Earth News Journal 21: Health of Oceans in Decline

The health of global oceans is declining at an increasing rate, according to an article on BBC News, Science and Environment.

Based on reports from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas in both 2011 and 2012, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is publishing a set of five articles, with updated predictions on the ocean’s current sustainability.

A number of threats pose a catastrophic prediction to the future of Earth’s largest ecosystem; the four major hazards include an increase in temperature due to climate change, less alkaline waters because of increased C02 absorption, overfishing, and pollution. The combination of these and additional threats in the oceanic ecosystem is causing the overall health of the world’s oceans to “deteriorat[e] even faster than had previously been thought.”

Unfortunately, these conditions prove the sort to spawn a mass extinction event – a disaster that has occurred in oceans past, according to oceanographic experts. Even so, the IPSO fears this “cocktail of threats” has ceased to make an impression on international policymakers, while others are ignoring the dire “severity of the situation.”

Professor Dan Laffoley of the IUCN believes that “deferring action will increase costs in the future, [while leading] to even greater, perhaps irreversible losses.” The United Nations has confirmed that the ocean is “bearing the brunt” of human-driven changes to the planet, like an increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to the reliance on non-renewable resources. Consequently, if the global trend in bountiful carbon dioxide emissions continues to climb, IPSO claims “massive acidification [will occur] later in the century as the CO2 is absorbed into the sea.”

In short, we as humans have been taking the ocean for granted, and it’s up to us to save her from utter destruction.

Reflection

I have always had a love for the ocean, even before I witnessed my first wave crash against the sand. Something about its vastness, the unexplored mysteries that await passionate explorers has captivated me for years. I want to know more about all of these secrets that lurk beneath ocean depths, like a treasure chest or a pearly shell. Sadly, the ocean ecosystem has become a dumping ground for man’s polluted lifestyle. Each year, factories have desecrated this paradise with their discards and waste products – hoping it will disappear in a spray of foam or blindly refusing to acknowledge their individual impact, I know not their fiendish motives. I would be absolutely devastated if the oceans were permanently crippled by man-constructed forces, as would millions of species who depend on the ocean for survival. Skeptics might question the declaration of ocean declination, but I believe coral reefs are solid evidence supporting the deteriorating ecosystem. Currently, coral reefs are suffering from higher water temperatures and acidification, but bad fishing practices, pollution, siltation, and toxic algae blooms pose an even greater threat to this fragile, life-sustaining element in the ocean. I campaign for stricter policies in regard to polluting the oceans – an action that directly links to preservation.

Harrabin, Roger. “Health of Oceans ‘declining Fast'” BBC News – Science and Environment. N.p., 3 Oct. 2013. Web. 5 Oct. 2013.

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