 80 percent of all pollution in the sea comes from land, including sewage, industrial waste and agricultural runoff. In some estuaries, more than 80 percent of key nursery habitat has been lost to development.

With an estimated 75 percent of the world's population expected to live within 50 miles of the coastline by the year 2010, demands for coastal space and resources will accelerate and so will the loss and destruction of habitat.

Something is very fishy - and wasteful (Waste from the fishing industry - by Jackie Alan Giuliano)

Very little of the sea life caught is used to feed anyone. Unimaginable amounts of unwanted species, immature animals, and undesirable pieces of the meat are wasted and either dumped at sea or buried in landfills. Twenty five percent of the fish pulled from the sea never make it to market and much of the rest is used in designer foods for the well off customer. For some species, the waste is 90%.

The United Nations reports that 27 million tons of unwanted fish are thrown back each year. Most of these fish do not survive because of rough handling during the catch. This represents more than half of all fish from capture fisheries that are used for direct human consumption.


Shrimp trawlers may exact the largest toll on life in the sea. The huge shrimp nets capture 11 million tons of unwanted finfish each year! Often 90 percent of the catch from a shrimping run is made up of unwanted animals. In Trinidad, 15 tons of fish are discarded for every ton of shrimp caught. Among this bycatch are often sea turtles as well.

Scraping the Seabed Raw - Trawling Nets Rip Up Undersea Habitat

Fishing trawlers have become the bulldozers of the ocean deep, their huge nets toppling and disrupting the undersea landscape. Each year, fishing boats around the world trawl an area twice as large as the United States, leveling intricate structures as they gather bottom-dwelling fish, scallops and shrimp. A scallop dredge, for instance, consists of a 15-foot-wide steel frame dragging a large chain bag through the seabed. One dredge weighs more than a ton — empty — and most boats tow two at a time. Destroying critical habitat threatens the creatures we eat and those we don’t — worms, snails, anemones, unappetizing fish and others. Just about anything might come up in the net: sea stars, sea turtles, chunks of a coral reef.

To make matters worse, a third of all animals that boats haul up — 25 billion animals is a conservative estimate — are commercially worthless. That translates into 29.7 million tons of sea life a year that are thrown out as garbage, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.



Shrimp - The Devastating Delicacy

CLIP - Landings of wild shrimp from "capture" fisheries have hovered between 2 to 3 million tons a year. But, with virtually all of the world's major stocks of wild shrimp heavily or over-exploited, there simply aren't enough shrimp to meet the giant consumer demand. Much of the shrimp sold in restaurants and supermarkets today is cultivated in large factory-style shrimp farms carved out of the coastal landscape, which produced more than 700,000 tons last year. Their production is expected to double in the next decade. Today more than one-half of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is from shrimp farms rather than from the sea. But all of this cheap shrimp carries a heavy cost. Shrimp farms are causing devastating ecological harm and social upheaval in tropical coastal countries in Asia and Latin America.

Ripped out at the Roots - The destruction of Mangrove forests.

Shrimp farming has become a relentless destroyer of huge expanses of tropical coastlines, particularly mangroves forests. Mangrove forest roots are bulldozed into the mud to make way for the intruding shrimp farms. The coastal equivalent of terrestrial rain forests mangroves are home to an incredibly diverse range of life. They are breeding grounds and nurseries for many fish, shellfish and myriad other wildlife.

Once the mangroves are ripped out, the coast is rendered unstable, triggering erosion, harming coral reefs and seagrass beds, and eliminating habitat for creatures from the humble mollusks up the chain of life to the meek manatee. While there are currently no precise figures on how great the loss is of mangrove forests and other coastal wetlands due to shrimp farms, estimates are frighteningly high one-million hectares (2.5 million acres, nearly 4,000 square miles).

As the wetlands vanish, fish catches decline and ecosystems are knocked out of balance. Shrimp farms are often abandoned after only three to five years, leaving the once-fertile coastal ecosystem a wasteland. The proprietors then move on to destroy new territory.

