As Sebastian from the Little Mermaid once stated: Just look at the world around you, Right here on the ocean floor, Such wonderful things surround you, What more is you looking for?
Following GiC’s recent, insightful Ocean Day Instagram live event, this article aims to further raise awareness about ocean-related issues and how we can contribute.
It is common knowledge that oceans play a vital part for life on Earth. 71% of our Earth’s surface is comprised of deep blue waters which are famous for serving as a life source in supporting humankind and the several other organisms in the world. On June 8th, let’s take a look at how the oceans help us, how it is being disrupted, and what we can do to help.
Although trees are crucial in the production of oxygen, oceans produce 50% of the oxygen we breathe in today. Oceans alone provides us with more oxygen than the largest palms and figs. Oxygen only results from the aquatic garden beneath: algae, phytoplankton, kelp, etc. through the fundamental process of photosynthesis. It’s a fact that we all have eaten food from the oceans. Imagine this: if there aren’t any oceans, there wouldn’t be any seaweeds, salmon, etc. Without the oceans, we wouldn’t be able to acquire food of protein - molecules that serves as an energy source.
Besides that, the oceans are key to hosting a huge part of our Earth’s biodiversity. A clean ocean is home to many of Earth’s finest creatures today, ranging from the dolphins to the clownfishes, and scientists believe that there is approximately 1.4-1.6 million species living in it. Needless to say, the ocean is an ecosystem that the world heavily relies upon, deeming it integral.
The ocean also contributes to the economic sector with the UN stating that the ocean is central in our economy as 40 million people are predicted to be employed into ocean-based industries by 2030. Presently, jobs in the marine industry includes fishermen, lifeguards, aquaculture workers, marine biologists, and more. Due to the increase in people being more involved in the wellbeing of the environment, occupations like naval architects or marine environmental scientists are expected to rise.
From an environmental perspective, the oceans absorob 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted and produced by us, hindering the drawbacks of global warming. In comparison to our atmosphere, the ocean is able to absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide. As a result, this is practical for climate regulation amidst the environmental crisis; as the amount of carbon dioxide produced increases, it induces another problem known as ocean acidification.
So, how are we harming the oceans?
The UN has expressed that currently, 90% of big fish populations have depleted and 50% of coral reefs have been destroyed. The reality that 80% of marine-based pollution normally comes from land-based population is enough to shock anyone out of statistics fatigue; there are many issues that humans have perpetrated such as global warming, overfishing, and so on.
Here’s a brief summary: The prominent threat our oceans face is global warming which causes sea levels to rise, pressurizing coastal cities through flooding, destroying habitats, contamination and destruction of soil, and so on. The following would be the unrestrained use of pesticides that leads to the pollution of waters and the endangerment from the waste of factory and industrial plants. Oil spills is responsible in harming sea animals and corrupting the food they eat; air pollution has overseen ⅓ of the oceans to be contaminated; humans have disrupted the ocean’s ecosystem through overfishing - depleting the stock of fish through excessive fishing.
Every one of these threats and hazards are starting to solidify into actual, almost irreversible problems that by 2030, it may be impossible for our ocean to replenish itself. The balance that we once had maintained with the ocean is tipping meaning that the call for action is gaining importance.
Presently, the United Nations have hosted the World Ocean Day conference where it strives to “hear from thought-leaders, celebrities, institutional partners, community voices, entrepreneurs, and cross-industry experts as they delve into key topics and work to both inspire and ignite collaborative change.” With just one click into the World Ocean Day website, you will be able to educate yourself on how states, society, sectors and organizations are working to revitalize the ocean. You can also explore stories, resources, and videos on the oceans through the ‘Learn’ section, and if you are interested in spreading the world, the ‘Marketing Toolkit’ provides you with downloadable graphics, sample social media posts, etc.
It’s no doubt that many understand the small-scale ways we can help the ocean including using fewer plastic products, conserving water, making sustainable food choices, and so on! Although important, it is useful we focus on taking larger scale steps too. One way would be to join or organize your own beach clean-up - a volunteer activity that has been known to be effective yet enjoyable. Charities like Clean Coasts invites communities to beach cleans in collaboration with the National Spring Clean. Another method could be conducting your own citizen science project: the collection and analysis of data relating to nature gathered by the public. Involve your neighborhood, school or friends in collecting data about the population of a certain breed of fish or the issue of ocean acidification then, combine your data and take it one step further by sending it to your local government for deeper research!
Let’s revitalize the oceans today.