Our agricultural runoff, oil rigs, plastic, fish-glut, and noises are killing the ocean.
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Image Credit: Dana Ellis Hunnes

My son pondered the ocean: Its life, its force, its energy, its vastness, and its beauty. Sadly, climate change and human interference could change all that.

As I sat behind my son, watching him take in and rejoice the awe-inspiring ocean, I couldn’t shake my overwhelming worry for his future and for its future.

It used to be that the oceans were the last untouched and wild places on the planet. There were minimal signs of man’s influence until the last century.

For hundreds of thousands, even millions of years, oceanic species flourished in a beautiful equilibrium that can only come from simultaneous co-existence and evolution.

Coral reefs housed and supported hundreds of species, and the oceans could rejuvenate themselves when small-scale catastrophes occurred.

Today, more than 90% of large-fish species, including sharks have been culled, killed, or removed from the oceans. Our appetite for fish, sharks, and other marine life is decimating them.

We are systematically destroying millennia-old coral reefs and other habitats through climate change (oceanic warming), acidification (from carbon), and bottom-trawling fishing gear.

Small island nations are being forced to emigrate as ice melts in the Arctic and Antarctic, raising sea levels to unprecedented new highs.

Every year we increase the rate in which we are adding plastic and other deleterious chemical residues into the ocean, choking it. We watch as animals starve to death as plastic fills their stomachs, or drown to death as they get caught in nets, long-lines, and other fishing gear.

We know that if left alone, the ocean can and will repair itself.

However, year after year after year of warmer waters, chemical insults, and overfishing and exploitation of oceanic species are making this recovery increasingly difficult if not impossible.

Humans embarked on an unknown experiment. Our agricultural runoff, oil rigs, plastic, fish-glut, and noises are killing the ocean.

My son asks me “Mama, the ocean is big?” I respond, “yes, the ocean is very big.” He says, “There is a lot of water?” I say, “yes, there is so much water, you just can’t see it all”

And, silently in my mind I add, “or the destruction we [humans] created.”

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