Celebrate World Ocean Day with 4ocean!
Why the ocean is worth protectingThe ocean is the world’s largest ecosystem and the life support system of our planet. Without the ocean, life as we know it simply would not exist. So no matter how far away you live, even if you’ve never seen it, the ocean touches you with every breath you take and every drop of water you drink. Let’s explore some of the reasons why the ocean deserves to be celebrated and, more importantly, protected.
The ocean contains more than 97% of the world’s water and generates more than half of the oxygen we breathe
The ocean covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface and contains over one billion cubic kilometers of water. Phytoplankton — tiny marine plants that live on the ocean’s surface — produce an estimated 50-80% of Earth’s oxygen. In fact, every other breath you take comes from the ocean.
The ocean regulates our climate and protects us from climate change impacts
Ocean currents distribute heat across the globe, which regulates temperature and weather to make our planet habitable. The ocean is also the planet’s largest carbon sink, absorbing over 90% of the heat and around 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities.
The ocean plays an important role in global food security
Around 3.1 billion people rely on the ocean for their primary source of protein. Seafood accounts for about 20% of global animal protein consumption, though this can be as high as 50% in many nations. Ingredients from the ocean like algae are also found in surprising foods like peanut butter.
Many important medicines are made with ingredients from the ocean
More than 10,000 compounds have been extracted from the ocean to produce medicines that help fight diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. These compounds are also used in activities like biomedical research and diagnostic testing, which are crucial to understanding, identifying, and treating disease.
More than 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods
Ocean-based industries like fisheries and tourism employ millions of people around the world. The blue economy contributes several trillion dollars of goods and services to the global economy every year.
The ocean accounts for about 80% of the world’s biodiversity
Scientists estimate that there are over 2 million species that inhabit the marine environment and that we’ve yet to discover and catalog more than 90% of them.
The ocean is an important means of transportation
About 90% of global trade is carried by sea. It’s also an important source of transportation for passengers and supports tourism, which is crucial to the global economy.
The ocean is an endless source of beauty, inspiration, and recreation
The ocean has been a source of wonder and fascination for centuries. It provides countless opportunities for recreation and accounts for a large portion of global tourism. It’s even inspired some of the world’s greatest art and poetry. Researchers have also found that spending time at the beach can actually change our brainwaves and help us feel more relaxed and peaceful.
Why the ocean needs protectingThe ocean isn’t as limitless or as immune to human impacts as humanity once believed. Only recently has science started to understand the devastating impact of human activities on this finite natural resource. The combined impacts of climate change, overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and other forms of human exploitation continue to threaten our ocean and no area has been left untouched. Let’s explore just a few of them together.
Approximately 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the ocean every year. The United Nations estimates that more than 800 marine species are affected by plastic pollution. Plastic poses significant ingestion and entanglement risks for wildlife and can introduce toxins into animals’ bodies. Plastic pollution also degrades the marine environment, threatens already vulnerable and endangered species, and impacts biodiversity, which is crucial to the ocean’s health.
Microplastics have also been found in the air we breathe and foods we eat. Researchers estimate that the average person consumes one credit card worth of plastic each week. While scientists are only starting to understand the impact that plastic has on people, they have learned that plastics contain chemicals that can disrupt the human endocrine system and even cause cancer, diabetes, reproductive disorders, and neurological damage in unborn babies and young children. Microplastics were recently found in human placentas, which could potentially affect fetal health and development.
As our global population grows, so does our demand for seafood. Advancements in commercial fishing technology mean humans now have the ability to wipe out entire fish populations in a very short period of time.
Today, as much as 80% of the world’s fisheries are either overfished or collapsing. It’s estimated that approximately 170 billion pounds of wildlife are removed from the ocean by fishers each year.
Scientists fear that continuing to fish at our current rate will cause a full-scale collapse of the world’s fisheries which would have a significant impact on global food security.
Climate change creates several unique challenges that can impact the long-term future of the ocean, including more frequent severe weather events, rising ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and rising sea levels.
Climate change is changing the chemistry of the ocean and causing dangerous imbalances that not only impact marine life, but humans who live near and rely on the ocean to survive.
Chemical and nutrient pollution
Chemical and nutrient pollution from industrial and agricultural runoff can harm crucial marine habitats and impact wildlife; common pollutants include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, oil, detergents, and sewage.
Plastic can both introduce and absorb chemical pollutants from the surrounding environment; in fact, plastic can accumulate toxins in concentrations up to 1 million times greater than surrounding seawater. These toxins can be absorbed into the living tissue of animals that eat plastic and cause significant harm.
Noise pollution from increased boat traffic, activities in the oil and gas industry (like seismology), and military activities (like underwater sonar) can interrupt animals’ normal behavior patterns and drive them away from crucial habitats. Some noises are so loud that they can cause injuries or even be fatal to wildlife.
Scientists are just starting to understand how light pollution, usually seen as a problem for land animals, is also affecting marine life. Artificial light at night can disrupt migration, reproduction, and feeding habits that are crucial to biodiversity and the health of the marine ecosystem.
Ways to celebrate World Ocean DayIt’s one thing to celebrate World Ocean Day and another to take action to protect the ocean. Here’s a short list of ways to help drive positive action for our one shared ocean.
Sign the 30x30 petition
In a report called 30x30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection, top scientists say we need half of the planet in its natural state to prevent the extinction of one million species, stay below 1.5°C, and safeguard all people that rely on nature to survive and thrive.
This year, we have an opportunity to get governments worldwide to agree to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030 at the Convention on Biodiversity COP15 Summit later this year.
However, it’s not enough to have the support of the scientific community. We need people from all over the world and all walks of life to unite and call for urgent action.
Have a conversation
Take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle and ask whether there’s more you can do to eliminate single-use plastic from your daily life. Talk to friends and family members, too! Encourage them to go plastic free alongside you and work together to support each other on this journey.
If you’re able to do so safely, organize a small cleanup with family and friends in your local neighborhood or join a pre-planned event near you. If that’s not possible, be aware of your surroundings and pick up trash when you see it to make sure it gets disposed of properly and doesn’t wind up in the ocean.
Spend the part of the day searching the internet for resources that can help you go plastic-free and keep you up to date on the ocean plastic crisis. There are countless blogs, newsletters, and email alerts to sign up for. Staying informed will ensure you stay part of the conversation. Only by educating ourselves can we understand this complex issue and take effective action to solve it.
Spread the word
People can’t be part of the solution until they’re aware of the problem. Share this page on your favorite social media platforms to help raise awareness about the importance of protecting our one shared ocean.
Talk about what you’re doing to end your reliance on single-use plastic and encourage others to get involved in the clean ocean movement alongside you. Make sure you tag @4ocean and use #WorldOceansDay2021 to increase the visibility of anything you post!
Support your favorite ocean-friendly organizations
There are many incredible organizations working hard every single day to protect the ocean and all of the animals that call it home. If you’re able, consider donating time, supplies, or money to support their efforts and advance the clean ocean movement. We’re all in this together!
Pull a pound in honor of World Ocean Day
As always, you can rely on 4ocean’s professional, full-time captains and crews to recover harmful marine debris on your behalf.
Visit our shop where every product sold funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines.
Our sustainably sourced, ethically manufactured products are designed to raise awareness about the clean ocean movement and help you reduce your plastic footprint.
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