Respecting the oceans is the first step towards protecting them, an act which is vital for our collective wellbeing.
Oceans not only house a wealth of protein for people, but they are critical for absorbing greenhouse gases and for maintaining the health of planet Earth. Further, they sustain remarkable biodiversity and beauty that should be enjoyed by all into the future. This is why it’s important to act. "There are 7.7 billion of us on the planet," Mike says. "A high percentage of those live close to coastlines, and the brutal truth is, we all have an impact.”
"We can all have a role, even if you consider it quite minor."
Professor Mike Kingsford
What we can do to help the oceans
Historically, caring for the reef was left to the governments. But we all have roles to play.
Climate change is altering oceans and the nature of environments in which marine organisms live. Minimising our use of fossil fuels and maximising our use of alternative energy such as solar, wind driven and tidal power all helps to reduce global emissions. Fisheries are important worldwide, but consider how those fish are caught and whether practices are sustainable without destroying habitats and non-target species.
The nature of development matters. For example, it is important to consider the consequences of building on shorelines or removing habitats such as mangroves.
“We need to respect habitats, like mangroves, which people think are smelly and nasty but are actually important recruitment areas for fish, and they maintain our coastline,” Mike explains.
All of us can contribute to keep the oceans clean, “like respecting the ocean by not dumping water bottles and other plastic rubbish in there. Because plastics can last in the system for a very long while and affect many levels of the food chain
People can help the ocean is by joining beach clean-ups, which is also a good way to meet like-minded people. At the end of the day it is only through the view of ‘the masses’ that political change can place greater emphasis on the value of our oceans.