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Water – How we are squandering the Sources Resources, increasing the desertification of our planet and creating a starving world?

  • Blog mentioned that more than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food. The number has doubled 2 decades later. The ocean also provides the biggest sources of protein in the world with 70 to 75 million tons of fish are caught and around 29 million are for human consumption. It is also said that fish production exceeded the livestock and poultry production.

This is how important the ocean is. And yet, we are neglecting our responsibility to protect all water forms most especially, the ocean.

According to UConn marine biodiversity expert, Ann Bucklin, one of 600 marine experts from several countries who participated in the recent study of United Nation’s World Ocean Assessment, the condition of the world’s ocean can be summarized by the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC.

In this report, the IPCC concluded that there are ‘no doubt’ unprecedented changes over the years. Since 1880, the global ocean’s surface has warmed by about 1.7 degrees F. In a span of 30 years, approximately 70% percent of the world’s coastal areas have experienced a significant increase in sea-surface temperature.

The northern hemisphere, most specifically the Arctic Ocean, is warming nearly twice as fast, and the reduction of sea ice is greatly affecting a wide range of species. Because of this phenomenon, there is an increased poleward distribution of marine life species.

Greenhouse gas concentrations are unparalleled in the past 800,000 years. 26% of the carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is caused by land-based and human activities which, in turn, lead to the deoxygenation and acidification of the seawater. Global warming also affects the salinity and stratification of the ocean. Acidification, warming, and deoxygenation is termed as the “deadly trio” by the IUCN which has dramatic effects on the productivity and efficiency of the ocean. If the deadly trio progresses and we will continue to ignore its existence, the extinction of some species, decline in biodiversity, altered food web dynamics, and expansion of pathogens will be unavoidable.

Other malpractices like water polluting and overfishing are other factors that contribute to the marine food insecurity.

People carelessly throw plastic waste in the water that kills up to a million seabirds, 100,000 sea mammals, and countless fish each year. Plastic is non-biodegradable meaning it will not decompose and it will remain in our ecosystem for many years and these are endangering sea creatures every single day.

Oil spills from wrecked ships and unregulated and reckless factories have long term effects on larger seabirds and mammals. The oil coats their feathers or fur which reduces their ability to repel water and to maintain body temperatures. Due to these effects, sea creatures will die from hypothermia.

Overfishing weakens the resilience of ocean systems, and despite some improvements done by developed regions, key species continues to decline of key species and damages the ecosystems where the marine life depends on . According to the UNFAO, 70% of world fish populations are unsustainably exploited, of which 30% have biomass collapsed to less than 10% of unfished levels in 2012.

A recent global assessment of the UNFAO reveals that 60% of countries received a “fail” grade, and saw no country identified as being overall “good”.

Now, let’s talk about the importance water itself.

We often say that humans are better off without food than water. That is true because at least 60% of our body is composed of water. We can survive without food for more than 3 weeks. However, we can only survive without water for only 3-4 days.

The World Health Organization or WHO stated that indigestion or contact with contaminated water (mostly likely water with Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae) can cause various health problems like skin irritation, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain, blisters of the mouth and liver damage.

For so many years, people have taken for granted the inevitable threat of climate change, global warming, and malpractices not only in marine life but also in agriculture and livestock.

For instance, climate change causes desertification or, as defined by the UNCCD, the process of fertile land transforming into a desert as a result of deforestation, drought, or improper/inappropriate agriculture. The rise of air temperature and the decrease of rain causes drought and will halt the sustainable growth of vegetation. Without vegetation, livestock and poultry animals will face food depletion. If we will not act now, this will add up to food insecurity and shortage.

It is only now that we begin to understand the impact that it will leave on various organisms and ecosystems.

In conclusion, water is the source of life. Not only do we have to protect it, but we also have to conserve it. Simple acts like turning off the faucet and recycling water will make a huge difference. We also have to accept that climate change dramatically marked the shifts in ocean environments and ecosystems and its consequences for marine communities, food webs, and species. If we continue to ignore the signs and to neglect our water resources, the impact will be unimaginable after a few decades. We must do something before it’s too late.


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