– By Aditi Joshi
This article is part of “Meet the Oceans” Reciprocal Seminar organized by “Meeting of Waters” (a local community in Geneva raising water awareness) which aims to bring the inland audience–from Switzerland to the coast–a territory that is out of sight but intrinsically connected to our biological origin. The conversation brings together the five oceans of the world, each embodied by a passionate water professional in Geneva, sharing the concerns and emotions an ocean has to carry in today’s world at the seminar which will be held on the 19th of May 2022.
About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water. Being such a large and crucial component of our environment, oceans are not given enough attention. Although several water bodies require our attention now more than ever, the oceans are what most of them culminate into. Today we engage in conversation with the five oceans of the world: The Atlantic, Arctic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans
“Dear all, thank you for showing an interest in hearing us out. As the largest cean, I, the Pacific, have a request to make. On behalf of all the oceans of the world, I would like to urge mankind to kindly withdraw all the garbage that they have haphazardly bestowed upon us. From the deepest corners of the Mariana trench to the bellies of marine animals, plastic trash has invaded the aquatic ecosystem and shook all its foundations. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making us more acidic causing disastrous effects on all the components in the water. As we are, after all, major sinks for carbon dioxide, it is understandable that the responsibility of maintaining the purity of the air would fall upon us. However, emissions at current levels were not something we could fathom. Multiple underwater ecosystems are going extinct and are destroyed by ocean acidification.”
“If I may add”, joined the Southern Ocean, “remember the hole in the ozone layer? That is not yet filled and it is still letting in unfiltered UV rays having brutal impacts on my beautiful corals and my phytoplankton population. Their rights cannot be ignored. Equal opportunities for development must be provided to the minority as well as the majority group of sea animals. Our penguins are equally important as our krill.”
“In our case, marine life needs to remain so that we think about securing rights for them. Human hunger for seafood has led to overfishing activities which have created a situation where our fish populations have become sparse and the few that remain are struggling for daily survival. Each day they live in fear of fishing boats which have reduced their population to irrecoverable numbers”, the Atlantic gently remarked.
The Arctic Ocean could not hold its silence anymore. “Due to melting ice sheets, humans are exploring deeper, northern regions which are the homes of my dear polar bears. This commercial thirst needs to be controlled as the oil extraction conducted in these areas is perilous not just for the whales and narwhals, but also for humans endeavoring to explore the unknown layers beneath the melting sheets.”
“A similar scenario can be observed along my shores too.”, the Indian Ocean exclaimed. “In the name of development, several infrastructure projects are in progress on my coasts. These seem to be taking the world more in the opposite direction as they are causing more destruction than construction. Not just aquatic, but even human populations in these areas are vulnerable and exploited. In these conditions, the ginormous amounts of industrial waste that is let into my waters has drastic impacts on the coastal ecosystems before affecting life underwater. Turbulent weather due to climate change has increased the number of cyclones and hurricanes too. The erratic behavior regarding eutrophication and overfishing also makes recovery measures difficult for cyclone-hit regions.”
“We understand that it is difficult for us all to go back to our original state as we have come far in our process of evolution. All we ask is consideration on part of the humans. We have no choice but to coexist, so why not maintain a healthy and happy relationship. It gives us no pleasure to cause floods and tsunamis to disrupt your routines, but we are compelled to act because you refuse to. Alas, it is still not late. If you decide, humans and oceans still have the possibility of living in harmony, empowering each other, and working towards building a better future for the Earth as a whole. We hope you will understand sooner than later.”, concluded the Arctic.
Picture by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash.com
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