Let’s take a moment on Mother’s Day to remember the ocean. Like mothers everywhere, the ocean looks out for us in the most basic ways. It’s easy to take those things for granted. Thanks, Mother Ocean, because you:
Gave us life. Earth scientists believe that the first life on Earth arose in the ocean, which brought together chemicals in a rich “soup” that gave rise to primitive cells. These early life forms evolved and diversified into the myriad organisms that exist today.
Keep us warm. The ocean stores a tremendous amount of heat that regulates the planet’s overall temperature. Ocean currents redistribute heat around the Earth to keep temperatures relatively stable. Not too hot and not too cold, the Earth’s small overall temperature range is critical for our survival.
Keep us fed. 4.3 billion people on Earth get more than 15% of their protein from the ocean. That means that 3-4 servings of protein a week come from seafood for 2 out of 5 humans. Without high-quality protein from seafood, people on every continent would be hungrier and less healthy.
Give us clean water. The ocean stores 97% of the water on the planet. Even though that water is too salty to drink, fresh water evaporates from the ocean into clouds, which release their watery cargo into rivers, lakes and aquifers. This simple process provides the 1% of planetary water that’s fresh and accessible to sustain human life. Without the ocean to bank our water, we wouldn’t have anything to drink or to wash with.
Clean up after us. The ocean sops up about 30% of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere. It catches our oil spills, holds hundreds of millions of tons of our plastic trash, and sponges up the pollution we dribble into rivers and streams.
Are always there for us. The ocean as we know it has been in place for 3.8 billion years. It’s been a calm, steady presence throughout all of humans’ awkward ages, stages and conflicts. We often turn to the ocean for soothing and relaxation.
But the ocean isn’t going to be able to clean up after us forever. Just as we learned to clean up after ourselves at Mom’s house, we need to take care of our own messes and keep them out of the ocean.
Doesn’t the ocean deserve a hug today? Click here to support Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to keep the ocean clean and healthy.