Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Why should I care about the sea?

I was having a conversation with a friend recently who said to me:  "the problem with Sea-Changers as a charity is that no-one really cares about the sea. People care about charities and issues that directly affect them personally and impact on their lives in some way. Or they care about more important causes like world poverty or curing cancer, or climate change.”
Those words have stayed in my mind. They were not meant unkindly and I think they probably articulate what many people think. Namely, "what has the sea and its health got to do with me and the things I care about?"
 So, in response to my mate and all those people who feel the same way that she does, here are ten things you might already really care about, causes or issues you might feel passionately about or concerns that affect your every-day life….and for each one you will find there is a fundamental link to the health of the oceans.

1.      Survival of the Human Race. As fundamental as it gets - without healthy seas we cannot survive. The sea provides the very air we breathe. Dead seas = a dead planet.
2.      Leisure. If you dive, surf, sail, or swim in the sea then a clean and healthy sea matters. Surely we all want our children, and their children to be able to go on holiday and swim in lovely clean seas rather than swimming in polluted and dead waters full of sewage, fertilisers and plastic. The sea should be a safe place to spend time near or in, without getting sick.
3.      Wildlife. It would be wonderful to be able to see the sea creatures we love, such as sea otters, dolphins, sharks, whales, Bluefin tuna thrive rather than face extinction. Most human beings want to see a wide range of animals continue to thrive on our planet and many of the world’s most threatened species are threatened because of the state of marine habitats.
4.      Education. Do you remember as a kid all you learnt from going to the beach, and hanging out near the sea? The excitement of learning where creatures hide in rock pools, how to build the best sand castles, how to catch crabs and fish, learning to swim, understanding tides...if the environment continues to degrade what will future generations be able to learn?
5.      Housing. Many coastal homes in the UK and all around the world are facing flood risk due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion. If housing is your favoured cause, consider the impact that these issues might have on housing supply.
6.      Health and Diet Choices. Fish is a healthy and tasty thing to eat. We are currently taking more fish out of the seas than can be sustained and we may simply not have the luxury of putting fish on our plates in the future. Inevitably, as fish stocks reduce, prices will rise, and this healthy food option may only be accessible to those with the deepest pockets.
7.      Global Security.  Many economists agree, one of the most serious crises facing the world over the nest 20 years will be food shortages and this will affect all of us. A growth in aqua farming on land previously used for crop farming and a decline in fish stocks will add to the threats to world security and the chances of war, terrorism and civil unrest around the world will increase.
8.      Employment, Poverty and the Developing World. A lack of fish in the sea will impact on the poorest nations the most. In many developing countries local fisherman are already experiencing diminished fish stocks, as multi-national fishing companies move into their waters to meet the demand for fish from richer nations.
9.      Health and Cancers. Researchers are already looking to the seas and corals for the development of many cutting edge medicines needed to solve the biggest health problems in the world today. At the same time, plastic and mercury in the oceans is getting into our food chain and there is growing concern that these developments may have long term carcinogenic impacts.
10.  Climate Change. Climate change and the health of the seas are inextricably linked. If you care and are concerned about one, you automatically care about the other. Climate change is having a devastating effect on the oceans - water temperatures are rising and the seas are consequently becoming more acidic and current patterns (like the Gulf Stream) appear to be changing too.

So next time someone says "why should I care about the seas?" Just answer simply "because the seas are linked to everything I care about".

If you care about the sea, why not visit our website and find out how you can make everyday changes that will impact on the oceans future. 

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