By Tom Levitt, for CNN, updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
In many ways, it is the forgotten world on Earth. A ridiculous thought when you consider that oceans make up 90% of the living volume of the planet and are home to more than one million species, ranging from the largest animal on the planet — the blue whale — to one of the weirdest — the blobfish.
Remoteness, however, has not left the oceans and their inhabitants unaffected by humans, with overfishing, climate change and pollution destabilizing marine environments across the world. The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans.
“The two worst things in my mind happening to oceans are global warming and ocean acidification,” says O’Dor. The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the start of The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and is predicted to be 150% more acidic by the end of this century, according to a UNESCO report published last year.
“The problem is that the acidification is worse near the Poles because low temperature water dissolves more acid. Higher acidity also disrupts marine organisms’ ability to grow, reproduce and respire. The Census of Marine Life reported that phytoplankton, the microscopic plants producing most of the oxygen from the oceans, have been declining by around 1% a year since 1900. What this translates to is a cataclysmic loss of ocean plant life, put into terrestrial context as in how much forest loss is this ocean loss equal to… well that’s the scary part in every five years since around 1980 when satellites starting giving us really good data we have been losing ocean plant life equal to all of the plant life in the Amazon Rainforest as a rate of one Amazon Rainforest being burned to t ground every 5 years! Count them up, 1908 to 1985 One Amazon Rainforest gone from the oceans, as of today some 30 years of we’ve lost the equivalent of 6 Amazon Rainforests!!!! No one seems to care, save one tiny village of native people on the faraway islands of Haida Gwaii.