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Think about it: Jellyfish

When it comes to global warming, skiers should be paying attention.We're using our latest topsheet range as a conversation starter for issues that affect our planet. These are things we think about - things that matter to us. What do you think about?

Part 1: The future belongs to the jellyfish

Before the dinosaurs, there were other crazy creatures. Before them, there were jellyfish. They are the oldest multi-organ animals on the planet. They are at least 500 million years old - three times as old as the first dinosaurs. They made an important evolutionary leap way back whenever - they were the first animals to have organised tissues and a nervous system. They also invented swimming - instead of just drifting along with the currents.

Jellyfish are survivors

There are a lot of creatures we need to protect as the climate warms. Jellyfish aren’t one of them. They’re survivors. And they’re doing quite well. In fact, there’s some evidence to say that jellyfish populations are expanding as we overfish their predators away and load the water with excessive nutrients. They like reproducing in the rubbish we continue to throw in the ocean and warmer temps speed up the larvae development.

So jellyfish aren’t worried about climate change. And they’re not helping, either. Jellyfish blooms may even accelerate climate change. Their carbon-rich poo and mucus means they are little carbon dioxide factories.

They can be pests

Humans and jellyfish are not always the best of friends. A single box jellyfish has enough venom to kill up to 60 humans. Death only takes a matter of minutes.

Giant swarms of jellyfish 10 kilometres wide have attacked salmon fisheries.

In Japan and India, jellyfish have been attacking nuclear power plants since the 1960s, clogging up the cooling works. For some plants, 150 tonnes of jellyfish are removed from the system each day.

They could be a resource

Some species of jellyfish are being harvested for food, some for collagen - around 500,000 tonnes of jellyfish each year, mainly for the Chinese, who consider it a delicacy. Jellyfish are 94% water and only 6% protein. They have to be dried within a few hours or they will spoil. The Chinese re-hydrate them by soaking overnight and then serve with soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Yum? We're not convinced.

In Isreal, a start-upis using jellyfish to make super-absorbent diapers, tampons and paper-towels.

They are like mirrors

Despite these potential uses for jellyfish, their growing success is a reflection of our continued failure to keep the planet in balance. But it’s hard to make them they bad guy. First of all, they’re quite beautiful - and not very menacing. Plus, it’s not their fault. After all, they’re just filling a gap that we’re opening up for them.

Read more: Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, by biologist Lisa-ann Gershwin

#Thinkaboutit is a series of ski designs with something to say. The Jellyfish limited edition topsheets are now sold out.

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Imagery supplied on Creative Commons Licence from Unsplash.


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