When NASA launched Apollo 8 -- the first manned spacecraft to leave the planet's orbit, reach the moon and return -- they became the first humans to ever watch "Earth rise". Floating in the perpetual darkness of space over 300,000 kilometers away from civilization, they reunite to take a look at our Earth; only half visible, a blue marble slowly spinning. Our blue planet.
It's this image of Earth which makes you realize how big, beautiful and important the ocean is. Separating us from Mars' dry dusty world, and the hydrogen and helium clouds of Jupiter. It created our life, and now we are unconsciously destroying it.
Here are some reasons
Largest ecosystem on Earth
Covering two-thirds of the Earth's surface, and full of fragile life, the sea holds the undisputed title of ecosystems on the planet. From complex coral cities with communities of fish in the shallows, to the great plains of the deep, open ocean where herds of whales roam like elephants in the Savanna. Nowhere on earth is quite like the open ocean, and with a profound unknown down there -- there's a chance that the largest ecosystem might be fuller of life than we could possibly imagine.
Marine life are highly intelligent
While non-human intelligence is a hotly contested and controversial topic, we are aware that cetaceans are a few of the planet's smartest concerning intellect we humans recognize. The sperm whale, perhaps the smartest in the world, is self aware, a leading problem solver, able to learn new languages and to communicate in different dialects... And it does not just end there, the fantastically weird octopus can demonstrate complex communication, can navigate mazes, unscrew jars and use"tools".
Step aside the common perception of the goldfish, life in the ocean is far from braindead; with coral communities working alongside one another in a metropolis almost as complex as our contemporary cities. Once we realize how smart marine life is, hopefully we will feel less inclined to wipe out it.
These molluscs can be found from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
From washed up whales on tourist-filled shores, to floating dead fish in coastal waters near industrial farming and oil plants. The sea is a world always under threat. The YouTube movie that went viral with a turtle squealing in agony as a plastic McDonald's straw was being hauled from its nose, or the images of the stork drowning in oil following the Deepwater Horizon Spill, should be a reminder of how we need to change the way we think about and care for the ocean.
Incredible discoveries still to be made
What lies at the shadowy depths of the sea is a question marine scientists have been asking since Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh first descended, almost all of the way down, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Since then, tens of thousands of deep sea discoveries have wowed the heads of oceanographers worldwide; by the giant squid to the"immortal' jellyfish. Who knows what else may show up on submersible radars and photos in the deep in the years to come.
Underwater photo of endemic golden jellyfish in lake at Palau.
Being underwater is an almost zen-like encounter; floating down below in the near quiet, clear blue. Coming close to a number of nature's most bizarre creatures, and hearing the howling and clicks from the alien world. Divers live for this, once the thunderous rumble of the topside is quietly hushed by the metallic sound of your breathing, bubbles, as well as the odd hum of a boat.
Without the sea we simply Can't survive
Not only do small coastal and island settlements trust the huge treasures that the sea brings; food and tourism, the ocean is an integral element in our own survival. We can see the effect through wireless security cameras. Around half of the oxygen we breathe is present in the atmosphere because of the tiny phytoplankton that lie in the oceans, and scientists have tipped the enormous blue as a promising source of new medications to contact cancer, pain and bacterial disease.