The planet Earth is often described as the “Blue Planet” because about 70% of its surface is covered by water. In recent decades, man’s cumulative development activities have tarnished the “crystal clear” image we all used to have when thinking of these vast oceans of waters.
The planet is being stressed by a growing population that is demanding higher and higher standards of living. In the oceans, the result has been excessive pollution of our natural waters and much over-harvesting of its bioresources. An ever-increasing number of man-induced changes now threaten the overall integrity and longevity of the earth’s entire marine biophysical environment. Some larger examples are global warming; ozone layer disintegration in the stratosphere, acid rain and smog in our atmosphere, eutrophication of our lakes, streams and estuaries, and pollution of our coastal seas.
How do these effects differ from the natural variations that the earth has experienced? What solutions can we all participate in to reverse these trends? These are the challenges that now face the peoples of this Earth so that future generations can experience some semblance of the ecological conditions and biodiversity that existed in the past and which can sustainably support life's basic needs for food, water and a healthy environment.