Our Ocean's are on Life Support
This isn’t a Snapple bottle but get ready for some facts. The world’s oceans are dying and rapidly. It’s believed that only 13% of the world’s ocean have intact marine ecosystems- the rest, well they have been the victim of the collective human negligence that seemingly perpetuates all parts of society eventually. Let’s be real, if we stopped keeping up with the Kardashians and started giving a little more attention to important things like the state of our oceans, we’d be fine. But we are humans and that means logic doesn’t generally apply to us.
Here’s some history for you- a little more than a century ago, in 1907, some Belgian-American chemist named Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite, the first mass produced plastic. Fast forward to the sad present, and we see about 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our oceans on a yearly basis. Thanks Leo. Single-use plastics like beverage containers represent an astounding 90% of all plastic waste in the oceans. The water bottles that sit in your room half-drank for 2 months have most likely contributed to this massive amount of waste. And I mean so damn utterly and frightfully MASSIVE that you could take all of the cigarette lighters alone from the Ocean Conservancy’s International 2016 Coastal Cleanup and stack them 10 times higher than the Eiffel Tower. Fils de pute.
(Look how sad this beach looks)
We can’t sit back and ignore what this appalling amount of waste in our oceans is doing- around 1,000,000 marine animals a year die from it. From marine mammals like whales that accumulate pounds of plastic in their stomachs before dying, to sea turtles or fish that suffocate while entangled in plastic, we are causing catastrophic harm to marine ecosystems. As bleak as that may sound, it’s important to note the amazing conservational strides being made by people and organizations all over the world. As reported by the BBC, a team of marine scientists conducted a study that concluded the ocean can rebuild marine life to a healthy and sustainable state… as long as we act now.
(This beautiful bastard deserves a healthy home)
If you look at all of this scientifically, things get much more telling and not in a good way. First of all, climate change is very real. Imagine someone came up to you and told you the sun wasn’t real. You would probably look up (if it’s daytime) and tell them the sun is right there, how is it fake? And if for some reason that doesn’t convince them, you’d direct them to scientists and experts and their studies that validate the existence of the sun, and the effects it has on us. And if for SOME reason, they still refute the fact the sun exists, what would that person be? That’s right, stupid. And ignorant. So from now on when someone tries arguing about the fact global warming isn’t real, or it’s not a problem, simply save yourself the time and energy of arguing over a fact with someone who doesn’t like facts.
Global warming is also causing global ocean temperatures to rise dramatically which is having several negative impacts on the wildlife that inhabits them. When you change the temperature of the water, you change how fish and other animals behave. These sudden differences affect how these animals migrate which subsequently affects how they reproduce, which means less fish sex, which means less fish, which really alters the whole equilibrium of the ecosystem. Last but not least, coral reefs are dying and turning from a once colorful explosion of life into a desolate and lifeless reminder of the impact we have on our ecosystems.
You know what’s cool? Being able to breathe because more than half of the world’s oxygen is produced from our oceans. Not only does it PRODUCE oxygen but it also ABSORBS carbon dioxide at a rate 50 times higher than our atmosphere. It works hard as hell to keep us breathing and we treat it like the overflowing garbage that you place your trash on anyway, knowing very well that you probably shouldn’t. As we overharvest ocean life and continue to pollute our waters, we are disrupting the cycle in ways that reverberate through the entire food chain.
Enjoy coffee? How about the shirt you are wearing, was it made in a foreign country? These things are not made in the U.S and probably never will be (without being far more expensive). 76% of all U.S trade involved some type of marine transportation. Which means three out of every four items crosses a vast ocean before they find their way to your home. In the U.S alone, our ocean economy generates over $284 billion yearly and employs around 3 million Americans. If the livelihoods of three millions Americans doesn’t seem valuable, consider the fact that 3.1 billion people rely on the oceans globally for their well-being.
(This is what the ocean is suppose to look like)
Pretending these problems won’t affect you is easy. But what happens when the irreversible effects we’ve caused pass the breaking point? I personally would rather not find out so let’s all be a little bit better and do our parts.
Written by Zachary Biango
All photos are property of The Ocean Foundation. Visit https://oceanfdn.org/ to donate!
All information above is credible as per these sources: