Friday, November 26, 2010

The "Compassionate Adman" Gene

Today is a school holiday in Ottawa, and like many dual-income families, my wife and I were faced with a "take your kid to work" day. I brought our six-year-old son with me to the agency, and as he always does when he's at Acart, he started making his own ads.

If you read this blog, you know how I feel about many social issues. My son has similar passions. But right now, all of his efforts are focussed on science, nature, and especially fish. He has been known to tell off fishmongers for stocking unsustainable species, and piped up during a morning conference call with a supplier to deliver a rant about shark fin soup.

But when it came to his ad, he decided it was important to teach people about invasive species:

"Snakehead Fish: Very Bad"
Yes, I know his handwriting is atrocious. That's genetic too...

But his rendering of Channa argus, from MEMORY (no photo reference) astounded me.

What he really wanted to write as copy, before he decided to be more brief, was "Snakehead fish are very bad for the environment. If you capture one, give it to the Toronto Zoo". (I love that he doesn't even consider a deadlier cull...)

The Northern Snakehead is an aggressive freshwater food fish of Asian origin that was released into the waterways of the  Northeastern United States sometime before 2002. As a new top predator, it immediately began to displace native fish and colonize more and more bodies of water. Wildlife management efforts are underway to prevent it from entering the Great Lakes, where it could destroy the ecosystems and fisheries.

My son loves to keep fish, to catch fish, and to eat fish, so this is the kind of stuff that keeps him up at night.

The sad thing is that, in China, the snakehead is a valuable food fish. If we could only convince American anglers that Chaozhou-Style Steamed Snakehead or Snakehead Hot and Sour Soup were delicious, maybe unrestricted angling could give this voracious predator a taste of its own medicine.

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