How much of our planet would you guess to be covered by the sea? … an incredible 2/3rds of our planet … and our oceans hold 97% of our planet’s water. Oceans play a central role in regulating our Earth’s climate and influence global weather patterns. Billions of people rely on our oceans and coastal habitats for their livelihoods. However - our oceans are struggling – not just from overfishing and plastic pollution but also from climate change – which is leading to warmer and more acidic seas, and melting sea ice.
You may have heard of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ … a mass of plastic rubbish between Hawaii and California – but 3 times the size of France! See how the amazing Ocean Cleanup project is trying to tackle the problem. Ocean plastic is not only harming larger sea creatures it is also damaging the microscopic life of the ocean (such as plankton), which in turn reduces its ability to absorb carbon from our atmosphere. This week’s challenge is to learn more about our magnificent oceans … and to help your family reduce your use of plastic – remember your reusable water bottle, help choose the vegetables and fruit that are sold unpackaged, and have a look in the fridge – what could you buy next time without the plastic packaging?
Check out these UK-based ‘ocean’ entrepreneurs - would you like to work for these sorts of businesses when you’re older? Notpla, an Earthshot 2022 winner, has developed an alternative to plastic packaging made from seaweed. Odyssey innovations, based in Plymouth, recycles retrieved marine plastics and turns them into sea kayaks, that are in turn used to collect more ocean plastic! Find out from WWF about farming seaweed – maybe it’ll end up revolutionising global food production? Check out Aird Fada, a community-owned seaweed farm based on the Isle of Mull.
Our oceans play a really important role in helping us to combat climate change. Seaweeds, seagrasses, mangroves and salt marshes along our coasts actually ‘absorb’ or ‘capture’ carbon at a much faster rate than plants and trees on land. Find out more about Blue Carbon, and a pioneering Project Seagrass, (scroll down for video), based in Wales.
When you have enjoyed learning about our magnificent oceans and helped reduce your household plastic consumption to save our oceans – then HIT THE RED BUTTON!