Oceans that make a difference
In honour of Earth Day yesterday, there now follows a ranking of the top oceans on Earth. Criteria included size, biodiversity, resources, and importance to the ecosystem.
- World Ocean: An interconnected system of water, the World Ocean contains the vast majority of Earth’s liquid water. All known lifeforms require a nonzero amount of water, and the vast majority of Earth’s biodiversity is aquatic. From algae to mangroves to sea snails to giant squids to porpoises, the biodiversity found in the World Ocean is staggering. But it is under threat. Humans are using Earth’s oceans as dumping grounds for their refuse, particularly plastics, most of which do not degrade. Toxins such as pesticides, mercury, and lead run off into the World Ocean and contaminate marine organisms all the way up the food web. In addition, the World Ocean’s ability to act as a repository for dissolved atmospheric gases is reaching its limit; the carbon dioxide that humans are spewing relentlessly into the atmosphere is acidifying ocean waters, and the global warming associated with the higher carbon dioxide levels is driving countless specieses toward extinction, particularly in the extraordinary diverse coral reefs. Humans depend upon the World Ocean for their survival. It is well past time for them to begin acting like it.