letter to the editor

One global ocean

Posted:  Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 8:30am

Dear Editor:

My growing up years were east coast and west coast oceans. I saw the ocean as belonging to the states with coastlines. California beaches were mostly public and new developments had to provide pathways. Boston and Maine ownership and access were similar. All coastlines are touted by states and residents as places to enjoy, visit and to claim as ours to share with tourists. Saturday I woke up suddenly realizing that technically there is only one global ocean. The role of this single ocean keeps us alive. Any harm to any ocean location is transported to the entire body of water. A decision to drill in the arctic can have a negative impact on the whole body of water.

When asked the question “How many oceans are there?”, NOAA’s National Ocean services will tell you there is only one global ocean, and it covers 71 percent of earth. Panda.org notes oil and gas drilling can seriously damage marine areas and species. We now have research results of ocean warming and acidification damage.

The Fukushima earthquake event caused massive amounts of radioactivity in the global ocean that travels through the ocean circulation system. Five years later we are still seeing seepage of these radioactive waters into the Pacific Ocean. Japan is expecting to deal with cleanup and further ocean issues for decades. More than 80 percent radioactivity and damaged reactors have traveled to the Pacific ocean region. Are drilling decisions ours alone to make when they can damage the world’s only ocean?

The global ocean is connected to earth’s atmosphere. The circulation creates a habitable planet. The circulation distributes heat and delivers Antarctica cold water elsewhere. Unesco’s global ocean science report and first assessment notes we are running out of time to avoid a decline in ocean health, which can impact a major source of our food supply.

Globally everyone pays for any damage to the ocean, not just Japan, or Russia, or the USA. Should all ocean-development decisions in our one global ocean, belong to all coastline site owners? Everyone needs a healthy ocean to live.

Jarryl Larson