I am currently reading The World is Blue by Sylvia A. Earle. Reading it makes me feel rather depressed and devastated, when I realise the terrible things our species have done to our only home, and yet many people don’t realise!
It’s been likened to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, only it’s about The Ocean on our Earth.
I’m sure the fact that more than 90% of the Earth is covered in water is something that we all learned in primary school, or perhaps even in kindergarten. And later on, we learn that despite the fact that water is in abundance on the Earth, FRESHwater is very scarce. And as far as I remember, that’s about it. Nothing more about the blue mass that covers more than half of our planet.
Which is very tragic, when you finally come to realise that 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from the ocean! Okay not technically the molecules of H2O, but the phytoplankton (tiny, microscopic plant-like organisms that convert sunlight into chemical energy that we can use) that lives in the oceans. And phytoplankton, though miniscule, is found in great abundance “Every spoonful of ocean sampled turned up millions of indvidual microbes and a host of new species.” This is definitely not something we learnt in school! (This is going to go into a post I’m drafting in my head, titled What We Should Have Learned In School) I was under the impression that the forests on land are mainly the ones supplying us with oxygen.
So it starts off with this microscopic thing that barely anyone cares about, but it builds up! Fish, whales and lots of filter-feeding invertebrates feed on plankton. And it goes up the food chain, eventually reaching — guess who? Of course it’s humans, the predator of all predators. So you see, this tiny thing is actually very important to us. Especially since many people’s livelihood depend on the organisms in the sea, and even more people love seafood.
That’s just one thing that really caught me. This book really puts it down very clearly, how important the ocean is to us, what we have been doing to it (decimating mammal, fish and shellfish wildlife, using it as our giant rubbish dump, mining natural resources under the earth – read: drilling oil, acidification because of excessive carbon dioxide emission etc) and what we can and should do to prevent our folly from leading to our demise! Okay I added in the last part about preventing our folly from leading to our demise, and I haven’t actually reached that part of the book yet (still trying to absorb the damage we have done).
A really good read, very digestable. Like Jane Goodall’s books. Only it really quite depressed me. And made me more determined to do something related to marine conservation in the future.