Our big blue needs us. Here’s why.
In honor of World Ocean Day, we’re raising awareness around the importance of our big blue. Not only does it produce over half of the world’s oxygen, it also stores 50x more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
Why is the ocean so important?
The ocean produces
50-80% of the oxygen we breathe on planet Earth. Around 50% is produced by phytoplankton which release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis. It also stores 50x more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, the oceans act as a natural force for climate regulation, transporting heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.
It’s home to around 2.2 million species, with 50-80% of all life on Earth under the sea. From “immortal” jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) that can transform themselves into a younger state to horseshoe crabs that have existed longer than the dinosaurs (over 300 million years)—the ocean is filled with beauty, mystery and wonder.
What’s threatening it?
1. Industrial fishing and fish farming (overfishing, bycatch, thrawling)
Due to increasing demand and lack of regulations, the fishing industry resorts to harmful practices which deeply affect marine biodiversity and the balance of ocean ecosystems. (Source: Earth.org)
2. Coastal and plastic pollution
Around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year—the equivalent of 5 garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world. (Source: National Geographic)
3. Habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity
UNESCO estimates that without significant changes to the way we treat marine biodiversity, by the year 2100 more than half of the world’s marine species may be on the brink of extinction. (Source: UNESCO)
4. Ocean warming
The ocean absorbs most of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to rising ocean temperatures. This in turn affects marine species and ecosystems, and causes coral bleaching. (Source: IUCN)
Ocean acidification is likely to make large areas of oceans inhospitable to coral reefs, affecting tourism, food security, shoreline protection, and biodiversity. (Source: UNESCO)
How can you help?
1. Check the label
Overfishing is one of the greatest threats our ocean faces and global fish populations are rapidly decreasing due to high demand and irresponsible fishing practices. Help keep fisheries and fish stock healthy by reducing your fish intake if you can.
2. Reduce your carbon emissions
In the last 50 years, the ocean has absorbed 90% of the excess heat created by burning fossil fuels. This has led to warmer waters, which can affect where fish swim, bleach coral reefs, change how marine species reproduce, speed up sea-level rise and even alter weather events up on land. Simple steps to reduce your personal emissions include walking or cycling rather than driving, switching to a mainly plant-based diet, or shopping more responsibly.
3. Avoid single-use plastics
Single-use plastics (like non-reusable water bottles, take-away packaging, plastic bags and straws) pollute our ocean, can destroy ecosystems and endanger marine life. Stay clear!
How is PANGAIA helping?
For each blue product sold in June 2021, we made a donation to marine researcher Michael Mwango'mbe, who is working to preserve marine biodiversity in Kenya.
We also always plant, protect or restore 1 tree per product sold, through the Tomorrow Tree Fund. Some of the projects supported by the fund, such as mangrove tree planting, are directly linked to ocean health. Mangroves create critical habitat for marine life and provide sustainable employment for local communities.
Shop to support: donate Michael Mwango'mbe
Michael is a researcher who is building a database on dolphin and whale activity along the Kenyan coast. With threats such as climate change, overfishing, loss of habitat and unregulated tourism, the future of the dolphins and whales of Kenya is uncertain. Marine mammals are slow to recover from small drops in numbers and they are crucial to marine ecosystems. It is our duty to protect and preserve them.
Donate to Michael now to support marine biodiversity.