This morning I read several articles which have just recently come out regarding our oceans and the wilderness left on our earth. These articles say that only 13% of the oceans are still considered wilderness, and these areas are in grave danger from fishing, climate change, and pollution.
What Is Wilderness?
Wilderness was determined by the scientists by taking into account 15 human stressors and their effect on the oceans. These stressors include fishing, pollution, various impacts from climate change, and so on. They determined that only 13% of the oceans were still pristine and considered wilderness. These areas are spread throughout the world, but mostly they are around the Arctic, the Antarctic, and some areas in the South Pacific islands. These areas are the hardest to get to for fishing and they are not in the travel lanes of commercial shipping.
Spread out throughout these articles I read were the opinions of the scientists and conservationists as to what is happening, and what we must do to stop it. They are calling for international agreements to protect what we have left, and to try to grow these areas into ever larger tracts of seas which are untouched by humans. They say that larger predators like sharks and tuna are being destroyed by the fishing industry because they do not reproduce fast enough to recover from being over fished.
Also, sediment runoff from the continents is destroying our oceans. The pollution in our runoff is astronomical, and is killing the coral reefs and other areas where 90% of the fish live. These areas are all in coastal waters. Again, they are calling on countries with coastal waters to improve their runoff so the pollution is not so bad. This will slowly help to improve the coastlines of our world.
The last point I will mention is climate change. The warming that is occurring in the world is causing our ice flows to start melting at alarming rates. This is opening up areas for fishing that previously been impossible to reach. Once more, they say that this must stop. They are calling for more marine parks to protect these areas.
What are we going to do? When I read articles such as these, I can get depressed. As an avid outdoorsman I hate anything which destroys our wilderness areas. We have so little land and sea areas which are protected. I am of the strong opinion that we must force the world into making these agreements which the scientists are calling for. I hate to think of pushing our weight around, so to speak, but it must be done for the sake of our environment. This is a life and death matter. It is not a joke! Only 13%! That is ridiculous. The oceans have always seemed so huge to me. How could we possibly destroy them? We have found a way. One scientist quipped that there soon would be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
I am determined to try to help these scientists in any way that I can. At the risk of making some people mad I will say I am not a tree hugger per se, but I do believe that we must protect our world for our children to enjoy, and to keep us around as a species. If we don’t do something about the oceans now, we will lose what we have left. I am going to do some research, and see what the average man or woman can do to help preserve our oceans. Obviously we can watch our pollution and our carbon footprint, but sometimes we must go beyond the basics and take action. I will keep you informed.
Here is a list of the articles I read for today’s discussion:
1. Only 13% of the World’s Oceans Remain Wild – EcoWatch
2. New Map Shows That Only 13% of the Oceans Are Truly Wild – The Conversation
3. Only 13% of the World’s Oceans Are Still Wild – Popular Science