World Oceans Day: 5 Things You Need to Know

Since today is (unofficially) World Oceans Day, I thought I’d compile a list of important facts about the ocean that you may not know. Sure, you can identify a clownfish (shout-out to my buddy Nemo) and have finally learned how to pronounce “anemone”, but did you know that oceans provide 80% of our oxygen? Or that here in Canada many of us knowingly contribute to the widespread disintegration of marine ecosystems?

 

Picture and caption courtesy of National Geographic: “A green sea turtle floats past a reef toward open waters near Palau in the Pacific Ocean. Green sea turtles are one of the most endangered animal species on the planet.”

 
Most of these facts are from http://www.worldoceansday.ca or http://www.ocean.nationalgeographic.com:

1. The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and is home to roughly one million species, some of which are yet to be discovered and named. Each one is unique and plays an important role in the ocean’s ecosystems!

2. Sadly, our beautiful, pristine oceans have become “garbage dumps.” When beach-goers and boaters carelessly toss plastic, styrofoam and other trash into the water, marine life – including fish, whales, birds, and turtles – ingests it and the consequences are dire.

3. There are over 2,000 endangered marine species around the world, including polar bears, sea turtles, bluefin tuna, hammerhead sharks, certain types of coral, and blue whales, the largest living mammal on Earth.

4. An estimated 8 million tons (!) of garbage finds its way into our oceans each year. The largest concentration of plastic is found in the North Atlantic garbage patch, a massive area of debris that the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe are responsible for.

5. Approximately 3.5 billion people currently depend on the ocean for their primary source of food. Experts estimate this number will double in 20 years, which is why there has been a global surge in sustainable fishing practices in the last decade.

Wow! That was a lot of (necessary) info. It’s so great that people have started to take steps towards leading more eco-friendly lives. In fact, there are some smart lifestyle choices we should all be making. For example, we can choose to eat only sustainably-caught seafood, we can switch from plastic and paper to reusable and recyclable household items, and we can walk, bike, or carpool when possible in order to reduce our carbon footprint. For more info, click here.

P.S.: Check out these 10 awesome underwater sites! http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-12-18/10-incredible-underwater-sites-around-the-world-bali-tulum-maldives/?tw=social

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