No discussion of Ethical Omnivores or on the subject of food and health resources is complete without an in depth look at our planets greatest natural region. Namely water and oceans. For planet Earth is covered in 72% water. I would not be the first author to point out that the name Earth for our planet is wholly deceptive and insufficient to describe the true surface area. Were we honest about it our planet would be called Planet Water or perhaps Planet Oceans.
Today’s oceans are fraught with problems on all sides ranging from marine bycatch of fisheries, ghost netting, harvesting of petroleum and gasoline, unregulated or under regulated fisheries, depletion of ocean stocks, habitat destruction, pollution, sewage, and waste dumping just to name a few things.
But chemical waste and pollution further exacerbates the situation as persistent organic pollution such as DDT and PCBs enter the food chain and concentrate in the largest of predators and marine life. Increasingly seafood is showing greater yields of Methyl Mercury, Lead, Cadmium and other toxic compounds and given that 1 in 5 people on our planet depend almost exclusively upon this resource for food and livelihood, the imperiling of marine ecosystems through human industry and harvesting is a dangerous threat to our existence.
Marine regions must see an increase in areas set aside as preserves, parks, and protected zones. On land 18% of all land mass has been set aside and protected. While in the oceans less than 1% is afforded the same protection. This must change if we are not to see a total collapse in marine stocks in the next three decades or so.
It should further be pointed out that the food chains upon which all marine life depend can and do regulate much of terrestrial living conditions. 70% of our annual oxygen (O2) supply is produced in the oceans by phytoplankton. These same single celled plants also absorb over 80% of our carbon dioxide (CO2) waste gas from automobiles and industry. And given that CO2 is the number one “greenhouse gas” fueling climate change and global warming, this resource becomes critical to all terrestrial organisms.
Oceans regulate weather conditions, precipitation, and climate on a scale that most people simply never realize and so the expression “No blue, no green!” is quite correct and if we are to be responsible stewards of our planet, then we must place ocean conservation, regulation of marine stocks, protecting marine nurseries, estuaries, and reef systems on a top priority if we are to continue as a species.
As ethical omnivores we have a strong investment in the health and welfare of this resource. As human beings we have a strong motivation to see balance maintained and protection of this critical resource furthered as we move into the future. For as many issues as oceans face, there are equally a great number of resources and solutions in place and in the works. It is up to us to move forward and support these with enthusiasm, vigor, and a sense of urgency.
It’s never too let to be the voice of hope and the power behind protecting this vast and vital resource. To do anything less would be irresponsible, and unethical. So let’s all be ethical and do our part. Thank you!
Thank you Sylvia, it is a far unappreciated issue. I believe when it comes to oceans the problem is very much an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. Unfortunately. Cheers!
Great blog Erik. Thanks for the figures and explanations. I have already shared once today about EOM on my FB page and will share this blog tomorrow (don’t wanna wear everyone out LOL). Until you and Lana starting explaining this ocean stuff and it’s interrelatedness to the land, I must admit I really had no idea. Now I talk to others about it and succinct subject matter like this really helps me to continue to do that 🙂
Thanks Lizzie! it’s a very important issue and one dear to my heart. Cheers!
A thoughtful piece!! Thank you! Though I live in the mountains of New Mexico o spend much time aboard my boat cruising the coastal U. S. & Bahamas Islands, the beauty of our world’s waters mezmerizes me. But it’s plight saddens me beyond belief.
Fabulous summary of the issues, Eric!! I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the extent of the problems our oceans face. This gives me a succinct way to have those conversations and maintain my sanity! 🙂
An excellent and informative blog Eric. Thank you for posting and for all the great work that you do!
Thank you Eric. I must also speak of the tragic loss of the incredible, precious beauty contained below the surface. Coral reef’s skeletal remains can be found over vast areas, void of the amazing life that thrived there not long ago. This should be a frightening reminder how desperately this needs to be addressed.