Coming Very Soon: Ocean Extinction

It is Six minutes just before midnight at the Doom’s Day Clock. I wonder if the recent revelations from the workshop of Marine Scientists at the Margaret Thatcher Conference Center at Oxford University will have a significant effect on the clock. Perhaps it should. because the news from the workshop spearheaded by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is a grave one. The workshop was held from April 11 to 13 and brought together scientists and experts on Ocean stresses in order to talk about the problem and seek solutions. The result of all the presentations, debates and discussions was a grim warning – EXTINCTION :

not only are we already experiencing severe declines in many species to the point of commercial extinction in some cases, and an unparalleled rate of regional extinctions of habitat types (e.g. mangroves and seagrass meadows), but we now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation. Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean. It is notable that the occurrence of multiple high intensity stressors has been a pre-requisite for all the five global extinction events of the past 600 million years (Barnosky et al., 2009). [SOURCE]

The report pointed out the following:

First, the deadly trio warming, acidification and anoxia – an extreme form of decrease in the level of oxygen – of the ocean are present. The three also known as the deadly trio are identified by scientists as pre-requisites or required conditions for the last five global extinctions in Earth. The deadly trio or the dark trinity have all been caused by Human activities.

Second, Negative changes to the ocean are near to what was believed to be the worst case scenarios. The changes are proceeding at a predicted rate, although there are changes progressing at a faster rate and there are still changes accelerating further.

Third, the magnitude or extent of the cumulative or increasing impact on the Ocean goes beyond what was originally expected.

Fourth, The timeline or window for action is shrinking.

Fifth, The resilience or ability of the Ocean to recover from the stress caused by Climate Change is severely compromised or weakened by human activities like – fisheries, pollution and Habitat Destruction.

Sixth, Ecosystem collapse is happening because of stressors like chemical pollutants, agriculture run-off, sediment loads and over-fishing/over-harvesting of several components of food webs which damage the ecosystems.

Seventh, Extinction threat to marine organisms is increasing.

The report noted that the solutions to these problems already exist. But, attitude, behavior and lifestyle of humans prevent this from happening.

So what are the solutions?

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