The ecological damage doesn't end with the mangrove loss. To grow as many shrimp as possible and maintain overcrowded populations, profuse amounts of artificial feed and chemical additives, including chlorine, are poured in. Malathion, parathion, paraquat and other virulent pesticides are sprayed on the pools

Along with the chemicals come several kinds of antibiotics, used heavily to prevent shrimp disease. This resulting virulent soup is commonly dumped onto the surrounding land or into local waterways, where it harms people and other life. Farming those little shrimp causes gigantic problems, even beyond the environmental harm.

Arctic Sunrise in Ecuador
Human Impacts - The effects of this lucrative export trade on local communities.
Don't Be 'Shellfish' - What Greenpeace is doing and what you can do.
Shrimp facts and figures
Photo Gallery

See also at
Diminishing returns: World fisheries under pressure (Excellent and very detailed!)

Read also a Greenpeace report on bycatch and discarded fish at

Follow the National Resources Defense Council campaign to restore ocean fisheries at



Many Coral Reefs Nearly Dead
(Monday October 23)

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) - More than a quarter of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution and global warming, experts said Monday, warning that unless urgent measures are taken, most of the remaining reefs could be dead in 20 years.

In some of the worst hit areas, such as the Maldives and Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, up to 90 percent of coral reefs have been killed over the past two years due to rises in water temperature. Coral reefs play a crucial role as an anchor for most marine ecosystems, and their loss would place thousands of species of fish and other marine life at risk of extinction.

Addressing 1,500 delegates from 52 countries at the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium on the island of Bali, researchers warned that governments must urgently reverse global warming trends, cut pollution and crack down on overfishing.

``You have to go and look at the coral reefs now, as we are losing them,'' said Clive Wilkinson, a leading Australian scientist. Wilkinson said that in some areas fishermen use dynamite or cyanide to catch fish, blowing the reefs apart or poisoning them. In other areas, governments pump untreated sewage and other waste directly into oceans.

But the most serious and immediate threat to the world's reefs is global warming, which causes a damaging condition known as coral bleaching. This occurs when higher water temperatures heat up the coral, causing them to expel the microscopic plants that give them their vibrant color. If the coral is not cooled, it dies.

Oceanographers say the El Nino weather pattern two years ago, which led water temperatures to rise by up to six degrees, did enormous damage to the coral reefs, some of which had been alive for up to 2.5 million years.

Australian scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said 26 percent of coral reefs around the world have already been destroyed and in another 20 years, water temperatures are likely to rise to the point where corals will be sitting in a ``hot soup'' in which they are unable to survive.

Wilkinson said the loss of the reefs would not only be a major blow to the environment, but would also threaten the livelihood of a half billion people around the world who rely on them for food and income.

The reefs bring in an estimated $400 billion a year in fishing and tourism revenues. Wilkinson said millions of affected people in poorer countries may not be able to find alternative sources of income and may become reliant on foreign aid.


Resources on the Net:

- The Coral Reef Alliance:
- Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network:
- SeaWeb:
- Climate Change and the World's Coral Reefs:

Half of Indonesia's Coral Reefs Dead (Tuesday October 24)


Coral Reef Destruction

"Two-thirds of the earth's coral reefs are dying. It is estimated that 10 percent of the earth's coral reefs have already been degraded beyond recovery. A much larger percentage is now threatened. Human activities are among the major cause of reef decline."
--U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Why should we care about coral reefs? Coral reefs are important to our future. They are:

- home and nursery for almost a million fish and other species, many that we rely on for food;
- some of the earth's most diverse living ecosystems;
- important protection for coastal communities from storms, wave damage and erosion;
- full of new and undiscovered biomedical resources that we've only just begun to explore.

