While many of us have altered our vacation plans, it seems that a great many people are still flocking to the beach to get some fun in the sun. Cruises, not so much … How people social distance, and whether a trip to the beach is a good idea, is a question for experts. Whether we plan to enjoy the ocean in person or not this year, we can learn to appreciate it more during National Ocean Month.
Kanopy has a number of wonderful documentaries if you search “oceans”:
If you choose “Environmental Sciences” as a subject within “Oceans,” you will find a number of videos on efforts to save the oceans and reefs and a several interviews with ocean scientists about their work. One of these videos, Mystery of the Missing Plastic, caught my eye because of all the plastic and junk in the promo and I was compelled to click “play.”
I thought it would be about the floating debris and shore garbage that we all see polluting our oceans and beaches, but, instead, it is an engrossing study of the plastic we can’t see -- the MAJORITY of plastic we discard into the oceans ... it is alarming that we can only find 1%, so where is the other 99%? Some of the plastic has disappeared into deep canyons, and some has broken into microplastics and tiny particles accumulating in five large zones called gyres and others cannot be found.
Learn about the plastic that’s visible, and the even more disturbing “missing” plastic, and the alarming effects on the oceans and ocean life from the accumulated areas to as far as the Arctic and the deep sea bed and into the food chain itself. https://mtlebanon.kanopy.com/video/oceans
One of the few positive impacts that the virus has had on our world is the giant “breather” the Earth has taken from many of the pollutants that plague our planet. I was curious whether there was any benefit to the oceans with the reduced industry during the shutdown. Aerial photos show better air quality near busy coastlines and fewer boats is also allowing fish to move in closer to shore to find food that would normally be unavailable to them.
But these changes were only near coastlines. Since oceans cover over 70 % of our planet, the “breather” afforded by the shutdown has not affected the ocean pollution. It will take more committed recycling efforts to keep plastics out of the ocean and a lot more research on how the plastic currently in our oceans is affecting the ecosystem. Please take the month of June to consider our impact on the oceans, and to appreciate all the beauty and life the oceans have to offer.
National Ocean Month is a relatively new commemorative month with last year being the initial year of the proclamation:
“During National Ocean Month, we recognize the importance of the ocean to the economy, national security, and environment of the United States, and we renew our commitment to safeguarding its vital resources.”