Talking about the Great Barrier Reef and its delicate nature made me think about all of our planet’s oceans and some of the problems they are facing as well. I mean the oceans are part of our biggest resource for sustaining life on this planet. Its where we get food, water and natural resource found beneath its depths. The oceans have the possibility to give us many eco-solutions but right now they are dealing with some major stress factors. Some may think that the negative impact on the oceans won’t affect us so much, but it affects the life in the sea that can have a huge impact on life on dry land too. Here are some of the biggest issues our oceans are dealing with;
Dying Coral Reefs
Its not just the Great Barrier Reef that is under stress here. I’m talking about all coral reefs needing protection. They support such an enormous amount of sea life that in turn support bigger sea creatures and us human beings.
Did you know that there is a vortex of trash spinning around in the Pacific Ocean, now known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? I mean this thing is said to be the size of Texas and its planted right smack in the middle of the ocean. Its made up of all rubbish that is unable to decompose naturally, such as plastics, chemical sludge and debris that has gotten trapped in the mess by the waters currents. It was Charles Moore who came across this heap of floating trash in 1999. Lately, this area has gotten a lot of attention from eco organizations who are working to launch clean-up efforts.
Marine life can be greatly affected by what gets dumped into the waters as well. Old fishing equipment that can still snag and kill marine life, plastic rubbish that can trap, choke and kill fish, toxic chemicals that kill off the ecosystem are just a few of the consequences.
Its not just the fact that we are overfishing, but how we do it. Many destructive methods are used in catching fish, like bottom trawling for instance. This method destroys the sea bed and any habitats living there, as well as catches a lot of fish and sea animals that are not wanted. Those get thrown aside and wasted. Far too many fish are being drawn from the oceans as well, with many of the species in our waters being added to the endangered species list. We are basically fishing ocean life into extinction. When one species dies out it affects the whole chain of life by starving other species.
Dead Zones in the Ocean
Another effect of global warming are dead zones in the ocean. These are areas that are unable to support life due to a lack of oxygen content. So far there are about 400 known dead zones to exist and this is a rapidly growing number. It seems that the pesticides and fertilizers we use, that run off the land and into the oceans play a large part in the creation of dead zones.
The bottom line is, we need our oceans and the life it supports, which in turn helps to support us. Part of the solution is learning about what is happening and then being aware of the effects our carbon footprint has on a larger scale. I know that I want to be able to show my kids and grandkids, maybe even great grandkids the beauty and wonders of the oceans. I just hope they will still be around by then!