Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ocean Connection: Saving Ourselves

An entire dock from Japan's Tsunami washed ashore on the coast of Oregon today. If this isn't proof that we are all connected by our oceans, I don't know what is. BBC News reports that the 160 ton dock traveled some 5000 miles across the Pacific over the past fifteen months to wash ashore today. It is part of an estimated 20 million tons of debris that was washed out to sea during Japan's Tsunami, much of which is still likely to be floating to points around the globe if this enormous dock made of concrete and steel is any indication.

I have to say what I find most disturbing from the BBC report was the news that "authorities" who are trying to decide what to do with the dock, now that they know it's radiation free, are thinking of towing it back out to sea. Like the ocean is every one's free dumping zone. Isn't it about time we stopped thinking this way? Perhaps I'd be okay if they were thinking of sinking it someplace that needs coral reef growth, if corals will even grow on it. But, I don't think this is the case off the coast of Oregon. What would be mag, though I'm not sure it's possible, would be if they could somehow recycle some of it's steel and concrete. There may be reasons that isn't feasible. I'll admit I'm no expert on concrete and steel waste. But, thinking along the lines of "we'll simply tow it back out to sea and dump it," cannot possibly be the best plan of action. When will we stop purposely trashing our oceans?

Maybe you live inland like me, where it's easy to think this isn't your problem. After all, you aren't the one putting junk into our oceans, right?And see, that's where you'd be wrong. Lots of the trash and debris that ends up in our oceans is washed there from all the inland waterways, carried via our creeks, rivers, streams, and canals. So, the trashing of the ocean is every one's problem. We are all culpable, and we are all affected in more ways than you might at first suppose.

The Nature Conservancy gives some good examples of how we are all connected to the oceans. First and foremost, oceans absorb nearly one-third of the human caused carbon-dioxide emissions on earth. Plus, oceans provide us with kelp which is used to make a ton of stuff from dairy products to shampoo to frozen foods to pharmaceuticals. In fact, the ocean provides us with $21 trillion dollars in goods and services, 70% more than what we get from land. And here's a good one. Compounds from coral reef plants and animals are used to help treat cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis, heart disease, viruses, and more. So, it's not just the turtles, the dolphins and whales you'd be saving if you work to clean our waterways, our beaches, and help to stop pollution. The fact is, you may very well be helping to save yourself. What better reason is there to get involved than that?

Head on over to The Nature Conservancy to find out what you can do to help clean up our oceans. There are all kinds of ways to get involved.

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