The oceans are the world’s biggest carbon sinkholes. Like the rainforests, our oceans absorb the massive amounts of CO2 we emit into the atmosphere everyday. The trouble is, as the carbon reacts with saltwater, our oceans begin to acidify. Even the smallest change in the pH balance of the oceans can have devastating effects on marine life.
Global emissions are propelling climate change and causing sea levels to rise. We still have time to curb emissions and to prevent low-lying islands and even cities like New Orleans and Miami from being swallowed by the ocean.
In the past 50 years, we’ve eaten more than 90% of the world’s big fish. Blue fin tuna, big marlin and sharks have all been fished faster than the ocean’s can replenish them. This becomes especially worrisome when we consider that 75% of the human population is dependent on seafood as a main source of food.
By paying attention to where our food comes from and supporting sustainable fishing, we can secure abundant food supply for generations to come.
Reefs and Dead-Zones
Coral reefs are an essential part of ocean ecosystems – home to over 25 percent of all marine life. The world’s once thriving reefs are under intense pressure from pollution, rising ocean temperatures, physical damage from tourism and harmful fishing practices like bottom-trawling.
Scientists have identified nearly 533 “dead-zones” - areas of the ocean so depleted of oxygen that wildlife suffocates and dies.
Since the 1980s, we’ve lost half of the world’s coral reefs - but there’s still time to save the remaining 50 percent.
From plastic bags to oil and pesticides, almost all of the waste we produce on land ends up in the oceans. We’re putting hundreds of millions of tons of plastic and other trash into the oceans and leaving behind discarded gillnets that continue to trap and kill wildlife. Further, every marine organism, from tiny plankton to whales and polar bears, is contaminated by man-made and toxic chemicals.
Oil, fertilizers, sewage and plastic are all entering our oceans at alarming rates, altering the chemical makeup of our oceans, but we can all prevent our oceans from becoming global sewers.