In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and in continuing tradition) we’re going to compile a list of all the reasons we have to thank the oceans! But because there are a lot, we’ll narrow it down to the TOP FIVE REASONS YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON THE OCEAN! **
** Just wanted to make things a little more dramatic. Though, some of these things are pretty important.
1. OXYGEN – This is probably the biggest and any thanks should be specifically directed at phytoplankton. These tiny, plant like-organisms that float all over the ocean (and in lakes, rivers, and estuaries, too) provide the vast majority of oxygen we breathe. Without them (and the oceans), we wouldn’t even exist.
2. FOOD – The ocean is a HUGE supplier of food world-wide. From Mahi-Mahi to shrimp to seaweed and beyond, a lot of societies around the world rely on the food the ocean provides. And to ensure you make sustainable seafood choices, check out Seafood Watch from Monterey Bay Aquariums before you dig in to your next seafood feast.
3. MEDICINE – The biomedical industry is constantly finding new medicines from creatures among the sea. Here’s a great example from the Smithsonian Institute: From Sea Sponge to HIV Medicine. Just another reason to protect those coral reefs – they may save your life one day!
4. FINDING NEMO – Okay, this one is kind of silly, but the oceans also provide entertainment, relaxation, and a thriving tourist industry. Many communities (and countries) rely on the ocean tourist industry to survive. We have to thank (and protect) what many of these tourist industries thrive on: the ocean (and it’s crystal blue waters).
5. GLOBAL TRADE – And this one is kind of random, but the vast majority of international trade is conducted on our world’s oceans through shipping. Without the oceans (and the ships that operate on the ocean) we wouldn’t have any of the products that say ‘Made in China’. Not only is this about getting goods from other places, but, according to NOAA, 95% of US foreign trade is conducted through container shipping on our oceans. No oceans = no trade.
So this Thanksgiving, when you’re all gathered with family and friends, remember to take time to thank the ocean for all it provides and remember that the ocean’s health (and in response, all the things it provides us) depends on OUR actions.