Rachel Carson (1907-1964) and Jacques Costeau (1910-1997) were two scientists who spoke and wrote stridently in defense of our threatened Earth and a dying ocean. Rachel Carson wrote The Sea Around Us in the 1950’s pointing out how our human and non-human future is linked to a healthy ocean. She soon followed with The Silent Spring, voted by publishers as the most important book of the past fifty years. Carson taught us there is only one ocean with different geographic titles. What we do to the ocean, we do to ourselves. Both of these scientists preceded the global “plastic revolution” of the 1960’s. All who viewed Dustin Hoffman’s superb acting in “The Graduate” heard advice of a relative who said, “There is only one word of advice for you at graduation – PLASTIC.” In the 21st century, Marcus Eriksen, PhD and his co-workers are revealing to us how *PLASTIFICATION is literally killing our ocean. Please view the global islands (gyres) of plastic by visiting www.5gyres.org in 2015; all graduates might hear one challenging word – “GARBAGE.”
Jacques Costeau was the most widely respected oceanographer who was so popular in France that French citizens urged him to pursue the presidency. Costeau prudently chose to devote his energy and vision to preserving the ocean. In the 1971 THE NEW YORK TIMES published his commentary warning “Humans now have the capacity to ruin the entire ocean.” In 2015, Costeau’s prediction is clear.
The 2013 State Of the Ocean report reveals how *Pollution*Overfishing and *Acidification are generating conditions in our ocean not known for over 300 million years.
Acidification is scientifically linked to humankind’s unlimited burning of fossil fuels as carbon dioxide coming into contact with water becomes mild carbonic acid. Acidification of our ocean is more than thirty percent higher than in pre-industrial years of the 1700’s. Unless we are scientifically researching spreading “plastification” of ¾ of Earth’s ocean surface, other forms of pollution, increasing acidification humans are unable to perceive what is occurring on our watch. The legacies of Carson and Costeau are history. Now we might respect Sylvia Earle, 78 years of age, known as “Her Deepness” for spending long hours in the ocean to discover and report to us conditions of deterioration. In addition, Marcus Eriksen provides ongoing research about plastic overwhelming a body of water upon which we depend for survival. Submarine commanders know the crew will become dysfunctional when deprived of oxygen, so the vessel which generates its own oxygen “exhales” more oxygen to keep everyone alive and well. We creatures of Earth know through oceanographers oxygen levels are decreasing but do not have the luxury of reversing the decline. Plankton abound in the ocean as food for other marine creatures and as a source of more than half of Earth’s oxygen.
2015 is the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Einstein said, “There are two infinites: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure of the universe.” (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, September 2015, p. 34) A former university professor said it simpler: “The human mind has an infinite capacity to reject inputs of new information.” Record heat and western USA wild fires in 2015 are prophetic signs.
Only jellyfish are thriving in the ocean today (Please read STUNG! by Lisa Gershwin)