World Wildlife Fund
WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS (leprovoc.com) - The status of our oceans has recently come up more and more in the news due to an extremist publication claiming to be an obituary for the Great Barrier Reef. While scientists have come back with responses claiming the reef is not dead, they have also made it clear that the oceans are in trouble.
I can agree with the experts that the obituary, published on Outside Online and written by Rowan Jacobsen, is an exaggeration. The Great Barrier Reef is in a dangerous state, but it is still very much alive. However, I think that the obituary spurred up some incredibly necessary discussion. Our oceans are far from the picturesque, clear and perfect habitats we see in photographs for vacation websites and travel destinations.
It’s easy to hear about the garbage patches in the ocean and assume the problem lies with companies that dump their trash into the ocean directly. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “80 percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land.” The way we dispose of trash is crucial to the well-being of our marine ecosystems. The World Wildlife Fund claims, “if not disposed of correctly, almost everything we throw away can reach the sea.”
In addition to the threats of garbage in our oceans, other problems include oil spills, sewage disposal and chemicals that are toxic to animals. Again, it is simple to blame large oil companies for their oil spills and call them the main factor of this type of pollution, but “nearly 85 percent of oil in U.S. coastal waters comes from runoff, polluted rivers, airplanes and small boats and jet skis,” according to the Smithsonian.
The World Wildlife Fund says it has been “assumed that the ocean was so large that all pollutants would be diluted and dispersed to safe levels. But in reality, they have not disappeared - and some toxic manmade chemicals have even become more concentrated as they have entered the food chain.” In order to improve our current situation, we as human beings must accept the areas in which we have failed our world, and proceed to do more to improve its conditions.
The ocean is in trouble. There is no way to deny that our practices have been unacceptable if we hope to keep our marine ecosystems active and flourishing. However, there’s always hope. According to the Smithsonian, “the first step in making a difference is learning about the ocean and how your actions have an impact.”
By working towards making better choices about products we purchase, waste we dispose of and chemicals we release into the environment, we can empower ourselves and others to be more eco-friendly.
If you don’t care to read an actual obituary for a beloved coral reef, action must be taken. Be conscientious of your carbon footprint and how your day-to-day choices impact the world around you. Do research into your own habits and your community’s habits to see where improvements can be made.
We are lucky that Rowan jumped the gun with his article and the Great Barrier Reef is still prospering. But if this is just a passing craze, and nothing is done to change the way we treat our resources and make our choices, we will be in for a terrible taste of harsh reality.
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Updated 173 days ago Article ID# 3957849
World Wildlife Fund