"As the 'rain forests of the sea,' coral reefs provide services estimated to be worth as much as $375 billion annually, a staggering figure for an ecosystem covering less than one percent of the Earth's surface." -- U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, March 2000
(More info at


About Coral Reefs -- World Conservation Monitoring Centre [500 words]

What is a coral?
Tropical ecosystems
Types of reefs
The most diverse marine ecosystem


Corals in Danger -- World Conservation Monitoring Centre [600 words]

Storms, predators and global climate change
Sediment, sewage, and spills -- the threat of pollution
Overharvesting -- or food for the future?
Shells on shelves
A paradise for tourists


World Map of estimated threats to coral reefs (map and explanation only) -- World Resources Institute, 1998


Threats to Reefs -- World Resources Institute, 1998 [1,200 words]

Effects of coastal development
Marine-based pollution
Inland pollution and erosion


How capitalists create consumerism which stresses our environment:
The "hobby" of consuming reef organisms [400 words]

The American Marinelife Dealers Association (AMDA), a non-profit organization promoting sustainable trade in living marine organisms for aquariums, notes that:

Approximately one million marine aquariums currently exist in the United States, constituting two-thirds of the world total. CLIP

Over 90 percent of all live marine aquarium organisms are collected from coral reefs, with the remainder coming from various types of captive propagation. While Florida and Hawaii are significant sources of specimens, most, including all stony corals, come from Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific. A small percentage of the trade originates in Africa and the Middle East.


Researchers are experimenting with growing tropical fish in tanks, to protect fragile coral reefs. More than 90 million tropical fish are purchased worldwide each year. Because of that demand and the methods used to collect tropical fish, scientists estimate that by the year 2020 many coral reefs in
Southeast Asia will no longer exist. Collectors often inject cyanide into reefs in order to stun the fish that dwell there. While many of those fish are easily obtained from crevices and other hiding places, large numbers do not survive the ordeal. Often reefs are torn up to get at those fish that are out of reach. (More at

Such destruction of coral reef ecosystems will continue -- perhaps even worsen -- as long as (1) reef species continue to be commodities for profit and highly valued by many collectors and (2) world trade of reef species remains poorly regulated and virtually unenforced.


See also this most excellent analysis "Coral Reefs: Assessing the Threat"


It is often difficult for humans to understand the complex needs of those beings in the marine environment which are being routinely targeted by harmful sonic devices. Most typically, these the test subjects are dolphins and whales but they are not the only marine life affected.

Low Frequency Active Sonar is one technology which is among the most potentially powerful of these vibrational underwater devices, and it is just one player on an acoustic stage across which many invasive technologies will soon parade. While we continue to concentrate our efforts on the whales and dolphins, the impact of these damaging sonars is felt on all marine life.

To review one of the best sources of information on the detrimental effects of the LFAS technology, go at

Whale Deaths Linked to Undersea Blasts
[The Smoking Gun From The March Bahamas Strandings]


Navy to study possible link between beached whales and sonar
(July 28, 2000)

(CNN) -- Important clues have surfaced that may help prove a suspected link between beached whales and powerful sonar equipment used by the U.S. Navy and other nations around the world. Scientists discovered the clues earlier this year in March, when seven whales were found dead on a Bahamas beach, near the time and location of a U.S. Navy sonar operation.


The seven dead whales were found to have inner ear damage, which scientists said might have ruined their sense of direction and ability to navigate. Whales with inner ear damage can become disoriented and mistakenly swim too close to shore, beaching themselves and eventually dying. Because multiple inner ear damage among beached whales is very rare, officials said creatures might have been injured by the Navy's powerful sonar technology.




The Decline of Freshwater Ecosystems

In a world in which it seems that nearly every natural ecosystem is under stress, freshwater ecosystems -- the diverse communities found in lakes, rivers, and wetlands -- may be the most endangered of all. Some 34 percent of fish species, mostly from fresh water, are threatened with extinction, according to the latest tally of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which tracks threats to the world's biodiversity. CLIP


The world's freshwater ecosystems have been degraded at an alarming rate over the past 30 years. Many species that depend on these habitats have disappeared: others are on the brink of extinction. At the same time, all signs point to an increasing global shortage of water for essential human purposes such as drinking, sanitation, food production and energy generation.


