Human impact on our oceans
It used to be easy for me to stand waist-deep in the ocean, feel the salt water mist on my face, the sand between my toes, and the wind through my hair, and think about the vastness and powerfulness of our oceans. To me it used to seem almost surreal, that there could exist this seemingly indestructible giant mass of water that literally stretched to the ends of the earth.
But as I've gotten older, and learned more about the constant abuse that our oceans take, my view of them has changed. Now, they seem much more vulnerable to me, and these days when I stand waist-deep in the water, I wonder what will be left for my children, and my children's children.
A recent article from the Charlotte Observer highlights a study that was done in part by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill regarding the harmful effects that human activities have on our oceans.
"A widely held view for much of the 20th century was that the Earth's oceans are so deep and vast that they can absorb humankind's pollution-bearing abuse without adverse consequences.
Now a new report shows the effects of that benighted view: Every square kilometer of the Earth's oceans is affected by human activities -- and more than 40 percent of the oceans show medium to very-high-impact threats."
The study took into consideration many different types of human-abuse factors such as runoff from fertilizer, global climate change, shipping, and overfishing. To see which parts of the oceans are most affected, view the entire study [pdf] as it was published in Science magazine. Be sure to check out page 2 of the report which features a global map, highlighting the parts of the ocean most affected by human impacts.