Revitalizing the Ocean
Why We Should Give a Ship
Hope you're doing well and had a nice week! It's officially summer, and with it come the longer days, the warmer weather, and the chill vibe that this season brings. We know we'll be spending a lot of time near the beach.
Yesterday, June 8 was World Oceans Day 🌊, a day to celebrate all the ocean does for us and how we can help spearhead efforts to save it. This year’s theme is “Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean,” focusing on how we can help to revitalize the ocean. The original proposal for this day came back in 1992 at the UN conference on Environment and Development. It wasn’t until 2008 that the UN General Assembly adopted June 8th as World Oceans Day.
Seeing the ocean and hearing the waves feeds, energizes, and invigorates our souls. We are nothing without our oceans and we wanted to dedicate this piece to it, focusing on how much it provides for us and how it has changed over the past couple of decades.
It's easy to overlook and take for granted how the ocean sustains life on Earth. The ocean:
Produces over 50-80% of the world's oxygen.
Regulates climate by distributing heat from the equator to the poles.
Heals and cures through thalassotherapy and medicinal ingredients — improving blood circulation and boosting the immune system, helping us feel calmer, contemplative, and more creative.
Provides food for 4.3 billion people both directly and indirectly, with about 15% of animal protein.
All of these systems are changing and balancing over time, but when climate change begins to make even small adjustments, the entire ecosystem can be out of whack.
How the Oceans Are Changing
As the ocean begins to warm, numerous changes begin to happen causing a domino effect of changes that we should be worried about. The ocean absorbs more than 93% of the earth’s warming, with increased temperatures causing thermal expansion, leading to rising sea levels and big changes in ocean currents.
Rising temperatures also melt ice glaciers around the globe, potentially causing up to an increase of over 195 feet in sea levels. This also reduces the salinity of the ocean, which would slow down major ocean currents.
Increased carbon dioxide from pollution in the atmosphere will continue to lead to more carbon dioxide dissolving in the ocean. This increases the pH of seawater, or causes ocean acidification, which will lead to organisms with shells or skeletons made from calcium carbonate to dissolve and die, greatly impacting the animal ecosystem.
Acidification will also lead to coral bleaching, or sudden deaths of large chunks of coral reefs, shifting many animal habits out of these ecosystems for cooler waters.
The increased temperature also makes it more difficult for oxygen from mixing within the ocean, crucial for the quality of marine life, often affecting the growth rate, reproduction and disease. Overall biodiversity and abundance will be shifted, even affecting aquaculture animals we raise for eating.
Eventually, this all comes back to affecting our protein and worldwide economics. Altering distributions of fish and increasing their vulnerability will affect our food security. The destruction of habitats that protect our coastlines, such as corals and mangroves, will eventually destroy many islands and coastlines. More severe hurricanes will continue to come about and potential diseases from marine life may also spread.
Things We're Consuming This Week
🛢️A federal appeals court held up a ruling that prohibited offshore fracking off the California Coast, ensuring that federal agencies had to issue an environmental statement before being granted permits.
💨Recent research identified that communities near wind turbines have housing values go up by 2% and local incomes by 5%, generating more support for them in rural areas.
🔨Read about how one family is rebuilding from a recent flood that claimed the lives of more than 20 people in their community.
♻️We mentioned how recycling has proven difficult in many communities — let’s see how some cities try to fix this broken system.
🌊President Biden is proposing making an underwater canyon a new national marine sanctuary, similar to national parks. An additional proposal is to phase out single use plastics in national parks and other public lands by 2032.
Things You Can Do
Push your local government to help protect marine and coastal ecosystems, introducing new small habitats and regulating human activity. Prohibit coastal development and conserve wildlife.
Continue to reduce your carbon footprint in all of the ways we’ve talked about before — switching to green energy, reducing energy consumption, etc.
Look out for sustainable fish that you buy at the grocery store.
Reduce chemical drainage into your sewers with non-toxic cleaning products and food without pesticides.
Learn more about the ocean and donate to your local nonprofits that support this work.