Clarissha Vallerie Widjaja’s article is adapted from her submission to the Eat Blue Essay contest, a sponsored essay contest by the Research Chefs Association and BlueNalu in which culinary students from around the globe answered the questions “What does it mean to you to Eat Blue™? How do you incorporate this into your daily life and find inspiration to Eat Blue™ in your personal and professional journey?” Clarissha was the first-place winner in the competition.
Childhood memories: Love of Seafood by the Sea Shore
Smooth chill breeze gently hit my face when the purest salty-ocean smell filled my lungs. Accompanied with sunset views and white-sandy beaches, enjoying the freshly grilled crab from a local market was the best escapade ever. Startled and amazed by the unique delicacy and seafood flavour, it brought my taste buds on vacation. Who does not fall in love with the endless surprises of seafood flavour while indulging the senses by the sea-shore? Yet, will we still be able to relish these sweet childhood memories in the future or will they only be left in old photographs? It depends on us!
For somebody that was born in a marine-side city in an archipelago country (Semarang, Indonesia), I have been acquainted with the mesmerizing ocean, it’s diversity and its valuable assets as part of the local food culture. Nonetheless, irresponsible and excessive fishing practices have led to exploitation of the ocean’s natural resources and have gradually endangered the balance of our ocean. It is critical to develop and adopt sustainable and innovative practices to preserve the biodiversity of ocean ecosystems.
One Ocean, One People, One Planet, One Opportunity
We have cherished the magical power of mother nature in providing abundant resources for human needs ever since the beginning of our existence on this planet. Eat Blue™ means seizing the chance to treat this precious planet with more respect. It makes me realize, why do we have to wait for the next several years when the destruction becomes greater, and the impacts become unbearable? The Eat Blue™ essay contest inspired me to take action for the ocean by coming together with people who want to make a difference in preserving this earth and celebrating ocean biodiversity. I feel encouraged to bravely pioneer the ‘One Planet, One Ocean’ concept in my life, especially in my home country.
Eat Blue™ is a mindful recommendation to learn and improve both the quality of human lives as well as the maintenance of an egalitarian atmosphere between human and nature. Implementing Eat Blue™ as a consumer has encouraged me to become aware of my seafood selection. Questioning the source and recognizing sustainability of particular species on seafood guides, such as WWF Seafood Guides, are the very first steps I will apply when purchasing those ingredients. Moreover, buying local instead of imported products could be a great solution to reducing seafood’s carbon footprint from transportation, processing, packing, and refrigeration. Being a well-educated consumer will enable me in determining wise diet choices, particularly by consuming variety of fishes and focusing on lower food chain creatures. By doing this, I can contribute to reducing the overfishing of “Big 5” marine species (Cod, Haddock, Tuna, Salmon, and Prawns) and contribute to ocean species population balance.
The Power of Words
My previous experience as a kindergarten teacher assistant had enlightened me of the importance of early education. Storytelling is an excellent way to introduce children to the breathtaking ocean and prime their awareness to conserve nature at this early stage of life. Moreover, becoming involved in the writing department of Taylors’ University magazine has stimulated me to have faith in the power of words. As a writer, I believe I have the media to inform and educate more people on the ocean and increase awareness on the impact of human actions on ocean health. Expressing in words my concerns and ideas about the threats to the ocean, their mysteries and their beauty enables me to sound the alarm widely by reaching young generations. I wish I could influence more people through my future articles and writings, to start taking actions even through the simplest methods.
I am sure the application of this simple concept in my life can be an approach to influence community changes in food & beverage. As I study food research and the development of seafood substitutes, such as plant-based and cell-cultured seafood, it will be a huge dream for me to take part in serving and feeding the world’s population while still providing the best quality and taste possible. Consciously understanding and maximizing my role as a consumer, writer, student, and the future culinologist has led me to be actively involved in making a difference for life below water as well as seek remedies to provide clean, healthy, and sustainable foods for human. I believe in science and it’s capabilities to provide answers for ocean and food challenges. I believe in science to cherish eating through collective action and appreciate the art and perspective of food to make a difference to our world.