So today marks the sixth year of recognition for World Wildlife Day (as it was established on December 20 2013 by United Nations)1.
The theme for 2019 is “under the water”. This makes sense, when you think of the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of the earth is covered in oceans, and I’m sure all the fresh water makes up another five to ten percent in covering the earth as well. But the main focus is on the seventy-five percent—or the oceans.
While currently there are approximately 200,000 identified marine species, the actual number probably is at least two or three (if not more) times that—especially since some of the deepest trenches in the ocean haven’t been explored, and also some species can’t survive being brought up (they actually thrive under the extreme pressures found at the bottom of the oceans) to the surface.
In terms of the oceans and gulfs, I’ve been to the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I’ve got pictures of some of the unique wildlife one can see from most of them (I’m just lacking pictures from my trip to the Caribbean—that was before I got a digital camera, so none of them are digital and I know I didn’t get any of aquatic life while we were there).
So what types of animals did I get pictures of?
When I was out in Boston, I did one or two of the whale watching tours. I enjoyed doing this, though they were crowded (and at times I did get sea sick). So I managed to see whales coming up to the surface to breath. I’d still like to go on a whale watching tour up in Alaska to see the killer whales.
Also during one of my many walks along the freedom trail, I decided to sit and basically stare into the water for a while—and after awhile I noticed that there were numerous little jellyfish swimming around.
When we took a mini vacation down to Padre Island, I managed to get some pictures of probably hermit crabs in different shells, and what I think was a nautilus. This was the first time using a digital camera that could actually be submerged in the water.
Then from my solo vacation to Hawaii years ago, I managed to get several pictures of a sea turtle (probably the green sea turtle), crabs, and different fish.
One of the things that I would love to do, is find a good snorkel mask that I can wear over my glasses (since I don’t wear contact lens, and I think it’s silly just to get contact lens for that possibly one time I’m trying to snorkel), and make it back to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or even Australia and see what type of pictures I could possible get of the marine life.
But things aren’t all sunshine and flowers for the oceans currently.
The oceans face numerous threats today from over-fishing, hunting (there are still some countries that hunt sharks and whales), climate change (warming of the oceans; coral reefs bleaching, melting ice bergs), runoff of agricultural wastes into the rivers which feed into the oceans, and then plastic garbage finding its way into the ocean. There is a patch of plastic garbage between California and Hawaii named The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covering roughly 1.6 million square kilometers2, and while one would think that we could just head out and clean up the area—we’re (and I’m referring to all humans) are allowing between 1 and 2.5 million metric tons of plastic to enter the ocean each year. These are things that make it into the rivers and watersheds and find their way to the oceans. This is why there has been such a push to get rid of straws and single serving plastic utensils, and a better drive at plastic recycling.
I know that where I live there are only certain plastics that are taken in recycling—and they’re the ones that company can make the most profit off of with their contacts. That leaves about half the plastics not being taken and winding up in the trash. If we’re lucky—it makes to the trash dump and hopefully gets buried. If not, wild animals might rip open the bags, and then some of the plastics could find their way to different water areas and become a problem.
So what I’m going to start doing to help the oceans, is declining straws at restaurants, saying no thank you to the one serving plastic utensils, and figuring out a better way to dispose of the silica gels packs that come with various things instead of allowing them to be tossed in the garbage (and possibly winding up in the oceans). What will you do to help the oceans and it’s inhabitants?