From The Ocean Project:
The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport, and now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.
But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea.
There can be no doubt that our world is getting warmer. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years. By examining growth rings from trees and ice cores drilled in Antarctica, scientists have determined that the past decade was the warmest in more than four centuries, and that the current rate of warming is probably unprecedented in at least 10,000 years. In 1992, the more than 2500 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the warming is caused at least in part by emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use. As the world warms, the outlook for marine wildlife looks bleak unless we can turn down the heat by reducing concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.
The startling changes already beginning to affect marine life may turn out to be merely the tip of iceberg. Global warming is predicted to worsen rapidly, with average annual temperatures expected to increase by about 3 degrees C by the middle of the next century. Changes of this speed and magnitude could set off a chain reaction in marine ecosystems with truly appalling consequences for life in the sea and for human communities that depend on it. However, if we act now to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power stations and from vehicle exhausts, we stand a good chance of slowing the warming and helping to save a healthy ocean for future generations.
To read more about this serious issue, go to: The Facts .
To sign a petition for the U.N. to designate this day, June 8, as World Oceans Day worldwide go HERE .