The three biggest threats to our oceans
Let's take a look at our beloved oceans.
What it is that threatens our oceans, and what we can do about it.
Garbage and debris in general, but plastic in particular, poses a threat to our oceans, and in particular to the animals living in them.
Plastic bags floating in the water, and mistaken for food by for instance turtles, who mistake the plastic for jellyfish, and subsequently chokes to death on them.
But the problem isn’t limited to large, individual pieces of plastic.
Over time, plastic decays and breaks down, exposed to the sun and salt in the water. And as it does so, it releases chemicals that are toxic to animal (and human) life.
At first, these concentration are small, but the more plastic makes it way into the oceans, the bigger the problem, such as in the area around the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
A large part of the plastic that is found in the oceans come from land.
Sure, some of it comes from boats, either as flotsam (things that are washed overboard) or jetsam (things that purposefully discarded), but most of comes from people either throwing plastic into the water along beaches and coastlines, but also from plastic making its way from land, either blown in by the wind near coasts, or making its way along rivers and streams.
What can we do?
Reducing the amount of plastic that makes it way into the oceans is key. And this is best done by the good old three “R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce how much plastic you use, by avoiding plastic bags in supermarkets and using reusable non-plastic containers.
Reuse, by avoiding throwing our old plastic, but instead using them as long as possible.
And finally, when you do discard them, Recycle, rather than throwing them on the landfill.
For more on how to deal with plastic in the ocean, and what you can do, see my other article here on Dive.in.
As the planet heats up, so do the oceans.
And just like on land, marine animals and plants have a temperature range that they thrive in.
Anything warmer than that starts to influence the entire ecosystem and the food chain.
Higher temperatures leads to coral bleaching, which is really just another word for corals dying. And as corals are the foundation of a major part of life in the oceans.
What can we do?
The problem of global warming is just that, global, and the long-term solutions need to be, too.
And there is a glimmer of hope in the settlement reached during the most recent G7 summit. Where the G7 nations committed themselves to ensuring an agreement at the next UN climate summit.
Here's how a scuba diver can Make A Positive Difference For The Environment.
But as individuals, we can apply pressure to our leaders to reach this agreement, and we can try and minimize our own personal carbon footprint, by minimizing activities that generate CO2, or by offsetting the ones we cannot reduce.
One thing you can do, that doesn’t require you to give up your summer holiday, is to eat less meat.
A meatless day a week goes a long way, as production of in particular beef produces vast amounts of CO2.
As fishing has become ever more industrialized and efficient, we’ve reached a point where the majority, if not all, fish populations around the world have been overfished, some to the brink of extinction.
The more popular the fish, the worse the situation generally is, such as in the case of tuna.
If numerous fish populations around the world collapse, that would be detrimental to the entire ecosystem of the oceans.
What can we do?
First of all, we can put pressure on companies and government to implement sustainable fishing methods.
And we can put our money where our mouths are and either not purchase and eat seafood, or at least only purchase seafood from less overfished populations.
One source you can look to for info is the WWF seafood List.
So take this month and do your bit to protect our amazing oceans. And while you’re at it, why not do it the remaining 11 months, too?