Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface and holding 97% of its water, the ocean is not only home to sea creatures but also provides human beings with everything they need for survival. They are a dependable source of extractable resources, non-living and living, and still, a large number of resources remain unexplored.
Over the years, the oceans have saved humans from destruction. In many ways, we have found the sea helpful. From providing us with food to helping us generate renewable energy, the sea does it all. The oceans help us in multiple ways, but they are affected by climate change.
Climate change is very harmful to the oceans and can result in losing the precious resources that the sea provides us.
Without any further ado, below is a detailed look at how oceans help save humanity from destruction.
1. Regulating the Climate
The ocean plays an essential role in shaping the climate zones that are seen on Earth. The global sea system still affects even the areas hundreds of miles away from the coastline.
The ocean affects the climate and weather by keeping our planet warm. Most solar radiation is absorbed by the sea, mostly in tropical waters around the equator, where the ocean acts as a vast, heat-retaining solar panel.
The ocean water is constantly evaporating, increasing the humidity and temperature of the surrounding air to form rain and storms carried by trade winds.
It not only absorbs solar radiation but also helps distribute heat around the globe. Furthermore, almost all rain that falls on land starts in the ocean.
Ocean currents are the movement of ocean water in regular flow, powered by tides, wind, the Coriolis effect (Earth’s rotation), the sun (solar energy), and water density differences. They are located at the surface of oceans and deep in the water below 984 feet (300 meters). Outside the equatorial areas, weather patterns are greatly influenced by ocean currents.
The ocean currents transport precipitation and warm water from the equator towards the poles, and then it transports cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, ocean currents regulate the global climate, helping to counterbalance the unequal distribution of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. The regional temperatures would be more extreme without the ocean currents, making most of Earth’s land uninhabitable.
2. Reducing Carbon Dioxide
The oceans are crucial in taking up carbon dioxide from the oceans. Estimates suggest that the oceans absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide emissions that human activities generate yearly.
Like humans and land animals, fish and other sea creatures breathe oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Plants in the ocean take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, just like land plants.
Every year, the surface of Earth takes up billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because more is dissolving in the surface water as the atmospheric concentration increases. This water then may mix down or sink as it is cooled into the deep sea, where it can stay locked up for many hundred years.
In this way, the ocean helps reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provides oxygen to breathe.
3. Provides Renewable Energy
Until some years ago, the expansion of renewable energies, like wind and solar, have taken place on land, but the power in oceans has remained largely unexplored. However, things are changing now. Production of environmentally friendly energy from the oceans is now being generated.
The continuous movements of tides, waves, and currents in the ocean are used to produce clean and renewable energy. Special devices are used to gather energy from the oceans. To collect the point, certain parts of these devices move as the water moves, and the movement generates electricity that is then transported to the coast. Turbines and buoys are two types of devices that can be used to generate electricity from the action of oceans.
4. Source of Livelihood
Billions of people worldwide -primarily the world’s poorest- depend on healthy oceans as their source of income. According to FAO, the number of people employed in fishing is 39 million, and in fish farming is 20.5 million. These add up to almost 60 million people employed in ocean-related jobs worldwide.
In addition, many more are employed in follow-up activities like handling, processing, and distribution. Altogether, fishing and fish farming support the livelihoods and families of some 660 million to 880 million people, which is about 12% of the world’s population.
5. Significant Source of Food
The ocean has always been a source of food for humankind. The sea roughly accounts for 17% of the global production of edible meat. Seafood is on the menu for billions of people every day.
Oceans have always been an essential and reliable source of food. There are over twenty thousand kinds of fish living under the sea. However, we only eat a few types. Other than fish, prawns, shrimps, lobsters, and whales are commonly called fish, although they are scientifically classified differently.
Seafood is an essential source of protein. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for human development. Moreover, it accounts for 16% of all animal protein consumed globally. In poorer countries, people only depend on seafood as their source of protein because they can not afford to buy other kinds of meat.
6. Marine Pharmacology
Diseases aliments are changing the patterns, and new diseases are emerging due to the evolving environments. The growth of the world population is overburdening the existing resources for drugs. Therefore, drug manufacturers are always on the hunt for new resources to develop effective and safe medicines. The marine environment represents diverse and countless resources for new drugs to combat major diseases such as cancer or malaria.
Systematic searches for new drugs have shown that marine invertebrates produce more antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-malarial, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, and analgesic substances than any other group of terrestrial organisms. These invertebrates are now used to make medicines for stubborn diseases like cancer.
7. Reduces Stress and Relieves Depression
Some researches reveal that people who live near the ocean tend to have fewer anger outbursts and are calmer. Sea water is filled with positive ions, which have a soothing effect on the mind. Additionally, the blue colour can distress the mind and make us feel at ease.
Moreover, the ocean views and beach have a positive influence o depression as well. The satisfying sound of water and waves crashing against the coast can help relieve negative feelings. And if you mix that with calming scents and sights, visiting the beach puts you in a trance-like state where you can clear your mind of all the worries and dark thoughts that cloud your day.
The ocean has helped to save humans from destruction in many ways. Challenges like climate change, pollution, and lack of awareness of sustainable ocean stewardship continue to put marine resources at risk. This can limit the benefits that marine resources are providing us.
Human activities are also putting the ocean at risk. We need clean and healthy oceans to support our health and survival. Every one of us can make a difference. It’s time to save the sea from destruction, just like it protects us daily.
How do you think the ocean helps you?