Yesterday may have been Mother’s Day, but today is Mother Ocean Day. What the heck is that? Good question. It’s only been around for eight years, so don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of the day before. The idea to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the ocean on May 10 came from the South Florida Kayak Fishing Club and the group has asked the City of Miami to make it official. But for now, we’d like to celebrate unofficially because the ocean is truly a wonder, and one that needs our help. Today’s blog is about our planet’s five oceans and how video is helping educate us about their importance.
The Earth’s oceans are under attack. Up to an estimated 80% of all life on the planet is found under the waves and we haven’t been very kind to this biome. Here’s a rundown of the biggest threats to our oceans:
Plastic. There’s no denying that plastic is cheap to manufacture, durable and disposable. All are bad news for the oceans because a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every minute.
Oil Drilling & Pipelines. Most people think of oil spills when they think of oil pollution in the ocean. But those spills only account for 10% of marine oil pollution, while the rest comes mostly from shipping and drilling.
Melting Ice Caps. The ice caps are melting, and some estimates suggest the Arctic Ocean could have ice-free summers in as little as 30 years. All this melting leads to changes in ocean currents, more deadly storms, and more frequent floods.
Overfishing. Destructive habits such as bottom-trawling are destroying seabed habitats. At this point, 90% of the world’s wild fish are either fully- or over-exploited.
We know these facts are hard to read, but it’s important to understand why the oceans are in peril. Mother Ocean Day is an opportunity to think about what’s happening in our oceans. If you’d like to hear more difficult truths, the documentary Seaspiracy from Netflix is a good example of the power of video to educate and awaken.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Yes, there is a lot of garbage in the ocean and you may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. There are actually five garbage patches across the oceans, but this one is the biggest. In just this one example, it’s estimated that 80,000 tons of waste are floating around. Any guess on what researchers found makes up 99% of the garbage patch’s composition? Plastic. It’s probably hard to understand the scope of this patch, but that’s where video comes in. The animated explainer below helps viewers wrap their heads around the concept and makes a memorable impression.
Mother Ocean Day Facts
Mother Ocean Day quiz: can you name all five oceans? There’s the Antarctic or the Southern Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. Together, they cover about 70% of the Earth. Here are some ocean facts that may surprise you.
- Less than 10% of the ocean has been explored by humans
- There are most likely at least 750,000 marine species in the oceans
- The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick with the difference between high and low tide taller than a three-story building
- The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest water body, occupying a third of the Earth’s surface
- Blue whales are the largest animals to ever exist on our planet (even bigger than the greatest known dinosaurs) with hearts the size of small cars
If you’d like to enjoy a slice of ocean life, check out this year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher. It’s the beautifully-shot and told story about a filmmaker who befriends and octopus while swimming off the coast of South Africa (Atlantic Ocean). It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the emotion video can convey and evoke.
Do Your Part
Respecting our oceans is the right thing to do for the ocean ecosystem itself. But the truth is, the health of oceans affect all of us. These bodies of water absorb over 90% of excess atmospheric heat trapped by greenhouse gases. The oceans provide livelihoods for more than six billion people. Last year, warmer seas helped fuel a record hurricane season in the Atlantic. For these reasons and more, we need to do our best to do our part. Educate yourself—there’s a lot of video out there with information on what’s happening and how you can make a difference. Find the changes that make sense for you and help protect our oceans. Consider saying no to single-use plastics, eat only sustainable seafood, and drive less. It’s in the best interest of the oceans, but the positive effects will reach far beyond the water. Happy Mother Ocean Day!