Very few schools celebrate World Oceans day, but it should be one of those dates that’s in our diaries year on year. How many times have we seen pictures of oil spilt in our waters, or plastic bottles, cups and bags washed up in an expanse of debris across a beach? Oceans give us so much and yet we really don’t appreciate all that they do for us here on planet Earth.
As well as being a fabulous source of food for people and animals everywhere, here are 5 facts to make you really sit up and take note:
1. Oceans provide us with over half of the oxygen that we and all the other land animals need. Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release oxygen through photosynthesis whilst the rest is produced by land plants.
2. Ocean waters have the capacity to absorb vast amounts of the greenhouse-warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Over a quarter of the CO2 produced by human activities in the last 200 years has dissolved into the ocean. This capacity to absorb has helped contain some of man-made global warming and climate change. So, imagine where we’d be without this ability!
3. The surface layer of the ocean absorbs over half the heat reaching the Earth from the sun. Through ocean currents that flow for thousands of miles, like the Gulf Stream, the oceans distribute this heat around the world. They are extremely important in shaping the world’s climate.
4. The oceans are also a central part of the water cycle. Huge amounts of water evaporate from the ocean surface, rising into the atmosphere as water vapour. When this vapor collides with colder air, it condenses to form clouds and rain.
5. Did you know that over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea? We use our oceans and seas to transport everything from food and fuel to building materials, chemicals, and household items. It is by far the cheapest way to move things around the world and without it things would either cost a lot more or be unavailable to large number of countries.
So put June 8th 2019 World Oceans Day in your classroom diary today! Get involved and let’s not take our waters for granted anymore.