The oceans supply us with the majority of our oxygen. Tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton use photosynthesis to grow and contribute 50-80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere! [ http://earthsky.org/…/how-much-do-oceans-add-to-worlds-oxyg…] Fish are the most consumed protein worldwide and much of the people in low-lying island nations, like our home in the Philippines, rely on this for subsistence. [ http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/] We have a day for our mothers, fathers, for teachers, firefighters, servicemen and even our secretaries. On June 8, we have a day for the lifeblood of this world. Celebrate World Ocean’s Day and Ocean’s Month this June.
Humanity has been to the surface of the moon, sent a space exploration to Mars and still has yet to explore the aquatic fathoms of our seas. In fact, less than 10% of this ecosystem has been explored, [http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/] yet scientists predict that the global death of the ocean ecosystem will happen in 2048. [http://www.theinertia.com/…/the-oceans-could-be-dead-by-th…/]
This is a factor of many things. We are consuming too much fish, relying on industrial sized trawlers to subsidize a market that demands high-end fish catch across the world and yet results in casualties of other marine life, like dolphins, otters, seals, turtles, coral and sea grass.
We are polluting our ocean at unprecedented rates. Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. [http://marinebio.org/marinebio/facts/]
This past month alone, there have been two more offshore oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, flooding already suffocated ecosystems with further degradation. We wash away nuclear waste from disaster sites like Fukushima with sea water and wonder why months later, hundreds of partially dissolved sea stars wash up on the shores of Canada.
The animal life that manages to survive pollution are still consuming these by-products. Micro-particles of plastic leech into the ocean, and now make up significant parts of fish anatomy – fish that we then eat. Our increased atmospheric carbon is absorbed by the ocean, this marine ecosystem is trying to serve its function in the world, recycling and refreshing our atmospheric conditions. However, now that there is increased carbon in the seas, the resulting acidic water is dissolving the shells of marine life and eating away at the structure of the coral reef.
And in places where fish make up the majority of an economy and the bulk of a family’s diet, the death of our oceans directly creates turmoil, desperation, starvation, and crime.
The good news is that the ocean is older and more resilient than us. Properly managed marine areas can replenish fish stock and marine life exponentially if left alone for only five years. Fish are prolific breeders and given the time to reach mature size can lay millions of eggs at one time. Mangrove forests and reef systems are carbon absorbing and can remove more from the atmosphere than the rainforests on land. They are also natural weather mitigators, helping protect the land from extreme weather events by buffering wave action and grounding our coastlines. Sea grass and oysters filter out the pollutants in our water. From small-scale fisher folk to large-scale changes, around the globe people are turning into ocean farmers with sea grass and seaweed farms, mangrove rehabilitation, ecotourism, and coral reef propagation.
It takes a few difficult decisions to become aware of where our fish comes from, the techniques used to source them, and our other consumer choices that might be impacting this aquatic underworld. We can help you with some of those. Follow our Ocean Tips that we will be sharing over the course of June, Oceans Month, to learn how you affect our planet. Take care of the ocean and it will take care of us. During Oceans Month, remember, take nothing but joy from the sea and leave nothing but footprints.
Check out some of the projects that YPDR and Kataw Foundation support to help replenish the fisheries in the Coral Triangle, the center of marine biodiversity. Keep checking the YPDR website and please follow us on;