How do you see our relationship with the ocean needing to change for everyday people?
Most people when you ask them would say I love the sea. I love being at the coast. I love the oceans. I want the waves to be protected. I want the penguins and the polar bears to be protected. And very often it’s disconcerting to them to realize that everyone is impacting the ocean already, and at a global scale. CO2 we've already mentioned, but there are other parts that are more hidden.
For example, our everyday use of disposable plastics that leaves a big impact on the oceans because the oceans take in materials that are transported by the winds. They take in nanoplastics from the precipitation. And so the way we use plastics means that the ocean gets a tremendous amount of all of that.
Another hidden factor of our impact is agriculture. Agriculture happens on land, but the nutrients that we put into the fields, the fertilizers, they eventually make it into the ocean through rain and rivers. So the seas are getting far too many nutrients, and we have impacted the nitrogen cycle—more than even the carbon cycle. And that changes the health of the seas and coasts, and can cause toxic algae and other degradation of the environments.
Then of course there is the food. What few people know is that we rely more on aquaculture than on wild fish for seafood. And that comes with consequences. Aquaculture, if it's not done in a very sustainable way, destructs, for example, the mangroves or sea grasses or fjords or places where high density of fish are kept together. Antibiotics are dumped into the sea. We get anoxic areas.
So the list of how we all, in our everyday life, impact the oceans is unfortunately quite long. And it seems like we don't have a choice. It feels like no one can directly influence change with their own behavior. The fate of the oceans then relies on a political solution. We need other rules, other ways of getting to our nutrition, other ways of using materials, other ways of using energy.