The World Oyster Society

President's Messages

The earth is maintained with environmental conditions that allow reproduction of life through birth, and through continuous development, evolution, and diversification. Those conditions are the most important feature of our Earth, distinguishing it from all other planets. The number of species that have ever existed on the earth is estimated as approximately 500 million. The number of the species of organisms that presently exist is presumed to be approximately 15 million. Accordingly, presently existent species are only approximately 3% of the total number of species that have emerged on the earth up to the present. The salient implication is that almost all species on earth have become extinct, and that the present species signify the few winners that have been able to survive throughout their long evolutionary history. Consequently, the organisms that we encounter on the earth at present are valuable global assets: they are objects to be protected with utmost care. Nevertheless, humankind cannot help but use these organisms as food to support life. Considering that the origin of their evolution is the same as that of human beings, that situation is natural.

If the earth were environmentally healthy, reproduction, evolution, adaptation and other important processes which constitute the basic properties of all existing organisms would remain secure. Humans, however, despite their appearance only millions of years ago, and especially since the Industrial Revolution, have moved beyond the limits of an earth-based existence and have plundered nature, including edible organisms, on a global scale without any consideration, thereby destroying earth’s healthy systems. Continuation of the situation will render the ecosystem globally unstable at some future date. Consequently, basic properties and processes of organisms will be endangered, and humans will be smothered out as a result. To prevent that situation, humans should heed the “warnings from the earth” that are given through edible organisms which human beings can contact routinely and observe deeply. Moreover, humans should acquire appropriate wisdom corresponding to those warnings.

To select appropriate edible organisms, it is important to consider the tendencies of their organic evolution, which are roughly divided into improvement and divergence. “Independence” is one general tendency related to that improvement in particular: organisms decrease the degree to which they are influenced by the environment through their evolution, simultaneously, they increase control of their environment. Especially, for organisms with a high level of evolution, the degree of their influence by environmental changes decreases according to the progress of their evolution. Accordingly, few opportunities exist for organisms at a high level to signal environmental deterioration attributable to humans. In other words, when humans use only those organisms that are phylogenetically close relations, humans probably take little notice of the overall deterioration of the global environment. In fact, evolutionarily low-level organisms are more sensitive to environmental changes. They can easily give signals to humans of “warnings from the earth” in their role as suitable edible organisms. Nevertheless, there is a barrier of food preference rooted in traditional food culture. Consequently, it is also necessary to gain knowledge and enlighten the public about building a new food culture that incorporates bioeconomy.

Some organisms are sensitive to small changes of the global environment. We should choose them from among edible organisms, and specify them as internationally indicative organisms. Making full use of advanced biological scientific methods, we should periodically observe sensitivities that are shown by them. The above-mentioned activity is an important challenge for humankind. As conditions in which organisms become candidates for international indicative organisms, the following should be considered naturally. First, relationships between indicative organisms and humankind should be as phylogenetically distant as possible. Second, they must have been used as an important source of protein in all parts of the world from ancient times. Furthermore, they must be cosmopolitan species of industry of the present day. The Japanese or Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas exists as one organism that meets those conditions. Furthermore, it is necessary to express biological properties of the internationally indicative organisms in some indexes. Natural bio-defense functions that provide adaptability to the environment can be assessed exactly as a very suitable index.

Regarding the above-mentioned periodical observation, it is effective to initiate a project having international authority and put it into effect. Furthermore, based on results of examination, each country should produce a strategy to rescue the earth through cooperation. We would like to propose an international environmental conservation activity by which this strategy is carried out steadily.

(February, 2010)

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