The respected oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, warned decades ago, “Humans now have the capacity to ruin the entire ocean.” He had visions of vessels carrying oil colliding in a dark night or a vessel loaded with oil being torn asunder by encountering an iceberg the size of Manhattan where Wall Street financiers in New York City hold court in the world of finance.

Cousteau perhaps did not envision ocean transformation occurring in two overwhelming manners. The foremost impact upon our ocean is a mammoth carbon sink due to billions of tons of carbon dioxide since fossil fuels began driving humankind’s Industrial Revolution. Students of chemistry know Svante August Arrhenius issued a warning in 1905 about our unrestricted burning of fossil fuels and consequent effects upon Earth. Scientists note the ocean is thirty percent more acidic in the present than it was in 1700. All marine life, especially shellfish are threatened by acidity in our ocean.

Nor did Cousteau envision the “biggest oil spill in history” arriving in the “plastification” of our entire ocean. Captain Charles Moore documents this silent deleterious transformation in a movie entitled Our Synthetic Sea.  Captain Moore and his associates concluded harmful plastic nodules outnumber oxygen-producing plankton by a ratio of sixteen to one. Plastic particles are so small that marine creatures cannot distinguish life threatening plastic from nourishing plankton; 16:1 is a dangerous imbalance.

mission-blueSylvia Earle (1935 –    ) is the National Geographic Explorer in-Residence who is known as “Her Deepness” for descending thousands of feet to the ocean bottom and discovering the ocean floor is littered with plastic. Please visit mission-blue.org for perceiving how plastic has taken over our ocean.

Five plastic gyres are documented by Erik Eriksen who built a raft of plastic he found along shorelines. The Pacific plastic gyre was   documented earlier by Captain Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Center in Long Beach, CA. Eriksen’s research can be verified by visiting www.5gyres.org.

There is one ocean with five different geographical names. Protecting the world’s oceans includes the Gulf of Mexico of course. The website, www.oceana.org, is another valuable source of monitoring how transformation of our life-giving ocean is occurring on our watch.

Why should we be concerned? Over half of Earth’s oxygen comes from plankton, now threatened by our behavior.

Louisiana citizens are especially impacted by those who harvest oysters and love to eat them. They know shell fish cannot survive in acidic water.

Not least, “as the ocean goes, so goes the human race.”