“Sea-Sick” Oceans


It seems today that it has become impossible to discuss the issue of global warming without mentioning the state of the world’s oceans.  Rising sea-levels, “dead zones”, and ever-increasing water temperatures are just a few of the problems on the seemingly endless list of issues related to oceans caused by humans.  It is predicted that by the year 2100, around 98 percent of the Earth’s oceans will have been affected by low oxygen, a lack of biological productivity, acidification, or warming.  One may wonder, why all of the hubbub over something that wont even occur in our lifetime?  The answer is quite simple.  The effects of our carelessness in combination with that of the generations before us can, will, and are becoming evident already.  Our world renown beaches, sought after by millions of tourists, have begun to dwindle away slowly each year due to erosion, but the  effects of global warming are, as the name entails, global.  A study at Oregon State University suggests that an estimated “2 billion people will be impacted by these changes” and that “stressors will co-occur in areas inhabited by people who can least afford it” (Andrew Thurber, OSU Oceanographer, co-author of study).  Between 400 and 800 million people are directly dependent on oceans for the main source of their income, usually less than 4,000 USD annually.  If we continue to allow global warming to continue on its current trajectory without interference, we can absolutely expect a severe impact to be had on fisheries around the world, both small localized businesses as well as multi-national corporations.  In order to prevent a world where people do not know what a beach is, or what it is like to swim in the ocean, or eat a fish that has not been farmed in a tank we, as a global community, must tackle as many factors contributing to global warming forthwith and synchronously.  Simply addressing one or two issues at a time, though better than nothing, is not enough.  The real threats to the “blood” of our Earth are the compounded effects of global warming acting together increasing the already devastating effects of global warming exponentially.  I will leave you with a quote by the Indian Chief Seattle ““The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

– Sebastian Andrew

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