Oceans are the lifeblood of planet Earth and humankind.
No matter how far you live from the ocean shore, oceans still affect your life and the lives of your family, friends and colleagues.
The air that you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the products that keep you warm, safe, informed, and entertained – all can come from the ocean.
World Wildlife Day 2019, themed “Life below water: for people and planet”, will highlight the critical issues and values of marine wildlife to our everyday lives on 3 March 2019.
Did you know?
- regulate our climate
- produce 50% of the oxygen on Earth, in other words every second breath we take
- provide nourishment for more than 3 billion people
- absorb 30% of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and 90% of the heat from climate change.
- oceans and seas make up two-thirds of the world’s surface and hold 97% of the planet’s water
“The rich ecosystems and species below water have sustained human civilisation and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, material for handicraft and construction to the very air we breathe,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association.
Penfold says oceans and marine species must be preserved and protected to sustain mankind and contribute to sustainable development, however, this preservation and protection has been severely impacted by unregulated or poorly managed human activities, including unregulated fisheries, pollution and climate change.
“About half the world’s population lives within coastal zones, and ocean-based businesses contribute hundreds of billions of Rands to the world’s economy. Historically, we thought that we could never take too much out of, or put too much waste into, the oceans.
“With the sheer number of people who use and depend on the ocean, and the sometimes-unwise practices humans adopt, we have created problems such as the overharvesting of resources, a reduction in biodiversity, and a degradation of marine habitats and species.”
The very ecosystems on which our survival depends are at risk, and we should become better stewards of our oceans, warns Penfold.