The nice thing about planting trees on Earth Day is that it's something everyone can do, and has a result that everyone can appreciate. It's a bit more difficult to, say, try and plant a coral reef, or mount a campaign to save these stud muffins. But on Earth Day, it's critical to remind ourselves that our Earth is, in fact, 70% ocean, and the ocean represents critical sources of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and food. Just because we can't see the damage we're doing as easily as deforestation or air pollution doesn't mean we're not doing it:
- And getting polluted with millions of tonnes of garbage and chemicals;
- And getting overfished at a rate so rapid entire species are on the brink.
Wait - don't get too depressed and click over to buzzfeed! Here's something to calm you down. And there are things we are doing, can do, will do, and must do to change some of those numbers. This list is absolutely non-exhaustive, but represents some of what's going on:
- Recognizing and valuing "blue carbon" and protecting carbon sinks like marshes and mangroves;
- Growing coalitions of groups working on plastics, garbage, chemicals, biodiversity, and fishing, from Secretary of State John Kerry's recent announcement of the "Our Ocean" global conference to the Healthy Oceans Coalition;
- Promoting "Marine Protected Areas" in zones of high biodiversity - just like national parks;
- Knowing what fish you buy and eat, with fun and easy apps like this one from the Monterey Aquarium;
- Saying no and no and no to deep sea ocean mining and drilling;
- Cracking down on the hunting of whales, sharks, and dolphins and promoting safer fishing alternatives;
There is nothing so beautiful and unique as our Earth - all of it - no matter how many others future planets scientists might find. It nurtures us and it hurts us, protects us and exposes us, gives birth to us and embraces us when we return. It is us, and we are it, until the very end.