Commentary: As a nation, we are at odds with our primary ideals. We chase political action rules that are contrary to our political visions because we constantly chase short-term profits, politically as well as economically.
Earlier this week, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute presented its report on fish health. It was a saddening read. For what else can you say about a report that establishes that 54 million fish die annually in our fish farms.
As if that were not gloomy enough, the report also states that current fish mortality is higher than ever before.
The answer is increased growth
“It is important for us to raise a clear voice when we see that fish health and mortality numbers are heading in the wrong direction. Our professional advice is that we have to see an improvement before it would be right to allow the industry to grow”, says Torill Moseng, CEO of the Vet Institute to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
Her conclusion should be easy enough to take in. if one includes smolt and cleaner fish, 237 fish died every single minute of last year. That is not due to algae or other external causes, as it has been before. It is purely about animal welfare from the producers’ side, according to the institute.
The political answer and the answer from the industry itself on this animal tragedy is to plan for an enormous growth in exactly the same industries.
Mortality is higher than ever
Earlier this month, the UN’s climate panel IPCC presented its report. It could hardly be any more sinister. The globe is heating faster than expected and three billion people already live in areas hit hard. When presenting the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “fossil fuels are a dead-end road to our planet, to humans, and to our economy”.
The answer is more oil
The Norwegian answer is to maximize production of fossil fuels almost until the final drop has been extracted.
The refugee camps on the rim of Europe are filled to burst with fleeing children and adults. Here they have sat for years hoping to have their asylum applications processed in order to move on with their lives, without ever being heard.
The Norwegian answer to the international humanitarian crisis is to turn our back on the suffering. We do not have the capacity to help.
A dead-end road for the planet
The answer is wrong
Then, it turns out, the answer was wrong. In the very moment the people fleeing came from a European country, it appears we had capacity after all.
The North is where we find the strongest efforts for growth in an industry that is unable to maintain animal welfare.
The North is where climate changes leave their biggest mark, both for humans and nature.
The North is where we have both space and need for more people.
Instead of facing up to realities we continue rather unabashed to govern our ideals and visions as meaningless appendixes to what reality is orchestrating.
This commentary was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.