Biodiversity Threat 3: Unsustainable Resource Extraction


No matter where we live, the ocean influences all of us. On the other hand, the actions of over 7 billion humans adds up to influence the ocean

The ocean provides us with the necessary resources to survive: oxygen, water, and food. Even if you do not eat seafood, fishmeal is used to feed poultry and pork, as well as to organically fertilize crops for millennia. Fish and other seafood are vital for good nutrition. The ocean is also a source of minerals, energy resources, and medicines. 

The ocean provides us with jobs and stimulates the economy. Fishing, travel and tourism, and research are all industries that provide jobs for thousands of people all around the world. Trade is possible through transportation over the ocean.

Beyond the necessities, the ocean also provides humans with the privilege to partake in leisure activities on the water. Anywhere from sports fishing, to sailing, to water skiing, people partake in ocean sports. The ocean can also be a source of relaxation for people or it may provide inspiration for art. The possibilities that the ocean gives us are endless.

We also know that the amount of water in the ocean is finite. The Earth is a closed system and water is cycled through a continuous loop across the globe. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are over 332,519,000 cubic miles of water on the planet. Of this, NOAA National Geophysical Data Center estimates 321,003,271 cubic miles is in the ocean. That is the enough water to fill 352,670,000,000,000,000,000.

That number is large, but it is also all we have. What happens to that supply if we damage it beyond repair?

Learning Objectives

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  • #4: Quality Education
  • #13 Climate Action
  • #14 Life below Water

Ocean Literacy Framework

  • #4: the ocean made earth habitable
  • #6: the ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected 

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