Nature is such a mysterious force. We like to think we know everything about it since we live and breathe it every day but we are actually mistaken. We are often caught off guard by its force every time a major natural calamity strikes but what we fail to realize is that we are big contributors to the changes that are happening in the environment right now. And you do not have to look far for you to see just how much our planet is suffering just so we can continue to live in utter comfort and convenience.
It is perfectly understandable that what we see first and give more importance to are the things that we see on land because it is our home, our safe haven. Yet we forget that the world is actually made up of ¾ water, and with water, it means the ocean. To find out just how badly us humans are treating this planet, head out into the ocean and see the many changes taking place right before your very eyes. It shows signs of human abuse and misuse of the world’s resources and tells us quite clearly the progression of global warming.
To measure how fast the globe is warming, we focused on the extra heat that is being trapped in the climate. The key to measuring the extra heat is by comparing the incoming and outgoing energy – just like you watch your bank account, keeping track of income and expenses to tell whether your bank balance will increase or not.
Okay so how do we measure these incoming and outgoing flows? In our view, the best way is in the oceans. We know that the oceans absorb almost all of the excess heat – so, perhaps we can detect energy increases in ocean waters?
Measuring the oceans is challenging. They are vast and they are deep – measurements can be noisy. Detecting a long-term trend (a signal) within the noise can be a challenge. But this challenge is exactly what we focused on. We wanted to know how large the signal-to-noise ratio is for ocean heat measurements because this would tell us how many years of data are needed to detect warming.
It is now common knowledge that the earth is quickly warming up. What are we doing then? Will we just let this continue? It’s ironic that as one of the most powerful and progressive nations in the world, the US signed itself out of the Paris Agreement this year. So, does that mean our government gives more importance to businesses and manufacturing plants than Mother Earth? Legislators have a major role in preventing/ slowing down climate change but they busy themselves with shallow issues and protecting their personal interests rather than do their job right and protect everyone on the land by pursuing issues that truly matter to the world at large.
The need for co-operation to address ocean challenges is clear. Our marine areas are under pressure as never before with increasing demand for resources, ever expanding transportation requirements and a “blue economy” agenda focused on drawing further wealth from oceans. Solutions to these challenges require integrated, multidisciplinary approaches.
The ocean is a shared resource: it is used by people and communities, commercial enterprises and governments in varying forms, and if this use is to continue in a sustainable manner we need to consider how best these different parties can work together.
By partnering with governments, industries, communities and other stakeholders, the University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute is contributing to real change in the management of ocean issues at local, national and international scales.
It is not just pollution and the gradual increase in the ocean temperature that we should be worrying about. Marine life is the one suffering the most because their home is becoming more difficult to live in due to irresponsible human activities that continue to pollute oceans and every other water source there is on the planet. One people or one group cannot do this alone. It must be a concerted effort of everyone on land. It starts with reducing the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable wastes and recycling them if possible or disposes of them properly. The ocean isn’t a big wasteland where we expect our trash to just disappear from after throwing it. They accumulate and kill fishes and other marine animals until there are no more left. Will we wait for that time to happen or do we act now and save ourselves in the process?