It’s amazing what you can learn…

Listed on December 5, 2014 in Blogs!

Last night I went to a presentation concerning the world’s oceans and how they may help with some of the myriad of problems facing our continuing well-being. It was once said that the Amazon rainforest held the key to new pharmaceuticals. The forests were also characterised as the lungs of the planet. We maybe but the oceans are arguably far more important. Just look at the statistics…
71% of the earth’s surface is covered by sea.
97% of all of the planet’s water is in the sea.
98% of the living space on earth is in the sea.
80% of the earth’s organisms are found in the sea.
50% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by oceanic plankton.
40% of the world’s human population live within 100kms of the seas.
90% of the world’s trade is moved across the sea.
80% of the world’s minerals can be found under the sea.
50% of pharmaceutical anti-cancer drugs are derived from marine organisms.
10% of the world’s protein consumed by humans is from the sea.
One billion people rely on fish and other seafood for their primary source of protein.
The top 3 meters of the ocean holds as much heat as the entire atmosphere.
50% of CO2 ever produced by humans has been absorbed by the oceans.
Yet despite of all of this, an unbelievably vast amount of rubbish has found itself dumped in the world’s oceans. The worst is perhaps the plastic that is being consumed by micro-organisms as well as other living creatures. This stuff is going into the food chain and ultimately into us with unknown consequences.

Why am I saying all of this? Well, it just goes to show that we all need to continue to learn in order to understand what is going on beyond our immediate world experiences. Much of what is happening in the ocean is occurring out of sight and therefore out of mind. Most of our impact has occurred in the last 150 years. How humans regulate in order to look after the oceans is crucial. Whether we can is perhaps the hardest question to answer. Even if we all changed our behaviour today it would probably take centuries for nature to recover. If we do nothing, by looking at the statistics, we can see the consequences could be devastating.