TEHRAN (Iran News) – Domestic, foreign experts to exchange ocean sciences. The National Institute of Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences with the cooperation of the UNESCO and maritime organizations will hold various programs on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2021.
The programs aim to promote ocean sciences among the people by increasing the maritime knowledge of teachers in coastal provinces at the beginning of the decade of ocean sciences (2020-2021), exchange of experiences on the ocean and marine data of scientists, new measurements to obtain up-to-date information on the country’s coastal waters, as well as to draw the attention of individuals to the importance of oceans and their impact on lives and livelihoods.
From March 30 to June 2, education workshops will be held for teachers in the southern coastal provinces, including, Khuzestan, Bushehr, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan.
The ocean covers over 70 percent of the planet equaling 361 million square kilometers. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth.
The seas and oceans are known to be home to about 230,000 species of animals, although most of the depths of the oceans have not yet been discovered, and it is estimated that there are more than two million aquatic species.
The ocean produces at least 50 percent of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
Even though all its benefits, the ocean is now in need of support.
With 90 percent of big fish populations depleted, and 50 percent of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished.
“The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2021, as well as a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to get the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources”, by 2030.
Oceans in “hot water”
Overfishing, pollution, and coastal development, among other pressures, have impacted the entire ocean, from shallow waters to the deep sea, and climate change will continue to cause a growing spectrum of effects across marine ecosystems.
Since the industrial revolution, human activities have increasingly destroyed and degraded forests, grasslands, wetlands, and other important ecosystems, threatening human well-being. Some 75 percent of the Earth’s ice-free land surface has already been significantly altered, most of the oceans are polluted, and more than 85 percent of the area of wetlands has been lost.
The most important direct driver of biodiversity loss in terrestrial systems in the last several decades has been a land-use change, primarily the conversion of pristine native habitats into agricultural systems; while much of the oceans have been overfished. Globally, climate change has not been the most important driver of the loss of biodiversity to date, yet in the coming decades it is projected to become as, or more, important than the other drivers.
The loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue but a development, economic, global, ethical, and moral one. It is also a self-preservation issue. Biodiversity plays a critical role in providing food, fiber, water, energy, medicines, and other genetic materials; and is key to the regulation of our climate, water quality, pollution, pollination services, flood control, and storm surges. In addition, nature underpins all dimensions of human health and contributes to non-material levels – inspiration and learning, physical and psychological experiences, and shaping our identities – that are central in quality of life and cultural integrity.