Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, our global community of nations has sent delegations to more environmental meetings in Kyoto(1997), Copenhagen(2009), Manila( 2012) and other cities to consider how legislation might be passed followed by action taken to protect the planet for future generations. These gatherings have brought only limited progress over twenty-two years to draw humankind away from floating over our dangerous environmental waterfall. Is it time for children to be heard if adults are blind, deaf and dumb? Will we heed calls from our suffering ocean?
Sister Maria Gonzalez introduces her environmental lectures with a poem written by a 7th grade girl in Cincinnati:
“People have cut down trees which are my lungs
They have polluted the streams which are my veins
They have polluted the air which is my brain
They have polluted the oceans which are the chambers of my heart
My wrath has gotten great
My wrath is hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and other disasters
I am the ill Earth
If people trash me, I will die
And so will they.”
One precocious 7th girl (now advanced in higher education?) points to the ocean as “chambers of Earth’s heart.” We are obviously not paying much attention to Earth’s warnings as carbon dioxide levels went beyond 400 parts per million (ppm) according to the Mauna Loa research center in Hawaii.
Young chemistry students know that carbon dioxide emissions coming into contact with water will become carbonic acid. Unrestricted fossil fuel burning since the industrial age (1700’s) has caused a thirty percent rise in ocean acidity. Such a transformation in water quality is an indisputable scientific fact.
Plastic proliferation is another certain threat to ocean health. We can view the extent of plastic by visiting www.5gyres.org. Marcus Eriksen, PhD has researched five major locations where unhealthy plastic has built up in water covering ¾ of Earth.
Plankton are tiny marine organisms that provide over half of Earth’s oxygen. All living beings will suffer from oxygen reduction.
Residents of Louisiana are acutely aware of an expanding “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. This blighted Gulf area, the size of Connecticut, is the second largest in the world in 2014. The Baltic Sea in Russia ranks first in this dishonorable category.
Our ocean is warning us there are now 146 “dead zones” globally with 43 in US coastal areas.
Will the prodding of children and our dying ocean gain our attention? The next attempt of adults to change our harmful way of life will be held December 2014 in Lima, Peru. Maybe children will try again to teach us. They know our future depends upon a healthy ocean.
There is no stronger
Teacher in history than
Our Sacred Ocean*
*To be published in 2015