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How Do Oceans Influence Human Life?

a body of water next to the ocean

The ocean makes up 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. Other than being a home to sea creatures, this vast entity provides everything that a human being needs for survival. The reasons as to how oceans are useful to human beings can often get lost in the discussion over climate change in politics and mainstream media. Although those reasons are endless, being informed on the key points regarding why oceans are important can make all the difference. 

How are the Oceans & Humans Interconnected

For starters, the ocean produces over half of the oxygen in the world and absorbs carbon dioxide through the coral reef. To put it simply, we wouldn’t be able to breathe if it wasn’t for the ocean. With all of the toxins from plastic and factories polluting the air, the coral reef is being broken down, which in turn cuts off our air supply. In addition, human beings rely on the ocean for climate regulation since it transports heat from the equator to the opposite poles. Since our ocean is turning acidic, weather patterns and climate regulation are being thrown off. 

Our planet’s oceans produce 50-80% of its oxygen. But they’re also key in CO2 absorption. Algae that live on coral reefs take in that CO2 and produce carbohydrates for coral polyps to consume. Molecular diffusion of CO2 also lets CO2 shift from the air to the water. But pollution, including plastic and toxic emissions, is killing coral reefs. And with our oceans becoming more acidic, it’s disrupting natural weather and climate patterns.

How Human Life Depends On Oceans

Understanding how human life depends on oceans is crucial to fully grasp the importance of why we need to take care of it. We use the ocean for the following:

  1. Transportation in U.S. trade (ocean-bound shipping makes up 90 percent of global trade!).
  2. Recreation! The ocean is used for fishing, kayaking, whale watching, paddle boarding, surfing…the list goes on.
  3. Food; more than 3.5 billion people are dependent on the ocean for their primary source of food.
  4. Medicinal products with ingredients that fight life-threatening disease. Ingredients from the ocean offer a lot of benefits that a ton of medications utilize in their formulas.
  5. The influence of ocean on human life is even evident in the economy! Hundreds of billions of dollars($128 billion in GDP) are produced via ocean-dependent businesses that employ upwards to three million people. 
  6. Clean water. The ocean forms clouds, which brings us rain, creating fresh water.
  7. Breathable air. As discussed above, it absorbs human-caused carbon dioxide.
  8. Climate control. The ocean plays a large part in climate regulation and weather patterns.
  9. Carbon Skin. The ocean removes carbon from the atmosphere. In addition, marine plants eliminate carbon in seabed sediments. This process aids in climate regulation.
  10. Clean, renewable energy via tides and waves. 

a large body of water

What Does the Ocean Have To Do With Human Health?

The oceans themselves, plus the life in them, provide vital substances we use in our medications. Some examples include bryostatin from bryozoans, which help treat leukemia and melanoma. 

Why Should We Care About the Oceans?

If our oceans disappeared, we’d lose 97% of our planet’s water. There’d be no more rain and no more climate control. With the lack of water and scorching temperatures, most life forms would die within a few days — including humans. 

How To Protect the Oceans 2022

As human beings, it’s up to us to fight for our planet’s oceans. Staying informed is key. Other actions such as fighting pollution, reducing household waste, wise energy usage and green shopping practices can do a lot to ensure their survival.

The fight to take care of our oceans is stronger than ever for so many reasons. Without it, human beings wouldn’t be able to thrive and it’s our job to stay informed and do what we can to help ourselves and generations to come!