Why is the Marine ecosystem important
Humans have a mutually beneficial relation with the ecosystem around them, yet humans are the ones that are heavily dependent on the ecosystem. Marine ecosystem is especially important for the survival and endurance of humankind. Oceans determine the living conditions for human inhabitation through their characteristics of chemical composition, temperature, currents etc. This is the reason as to how the possibility of life is connected with the existence of water in outer space expeditions.
A natural resource which is essential and mandatory for human survival, is currently facing the threat of scarcity, acidification and pollution among other things. Ocean acidification is a result of increasing composition of carbon dioxide in the sea water, which disturbs the pH scale making it difficult for the sustenance of aquamarine life.
For instance, coral are disappearing fast due to the pH scale not enabling the formation of skeletons. This leads to the decline of coral reefs. Coral reefs are important as they act as a barrier against storms as well as prevent soil erosion in the costs. Coral reefs also provide job opportunities for the poor as it is used in medicines, pastes etc. Similarly, fisheries, which are the main source of livelihood for a lot of traditional fishing families in coastal areas, when depleted, can affect the economic activity of the coastal region.
According to the Sustainable Development Goals Report-2020, Covid 19 has seen a decrease in human activity which has relatively decreased the negative burden on oceans and seas, providing a chance to make marine-friendly recovery plans that allow the oceans and seas to recuperate.
Understanding the root cause for jeopardy for marine life
Ocean and seas are important sources of sustenance, livelihood, survival for the humankind and make the Earth inhabitable. However, pollution and contamination of water bodies by untreated and irresponsible dumping of chemical and plastic waste has led to the decline of the properties which make it an essential global resource.
Ocean acidification along with pollution and contamination of oceans is a leading cause of declining marine life, which are important to maintain the ecology of the oceans and thus the sustenance of human life. This is due to the oceans absorbing 30% of the carbon emitted by humans. In turn, marine life is threatened. Other human activities such as unsafe transport of chemicals and drilling ocean beds for fuels, has substantially decreased local marine ecosystems. Oil spills saw a significant loss of marine life.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the importance of oceans is based on both livelihood and existence. That is, not only do fisheries and corals provide livelihood opportunities, but also generate most of the oxygen human utilise and breathe, as well as monitor and regulate the climate patterns.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized the potential for oceans to act as an ally in containing and defeating the coronavirus pandemic, as the bacteria found in the depths of the ocean bed is utilised for testing the infection of the virus. The vast marine biodiversity is also useful in various sectors of healthcare, and manufacturing.
Changemakers fighting to save oceans and marine biodiversity
Besides marine biology constantly emphasizing on the importance of preservation of the marine ecosystems, with increasing adversity of climate change, more organizations and institutes have come up in support of the same. Ocean Conservancy is an advocacy group that has been working towards the interests of restoration of sustainable fisheries and protection of marine habitats. Marine Conservation Institute is a US based nonprofit which works towards protection of endangered and vulnerable marine ecosystems. The Surfrider foundation is a grassroots level nonprofit which specifically focuses on the cleaning and restoration of beaches and oceans, closely monitoring plastic waste, coastal preservation, beach access etc. Oceana is the largest marine based international advocacy organization that deals with preservation of marine biodiversity by challenging and suggesting sustainable policy making, through use of targeted campaigns. Project AWARE foundation is an organization that primarily focuses on conservation of deep water biodiversity and seabed debris cleaning, by employing trained scuba divers. The Coral Reef Alliance is an organization that is inclusive of the local communities, leaders, divers, researchers etc to protect the global coral reef ecosystem by leading holistic health and resilience programs for coral preservation.
What youth can do as a TAL transformer
Marine biodiversity is an important factor for sustenance of human life. It is threatened by the simplest human activities such as microplastics in cosmetics, to huge scale devastating activities such as oil spills. It is upon us to preserve living organisms and biodiversity that we share the planet with.
What you as a transformer for the society can do, is use social advocacy, philanthropy and entrepreneurial/business ideas in an innovative manner to provide a progressive direction for reaching the goal. Instances of which are as follows:
- Educate regarding the need to stop plastic to preserve water bodies
- Promote ocean friendly choices in everyday consumption
- Lobby for government protected or specially conserved ocean areas
- Fund ocean and beach clean ups
- Funds directed towards protection of vulnerable communities
- Invest in marine biology research
- Proposing safer ways of transport of harmful chemicals and fuels
- Construct mechanisms to balance the pH of water bodies
- Develop efficient technologies for effective and equitable conservation of marine biodiversity
United Nations (2020). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020. New York: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/
Sustainability Program Manager