Did you know that the ocean, which contains almost 95% of the planet’s wildlife, is the largest ecosystem on earth? However, that fact only skims the surface.
Here is another huge number that may surprise you. Phytoplankton living on the surface of the ocean produce up to 80% of the earth’s oxygen through photosynthesis and, in turn, generate over half of the oxygen we need to breathe.
Additionally, as with our ordinary houseplants, the phytoplankton also absorbs enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. Not only can carbon dioxide be unhealthy for humans, it is a major contributor to climate change. Consequently, the ocean is also responsible for regulating our climate and weather patterns across the globe.
Obviously, we also want to protect the ocean’s inhabitants from our pollution, which has a devastating effect that has become even more alarming in recent years. Plastics can entangle, injure and even suffocate marine life, but there are other dangerous side effects of our trash and contaminants. Floating debris can transport harmful, invasive species. Plus, toxins make their way down the food chain through marine life to us when they are absorbed or ingested by the fish we eat.
Here in Florida, the ocean is essential for everything from tourism to our very way of life. So, keeping our oceans free from pollution may be one of the most important things we do for this planet. We need to do our part by ridding the sea of litter when we happen to come across it; and, at the very least, using less of our own plastics and disposing of them properly – definitely not in our treasured waters.