The Gulf Oil Spill Is Insignificant - Our Oceans Are Dying

by Ginosar  

While we are contemplating all the agonies and damages the oil spill in the Gulf is causing, let's think a little deeper, about the ocean itself.

We use the ocean as dumping grounds, we use the oceans to get our sea foods, we use the oceans for recreation,  and it gives us access to some of our oil supply, but we forgot that the ocean is a living thing, perhaps the most crucial element of this Earth.

US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said long ago that: "Trees should have standing" too in the courts of law to be protected as equals, not just be used by humanity. The same should be said now about the ocean. We have forgotten how crucial is the ocean to the life of this limited Earth.

The oceans keep us alive.

The oceans cover 71% of the Earth surface, its average depth is 12,000 feet, and it is the most significant absorber of carbon gas. The oceans stabilize the global temperatures because of their massive energy mass. And  the oceans supply most of the oxygen to the earth living things, and the oceans drive the global water cycle.

The oceans have been stabilized by nature over millions of years and kept this Earth livable. We have been playing with this gift of nature and it is deteriorating in front of our eyes in speeds never experienced before in nature, possibly a thousand times aster than previous massive global changes.

We have overfished most of all the edible fish supplies in the oceans. We are draining much of our poisonous fertilizers into the ocean creating massive dead zones devoid of living things.

We have damped so much plastics that there a "Plastic Central" in the middle of the Pacific ocean, a vast pool of plastic junk covering hundreds of square miles, interfering with the natural flow of marine life.

And we have succeeded to rise the ocean temperature [the upper 2,000 feet] by over half a degree C, a very significant amount for the vastness of the oceans.

And to top it of, our global CO2 emissions increased the ocean acidity sufficiently to damage the skeletons of marine organisms and killing of many corrals colonies, the breading grounds of many fish and other sea life.

The temperature rise, and the related changes of natural near- shore upwelling of ocean waters is decreasing the supply of nutrition, the most basic food chain for ocean organism, thus decreasing the ocean food production.

Over 50,000 cargo ships in the world are emptying their sewer and contaminated ballast-water into the oceans.

Major oil spills get notorious attention, but beyond the US there are ongoing smaller oil spills in nearly every oil region in coastal areas and in the oceans that are accepted as normal, and no one is allowed to do anything to stop them. They are just part of our business as usual approach to environmental damages. This is happening for some time even in Canada!

The major rivers of China and India, for example, empty their contaminated waters directly into the ocean. And many other nations are doing the same. Our high water discharge standards are rare in the world.

The ocean used to absorb 60% of global CO2, but now it can absorb just 55% because of its higher temperature and higher acidity.

And these are just some of the ways we treat our life-giving oceans.

You combine all of these assaults on the oceans and they are losing their ability to sustain us as global climate stabilizer and the main protein supplier for billions of people.

How long can this be going on without catastrophic, irreversible impact?

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