The ocean’s surface is a facade. The Pacific’s peaceful ripples seem to flow off the end of the Earth like an infinity pool, changing colors with the horizon or glistening like the Koh-i-Noor diamond under the summer sun. In a way, beaches are a borderland between peace and chaos- separating our human world of concrete from a seemingly endless sea of tranquility. People escape to the ocean, people find peace in the ocean. But in reality, the ocean is far from calm. Underneath its gentle facade, the ocean is in constant commotion, a chaotic container of life.
The ocean is home to the greatest diversity and most complex ecosystems of plants and animals on this planet. Scientists estimate that 80% of all life on Earth is found beneath the ocean’s surface. The most amazing part is that we have only explored a mere 5% of the ocean, and it is predicted that a million or more species that dwell in the ocean depths remain unknown, yet to be discovered. The ocean, with an average depth of over 12,450 feet, holds 99% of the planet’s living space.
Funny, isn’t it? That humans- who occupy less than 1% of the planet’s living space- feel so entitled to its resources? People seem to view Earth as a collection of continents surrounded by bodies of water we call oceans. But we are fooling ourselves in thinking that this planet was created for land-dwelling creatures like ourselves. The surface of the Earth is 71% ocean, while land barely accounts for three-tenths of the globe, eroded by water at a rate of up to six feet per year in some places such as the Gulf (one foot in my home of San Diego). We are “the water planet”, and the oceans are the lungs of the Earth, providing us with up to 70% of our oxygen. Life on this planet would not be possible without the ocean. The Earth is the ocean.