“Fish are friends, not food.”
This famous line from beloved children’s movie Finding Nemo is, to some extent, the entire ocean’s resounding anthem — a message to all of us land-denizens that we must respect the seas and the countless creatures that live beneath its waves.
In September 2013, National Geographic’s cover story examined the phenomena of worldwide sea level risings, forecasting potential impacts on the many coastal metropolises that dot these vulnerable shorelines (think New York City and New Orleans).
But now, recent studies published in the journal Nature indicate that the global sea level rise rate has actually increased significantly since 1990, compared to the rate between 1900 and 1990 — 2.5 times faster, to be exact.
Scientists conclude this dramatic spike in sea level rise comes from increased melting in Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets, triggered by human-contributed climate changes.
But these obscure, distant places along the poles don’t resonate with land-bodies like us. We travel to places like Washington D.C., London, and Paris — not to the capital of penguin play.
We deal with measurements like 2 liter pop bottles and 12 oz. coffee cups — not the 1.3 billion cubic km of water that fills our single global ocean.
That vastness alone is enough to deter some people from remaining mindful stewards of the Earth’s aquatic domains.
It’s easy to forget that this blue-watered blanket of corals and crayfish contain an enormous amount of rich biodiversity and that these waters act as one of the biggest carbon sinks on the planet.
Instead, we need to start thinking of the ocean as a concrete, tangible ecosystem — one that is seriously disrupted when we tamper with the climate, or alter its composition with a whole splurge of chemicals and human-engineered wastes.
We should think of the ocean as our neighbor and as our friend.
Recall your earliest childhood memories of the beach: how the waves rolled gently up to your heels; how the waters were cool and refreshing, despite the blistering summer sun; how the aura of salt and sand created a sort of irreplaceably serenity unlike any other.
We, as an intelligent human race, can protect these seashore memories by preserving our ocean habitats, advocating for increased ocean-waste monitoring and speaking out against risky oil operations that could potentially damage an entire ecosystem.
It’s up to us to save our seas.
This column also appears on The Post