GOOD

Yesterday was World Oceans Day, and in honor of it, Treehugger brought in Sylvia Earle, a marine scientist and 2009 TED Prize recipient whose understanding of the recent oil spill in the Gulf comes from 50 years of, as she describes it, "sloshing around oiled beaches and marshes among dead and dying animals," and "diving under sheets of oily water."

Two weeks ago, Earle, testified before Congress on the ecological effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In her guest post, she addressees human activity that has threatened the ocean long before the Gulf oil spill, or those that preceded it:


...destructive fishing pressure has sharply depleted ocean wildlife, some by 90 percent in 50 years, including sharks, tunas, marlin, menhaden, groupers, snappers, tarpon, turtles, shrimp, crabs and others. Half of the coral reefs are gone or are in a state of sharp decline. Dead zones in the sea, unknown until recent decades, are rapidly proliferating. Excess carbon dioxide is accelerating global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and overall climate change - factors that impact the nature of the world from the highest mountain peak to the deepest ocean trench. And now, the megaspill in the Gulf is adding a jolting insult to decades of injury.

Despite the enormous advance in knowledge about the many threats to the ocean, the greatest problem facing us now with respect to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is ignorance, and with it, complacency. Life in the sea, after all, supports the basic processes that we all take for granted --the water cycle, the oxygen cycle, the carbon cycle, and much more. With every breath we take, every drop of water we drink, we are dependent on the existence of Earth's living ocean.

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To read more of Earle's analysis on the Gulf oil spill, as well as her thoughts on what each of us can do to counter the destruction of our oceans, check out Treehugger.

Photo via Wikipedia via Treehugger

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