Oceans cover 71% of our planet, and hold 97% of our water … have you ever stopped to wonder what they are really like? Have you heard of phytoplankton? Our oceans are teeming with these free-floating microscopic plants (we can’t see them with the naked human eye - we need to use a microscope). There are thousands of different kinds – and they are the main food source for many sea creatures – including baleen whales! David Attenborough, in The Perfect Planet – Oceans, describes phytoplankton as ‘our greatest ally in combating climate change’ – because like plants and trees they absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. When the phytoplankton die and decompose they fall to the deep ocean floor trapping carbon. But, we need to keep our oceans healthy so that the phytoplankton can thrive, and in turn store carbon helping us combat climate change.
Our oceans are struggling with the impacts of climate change - warming, acidification, melting ice – as well as, overfishing and pollution. They need our help! If we can ‘think outside the box’ our oceans also offer many climate change solutions. Tackling climate change requires problem-solvers and pioneers (people who are prepared to be the first to try something). Have you ever wondered about what seaweed could be used for? See below to delve into some seaweed ideas!
This week's challenge is to learn about our magnificent oceans and read about pioneering ideas associated with oceans and climate change. Can you take at least one action to reduce your impact on our oceans? Buying less plastic, reducing energy use, wasting less food – all these things will help tackle climate change and reduce your impact on our oceans. Remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you have completed this challenge.
What can be done with seaweed? Pioneering projects involve risk-taking – they may or may not succeed, however if there are enough different ideas being trialled some of them might succeed. What do you think of these underwater seaweed farming ideas? Seaweed as a food? Seaweed as a biofuel? Do these seaweed ideas seem crazy to you – or not? Would you like to be involved in these sorts of projects when you are older?
Blue carbon is the term used for carbon that is captured or ‘trapped’ within ocean and coastal ecosystems. Like plants and trees on land, seaweeds, seagrasses, mangroves and salt marshes along our coast absorb carbon – and at a much faster rate than forests on land. We need to look after these coastal habitats to help them maintain or increase their carbon storage. You may like to watch this explanatory blue carbon video – ‘What on earth is blue carbon?’ Watch space … lots of ‘blue carbon’ projects are springing up around the world.
If you feel strongly about caring for our oceans - and your parent/carer agrees – you could help make your voice be heard by signing the ‘Ocean and Climate Emergency Petition’ to ensure that Oceans are the top of the climate agenda at the UN meeting in Glasgow in November. (Surfers against sewage - https://www.sas.org.uk/ocean-and-climate-petition/)
By the time you’re leaving school, there will be many ‘green’ jobs. Maybe you’ll be the designer, engineer, farmer, scientist, project manager or entrepreneur who takes a risk, and gets these sorts of innovative projects up and running?
Don’t forget to HIT THE RED BUTTON when you’ve learnt more about our oceans.