12 Dec World Ocean Day
Here are some tips about how we can help save the ocean:
– Don’t overfill the kettle – what you don’t use will only go cold again.
– Turn off appliances before going to sleep at night.
– Make meat a treat – the meat industry contributes 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
– Walk more – people don’t emit pollution when they walk.
– Take short sharp showers – every minute in the shower uses 10 litres of water.
The ocean regulates climate, feeds millions of people, produces most of the oxygen we breathe, is home to an incredible array of species and provides us with cures for diseases. However, due to many threats facing the ocean, such as climate change, time is running out for certain marine ecosystems.
Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems in the ocean, but unfortunately they are declining. South Africa has beautiful coral reefs with high fish and coral diversity situated along the Maputaland coast. Although bleaching has occurred on our reefs with 13% of corals affected, this is considerably less than other parts of the world like the Great Barrier where up to 80% of their corals on certain reefs have suffered bleaching.
Also, tiny algae provide corals with 90% of their nutritional needs but, when sea temperatures are too high, the symbiotic relationship between the coral and algae breaks down and the algae are ejected by the coral, leaving the corals ghostly white and literally starving.
Corals may recover if the temperature stress is short-lived, but they will die if it is prolonged. The loss of coral reefs has huge implications for the ocean and human health.