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April 27, 2016. Life / Oceans

The Thin Blue Line

There is a thin blue line that separates what we know and understand about the oceans —what lies above, what the eye beholds—from what we cannot see—the mysteries of life teeming below

Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth

There is a thin blue line that separates what we know and understand about the oceans —what lies above, what the eye beholds—from what we cannot see—the mysteries of life teeming below. Our beautiful beaches, rugged shorelines, endless expanses of blue. To all appearances, life in the ocean is good, all is well. The picture is perfect—beautiful waters, busy fishermen, happy swimmers.

Underneath the peaceful mirror of water, however, lies a growing sea of concern and trouble. For those who dare look, the news is not so good and almost everywhere, too frightening to hear. The fish that once swam in abundant schools are being mined. Entire stocks of top predators— sharks, swordfish, tuna—have been extirpated.

Underneath the thin blue line we can see growing signs of climate change—corals dying as they endure warmer water; planktonic creatures that make up the foundation of the food chain are disappearing as the rich cool waters where they thrive become more acid with every new infusion of carbon dioxide.

In the Arctic, where the thin blue line was until recently covered in thick ice, we are now witnessing an unprecedented grab for mineral and fish resources. Industrialized nations are hurrying to exploit, pollute, slaughter and gain from a previously pristine ecosystem.

Over the next 10 years what we do preserve the ocean’s ability to provide vital ecological services like oxygen production, carbon sink and food, may be the most important thing we do over the next 10,000 years.

We need to realize that Earth is an ocean planet and we are all ocean creatures. If we fail to protect and understand the vastest, most important ecosystem on our planet and the role it plays in our survival, we will be making a catastrophic mistake.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)

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Oceans

Heart of our Blue Planet

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