A good way to judge the general health of the world population is to examine the extent to which oceans and seas are becoming more and more polluted. Oceans are a critical point in the food chain for many societies, and when one species of ocean life is wiped out by pollution, many more species are sure to follow. As human beings, our ties to oceans and seas are immense, with the United Nations estimating that around 40% of human beings live in coastal areas. It’s not just vacationers that enjoy the ocean.
So if you’ve ever wondered about the human cost of polluted oceans, you’ve probably also thought about how much the environmental protection of the ocean can, in turn, help human beings across a variety of social strata and different cultures. Here are just a few ways in which saving the ocean can help save people too.
1. How Ocean Pollution Affects the Global Food Supply Chain
As oceans around the globe become more and more polluted, the food supply chain to an enormous amount of communities around the globe is deeply affected. Not only do commercial fishing companies and individuals who fish for a living lose work as sea life populations drop, but communities who derive most of their caloric intake and protein supply from seafood are affected also. Some experts believe that factors such as ocean pollution and global warming are even driving oceans towards a new mass-extinction event, an outcome that could be catastrophic for both sea life and human beings.
2. The Destruction of the Natural World is Happening Faster Than We Think
As seas and oceans grow more heavily polluted with each passing year, it seems less and less likely that future generations will be able to experience a life unaffected by environmental damage. As one recent video from a beach in the Dominican Republic shows, polluted oceans are not pretty, and it might just be a matter of time before more and more coastlines are deluged by garbage washing to shore.
3. Ocean Pollution is a Factor in Global Warming
While it is a secondary factor next to the burning of fossil fuels, ocean pollution still contributes heavily to climate change, and as global warming causes polar ice to melt and sea levels to rise, many communities built in coastal areas are being destroyed by flooding and extreme weather. Scientists suggest that the damage inflicted on Puerto Rico in 2017 by Hurricane Maria may have been due to the effect of climate change on hurricane wind speeds, for example.
For these reasons, it’s clear that an enormous number of people stand to benefit from policies that protect oceans and ocean life from pollution. With global warming, garbage dumping, and toxic oil spills affecting vast regions of the world’s oceans and coastlines, it is clear that humanity must change its attitude towards the earth before more people lose not only their livelihoods but their lives as well. As we’ve seen in communities destroyed by ocean pollution, the alternatives to environmental protection are worrying indeed.