Take care of our oceans

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Yesterday’s World Oceans Day came and went with little fanfare. That lack of hoopla tends to symbolise most people’s feelings about the ocean, unless for recreational use. We can only hope that Barbados, and by extension the region, pays closer attention to this important “organ”, given its importance in sustaining daily life.

The ocean affects weather, while climate change impacts negatively on the ocean. As the “lungs” of the world, elevated levels of carbon dioxide are absorbed by our seas, leading to acidification. It is noteworthy that OECS member countries are already studying what repercussions this acidification will have on their economies, and the ways member states can address its effects. According to facilitator of the workshop Rachel Allen, “the ocean is now 30 per cent more acidic than it was before the industrial period”, which prompts real concern for the fallout on tourism and the fishing industry. As small island developing states (SIDS), we must also take into account the vulnerability of our coastlines due to rising sea levels brought on by climate change at no fault of our own.

In recent times, the only real sea-based concerns of Barbadians have revolved around the sargassum seaweed washing up on our beaches. Very few of us pay any attention to what lies beneath, which is unfortunate considering the ocean covers 75 per cent of this planet, provides most of the oxygen we breathe and is a source of income for over three billion people. Our very survival depends on sustaining the oceans and their ecosystems, and it is most prudent to educate ourselves as best we can, especially since most Caribbean territories are surrounded by water. This is why public education programmes are of utmost importance.

Read more at: Barbados Advocate

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