Protecting the source of all life on earth


The ocean is home to up to 80% of all life on earth, produces 50-80% of the oxygen on earth, and absorbs 4 times the amount of CO2 as the Amazon Rainforest. Protecting our oceans should be our main concern. But we treat it as a piddling dump. It’s a place where we seemingly can do whatever we want, as there is no one around to enforce rules and laws.

Commercial fishing is a greater threat to marine life than we realize. We’ve made some species endangered and completely wiped out others from existence. Taking 2.7 trillion fish from oceans globally each year, the oceans will be virtually empty by 2048. To solve this, we should protect 30% of our oceans. But in reality, we’re at 5% of marine protected areas, which is still misleading as in most of those areas fishing is still allowed.

So how can we protect our oceans? Reducing our intake of fish might help. But cutting down on fish consumption may not be enough. As it won’t change the conditions of the fishery. A lot of the seafood we’re consuming today is from slavery and forced labor, a massive problem that remains. Besides, our health is still in danger with the consumption of fish. A common belief is that fish is the best source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s algae cells swallowed by fish that are making the omega-3 fats. And on top of that, most fish contain heavy metals, dioxins, plastic compounds, and other dangerous substances.

And while we are on that topic. Our oceans are still filling up with plastic waste. The greatest threat to our oceans is not from plastic straws (which make up about 0.03% of plastic entering our oceans) but fishing nets. And still, we continue to set out fishing lines, enough to wrap around our earth 500 times. And trawling the ocean floor, deforesting it with billions of acres every year.

It isn’t too late to take the best hope we will ever have of having a home in this universe. To respect what we’ve got, to protect what remains, don’t let any of the pieces escape. Most of the positive and negative things that bring about change in human civilization start with someone. Some “one.” And no “one” can do everything, but every “one” can do something. And sometimes, big ideas make a big difference.

Dr Sylvia Earle, Seaspiracy 2021

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