The truth is, whether we’re ready to accept it or not, us humans are singlehandedly shattering the biodiversity of our environment. The time until our current ecosystem and our own expiration date is dwindling.
The primary component of the diversification of the Earth’s ecosystem stems from that of the oceans. Therefore, Obama’s new plan of action to preserve a larger portion of the undersea habitats has been given the green thumbs up by environmentalists.
This past month, President Barack Obama expanded the previously existing Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument, officially making it the largest marine sanctuary on earth. The tropical marine reserve is now six times its original size, at 490,000 square miles, an area a little larger than California and Texas combined. This reserve will better safeguard the deep coral reef, sea mounts (underwater mountains), and distinct marine ecosystem in the south-central Pacific Ocean.
First and foremost, thank you, Obama administration, for finally establishing something that should have been enacted long ago. Oceans encompass over 70% of the earth’s surface, yet we, the human race seem to care so little about it, despite the fact that our livelihood depends on it.
One: the ocean provides seafood. This may not seem significant at first, but what is often underestimated is the fact that the fish supply makes up the greatest percentage of the world’s protein consumption.
Two: not only do your stomachs count on the bounty of the ocean, but so do farm animals–another part of the human tertiary diet. According to the non-profit organization, The Nature Conservancy, 36 percent of all catches is ground up into fishmeal and oil to sustain farmed fish, chicken, and pigs.
Three: look through your house. Shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics, and many medicines all are byproducts of the ocean. For example, carrageenan, a purified extract of red seaweed, is used as a thickener and stabilizer agent in food. Also, allergy medicines contain anti-inflammatory properties that are derived from from sea whip corals.
Four: one in six jobs in the US is marine-related. These industries consist of tourism, mineral extraction, and marine transportation.
From day one, we have been told to recycle, save water and energy, and to pick up trash on beaches…yet no one seems to really listen. We as a society pride ourselves in the ability to reason and innovate–creating medicines that can prolong our life expectancy, yet we seem to be incapable of following the fundamental and elementary tasks of respecting this diverse and unique home we live in. People will pay millions of dollars to renovate their own personal houses, yet refuse to spare a dollar toward conserving the planet as a whole.
The ocean is a vast wonderland, with many parts awaiting discovery. According to marine biologist Dr. Paul Snelgrove, we know more about the surface of the moon…and even Mars than about the depths of the oceans right here on mother Earth. The expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is just one of many imperative strides toward the better preservation of this taken-for-granted jewel. Without the unparalleled diversity of the realm beneath the tides, where would we be? In the future, we may have to face that ugly fact.