WASHINGTON (DC) – About 72 species of sea grasses are nature’s protective chainmail that filter land runoff, boost water quality, recharge aquifers and provide habitat for thousands of species. Yet they, too, are being assaulted and plundered by man.
Sea grasses in mesmerising meadows occupy the coasts of every continent except Antarctica. Although their total ocean area is about 0.1%, sea grasses hold an astonishing 11% of the ocean’s carbon (sometimes referred to as ‘blue carbon’).
Some of my colleagues affectionately call the sea grasses ‘the lungs of the sea’. And for a good reason, one square metre of a sea grass meadow releases 10 litres of oxygen each day of the year. Bonanza!
Each year, Mediterranean sea grass meadows are helping to protect the deep North Atlantic ocean and all life therein by sieving 900 million pieces of pernicious petroleum-based plastics.
Sea grass meadows trap plastic particles and roll them into seaballs that wash up on beaches in Spain. Hurrah for nature’s wondrous breathing prophylactic petticoats.
Insatiable human greed is wrecking two football fields of sea grass meadows an hour (an area each year about the size of 28 New York City Central Parks). Every football field’s worth of racked and ruined sea grasses decreases the animal kingdom’s chance of survival to midcentury.
As if this ransacking of the sea isn’t distressing enough, a recent study determined that manmade ocean noises including seismic fossil fuel surveys, subsea mining, dredging, coastal development, military exercises, and propellers from 90,000 cargo vessels, 44,000 super trawlers (floating slaughterhouses), 3.7 million fishing vessels and an armada of 1450 fossil fuel supertankers, are uprooting sea grasses. Each supertanker and cargo vessel’s propeller can produce 173 underwater decibels, or, about the sound of a loud rock concert.
Two hours worth of 157 underwater decibels of marine noise pollution knocks over and kills sea grasses, which have thrived in the oceans for an astounding 80 million years. The loss of sea grasses is now accelerating the climate catastrophe and the hideous Sixth Mass Extinction.
Sea grasses supply our kith and kin like the half-ton Aussie dugongs with about 90 pounds (41 kilos) of vegetation per mammal per day.
Those lush underwater meadows also keep our co-partners the sharks well fed with fish. In turn, they keep all populations of sea grass grazers under control. Sharks are indispensable carbon keepers of the sea. If just 1% of that vegetation that the sharks defend goes missing, 507 megatons of carbon would be released (equivalent emissions of 97 million automobiles).
Since 2000, fisheries and poachers have annihilated 2.1 billion sharks. Every single hour, 11,416 sharks are brutally definned. The horrific loss of sharks, which have swum the seas for 400 million years, is a deadly blow to the Gen Zs (under 26s) chance of living a full lifetime.
Each of us is obligated to lend a hand, right now, to help slow down the senseless destruction of sea grasses.
Convert your despair into action by joining climate and extinction rallies. Get invigorated by partaking in old-growth blockades that defend the hallowed old-growth forests, supreme climate-makers and incomparable climate-stabilisers.
Ladies and gentlemen, every action towards defending the animals and their irreplaceable habitat is a life-sustaining WIN because without them, there is no us!
* The authors comments are his own and Living Ocean offers no responsability for any information or intent expressed in the blog.