World Oceans Day 2010:Protecting the Blue Heart of Our Planet   
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No matter where we live, on the coast or inland, the oceans are important to all of us every day.

Observed from space, our Earth is seen as predominantly blue, due to the immense oceans which cover 71% of our planet’s surface. Although 97% of Earth’s water is in the oceans, an incredible 95% of this vast marine world has yet to be explored. The importance of the oceans is highlighted by the United Nations declaring June 8th of each year as World Oceans Day.

Supreme Master Ching Hai explained the importance of our oceans and the need to conserve this vital life supporting system during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo.

Balanced marine ecosystems are extremely important, as more than two-thirds of the planet is covered by oceans. They provide half of the world’s oxygen and play a major part in regulating the global climate. So, life on Earth truly depends very much on the ocean for survival. In addition, oceans also absorb atmospheric CO2 – carbon dioxide – which directly helps to cool our planet. These are just a few among the great things that the oceans do.

To disturb the balance of the seas, thus, ultimately places our own lives in danger. So, we could say that it is in our interest to care for the oceans if we want to survive, and all the life that they contain, including fish.

From the majestic blue whales to the playful dolphins, giant seaweed to colorful coral reefs, the oceans are home to nearly half of all known living species on Earth. They play an integral role in our biosphere by regulating the climate and weather.

There's a lot of current systems in the ocean. What the oceans are trying to do is simply equilibrate heat.

When healthy, when well preserved, protected; the oceans are responsible for absorbing up to 70% of all carbon dioxide gas present in the planet’s atmosphere. Normally, society looks at the seas and sees that beauty, very beautiful, everything very blue and it really seems as if everything is very clean and healthy. But the truth is very different.

The global ocean ecosystem is now under unprecedented threat. Recent research led by Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, indicates that up to half of ocean species have disappeared due to overfishing. At the same time, environmental pollution and global warming are also causing enormous damage to ocean life, leading to large-scale coral bleaching and the rapid increase of oceanic dead zones.

We have an impact from global warming that is causing the coral bleaching of reefs. We have the pollution of rivers, lakes and seas made by people themselves and also by the quantity of industries we have today, which makes it difficult for oceans to be able to fulfill their natural role, which they already possess, as regulators of the planet’s climate.

Carbon is both causing climate change which is warming, melting the icecaps, changing ocean currents, and ocean temperature which is affecting all the living creatures in the ocean. But carbon is also causing the oceans to become more acidic and with them becoming more acidic, it means that all the animals that build shells, like crabs and oysters and coral reefs and krill, they’re losing their shells. So that they can’t live and that’s getting worse over time.

According to a recent study by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, USA there were more than 400 known dead zones in coastal waters worldwide in 2008, with only 49 such zones in the 1960s.

I was raised in a fishing village in eastern Canada, so I saw the damage that was being done by the fishing industry to the oceans way back in the 1960s. I think that we’re looking at a very dire and serious situation; the oceans are dying in our time.

A bit more than 80 percent of the commercially exploited stocks are over-exploited, they are collapsing. Some stocks like, for instance, the lobster has been collapsing for a long time already. The number of fleets increased three to five times in the last few decades in some fishing areas and the fish stocks can’t handle such a level of exploitation anymore.

Aside from such dangers as acidification and exploitation by humanity, marine ecosystems are at risk of being severely damaged by oil spills. Since the April 20, 2010 bursting of an offshore drilling rig near Louisiana, USA hundreds of thousands of liters of toxic crude oil have leaked into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The US news organization CNN reported, “The resulting slick now threatens the coastal marshes of southeastern Louisiana (USA), where brown, syrupy oil made it past protective booms and into the wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi River.”

With such devastating catastrophes as these, it is vital that we turn our attention to the precarious state of our oceans and undertake all measures to safeguard our marine ecosystems. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Planet Earth: Our Loving Home will be right back after these messages with our program on the oceans, the blue heart of our planet.

And there’s no question that a healthy human environment demands a healthy ocean. And that if we seriously harm the health of the oceans we will only be harming ourselves.

