IThe surface of the Planet Earth is 70% percent ocean, 30 %
land... it should have been called "Ocean" not "Earth", really.
But I guess they didn't know that until they mapped the planet
and figured out it is round and mostly water.
The ocean rules all life on Earth, as is holds most of our bio
diversity, most of our food, rules the climate, disasters
etc.... only the major things that support life on Earth, right?
The ocean, much like all life, has a finely tuned balance that
has evolved over millions of years. As any system in balance, it
can be totally whacked out of joint if you take out one
component. Nature will adapt to small changes, but canít
withstand a major disruption.
Humans are wreaking havoc in the oceans. And they don't even
know how bad it is, because itís not visible on the surface.
On land we have managed to destroy most natural systems, have
ruined the balance of prey and predator, of the natural cycle of
life. We decide what gets to live and what has to be removed. No
predators are allowed to threaten our way of life. We wreck it,
then fill the gap with a few animals that are purposeful for us,
and create an artificial balance of sorts by culling,
domestication and breeding.
Just think, we have not only removed all predators, but the
grazers, birds and furry creatures that donít appeal to our
taste buds. We only allow cattle, pigs, turkeys and a few
species or deer and rabbits to inhabit the landscape that
surrounds us. Predators, such as a wolf or mountain lion, better
run for a nearby National Park or they are toast!
So the land is messed up and the animal world is destroyed,
caged or organized and managed in some weird way. So far we have
been getting away with only some devastating effects, which we
obviously tolerate as acceptable.
We simply could NEVER do this in the ocean. We can barely get
below 100m on a consistent basis. The average depth of the ocean
is 4000m. It's a three-dimensional space that we barely
understand, we can't manage and can't control. We don't even
have the technology to travel through most of it, except with
the occasional high tech, multi-million dollar submarine, or get
data, because satellite imagery can't penetrate the oceans
depths. Only a small percentage of the total ocean floor has
even been mapped.
Fish populations affect the food chain down all the way to
plankton and bacteria. The chemistry of the ocean is affected by
the animals; even the temperature of the water can change due to
increase or decrease of sea-grass, algae and plankton (which has
to be grazed by animals). Temperatures affect major currents.
Currents affect the climate (including El Nino), rainfall and
disaster such as drought, flood, and hurricanes and, in the end,
the global climate.
We can probably decimate a few species on the lower end of the
food chain and get away with it, but the top of the food chain
is critical. And who is at the top? Who controls the fish
populations? The apex predators! And who is one of the top
There are of course dolphins and whales, which also need to be
protected. The difference is that those guys hunt mostly live
food. Sharks remove the sick, dead or dying and therefore keep
populations healthy and the ocean free of excessive decay. Take
the sharks away and it will all fall apart. So whether you like
them or not, you need them for your quality of life. This sounds
very gloom and doom, but it's the truth.
The point is not that shark extinction is the one and only issue
that are most important. Climate change, ocean acidification and
plastic in the ocean are of course just as big an issue. The
fact is, it is all inter connected... Our lack of care supports
a completely new ecosystem - a global system of disasters,
pollution and extinction.