Describing the ocean as massive is an understatement; it covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface and holds the top spot as the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the world. It is also in serious danger; the adverse effects of global warming and human industry have taken their toll on our oceans, causing immense damage to aquatic plant life and pushing numerous species to the brink of extinction. Today we will be discussing the importance of our oceans and why they are worth protecting.
A Matter of Survival
We should be protecting our oceans as if our lives depend on it, because they really do. The flora found in the ocean can be thanked for more than half of the oxygen production on Earth. This is because of its large concentrations of phytoplankton, microscopic plantlike organisms that absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into breathable oxygen. Furthermore, the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide than the Earth’s atmosphere by a factor of x50.
The ocean is also where a lot of our food supply comes from. Our species relies heavily on fishing to accommodate the eating requirements of such a large population. Roughly 16% of the protein consumed by humans comes from fish alone, not to mention the many other sea creatures we consume. It takes over 112 litres of water to produce a single gram of protein from cattle whereas it costs nothing to let edible sea life grow by itself. By taking care of our oceans, we could find a more sustainable solution to the eating needs of our species. But the damage we are causing via pollution and over-fishing has the very likely potential of severely disrupting one of our primary sources of food.
Besides things we can eat, the ocean also harbours plants and animals that contain substances we use in the production of several important medications. For example, the ocean contains ingredients for medications we use to fight Alzheimer’s and cancer.
As aforementioned, 70% of our world is covered by the ocean. This means that it has a lot of control over our climate. Most of the heat from the sun that hits Earth is absorbed by the ocean, most typically around the equator. The ocean brings this equatorial heat towards the poles, regulating the weather and thus our climates as it does so. Any disruption to this can cause irreparable damage to our ecosystems, even those on land.
We as a species clearly need a healthy ocean if we wish to stick around on this floating rock for much longer. It is in the collective best interest of every living, breathing person on this planet for our ocean to be taken care of.
Save Yourselves, Save Your Oceans
We have a lot riding on our oceans staying healthy. In fact, we at this point cannot live without it. Given all that it does in terms of global climate and the resources we can acquire from it, the ocean is perhaps, the most important ecosystem on Earth.