Thank you for joining us on Planet Earth: Our Loving Home as we continue with our program regarding the state of the world’s oceans in observance of World Oceans Day 2010. In its declaration of this important day, the United Nations stated, “Indeed, human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas…. Increased sea temperatures, sea-level rise and ocean acidification caused by climate change pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.”

Global warming and climate change. That’s changed temperatures in the oceans. It’s starting to change circulation patterns. It’s changing the acidity of the oceans. It’s changing the levels of the oceans. They’re rising. It’s changing the frequency of storms. There’s now more winter storms, greater tidal surges.

And of course whatever happens in the oceans ultimately affects the weather on land. So there are all sorts of ways in which these two primary human stressors, global warming and overfishing, have been affecting the health of our oceans.

There is deep concern that due to the enormous quantities of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere, the oceans are fast reaching their saturation point and thus may be unable to continue to function as vital carbon sinks. The seas, along with melting permafrost in the Arctic, may soon begin to release vast amounts of stored greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus massively accelerating climate change.

So in terms of amount of carbon, we have about 40,000 units of carbon in the ocean. And then we have in pre-industrial times, before humans really started to change things, we had about 600 units in the atmosphere, and we had about 300 units in the terrestrial biosphere. So in this three player system, the ocean is kind of the 300-pound gorilla in the system.

There are so many processes that when the ocean becomes warmer, for example, the bacteria becomes more active. And that means the plants break down before they get to the deep ocean. So you release the CO2 again to the atmosphere. That’s one of the things I work on. And I find it very worrying because that process alone would be enough to increase the CO2 in the atmosphere in the future.

What we’re going to see if [things] keep going in this direction is that other sources of methane and CO2 are going to start to be triggered and released into the atmosphere. And we won’t be able to control those even with the best technology in the world managing our own CO2 and methane emissions.

To effectively protect our oceans and prevent such catastrophic events from happening, we must look at the root causes of the destruction of our marine habitats.

The world is not in equilibrium. We have produced a dis-equilibrium, and part of that dis-equilibrium is that we are farming far more animals than would appear in nature.

The average North American eats meat every day and that’s not good for us and it’s not good for the environment, because of all the carbon waste, all the animal waste that goes into the water supplies and pollutes the water and the oceans.

What are fisheries? Well it’s a whole new predator; it’s going in and making an artificial eater and putting it into the ocean. So fishing can very much change ecosystems in the ocean and it does.

Ghost waters is a term used to describe areas of the ocean that have been over-fished, and this is resulting in decimation of species around the world, and this is resulting in the death of our oceans.

It will take concerted individual and collective efforts to restore and protect our life-sustaining oceans. Measures such as setting aside protected marine habitats or more stringent regulations are laudable, however, the most important action that should be taken is to halt meat, dairy, and egg consumption and production, which are the chief causes of destruction of our terrestrial and oceanic environments.

If we are going to survive as a species, we have to understand that the proper amount of animal products to have in our diet is zero.

We have to abolish commercial fishing; it’s taking too much out of the oceans without returning anything. And it’s like a big bush meat trade. There’s no difference between that and going out and wiping out the sharks and the tuna. They’re all wild animals that they’re wiping out.

Every being on Earth and in the sea has value, no matter how small they might look, and something unique to do on this planet. It is our ignoring of this balance and the preciousness of all lives that has contributed to our global danger right now The way to solve this problem is through greater consideration for all lives. This means we should respect all lives, and in action.

If everyone is vegetarian, better still vegan, I mean having an animal-free diet, then there is a different outlook, different conception for development of all kinds. In our case, it will proceed with compassion and care, which is what we need to restore the wonders of our marine life.

Renowned oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau once said, “The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.” As we observe World Oceans Day, let us heed the urgent calls of our fellow inhabitants of the land, air and sea to save our shared planetary home.

Thank you for joining us for today’s Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May we celebrate the gifts of the ocean every day through our kinder regard for all life with an organic, vegan diet.

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