The Ocean is the essence of life for land dwellers. Besides the obvious fact that it is a major food source - providing as much as 200 billion pounds of food a year, the Ocean also provides minerals in the form of nickel, iron, sand and yes, crude oil.
The importance of the ocean is not just to provide food and minerals however, it is also greatly responsible for climate by transferring heat from tropical areas to Polar Regions and bringing warm or cold air to coastal areas where, along with precipitation and winds, weather is affected.
With all these important life sustaining factors, the Ocean still provides another feature important to all living organism. It produces oxygen. Phytoplankton, which is plant like micro-organisms found in the ocean, along with the process of Photosynthesis produces over 90% of the earth’s oxygen. Without this oxygen, life on earth as we know it will cease to exist.
So then why are we intent on destroying the Ocean?
The Ocean is now the largest landfill in the world, where millions of pounds of trash are deposited each year. So much garbage floating around on the Ocean’s surface that we’ve named the two biggest patches, the Eastern Pacific Garbage patch and the Western Pacific Garbage patch. Together, these two patches are also called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In addition to that, BP’s Oil Spill, which started out with a projected release of 1000 barrels a day, has now been upgraded to over 30,000 barrels a day. With a conversion of 42 gallons per barrels, BP has managed so far to discharge over 1,260,000 gallons of oil per day into the ocean. A spill that has gone on for over 50 days will equal over 63,000,000 gallons thus far.
The impact has already been felt, and this is just the beginning. Lives that directly depended on the ocean in coastal areas have been turned upside down. Fish and other mammals from the ocean are washing up dead all along the coast, and lives have already been lost when the Deepwater rig sank to the bottom of the ocean.
We don’t know how much longer this leak is going to last. Although BP claims they will be capturing up to 50,000 barrels a day by the end of June, oil is certain to continue leaking until relief wells are completed in August. And even then, there is no guarantee that the wells will be successful in totally stopping the leak.
This is not a battle between Progressives and Conservatives. It’s not a battle between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not a battle between profits and ethics. It is a battle for life on Earth as we know it.
- Physics of oil spills (flowingdata.com)
- The Full Price of Oil (scientificamerican.com)
- How Oil Spills Affect the Food Chain (alternet.org)