Sometimes Nature Seems To Be Trying To Catch Our Attention
Would you pay attention if she winked at you?
Mother Nature has something very important to say, so please read thoughtfully.
This image is a natural-colour photograph of an especially gorgeous plankton bloom of Mother Nature taking place in the Barents Sea taken in September 2016 as seen by the Sentinel-2A satellite.
Plankton, the most abundant type of life found on our blue planet. While they are individually microscopic marine plants that drift on or near the surface of the sea, they also can be viewed as being a collection of cells making together the largest of all life forms. As a large individual they behave in ways very similar to the rest of us big critters. They react to their environment and they create distinctive sounds, sea life can sense the presence of a large vibrant plankton bloom from hundreds even thousands of miles away.
The vast oceans of this planet are not all and always in bloom. Ocean pastures, just like pastures on land, cycle from being desolate near waste lands into verdant oases of life depending on the vital elements that are carried to and rain down upon them by the wind. On land we all know that when it rains the grass will grow, rain as we terrans know it is made up of water. From our rooted in dirt point of view rain is the most vital of all elements of nature.
For the ocean pastures Mother Nature has deigned that their “rain’ is dust not water. Life in ocean pastures is rooted in water, what it needs most is dust and the mineral micronutrients that dust gives them. Without their dust they dwindle and wane into every more clear blue deserts and as such can sustain little life. Tragically for at least 50 years the ocean pastures of our blue spaceship earth have been turning ever clearer and more blue.
Most of plant life on earth is actually in the ocean.
Phyto-plankton like all plants contain chlorophyll, it’s the chlorophyll that make the striking colors in ocean pasture blooms. These collections of tiny (or singularly considered gigantic) plants perform a similar role to terrestrial ‘green’ plants in the process of life on Earth. We ‘earthlings’ like to think that earthbound life is most important so almost every politically correct scientist dare not speak of earthly plant life being dwarfed by ocean plant life so you’ll read almost everywhere that plants on land and in the ocean are there in about equal measure.
Nothing could be further from the real truth as ocean plants greatly outnumber earthbound plants by as much as 10 to 1, depending upon one’s out-of-the-box reference. As such the gigantic life-forms that are plankton blooms are the most powerful force on this blue planet. Indeed they have re-created this blue world to their liking and have been happy to make it a welcome place for the likes of we pipsqueak animals.
Plankton blooms created both themselves and animal life so that they, in their blooming magnificence, could flourish even and ever more. The way that has worked is that ocean pasture plankton blooms, like all pastures, do much better when tended to by caring creatures. In return for the tender care of animal life the blooms provide all the ‘creature comforts’ their oceanmates desire. The creatures in turn do their best, in fact the word “turn” is precisely one of the things creatures do for blooms, they turn and till them.
Plankton blooms are tended by legions of tiny zooplankton. These tiny creatures mostly less than 1 cm in length are equipped with a plethora of paddling appendages, legs, flippers, fins, and flexibility. As the bloom grows in health and abundance so do these sustaining pasture stewards which feed in and upon the bloom.
From the smallest microscopic zooplankton to the largest animal on this blue planet, the great whale/worms they all leave behind a rich ‘compost’ much the way earthworms enrich your garden. Their swimming and there is such a multitude of them, that the energy of their swimming puts more energy of motion into the ocean than all of the world’s winds!
The dimensions of power
Most of us will never see the motion of life in the oceans as we humans live in almost exclusively of our conveniently nearly 2 dimensional world, the surface. To us what matters most is how things affect our surface so linear movement across the surface be it wind, rivers, or fast cars – that is what we recognize as being ‘movement’ that turns our crank.
Ocean life, the vast majority of life on this blue planet, is very much more 3 dimensional than life on earth. In the open ocean far from land, and that is the vast majority of the ocean and this planet’s environment what matters most is vertical, or really 3 dimensional motion. To understand you might ponder for a moment about our ‘mighty’ winds that blow from time to time here and there across the planet.
The word ‘doldrums’ which is a seafarers word describes a vast area of ocean over an extended period of time where there is no wind at all, to be caught in the doldrums during the age of sail at times, not rarely, meant to die there. The doldrums are at sea are more the norm than the action hero’s we call hurricanes that are in fact incredibly rare events.
OK so where is this blog post going… The reason is all about why you should become very much more concerned about our world’s plankton blooms.
Aside from the fact that ocean plankton are the original and still principal settlers of this blue planet and our plankton landlords, enough of a reason to pay them some heed, they are also what makes it possible for us to be alive.
Ocean phyto-plankton make the vast majority of the oxygen in the air we all breathe. The collapse of oxygen producing plankton blooms is reported so severe that recent scientific papers have proposed that the oceans may stop being the world’s primary source of oxygen by the year 2050!
They manage the lions share of CO2 both natural and manmade on this planet, always have, always will it is how they have made this planet habitable.
You can read the plankton full manifesto, aka warning to its tennent oceanmates, here.
The collapse of ocean phyto-plankton as seen over the past 50 years in the context of loss of terrestrial plant life, aka rainforests for example. While the widely accepted as threatened Amazon Rainforest has lost 20% of its trees in the past 50 years ocean pastures in the same time have seen the eradication of the equivalent to 10 entire Amazon Rainforests of plant-life. We can and must restore those ten Amazon Rainforests worth of ocean plankton pastures immediately.
Collapsing ocean pastures around the world are responsible for the vast majority of the decimation and endangering of myriad forms of sea-life. Sure overfishing is a crisis but mainly because the ocean fish pastures are no longer healthy and holding sustainable ‘fish carrying capacity.’
Just as Walt Whitman said about pastures on land,
“All beef is grass”,
I say, “All fish is plankton.”
You’ve no doubt read or heard about the terrible drought that has gripped California and much of the Western N. American continent. Similarly disastrous droughts are wreaking havoc all around our world. I am sure you will not be surprised in my pointing out that the water that makes up rain that either doesn’t fall to earth, as in these times and regions of drought, originates and moisture and clouds the come from the oceans. Plankton blooms make the world’s clouds and rain, restoring the blooms with bring back the rains.
This is a blog of hope not doom and gloom, join me in the hopeful, joyous work, to be done.
Throughout the posts on this blog you will find countless referenced examples of how ocean pastures are in desperate decline. But this is not a blog that is all ‘doom and gloom’, I blog about the incredible hope, promise, and reality around the proven means we have to restore ocean pastures immediately and affordably.
Paraphrasing Mark Twain with regard to the content here:
Browse away from safe harbours,
You will be far more disappointed
in the things you have not discovered
than in the things you might discover.
Click, Dream, Discover!
Join me as we begin our voyages of recovery to restore and sustain ocean pastures in all of the world’s Seven Seas.