What covers approximately seventy percent of our planet, and is home to nearly ninety-five percent of all life on planet Earth? If you guessed the Ocean, you are correct! On March 22nd, we celebrate the conservation of this extraordinary and mysterious ecosystem with World Water Day!
The ocean is one of the most unexplored parts of our planet, with a plethora of undiscovered species and structures. According to studies conducted over the last few decades, this magnificent environment is under serious threat from human intervention, with plastics set to outnumber fish by 2050. Marine life is experiencing a tragically human induced polluted ecosystem that has the potential to wipe out many iconic species of the ocean. Almost a thousand species of marine animals get impacted by ocean pollution, and now over five hundred locations in the ocean recorded as “dead zones” where marine life cannot exist This is why education and awareness of how we can reverse this terrifying trend is vital to the future health of our planet’s ocean ecosystems.
The ocean is not only vital to the creatures who inhabit it, but to us as humans. Oceans are responsible for seventy-eight percent of the oxygen created on planet Earth! The ocean is also responsible for regulating the Earth’s climate, it soaks up the heat and transports warm water from the equator to the poles, and cold water from the poles to the tropics. Without these currents, the weather would be extreme in some regions, and fewer places would be habitable for humans. The ocean also acts as primary food source for many people around the world. The ocean is the number one source of protein for more than a billion people!
The most important question is what can we do to help reverse this tragic reality?! One easy way to help reduce ocean pollution is to reduce your use of single-use plastic products such as plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags, take-out containers, and any other plastic items that are used once and then discarded. In lieu of using these items, you can use items such as reusable metal utensils, plates, metal straws and water bottles. Another easy way to help save oceans is to recycle the plastic products that we do need to use in our everyday lives. Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean and reduces the amount of “new” plastic in circulation. A third way that you can help save oceans is to organize cleanups at your local beach.
This is a fun activity you can do with family and friends that will help the conservation efforts for oceans! You can also support organizations that focus on the conservation efforts of the ocean.
On March 22nd, take a moment to consider what YOU can do to help preserve our ocean ecosystems.
By Nick Reardon