photograph courtesy of pixabay.com
Celebrate World Oceans Day today!
Did you know that the oceans cover approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface? That’s not including smaller seas, large lakes and rivers. Really, our planet should be called Water, not Earth. At least 230 000 species live there that we know about- but because our oceans are widely unexplored, there are bound to be hundreds of thousands of unknown species of sea life.
According to oceanographers, we’ve only explored 5% of the ocean. That’s such a tiny amount for our modern society, which seems to know everything and be everywhere. Think about it- thousands of miles of water unexplored by humans.
And yet even though we know so little about our oceans, we’re perfectly capable of destroying them.
Human litter and waste is spreading throughout them, wreaking havoc and endangering sea life. Anybody who has been to a beach will know that plastic bottles, bags and other rubbish are often washed up, and coastlines are often full of litter.
Some of it travels further afield- the Great Pacific garbage patch is far out to sea and thousands of kilometres large. It’s not just plastic, either- oil spills and waste pipes leading into the ocean have contaminated huge stretches of water, posing a danger for wildlife in and on the water.
You would have thought that would be it, but unfortunately, even the noise of human activity pollutes the water. Do you know how whales communicate underwater? They sing to each other, low songs that travel for miles until reaching other wales. They also use their song to work out where and how deep they are.
The noise of ships, oil rigs and sonar wreaks havoc with their communication and orientation. Whales sometimes drown or wash up on beaches, confused and disoriented. In order to understand each other through the noise, they have to sing louder, meaning that other underwater species have to communicate louder. In this way, the noise levels are rising steadily and messing up the instincts of a lot of sea life.
Other human-caused problems in the oceans include overfishing, rising sea-levels and acidification due to global warming and toxins from human wast. It’s not pretty.
So what can we do about this?
Today is World Oceans Day. What better time to start helping the oceans? You can help in so many way- picking up litter, whether from a beach or river or a park, eating only sustainably caught fish, reduce litter by using reusable water bottles and plastic bags, post an ocean-rescue-related selfie under #WorldOceansDay, help combat global warming and, most importantly, spread the word about the ocean.
Our oceans are so vital to us and to the planet. Let’s make an effort to keep them clean and healthy.
Info from worldoceansday.org, wikipedia.org. ~this whole wide world