Our Children Bid Ye, Mind The Sea

"We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future" -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Our youth face an ocean with ever diminishing health. If we can instill them with the right mindfulness early on, then perhaps we may finally be able to make a difference. Yes, finally, because we have all hoped to make a differnece for decades and yet the problem worsens. Hope is one thing, but it is for the helpless. Mindfulness, on the other hand is for the able and it directs involvement and action. The truth of the matter is, the greatest battle that our oceans face is not against villains who have purposely devastated our coral reefs, over-fished, and dumped loads of toxins and pollutants into the water. What we face is a battle of awareness, a fight for action, and a war of mindfulness against every person living in our global 21st century culture.

Mindfulness, as defined by Psychology Today is "a state of active, open attention on the present. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience." We must be mindful of our world's crisis impending upon the oceans. This is something we cannot let pass us by, as though we are unaffected. So then, we face a battle against ourselves. It is only through first awareness and second mindfulness that we can make a change. We cannot look any further than our own mirrors to blame someone for the plight of our planet. When my dear young friend, Lindsay, asked to help with S4H2O I asked her to write an article concerning the health of the oceans. She wrote me an absolutely beautiful report entitled "Our Effect On Coral Reefs".

What a title. Likely unplanned and likely subconscious, the article is written, for the most part, very objectively. But the title is strikingly subjective. OUR Effect on Coral Reefs. This is not an issue that we can separate from ourselves if we have any desire or hope for a beautiful world for ourselves and our children. This is not an issue to affect our grandchildren. It is upon us. This article written by Lindsay, 13, highlights many of the effects humans have had and continue to inflict on our marine ecosystems.

 

Our Effect On Coral Reefs

"Our oceans have changed greatly over the years. Before all the over pollution that is caused by commercial factories, auto mobiles, and humans themselves, our oceans were much happier. To this day, roughly 2,245 marine species are endangered and it is mostly due to a direct or indirect effect from humans. Coral reefs are a big factor which attribute to the health all of marine life, as they support more species than any other oceanic environment in the world.

Often overlooked, the reefs are extremely crucial to ocean ecosystems and marine life. Coral reefs are the most diverse out of all marine ecosystems and to this day they are extremely endangered. Here are the facts:

  • Almost 25% of all marine species are dependent on the reefs for shelter and food
  • About a decade ago the world lost 16% of it’s coral reefs
  • 90% of all coral reef life has declined
  • Only 20% of live coral reefs are left in our oceans
  • 75% of all coral reefs are in danger

The three main causes to endangered coral reefs are warming waters, overfishing, and pollution.

With ocean waters warmer than ever, reefs are put into even more danger. Coral is very sensitive to temperature changes so when ocean waters warm, and stay warm for periods of time, it promotes coral bleaching. This is when coral reefs are under stress. It mainly happens when water temperatures have risen dramatically. When coral reefs are stressed, they lose the algae they depend on for survival. After the algae leaves, coral loses all of its natural color and turns completely white; hence the name bleaching.

Overfishing is a term used when fish are caught faster than they can reproduce. Almost 55% of all coral reefs are effected by overfishing. People use destructive methods to overfish including but not limited to: the use of harmful fishing gear, the use of cyanide to capture fish, and even the use of explosives to kill fish in large quantities. All of these methods have a direct impact on coral reefs and therefore harm the species that depend on the reefs for survival. Some of the top overfished species are: Atlantic Halibut, Bocaccio Rockfish, and most of all the Bluefin Tuna. When people overfish they are almost asking for a species to go extinct.

Pollution isn’t only a rising concern for coral reefs but for the rest of the planet too. Excess fertilizer, waste, and pesticides flow off of farmland into the ocean. This results in decreased oxygen and poor quality of the water. This runoff in the ocean can cause excess amounts of algae to form on the coral, overcrowding it and harming the ecosystem. Pesticides can also disrupt the growth of the coral. Debris or trash in the ocean kill several reef species. The debris can cause fish to get tangled in and can even break off parts of the coral.

Now more than ever, coral reefs are dying along with many other aquatic species due to other humans. If we don’t start acting now, we could lose so many other species that we haven’t even discovered yet. It’s up to us to help prevent coral reef extinction."

 

It is up to us to prevent the destruction of all marine ecosystems, which would lead inevitable to our own destruction. Okay. So we practice mindfulness for the ocean then. How do we go about doing this? Here you go! 

  • Conserve energy
  • Download the Seafood Watch App
    • www.seafoodwatch.org
  • Pick up more trash than you leave
  • Elect environmentally mindful and responsible candidates
  • Reduce your use of plastics, especially disposable plastics
    • myplasticfreelife.com
  • Encourage your friends and communities to do the same
  • Join a society of like minded individuals to keep you inspired to change the world
    • www.seashepherd.org
    • www.oceanconservation.org
    • www.blueoceansociety
Meghan Edwards