Biodiversity in Freshwater Ecosystems

The world's rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands provide most of the world's water for drinking, agriculture, sanitation, and industry, as well as huge quantities of fish and shellfish. Freshwaters are also home to a tremendous diversity of fish, amphibians, aquatic plants, invertebrates, and microorganisms. CLIP

Freshwater biodiversity is seriously threatened today--a telling indicator of the status of the world's freshwater ecosystems. All native fishes in the valley of Mexico are extinct. A recent survey in Malaysia found fewer than half of the 266 fish species previously known from the country. On the island of Singapore, 18 out of 53 species of freshwater fish collected in 1934 could not be located in exhaustive searches only 30 years later. In the southeastern United States, 40 to 50 percent of freshwater snail species are now extinct or endangered due to the impoundment and channelization of rivers. Even on a continental scale, species loss can be very high. In North America, one-third of the native freshwater fish species are extinct or endangered to some degree.




Group Details Decline of Ecosystems
(Friday October 20)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The natural wealth of the world's ecosystems has declined by a third over the past 30 years, according to a World Wildlife Fund study published Friday. The Living Planet Report 2000 also showed that the area of land mass and ocean needed to produce natural resources for consumers and to absorb carbon dioxide pollution has doubled since 1961. In its annual assessment of the earth's environment, the group blamed much of the damage on the rich northern countries at the expense of habitat in the tropical rain forests.


The World Wildlife Fund said it measures the state of ecosystems based on the populations of species in the world's forests, fresh waters and oceans. It found that ecosystems had declined between 1970 and 1999 by 12 percent in the forests, 50 percent in fresh waters, and 35 percent in the oceans. The study said the pressure of mankind on nature had increased by about 50 percent over the same period and had now gone beyond the planet's ability to regenerate.

Visit the World Wildlife Fund website at and


Political Will Lacking in Environmental Protection
(Wednesday October 1)

AMMAN (Reuters) - Conservation experts said on Wednesday that a lack of political commitment is hampering efforts to protect the environment and conserve the world's endangered species. The World Conservation Union (IUCN), an umbrella group of environmental institutions and agencies, said the means to preserve fragile ecosystems, marine environments and threatened plants and animals are available but the political will is not.

``We have the knowledge, technology and human resources to avert the extinction crisis. What is missing is the political commitment to use them and to invest in them in the interest of future generations,'' Maritta Koch-Weser, IUCN director general, said at the close of the group's eight-day congress in Amman.

See the World Conservation Union (IUCN) website at



Washington -- The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) identified the effects of global warming as yet another threat to marine life in a report released in concurrence with World Oceans Day on June 8.


Also affected was phytoplankton production. The WWF reported that the current amount of plankton off the California coast is 70 percent less than in the 1950s. The reduction in production rates, leading to an overall decline in plankton, has directly affected the food web.

Plankton is further harmed through the release of toxins into ocean waters. The report said that global warming could lead to increased rainstorms or flooding that have the potential to wash toxins into ocean waters where they work to "stimulate growth of pathogens, thus favoring disease." Further, expected changes in water currents will spread the toxins into untainted areas, according to the WWF report.

What is ozone?

Depletion of the ozone layer could have drastic effects on plankton and other small marine organisms at the base of the ocean food chain. CLIP

(Most comprehensive resource to understand everything about ozone depletion)

Plankton escape ravages of ozone depletion so far (Feb 17, 2000)

Scientists reply to questions about all kinds of marine pollution.


The catastrophic effects of oil spills

Accidental spills from tankers (the Exxon Valdez for example) account for only about 20% of the crude oil discharged into the world's oceans each year. The remaining 80% is largely a result of
routine oil tanker operations such as emptying ballast tanks. (570,000 tons of oil were discharged in the oceans in 1990).



"> From:

Doomed tanker should never have been at sea, WWF says
(31 October, 2000)

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For more information, please review the material posted by the Global Meditation Focus Group at