Wednesday, August 17, 2011

EDITORIAL: World Oceans in Peril

By Christina Fermin

Politics & Society Columnist

If you have ever been out on the boat in the middle of the Ocean, you will understand its beauty and vastness. I myself love that big blue, the Ocean is my home. Growing up in the Florida Keys I learned not only to appreciate the Ocean, but to respect it. Today we know more about the moon than we do our own Oceans, we find new species in the Oceans all the time, including species thought to be extinct or urban legends. Underwater it is a world of its own, a world of beauty and wonder. Today that big blue is in trouble, deep terrible trouble. If we do not take rapid action, we will see dramatic effects in the water and on land as well. Remember, water accounts for over 71% of the Earth’s surface, with only about 3% of that water being drinking water.

Today the Oceans are threatened by pollution, overfishing, acidification, climate change, loss of habitat as well as other problems that are precursors for mass extinction which is already beginning. In all the major Oceans there are garbage mounds, the most famous is in the Pacific Ocean, known as the The Great Garbage Patch, which sits between Hawaii and San Francisco. The garbage patch is about the size of Texas and contains about 3.5 tons of garbage, mostly plastic. Today there are 5 garbage patches located in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Every year these garbage patches grow larger and more deadly for the wildlife, which in turn turns deadly for us who eat the fish.

Overfishing is simply catching too much fish. Today we consume about 100 million tons of fish each year. Of the 100 tons, less than 50% of the fish that are consumed come from fish farms. If we continue at this rate our Oceans will be lifeless in less than 25 years. 90% of predatory fish are gone due to overfishing. Everything in the Ocean serves a purpose, when one fails it threatens the whole system from Algae, to Coral Reefs, Small fish and large. Ocean acidification is a bit more complicated, but is basically a decrease of the PH levels in the oceans. Because of this change in balance coral reefs are dying, there are changes in species as well as the growth of more algae which have created low oxygen and dead zones, which in turn threaten species.

The problems with our Oceans are difficult to describe, and because of all these different problems they are even more difficult to solve. The first step in taking care of this and creating a solution is awareness. The more people are aware of how their actions effect the rest of the world the more that can be done to stop the problems from reoccurring and the faster WE can come up with a solution. All drains lead to the Ocean, so whatever you dump in your sink, toilet, stream, river, creek will end up in one of the major Oceans. While we are the culprits, so are the corporations that surround the water systems. They often times dump undesirable chemicals, waste and other unknowns into the water systems to get rid of their waste cheaper. 100 years ago one could go into any fresh water lake, stream, creek or river and drink the water, today you better think twice before doing so.

So I’m sure your thinking, what can I do? Use less plastic, a lot of plastic ends up in the Ocean, and plastic is not biodegradable, nor is it Earth friendly. It’s flat out bad for you and bad for the environment, if there is an alternative go with it. Stop using that plastic bottle and invest in a filter and a reusable water bottle. Do not dump your old or expired medication in the sink or toilet. That will eventually end up in the Oceans and your drinking water causing all sorts of havoc. Practices such as mountain top removal mining or fracking for natural gas does a lot of damage to our waters, sign the petitions out there and let your voice be heard against these barbaric outdated practices, contact Congress. Be cautious what fish you eat and be make sure they are not fishes that are endangered, such as Blue Fin Tuna. The information is out there, just look. One person may not be able to do much, but the combination of us all can do a lot.

Peace & Harmony,


About the Columnist

With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, Christina Fermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge and teachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now.



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