"There's no escaping the fact that everything we eat has a global impact. So try and learn as best you can what that impact is and then take the first step to minimize it." - Barton Seaver
Chef Barton Seaver, of Washington, D.C., currently holds the position as my favorite TED speaker.
Chef Seaver's talk adresses sustainability and ocean conservation, just like those of Sylvia Earle and Brian Skerry. However, while they discuss global fisheries and marine protected area, Seaver discusses something that is much closer to home -- Dinner! Seaver calls for eating restorative seafood, which entails eating sustainable varieties of seafood while also doing what you can to help threatened species recover and unthreatened species thrive.
One might ask, "How can I help aquatic species thrive while still enjoying seafood?" Seaver has an all too simple answer to this question. And that is to reduce portion sizes of protein (seafood or other) and to compensate by increasing helpings of vegetables. Coincidentally (or not), shrinking our protein portions while compensating with piles of veggies is also an excellent way to attain a healthy weight. This is the main point that I think everyone should take note of: Seaver's suggestion to increase vegetable consumption while also reducing protein portions will not only increase the health of our oceans, but will also increase the health of our bodies.
When it comes to concerns about ocean conservation and sustainable food options, it is very easy for people to act disconnected and aloof. But this is no surprise. The ocean is waaaayyy over there while the empty stomach is aching right here. I admit that when I get hungry, my mind is very focused on securing nourishment, while not necessarily contemplating how obtaining that nourishment is going to impact the world around me. On the other hand, concerns about health and diet are much more likely to be on the mind of an average human being, and so, theoretically, are much more likely to influence our actions. And this is what makes Seaver's insight so powerful; by choosing to eat sustainable seafood in appropriately-sized portions, you are not only doing the ocean a service, but you are also doing a favor for your body and your health.
Being healthy is great, and doing good for the oceans is an excellent side effect! So let us all shrink up those protein portions, pile on that plant matter, and I will raise a toast to your health and the health of our oceans.
For more from Chef Seaver and some tasty looking recipes, check out his website!
For information on sustainable seafood options, check out the Explore More page!