The ocean is the source of life for our planet. Many people just take the Ocean for granted, thinking it is a pretty place to take pictures or to dump our wastes. But when we look much deeper we can see that the Ocean does so much for our world in so many ways. Let’s take a look and see just how the ocean affects you and me on an everyday basis that goes beyond what our eyes can see.
When we wake up in the morning many people check the weather to prepare for the day. If it is too hot or too cold we prepare accordingly. The weather does more than just help us pick clothes, weather also regulates climates for growing crops and food as well as our climate as a whole. This would not be possible without the ocean as the ocean is one of the major factors in our climate and weather. The ocean helps soak up heat, and has currents that move both warm and cold water that helps keep places habitable.
An example of this is the California Current. The California current brings cold water from the poles south off of the coast which helps keep the temperature of California much cooler than it would be if we had warm water off of our coast.
The California Current also prevents us from getting as much rain as other places near the ocean as the cold California Current makes the climate less humid.
The ocean is also where all our drinking water comes from. As water evaporates the salt from the ocean stays behind as it is too heavy to be evaporated and the water vapor then falls as rainwater that is the freshwater that we drink as well as water for crops and vegetation. Without the ocean our entire planets climate would be out of control and the little things we take for granted. It is safe to say without the ocean the human race wouldn’t exist today.
Another example of how the Ocean plays a pivotal role in the lives of humans is phytoplankton. Many people would simply disregard these microscopic organism but without them our entire planet would be completely different. For starters, Phytoplankton form the basis of our ocean food chain. Phytoplankton are eaten by larger Zooplankton which are small organisms larger than the microscopic Phytoplankton. Zooplankton are then eaten by small fish. The small fish are eaten by bigger fish that are in turn eaten by humans.
By looking at this we see that Phytoplankton play an important part in our food chain. Phytoplankton also use Carbon Dioxide in the process of photosynthesis which is the process in which Phytoplankton make their food. Phytoplankton absorb the carbon dioxide which Humans are already trying to remove from our atmosphere because it is a greenhouse gas that makes our planet warmer. Another product of photosynthesis is that Phytoplankton add oxygen into the ocean which leaks into the atmosphere creating the oxygen that we breathe. In fact most of the oxygen we breathe is made by phytoplankton. Partially decomposed phytoplankton bodies that sink down and become part of the sediment become fossil fuels like oil and natural gasses. Funny to think that microscopic organisms that many people ignore help power our civilization.
As stated in the previous paragraph ocean life plays an important part in our diet. On average humans get 16% of their fish from the ocean. Several nations across the world like Japan have huge portions of their diets that are mostly composed of seafood. Many of these organisms are cultivated through fisheries. Fisheries are any wild group of wild ocean animals that we harvest. It is important to note that Fisheries are wild ocean animals that are harvested, not raised in fish farms Seafood is such an important part of the Human diet without it we would lose a large part of our protein. Seafood is also very healthy and nutritious.
Fish that are not eaten are also used to feed farm animals with around 33% of a catch can be ground up and fed to them. With seafood playing such an important part of our diet and society it would be absolutely disastrous if we depleted the ocean of fish and other ocean animals. However this is currently happening with overfishing becoming a more common occurrence. Overfishing is when humans take so much fish from the ocean there are no adult fish left to reproduce therefore shrinking the fish population. We see that sea life is very important to our diet and can help feed the animals that we eat which shows another aspect of the ocean that helps us survive and if we continue to overfish we may have little left in the future.
As discussed before the Ocean is a major source of food and nourishment for Humans. Overfishing is a big harm to our supply of fish that we humans cause however there is another way we harm ocean life that will turn around and harm us. That topic is pollution. As we continue to release pollution into the ocean we are harming the organisms that live there. Examples of this are oil and mercury. While Mercury and Oil are naturally occurring substances but humans are releasing them into the ocean at a rate that is very unnatural to the environment. This pollution and toxins can harm humans through the seafood we eat. As small organisms absorb toxins they are eaten by larger animal. As larger animals continue to eat more and more they become more toxic. When humans eat these animals we consume some of the toxins as well. It is recommended that pregnant women do not eat seafood because of the risk of giving their children mercury poisoning from the fish.
The Ocean is also good for our environment as it absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide pollution. Over 48% of our carbon dioxide pollution has been absorbed by the ocean. One reason this happens is when Phytoplankton absorb carbon out of the ocean during photosynthesis to make food for themselves. This is very important to the issue of pollution and global warming without the Ocean absorbing carbon dioxide there would be much more in the atmosphere today
The Ocean is vital for our survival as a species and helps us in more ways than we know. From supplying us with food, helping regulate our climate or helping reduce our carbon dioxide emissions without the ocean life on Earth would be unlivable. Whether one lives by the ocean or not, we are all affected by it and actions must be taken now to protect it because if the ocean is protected, the human race is protected as well.