2. Going, going..... Gone?

"...Species are vanishing 100 times faster than usual..." 

Sarah Kaplan 2018 

- need to improve sustainability, ie protect biodiversity (especially endangered species), habitats (marine, aquatic, land-based, sky, etc), environment, global climate, ecosystems, etc.
- human activities like

i) rapid industrialisation and resultant pollution (like

- electronic waste (ewaste) is one of the world's fastest growing challenges. Informal recycling using crude heating methods to extract metals exposes communities in many developing countries to significant health risks

- human-induced greenhouse gas emissions which are trapping the sun's heat within the Earth's atmosphere leading to increased temperature (including the sea which will change patterns of ocean circulation) and changing weather patterns with more extreme events (like cyclones, droughts, flooding, etc); a previously1 in 20 year event is becoming a 1 in 5 year occurrence

ii) habitat destruction (such as deforestation of rainforests, pollution of coral reefs, residential and agricultural development encroaching on natural habitats, etc) are threatening many species.

  a) most of these habitats are very fragile and a minute change can have disastrous consequences

  b) it is estimated that there are around 9 m. unique plant and animal species with the majority not being formally described;

  c) rainforest habitat (tropical and temperate) being home to 50+ % of the world's plant and animal species; also these habitats help regulate temperature and weather pattern, and are a possible sources for medical treatments

  d) it is estimated that normal rates of background extinction are in the range of 1 or 2 species lost per year; however, the current rates of extinction are thousands of times this

  e) since mid 20th century, there has been increasing public awareness and action around environmental issues, ie existence value (people derive value by merely knowing that particular species or habitats still exist) (see below for more detail on this)

  f) increasing chance of inhospitable climate patterns that will challenge our current concepts of how we live, etc

iii) Oceans (blue economy)

"...the warming climate is already killing coral reefs, supercharging monster storms, and fuelling deadly marine heat waves and record loss of sea ice......as a result of excessive greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean today is higher, warmer, more acidic, less productive and holds less oxygen......becoming more stratified, with warm water at the surface preventing cooler, and nutrient rich waters, from rising. All these changes have profound consequences for marine ecosystems..."

UN Report on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2019) as quoted by Chris Mooney et al 2019

Climate change is becoming a climate crisis!!!

Oceans cover 70% of the earth's service and are a home to a vast range of life. Yet less than 20% of the seabed has been mapped or observed.

The oceans are under threat from overfishing to mining.

"...much of the quest for ocean resources, however, lies not near its surface but in its depths. Technological advances and growing demand for minerals used in consumer electronics have fuelled the rush to mine the deep seas..."

Zoe Tabary 2019

Some relevant technological advances include robots and deep diving submarines, and as the natural resources on continents are becoming exhausted, there is more interest in what the oceans can provide.

There are continual disputes about who should have access to the oceans.

Over the last few decades the oceans have undergone unprecedented warming and the currents have shifted, eg

"...From the waters off the east coast of the USA to the coast of West Africa, the changes are causing fish and other sea life to seek out new waters, leaving the communities that depend upon them facing disruption..."

Zoe Tabary 2019

Disturbing the seabeds could have impacts from affecting how oceans absorb carbon dioxide and heat which regulates the world's climates to changing habitats like for the slow growing corals and other marine life like fishes. For example, a spill from an offshore oil drilling site has the potential to devastate the whale's food sources, such as krill, which is what happened in the Gulf of Mexico with BP's blow out from the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig that exploded in 2010.

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