The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and constitute 97% of its water. The oceans, with their huge capacity as heat and water reservoirs, also moderate the global climate system. Home to a myriad of marine organisms, our oceans are critically important sources of food and key components of Earth’s water- and carbon cycles. Our oceans are such important resources that it is impossible to think of life on Earth without them. In fact, life on our planet simply would not exist without the oceans. So, it is a great shame that the oceans of the world have been so severely degraded and depleted by mankind.
The tragedy of the commons is a concept that refers to a situation in which individuals with access to public resources, such as the ocean, act in their own interests and severely deplete the resource with no one taking responsibility for it. This unfortunately is the case with the oceans of the world. Humans have depleted 90% of big fish populations, destroyed 50% of the coral reefs and we keep taking more than our oceans have the capacity to replace. Further, our industries for long have been burning fossil fuels, thereby increasing marine carbon stocks, thereby causing ocean acidification, higher temperatures than are normal for marine life. Humans are increasingly dumping plastic pollution, oil spillage and biological waste into our beautiful oceans and have been progressively destroying our valuable oceans. All this destruction, degradation and damage needs to stop.
The theme for the 2023 World Oceans Day is Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing. Decision makers, world leaders, governments, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sectors, civil society, communities, and our youth need to work together to change the way we use our ocean resource. Stricter penalties and stronger enforcement of government policies arising from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are required to ensure that the oceans and their resident life are properly protected. If you would like to play a part in reducing human impact on Earth’s oceans, please consider the following:
Together, we can reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans and ‘turn the tide’ on how we manage our ocean resources.
If you are interested in how we can conserve the ocean and our terrestrial environment, the Department of Applied Sciences under the College of Engineering, Science and Technology offer programmes which focus on understanding and conserving the worlds resources. Under the Department of Applied Sciences, we offer Diploma and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences as well as Diploma and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management. For our graduates, we offer Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science and Management and Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management. If you would like to learn more about the programmes, visit the FNU website on www.fnu.ac.fj or email the Head of Department on firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by: Lia Bogitini
Head of Department – Department of Applied Science
College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST).