From the surface, the ocean appears to be a massive body of water, but it’s so much more than that. The ocean forms the largest ecosystem on the planet Earth, and the well-being of our beloved Earth depends on it. It won’t be wrong to say that ocean serves as the life support system for the entire planet. The ocean is home to thousands and millions of species of marine life, including plants and fishes. We only know a few hundred and thousands, with God-knows-how-many still undiscovered.
We’ve believed all our lives that the ocean was limitless and too huge to be impacted by humans. But we couldn’t have been more wrong. Scientists have found out alarming facts about how devastating the impact of human activities is on the ocean. We’ve exploited the ocean beyond the limits, and now, we’re facing serious consequences.
However, things are changing today. People have started to understand what their activities can lead to. They’ve turned more conscious about the choices they make. Numerous ocean conservation organizations and activists have taken ground to educate people around the world. However, it is just the beginning, and we still have a long way to go.
Threats to the Oceans
Although there are numerous threats to the oceans and to the well-being of all life forms present within, if you ask us one threat that is above all, we won’t take a minute to respond. The first and biggest threat to oceans today is human. All other threats that follow spring out from this primary threat. It’s the activities that we do that eventually affect the ocean and everything that it contains. Let’s have a look at some of the major activities that have wreaked havoc in the ocean. It’s time for some eye-opening facts, so brace yourself!
Fishing is a popular leisure activity. People go on fishing trips with their families and friends and fish all day long. Catching fresh fish and eating it fresh sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? But, you might not be able to digest the fish you caught if we tell you that we’ve literally depleted the fish from the ocean. First, we caught the fishes that we could from the shore. When no more fishes seemed to come to us, we went to them, deeper into the blues. We started catching new species of fish that were native to deeper waters. Slowly and gradually, we continued going further, caught fishes native to those regions of the ocean, eventually destroying the balance that nature had maintained for several hundreds of years.
Pollution is another major threat to the oceans. Once again, the humans are to thank for it. We go to beaches, enjoy the picnic, but forget to collect our plastic trash. This plastic trash gets washed into the ocean. The coast appears clean, but the ocean becomes dirty, even if we can’t see it. Plastic waste is extremely dangerous for marine life. It chokes it by depriving the living species of oxygen and nutrition, eventually killing them. Then we have the chemical waste from industries that we discard into the ocean. We assume that the chemicals are too little for such a huge water body, but sadly, that’s not true. Chemical pollution affects the composition of ocean water. With that being said, the marine life that’s made to live in a certain environment is exposed to drastic environmental changes that are enough to take their life.
Destruction of Natural Habitat
The population of the world is increasing at an unprecedented pace. With that, the need for more land is also increasing. Not just that, more and more land is being arranged for making recreational attractions. While we enjoy the luxuries of recreation, marine life loses its natural habitat. The practice of mangrove clearing has increased drastically over the past few years. When mangroves are removed, it removes entire ecosystems with them that reside there. Did you ever think of it that way?
Another way in which we’re damaging the natural environment is by allowing detrimental gases into the air. The exhaust waste from the burning of fuel in cars and industries and overall pollution, in general, has led to global warming. The glaciers in Antarctica have started to melt for the very same reason. While the impact of global warming may not seem significant right, it’s one of the biggest threats to our oceans today. The temperature of water in the ocean has risen by 0.1oC over the past century, which isn’t a lot, right? Wrong. This change in temperature is enough to kill the algae. And what you may not know is – algae keep corals alive.
The Need for Ocean Conservation
Considering that humans are the biggest threat to the oceans, we need someone to spread awareness of what we’re doing. This is where ocean conservation organizations and activists come into the picture. These organizations are working tirelessly to spread the much-needed awareness and take the right measures to stop any further damage to the oceans. Let’s have a look at some of the most renowned ocean conservation organizations and individuals that deserve our praises!
Dr. Sylvia Earle
An author, lecturer, and explorer- Dr. Sylvia Earle has been referred to as the first ‘Hero for the Planet’ by TIME magazine. She has dedicated her life, spreading awareness about the need for ocean conservation. Her contributions have literally made her one of the most valuable resources we’ve got today.
Another renowned name in the area of ocean conservation is Jacques Cousteau. He was a filmmaker, innovator, and conservationist hailing from France. Although he died long ago, in 1910, his contributions are worth being remembered. He made numerous films that captured the magic of deep blue seas and brought it out for the world to see.
We’re sure you know Steve Irwin from his crocodile quests. Although that’s what he’s most known for, he was one of the best ocean conservationists of all time. He was extremely passionate and made it his life’s goal to conserve the endangered species. He has several popular documentaries under his belt that will be forever cherished by the world.
Oceana is an ocean conservation organization that is committed to restoring the oceans. It’s one of the largest organizations that’s working internationally since 2001 for the conservation of oceans. It carries out targeted campaigns that help protect marine mammals, fish populations, and other forms of sea life.
Another popular organization that’s working for the protection and restoration of oceans is Green Peace. It works to reduce the amount of plastic waste that’s dumped into the oceans. It also addresses bad industrial fishing practices and ocean acidification.
Sea Turtle Conservancy
Sea Turtle Conservancy is one of the most active organizations that are working for the preservation and protection of sea turtles. They undertake actions that will protect the sea turtles from getting extinct, which they are pretty close to! It’s because of organizations like these, our hopes that endangered species will find a way to live stay alive!
While there’s a lot going on in the field of ocean conservation, it’ll take a very long time to address the damage that’s already done. The damage done will never be restored, but we can surely work on preventing any further damage. It’s not something anyone individual or organization can do. It’s something the world has to unite for. Only then will we be able to make a difference.