China's Rise and the Life of Seahorses
China’s rise as an economic powerhouse leaves a powerful impact to one form of life in the ocean: seahorses.
As the standard of living improves for millions of Chinese, the number of people who can afford to buy what is considered to be a luxury – consuming dried seahorses as aphrodisiacs—significantly rises.
A pound of these sun dried creatures can fetch as much as $75 U.S. dollars in Hong Kong. And here’s the catch: “pharmacies” or “dispensaries” may have bought them at a meager price of 25 cents per pound from cash strapped fishermen in the Philippines.
For the past decade or two, millions of Chinese have moved out of poverty and into the ranks of the middle class. They can now afford to shell out cash and do something that was previously hard to achieve: provide a stimulus to a sinking libido.
While improving once prowess is now within reach, tons of seahorses, meanwhile, are being harvested from the waters of the Philippine islands every year much to the detriment of the fragile ecosystem. The Philippines is a country situated around the area of the Pacific Ocean where marine life is one of the richest and most diverse in the world.
Government and conservationists must find a way to stem the tide of rising levels of consumption of seahorses for the sake of sex drive. The fate of seahorses is just one of the manifestations of the continued pressure applied to the environment due to the strengthening economic muscle of Asia consumers.
But there has got to be a sustainable way to earn dollars without necessarily making seahorses extinct.
What about Cialis or Viagra?
Now here’s a chance for the U.S. government to help narrow that trade gap with China. Let the blue pill diplomacy begin!