How YOU can help protect the World's Oceans.
Why do we need the World's Oceans?
The importance of the Worlds Oceans in sustaining our population, and the World, is infinite. It is estimated that by 2050, the World's human population will have grown to 9 billion people. To be able to support this enormous amount of people we will need the basic necessities of food, water, and oxygen. The planet does not have the land resources to support this amount of people, and if we rely completely on land resources for this, than millions of people, plants and animals, will be without the basic necessities to survive. One way that the oceans act to support all living life; is by producing oxygen, and reducing climate change. It is a little known fact, that the phytoplankton that are found in oceans, produce approximately half of the world's oxygen via phytoplankton photosynthesis. Meanwhile the oceans around the world, act to help protect our environment, by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. The oceans are one of the largest ecosystems in the planet, and supports thousands of diverse and vital marine fish and mammals that act to balance each other, and feed local coast-side communities, as well as people that live nowhere near the sea. The unlimited possibilities that the oceans offer, means that scientists estimate that there is still hundreds of thousands of marine species to still be discovered. To provide for our growing population, scientists and experts believe that humanity's best hope is to turn to the sea. The oceans are home to wild fish; which are a source of natural protein, and if handled in a sustainable manner, could help feed the world. Oceans are also a valuable method of transport, as they allow us to travel via ship or receive international goods via ship, along well-worn shipping routes. The world's oceans are estimated to contain 97% of the world's water, which means that they play a important role in the water cycle (process that redistributes water around the world). Because as we know that without water- we cannot survive.
By helping to save the Ocean, you're helping to feed the World.
What is threatening the World's Oceans?
The threats that imperil the World's oceans, are predominantly man-made. Issues such as climate change, over-fishing, pollution, shipping, oil and gas extraction, and habitat destruction, are all created by humans , and severely threaten the health and prosperity of our oceans. Pollution is a large contributor to the overall declining state of our oceans. It is estimated that over 80% of marine pollution stems from land-based activities. Everything from garbage, sewage, oil, and toxic chemicals can end up in oceans. As imagined this has an extremely destructive effect on the marine life and environment. Ocean species such as dolphins, turtles, and fish, can mistake floating garbage for food, and ingest it. What's even more disturbing is that toxic chemicals that have been dumped into oceans, are actually involuntarily ingested by all marine species. Therefore, when a human eats some wild fish, or crab, they are simultaneously ingesting some of the toxic chemical, that the animal had absorbed. Over-fishing is another problem that directly affects wild fish, and therefore disturbs the entire ocean food chain. It is estimated that we rob the oceans of a whopping 9000-10000 tonnes of wild fish per hour. This is fish that serves as a vital part of the ocean food chain, which, when removed or massively depleted, negatively affects the species above them on the food chain. For instance, dolphins, seals, and seagulls, which all prey on wild fish, will struggle to find enough food, due to their natural food source being depleted. Other ocean animals can suffer from over-fishing as well, when the fishing industry uses unfair and unsafe fishing methods. For instance, many dolphins, sharks, and turtles, often get caught in fishing nets, and die as a result. If over-fishing continues unabated, then it is believed that by 2048, all fish species that are currently being commercially fished, will become commercially extinct.
Apart from the obvious danger of causing an oil spill, the process of deep-sea oil and gas extraction itself, holds many other dangers for our oceans. The process of oil and gas extraction is harmful to the oceans fragile balance; because when oil and gas are extracted from beneath the waves, they release contaminants into the oceans. The oil industry's persistence to move into fragile and barely explored parts of the oceans has raised deep concerns among experts. In terms of the effects that climate change has had on the world's oceans, it has caused the harmful phenomenons of rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. It is believed that rising sea levels has caused coral bleaching; an condition among corals, that has harmfully effected coral reefs worldwide. Meanwhile, ocean acidification occurs as the result of the oceans having to absorb such high levels of carbon dioxide. It is even believed to have caused the reduction in size of some marine species.
What YOU can do to help protect the World's Oceans:
The reason that the World's Oceans are in their current doomed predicament, is because of the actions of mankind. This means that the actions of mankind, from hereon in, has the potential to either restore peace and balance to the oceans, or destroy and maim them forever. In order to save the oceans, there are many simple but effective ways to get involved. For starters, try choosing sustainable seafood to munch on. Make sure you check your cans/packets of fish, for special terms such as "line caught", "diver caught", "sustainably harvested", or "sustainably caught". To counteract ocean pollution, organize cleanups for your local beach, or just if you see any garbage along the coastline, make sure you pick it up and put it in a rubbish bin- you don't know how many marine lives you could be saving! The next step is supporting like-minded charities/organizations- e.g. charities dedicated to preserving the marine environment, and its inhabitants. Some of these organizations include WWF, Oceana, One World One Ocean, Greenpeace International, and many others (links provided below).
We now know that climate change is a huge threat to the stability and prosperity of our oceans. An important way to help counteract climate change, is to reduce our carbon footprint. Simple ways to do this is to opt for non-polluting transportation options when you can- such as walking, running, or cycling. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and remember to switch off all appliances if not in use. And, depending on your devotion and circumstances you could also purchase environmentally-friendly cars and solar panels. Another way to help out, is to raise other peoples awareness about the threat to the world's oceans. You can sign petitions at petition sites such as Care2, to put pressure on international and national leaders to put ocean conservation at the forefront. And you can write articles for your local newspaper, or hand out flyers to raise the public's perception.