5 Reasons to Give a $h!t About Our Oceans
There’s a reason why so many of us are drawn to Miami and whether you realize it or not, the ocean has a lot to do with it. We turn to the ocean for calm and clarity, tourists flock to our beaches for vacation, and we’ve discovered thrilling ways to play in, on, and under the sea.
Yet for some reason, we continue to do things that kill the ocean. Enough is enough! Let these 5 simple realities serve as your wake-up call for to care about the ocean – because it’s not too late:
Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by plants in the ocean while one-third of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions warming the planet is absorbed by the oceans. Carbon is also stored in mangroves, seagrass beds, and salt marshes, all parts of our Florida ecosystem. These natural sinks for carbon store up to 50 times the amount of carbon per hectare as tropical forests. The oceans even control our weather and through evaporation, form clouds that return the water as rain. Think, typical Florida summer thunderstorms or this year’s El Niño current and how it affects us in Miami.
In Miami, we love our seafood. With all of the latin and Caribbean influences in Miami, you are bound to find fish on the menu. From ceviche to stone crab to a fully fried fish. Worldwide, fish and shellfish are the primary protein sources for more than 1 billion people. But it doesn’t stop there. Peanut butter, beer, soymilk, and toothpaste are all made from algae and kelp harvested from the sea. Under sustainable practices, the ocean provides food security.
Coral reefs produce 400 times more medicines as compared to land. Everything from cosmetics to arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, viruses and other diseases are made using ocean-based ingredients. Blue-green algae have even been endorsed by the National Cancer Institute for the treatment of tumors and melanoma. And the only place on Earth to find the clotting agent lysate, necessary for FDA-required testing of medical implant devices, is within the blood of horseshoe crabs. Don’t worry, no horseshoe crabs are ever harmed in the process!
Our Jobs and The Economy
5.8 million jobs in Florida are marine-related and more than $562 billion in revenue is generated from ocean tourism, recreation, and living resources. Between cruising, fishing, hanging out at the beach and visiting a second home, more people come to Florida to play and relax ocean side, than any other state in the country. We have coral reefs to thank for that! Teaming with life, coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. Just offshore Miami-Dade County, there are 3 coral reefs that extend 358 miles from the Dry Tortugas National Park off of the Florida Keys all the way up to Martin County. These reefs protect delicate ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and mangroves and shield us from the results of hurricanes and storm surges. How lucky are we?
A Shared Resource
With 71% of the Earth’s surface covered in water, it’s no wonder that Earth is called “the blue planet”. As it is hopefully apparent, the oceans are our lifeline and when the oceans are healthy, we are healthy. Because we are all connected to the ocean, it is each of our personal responsibilities to protect our oceans.
Developing a “blue mind”, that is one in which we intentionally buy, ban, or believe in things and people that promote a healthy ocean, is actually easier than you may think.