Report | May 31, 2010

Oceans in danger

Some 3.6 billion years ago, life on Earth was born in the oceans. Since then, their size and composition, as well as the organisms living in them, have continued to change and evolve. Today, millions of species and numerous ecosystems inhabit the oceans, from coastal areas to abysses more than 11,000 metres deep.

Within their 1.4 billion cubic kilometres of water and 370 million square kilometres of expanse, we can find coral forests, deserts, mountains, volcanoes, minerals, bacteria, algae, complex plants, mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, crustaceans, molluscs and a very long list of life forms, many of which are still unknown to us.

Humankind has been using the oceans for aeons, but not until the last few centuries have our activities become a real threat. Pollution, over-fishing and over-hunting, mining, the destruction of the oceans’ richest areas, the massive occupation of the coasts and the alteration of their chemical composition and temperature are leaving a mark that is difficult to erase.