June 8, 2015 by Darius
Today is World Oceans Day. World Oceans Day celebrates the oceans and the vital role that oceans play in our lives.
We use oceans as both our larder and our toilet, an undesirable combination if you think about it. Millions of tons of trash have been dumped into the seas around the world, resulting most notably in a floating area of trash the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (see https://notwhatyoumightthink.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/thinking-aloud-international-coastal-cleanup/). Rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (creating higher levels of carbonic acid when that carbon dioxide is dissolved in the oceans’ waters) are killing off coral reefs. Not only do coral reefs account for greater biodiversity than even tropical rainforests, they serve as a nursery for most of humanity’s seafood. Humans’ harvest of the oceans – “harvest” being a poor analogy given that humans have planted nothing in the oceans to harvest – has been driving some species, like bluefin tuna, red snapper, and some species of sharks, close to extinction.
As we commemorate World Oceans Day, we should think for a moment about the future of the world’s oceans. Larder and toilet. It’s hard to have it both ways.