Oceans cover more than 70 percent of the planet and contain approximately 97 percent of the world’s water. Its distinct, interdependent ecosystems are dramatically affected by the activities of man, both on land as well as in and around the oceans themselves. Global warming, agricultural runoff of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, seaside population growth, and increased stress on ecosystems from scuba divers, cruise lines, fishing and shipping all play a part in upsetting delicate ocean balances. As members of the diving community, the publisher of discover5oceans and its contributors share a perspective on oceans that is colored by our first-hand observations of the growing stresses on reefs and the marine life that inhabit these shallow waters. We recognize, however, that what we see happening on the reefs – coral bleaching, reduced biodiversity, silting, etc. – is often symptomatic of changes and damage originating elsewhere in the ocean ecosystems.
UN Resolution 60/30 Oceans And The Law Of The Sea contains the following key observations in its preamble (paraphrased):
The problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole through an integrated, interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach. There is a need for improved cooperation and coordination at national, regional and global levels to support and supplement the efforts of each State in promoting the integrated management and sustainable development of the oceans and seas.
The General Assembly has been and continues to be concerned at the adverse impacts on the marine environment and biodiversity, in particular on vulnerable marine ecosystems, including corals, of human activities, such as over-utilization of living marine resources, the use of destructive practices, physical impacts by ships, the introduction of alien invasive species and marine pollution from all sources, including from land-based sources and vessels, in particular through the illegal discharge of oil and other harmful substances, the loss or release of fishing gear and the dumping of hazardous waste such as radioactive materials, nuclear waste and dangerous chemicals.
As divers, we believe we must accept the responsibility of informing ourselves about the issues and challenges facing ocean ecosystems, then govern our actions in and out of the water based on the understanding that we are a link in a chain of complex actions and reactions that extends well beyond the reefs. While myriad professional and activist organizations focused on some aspect of ocean ecosystems already exist, coalescing relevant, high-level data from these entities in a way that is understandable and actionable by the diving community is a daunting task.
Our mission is to kick-start this process on the d5o site by creating and providing content in a way that encourages individuals and organizations to begin to think, act and interact within the context of a wholistic, interconnected ocean community. Out of the gate, we are limited by our personal resources, knowledge and experience; the success or failure of d5o hinges on individuals (yep, that would be you) joining in the discussion and contributing and sharing what you know.
TS Lane (tslane888)