But as one grows older in the sport, one realizes that there’s more to what the ocean can offer to surfing enthusiasts.
Bound to the land, it’s easy for us two-legged bros to forget how important the ocean is. Until you realize that the ocean makes over 70 percent of the planet and contains 97 percent of all the water on Earth.
Through surfing, in the surge and fall of the waves, one becomes immersed in a primal experience with nature. It is because of this that one intuitively realizes how the oceans are central to human survival.
That’s why you can’t be a life-long surfer without becoming a passionate environmentalist. Beyond the stoke and the adrenaline rush, surfing brings you in contact with a lot of urgent issues in the ocean that needs to be addressed.
Because oceans are far too important to our race and our planet’s survival to be ignored.
It's our Planet's Lungs
One might think that it’s rainforests like Amazon that’s supplying oxygen for the whole world but no, it’s the oceans that really do the work in producing oxygen that we breathe.
Rainforests produce a quarter of the world's breathable oxygen but the growth cycle of forests is so fast that the oxygen the forests produce through photosynthesis is immediately consumed by bacteria on the forest floor which use it to decompose the organic matter in the tropical ecosystem.
In contrast, the numerous algae and cyanobacteria living in the ocean don’t have any use for oxygen at all. It’s actually a by-product of their biological processes so it just gets released into the atmosphere where it becomes part of the air we breathe.
It’s estimated that they produce 50-80% of the atmospheric oxygen. Without these marine organisms, life on earth, as we know it, will cease to exist because there’s insufficient oxygen.
It Feeds Us
The ocean is an important source of animal protein for the world. About 20% of the world's population depend on fish stock for at least 20 percent of its animal protein intake. Meanwhile, some 1 billion people all over the world rely on fish as their main source of animal protein.
Marine flora like seaweeds and algae also provide an important source of supplemental diet for many coastal communities all over the world. In food technology, they are also the raw materials used to produce food-related products like gelatin and emulsifiers.
It Regulates Climate
The ocean is our planet's climate control system. Acting like conveyor belts, the ocean’s currents circulate warm water and precipitation all over the world ensuring the distribution of the heat and water. Without these currents, only a small part of the planet will be habitable.
It also regulates the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas; too much of it will heat up the planet. The ocean counteracts any large excess in concentration by absorbing it. It is an efficient natural carbon sink; it is estimated that the ocean can hold 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere.
The need to educate present and future generations about ocean ecology and sustainability is now more urgent than ever.
— Derek Dodds, Wave Tribe Founder
It's a Natural Drugstore
The ocean is the largest ecosystem in the world, taking over 90% of habitable space. Within this ecosystem lives a diverse and largely unstudied population of marine organisms.
This means that the ocean is a treasure trove of undiscovered organisms that may hold the key to stopping cancer, or curing Alzheimer’s or wiping out HIV.
It’s not without any precedent. Prialt, a pain-reliever estimated to be a thousand times stronger than morphine and without any side effects, was developed from sea snail toxin.
It Helps with our Physical and Mental Wellness
Studies have shown that the ocean has many positive effects on human health. A steady diet of fish lowers bad cholesterol and increases the lifespan of older people. People who regularly eat fish are also less likely to suffer from depression.
Being near the ocean also boosts our moods. Some researchers believe that the sound and rhythm of the tides and the waveshave a calming effect on our brain. Of course, we surfers know that already.
It's Home to an Awesome Biodiversity
The oceans are home to a diverse array of wonderful and amazing organisms. Such diversity is reflected in the number of phyla found in the oceans: 30% of phyla are exclusively marine, whereas only phylum is exclusively terrestrial.
These organisms also play a major role in the ocean’s ability to provide ecosystem services for the planet. Microscopic plants like phytoplankton absorb atmospheric carbon and release oxygen to the air. They also support the food web by becoming food for larger organisms.
Gastropods and crustaceans, meanwhile, keep the algae population in check so as not to overwhelm the seagrass which fishes use as nurseries. This, in turn, results to a stable population of fish stock for human consumption.
Apex predators, like sharks, are important in keeping the species population below them in the food chain stable and thriving. But they are also not beyond biting a surfer on rare occasions.
It’s an interrelated and interconnected network, in which the loss of one species, can affect the balance of the ocean ecosystem. That’s why it’s very important to protect and restore endangered populations of marine wildlife.
Heal the Oceans
Unfortunately though, plastic pollution and greenhouse warming are slowly destroying our oceans and our bros that live in it.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the piles of plastic discarded on beaches or in the plastic trash floating on ocean currents, or in the plastic bags found in the gut of every dead sea bird, turtle or whale.
That’s why here at Wave Tribe, we develop eco-friendly surfing gear and accessoriesto minimize our civilization’s bloody impact on the ocean and its inhabitants.
But more than that, we’re also supporting various initiatives and organizations which seek to protect the ocean and its marine wildlife. Under our Heal the Oceans campaign, we’ve listed several institutions that you can support through volunteer activities or by donating funds this World Oceans Day.
The need to educate present and future generations about ocean ecology and sustainability is now more urgent than ever. This June 8, we hope you would join us by doing your effort to save the ocean.
We can do no less.
For more about our stylish eco-gear and accessories, check out this site.
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