Oceans for Good
Climate breakdown presents one of the greatest challenges in human history and is a grave threat to the health of our oceans. Ocean ecosystems that regulate our climate are increasingly threatened by the consequences of human activity, already shown by the rising sea temperatures and the promotion of acidification. The atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are continually rising, causing dramatic changes in oceanic chemistry and marine life.
Thankfully, the sea itself is part of the solution. The world’s oceans are a natural resource that can be harnessed for good, helping to save humanity from itself during this period of rapid global warming. Oceans are the lifeblood of the planet, playing an important role in the global carbon cycle and are responsible for capturing and storing around 25% of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere.
The oceans are UK Research and Innovation has produced an Oceans For Good infographic highlighting some of the many benefits and wonders of our blue planet…
The Healing Power of the Ocean
Our majestic seas are a force for good when it comes to combating climate change. Some of the key statistics UKRI have highlighted in the infographic include;
50% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by ocean’s plants
90% of the extra heat stored on the planet is held by the open ocean
3.5 billion people depend on the ocean as their primary source of food
Much of the ocean science data is taken from the Wave Energy Innovation Position Paper, written by the Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub. This Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded-programme strives for innovation and development of offshore wind, wave and tidal technology to benefit society.
Other statistics have been derived from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory; a charity that aims to develop and apply innovative marine science for our oceans to be free of plastic waste and sustained into the future.
The Ocean is a Materials-Provider
The ocean is abundant in materials, providing building blocks for life.
Approximately 13 billion plastic bottles are used each year in the UK, but only 7.5 billion are recycled. Fortunately, packaging from the ocean is a sustainable and natural alternative to plastic and can even help fight cancer, with multiple approved anticancer drugs being included in the global marine pharmaceutical pipeline. Brown seaweed is being used to produce a 4-6 week lifecycle of naturally biodegradable packaging with an incredible 20-60% reduction in environmental impact compared to virgin plastics.
Today, over 80% of international trade in goods is carried by sea and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries. This provides an opportunity for countries that wish to boost their economies and create jobs at the same time.
The Ocean is a Life Force
The oceans have been a great equaliser in the fight against climate change. In just 60 years, they have soaked up 90% of manmade greenhouse gas emissions and turned them into harmless molecules that will help keep our planet livable for future generations. Our oceans also provide an enormous 70% of the oxygen on earth, absorb 50X more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere and provide a sixth of the protein we eat from fish.
Aquatic Foods against Global Hunger: Reducing Food and Nutrition Insecurity
Our oceans have an abundance of marine plants and algae, providing a natural resource with the potential to produce 5X more than all land plants combined! This is because marine microalgae produce protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and many other nutrients. By eliminating reliance on wild-caught fish as a source of Omega-3, we can harness the potential of microalgae as a sustainable and rich alternative source.
Seaweed is a nutrient-rich food source that offers an alternative to animal-based sources for sustenance in times where resources may be scarce. Seaweed bioactive extracts also offer wellness benefits including gut and microbiome health, anti-inflammation and immune stimulation and with10-100X more minerals and vitamins found in a dry unit of seaweed compared to animal-derived foods, aquatic foods are leading the way in the fight against global hunger.
Aquaculture is a method used to produce food, restore habitat, replenish wild stocks and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.
Seaweed farming is a sustainable solution for climate change, food security and creating “blue” jobs. It can support up to 150 times more protein per acre than crops such as rice while also being rich in minerals that help sustain human health. Seaweed can absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, decrease ocean eutrophication and have a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions when used in cattle feed. Sustainable seaweed can lower a cow’s methane production by up to 99%!
A Different Ball Game together with the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE aims to lead the way throughout the United Kingdom with the use of Upcycled Plastics.
We Upcycle many forms of plastic into a wide variety of products, helping to solve the serious problem of plastic waste and climate change.