“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”- Jacques Yves Cousteau
The ocean is the heart of the planet. Water covers more than two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. Ocean plants produce most of the oxygen we breathe, and the deep waters are home to wildlife and some of the biggest creatures on earth. It provides us with food, jobs, life, play, and sailing! It gives us everything; without it, we cannot survive. By experiencing the ocean first hand on a boat, you will be amazed by its beauty, gain a deep respect for its power, and also see its decline. Why should we care so much about the creatures that live in the ocean? Does it really matter if a species gets lost? What does that mean for us?
Seven reasons why the ocean is important.
Source of oxygen
We can go weeks without food, days without water but not even an hour without oxygen. It’s is often thought that rainforests are the primary source of our oxygen on our planet, but it is the ocean that provides us with the most oxygen we breathe. It doesn’t matter how far you live from the sea, for at least 50% of your breaths you are dependent on the ocean. Don’t worry; you won’t need trees in the middle of the Atlantic – the phytoplankton has got you covered. These tiny little sea weeds act in the same way in the sea as tree leaves do on land. Plankton absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. You don’t see them, so we tend to forget about them, if we even know about them in the first place. They are one of the tiniest beings on the planet, but one of the most important to have around, keeping us alive.
In many ways, the ocean regulates our climate. It soaks up heat and transports warm water from the equator to the poles, and cold water from the poles to the tropics. Without these currents, the weather would be extreme in some regions, and fewer places would be habitable. The ocean regulates rain and droughts. With holding 97% of the water of our planet, almost all rain that drops on land comes from the ocean. The ocean absorbs CO2, to keep the carbon cycle, and accordingly temperatures on earth, in balance. It makes the ocean our global climate control system.
The ocean is the number one source of protein for more than a billion people. With the world population growing by 1.5 million people every week, we are relying on the ocean more and more for survival.
The ocean is not just home to us ocean lovers. The ocean is home to the greatest abundance of life on our planet. When you cross an ocean, you will see dolphins, whales, an occasional leaping fish, or a turtle popping up to take a breath. That’s just what you see on the surface; there is more life below the ocean’s surface than on land. With more than 60% of the world’s population living on the coastline, we all depend on a healthy sea just as much as these beautiful creatures.
The ocean is a happy-zone! The ocean is our temple, our life, our second home, our exhilaration place. It’s where we swim, surf, sail, dive, chillax, and ‘lime’. Family holidays and Sundays often happen on the beach. For sailors, fisherman and islanders, it also is a transport zone. The ocean carries us to new lands. As sailors, we also serve as educators, ambassadors and advocates of a lifestyle on the water. Together we share a passion for the ocean, and an avid desire to keep our playground clean and safe forever. Waterways are key to our health, for us and future generations.
The ocean gives jobs to fishermen, lifeguards, surf instructors, harbours, (free)diving schools, marine-based tour operators, water sports businesses, holiday accommodations, and, of course, sailors!
Water means life. We are born out of water, our body is mostly made of water, our planet is two-thirds water, and we cannot live without it. Without it, there would not be life on this planet. We live in a watery world. Don’t you just feel great when you’re near, in, or on the sea? Why is this? Breathing the fresh ocean air gives us oxygen and energy. The ocean is a powerful healing force. When we dip in the water, our inner dolphin gets released. It’s called the “mammalian diving reflex.” I learned this when I started freediving. When our face touches water, our heart rate immediately slows down, and blood moves from the extremities to the brain, heart and vital organs of our body. Seals and dolphins have this reflex, and so do we! It wakes us up and makes us feel vibrant and alive. This is pure science. The ocean is therapeutic. When we see, feel, hear, smell or taste water we’re happy and at peace. Yet, we still know more about Mars than we know about the ocean!
A healthy ocean keeps us healthy on earth. We are alive right now because of the oceans. Now the ocean needs to be kept alive by us. The choices we make now determine our future, and our children’s future. We have the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us. Action-Time!